May 30, 1981: Whispers, Linx, Esther Williams, War, Future Flight


RICK JAMES on UK 12in turns out to be only the short 7in version, which is crazy, will lose Motown a smash and must place a premium on the rare US 12in promo remixes . . . Sugarhill’s legal mixer ‘The Adventures Of Grandmaster Flash On The Wheels Of Steel‘ is ruined by ghastly awful jerky stops and starts that are meant to be clever and precisely timed but will immediately throw dancers who’ve just settled into a groove . . . Groove’s forthcoming Latin-jazz material by Cayenne is – mmm! – tasty . . . Champagne has now picked up Proton Plus ‘Pay-Up’ . . . Jermaine Jackson is due on commercial 12in with remixed flip . . . EMI next month compile recent disco/soul hits like William DeVaughn, Cecil Parker, KID, on a ‘Don’t Stop’ LP . . . MCA have serviced radio with a 7in promo of Atmosfear ‘Creators Dream‘, which if they’re thinking of as a single release happens to be the coldest cut on the album . . . Odyssey in case you were worrying is 106bpm (not 181!), Krokus’s hit number is 125-127c, and Coati Mundi on UK 12in seems to be 111bpm . . . Magnet’s roving Tilly Rutherford tantalizingly says “Watch out for the 12in ‘Wade In The Water — Ramsey Lewis / Marlene Shaw”! . . . Reading’s Bank Holiday Monday all-dayer was the last all-dayer/niter the mafia intend to do, returning instead to build back the underground scene’s strength where it all started — in the clubs . . . Hambro Housley Legal Protection Ltd now supplies automatic free legal fees insurance to all members of the Disc Jockeys Federation which entitles jocks to pursue claims against third parties for injury sustained whilst at work with no worry about the cost of the proceedings (people tend to settle out of court once they know you’ve got the strength of an insurance company around you), details from the DJF (GB)’s Bill Forrester, 196 Stapleton Hall Road, London, N4 4QL (01 341 2785) silly not to? . . . Phil Blizzard’s recently printed phone number should have been 0782-263874 . . . London’s Lyceum starts a weekly roller disco on Monday (1) with Steve Walsh and Roger Kent and then for 36 hours over 16/17th June will have a marathon discothon (jocked for all 36 hours by manager Roger Rushton!) in aid of Year Of The Disabled — sponsors please call 01-636 3715 . . . Tricky Dicky’s gay Dicks Inn discos celebrate their 10th anniversary on Friday (29) with the Marvelettes live at Camden Town Hall in Euston Road, 8:30-midnight, but Dicky emphasizes the event is for mainly gay people and their friends . . . John Grant’s Friday mixture at Manchester’s Rufus in Fennel Street is UK releases, imports, reggae, slow soul and even some of the best EDM, while the specialist jazz-funk imports Wednesday night there has probably just started too by now . . . Paul Clark & Mick Fuller now jazz-funk Brighton Busby’s on Sundays with guest jocks planned every three weeks (they’re already there Thursdays too) . . . Nikki Peck’s Sunday re-opening of Gillingham’s Central Hotel venue has now been followed by Dave Flemming funking Fridays there too — he was one of the original jocks some six years ago when it was known as the R&B Club . . . Sheffield’s Jimmy Mack has moved to Derby Romeo’s & Juliet’s on Mondays . . . Russ Burcham, cheeky chappy (actually quite enterprising), offered his disco for The Wedding and got a charming letter back from the Master of the Household at Buckingham Palace, Vice-Admiral Sir Peter Ashmore KCB. KCVO. DSC, saying unfortunately arrangements are already well under way . . . However, those less well organized can book Russ on Billericay 22939 . . . Gary Woodford (01-866 9686), with or without his Mega Sound system, is looking for residencies on Mon/Wed/Thursdays . . . Keith Black (Warwick) returned from his Kenya holiday with “a really good conga-type party record sung in Swahili but going down a bomb at jolly gigs, Them Mushrooms Band ‘Kenya Kakuna Matata‘ (Kenyan Polydor), in fact flip of the ‘Funky Nassau’-type ‘Mombasa‘ . . . Frankie Smith ‘Double Dutch Bus’, better late than never, has just hit the US Hot 100 after slowly rising on the soul chart – nearly a year after it was hot here! . . . Sandy Martin (Swindon Brunel Rooms — where Radio Luxembourg recently recorded a live Disco Top 20 Show for broadcast on 22nd June, (when it’ll be really up to date) says, “With so many spine tingling soul ballads about, why doesn’t someone make a disco mix medley of love music all segued together, edited down and guaranteed to cause havoc on the dancefloor”, or even more at home, in private? . . . Hazel O’Connor’s superb sax is played by Wesley Magoogan, whose own ‘This Guy’s In Love With You’ was completely ignored a few months back . . . Lee Taylor (Mayfair Tokyo Joe) wonders how I calculate the BPMs, using a half minute sweep stopwatch and a hand tally counter on which to click off the beats so that my mind can be left free, I get a good idea after 10, 15, 20 and obviously 30 seconds what the full minute’s BPM should be (you multiply respectively by 6, 4, 3 and 2), so that if the BPM has speeded or slowed I then have to go back and do each bit of the record section by section to chart the fluctuation — this happens to take a hell of a long time, which explains why depending on the time available to me you sometimes get a varying number of reviews . . . Rush Release continue in their aim to control the entire disco business — they’ve just starting plugging for RCA too (if only they, or someone, would do it for WEA!) . . . Whispers chart-topper is massively down on support but still there’s nothing else in the rather stagnant upper chart reaches looking like a contender . . . DJs, last week’s request for charts should have asked for at least a Top 20 floor response listing, as often as possible . . . Gary Allan (Liverpool McMillan’s) reports one of the Gnomes, Phil Ford, accidentally played a white label of Soft Machine ‘Over ‘N’ Above‘ off the ‘Land Of Cockayne’ LP at 45rpm and discovered a rather good speed-spin . . . Chris Ellis of Staines Fusion Few was touched to get a nice letter and a quid for drinks from the Liverpool Gnomes when they couldn’t make his 21st party at Jacksons in Staines — however, the Groovin’ Gropers, Soulful Strollers, Party Jerks. Tony Jenkins (that well known tribe) and more did make it . . . In the words of Minnie The Moocher — HI DE HI DE HI DE HI!


