June 27, 1981: Carl Carlton, The Jacksons, Bob Marley & The Wailers, Carol Jiani, Sharon Redd


No column this week.


CARL CARLTON: ‘She’s A Bad Mama Jama (She’s Built, She’s Stacked)’ (20th Century-Fox TCD 2488).
Leon Haywood-prod/penned hit-bound infectious jauntily trucking jittery 114bpm 12in strutter with Stevie Wonder-ful vocal sound and Kool-style “yahoo” yells, rushed out here ahead of US imports and flipped by his older lovely 36½/73-36/72bpm ‘This Feeling’s Rated X-tra‘, which is quite staggeringly similar to Tyrone Davis’s ‘In The Mood’ (try synching ’em and see!).

THE JACKSONS: ‘Walk Right Now’ (Epic EPC A13-1294).
Vibrant frenetically lively 133bpm 12in galloping strutter with gimmicky noise-filled final break will like their last one alienate the soul disco crowd but doubtless pull pop fans.

BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS: ‘No Woman, No Cry’ (Island 12WIP 6244).
1975’s London Lyceum-recorded classic 40/79-80-0bpm reggae-rock slowie now on full length 12in flipped by ‘Jamming‘ — but rather irritatingly its a Paris-recorded faster 65/130-131-0bpm live version from ’78.  Continue reading “June 27, 1981: Carl Carlton, The Jacksons, Bob Marley & The Wailers, Carol Jiani, Sharon Redd”

June 20, 1981: Gino Soccio, Change, Evelyn King, Mighty Fire, Mastermind


DISCO OBSERVERS doubtless join me in heaving a sigh of relief at this week’s final return to normality . . . US imports will be costing more from the next shipment on . . . Teena Marie’s LP has been withdrawn in the States for a complete remix (was it something I said?!) . . . Morgan Khan is now pleading with dealers to sell Excaliber’s ‘DJ Purposes Only’ releases to ordinary non-DJ customers too — seems some shops took the series’ title literally! . . . Excaliber’s future issues include Candido ‘Jingo’, Wish ‘Nice and Soft’, Barbara Roy ‘If You Want Me’ (with a segued mixer flip), and a remix of Firefly ‘Love’ . . . Champagne has reissued Spargo ‘You and Me’ (FIZY 1001) . . . Hi-Gloss ‘You’ll Never Know’ / ‘I’m Totally Yours’ is being rushed early June . . . Star Sound’s next project is an Abba medley . . . Lenny White’s album ‘Twennynine with Lenny White’ (Elektra K 52257) is being sold here with a free copy of the previously promo-only ‘Fancy Dancer’ 12in remix . . . Fatback and James Brown LPs reviewed last week on import are now out here (Spring 2391512 and Polydor POLS 1029 respectively) . . . Carol Jiani is evidently about on a Canadian remix . . . Eddie Russ’s much-sought ‘Zaius’-featuring old ‘See The Light’ LP is turning up in certain London stores now . . . Archie Bell’s Becket LP will be on PRT here . . . Soho’s upmarket new L’Escargot wine bar seems off to a good start, spotted sipping Californian wine there last week were Jonathan Dimbleby, Pete Townshend, Roberto Campoverde . . . Roberto Who? . . . ‘Wikka Wrap’, reportedly the hottest record in the USA with radio going crazy for it, sold 30,000 copies in one day after rush release on SAM . . . Inversions ‘Loco Moto’ / ‘Black Russian’, finished only last week, should be due on Groove Production 12in any time now . . . Paapa / Future ‘Tastes So Good When It’s Hot’, an excellently produced fast urgent happy smacker involving members of HI-Tension and Sweet Sensation, is currently only in acetate stage, but should smash when picked up for release . . . Brighton Busby’s Thursday jazz-funk night didn’t get the “right” crowd, so Paul Clark & Mick Fuller are just there Sundays now . . . Sunderland Mayfair’s Roller Disco on Thurs/Saturdays is going great, sez Marshal ‘Woolie’ King . . . Terry Hooper has left Ilford Room at the Top after eight years to become manager of the soon to open Stratford Revelations . . . Robbie Collins (01 520 7547) needs more futurist bands to gig on Thursdays at Slough Alexandra’s – where Tokyo appear tonight (18) . . . Neil Fincham is looking for a learner / assistant DJ / video op at Dunbar’s Craigengelt in Marine Road — contact him there any Thur/Fri/Sat at 7.45pm . . . Paul Mallon (Bath 0225-3319931), following closure of Halifax Tiffanys would welcome summer season work playing any kind of music on the coast or in Europe . . . London Organisation of DJs’ membership has been reduced to £16 (including insurance cover) and their meeting venues will range around the area in an effort to attract more jocks — LODJ details from Ralph Maloney (01-805 8211) . . . Radio Caroline will have a futurist format when it returns on 559m off the Essex coast sometime this month . . . Steve Strange/Rusty Egan’s ‘Club For Heroes’ is merely Funktion flying under a new flag, with Peter Byfield in pirate clothes at the Barracuda . . . I spent a staggering 15 hours just BPM-ing records over the weekend, and trust it’s appreciated . . . HO DE HUM!


