ODDS ‘N’ BODS
THIS SUNDAY’S big DJ Convention at Birmingham’s Faces in Edgbaston, by the Five Ways roundabout at 34 Auchinleck Square, promises fun and games as well as serious discussion and, if it’s like last year’s (and if you can stop Fatman getting too excitable!), should be well worth attending that afternoon (2–6.30pm) . . . I am unlikely to be there as I’ve a big gig the previous night . . . Bristol’s Radio West goes on air this week (96.3 FM/238 MW) with Raymondo hosting a weeknight show which from 10pm to midnight goes softly soulful with reggae on Thurs/Fridays, plus at the tail end of his Saturday afternoon show from 5 to 6pm Ray’ll play new disco before switching for an hour of ’60’s soul oldies in a progressive examination of that era called ‘The Soulful Years’, put together for him by myself . . . Dunstable’s Radio Chiltern (97.5 FM/362 MW) has Martin Collins doing an imports slot for the last half-hour of Paul Cook’s 3-6pm Sunday soul show . . . George Benson actually recorded a new album which didn’t meet his label’s requirements, so instead next month there’s a double set of oldies with just three new tunes, one being his current single and another a monster at Caister . . . London has picked up Alphonse Mouzon for remixed 12in soon . . . Second Image not surprisingly sound like Linx – David Grant wrote it (and ‘Walking Into Sunshine’s’ Roy Carter produced it – these fax not discernible on white label!) . . . Junior ‘Mama Used To Say’ has had yet another 110bpm “special new mix” on promo-only 12in, flipped by the Linx-ish stop-start 115bpm ‘Fame’ (a new song) . . . Pete Gage has produced a newly recorded recreation of the notorious Disconet version of ‘Lay All Your Love On Me’ – NOT in this case performed by Abba, but by The Bank – which on the Hot Spinner label is being touted as a “legal bootleg” (repeat: this is NOT by Abba, it’s a soundalike) . . . Rose Royce’s full length ‘R.R. Express’ is on Dutch 12in . . . Slave ‘Snap Shot’ / ‘Funken Town’ and edited versions of Yellowjackets ‘Matinee Idol’ / ‘Sittin’ In It’ / ‘Rush Hour’ have been sent out by Fred Dove on US promo-only 12in . . . Chris Hill heads a special return of jazz-funk to Southgate’s Royalty on New Year’s Day with a Caister Veterans party, tickets on sale in advance to Caister identity “passport” holders only . . . Pete Tong now jocks for Funktion on Fri/Saturdays at London’s Barracuda in Baker Street . . . ITV’s World Freestyle Dancin’ Championship 1981 last week could have been better presented but at least the music was quite convincing – until the soundalike musicians got faster and faster as the show progressed (still, the Londoners won!) . . . Marshal King (Sunderland Mayfair Suite) wonders if any companies have a current touring Boogie Bus-style promotion which could entertain 1500 teenage consumers? . . . John Mayoh (Bolton Rockerfellas) has been having fun on Saturday nights running look-alike competitions – Blondie, Manilow, Sting – John himself doing a good Manilow-nosed Debbie Harry! . . . Southampton’s Dennis Brynner (Barbarellas – soul) and Dave Van Seiger (Turpins/Floaters – Pop/Futurist) now have two shows on the local university’s Radio Glen, Wednesdays 6-8pm being futuristic and old soul, Sunday same time being a disco newies report . . . Paul Clark (Brighton Busby – Sunday) reports that his Savanna venue was short-lived due to poor response and complaints about the sound system! . . . Chris Dinnis switches his jazz-funk nights at Exeter Boxes to Wednesday as from 11th Nov . . . Gary Allan’s gay Wednesdays and Sundays are now Liverpool McMillans’ busiest nights . . . Tricky Dicky says although the gay disco scene has got larger (he magnanimously recommends Lazers), fewer people are interested in the music – appearances by ’60s girl singers being the latest gay club fad, people like Helen Shapiro, Susan Maughan, even Diana Dors (he himself presents Kathy Kirby at Tottenham Eltons next Wednesday 4th) . . . Dicky also reckons that the lowest record prices are at Groove, apart that is from his own prices at Disco Music, 391c Mile End Road, London E3 – open 2-7pm Thurs; 1-6pm Fri/Sat only – with a large stock of old and new goodies at ultra-keen prices . . . Flash Gordon, keeping it funky at Bristol’s Mistys Nite Club, says (and I must agree) that the only local import stockists, Virgin, are so expensive he rings Alan at Flashback Records in Swindon, who gives a ten per cent DJ discount – US LP £5.99/12in £3.99 and actually delivers right to the club! . . . K. Henderson (Birkenhead) wants a separate import chart – but they’re all in the same order they would be in the main chart already . . . Jim Kershaw hopefully raised lotsa money for Sheffield’s very first Over-60s Pop-In Centre by running in last Sunday’s New York marathon . . . John Waller’s highly prized secretary Karin has been pinched from Phonogram by Orin Cozier at Arista! . . . PLAY A NEWIE!