THE WHISPERS: ‘I Can Make It Better’ (Solar SOT 19).
Annoyingly pointless doodling intro needs skipping before the busily burbling bass-backed 0-120-121bpm 12in smacker hits its stride and then it’s whack whack whack all the way, with few surprises but lots of simple power and slick finesse.

LINX: ‘Throw Away The Key’ (Chrysalis CHS 12-2519).
Change ‘Searching’-style rolling fast tumbling and tapping 125-126bpm chugger with weird tone intro and frighteningly abrupt demented drum thuds, already voted Capital Radio’s Peoples Choice, remixed on 3-track 12in with the not particularly compulsive laid back 115bpm ‘The Ice Is Melting‘ seguing into a sparsely remixed 118bpm ‘Together We Can Shine‘, which you’ll remember originally as flip to ‘Intuition’.

ESTHER WILLIAMS: ‘I’ll Be Your Pleasure’ (RCA RCAT 78).
Larry Levan-remixed lovely hauntingly nagging Sharon Redd-ish sinuous soulfully wailed 110bpm 12in jittery burbling clapper goes into an abrupt great break with superb jazzy guitar suddenly emerging out of it, and gets stronger the longer it’s on — it’s certainly worth playing right to the end.  Continue reading “May 30, 1981: Whispers, Linx, Esther Williams, War, Future Flight”

May 23, 1981: Level 42, Thelma Houston, Odyssey, Cerrone, Scandal ft Lee Genesis, Neu!