GINO SOCCIO: ‘Try It Out’ (Atlantic K 115947).
Already an absolute monster as an import LP track, this strangely compulsive dead simple but oh so powerful hypnotic walking paced 113-115bpm thudder with squawking chix and tootling trumpet is slipped by the synth washed jazzy guitar doodled lovely lush 35-36bpm title track to the LP ‘Closer’, which is now also out here (K 58790), the other main attraction on it being the tightly smacking 119bpm ‘Hold Tight‘ girlie group chanter, which is very strong too.

CHANGE: ‘Paradise’ (WEA K 76196T).
Since we were so rudely interrupted, this fabulous creamily chugging 118bpm 12in girlie group-cooed subtle throbber has been a US disco chart topping smash and is widely considered to be the one that got away here. In light of all this, it’s not too late to give it the renewed shove it deserves to make it the hit it still could be – is it? Come on, we can do it!

EVELYN KING: ‘I’m In Love’ (RCA RCAT 95).
This dynamite precisely smacking bumpy little 115bpm 12in chugger has indeed exploded and sounds so strong it’s as if it’s been a disco smash for ages, instead of just a week and a half!  Continue reading “June 20, 1981: Gino Soccio, Change, Evelyn King, Mighty Fire, Mastermind”

June 13, 1981: Grace Jones, Bobby Thurston, Quincy Jones, Evelyn King, Mona Raye


BOB MARLEY ‘No Woman No Cry’ flipped by ‘Jamming’ will be on 12in imminently . . . Island have circulated a strictly limited (and numbered) DJ-only box set of ‘Mutant Disco’ containing all the LP’s six tracks back-to-back on three 12in promos . . . Capitol are rushing the new Maze ‘Live In New Orleans’ double album (including a studio side) as soon as delayed US copies arrive . . . Diana Ross, having left Motown for RCA in the USA and Canada, will be on Capitol/EMI for the rest of the world, including here . . . Quincy Jones, apparently so proud of the Patti Austin album he’s produced for August release, has turned down the chance to produce Diana Ross in case of a publicity clash . . . Motown in the States have reissued at mid-price, but all in their original sleeves, a huge selection of old albums, including many of their earliest by the likes of Stevie, Miracles, Mary Wells . . . Beach Boys are actually making their very own ‘Stars On 45’ medley! . . . Atmosfear ‘Invasion’ has been promoed on white label 12in with a commercial remix to follow within a fortnight . . . Ensign are circulating white labels (actually, as is common these days, the label is red!) of a specialist Nigerian jazz-funk instrumental, Tee Mac ‘Sound Of The Universe‘ – which, at 104-107-108-109/110(main part)-109bpm is disappointingly un-African but might mix with ‘Roots’ . . . Pete Haig (Blackpool) says the recent Junior Tucker ‘The Kick’ (Island 12in) is flipped by an instrumental dub of ‘Pull Up To The Bumper’ titled ‘Peanut Butter‘ (damn – and I’ve only got a one-sided promo!) . . . Genji Sawai & Bacon Egg ‘Skipjack‘ (Japanese Electric Bird LP) is “the best Jap-jazz album yet,” sez Chris Hill . . . Shakatak live (as seen at Mayfair Gullivers last Wednesday) are much better and more exciting than on record – and instead of vocoder, which is evidently too expensive and difficult to use on stage, they feature two energetic girl singers (from