July 30, 1983: Herbie Hancock, The O’Jays, Julie Roberts, S.O.S. Band, Manhattans

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

RECORD DEALERS can start tearing their hair out now — ‘Street Sounds Edition 5‘ will contain current hits by Freeez, Funk Masters, Oliver Cheatham, La Famille, Aretha Franklin, Terri Wells, Wickett, plus Brass Construction ‘Brassy Version’, MCB ‘I’m The One You’re The One’ (both unissued here) and a remix of Kenny Lynch ‘Half The Day’s Gone’ . . . ‘Wired For Clubs Volume II‘ retaliates with Booker Newberry III, Steve Harvey, Leon Haywood, Tania Maria ‘Come With Me’, Ingram ‘Mi Sabrina Tequana’, Cameo ‘You’re A Winner’, Kool ‘Ladies Night ’83 Mix’, Central Line ‘Surprise Surprise (Remix)’ — which is certainly hotter than the first of Phonogram’s series . . . UK gospel group Paradise are currently impressing everyone on white label (prior to release on Priority PK1) with ‘One Mind Two Hearts‘, an exceptionally good lightly pitched ultra-soulful 107bpm summer tempo jogger which really puts amateurish British funk production in the shade, prompting Graham Hawton (Harrow) to call it “The first good reason for being on Rush Release’s mailing list” (tee hee!) . . . Gonzalez are also on white label (prior to release on PRT 12P 283) with the good chunky sparse thudding 113½bpm ‘Closer To You‘ which however is overshadowed by the flip’s excellent even nicer cool summer tempo jazzy instrumental 110-109bpm, and new group Keywi featuring Jane Bullen are similarly promoed (Virgin VS 62312) on the Joe Williams-prod/penned ‘Let’s Get It Right‘ a plaintively sung 0-115-119bpm loping swayer with flurrying syndrums and a better beefier more spacious instrumental flip featuring some David Bendeth guitar and a Froggy mix . . . Larry Levan’s US remix of Gwen Guthrie ‘Hopscotch’ (Island 12ISX 106, parallel number to last week’s alternative mix) at 112-113-114½bpm has some echo repetition and an accelerating 111-115bpm instrumental flip — incidentally, Paul Major in the Mecca house mag Polly Promotions, whose record reviews usually award 9 if not 10 out of 10, only gave 4 out of 10 to this “very plain funk number”! . . . Pinnacle some time back and with no publicity slipped out here the excellent Lavias ‘Do You Wanna Dance‘ (Golden Pyramid GP-1208), the Joe Thomas-saxed/Mike T-rapped 123bpm instrumental flip of which was hot on import . . . Midas Records free promo ‘In Store Music’ cassettes are proving sadly to be inconsistent contents-wise, only ‘Week 2’ being a good much repeatable programme, there being too much Boys Town and down-right dross on others (to be expected I suppose when it’s pay-for-play) despite their quota of quality cuts — and why on earth lumber us on ‘Week 4’ with the full instrumental of Gary Byrd (even the vocal, which quickly pulls, would have been better)! . . . Midas’s Granville Williams should consider keeping the pop/gay tempo material apart from the soul material and compiling separate types of ‘In Store Music’ programme, which should be easy enough to do considering its weekly release . . . Soul On Sand (sic!) in reporting 18,000 fortnightly sales are surprisingly not in the album top ten — this and other evidence suggesting that the ever exaggerating Toby Perkins thinks in multiples of ten (and if he’d come clean about this I’d have understood how maybe he couldn’t afford more bread) . . . Capital’s naughty John Sachs played without crediting either the Disco Mix Club or Alan Coulthard their Michael Jackson megamix, instead bragging how he’d be featuring it at his live gigs, and then after evident phone calls from his fans wanting it he still failed to say any more than that it was unavailable — oh and not that this is ‘Knock Sachs Week’ (his fill-in for Mike Allen was punchy listening), does he reckon he’s being a help by playing oldies off the 12in B-sides of the Isley Brothers and Manhattans instead of the current new plug-sides, which could really have benefitted from lunchtime play? . . . Ron ‘Spider’ Baker (Bermondsey Dun Cow) has furthered his video involvement by becoming consultant to Project Films Ltd, whose monthly ‘Dance On Video’ compilations now at his instigation include a disco as well as pop tape — first month’s rental £48.50, full details from Projection Films Ltd, Freepost, 45 Grove Lane, London SE5 7BR . . . Morgan Khan’s latest label The Sound Of London will eventually at my instigation become the far more obvious Sound Of Urban London — in fact, it’s amazing nobody else came up with those initials before . . . Sho-Pro’s twelfth Caister weekender has become so over-subscribed following gushing plugs by Peter Powell on Radio One that it’s been split in two again, the original as planned over October 14-16 and then Part 2 on October 28-30 — so if you’re 15 and into Shalamar why not join the throng? . . . no, really, a new generation of soul fans has to come from somewhere . . . Showstoppers foreign jaunt next year will not be to the South Of France this time, but closer to home at a self-contained holiday site in Jersey from May 5-12 (all Sho-Pro enquiries to the Pink Elephant on 01-586 6741) . . . Robbie Vincent returns to the Sho-Pro fold, and is currently chatting to record companies about his proteges Second Image . . . Barry Malgedy & Frenchie have just started up-front funky soul/hard jazz Thursdays at the plush spacious Peppers in Leigh, membership forms from the club or Barry at 53 Bentley Street, Sutton, St Helens, Merseyside . . . Santrax play live at Soho Ronnie Scott’s Maze this Fri/Sat (29/30) . . . Kev Ashman funks a pyjama party this Saturday (30) at Charing King Arthur’s Court . . . Brazelia was evidently the misprint it always looked like and has now been rectified on repressings (still only 7in) as Brazilia and the band, naughtily billed by their earlier name of Galaxy, headline at Leeds Tiffanys alldayer this Sunday (31) with Colin Curtis etc . . . Pete Stringfellow’s beneficiaries from the gala £25-a-head third anniversary this Sunday (31) of his celebrated Stringfellow’s club will be Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ Transglobe Expedition . . . Heatwave spend next week from Monday (1) at Watford Baileys . . . Sean Brett, jazz-funking Bury Peelers every Monday (only 50p) has started every fourth weekend at Nethertown’s Village Inn in the Lake District (if you’re counting, the next should be Aug 19/20) . . . Steve Day, the Dover one, funks Fridays at Sheerness Woody’s . . . Edinburgh pop venue Mad Hatters (as opposed to neighbouring Mad Hatters Speakeasy) has re-opened with a 3am licence, a refit, and jocks Ray West, Steve Martin, Steve South . . . Norman Scott at Haringey Bolts strips down this Saturday (30) for a shorts and whistle party . . . Carl Richardson, still boogieing with the boys the second Saturday of every month at Hull’s Bali Hai, has also just started (and you’ve just missed) the last Wednesday of every month at Fagin’s under Hull Station Hotel, with lotsa Hot Tracks and Disconet remixes promised . . . Gary Allan (Liverpool Concert Street) and now even Tricky Dicky Scanes (London Dicks venues) both concur that the use of expensive Hot Tracks/Disconet remixes does help freshen up the sound and lengthen the life of the Boys Town hits, which tend to stay for a long time anyway (thus giving our Boys Town chart a stagnant look on occasion) . . . Boys Town Gang ‘I Just Can’t Help Believing‘, already falling fast with no help from him, is described by Ian Levine (London Heaven/Gardens) as “what deserves to be called disco dross” . . . Marvin Howell’s “new Norma Lewis” is Linda Lawrence, of past Motown involvement, currently recording Stateside for ERC . . . Adrian Dunbar (Southampton Warehouse) has been slowing things down for the boys in the hot weather, featuring Mary Jane Girls and other summer tempos . . . Dave Rawlings (Basingstoke Martines) promises us some photos of last Friday’s Miss Wet T-Shirt competition — yes please, hurry, hurry! . . . Theo Loyla is now promoting the Original Peppermint Hula Hoop, a striped hula hoop which pongs of peppermint when spun, this the 25th anniversary of the old craze evidently seeing its revival in the States and, especially, Western Europe (where two million hoops have been sold this year already) . . . Club House fans who find a synch between the real ‘Billie Jean’ and ‘Do It Again’ a bit tricky should note that Steely Dan is 123-126bpm . . . Big Phil Etgart, following up last week’s mention, will now pay anything for the Disconet remix of Willie Bobo ‘Always There’ (01-864 3271) . . . Roger Dynamite (Lowestoft) says Victor Tavares has exploded for him purely from play off the ‘In Store Music’ cassette . . . US Dance/Disco chart-toppers have recently been Human League ‘Fascination’ and now Freeez . . . Jeffrey Osborne’s new album is a disappointment, best cut being his single . . . Bohannon went into a kamikaze nosedive, Disco chartwise, this week — phew, what happened? . . . Roy Ayers needn’t have bothered appearing in London, to judge from several eye witness reports . . . George ‘Zorba’ Alexander wonders who this “G Alexandra” is who was billed to support Lonnie Liston Smith at the Middlesex & Herts Country Club earlier in the week — keep taking the hormone pills, George! . . . “Street star” struck the shock-horror headlines — but at least it ain’t THE Street (Hill that is?) . . . if you go swimmin’ with bow legged women, BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!


