ODDS ‘N’ BODS
EAST MIDLANDS DJ Assn’s disco exhibition is at Derby Tiffany’s this Sunday (26) from noon till 8pm . . . Birmingham equipment stockists Disco Electronics and Roadshows Disco Centre are again combining to put on a successor to last year’s Disco Light & Sound ’80 exhibition, this years titled Discoscene ’81 and at Solihull St John’s Hotel on Sunday 17th May from noon until 7pm with an impressive line up of exhibitors, full details from Terry Lees on 021-707 1925 . . . Thames Valley DJ Assn members meet this Sunday (26) at Staines Jacksons club at 12 Clarence Street starting noon . . . Rah Band ‘Downside Up’ is now indeed on 12”, Ronny’s BPM should have read as 110/55-111-112-113bpm, and it’s Eric Hine doing ‘Fade Away’ . . . King Pleasure, the 58 year-old pioneer of jazz scatting (real name Clarence Beeks) who originated the classic ‘Moody’s Mood For Love’ treatment copied by George Benson, very sadly died last month, in Los Angeles . . . Brighton’s Metro re-opens as Busby’s II next week (note that Busby’s relates to Busby Berkley and not the P.O. Buzby bird!), Paul Clark & Mick Fuller being regular jocks there on Thursdays and Sundays . . . Harvey Mason studied at the Berklee School Of Music, not Berkeley . . . Nicky Peck reports that Gillingham Central is getting so busy that Sundays are about to become membership nights in an effort to control the crowds, local jazz-funkers M.S.Q. appearing there live this week (26) . . . Holly House Publications are now making circular shaped “frisbee” business cards customised according to your choice of colour and design, full details from 2 Holly Rd, St Mary’s Bay, Kent, TX29 0XB . . . Geoff Dorsett (Halifax) and others in search of hard to find records, why don’t you check the small ads? . . . Tony Clarke is finding disco life very different jocking in Rognan, Norway, but came across a good import record shop on his four day journey in Oslo, called Bus Stop . . . TWA’s dirt cheap package holidays to the States have to be booked and paid for by April 30th, don’t forget (four days in New York all-in for £164 for example) . . . Caister was widely regarded by lots of other people to have been the best in quite a while, too . . . Kev Hill (Brentwood) says he’s the phantom Bum Burner, not the Phantom Phonecaller – so that’s what he needs the jelly for! . . . Gary Allan (Liverpool McMillans) is a bit fed up with the Cambridge Dons, who used one of his official Liverpool Gnome noses for their phallic fun at Caister, and never returned it! . . . John Douglas (Braintree) reckons Roy Ayers ‘Love Will Bring Us Together’ from the ‘Fever’ LP would make an ace single right now, and revives Sir John Roberts ‘Ain’t Nothing Like Making Love’ (US Venture LP) . . . DJ feedback about the ‘Hit Numbers’ BPMs is non-existent, but I personally find my efforts invaluable at mobile gigs, and I’m gradually BPMing a lot of other pop material with which I’m not so familiar (only having to use it a few times a year these days) the mixes I’ve been coming up with as a result being dynamite) . . . Davy King (Ballymena Raglan Lounges) now leaves us with a joke that’s too late for Easter – “Where did they get the food for the Last Supper?” – “Judas’s carry-out!” . . . only two days after writing the last issue, there’s not really a lot to talk about this week . . . KEEP IT GOOD!
ALPHONSE MOUZON producer / arranger / writer and drummer on the ‘By All Means’ jazz-funk smash that bears his name, and a lot of hot playing by Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Ritenour and Seawind – was born November 21st, 1948, in Charleston, South Carolina, and played side drum aged 12 in a marching band at school. In 1966 he moved to New York where he started taking an interest in the piano but actually gigged for eighteen months with a society band as roadie cum fill-in drummer, working at the same time as a hospital orderly while studying dramatics.
Whispers In The Air
THERE’S A catchphrase in my mind that the record company don’t seem to have thought of yet, something like ‘Solar So Good’. In other words, almost everything that label has laid its hands on in the last year or so seems to have had the technical supervision of King Midas.
In the States, Lakeside are building a beat which could still cross here, and the other Solar songsters have already made a noise in the UK. Dynasty are currently warm on our dancefloors with ‘Groove Control’, from their ‘Adventures In The Land Of Music’ album. They went all the way across in 1979 with ‘I Don’t Want To Be A Freak (But I Can’t Help Myself’.
