January 30, 1982: “The majority of the population can’t actually dance and so need to hear something fast to make them believe they’re having a good time”

No Odds ‘N’ Bods this week.


LAST YEAR ended as it began with Kool & The Gang safely sitting at the top of the disco chart, but any impression this may give that there has been no change in the disco world would be entirely misleading. For a while at the start of the year it looked as if black/disco-orientated music was about to enjoy an unprecedented boom, because, far from the much ballyhooed futurist/new romantic material dominating the pop chart, in the lull before the storm there was one incredible week when more black records were in the national chart than at any other time before. However, as predicted, it wasn’t long before white kids (who actually are in the majority!) discovered the new white dance groups were made up of kids like themselves with whom it was more interesting to identify, and by the time that these groups put their emphasis on fairly funky rhythms rather than futurism for futurism’s sake, the big split was inevitable. The big crossover disco-pop hits have always tended to be rather faster than the soul dance hits, because the majority of the population can’t actually dance and so need to hear something fast to make them believe they’re having a good time, which meant that the fast futurist hits not only were thought of as straight pop but also brought other pop records into play, much to the evident relief of a large proportion of the population. Now a lot of these people were out of work or at least unable to afford as many nights out as before, having to rely on the radio to hear their music during the week. Radio One is still the most influential station in the country, and as this only plays a few token black records there was not much chance for people to get acclimatised to anything other than the current pop playlist. With fewer people going out there were fewer gigs, which resulted in fewer DJs with the money (or the need) for as many new records as before. As the year wore on, the disco hits that would previously have been expected to cross over into the pop chart failed to do so. At the same time, egged on by a fanatical minority of tribal fans, the jazz-funk DJs who once had enjoyed the power to break new material were now searching out obscure ultra-specialist jazz oldies (known as “hard tackle”) to compensate for a general softening of the current US jazz-funk scene. This had also been predicted, as in the States the radio outlets for jazz had been severely diminished. In searching out and playing complex oldies, the DJs and their dwindling audiences seemed hell bent on creating a new Northern Soul like scene. As the disco scene contracted it also fragmented, with clubs (either themselves or by letting in outside promoters) putting on specific types of faddish music on certain nights of the week. Doowop, ’60s psychedelia and other styles enjoyed a brief limited vogue, but all too often it seemed that all the clubs in a town followed each other in doing the same thing on the same night. The latest way of filling an otherwise empty club and at least making a small profit is to charge admission and then sell drinks at a break-even 25p. All is not gloom and despondency, though. Visionary entrepreneurs like London’s Tony Jenkins successfully continue to pack out one-off special events at up-market venues whose locations are a closely guarded secret known only to the “right” people. Chris Hill’s ‘Back To The Clubs’ tour during the autumn created a very real excitement with the aim of putting an emphasis back on local venues rather than people just turning out for the big alldayer / nighter / weekender events (however he attracted a caravan of fans who followed him from club to club as if each gig was just such a major event). Possibly most important though, was the growth of Britain’s own home-grown dance music, whether black or white. Whereas in 1980 only two UK acts topped the disco chart, Linx and Surface Noise, last year there were five British-based chart-toppers — Eddy Grant, Freeez, Spandau Ballet, Modern Romance and Central Line. Far more musical experimentation is going on here than in the States, where it often seems that black dance music follows one of three formulas, so that it does make sense to wrap up by saying — cliched though this may be — our future lies in the hands of our own musicians.

LINDA TAYLOR should finally break through as a result of the new album that Productions Chris Palmer is currently recording by her — the first of three scheduled in a new deal for release in the States on Prelude. To judge from an incomplete rough mix, every cut’s just dripping with class, the ultimate killer likely to be ‘You And Me Just Started’. Linda meanwhile appears to be gigging as one of Ray Shell’s Street Angels.


EARTH WIND & FIRE: ‘I’ve Had Enough’ (CBS A13-1959).
Cleanly smacking brassily blasting 117-118-119bpm jittery strutter squeakily clucked in typical style to make a strong if maybe not quite so monstrous follow-up, on 3-track 12in with a previously unreleased full length version of the moodily rumbling and jiggling instrumental 101-102- 106bpm ‘Kalimba Tree‘, and a rather messy 124bpm remix of ‘Let’s Groove’ – certainly not worth getting excited about.