SHOWSTOPPER PROMOTIONS eighth jazz-funk and soul weekender at Caister was evidently the most trouble-free of them all, and in other respects a great success too. However, some elements seemed to be missing: audience participation events and new records. The lack of the latter was much commented on by those concerned with the current sad state of the scene. The first two Caister weekenders in 1979 created several hits by playing lots of new material, but since then the DJs, by taking the easy option, have encouraged the crowd to expect a diet of oldies which already have proven chant-along appeal. October 1981 will be remembered for Kool & The Gang’s ‘Get Down On It’ thanks to Chris Hill (the other biggies were Alphonse Mouzon and – not really a newie – Bohannon), and in fact it really was only Chris, in some superb sets which embraced excellent mixing, crowd control, walking on water, and blues harmonica over ‘R.R. Express’, who really took a chance to play new material. Otherwise, the closed circuit Radio Caister was more upfront than the live jocks. It was on the round-the-clock radio that you heard Gayle Adams, Melba Moore and the like. Martin Collins once again proved himself to have the best radio style (for my money he would walk into a late night slot now), while Tom Holland and Bob Jones played some really interesting selections during the dawn-watch hours when the rowdies had left the radio venue, Brother Louie and Mick Clark were the other featured radio jocks (along with some help from facility supplying Radio Invicta), while a slot was found for all the rest of the live DJs too – Froggy, Robbie Vincent, Sean French, Chris Brown, Jeff Young, Pete Tong, Nicky Peck. During an on-air agony auntie session, Chris Hill was moved to remark about a young man wearing a mini-skirt “that he obviously hasn’t got a sexual problem” – not realizing that unseen by him the guy was lifting up the front of his skirt to show off his masculine characteristics! This sort of silliness used to be on a mass organized scale at previous Caisters, most notably through fancy dress or talent competitions, but this time in place of punter-created inspired lunacy there was a sad boxing kangaroo and other assorted animal acts in a truly appalling circus, run by professionals, which fell very flat. (The racing camels had been banned – evidently the locals weren’t keen on the idea of camel shit on their beach!). However, sweaty fun and mass hysteria reached their usual levels once everyone was crammed together swaying, chanting, call-and-answering, the new chant for some obscure Vincent-originated reason being “Bobby Moore!” (minus his Rhythm Aces), while Al Jarreau’s ‘Roof Garden’ formed the basis for a lewd and lascivious singalong. There was nearly an ugly situation at the end of Sunday’s final finale when it was revealed that (in a deliberate policy move) none of the jocks had brought a copy of ‘Shout’ to the gig, but Cab Galloway’s “hi-de-hi” filled ‘Minnie The Moocher’ was eventually played as a substitute. Amongst the tribes, the Medway Rain Forest Missionaries freely distributed ‘Woah Cry’ fanzine (great title!) had a slightly higher chuckle content than the Staines Fusion Few’s pussy mag (sorry Chris!), and Welwyn Toxicated had to be the best tribe name. Perran Sands camp photographer, nicknamed Rolf following his antics at the earlier weekender, was adopted as Showstoppers official Caister cameraman, Fred Dove showed his WEA videos to huge audiences, Arista’s Orin Cozier broke down on the way home (thanks for the lift anyway, Orin!), Nicky Peck sported a pinstriped bomber jacket and baggy pegged pants custom tailored for him by Image of Chatham, Chris Brown bought a round (and a cheroot for himself!). Despite my own and other veteran Caister-goers’ misgivings about the lack of new material being broken, first-timers like the four funkiest people in Frieth (yeah – you find it on the map!) had a fabarootie time and doubtless will be back for Caister 9 on March 26/27/28, 1982 – earlier in the year than usual so as not to clash with Showstoppers trip to St Tropez in May. Anyway, another first-timer at Caister, RM’s Alan Coulthard will be revealing his impressions in Record Mirror next week.
LIGHT OF THE WORLD having fragmented into the horny Beggar & Co and jazzy Incognito, just Gee Bello and Nat Augustin are left under the original group name, and they now sound like Linx. Gee (vocals/percussion) and Nat (guitar/bass/vocals) have the same talents as David and Sketch, but even so the similarity on their EMI debut ‘Ride The Love Train’ is ridiculous!
EARTH, WIND & FIRE: ‘Let’s Groove’ (CBS A13-1679).
Vocoder introed typically lurching 124(start)-125bpm jittery strutter with lots of staccato squeaky vocal clucking, now at last on impatiently awaited full length 12in with instrumental flip. Their ‘Raise!’ LP (CBS 11-85272), available if you’re lucky on picture disc, is pretty typical too, my own fave cut being the lovely buoyantly slinky 0-84bpm ‘Wanna Be With You‘ which has a jazzy undertow, while ‘I’ve Had Enough‘ is a squeaky 117bpm smacker, ‘Lady Sun‘ a snappy brittle brassy 126bpm smacker, ‘Evolution Orange‘ a similar but more excitable 126-128bpm smacker, ‘Kalimba Tree/You Are A Winner‘ an oddly introed clapping 105(intro)-103-106bpm heavy judderer, ‘My Love’ a ticking 47bpm slowie, and ‘The Changing Times’ an overly frantic 133-134-135bpm jolter.
DIANA ROSS: ‘Mirror Mirror’ (LP ‘Why Do Fools Fall In Love’ Capitol EST 26733).
Self-produced debut set from her new label, dominated for discos by this chunkily jolting 103bpm steady plodder with yowling guitar and Randy Brecker brass, and by the snaredrum-introed catchily counting 110bpm ‘Work That Body‘ – which really seems to be a limbering-up exercise set to music! Other cuts are all pleasant but tend to be either too fast or slow, the attractively jogging 101bpm ‘Two Can Make It‘ hitting a happy medium.
GEORGE BENSON: ‘Turn Your Love Around’ (Warner Bros K 17877).
Lovely chunkily tripping 103bpm 7in jogging jittery throbber with brassy pent-up climaxes and nice background piano, great with Dukes, Dimples, Four Tops, etc. Continue reading “October 31, 1981: Caister report, Earth Wind & Fire, Diana Ross, George Benson, Gayle Adams, Melba Moore”