SECOND IMAGE, reviewed last week, was incorrectly titled on white label and should in full be called ‘(Get Your Finger Out) Pinpoint The Feeling’ . . . Solar Records, despite RCA’s earlier protestations to the contrary, have indeed announced a distribution switch to WEA (as tipped on this page many months ago) . . . Holland’s enterprising Rams Horn label already has Bobby Thurston ‘Is Something Wrong With You’ on 12in, although CBS have scheduled it here soon too . . . Jacksons follow up with ‘Walk Right Now’ and Heatwave with ‘Posin’ Til Closin’ . . . Vin-Zee and Jimmy Ross releases from the Belgian-based Spice 7 label, slow to chart though selling well, will be issued back-to-back here via Phonogram on the new Megafunk logo . . . Nigel Martinez turns out to have had a hand in the Evasions ‘Wlkka Rap’ — no wonder it’s great! . . . Klique’s LP (reviewed last week) although fine for home listening somehow sounds rather weak on the floor and will need a remix to cut through . . . BPMs for Freddie James, subsequently bought after reviewing it on a dodgy deck, should be ‘Music’ 126, ‘Lady’ 113-115-116, ‘Everybody’ 120-121-120, ‘Energy’ 114-115, ‘Fool’ 123, ‘In Love’ 108-107-0 (‘Dance’ being right at 114) . . . London’s Sundown in Charing Cross Road remains open during alterations but will reopen in a fortnight as another Busby’s . . . Chigwell’s verdantly situated New Epping Forest Country Club has started a jazz-funk club every Monday called Rappers, opened earlier this week by Froggy (who’ll be there again June 8th), with a PA by Incognito next Monday (25) . . . John Grant is now concentrating solely on Manchester’s Rufus in Fennel Street, where he and Colin Curtis feature upfront jazz-funk newies on Saturdays (soon on Wednesdays too) and a mixture of UK on Fridays . . . Keith Barker-Main (Earls Court Graffiti), one of the lucky few with Abba’s Disconet remix, emphasises that despite mixing in a lot of ’70s NY classics he does indeed play current Canadian, Euro and US material . . . Ashley Woods (Sleaford) agrees he needs the bread — to help finance a new BMW 320! — but is only selling duplicates from his extensive record collection and so is keeping all the vital sounds in one form or another . . . Mike Morgan (0245-440 277), looking for a new residency after two years at Chelmsford YMCA, says it does indeed pay to send charts to this page and he encourages more DJs to do so . . . I obviously agree, and could use more returns especially as many from the London area as possible (posted no later than Monday for inclusion in the following week) to James Hamilton, Record Mirror, 40 Long Acre, London WC2E 9JT . . . North East Essex DJ Association is successfully operating a centralised disco pool, to which member DJs direct callers instead of turning down double bookings . . . Frenchie & Pete Haigh (Blackpool JR’s on Tuesdays) run another boat cruise in the Lake District starring Colin Curtis on July 18th . . . Nick Davies has half-price drinks on Sundays between 7.30 and 9.30pm at Watford New Penny, making it cheaper than the pubs (for two hours at any rate!) . . . Robin the Boy Wonder, or young Jeff Elkins as his tax man knows him, is finally being dragged to the altar by Ann this Saturday! . . . Leon Bryant evidently had his grounding in gospel music, working with the Mighty Clouds Of Joy and the Edwin & Walter Hawkins Singers . . . Carol Rayment, moving from mafia-invaded Brighton to university in Bristol later this year, wonders where she’ll find the jazz-funk action there: well, Carol, we used to hear from Bristol’s jazz-funk jocks rather more in the past than we do now, but I’m sure Martin Starr will be onto me like a shot with the answer . . . Robbie Vincent hates it but once again, good old ‘Disco Bouzouki’ (mixed out of ‘Zorba’s Dance’) was what really made an MoR gig lift off for me last weekend . . . Shakin’ Stevens ‘You Drive Me Crazy’ at 122bpm has even more than a strong similarity to Rocky Burnett’s old ‘Tired Of Toein’ The Line’ — which turns out to be 123-122bpm! . . . Alan Donald (Rothesay Paddle Boat), for one, appreciates the Hit Numbers, and says that Elvis Presley ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ gets (none too surprisingly) amazing response chopped out of any Stray Cats-type current “rockabilly” stuff, especially Polecats ‘John’ after one of the guitar runs . . . Alan Coulthard (Barry Atlantic Wine Bar) finds Gino Soccio ‘Street Talk’ mixes brilliantly with ‘Einstein A Go-Go’, and has revived K.I.D. ‘Don’t Stop’ as it’s similarly brill out of the twiddly bits in Unlimited Touch ‘Searching’ remix and also synchs perfectly for ages with Gino Soccio ‘Try It Out’ . . . Silly not to? . . . HI DE HI!

RICK JAMES has his ‘Street Songs’ album out here now (Motown STML 12153). Reviewed in full on import, the cuts other than ‘Give It To Me Baby’ getting most attention are the superbly soulful Teena Marie-interrupted tortuously slow 55-42/21-45-43-44-45/22bpm ‘Fire And Desire’ and steadily smacking 117bpm ‘Ghetto Life’, the whole album though being a well-produced concept set.


Already deservedly monstrous on import and right in the mood at the moment, this ultra-mixable disco gem is a really solid simple hard driving bass-popped 119(intro)-120bpm 12in jiggly jumper sounding much as one might expect ‘Get Tough’ to, if played by Fantasy Hits. It’s perfect with Kleeer itself, Rick James, Whispers (old and new), Mel Sheppard oh, and so many more. Don’t worry though, ‘cos it’s a floor-filler in its own right — and how!

ODYSSEY: ‘Going Back To My Roots’ (RCA RCAT 85).
Already voted People’s Choice on Capital Radio and tearing up every club it’s been played in, this powerfully thrusting jiggly purposeful 0-181bpm 12in chugger has a fabulous full sound yet usefully stays close to Lamont Dozier’s 107(instrumental)-108-110-111-(0-107 Afro)bpm original, which can be imperceptibly mixed in and out of it. The flip’s full ‘Roots Suite‘ includes stop-start jazzy Afro extensions on either end.