YVONNE GAGE: ‘Garden Of Eve’ (Atlantic K 11708T).
Excellent strictly “disco” chick wailed big beefy resonantly thrumming 114bpm 12in rollingly tugging jolter with electronic twiddles and ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ bass break. Full of enough crossover appeal to hit here.

WHISPERS: ‘In The Raw’ (Solar K 12597T).
Totally typical somewhat stark slightly fluctuating but basically 114-115bpm 12in smacker somehow lacking the body of their past triumphs, although I must concede it’s growing on me (but then I was the one who didn’t originally rate ‘It’s A Love Thing’!), the flip’s gorgeous soulfully tripping lush 37/74bpm slow ‘Small Talkin‘ however being my favourite cut off their new album.  Continue reading “January 30, 1982: “The majority of the population can’t actually dance and so need to hear something fast to make them believe they’re having a good time””

January 23, 1982: “D” Train, Bohannon, Brandi Wells, Barbara Roy & E.P.P., Mynk

No Odds ‘N’ Bods this week.


“D” TRAIN: ‘You’re The One For Me (Instrumental)’ (Epic EPC A13-2016).
Blinding stereo synth introed powerful catchy rolling and tumbling 120bpm 12in instrumental whomping smacker with a bit of echoing hollering halfway before an ever-changing simple synth seated rhythm break (try synching QT through it!) — however in typical style, they’ve kept this the instrumental hot side as the B-side, so do be warned because I have heard of unaware DJs (especially gigging radio jocks) being greeted with hoots of derision when they used the chaps chanted, OK but less hip, 121bpm vocal topside.

BOHANNON: ‘Let’s Start II Dance Again’ (London HLX 10582).
My enduring devotion to 1978’s original ‘Let’s Start The Dance‘ is no secret and I must confess I still use it more than this, but as an ultra-exciting remix this 120-121-120-119bpm 12in rejig must take some beating – over the pounding inexorably jittery original track Hamilton has added another layer of rhythm and Dr Perri Johnson’s rap, while the flip is a straight remix of the original without any rap, leaving Caroline Crawford to sing it alone. For a killer mix, start the Whispers ‘It’s A Love Thing’ (at the intro) immediately after the first 4 bars (16 beats) of the flip’s first jittery break — you’ll find the Whispers start singing immediately after Caroline’s first “everybody get on up and dance” (which you must then whip out fast). While also KID ‘Hupendi Muziki Wangu?!’ and Deodato’s ‘Whistle Bump’ (varied up) do a dynamite long running synch out of either side.

BRANDI WELLS: ‘Watch Out’ (Virgin VS 479-12).
PRT unexpectedly lost the WMOT catalogue over Xmas after they’d issued an unbeatable value promo white label coupling of this plus the still at the moment much hotter ‘What Goes Around Comes Around‘ — however, as an enduring piece of music this Dexter Wansel-arranged chunkily rolling bass rumbled 118bpm 12in lilter with a rap about the backing musicians and some superb jazzy scatting is in truth a superior side, and as such (if the two songs had to be split) would still have been a strong second release whereas ‘Around’ will probably not now last long enough to follow up once this has had its day.  Continue reading “January 23, 1982: “D” Train, Bohannon, Brandi Wells, Barbara Roy & E.P.P., Mynk”

January 16, 1982: George Benson, Diana Ross, Rick James, Oneness of Juju, Yvonne Gage