SURFACE — WHOSE ‘Falling In Love‘ is one of the day’s catchiest disco hits — turns out to be David ‘Pig’ Conley (29) and Karen Copeland (28), both from New Jersey. David played with Mandrill for a couple of years during the late ’70s, then sessioned for Slave and Aurra before setting up his own small 4-track studio (bass/synth/sax/percussion/flute are his instruments), while tiny 4′ 11” Karen is a primary school teacher who, until David found her, also sang with local group Nightbird.


HOT VINYL

HERBIE HANCOCK: ‘Rockit’ (CBS TA 3577)
Restoring our faith in how good electrophonic phunk can be, a fantastically powerful 111bpm heavy instrumental judderer brilliantly scratched by Grand Mixer D.S.T., here on 3-track 12in with Herbie’s older jazz-funk hits from his vocoder era, the 116-117bpm ‘You Bet Your Love‘ and 116-112-114-116-114-28-116-115-114-0bpm ‘I Thought It Was You‘.

THE O’JAYS: ‘Put Our Heads Together’ (Philadelphia International TA 3642)
Proving we were just waiting for the right strong song before speeding ’em back to the heights, this immediately massive friskily striding 120bpm soul bounder is now on 3-track 12in with the lovely subtle slinky slow 0-38bpm ‘A Letter To My Friends‘ and a slightly fluctuating c.125bpm instrumentally padded remix of ‘Love Train’.

JULIE ROBERTS: ‘Fool For You’ (Bluebird BRT 3, via PRT)
Already hit-bound on white label, the Funk Mistress’s John Rocca-prod/Steve Jerome-penned rhythm box bumped 109bpm 12in tapper is an attractively chiming catchily phrased tuneful summer swayer, flipped by a superb authentically sung 62bpm deep soul revival of the Elgins ‘It’s Been A Long Long Time’. Amen! Continue reading “July 30, 1983: Herbie Hancock, The O’Jays, Julie Roberts, S.O.S. Band, Manhattans”

