ODDS ‘N’ BODS
GOOD NEWS for admirers of the now deceased Record Business trade paper’s disco coverage, its disco sales chart transfers uninterrupted to Music Week as of this week . . . Polydor picked up Man Parrish ‘Hip Hop’ for UK release in a fortnight (pity not sooner as surprisingly it’s slipping now) . . . PRT’s ‘It’s In The Mix‘ compilation LP due early March will include the great US-only remix of Imagination ‘Changes’, along with other obvious recent stuff from their various labels like Indeep, Brenda Taylor, William De Vaughn . . . Sandy Martin (Swindon Brunel Rooms) had the word from Imagination’s Errol Kennedy that still ‘Heart And Soul’ is unscheduled for singles release — don’t they want to get out of their rut, or what? . . . Phonogram have revived the major Eddy Grant oldies on 3-track 12in (Mercury MERX 135), with the 123bpm ‘Do You Feel My Love?’, 137bpm ‘Living On The Frontline’, 137-138-0bpm ‘Frontline Symphony’ . . . Dick Morrissey’s new solo ‘After Dark’ LP (Coda CODA 2), a freewheeling jazz sax set recommended for listening (though I wish he hadn’t mucked up the theme from ‘Lou Grant’, which I’d dearly love someone to record straight), has in its cassette form been combined onto a single tape with his former sideman pianist John Critchinson’s ‘Summer Afternoon’, two sets for the price of one (Coda being the “acoustic jazz” outlet for Beggars Banquet) . . . Percy Sledge, ’60s ‘Percy!’ set on US Monument, as has his contemporary William Bell with a ‘Bad Time To Break Up‘ 7in on US Kat Family, both well soulful (as is the newer Lanier & Co’s set on US Larc), while also well worth checking by ’60s nostalgists is organist Jimmy McGriff’s swinging ‘The Groove’ LP on US Jam . . . Spandau Ballet manager Steve Dagger was recently telling me how New York City’s leading “urban contemporary” radio station, the black orientated WBLS, now concentrates on playing UK recorded electro-dance music (Human League/Yaz(oo)/ABC) and even has Chris Hill, against his better judgement, contributing features about this type of material — so it’s no wonder that all the black US acts are having to scramble aboard the electro bandwagon in order to survive . . . I have the theory that what’s caused ‘the split amongst funk fans’ here into electro and soul camps, black and white (although not of course as clearly defined as that), is a need to appear different: if the white fans were to get into electrophonic phunk there would not be enough musical difference to give them a tribal identity set apart from the herd who do follow Human League/Yazoo/ABC, hence they’ve turned back to traditional soul, whereas the black fans are different anyway as all can see, couldn’t give a damn, and are happy to get heavily into electrophonics — any comments? . . . Class Action’s featured vocalist Christine Wiltshire also sang the original version of ‘Weekend‘ by Patrick Adams Phreek . . . Level 42 fly out the Stateside way next week to record their next album produced by Earth, Wind & Fire’s Verdine White & Larry Dunn — is this necessarily a good move, we ask ourselves? . . . Elite and Challenge Records Andy Sojka is compiling a brand new mailing list of DJs playing any type of music: send him full details at 262 Holloway Road, London N7 (01-609 0168) . . . Greg Parrott has taken over as resident DJ/promotions manager at Oxford’s Boodles, trying to make Thursdays as upfront as possible and hoping to start a members only jazz-funk club on future Wednesdays, for which he’d like DJs with the right records to contact him on Oxford 730529 . . . Studiotek 2000 is a fully equipped DJ studio, also offering music mixdown facilities as well as a basic training course for mobile DJs, situated at 85 Alexandra Road in Farnborough (0252-519931) — studio time’s only £5 an hour for the next few weeks as an introductory offer . . . Donald ‘Shuggy’ Hughes (031-556 1836 days/031-228 3252 nights) is after promotions and artiste PAs for Edinburgh’s Coasters/Outer Limits . . . Soul On Sound’s Epping Forest Country Club alldayer on Sunday 6th March has admission by advance tickets at SOS-stocking record shops (SOS’s current issue came out a week late, incidentally this hiccup in my fortnightly preview mix schedule meaning that private engagements have prevented me thus far from recording the next issue’s mix, which I should have been doing even as I write at this moment) . . . Dr Soul’s Passion Pit downstairs at Mayfair’s Gullivers every Friday isn’t exactly the intended wall-to-wall “erection section” yet, but the barman’s been having trouble standing upright, anyway! . . . Frenchie & Colin Curtis