BRANDI WELLS, recently wed to Fat Larry singer Terry Price, will not be out via PRT but on Virgin, who now have WMOT here, just ‘Watch Out’ being on 12in next week (making PRT’s white label a real collector’s item!) . . . DJ Mick Clark has left Holborn’s City Sounds shop to head black A&R at Virgin, and Robert Blenman has left Rush Release to plug for Motown at RCA . . . Tomorrow’s Edition import 12in is now on US Atlantic RFC, but WEA don’t have it here . . . Touch have no plans to press any more copies of their extremely limited and long sold out ‘Keep On’ white label . . . Kleeer and other WEA LPs mentioned as due now have in fact been put back . . . Steve Walsh has taken over a club (Rowdy Yeates would have us believe it used to be a morgue — and so far nobody’s noticed any difference!), Soho’s Gossips just off Dean Street, where he currently jazz-funks Fridays and David Rodigan reggaes Saturdays . . . Nicky Peck guests with Dave Brown on BBC Radio Medway 290m this Friday (15) 7-8.45pm . . . Friday gigs also include Robbie Vincent at Dartford Flicks, Tom Holland at Southend Zero 6, Hipnosis at London Baker Street Barracuda — and Second Image at Barracuda on Monday (18) . . . Kool number 2 on the Capital Hitline! . . . RCA’s mystery white label last week is The Mood ‘Don’t Stop‘ (RCAT 171) . . . Orin Cozier is of course NOW continuing the tradition of Arista, rather than as misprinted in the Hammy Awards, while last week lots of stuff got left out including the rest of a POD Top 60 . . . Diana Ross ‘Tenderness’ and Four Tops are much bigger in this week’s POD, were there room for it . . . BPM’s last week were done on freezing cold decks, so adjust Scrunter +3, Brandi +1, Legato +1, D Spinners ‘Love Connection’ 112bpm (rest OK) . . . Beats Per Minute for recent 7in pop hits are Kraftwerk ‘Computer Love’ 0-63/126f / ‘The Model’ 62/125-0f, Philip Lynott 0-137f, Mobiles 0-38/77f, Geoffrey Burgon / Brideshead 29-0r, Ken Dodd 100-101-102c, Human League 0-51-103f, ELO ‘Moon’ 20-80-0-82-61f / ‘News’ 0-140-0-140f, Alton Edwards 0-121f, Stranglers 62f(waltz) . . . Breakers include Grandmaster Flash ‘It’s Nasty’, Whispers LP, Double Exposure ‘After All This Time’, Miss Man & Co ‘Give It All To Me’, Rick James ‘Ghetto Life’, Slyck ‘Love It Or (Beat The Bush)’, Four Tops ‘Don’t Walk Away’, Purple Flash ‘Creme Souflee’, Pigbag ‘Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag (Remix)’, Kasso ‘Kasso’ . . . now, SEE AN OCCULIST!


GEORGE BENSON: ‘Never Give Up On A Good Thing’ (Warner Bros K 17962T).
Dynamite brassily strutting 114bpm backbeat whomper on 3-track 12in with the frantic instrumental 138-0bpm ‘California PM’ and smoochy 43-0bpm ‘It’s All In The Game’ (both “live” oldies).

DIANA ROSS: ‘Mirror Mirror’ (Capitol 12CL 234).
Powerful juddering 104bpm 12in jolter with yowling guitar, surprisingly lukewarm as an LP cut but sure to smash now, c/w Brenda Lee’s 0-121-0bpm ‘Sweet Nothings‘.

RICK JAMES: ‘Ghetto Life’ (Motown TMGT 1250).
Good ‘Give It To Me Baby’-type 117bpm 12in smacker, c/w the frantic jerky 130bpm ‘Below The Funk‘.  Continue reading “January 16, 1982: George Benson, Diana Ross, Rick James, Oneness of Juju, Yvonne Gage”

January 9, 1982: Brandi Wells, Tom Browne, Central Line, Richard ‘Dimples’ Fields, Daryl Hall & John Oates


