December 31, 1983: The Hammy Awards, Kool & The Gang, Circle City Band, Barbara Mason, Hashim, I.R.T.

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

MORGAN KHAN’s ambitious ‘The Dance Decade‘ 14 album/9 cassette boxed set actually did reach the shops more than a week before Christmas, while ‘Street Sounds Electro 2‘ turns out to be far stronger than the regular ‘Street Sounds 7’ . . . ‘Street Sounds Boys Town 1‘ starts yet another series (suggested by myself) in January, plus on Streetwave a 5-track 12in EP of The B Boys is imminent . . . PRT picked up Mary Wells ‘My Guy’ for rush release, and — you’ll never guess! — Michael Jackson’s ‘P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)’ will now follow ‘Thriller’ here as the sixth UK single from his LP (which the video has sent right back up the charts both sides of the Atlantic again) . . . Tommy Boy won rights to Malcolm X ‘No Sell Out’ but pay a nominal royalty to Sugarhill, who not surprisingly have severed all connection with producers Keith LeBlanc & Marshall Chess — Tommy Boy’s new pressings evidently include an added gunshot at the end . . . Midas Records have had to stop their ‘In Store Music’ promo cassette service as currently operated due to further objections by the BPI rights committee (refunds are being sent to subscribers) the fact that record companies were charged for the inclusion of their product, rather than the other way around, proved to be the stumbling block this time . . . George Benson ‘Inside Love’ has been white labelled with a new somewhat phased instrumental remix . . . North East Londoners Total Contrast, aping the original Linx approach (see Hot Vinyl), are offering PAs on 01-928 5666 (day)/806 9295/764 4839 (evening) . . . Mickey Lee, now taking a break from Crete until next summer with partner Laura B at Italian ski resort Sauze D’Oulx, temporarily filled in at Nethertown’s Village Inn where snooker champ Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins (the one who isn’t into mixing!) had to pay to get in, muttered to a tipsy regular “This wouldn’t happen to me at Stringfellows”, and got the reply “I’m sorry to hear that, Alex, but tell me how’s the boxing these days?”!! . . . Teesvalley Roadshow’s Graham Murray & Alastair Jones are just off to work in Germany, leaving Cleveland in the grip of Hi-NRG fever (they say the jocks all know about our Boys Town chart and ignore ‘The Tube’!): meanwhile Gary Oldis has left Aycliffe Bee Jays for Victoria’s in sunny Scarborough, where the pop has a definite Hi-NRG bias (biggest requests still being Hazell Dean ‘Searchin’ and Ronni Griffiths ‘Breakin’ Up’) . . . If Hi-NRG does come galloping down from the frozen North and into the pop charts, as many seem to predict, it won’t be anything new — remember Kelly Marie? . . . Record Mirror’s influential Boys Town/Hi-NRG Disco chart has other less regular contributors but wouldn’t exist without the help of Ian Levine (Charing Cross Heaven), Chris Lucas (Earls Court Copacabana), Norman Scott (Haringey/Brighton Bolts) Tricky Dicky Scanes (London Dicks Inns), Adrian Dunbar (Southampton Warehouse), Gary Allan (Liverpool Concert Street), Bill Grainger (Edinburgh Fire Island) — the most powerful boys on the beat! . . . Peter Stringfellow’s cavernous new Hippodrome is about to go