July 23, 1983: Big Brother, Club House, Kenny Lynch, Galaxy, Sakhile

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

DAVE McALEER in a shock move fraught with political intrigue has left his own TMT label, but plans another disco-oriented logo in the near future . . . O’Jays ‘Put Our Heads Together‘ is on UK 12in this week, flipped by a remix of ‘Love Train’ (plus ‘A Letter To My Friends’) . . . Gladys Knight ‘Overtime’ has had what seems like a slower remix on US Columbia 12in . . . ‘In-Store Music’ promo cassettes when sent to DJs are indeed meant for in-car listening with the hope that the jock will then maybe buy or blag the records most likely to play in-club — and, the good news is, more jocks are needed to receive this free weekly music programme! – so send for an application form to Granville Williams, Midas Records, 104 Harley House, Upper Harley Street, London NW1 4PR . . . Paul Murphy’s jazz basement at Record Shack is running an “everything must go” clearout sale for the rest of July before restocking and starting anew . . . Steve Jerome shirtily sniffs that he produced/co-penned the Cold Hand Band ‘Tropicana‘ raved over last week (whoops, I didn’t read the small print . . . but at least my review wasn’t an old pals act!), while the Band themselves can be booked for gigs from August via the Ely-based agency of Jason West (0353-87755), who though still jocking himself is concentrating more now on representing big pro roadshows, video discos, dance troupes and bands (of which he always needs more) . . . Susie Barnes on Radio London has a slightly adult orientated line up of guests for her Friday night music ‘n’ chat show, and has recently started including at 10.45pm a disco DJ to feature six records that really get ’em going, her choice this week being myself (laying my mobile party as well as black disco selection) . . . ‘Ladies Man’ Orin Cozier appears to have launched his P’zazz Promotions by plugging Sergio Mendes for A&M — now if he could only tie up the IDS labels and maybe Motown, he really would be filling a need! . . . Noreen Allen in major moves at EMI now handles disco promotion for their US as well as domestic material . . . Theo Loyla in putting together some Phonogram promotion nights for ‘Flashdance’ (surely a hot property?) was amazed when Mecca greeted his proposed package by asking for payment of £100 per venue before he could give their punters free records and T-shirts — not surprisingly our outraged plugger clinched a deal with Rank Leisure instead! . . . Chris Brown & Johnnie Walker at Camberley Frenchies this Sunday (24) have a ‘Tootsie’ party where all boys must wear girls clothes, and vice versa (no admission unless in drag) . . . Martin Collins should be this fortnight’s guest of Joe Field & Mike Allin at Hemel Hempstead’s Whip & Collar on Thursday (21) . . . T-shirts ‘n’ stickers will doubtless be flying on Saturday (23) at Gravesend’s Woodville Halls what with Phil Allan, Gary Crowley, Mick Brown, Mike Lavelle and odd PAs . . . Phil Allan needn’t fear fingers on the pause button just so long as he at least continues to feature the London fusion chart at 1.45am every Sunday morning on Capital! . . . “DJ Froggy” voices a commercial for Jive’s current product (anything to get on radio?) . . . Steve Harvey never did reach New York, but in any case is negotiating to write and produce a song for Sharon Redd . . . Richard Jon Smith recently arrived at Heathrow after a trip back to Africa, only for immigration to tell him he had seven days to stay in the UK, (this despite his living here for two years) — needless to say he’s appealed, and so far is still here . . . Brooklyn Express are latest to cover ‘Do It Again/Billie Jean’ (a re-arrangement rather than soundalike), while on US Emergency 12in the Stevie Wonder-ish Otis Liggett has done a 113bpm funkification of Police’s ‘Every Breath You Take’ . . . Wuf Ticket’s instrumental flip as anticipated has really exploded! . . . Mad Marx on holiday in Benidorm (where an old Butlins Redcoat mate was jocking over the road in the Bahamas Club) found that Spanish “cowboys” were flogging brand new British 12in releases for an unbelievable £17 as the discos were so desperate to get them . . . I continued exploring Britain last week in the sunny stunning Shropshire Hills . . . John Harris (Redruth) wants to identify a track heard in Spain at Calella’s Highwayman Club, which sung in English had a chorus “another night . . . say you’ll never leave me now” and verse “I’m all alone in the . . . / your lovin/music? / turns me on” . . . Mickey Lee & Laura B, jocking for the summer at Crete’s Bora Bora disco in Agios Nikolaos, had a Finn ask for ‘Killer’ by Jack Michaelson — obviously a Hee Bee Gee Bees fan, the fellah meant ‘Thriller’ by Michael Jackson! . . . Dave Needham, home in Leicester after two years of jocking all over Norway, says most DJs there are English and have done much to educate the natives away from Ottawan-type clappy music to the likes of Wham (except is there that much difference?!) . . . Steve Glover (Bournemouth Spats Mon/Thur, Enter Fri) predicts wally pop-disco will make a comeback spearheaded by KC and the Gibson Bros, as it’s bouncy and happy and puts people in a good mood — which is what discos should be all about . . . Brian Mason (Barnet) reckons now that hot weather, long evenings and holidays away are keeping people out of discos, it would be a good idea for some clubs to review their entry and drink prices just for this time of the year . . . Phil Andrews at Derby Chamilles, for instance, has 50p drinks/£1 cocktails every Thurs-Sunday, while Dave Smith at Mayfair’s Samanthas (next to Rockafellas late night eaterie off Regent Street) has 30p drinks until 11pm every Friday and a free concoction included Mon/Wed . . . Greg Parrott at Oxford Boodles is running foreign students nights Sun/Mon/Tues during the summer . . . Nicky King hosts a heat of the National Miss Wet Tee Shirt 1983 at Liverpool Cantril Farm’s Harvester disco on Aug 24, ladies can get entry forms from him at 24 Bolan Street, Liverpool, L13 6RE (or is this just a way of pulling well stacked birds, I wonder?!) . . . Andy Baker has taken over in and around Rhyl at Jollie Nites (Thur/Fri), The Orange Peel (Sun/Mon/Tues) and — pride of the North Wales Coast — the brand new Mirrors (Wed/Sun) — meanwhile in that same burgh, Adrian Martin is now minus a residency and will consider moving anywhere (on 0745-4572) as long as the wages are above 1960’s levels (“some clubs in North Wales still use ten bob notes!”) . . . Adrian Dunbar now boogies for the boys Wed-thru-Sun at Southampton Warehouse, leaving just Tuesday for Bournemouth’s redecorated Adams and its renamed “Hi Energy Dance Night” — which mixes Boys Town hits with Yello/Matt Fretton-type dance music (yeah, well it’s all pop music, innit?) . . . Gary Allen, resident boogier with the boys at Liverpool Concert Street, hates to be a bore but mentions everything seems to be a remix these days and at about 130bpm . . . Alan X (Langdon Kings Club) heard Hazell Dean singing Bacharach & David oldies on Radio 2’s ‘You And The Night And The Music’ — so that’s why her name was familiar! . . . Cosmic (Basildon New Yorker/Liberties) is after a copy of Francine McGee ‘Delirium‘ (not sure where in Essex his 555646 phone number belongs) . . . Big Phil Etgart (South Harrow) says consistently his biggest oldie is Willie Bobo ‘Always There‘, and a remix coupled with the original on 12in could clean up for CBS . . . Darryl Hayden omits the frequency but now jocks weekday afternoons for the 7am-midnight, 7 days a week new Richmond/Putney area Radio Thames West, a commercial pop station . . . Sutton’s Patches Disco Centre hint that Garrard’s deck-making equipment is alive and well and living in Brazil, so watch out for the turntables under an almost similar name . . . West Sussex jock Aaron Lewison White works under the name Andy Brown — snappier maybe, but less distinguished! . . . Trevor John Hughes (Telford), wide ranging in his taste as ever, currently charts at number one Ralph McTell ‘Kenny The Kangaroo‘ (MR) . . . Graham Gold (Mayfair Gullivers) can and does (continuously!) repeat his killer Kurtis Blow/Herbie Hancock synch — it’s a goodie . . . I, with mucho vari-speed synched Kurtis Blow out of Crown Heights Affair ‘Rock The World!!!’, while other useful tips include the scratch bit of Slim ‘It’s In The Mix’ chopped for a short burst before Herbie, and (though seemingly missed by all but me) Hurt ‘Em Bad ‘The Boxing Game‘ (US Profile 12in) is dynamite (with the bell before its vocal chopped on the last beat in a bar) out of ‘The Crown’ — oh, and The Rake ‘Street Justice’ has the same vocal sound as Fatback ‘Is This The Future?’ . . . Oliver Cheatham was dead unlucky not to top the Disco chart — if ever anything sounded like a certainty, that was him . . . hey, hey, hey, BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!