THE WHISPERS do indeed have a brand new album, ‘Love Is Where You Find It’, due on UK release this week . . . 12in newies due now too are George Benson ‘Never Give Up On A Good Thing’, Slave ‘Wait For Me’ / ‘Just A Touch Of Love’, Earth Wind & Fire ‘I’ve Had Enough’ / ‘Let’s Groove (Remix)’ / ‘Sparkle’, Modern Romance ‘Queen Of The Rapping Scene’ / ‘Can You Move (Everybody Salsa – US rap mix)’, Mike Post ‘Hill Street Blues’, Five Special ‘Just A Feeling’, while albums due next week are Kleeer, Chaka Khan, Sister Sledge, Shalamar . . . Al Jarreau ‘Roof Garden’ will be on single in a fortnight . . . Rush Release have serviced a mystery RCA white label 12in by an unnamed group, ‘Don’t Stop’ being a 128-129bpm chanting electronic pop pounder in the deadpan Depeche Mode style . . . I’m writing this while still holidaying in North Nottinghamshire, where import shops and disco gossip ain’t exactly on the doorstep, so sorry if there’s very little hot to report . . . Baccuus International are currently revamping London Camden Town’s old Music Machine into an “ultra hi-tech discotheque” for re-opening under a new name in a couple of months or so . . . Capital Radio’s ‘Souled Out And Roots Rockers’ programme now runs 9.30-10.30pm on Fridays . . . ‘OTT’ sorta ‘TISWAS’ for kids who stay up late, is very silly and quite likely to keep people in (or at least watching on their videos) on Saturday nights, especially if it sustains such inspired lunacy as The Greatest Show On Legs – three stark naked guys having difficulty in covering their naughty bits with balloons while dancing the cha cha cha! . . . Chris Hill, David Bowie, Shirley Bassey and Elvis Presley were all born on January 8th – mind you, my birthday’s the same day as the Queen’s! . . . Chris Hill now makes a point of mixing solidly for an hour between 11pm and midnight every Saturday at Canvey Goldmine . . . Froggy, who’s punters sing the “R-D-R-D-O” bit from ‘Caveman Boogie’ as “airy-ah-ah-soul”, defends the way he doesn’t do much mixing when at Radio One’s Kid’s disco’s by saying “With 3,000 kids in the venue there will be a thousand standing in front of the stage waiting for a giveaway or a silly and although I do mix a few records together it’s only two at a time as otherwise I’d lose contact with the crowd who basically would not understand what the hell was going on.” (he’s been brooding about that for months, has our Frog!) . . . Mark Southall of Newport’s Flashback Record Shop (where I believe his hero also works) says without doubt that Britain’s best mixing DJ is Dave Bumford who demonstrates the fact every Friday at Scruples in the Kings Head Hotel, Newport (Gwent) – Dave also prints exhaustive BPM lists and peel-off sticky BPM labels . . . I’ve been having fun with two copies of Kool keeping the ‘Get Down On It’ title line repeating ad infinitum, also synching KID over TC Curtis for ages, and taking Lamont Dozier out of Brandi Wells ‘Around’ . . . Europa International Agency has recently restructured itself and started up Bless The Funk Promotions which kicked off over Christmas presenting Froggy, George Power and others at Wood Green Avenida (over the Odeon) with a strict funk/soul but no jazz/reggae policy, this venue evidently being regular – as are the more commercially orientated Europa International’s nights for North London Colleges at Southgate Royalty on Wednesdays . . . Neil Fincham and Colin Cordrey say their funk/soul weekend policy at Edinburgh’s Uptown packs the place by 10.30pm so get there early if you want to get in . . . Lenny says it’s not all electro-funk at Edinburgh’s Nite Club (over the Playhouse Theatre), the video thang is where it’s all happening . . . Theo Loyla after seven and a half years has had to leave his residency at Bridge Country Club (near Canterbury) where his all-time top request was Stephanie Mills ‘If You Can Learn How To Cry‘ (US Tamla 7in) . . . I actually played for a party at my parents on New Year’s Eve, in preparation of which I and my father spent two days just shovelling snow out of the drive so that our guests could arrive, with the consequence that my leg muscles ended up aching in places I didn’t even know I had places! . . . London Capital Radio’s four hour uninterrupted continuously mixed New Year’s Eve ‘Ain’t Nothin’ But A House Party’ show meanwhile went out on tape after I’d put it together before heading North for Christmas, and in the compiling of it I discovered a sensational synch mix through the drum break of Altered Images ‘Happy Birthday’ into – you try it too – Chris Montez ‘Let’s Dance’! . . . Soft Cell ‘Tainted Love’ and ‘Bedsitter’ on 12in are both 145bpm and mix flawlessly, but in synching the 145bpm Human League ‘The Sound Of The Crowd’ through ‘Bedsitter’s’ central tapping bit I could not tell which record was making which noises, they were so perfect (ahh, the luxury quartz locked – fixed speed – decks!) . . . Bruce Springsteen ‘Cadillac Ranch’ synched out of Rod Stewart ‘Maggie May’ is a bit tasty too! . . . POD peculiarities this week include pop jocks finally catching up with Perry Haines, and discovering ‘Fire And Desire’ on the flip of Rick James ‘Super Freak’ at last . . . “D” Train is moving faster than British Rail’s APT, look at that record go! . . . and speaking of trains, I’ve got to get this onto a Red Star to London . . . Next week hopefully there’ll be some news that’s new, but in the meantime – make it anything you like, but MAKE SOME MONEY!