L.A.X.: ‘Possessed’ (Epic EPC A 13-1103).
Reduced to 3 tracks, the UK 12in blows its chances by opting for the remixed 106-107-105(piano)-107-106bpm vocal version of this shuffling tense jittery jogger as the full A-side and then instead of using the dynamite instrumental remix with even more of the erupting jazzily plonking piano (the record’s whole attraction), it teams the original LP version with the remixed rambling butchly hollered 118bpm ‘Fight Back‘ as the flip.  Continue reading “May 23, 1981: Level 42, Thelma Houston, Odyssey, Cerrone, Scandal ft Lee Genesis, Neu!”

May 16, 1981: The Quick, Second Image, Benny Golson, Barbara Roy and Ecstasy Passion & Pain, Round Trip


DISCOSCENE ’81, the big Midlands equipment exhibition, is this Sunday (17) from noon until 7pm at Solihull’s St John’s Hotel in Warwick Road (M42 exit 2, A41 branching left through Solihull town centre, and it’ll be on the right), admission £1 . . . Linx’s LP has (guess what) been remixed for US release and is now in on import – so how many mixes of ‘You’re Lying’ does that make it? – and Light Of The World’s ‘Best Of’ has been remixed for Mercury LP release soon . . . Kool & The Gang ‘Celebration’ in a usefully different Spanish-sung ‘Celebremos’ 121-123-122-123bpm alternative version is on promo 12in and out here next week (as flip of ‘Take It To The Top’), along with Thelma Houston, Esther Williams, Leon Bryant ‘Something More’, Starpoint ‘I Want To Be Your Lover’ . . . Claudia Fontaine ‘Natural High’ has been picked up by Decca . . . David Bendeth’s official plugside is now ‘Just Demix’ . . . ‘Spur Of The Moment’ amazingly is the one track omitted from the 7in of Jeff Lorber Fusion’s single . . . Excaliber’s imminent release of Eastside Connection flipped by Love Symphony Orchestra kicks off a new label series tagged DJ Purposes Only featuring double A-side proven disco classics of yesteryear . . . CBS have re-released all four of Bob James’s original albums – ‘One’, ‘Two’, ‘Three’, ‘BJ 4’ – at just £2.74 each . . . Suzy Q ‘Get On Up And Do It Again’ vocal pattern is actually more Yarbrough & Peoples than Young & Company . . . Stephanie Mills’ 12in version is 107-108-107-108bpm, and Bobby Thurston’s ‘Is Something Wrong With You’ intro seems in fact to be nearer 111bpm to judge from the amount of vari-speed needed to mix out of Gino Soccio! . . . Evasions ‘Wikka Rap’ was turned down by most major record companies, who are now all queuing at Groove’s door begging for a bit of the action following the record’s explosion in London last week! . . . Evasions on 7in is more coherently edited and has a preferable fading instrumental finish, so it’s worth chopping out of the 12in instrumental into the last half of the 7in . . . Phil Blizzard (Stoke-On-Trent 0782-263876 afternoons except Thursday) is doing an in-store “radio” programme recorded at his own studio and repeated five times during Saturdays to plug new releases, special offers and the like in Hanley’s Lotus Records (Staffordshire’s major record store) – call him for details if you’ve anything to plug . . . Al Taylor is now resident at North Wales’s top country club/disco just outside Rhyl, Poppey’s – an excellent promotional showcase, sez Al, so interested record companies can call him on 0745-825111 ext 3 . . . Pinnacle have been building up their distribution network, but now with a redesigned label logo, plan more releases of their own including disco material again . . . Stuart Robinson (Leeds) wonders who’s plugging for Pye these days – a good question – isn’t it the ever-reliable Morgan Khan? . . . Abba fans are clamouring chequebook in hand for copies of the special Disconet remix for subscriber DJs only of ‘Lay All Your Love On Me’, which for copyright reasons is absolutely definitely unavailable to members of the public (annoying, innit?!) . . . Ellen Williams (Billingham) can’t find Tantra anywhere – why not try mail order from our advertisers? . . . Paul Doner of Ireland’s Waterford-based Suirside Radio produces a Disco Top 30 chart but can’t get a lot of the records – like Whispers, Shalamar, Freeez, LOTW, Kleeer, Shakatak, Level 42, Firefly, Gap Band, Dynasty, LAX, MFSB (if this isn’t an Irish joke, why even attempt to compile a show of unavailable records?!) . . . Holborn’s City Sounds record shop is actually staying open on Thursdays until 8pm . . . Mark Clark (Bracknell) suggests the best way to fly to New York is COSH – Concorde Out, Skytrain Home – which works out about the same as a charter flight and gives you an extra day in the Big Apple (but who wants to pay charter fare, or go to Gatwick?) . . . Phonogram’s ladykiller Orin Cozier has had his hair curled – talk about Nappy Brown! . . . Groove Weekly celebrated a year of publication with a party at Hemel Hempstead Hustlers last Sunday . . . EMI have a nice pair of badges, saying “Hi De Hi!” and “Ho De Ho!” . . . Mayfair Gullivers now boasts a pair of video projection screens upstairs, and downstairs starting next month George Power will be jazzing Tuesdays . . . Liverpool’s orange-coated Mike Davidson somehow came out as Mick last week, sorry . . . Kev Hill (Basildon Sweeneys) is touting local jazz-funk group Elixia . . . Michael Jackson must have been checking vintage Elvis Presley footage for his fancy footwork on TV . . . Peter Young’s first hour last Saturday morning on Capital Radio was red hot ‘n’ soulful! . . . Fred Dove must realise I’d love to review all WEA products if only he’d send them – or maybe he wants me to buy them and bill his managing director for a refund? Record Shack presumably will spell Michael McGloiry correctly on the label of his ever so “jazz-funk” single! . . . Neil Fincham (Dunbar Craigengelt), who has ’em doing mutual press-ups to ‘Humpin’, says the latest catchphrase up his way is “silly not to” . . . HI DE HI!