HOT VINYL

BIG BROTHER: ‘Adventures In Success — The First Adventure‘ (Island IS12 120)
Scandalously ignored by Island’s pluggers yet a floor filling perfect synch with La Famille, this fascinating 99bpm 12in electro thudded rap uses a voice like some pre-recorded American commentary reciting a new ‘Desiderata’ as if re-written by Readers Digest! (‘Second Adventure’ flip).

CLUB HOUSE: ‘Do It Again/Billie Jean’ (Island 12IS 132)
Brilliant amalgamation of the Steely Dan/Michael Jackson bass lines and lyrics into a smash-bound 116½bpm 12in medley (at the original ‘Billie Jean’ BPM, with a less useful instrumental Club Version flip.

KENNY LYNCH: ‘Half The Days Gone And We Haven’t Earned A Penny’ LP (Satril SATLP 400)
20 years ago our veteran ‘Allcock & Brown’ telly star, OBE, successfully covered black hits of the day and now, unlikely though it may seem, he’s self-prod/penned an extremely creditable Al Jarreau-ish set that’s already burning up the airwaves in London! The Jarreau influence has finally given his voice its ideal vehicle, and with classy “name” backing he’s very impressive on such as the 113-113½bpm title track, (0-)112-113-112½bpm ‘Name Your Game‘, (0-)111-109-110-113½bpm ‘Another Groovy Saturday Night‘, 120(intro)-118-117bpm ‘Never Give Up On Love‘. And to think, I bought his ‘Puff (Up In Smoke)‘ in 1963! Continue reading “July 23, 1983: Big Brother, Club House, Kenny Lynch, Galaxy, Sakhile”