BRANDI WELLS: ‘What Goes Around Comes Around’ (WMOT WMOTL 105, via PRT).
Already established as the new Evelyn King, this Dexter Wansel-arranged powerfully lurching 113bpm 12in simple snickety strutter mixes sensationally out of ‘I’m In Love’ and just keeps right on along through some great rolling instrumental passages, while the equally strong ‘Watch Out‘ coupling is a chunkier 117bpm bass rumbled lilter with more vocal emphasis including a rap about the backing band and some superb jazzy scatting. The only two hot cuts off her import album, this is terrific value and not to be missed.

TOM BROWNE: ‘Fungi Mama / Bebopafunkadiscolypso’ (Arista GRP ARIST 12450).
One of the hottest sounds around, this crowing cockerel introed and clucking chickens accompanied madly jaunty bass burped 121-122-123-124bpm 12in driving jitterer has blasts of trumpet and happy fiesta-type chanting, mixing beautifully between “D” Train and EWF or (as discovered over Xmas) chopping sensationally out of Bros Johnson ‘Stomp’ in place of the bass break, the flip’s new 111bpm ‘Funkin’ For Jamaica’ remix being a tiny bit shorter and slightly rearranged with less vocal and different more doodling trumpet at times.

CENTRAL LINE: ‘Don’t Tell Me’ (Mercury MERX 90).
Sneakily infectious subtly powerful steadily tugging 111(intro)-114-113-114bpm 12in clomper with touches of Evelyn King in the beat and backing plus a whole lot of Eddy Grant in the vocal, the somewhat Isleys-style ‘Shake It Up‘ fast funky 129bpm B-side burbler fading in on some “go ‘head” chants.  Continue reading “January 9, 1982: Brandi Wells, Tom Browne, Central Line, Richard ‘Dimples’ Fields, Daryl Hall & John Oates”

January 2, 1982: Hammy’s Awards for 1981, End Of Year Disco Chart 1981


DOC SEVERINSON strikes up the band, Ed McMahon steps mikeside, there’s a swirl of the candy-striped curtains, and . . . “H-E-E-E-RE’S HAMMY!” After some rapturously greeted, cracks about the audience tonight (WHOA!), It’s time for the matter of the moment — the Hammy Awards for 1981:

HIT OF THE YEAR: Whispers – ‘It’s A Love Thing’ (Solar), a socking nine weeks as number one – and, as half anticipated, there is indeed a new Whispers album due on UK release next week and probably about on import now.

RECORD COMPANY OF THE YEAR: RCA (including RCA, Solar, 20th Century-Fox).

RUNNERS-UP (scored by number and stature of hits): (2) CBS (CBS / Epic / TSOP / GTO / Tappan Zee), (3) Phonogram (Mercury / De-Lite / Ensign / Casablanca), (4) WEA (Elektra / Atlantic / Warner Bros / WEA / Whitfield / Mirage / Cotillion / Carrere), (5) Chrysalis (Chrysalis / Reformation), (6) R&B / Excaliber, (7) Motown, (8) Beggars Banquet, (9) A&M, (10) London / Decca.

LABEL OF THE YEAR: Prelude, the US disco label most consistently worth checking.

IMPORT OF THE YEAR: Bohannon – ‘Let’s Start II Dance Again’ (US Phase II 12in).

12in OF THE YEAR: Abba – Lay All Your Love On Me’ (Epic), more as an historical fact than in recognition of the music.  Continue reading “January 2, 1982: Hammy’s Awards for 1981, End Of Year Disco Chart 1981”

“A Hidden Landscape Once A Week”

Mike Atkinson, one of the administrators of this blog, has written a chapter about James Hamilton (titled “Rhythms Would Skitter, Jiggle, Leap or Lurch“) in a collection of writing about the British music press from the 1960s to the 1980s.

“A Hidden Landscape Once A Week – The Unruly Curiosity of The UK Music Press in the 1960s-80s, in the Words of Those Who Were There” is published by Strange Attractor, edited by Mark Sinker (The Wire, NME, Sight and Sound) and illustrated by Edwin Pouncey (aka Savage Pencil). Other contributors include Valerie Wilmer, Charles Shaar Murray, Richard Williams, Penny Reel, John Ingham, Jon Savage, Cynthia Rose, Paul Morley, David Toop, Bob Stanley, Barney Hoskyns, Jonathon Green, Simon Frith, Paul Gilroy, and many others besides.

You can read more about the book at