gay on Mondays . . . Mary Wells ‘My Guy’ remake really is remarkably good out of Barbara Mason’s ‘Another Man’, even down to its story-continuing “no muscle bound man can take the hand of my guy”! — Mary’s ‘The Old, The New And The Best Of Mary Wells’ import LP (US Allegiance AV 444) is a disappointment though, full of interesting but limp remakes of her old Motown material . . . Active Force ‘Give Me Your Love’/Girls Can’t Help It ‘Baby Doll’/Lionel Richie ‘Love Will Find A Way’/Ray Parker Jr ‘I Don’t Wanna Know’ make a sensational mellow mix sequence, while I scared myself doing an unbelievably imperceptible much vari-speeded mix from George Clinton ‘Atomic Dog’ into P.Funk All-Stars ‘Copy Cat’ (not easy as the latter’s short odd intro is 7½bpm faster) . . . Big Phill Etgart (Bethnal Green Weavers Nitespot) suggests as Warp 9 ‘Beat Wave’ is so good with Malcolm X, using its dub under Martin Luther King (from Stevie Wonder’s flip) before mixing into Malcolm . . . Mayfair Gulliver’s Danny Daniels has had a haircut making him look like Fats Domino, while Capital’s Disco John Leeech has had his dyed! . . . Capital Radio’s ‘Best Disco’ finished as such at the Lyceum over Christmas but is due to hit the road for live broadcasts from different London area venues starting in February, but probably returning to the Lyceum once a month . . . Capital’s New Year’s Eve ‘Nothin’ But A House Party’ goes out 10.03pm-2.00am, four solid hours of my party mixes yet again . . . Steve Walsh’s New Year’s Eve soul show on County Sound is an extended 6- 10pm review of ’83, while Robbie Vincent starts his Sunday 10pm-midnight Radio One soul show on New Years Day . . . Brian Mason (St. Albans) wishes Radio London soul broadcaster Tony Blackburn would stop hammering the “only available from import shops” and “the only station that plays the best of the Top 40 and the best in jazz funk and soul” — even his jokes are bearable but not that, sez Brian . . . I’m losing count of the records Passion put out without sending me promos — latest is a George Benson soundalike medley by Mirage (inspired by the Disco Mix Club?) . . . Luther Vandross ‘I Wanted Your Love‘ does actually grow on one, mainly through memories of ‘The Glow Of Love’ . . . BT Express ‘Hangin’ Out‘ should be c.113bpm , and improves the longer it’s on . . . Eartha Kitt could have had a bigger hit if her 7in edit hadn’t left out the best “big, big yacht” . . . Wham! ‘Megamix’ is conversely much better and more danceable in its 7in form . . . Theo Loyla makes a point about the late lamented Nightclub chart, with which I totally agree, that it was the pop hits which didn’t get into it that had most significance — if only we didn’t have to wait until they’d stopped selling to find out! . . . Disco/Boys Town/info deadline for contributors returns to normal next week, so beat the post and mail ’em before the weekend . . . 1984 is upon us. Thirty years ago I didn’t realize that the numerical significance was only a rearrangement of ‘1948’, but do remember a doom-laden craze for the “Big Brother is watching you” slogan in 1954 itself, when (at a very young age!) today seemed a lifetime away in the future yesterday . . . I suppose it was, but the frightening thing is it didn’t then take long to get there . . . WOT, NOT COLD TURKEY AGAIN!