didn’t start jazz-souling Blackpool Barons on the Friday they’d announced, but do start for sure this week (25) — and is it the declaration by Frenchie’s erstwhile partner, the now mixing-mad Pete Haigh (doing it Sundays at Caton’s Scarthwaite Hotel near Lancaster), that “Jazz-funk is dead — long live dance music!” which has hurried on the duo’s unexpected split? . . . Chris Hill & Colin Hudd’s “special” this Friday (25) is St Trinian’s fancy dress, while the following night (26) Tom Felton has a fancy dress Hollywood Ball at Leysdown Stage 3 . . . Chris Hill then starts his weekly “Sundays in the country” (27) at the Music Room in Sheffield Green’s Sheffield Arms, off the A275 in Sussex . . . Alan ‘Gibbo’ Gibson’s successor at Edgbaston’s Faces French, Jon Alsop has elbowed his predecessor’s gay-orientated music to concentrate more on futurist slanted electro and electrophonic phunk . . . Les Knott, at Harlow Bennys on Saturdays and packing Sundays at Old Harlow Josephs playing laid back jazz-soul, has his own weekly music column in the Harlow Gazette, which includes the area’s disco chart . . . Bill Robertson determinedly jazz-funks Fri/Sats at Bathgate Quincys, where a new light and sound system should just about be fitted by now, to prove that there’s soul in Central Scotland yet (ahh, but is there a Gallup chart return shop in Bathgate?) . . . Dave Rawlings has left Reading Rebecca’s for Saturdays at Basingstoke Martines and Tuesdays at Hook Gorse Cottage Country Club’s Gaslight Club . . . Phil Jay now funks Thursdays as well as Sundays at West Byfleet’s Carafino wine bar, plus Fridays at Guildford Staceys and Mondays at Godalming Carls wine bar . . . Gary Oldis, still based at Aycliffe Bee Jays, also funks Mondays at Darlington Bee Jays . . . Flash Gordon has returned to Bristol at the Princess Court Club and also does Thursdays at Reeves in the Brunel Suite, the latter as his own promotion . . . Martin Starr, back in Bristol too, funks Thurs/Fri/Sat with Nigel Hanson at Lourdes in Fairfax Street, Saturdays being most upfront . . . Loughborough Students Union Jazz-Funk Society stalwart Eddie Gee is doing fortnightly Thursdays at that town’s Adam & Eve club, tonight (24) should be the current one . . . Andy Hunter & Eon Irving funk Soho Ronnie Scott’s Maze on Thursdays . . . Liverpool’s ever willing Mike Davidson, another to criticize that city’s less than upfront radio soul shows, funks Cagneys Thurs-thru-Sun, the Mandarin Club Mon, the Dove Tues/Wed (doubling Tues at the Venue) — busy lad! . . . Ian Reading, still joined by Froggy on Fridays, advises you come early on Saturdays to Southend Zero 6 as it’s packed by 10.15pm . . . John ‘Nick’ Osborne, whose Ilford Room At The Top chart not surprisingly includes Marlena Shaw ‘More Room At The Top‘, is after a Wednesday night gig preferably outside the Ilford area (01-595 9549 days/01-478 5588 nights) . . . Atevis ‘CJ’ Craven, resident Fri/Sat at Edinburgh Annabels Rivera Suite, is after possibly another two or three nights playing anything, but soul/funk preferred (031-664 6795 early evenings) . . . Graham ‘Funky Scot’ Hunter and his Firefly Roadshow’s electronics technician partner V. Gregory (Basingstoke 770776 evenings) are looking for an agency handling both local and national gigs . . . Cosmic (Rayleigh Croc’s) recommends the band New Shoes, who play Sea Level/Spyro Gyra/Band AKA-type material, while Lance Nuttall (manager of Sayers Common Cinderellas) “strongly recommends” Animal Nightlife as a first rate live band . . . John Clancy (Gillingham), thrilled by the recent TVDJA night in Hounslow, writes: “It may sound daft, but as mobile jocks living outside London never get to meet the ‘big boys’, we only get to read about them” — and what with the likes of Steve Walsh, Graham Canter, Frank Smith (and myself!), there certainly were a few ‘big boys’ about that night! . . . Tressbonn Trashmore (Hythe Hotel Imperial every Saturday) was chuffed to hear Michael Aspel’s recently featured expert on names in some confusion over his own! . . . Al Dupres (Cardiff) has revived Earth, Wind & Fire ‘Fantasy’ because following its inclusion in the recently screened ‘Private Lessons’ flick it’s being regarded as a newie again . . . Mickey Lee, formerly of New Brighton Penny Farthing, Liverpool Odd Spot and most recently Whitehaven Village Inn, splits these shores next week for sunny Crete and the Bora Bora discotheque with his new protege Laura B, “one of the best female mixers in the business” (if Kenwood made a female mixer, could I have one for Christmas?!) . . . Fat Larry’s Band are this week at Watford