Enigma, or is it Minnie & The Metros?!) . . . Linda Taylor usually seen with Gonzalez, sings on both the Morrissey Mullen and Cayenne albums, plus Chris Palmer is producing her for a solo single on Groove Production . . . Inversions gig at Gillingham Central had to be postponed from last Sunday until July 19th due to their support spot on the LOTW farewell tour . . . Pete Haig & Frenchie, as well as Blackpool JR’s on Tuesdays, have added Wednesdays at Morecambe Blackjacks (on the prom by the Midland Hotel) to their jazz-funk itinerary, plus they’re amongst the jocks at Blackpool Jenks Breakers Yard on Thursdays . . . Radio Luxembourg’s broadcast from Swindon Brunel Rooms is in fact tonight (Thursday 11) at 10pm, including interviews with Imagination, The Quick, and resident jock Sandy Martin . . . Alan Costa (Brighton Kings Club / Kings II) is amongst jocks reviving T-Connection ‘Do What You Wanna Do’ . . . Rob Harknett (Harlow) suggests two tracks from Janet Brown’s ‘Iron Lady’ LP (Logo MOGO 4006) for fun at Conservative Club gigs, ‘I’m There’ being “funky” while ‘They Call Me The Iron Lady‘ is credited to “Phoney M’ . . . I’m doing a Conservative gig myself at Lound (near Retford) soon, so it could be useful! . . . John Diamond has new residencies in Hove, at the Cheminee in Western Road on Tues/Wed/Fri/Saturdays and the Cliftonville by the station on Thurs/Sundays . . . Dave King, ill in bed with ‘flu, let his roadie Rab Henry fill in for him at Ballymena Raglan but now regrets it – he got bumper crowds! . . . Gary Allan, to clarify last week’s muddle, is calling himself the Liverpool Pixie now following the horrific discovery in a catalogue that the famous Gnudger Gnome mascot of Liverpool McMillan’s is described as “a pixie behind a toadstool”! . . . Dorset mobiles, I wish you’d charge more – I had a nice gig lined up in Wareham until the party-giver’s parents said they weren’t used to paying £300 prices in that area . . . UK Disco 90 at last sees some staggeringly big changes this week following a welcome and long overdue influx of charts – keep ’em coming! . . . I’m afraid some reviews may seem a bit late, but space limitations keep preventing them from being printed . . . silly not to? . . . YODELLY-OO HOO HOO!

MORRISSEY MULLEN, veteran jazz saxist Dick Morrissey and Kokomo guitarist Jim Mullen, get their best shot at cracking the Britfunk market with their imminent ‘Badness’ album on Beggars Banquet. Produced with his trademarked beefy bottom end by Chris Palmer, the set’s strongest cut is Stevie Wonder’s ‘Do Like You’, the rest of the material being just a little bit bland but very well played.


GRACE JONES: ‘Pull Up To The Bumper’ (Island 12WIP 5696).
Remixed for smash-bound 12in, this terrific aptly titled bumpy 108-109-110-108-110bpm sparse jittery thudder has zappy stereo synth suspension and rock solid automatic transmission, but instead of the lovely ‘Libertango’ as originally planned the flip is the similarly bumpy stark 108-109-110bpm ‘Feel Up‘ bass boomer.

BOBBY THURSTON: ‘Very Last Drop’ (Epic EPC A13-1301).
Superb creamily clomping 113(intro)-114-115-116bpm 12in soul swinger in the mid-tempo Philly mould of McFadden & Whitehead or Roberta & Donny, with a nice electric piano fade.