HOT VINYL

KOOL & THE GANG: ‘You Can Do It’ (LP ‘In The Heart’ De-Lite DSR 4)
Fully reviewed weeks ago to amazingly zilch response so far, their self-produced set is comfortably familiar (dated?) with the harmonised jittery thudding 106bpm title track and this brassily thrusting 118bpm chanter being most instantly recognisable.

CIRCLE CITY BAND: ‘Magic’ (US Circle City Records CC-053183)
Most in demand import before Christmas, this fabulous very Slave-like deliberately thudding 110bpm 12in roller sets up one of those monotonously driving momentums that sweep all before it, especially when thundered through huge speakers (inst/edit flip). Not a cross-over, though.

BARBARA MASON: ‘Another Man’ (Streetwave MKHAN 3)
A controversial “succes de scandale”. Barbie laments her man’s going out with another man, wearing her clothes, talking and walking funny — but all so sweetly wailed and rapped with seductive girlie group support to a gently bumping 112bpm swaying beat box that unless you listen it’ll pass you by. The 4-track 12in rap compresses the story to its main meat.

HASHIM: ‘Al-Naafiysh (The Soul)’ (Streetwave MKHAN 4)
If it bites, Morgan seems to hook it, at the moment. A monstrous simple catchy clever 122½bpm 12in hip hop electro instrumental (dynamite out of Xena) with subdued scratching and tension building pauses while the thrusting tempo breaks down (alternative flip, bonus beats).

I.R.T. (INTERBORO RHYTHM TEAM): ‘Watch The Closing Doors’ (US RCA PW-13689)
Hottest electro newie since Hashim, a great happily tumbling 116-0bpm 12in guided tour of New York City’s subway system by a rapping train conductor and his chums over a Liquid Liquid rhythm (good out of D.ST.), excellent dub flip making most use of some lovely latin piano halfway. All aboard!

KEVIE KEV (WATERBED KEV): ‘All Night Long (Waterbed)’ (Sugarhill SHL 131)
A bit bleedin’ late, this great floor-packing 99bpm 12in rapped/sung retread of the Mary Jane Girls is best started after the offputting intro at the chick’s “are you talkin’ to me”. Combined with the MJG vocal/instrumental you can whip up a megamix to last . . . all night long!

TOTAL CONTRAST: ‘Be With You Tonight’ (Total Contrast Records TCDRMK1, via 01-928 5666)
Very promising debut by Imagination-aided lads going it alone Linx-style on their own label with a light, bright ‘n busy 117bpm 12in beefy beat box driven soul judderer with good vocal touches, although its B-side piano played instrumental (retitled ‘Ourselves‘) is possibly even better.

RON BANKS: ‘This Love Is For Real’ (LP ‘Truly Bad’ US CBS Associated Records FZ 39148)
Thanks to Pedro I picked up at last on this one killer infectiously lurching yet subtly soulful 107bpm clonker, good out of Circle City Band and kinda like a beefier Billy Griffin with catchy “uh huh” chicks (how about a 12in?), the Dramatics guy otherwise doing a duetted 36bpm revival of Jerry Butler’s ‘Make It Easy On Yourself’, purposeful 108½bpm ‘She’s So Good To Me‘, emptily snappy 122bpm ‘Zap‘, ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’-ish 122bpm title track.

KINKY FOXX: ‘So Different’ (Sound Of New York SNYL 6)
Taking off fast again now its out here, the MJ-ish fellah gets soulfully all het up over a stumblingly thudding then gradually building 109-110-111-112-111-113(break)-111-113-0bpm 12in pent-up rumbler, quite hypnotic (inst flip).

PUMPKIN: ‘King Of The Beat’ (US Profile PRO-7038)
Stark but extremely funky rappin’ ‘n scratchin’ great 107bpm 12in beat box hip hop thudder like a beefier DJ Divine, with an “oh oh oh OKeh” that’s perfect through Ron Banks’ “uh huh uh huh” (inst flip).

J. BLACKFOOT: ‘Taxi’ (LP ‘City Slicker’ US Sound Town ST-8002)
The Joe Tex-ish guy’s Memphis soul set (Homer Banks & Chuck Brooks produced) should be heard by the original soul generation, this standout superb lovely 66bpm slow swayer having nice imagery and useful lyrics for announcing someone’s cab is waiting!

ROYALCASH: ‘Radio Activity’ (Buddah BDSL 503)
US hit but here widely ignored excellent long episodic jittery 117bpm 12in P’funky groove (slightly different flip), by chance out here just as imports arrive of the much starker new alternative hip hop M.C. FOSTY AND LOVIN’ C’ ‘Radio Activity Rapp’ (US Rappers Rapp Disco Co RR-12”-2001), on 3-track 12in in 0-118bpm poppin’ MC ‘Street Version‘, tighter rapping 117½bpm ‘Party Version‘, and more spacious vocodered/sung 118bpm ‘Radio Activity Syndrome‘ (credited to ARCADE GANG featuring Rich Cason). A good lick, it could now click here.

INDEEP: ‘The Record Keeps Spinning’ (US Sound Of New York SNY 5109)
Exactly a year later they still rehash ‘Last Night A DJ’ but without much gimmickry on this 104bpm 12in effort apart from a “break break” break (dub/beats flip). Boring!