July 16, 1983: The Chi-Lites, The Rake, George Benson, Aretha Franklin, Skyy

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

JULIE ROBERTS, who was replaced by some dolly bird when the Funk Masters did Top Of The Pops, has her own ‘Fool For You‘ on white label prior to Bluebird release in a fortnight — John Rocca-prod/Steve Jerome-penned, it’s an attractive 109bpm rhythm box jerked summer tempo with good singing and sax, if a bit repetitive . . . Michael Lovesmith’s sinuous synth growled swaying summer tempoed 107bpm ‘Just Say The Word‘ is actually hitting first off his LP reviewed last week . . . PRT’s claim to the new Bohannon ‘Let’s Start The Dance III‘ has been disputed by ‘Let’s Start II Dance Again’ — owning London, who nipped repressed stock of their oldie into the shops . . . Club House, due on Island now, already has a less good Continental cover by Slingshot, while Pink Project have similarly blended ‘Billie Jean’ with ‘Jeopardy’! . . . The O’Jays imminent ‘Put Our Heads Together’ UK 12in flip was due to be a mixed oldies medley until axed by the US . . . Streetwave picked up the recent Blue Magic set to compile a 4-track 12in, and follow-up Ingram with ‘We Like To Do It‘ / ‘Groovin’ On A Groove‘ (no remix!) — Morgan Khan incidentally is plugging and advising Arista/West End black product . . . Our Price record shops stopped stocking imports and have been selling all they had left (up to current releases) at giveaway prices — hurry, as the word spread fast . . . Yellowman’s live Capital Radio concert (aired as it happened) was terrific: especially effective was the way he suddenly changed the mesmeric tension of his droning reggae raps by slipping into such oldies as ‘Mr Lonely’, ‘It’s Now Or Never’, even Teddy’s ‘Turn Out The Lights’ (not to forget a reggae singalong ‘Get Me To The Church On Time’!) — while DJ David Rodigan must have been chuffed the amount his surname got woven into lyrics! . . . Midas Records have revived a much tried idea, putting pay-for-play new (in this case, soul) releases onto promotional-only cassettes which are then distributed to shops, DJs, wine bars and the like for background play: called ‘In-Store Music’, the cassettes have a stronger selection than the Disco Mix Club previews and make great in-car listening! . . . I continued exploring sunny South-West Wales last week accompanied by cassettes of Bob Jones and Jeff Young at Oct ’81 Caister, and even lots of early Greg Edwards (sounding like Al Matthews, mmm-hmm!) . . . Al Matthews incidentally plays the fire chief in ‘Superman III’ . . . Aberystwyth University’s Malayan soul society president Nick Abdullah, now he’s on long vac, is bringing all his friends to Mayfair Gullivers — where last Friday he bumped into his better publicised oppo from Loughbrough University, Eddie Gee (both discovered they’re reading economics!) . . . Sunday seemed the weather to trek into Sussex to Stan & Jayne Barrett’s Sheffield Arms at Sheffield Park where the really elegant Music Room disco is extremely impressive — and much more is planned . . . Sunday star there Chris Hill, long the Funk Mafia godfather, now really is godfather to Paula ‘n’ Bob Geldof’s new little bundle of joy . . . Sho Pro big cheese Adrian Webb should note that even eye-witness Pete Tong reported on Chris Hill commandeering a bus to get punters back to their South of France flats safely through the darkened streets — and anyway, Ada, where did I say anyone had a horrid time there (apart from some battered wives!)? . . . Justin Lubbock should note that Canute himself gave me his record well ahead of any organised promotion (which I’ve yet to encounter, anyway!) . . . Jimmy Brown (Euston Travel) is selling one Technics SL 1400 quartz digital readout vari-speed deck on 01-688 2434 . . . London’s mixing Mastermind Roadshow learnt the hard way that in New York they like their mixers HOT! . . . Graham Gold at Gullys did (his words) “an unreal long running mix out of Kurtis Blow into Herbie Hancock — I’ll never be able to repeat it!” . . . Arrow ‘Hot-Hot-Hot’ has been massacred for 7in, editing out all the most catchy “olay olay” bits . . . Kitty Grant ‘Glad To Know You‘ is evidently now selling fast on remixed 12in — thanx for getting one to me (I don’t think), IDS! . . . Tania Maria is at London’s Dominion this Sunday (17) . . . Central Line producer Roy Carter looks amazingly like a younger version of the current Lou Rawls album sleeve photo! . . . David Grant methinks doth protest too much — he’s always on the defensive about his new look even on telly . . . War called their track ‘U-2’ after being amused to see the group U-2 with an album called ‘War’! . . . Walter Jackson, a polio victim since childhood whose crutches often featured in photographs, sadly died three weeks ago of a heart attack — debuting on OKeh in ’64 with much influence from Curtis Mayfield (who wrote for him), Walter stuck with regular producer Carl Davis through to his recent and ironically best known record here, ‘Touching In The Dark‘ . . . Attitude’s rapid rise and much album activity in the charts shows mainly what happens when Fred Dove services his WEA mailing list jocks . . . hey hey hey, LET’S KEEP COOL OUT THERE!


HOT VINYL

THE CHI-LITES: ‘Changing For You’ (R&B RBL 215)
Thankfully refusing to die despite overdue release here, this superb summer tempoed 101bpm swaying jogger goes great with ‘All Night Long’ etc and is ultra, ultra soulfully sung with a cool acappella harmony intro and punchy brief rap halfway, hopefully a Billy Griffin/Sunfire-style smash now it’s on 12in here with their chunkily jittering fun-filled funky 103bpm ‘Bottom’s Up‘ US hit as flip.

THE RAKE: ‘Street Justice’ (US Profile PRO-7024)
Charles Bronson’s ‘Death Wish’ movies set to music, this lyrically searing 110bpm 12in rapper overnight suddenly makes ‘The Crown’ sound silly and trite. Preaching the vigilante message, it’s a harrowing tale of a guy whose family gets violated and raped, so he swears “gotta meet the punks on the battle front — gotta beat the punks, street justice” as the courts have let the perpetrators walk free. Radio won’t like it, but this really does carry on ‘The Message.’

GEORGE BENSON: ‘Feel Like Making Love’ (Warner Bros W9551T)
His album’s smash, Roberta’s oldie gets a great subtle yet smacking 112bpm dance groove (much better than ‘Lady Love Me’) on 3-track 12in with — incredible surprise value! — the terrific flute ‘n’ scat 117bpm long instrumental import hit 12in-only version of Kashif’s ‘Inside Love (So Personal)‘, plus the gradually unfurling delicate 51/102bpm ‘Use Me‘. Possibly his biggest ever. Continue reading “July 16, 1983: The Chi-Lites, The Rake, George Benson, Aretha Franklin, Skyy”

July 9, 1983: Herbie Hancock, Michael Wycoff, Brass Construction, LaFleur, Bob Andy