THE QUICK: ‘Zulu’ (Epic EPC A 13-1119).
Since reviewing the white label of this dynamite MFSB-type walking bass driven cool 0-117bpm 12in blue-eyed vocal thudder with abrupt crescendos, my initial expectations of its crossover potential have been exceeded as it packs floors not only at disco, futurist, pop and jazz-funk gigs but with middle-aged dancers at MoR gigs too, at first time of hearing! Try vari-synching out of MFSB ‘Mysteries’, then chopping in Jeff Lorber ‘Spur’. Now it’s on (slightly slower) commercial 12in, there should be no stopping it.

SECOND IMAGE: ‘Get Your Finger Out’ (Polydor POSPX 263).
Robbie Vincent-plugged (I wonder why?) exuberantly rough and ready enthusiastically chanted brassy 125bpm 12in bounder (an American recording would never have had this open a mix), jaggedly broken into for a few instrumental spurts but basically pounding all the way through to the acappella cold finish. About on white label, it may not be available in shops for a week or so.

BENNY GOLSON: ‘The New Killer Joe Rap’ / ‘The New Killer Joe’ (CBS A 13-1223).
Let’s get something straight, the great greasy jive talk introductory rap is by Ted Lange, the wailing lady is Mortonette Jenkins, just the soprano sax solo being by Benny Golson – who also arranged this beautiful classily strutting 118-119(rap)-120-121bpm lush jazz tune in similar style to the way in which it originally appeared on his co-writer Quincy Jones’s old ‘Walking In Space’ album. Benny’s own later recording was only on desperately sought rare import LP until recently included on the ‘Bitter Suite’ UK compilation, and now here it is on 12in too. Rarity created a demand that may now have been deflated, though the music’s as buoyant as ever.  Continue reading “May 16, 1981: The Quick, Second Image, Benny Golson, Barbara Roy and Ecstasy Passion & Pain, Round Trip”

May 9, 1981: “I feel no shame in considering the current futurist and gay-orientated releases a lot more exciting as disco records than much of the UK jazz-funk product.”