Choreographed chic might not be your cuppa but it’s hard to deny the slickness and style the Whispers have brought to bear on our disco scene since the beginning of last year. That was when, after years of reputation without reimbursement, the Whispers first had their wallets filled with green notes, GB-style. It was via ‘And The Beat Goes On’, then as now a dancefloor monster of fearsome strength from the fearsome five.
Those five are Wallace (“Call Me Scotty”) Scott, twin brother Walter (no, you weren’t seeing double), Marcus Hutson, Nicholas Caldwell and the splendidly named Leavell Degree – If only he had two brothers I could knock you out with a crack about the Three Degrees. Bet you’re glad he hasn’t.
This thing’s been building since the guys were at Junior High School. Brothers Walter and Scotty conceived the idea on the influence of a relative. “We had an uncle whom we would always listen to,” recounts Walter, “and he taught us a lot about harmonising. That’s where we learned that kind of singing.” The men from uncle, you might say.
Next came the meeting with Marcus and Nicholas and the Whispers became a going concern. And a growing concern to begin with, because they weren’t too sure where they were heading at first. Marcus Hutson recalls that “At first we were really singing as a hobby. After we got out of school we decided to quit our jobs and really go all the way.”
That upsurge in ’80 was thanks not just to ‘And The Beat Goes On’ but a strong eponymous album, with the ballad ‘Lady’ as a hit in great contrast to the first, and a contemporary treatment of Smokey Robinson’s ‘My Girl’ as an added treat. The album also contained ‘A Song For Donny’, their tribute to the late and much underrated soul man, based on an old Hathaway tune with new lyrics supplied by Solar’s Carrie Lucas. (She had a taste of the top with ‘Dance With You’).
The Whispers took it further, too, by helping to set up the Donny Hathaway Scholarship Fund together with Solar President Dick Griffey, who just happens as well to be their co-producer. All the proceeds of that tribute song are donated to the Fund.
Such an explosion of fortunes as the Whispers enjoyed last year seemed hard to maintain. But that they’ve done, courtesy of another musclebound LP called ‘Imagination’, whence comes the one you might be tapping your toe to even as I write, name of ‘It’s A Love Thing’. Not just that any more, but these days it’s a success thing for the Whispers too.
People really go for those synchronised sweaters.
QUINCY JONES: ‘Razzamatazz’ (LP ‘The Dude’ A&M AMLK 63721).
Amazingly Michael Jackson-like though in fact Patti Austin-sung smash 0-120bpm slickly flowing Rod Temperton-penned chugger mixes sensationally with Brothers Johnson ‘Stomp’. The similar 120bpm ‘Turn On The Action‘ being less strong, while Stevie Wonder synthesizes on the slinkily rolling sinister steadily clopping vocoder-sung 96bpm title track jogger and on his own jittery little 111bpm ‘Betcha’ Wouldn’t Hurt Me‘. ‘Somethin’ Special’ being a pleasant pulsating 51/103bpm swayer. You’ll note that ‘Razzamatazz’ is actually hitting higher than the also included 123bpm ‘Ai No Corrida’ 12in!
ISLEY BROTHERS: ‘Tonight Is The Night (If I Had You)’ (LP ‘Grand Slam’ Epic EPC 84914).
Still most essential for the full length version of this beautiful lush 48/96bpm smoocher, and the bittersweet 41bpm ‘I Once Had Your Love (And I Can’t Let Go)’. The set falls into cliches on the fast material like the ludicrously ‘That Lady’-style 126-128bpm ‘Young Girls’, urgent jittery 120-122-124-125bpm ‘Party Night’, similar 122-123-124bpm ‘Don’t Let Up’, jerky cantering 122-123-124bpm ‘Hurry Up And Wait’, and jagged fast 128-129-128-127-126bpm ‘Who Said?’.
STEPHANIE MILLS Featuring TEDDY PENDERGRASS: ‘Two Hearts’ (20th Century-Fox TC 2492).
Perfectly timed tense pent-up gruff than soaring 107-108bpm 7in jolting jogger (surely destined for 12in too?) like a less lively ‘Back Together Again’, prod/penned by Mtume & Lucas, flipped by Stephanie’s solo 33- 35bpm ‘I Just Wanna Say’ smoocher. Continue reading “April 25, 1981: Whispers, Quincy Jones, Isley Brothers, Rick James, Heath Bros”