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

HOT POP — Polydor and WEA will be merging worldwide in the next few months, this however is not the reason for last week’s unexpected appearance of Al Jarreau and Serge Ponsar on WEA International, as Al is signed direct to that label anyway and now gets properly identified, while Serge although black is actually French and an international signing in his own right . . . Island picked up the ultra-hot Italian-recorded Club House medley for rush release next week, and put out a remix of Gwen Guthrie ‘Hopscotch’ a week later — but confusingly follow it with a Larry Levan remix another two weeks after that (more fuss than the song warrants, I reckon) . . . Skratch Music’s new PRT-distributed Passion label is rushing out Electric Mind ‘Zwei‘, one of the best mixers of the moment . . . South African jazzers Sakhile’s eponymous ‘Sakhile‘ 99bpm hotsie is now on white label 12in prior to their album’s release next week on the new Jive Afrika logo . . . Phil Fearon & Galaxy get the moody advance white label treatment again for their new 120bpm ‘Wait Until Tonight (My Love)‘, which doesn’t have as good a beat or strong a hook as their hit . . . Y Records new NYC (New York Connection) label has licensed a whole bunch of rappers from Enjoy to put on a twin-pack album made up of two 4-track 12in singles next week . . . 21 Records here go back a release to ‘Space Cowboy‘ for the next Jonzun Crew 12in, presumably hoping for pop crossover success . . . New York Citi Peech Boys are currently in this country purely to do club gigs, and are still looking for suitable venues with enough stage space (book ’em on 01-221 6136 from Neil Brett at Wasted Talent) . . . David Emery, currently ferrying Helen Shapiro around Northern radio stations for his new Pacific Promotions service, still needs jocks in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and a few dolly birds for occasional promotional work persuading shop owners to put up posters, etc — plus, David wonders where all the vivacious out-going young people are in Middlesbrough, as a mate’s singing telegram service can’t find any there (call 0632 814001) . . . Oldham-born Tony Prince of Radio Luxembourg and Disco Mix Club fame has been made honorary president of the North West DJ Association and in that capacity heads home to speak at a NWDJA meeting this Sunday (10) in Oldham’s Belgrade Hotel, Manchester Street, at 2pm (free admission, non-members especially welcome) . . . Alan Coulthard’s featured megamix on July’s Disco Mix Club cassette is of Human League . . . Nick Heyward lookalike John Osborne starts weekly upfront hot funky vinyl at Bletchley Peaches this Wednesday (6) — which was yesterday for most people outside central London, but maybe he’ll get some commuters who bought RM for the train! — plus Nick sorry, John still has upfront Tuesdays at Ilford Room At The Top and joins David Rodigan ‘n’ Steve Walsh Sundays at Streatham Cats Whiskers . . . Nick Ratcliffe and Steve Walsh are currently teamed for the next few Tuesdays at Guildford Cinderellas Rockerfellas — and speaking of big Steve, it was he who at their Capital Radio recorded London concert introduced Mezzoforte as “possibly the best band to come out of Iceland”! (think about it) . . . Robbie Vincent is Martin John’s special guest this Thursday (7) at Croydon Laurels (ex-Scamps), the same night as Jeff Young joins Joe Field & Mike Allin to kick off Thursdays at Hemel Hempstead’s Whip & Collar . . . Paul & Robin Wheeler’s Jacksons Nightclub in Staines re-opens Thursday (alternative music), Friday (jazz-funk), Saturday (disco) in a triple-pronged ceremony . . . Tony ‘Flanger’ Glass now does Fridays at Rayleigh Croc’s, with 10 foot video screens and civilised sound equipment . . . “Disco is dead” says Shalamar singer Howard Hewett (the uncharismatic one without a haircut), who can’t have done badly out of disco before switching to pure pop — still, presumably now I won’t have to review any more of their boring records . . . Tavares play Watford Baileys from next Monday (11) for six nights . . . Heatwave’s Keith Wilder at Mayfair Gullivers last weekend was non-plussed by LaFleur’s remake of ‘Boogie Nights’, which he’d never heard of . . . Flash Gordon’s new Bedminster (Bristol) residency is spelt McLouds — which is why if the neighbours complain it’s all down to the name — while as you probably realised, Richard Jon Smith’s free megamedley cassette is with the first 5,000 of his new 12in . . . South Eastern Discotheque Association next year change their annual exhibition to a later date in June and at Gravesend’s Woodville Halls, tied in with a celebration of their tenth anniversary (don’t panic, you’ll get full info nearer the date!) . . . Bob Heather (Southampton Top Rank Ice Rink) mixes Forrest ‘Rock The Boat’/Man Parrish ‘Hip Hop’/Indeep ‘When Boys Talk’/’Last Night A DJ’/Toto Coelo ‘Milk From The Coconut‘ . . . Pete Haigh, mixing urban contemporary at (deep breath) Caton Scarthwaite Hall (Sun)/Standish Cassinellis (Thurs)/Heysham 42nd Street (Mon)/Standish Hartley Hall (Fri) — can’t he go back to being just Pete Haigh & Frenchie (Blackpool)? — wants to identify the UK white label of Night Moves ‘Trans Dance‘, a c.118bpm “great mixer with loads of current faves” . . . Tom Robinson is evidently re-recording the superb ‘War Baby’ for 12in . . . Mark Clark, nattering in the current Thames Valley DJA newsletter, is upset in his Mark One record shop by the DJs who stick to chart hits without buying anything new, no matter how hot it obviously sounds, concluding very realistically that they could improve their reputation no end if punters were able to remember that they first heard the next number one played by that particular disco . . . Tricky Dicky Scanes in his West End record shop natters to boys town jocks from around the country and reckons most think the use of Hot Tracks remixes of older faves is short sighted as well as selfish because punters can’t then buy what they hear — better tell that to the Disco Mix Club too! . . . Alan Jones has some side deals going with our Nightclub chart and so offers record tokens “out of the hat” as inducement to contributing jocks — however, the same address applies for all charts, and it’s only when he’s opened the envelopes that he divides the charts into the different types, so anyone stands a chance of winning . . . James Brown has remixed and extended ‘Bring It On . . . Bring It On’ for UK 12in pressings, making it sound much more tidy and useable (although I still think it’s a shame that only the current chart system has made this a hit when so many of his monster classics missed having a fair shot at the chart in the old days) . . . Diana Ross’s new ‘Ross’ LP is largely with the same team as on Donald Fagan’s ‘The Nightfly’, but not aimed at our market . . . Tom Wilson (Edinburgh Northumberland Hotel), evidently the marrying kind, is reminded by Central Line ‘Surprise Surprise’ of Funkapolitan ‘As The Time Goes By’ . . . TV-AM’s Saturday morning Space Watch slot last week had a mind-blowing sequence which in one continuous shot went ever-outwards from the open palm of a guy sunbathing in Chicago to the furthest reaches of space before zooming back and on into the guy’s hand until reaching the inner space of one of his atoms — what a video that would make! . . . I got my disco console plus two record boxes under the closed luggage lid of my Datsun Cherry 1.3GL hatchback, without putting the seats down, so yah-boo and sucks to you, Jim Kershaw! . . . PHEW, WHAT A SCORCHER!