BENNY GOLSON ‘New Killer Joe’ / ‘Rap’ will be on 12in soon and The Quick ‘Zulu’ is finally due commercially next week . . . ‘Ain’t No Stopping – Disco Mix 1981’ has been picked up by Creole, with anonymous artistes renamed Enigma . . . Whispers ‘I Can Make It Better’ is now on US 12in (US Solar YD-12233) . . . Unlimited Touch’s whole LP let alone the ‘Searching’ 12in has surfaced in a few shops completely remixed . . . Webster Lewis ‘Let Me Be The One’ and Isley Brothers ‘Hurry Up And Wait’ are about on promo US 12in . . . Rick James’s LP is out here next week . . . Pete Haigh & Frenchie’s recent live promotion of Spiral Axis at Blackpool JR’s went so well that they’re after other North Western jazz-funk bands to appear there on Tuesdays – contact Pete (Cleveleys 824156) or Frenchie (Blackpool 694871) for bookings . . . Al Taylor at 26 Terence Avenue, Rhyl, Clwyd, has about 500 12in singles to sell, all at under £1.50, send an SAE for lists . . . Chris Jones at 167 Cathays Terrace, Cardiff, CF2 4HW, has compiled a guide for DJs to ballroom dancing gigs – a copy could be yours for a small donation . . . Rob Harknett (Harlow) reports that Czech jocks have to take exams before they can charge a (standard) fee – thus obviating the ‘cowboy’ problem – with passes necessary in a written paper, half hour radio and half hour disco programme, and (gulp!) a 20 minute talk on politics . . . Theo Loyla’s punters of a jazz-funk persuasion at his regular Bridge Country Club gig near Canterbury (he’s there this Saturday) have formed a tribe called the Canterbury Soul Saints, and were at Caister amongst other events – so that’s why ‘Dominoes’ is number 3 for Theo! . . . Tony Jenkins really has found a deluxe venue for Monday nights at Harrow Weald’s superb Middlexsex & Herts Country Club, which’ll be a must when the weather warms up so I hope the crowds keep coming . . . Staines Fusion Few were there on Tony’s opening night, handing out a sexist leaflet captioned “Here to shake ass”! . . . Robbie Vincent and Jeff Young’s sponsored all-night Easter dance marathon at Dartford Flicks raised around £1,200 for charity . . . Mick Davidson nowadays does Liverpool’s Maxwells Wine Bar/Pub on Fri/Saturday lunchtimes and Tues/Sunday evenings as well as his famous Hollywood residency on Thurs/Fri/Saturday nights . . . Jimmie Bell, whose odd Scottish chart you may remember, now partners Brian Young in the Nouveau Romantiques mobile based in Alloa, and while not costing anything like as much, they like me feature all types of music from the ’20s right up to date – which is the way to do it! . . . I feel no shame in considering the current futurist and gay-orientated releases a lot more exciting as disco records than much of the UK jazz-funk product (that word used deliberately), but I was in fact very disappointed by Landscape’s album (which doesn’t claim to be disco of course) . . . Gareth at Groove’s hot tip this week (which like last week’s they’ll be stocking soon) is the exciting disjointedly jazzy Companion ‘Living Up To Love‘ on a French Barclay LP produced by Boris Midney in brilliantly separated stereo (Futurists check the ‘This Is A Test‘ track too). While also dynamite to judge from a tape will be the Was (Not Was) album . . . David Hudson’s old ‘To You Honey With Love‘ LP (US Alston), initially somewhat ignored except by a few of us, has suddenly taken off like a rocket at Groove following general night-time play on Capital Radio . . . Chris Palmer has yet another new Mercedes, this one huge! . . . Sugar Minott’s surname, to answer queries, is pronounced Mynot . . . Mark Summers, mobile from Romford on 01-590 1825, synchs Strikers ‘Body Music’ over Whispers ‘Imagination’ break starting precisely over the last word in “on top of the world”, while Keith Barker-Main (Earls Court Graffiti) mixes from Carol Jiani’s second instrumental section into Nightlife Unlimited ‘Love Is In You (No.2)’ to the break, which overlaps into Frankie Valli ‘Soul’ from the start . . . Norman Scott (Soho Bang) sends a post card to say he’s been catching Diana Ross in Las Vegas and Cliff Richard in LA . . . I’m extremely grateful to all who contribute charts, so please note I’m not knocking Rush Release’s mailing list jocks for finding the material they service eminently usable, it’s just that it would be nice to hear from DJs who actually buy records too! . . . “It’s got to be about the vinyl” . . . HI DE HI!


EVASIONS: ‘Wikka Rap’ (Groove Production GP107).
A fantastically good idea – cicadas and jet plane effects lead into an impersonation of Alan Whicker (who’s given permission) doing a typically phrased commentary about the “lingua franca of the funk business”, reeling off all the cliched disco lyric lines in his – I nearly said inimitable! – manner to a heavily thudding 121bpm 12in ‘Thighs High’ groove, with party chanting and spurts of “good times” vocal carrying on for a basically smacking instrumental continuation . . . However keep right on till the end as ”Alan” returns with the best line of all, “the Southern Freeez, is not a cold day in Bournemouth”! What a crossover monster this will be!

Radio jocks love it as do all the disco DJs who have heard it in use, but this sensationally happy 110bpm 12in Latin conga kicker-cum-rapper from the fashionable Dr Buzzard spin-off has taken ages to finally break into the chart – and that seemingly due to charts from jocks who first heard it at Gullivers! Believe me, this incredibly infectious romp is smash-bound dynamite, so don’t be a slouch about it now it’s out here!

PAULETTE MILLER: ‘You Really Got A Hold On Me’ (Black Jack BJD45 010).
Gorgeous beautifully sung delicate spacious 76/38bpm 12in reggae smoocher with lovely little fills from brass or syndrum every now and then in between the beats. Do try and find it.  Continue reading “May 9, 1981: “I feel no shame in considering the current futurist and gay-orientated releases a lot more exciting as disco records than much of the UK jazz-funk product.””