QUINCY JONES: ‘Razzamatazz’ (A&M AMS 8140).
Impossible to tell apart from a Michael Jackson record although reputedly sung by Patti Austin, this terrifically happy snappy strutter is certainly on 0-121bpm 7in and doubtless will surface on 12in too.  Continue reading “June 13, 1981: Grace Jones, Bobby Thurston, Quincy Jones, Evelyn King, Mona Raye”

June 6, 1981: Barry Biggs, Keni Burke, Bobby Thurston, Hi-Gloss, The Impressions


GREG LYNN, ex-disco plugger most recently responsible at CBS for pushing Adam & The Ants (and Star Sound), has moved to Ensign as marketing and international manager . . . Bobby Thurston’s UK 12in will now be ‘Very Last Drop’ following its Robbie Vincent-caused popularity surge . . . Shakatak’s founders have for years been making disco and pop records under various pseudonyms (several came out on Ensign) so the identity of Enigma shouldn’t be too hard to fathom . . . Linx ‘Together We Can Shine’ on their new 12in is in fact a complete remake, while with vari speed adjustment their ‘Throw Away The Key’ is indeed an amazing imperceptible mix with Change ‘Searching’ . . . BADEM’s Discotek 81 equipment exhibition at London’s Bloomsbury Centre Hotel on September 13-16th will for the first time be open to exhibitors who by being either too small, new, or not directly involved in the disco business would not normally qualify for membership of the trade association – fuller info from Howard Hills on 01-669 9464 . . . Showstoppers mafia DJ team have now rethought their all-dayer/niter strategy and plan for any future events only to sell tickets actually in the clubs where they work, direct to their regular punters . . . Southgate Royalty has been forced to close down the Friday jazz-funk night as the local tube station now shuts early to prevent alleged aggro – and the Saturday is only continuing with the help of a specially organised bus service to get punters home . . . Capital Radio’s Roger Scott, Mike Allen and myself start a weekly series of lavishly organised oldies nights this Saturday (6) at Edmonton’s Picketts Lock Sports Centre, with hot rods, rock ‘n’ roll groups, dance troupes, competitions and much more . . . Camberley’s Frenchies venue at the Cambridge Hotel has temporarily closed for an extensive £120,000 refit but meanwhile Chris Brown and Johnnie Walker continue spinning Latin-tinged jazz every Sunday at the Silvermere Lakeside Club in Cobham (just off the A3) . . . Reflections is the new club in the completely redecorated Devil’s Dyke Hotel at Poynings near Brighton, jazz-funked Thursdays and Sundays by Jon Hill with Paul Jaconelli . . . Sudanese superstar Muhammad Al-Amin, who picks a lute-like sound while wailing in Arabic, appears with his whole orchestra this Saturday (6) at 8pm in Bloomsbury’s Logan Hall (20 Bedford Way, just off Russell Square) – I saw him solo last week with a crowd of Ethiopeans/Sudanese whose exciting reaction to his admittedly (to our ears) esoteric ethnic music was reminiscent of scenes at Harlem’s Apollo, so with an orchestra it could be incredible . . . DJ Alan Matthews was booked and confirmed to do the disco at Jeff Young’s wedding but, without any explanation, was best man himself at another wedding and so sent someone else with equipment which immediately failed, and although the music was a shambles for ages the evening did finally come together and somehow this unfortunate guy (with help from Joe Williams) got things going OK . . . Linx’s David Grant, Phonogram’s Orin Cozier and Rush Release’s Robert Blenman should have been photographed together, they all looked alike . . . Chris Brown, Tom Holland, Bob Jones, Mick Clark, Nicky Peck, Richard James were amongst DJs taking the night off. Robbie Vincent left early and the Brixton Front Line stayed late – some wedding guest list! . . . PEEL’ s latest sponsor disc package arrived burst asunder, spewing forth T-shirts, flexi-discs, boxes of shampoo and a jingle-interspersed 12in of soul oldies, all rebagged in polythene by the Post Office – very efficient (the PO I mean!) . . . Kool’s ‘Celebration’ has been the USA’s biggest selling single since 1979, or to put it another way – since they said “disco is dead” (what do they know?)! . . . Billy Ocean is doing well Stateside with ‘Nights (Feel Like Getting Down)’ . . . Marvin Gaye somewhat belatedly won the People’s Choice vote on Capital Radio, which means the phone-in panels have been consistently soulful recently . . . ‘A’ and probably ‘O’ level exams have been hitting disco attendances for some clubs recently . . . Chris Hill has joined Rusty Egan in being one of the main boosters for Was (Not Was) ‘Wheel Me Out’ . . . Chris also raves about a reggae goodie, General Saint & Clint Eastwood ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ (Greensleeves 12in) . . . Gino Soccio’s 123bpm ‘Dancer’ slots sensationally between Future Flight ‘Don’t Pull The Plug’ and Strikers ‘Body Music’, while his ‘Try It Out’ synchs perfectly with Mantra ‘Doin’ It To The Bone’ . . . Ramsey Lewis’s new import set is due here too, so full review when received but meanwhile the killer cut looks like ‘Expansions’ followed by ‘Lakeshore Cowboy’ and ‘Romance Me’ . . . Phil Haslehurst (The Mighty Chomper) finds the real floor fillers at Whitehaven’s Whitehouse are mod oldies like Velvelettes ‘Needle In A Haystack’, Kinks ‘You Really Got Me’, Spencer Davis ‘Keep On Running’, R Dean Taylor ‘Ghost In My House’, Harry J ‘Liquidator’ . . . I’m back on my diet and losing weight fast Phil! . . . Gary Allen is calling himself the Liverpool McMillans famous Gnudger Gnome mascot was described as a pixie behind a toadstool! . . . Chris Kaye (0892 23186) wants to hear from Owen Washington, Keith Kapri and King Enri, who will find it to their advantage . . . Steve Wiggins (Barry Freddies Bar), can’t contact Excaliber’s ever reliable Morgan Khan anywhere – join the club, Steve, you now know what he’s reliable for! . . . Silly not to? . . . HO DE HO!