HOT VINYL

HERBIE HANCOCK: ‘Rockit’ (US Columbia 44-03978)
The sensation of the weekend, the hottest record of the decade! You won’t believe it until you’ve heard it, but Herbie’s gone electrophonic with an incredibly powerful 111bpm 12in explosion co-produced by Material which began as an ultra-funky instrumental before Grand Mixer D.S.T. then took two copies and scratched them into the hottest pool of melted vinyl you’ll ever hear this or any heatwave. Phew!

MICHAEL WYCOFF: ‘(Do You Really Love Me) Tell Me Love’ (RCA RCAT 348)
Huge on import LP and now on UK 12in with its dead catchy hook sensibly added to the title, this Webster Lewis-produced brilliant classy 105-106bpm soul jogger after an acapella title chant intro builds cumulatively (through enough instrumental to let mixers vari-speed back up out of the slower Mary Jane Girls/Funk Masters/SOS Band/etc), ending up a real mind nagger . . . not a crossover maybe, but a soul must!

BRASS CONSTRUCTION: ‘We Can Work It Out’ (Capitol 12CL 299)
Hopefully not now too late on 12in, this infectious socking jittery 117-119-118-117-116-118bpm (acapella fade) groove in the ‘Movin’ tradition is their best since in fact that classic and to rekindle interest has a 2-track flip of last year’s sparser 117-118-119-120bpm ‘Do That Thang‘ and 1976’s speeding 126-127bpm ‘Ha Cha Cha (Funktion)‘. Continue reading “July 9, 1983: Herbie Hancock, Michael Wycoff, Brass Construction, LaFleur, Bob Andy”

July 2, 1983: Gary Byrd & The G.B. Experience, Aretha Franklin, Club House, Serge Ponsar, Lonnie Liston Smith