May 2, 1981: Shirley James & Danny Ray, The Master Dub Band, Atmosfear, Players Association, L.A.X.


RICK JAMES will be on extended UK 12in, but – and it’s a big but – there is a dynamite US promo remix with an even longer instrumental B-side which will not be available, only 250 having been pressed of which 50 are over here – it’s gold dust time folks! . . . Morgan Khan (‘Mr Reliability’ to those who used to know him) has secretly snapped up the old Eastside Connection ‘You’re So Right With Me’ and Penthouse / Love Symphony Orchestra ‘Let Me Be Your Your Fantasy’, both currently revived especially at Caister, for imminent release – wait for it – back-to-back on Excaliber 12in . . . Aurra ‘Nasty Disposition’ / ‘Are You Single’ will be on Excaliber 12in even sooner . . . Champaign is now on UK 12in, while UK Champagne has picked up Midas Touch and CBS, just as it’s finally dead, go with Spectrum ‘Takin’ It To The Top’ . . . General Caine II ‘L.R.J. Pop’ will be on Rokel 12in . . . Stephanie Mills is due on remixed UK only 12in, while Clash is indeed imminent on commercial UK 12in. Other 12in confirmations being Japan, Eric Hine and Watson Beasley . . . 12in pressings get priority for obvious reasons on this page, so why aren’t they all being serviced to me? . . . Motown have a promo-only extended 12in of Jermaine Jackson ‘You Like Me Don’t You’ flipped by Smokey Robinson ‘Being With You’ . . . Tantra ‘Hills Of Katmandu’ is now on US 12in ‘En Espanol’ as ‘Las Colinas De Katmandu‘ for the Spanish speakers among you . . . Unlimited Touch ‘Searching For Your Love’, Carol Jiani ‘Hit ‘N’ Run Lover’ and Young & Co ‘Waiting For Your Love’ are amongst other US 12in remixes due imminently, according to first-time New York visitor Alan Jewell (‘Wal’ to those who know him) . . . Alan reports the biggest hit at New York’s Paradise Garage is The Clash, DJ Larry Levan’s attempts to push Funk Masters ‘Love Money‘ being rather less successful . . . Downstairs Records has moved out of the subway and is now upstairs at street level. Further hot poop from the Big Apple (or actually the Garden State in this instance) being that Sugarhill will be releasing a disco mixer using all original artists from various labels – with legal permission! . . . Sharon Redd is Gene Redd Jr’s sister and thus presumably Gene Sr’s daughter – and, er, does she have a label switch in mind? . . . East Anglian DJ Assn as anticipated has disbanded to form three smaller new associations based in Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Norfolk – jocks in the latter county should contact the Norfolk Area DJ Assn’s Pete May at 4 Aerodrome Road, Thorpe, Norwich NR7 OBD (Norwich 35084) . . . Funktion-founder Tony Jenkins packed 700 funksters into the opening Monday of his new weekly venue at Harrow Weald’s Middlesex & Herts Country Club, having severed connections with Funktion (or should we now just call it the Barracuda?) . . . Virgin’s Richard Branson, well known Old Stoic, has added Kensington’s Rooftop Gardens (ex-Regines) to his nightclub chain of the Venue and Heaven . . . Froggy has left Copford Windmill on Tuesdays to Bob Jones on his own, and Bob’s doing nicely at Braintree Barn on Wednesdays as well . . . Jeff Young goes it alone at Canvey Goldmine on Fridays now, minus guest jocks . . . Craig Protnek (Edgbaston) is going crazy for the specially re-recorded remix of Donna Summer ‘I Feel Love’ which, together with the similarly toyed up Abba ‘Lay All Your Love On Me’ current US disco smash, is only available on exclusive and strictly limited 12in to subscribers of the Disconet service operated by Sugarscoop Inc in New York, a sort of “remix of the month” club aimed at gay-orientated DJs . . . UK-recorded Vogue ‘Free To Be Me‘, deserving more attention, turns out to be by a Brixton/Peckham-based band without a trace of reggae, and is finally getting distribution by Pinnacle . . . MCA’s mystery Fleetwood Mac-sounding ‘Strange Changes’ white label teaser turns out to be by Lynsey De Paul – oh, goodie! . . . Sugar Minott has sold far faster than it’s charted for disco jocks – whassamatter, don’t your club managers let you play reggae? . . . Placido Domingo, classical opera singer, makes so many records that one trade chart has by mistake been listing at number one the LP title ‘Yet Another Recital By Placido Domingo’ – how long before Record Shack start listing ‘Yet Another Nondescript Britfunk Instrumental’?! . . . Archie Bell’s new import LP is disappointingly dull. Blue Magic’s is full of sweet soul slowies, while a veritable deluge of import albums is expected this week . . . Sheffield’s Radio Hallam were fair pounding Star Sound and Liquid Gold over Easter . . . Capital Radio’s new ‘It’s Jazz’ show on Sunday nights at 11pm, hosted by Barbara Thompson & Tony Myatt, should be worth attention by jazz-funk fans, as it’ll be playing all the artistes you know and love but often in their earlier or more acoustic jazz style . . . Elizabeth Taylor in ‘Cat On A Hot Tin Roof’ – cor! . . . Metal Mickey came up with a classic reply to the question, “Round, black, flat and horrible – what do you call that?” – “A Bee Gees record!” . . . KEEP IT GOOD!