AURRA was assembled by Slave’s Steve Washington using several sometime members of Slave, lead vocalists Curt Jones and Starleana (“Star” for short) Young (whose brothers are Young & Company!) also having been in a New Jersey group called Symphonic Express. Slave lyricist Jennifer Marie Ivory (London-raised, Jamaican-born) helps out too, but apart from Steve on lead guitar/bass/drums/percussion, the other main musicians are keyboardist Philip Fields and saxist Tom Lockett.


BARRY BIGGS: ‘Wide Awake In A Dream’ (Dynamic DYN 12-10).
Philip James & The Blues Busters 1965 slow ska classic has been beautifully revived true to the original as a gorgeous 65bpm 12in lovers rock smoocher which literally exploded in London two weekends ago, unfortunately after last week’s page had gone to press. Hear it, don’t miss it!

KENI BURKE: ‘Let Somebody Love You’ (RCA RCAT 93).
This ex-Stairstep’s infectiously jittery 119-120bpm 12in clapping soul bubbler took off like a rocket on import and seems set to go even higher now it’s out here. The instrumental flip’s useful too for mixers.

BOBBY THURSTON: ‘Very Last Drop’ (LP ‘The Main Attraction’ Epic EPC 85070).
Robbie Vincent pioneered acceptance for this McFadden & Whitehead-ish lush jiggly smooth 113-114-115-116bpm soul swinger (which I had a hunch could do the business) while initially the buzz was on the incredibly ‘Ladies Night’-like (and still extremely strong) 111-(intro)-115-116-117-118bpm ‘Is Something Wrong With You‘, ‘Main Attraction‘ being a conversation-introed slinkily jolting 54(intro)-108bpm bumper, ‘I Know You Feel Like I Feel‘ a bumpily rolling 103-104bpm jogger and ‘Keep It Going‘ a less incisive but eventually quite tense 112-113bpm swayer.  Continue reading “June 6, 1981: Barry Biggs, Keni Burke, Bobby Thurston, Hi-Gloss, The Impressions”