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

CHI-LITES ‘Changing For You‘ has been picked up for UK 12in release by R&B . . . Aretha Franklin’s UK 12in of ‘Get It Right’ (due next week) has the instrumental flip plus her old ‘Jump To It’ . . . George Benson will evidently follow up here with ‘Feel Like Making Love‘ (sensible!), then ‘Inside Love (So Personal)‘ after that . . . Bluebird Records this coming month re-release Lonnie Liston Smith ‘Expansions‘ — which is inspired timing, as next week’s newie from Atmosfear, ‘What Do We Do‘ is basically ‘Expansions’ set to a 117bpm rhythm box instead of their old inconsistent drummer (and rumours of law suits are already flying!) . . . Steve Harvey, off to the States to negotiate deals for ‘Something Special’, tells me his follow-up will be “heavier and not so commercial maybe”, with Carol Kenyon and Billy Ocean amongst backup singers . . . Katie Kissoon has resurfaced on a mystery white label promoed Jive 12in, ‘You’re The One (You’re My Number One)‘, a Darryl Payne-produced formularized plodding creaky 119bpm lurcher with electronic handclaps and bass synth, in four versions . . . Ghanaian Band Kabbala, currently on a short tour, in a fortnight release ‘Yemo Osee (Rejoice)‘ on Red Flame — they’re at the Bracknell Jazz Festival this Sunday (3) . . . Leatherhead’s “all star garden party” last Saturday was in a field fifty times too big for the crowd who turned up, mainly comprised of Gary Crowley & Mick Brown punters who were happy to jump up and down to ‘Contact’, ‘Instant Replay’ and ‘Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag’ while being showered with T-shirts and Capital stickers — which left a little knot of black funkateers in their midst defiantly trying to get down to some insufficiently amplified hard jazz on a ghetto blaster! . . . I had a good time, actually, with plenty of people to talk to, but if I hear ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ again I’ll scream! . . . Showstopper’s recent South of France trip turned out to be based in a half completed new town, with the disco miles away down unlit streets and hostile natives who still reckon we’re fighting Napoleon — and I do hear there was a certain amount of fighting between various husbands and wives in the DJ team, too! . . . US cable TV will soon step up play of black music videos via Black Entertainment Television (with four million national subscribers) and Warner Amex’s Qube system (in just five cities) — the more coverage they get, the more will be made, and available for club use here . . . New York record mixer/producer John ‘Jellybean’ Benitez is due to make his own recording debut on Streetwise . . . Keith Jonas (Sale) has again compiled a list of the top as yet unissued imports for the last three months (including this week), which in order are the Chi-Lites (due soon) Lavias, Advance (due soon), Leon Haywood, Tania Maria, Paul Simpson Connection, Charles Earland, Muscle Shoals Horns, Burgess Gardner, Vaughan Mason & Butch Dayo. Keith also reminds us the US group called Galaxy had an import album on Arista in 1979 containing the single ‘You And Me‘, plus Keith suggests as the fourth track on my hypothetical ‘Philly Hits’ 4-track 12in Jean Carn ‘Don’t Let It Go To Your Head‘ . . . I thought it had to be Jean Carn myself, but like Freddy (“a punter” from Marlow) I’d go for ‘Was That All It Was?‘ . . . Freddy incidentally wonders, “are companies promoting properly if songs like Gwen McCrae ‘Keep The Fire Burning‘ fail to sell?” — that was certainly one that got away . . . Tom Holland, back on the buns, is having fun rooting out material for his alternative soul Sunday midnight-2am show on Radio Horizon 94.4FM . . . I broke my annual diet after discovering Messrs Walls’ horribly addictive new big Feast — I wish they weren’t so good! . . . Warner Bros as a label in the States seems to be mutating into WEA, to judge from the brand new import by Serge Ponsar and UK release by Al Jarreau, both on WEA . . . Flash Gordon (who in an unguarded moment reveals he’s really called Gordon Viney!) now has a day job managing the Plastic Wax Records shop in Cheltenham Road, Bristol, but still jocks at a new local club in Bedminster called McClouds (if the neighbours complain it’s all down to the name!) — he also mutters that pluggers Eyes & Ears don’t seem to appreciate a bad record can’t be pushed in a club because the reaction is face to face . . . Cleveland Area DJ Association invites any bona fide DJ to join members at their meeting the first Sunday every month (ie: this Sunday 3) at 7.30pm in the Odd Fellow Arms, Thornaby . . . Mark Barker (Brighton) reckons Morgan Khan should try a one-off ‘Street Sounds’-style compilation of Boys Town hits, — he suggests Norma Lewis, Hazell Dean, Menage, American Fade, Sylvester, Bobby ‘O’ and more — which could actually be a surprisingly big seller as it’s all just pop music, but possibly more up Marvin Howell’s street at ERC? . . . Friday (1) is the grand final at Haringey Bolts of the National Gay Disco Dancing Championships 1983 . . . Soul To Soul do a funky get down (part 5) at Haverstock Hill’s Hampstead Country Club this Friday . . . Dundee’s Barracuda (great decor if it’s still like it used to be) this Sunday (3) has a Scotland & England jazz-funk alldayer (noon-midnight) with Bill Davidson, Bob Jeffries, John Courtney, Colin Curtis, Kev Edwards, Baz Williams, Alex Lowes . . . Boscombe’s Academy celebrates American Independence Day, July the 4th (Monday), with those well known Americans Central Line live (plus a £1000 motor boat raffle) . . . Tuesday (5) the mixing and rapping Mastermind Roadshow starts weekly at Soho Ronnie Scott’s Maze . . . Lyndon T & Gordon Mac funk it just around the corner at Jean Pierre’s in Soho’s Greek Street every Monday & Tuesday, £3 admission with first drink included, Tuesday cryptically dubbed ‘Flashdance Nite’ . . . Gary Raymond is now the sole DJ (that’s sole, not soul!) at Leicester Square’s Maximus Club, which should interest tourists . . . Dave Higgins is still after versatile jocks for Scottish “lounge” work, on Helensburgh (0436) 83261 . . . Chris Cole (Cranleigh) says a great mixer though not outstanding in its own right is Brilliant ‘Colours‘ (Risk 12in, via Rough Trade) — no, I haven’t had it . . . Roger Davis (Birmingham Boogies) is in luck, his club’s unobtainable monster sound has just been twin-packed as a US remix, the 122bpm ‘Kiss Me‘ by Tin Tin now packaged with the new 128bpm ‘Hold It‘ 12in (WEA X9763T) for pop fans . . . Mecca’s Nottingham regional director John De Holton reminisces in the current Mecca house-mag that in his days as head DJ at the Leeds Locarno, none other than Jimmy Savile OBE used to time all his records by a Beats Per Minute system . . . Pete Tong may be interested to know that Monk Higgins originally recorded ‘Who-Dun-It?‘ in 1966 on the St Lawrence label . . . Jim Kershaw (Sheffield), in our New Cars Section, is dead impressed by his new Vauxhall Nova SR 1.2 L Hatchback, £4,273 on the road, average 47.5mpg, appreciably cheaper and yet a size bigger than the BL Metro — and adds Jim, with a bumper level hatch and enough space for a standard size disco console and six boxes of records (presumably someone follows on a bike with the speakers?) . . . hey, hey, LET’S DRIVE CAREFULLY OUT THERE!


HOT VINYL

GARY BYRD & THE G.B EXPERIENCE: ‘The Crown’ (US Wondirection 4507WG)
Produced, co-penned, played on and partly sung by Stevie Wonder, this marathon 10½ minute ‘Good Times’-type 108½bpm 12in rapper will obviously be huge and really trucks with a continuous lyric that makes out civilization as we know it actually began in a mythical black kingdom called Alkebu (yeah, say it loud, I’m Alkeban and I’m proud!), Stevie’s vocal halfway being retained on the instrumental flip.

ARETHA FRANKLIN: ‘Get It Right’ LP (Arista 205544)
Aretha’s latest Luther Vandross-produced set (largely co-penned by Luther with Marcus Miller) contains two strong dancers, the rolling beefy 120-121-123(break)-122-124bpm title track thunker already being on US 12in (with a new instrumental flip) but the real killer is the much cleaner 114(very start)-117½bpm ‘Every Girl (Wants My Guy)‘ strutting smacker. A sultry 0-41½-84bpm revival of The Temptations ‘I Wish It Would Rain‘ doesn’t really cut through on the floor, while other slowies include the jogging 97bpm ‘Pretender’, 102bpm ‘When You Love Me Like That’, and swaying 99bpm ‘I Got Your Love’.

CLUB HOUSE: ‘Do It Again medley with Billie Jean’ (Italian Many Records MN 501)
At the exact same 116½bpm 12in speed as Michael Jackson, this brilliant blending of his tune and the Steely Dan classic weaves the bass lines together and swaps vocals as it progresses (re-recorded, not the original versions of course). Likely to be a massive crossover smash, and the start of yet another medley trend! Continue reading “July 2, 1983: Gary Byrd & The G.B. Experience, Aretha Franklin, Club House, Serge Ponsar, Lonnie Liston Smith”