KEITH BARKER-MAIN jocks at Earls Court’s gay Graffiti in the Old Brompton Road and finds he’s currently having to revive oldies due to the lack of good new gay product. Worth their weight in gold he opines are these singers from the good old days . . .

1. Deputy Of Love – Don Armando – US Ze 12in
2. Love Insurance – Front Page – US Panorama 12in
3. Come To Me – France Joli – US Prelude 12in
4. Harmony – Suzi Lane- US Elektra 12in
5. Come Into My Heart – USA-European Connection – US Marlin LP
6. Feed The Flame – Lorraine Johnson – US Prelude 12in
7. One Love – Celi Bee & The Buzzy Bunch – US TK 12in
8. Shoot Me (With Your Love) – Tasha Thomas – US Orbit 12in
9. That’s The Meaning / Boogie Motion – Beautiful Bend – US Marlin LP
10. Lovin’ Is Really My Game – Brainstorm – US Tabu 12in

Similarly, Tricky Dicky of London’s various Dicks Inn gay venues says that as ordinary discotheques get further into UK-produced jazz-funk, so the gay DJs stay looking for Europop at 120bpm or over. Now, unlike Keith Barker-Main, I’d have thought that while there wasn’t a flood of this sort of material there is still a hell of a lot coming in every week from either Canada or Europe itself, which added to the futurist-aimed electro-disco makes quite a selection even now that “disco” is “dead”. Dicky reckons that the likes of Lime, Azoto, African Magic Combo, Skip Mahoney or Mother (F) could hit UK pop if given the chance – and what about Vivien Vee, Voggue, Vogue or Vera? Dicky will be celebrating his tenth anniversary as a gay DJ/entertainer with some interesting special nights soon, details as they come. OK, Pete (Manchester)?


SHIRLEY JAMES & DANNY RAY: ‘Why Don’t You Spend The Night’ (Black Jack BJD 4509).
For months now I’ve been touting this as the next Sugar Minott style monster reggae crossover and at last it’s on the way with proper distribution via Arista and saturation Capital Climber radio play. Originally a US Country hit for Ronnie Milsap, the winsomely duetted sweet 83-87bpm 12in lovers rock chugger is so darned catchy that even the old folks should want it too . . . and then you’re talking sales!

THE MASTER DUB BAND: ‘For The Love Of Money’ (Good City Records GC 001).
The dub side of this 1975 UK-recorded O’Jays cover always was best (I remember mixing it with CHA ‘Foxy Lady’, I think), and now it’s been revamped into a long 118-119-0-118bpm 12in meandering sparse instrumental with jazzy additions to the well meshed hi-hat, wah-wah and bass beat, so that it comes out very usefully sounding like the Clash!

ATMOSFEAR: ‘Interplay’ (LP ‘En Trance’ MCA MCF 3110).
Listening to this homegrown jazz-funk set is like being buried in cotton wool, all soft, mushy and with nothing sticking out. This attractively airy though busily pattering 0-127-126bpm electric keyboards instrumental not having enough of the lovely lightweight singing at each end, ‘Invasion‘ being a Funk Masters-style bass bumbled 127bpm ticker with vocoder effects, ‘Return Of LB‘ a confidently meandering 121bpm instrumental throbber, ‘Duende‘ an at times somewhat tentative 128-129bpm jazzy instrumental, ‘Free Tonight’ a synth-introed sparse bumbling and schlurping 0-125-123-125-124bpm ramble let down by some ragged vocals, ‘Funk The Rock’ a bassily booming 124-126-124bpm churner, and ‘Creators Dream’ a languidly building 117(intro)-120-123-124bpm bass burbled vocal doodler. Continue reading “May 2, 1981: Shirley James & Danny Ray, The Master Dub Band, Atmosfear, Players Association, L.A.X.”