Baileys . . . Madonna PA-ed at Charing Cross Heaven and were “wonderful”, to quote Ian Levine . . . West Surrey & Hants DJ Association have officially withdrawn from the DJ Federation, but can’t actually locate the DJF to tell them (WSHDJA membership details on 0483 68397), while one-time DJF big cheese Theo Loyla has surfaced as president of the Cleveland Area DJ Association (an honorary post of course — DJs in the North-East should still contact Graham Murray at 30 Pilkington Street, North Ormesby, Middlesbrough) . . . Theo Loyla, whose old Bridge Country Club residency was always packed (I never meant to suggest otherwise), has an interesting gimmick at his Charing Country Club gigs, his pre-’74 soul Mondays feature food in the restaurant at pre-’74 prices — and this policy now covers Fridays there as well, when he plays modern . . . I received a piece of wedding cake from someone in Romford — could that be from Mr & Mrs Howlett? . . . Larry & Mandy Foster (Ilford) recently had a baby Jade Holly Foster, Alan & Jill Taylor (Rhyl) had a second little son (bit tricky that one actually — though Jill’s fit now) . . . Steve Allen’s Discoasis record shop in Peterborough now supplies its disco sales chart to Hereward Radio . . . Rayners Lane Record & Disco Centre’s Andy Mann reports he was inundated with phone calls following my mention of the shop’s stock of Stone ‘Time’! . . . Nick Aravis (Romford Tudor Lodge/Hornchurch Daniels) recommends Chadwell Heath’s Jifs Records (the retitled old Tape Stop, opposite Whalebone Lane Library) for imports and cutouts . . . Kev Hill (Brentwood) finds the old Willis Beaver Hale ‘Let The Good Times Roll‘ from ’74 slots nicely between the likes of Goodie and the Gap Band (Phonogram’s Jeff Young incidently reports some DJs are finding the Gap Band too slow — are they crazy?) . . . Wuf Ticket ‘Ya Mama‘ as suspected works a treat out of ‘Outstanding’ (why more jocks haven’t picked up on it is a mystery), and Wish ‘Mr DJ (Instrumental)’ is indeed a killer out of Mahogany . . . YES INDEEDY!
MEZZOFORTE, THE jazz-funkers from Iceland, are now getting the sort of daytime radio play that should make their ‘Garden Party‘ dancefloor winner into a crossover hit. On their ‘Surprise Surprise’ LP (Steinar Ste LP02, via Pinnacle) they exhibit many influences — not so surprisingly, considering where they live — but the sheer quality of their musicianship allied to this familiarity is already making the set a big sell with the Shakatak market. More for listening rather than dancing, except in specialist jazz clubs, the album’s version of ‘Garden Party’ is preceded by the loosely starting then jaggedly explosive but brief 126-0bpm ‘Surprise‘ as a sort of introduction, seguing on out of a 33 second doodling lull into the hit track.
FORREST: ‘Rock The Boat’ (CBS A13-3163).
Already massive on import and now all set to go national in a huge way, this speeded up but in most respects very similar 114½bpm 12in remake of the Hues Corporation’s (106-107bpm) 1974 classic has a powerful pounding percussion break and all the pep that’s needed for pop crossover success. Initial CBS pressings sold out immediately last week, and in fact I’ve yet to get mine.
PRINCE CHARLES & THE CITY BEAT BAND: ‘Gang War’ LP (Greyhound Record Productions GRP LP 101).
The pretentious poser’s fave funk name of the moment, this Boston-based P-funker’s very George Clinton influenced debut set surfaced originally on import at a time when fast funk was out of favour here (although in the States then Michael Henderson ‘Wide Receiver‘ was a big black hit), after which its legendary status was built up by simple scarcity value as only a few were ever pressed by the subsequently defunct Solid Platinum label. Good but not THAT good, without all the anticipation this would be nowhere near so fashionable now, although certainly the whole of side two flows nicely through (most legendary of all) the 126-128bpm ‘In The Streets’, (now possibly stronger) 123bpm ‘Tight Jeans‘ and 124-123bpm ‘Gang War (or the Acid Funk syndrome)‘ being less substantial. Oh, there are some dirty(-ish) words too.
SUNFIRE: ‘Young, Free And Single’ (Warner Bros W 9897T).
Now not in fact coupled by ‘Step In The Light‘ (get ‘Street Sounds Edition 2’ for that!), this gently tugging soulful slow 90bpm yearner could possibly get daytime radio play following on from Billy Griffin’s breakthrough, and is on 3-track 12in with the heavy funk 102bpm ‘Feet‘ and less distinguished 119bpm ‘Shake Your Body‘. Continue reading “February 26, 1983: Forrest, Prince Charles & The City Beat Band, Sunfire, Steve Arrington’s Hall Of Fame”