Hi-NRG

SIMONE: ‘It’s Too Late’ (KRP KRPT 102, via PRT)
Ian Levine-mixed surprisingly effective graft of Carole King’s 1971 mega-seller to a violently electro then galloping 130bpm 12in Hi-NRG beat (inst flip).

LE JETÉ: ‘La Cage Aux Folles’ (Dance SKIP 1, via Pinnacle)
Big with the boys since September, the gay play’s theme becomes an electronic percussion pounded 132bpm 12in racer with simple ‘Funkytown’ synth between smoothly crooning chaps and bursts of sleazy ambiance (edit/inst flip).

BOBBY ‘O’: ‘Givin’ Up’ (Design Communications DEST 6, via IDS)
Eurodisco type jaunty 128bpm 12in ditty, flipped by a chick sung controversial 0-126bpm cobbling together of ‘I Who Have Nothing’ and ‘Don’t Cry For Me Ike And Tina’.

DIVINE ‘Shake It Up’ (Design Communications DEST 5)
Big in Boys Town earlier this year, the Diana Dors of drag growls a minimal lyric over an 131½bpm 12in rerun of Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ backing track (inst flip).


DISCO TOP 85 – DECEMBER 31, 1983

01 02 Thriller – Michael Jackson – Epic 12”
02 03 The Sound Of Music – Dayton – Capitol 12”
03 01 Holiday – Madonna – Sire 12”
04 06 Crazy Cuts – Grandmixer D.ST. – Island 12”
05 05 All Night Long (All Night) – Lionel Richie – Motown LP remix
06 04 Let The Music Play (Dub Version) / (Vocal) – Shannon – Club 12”
07 12 Another Man / Rap – Barbara Mason – Streetwave 12”
08 10 Al-Naafiysh (The Soul) – Hashim – US Cutting Records 12”
09 18 On The Upside – Xena – Streetwave 12”
10 11 Love How You Feel / Dub – Sharon Redd – Prelude 12”
11 08 I’m Out Of Your Life – Arnie’s Love – Streetwave 12”
12 09 Ain’t Nobody – Rufus & Chaka Khan – Warner Bros 12”
13 07 White Lines – Grandmaster & Melle Mel – Sugarhill 12”
14 15 Serious – Billy Griffin – CBS 12”
15 19 Share The Night – World Premiere – US Easy Street 12”
16 16 Happiness Is Just Around The Bend – Cuba Gooding – London 12”
17 31 Love Is The Message – Hi Voltage – KRP 12”
18 17 Cuttin’ Herbie – The B Boys – US Vintertainment 12”
19 28 I Wanna Be With You – Armenta – Savoir Faire 12”
20 21 Joys Of Life – David Joseph – Island LP
21 13 Get It On – Spence – Arista 12”
22 14 Let’s Stay Together – Tina Turner – Capitol 12”
23 — Magic – Circle City Band – US Circle City Records 12”
24 33 Somebody Save The Night / You’re A Winner / Got Ya’ Where I Want / Activate – Sharon Redd – Dutch Rams Horn LP
25 47 Out Of Sight – Lefturno – US Ascot 12”
26 30 Love Will Find A Way – Lionel Richie – Motown LP
27 22 17 Single Handed – Haywoode – CBS 12”
28 34 Don’t You – Second Image – MCA 12”
29 24 Scratch Break (Glove Style) – Motor City Crew – Motown 12”
30 32 Straight Ahead – Kool & The Gang – De-Lite 12”
31 20 Where Is My Man – Eartha Kitt – Record Shack 12”
32 23 Inside Love (So Personal) (Vocal) – George Benson – Warner Bros 12”
33 29 Just Can’t Let You Go – Ronnie McNeir & Instant Groove – US Crossroad Entertainment Corp 12”
34 49 Fo-Fi-Fo / It’s Time For Love / Imagine This – Pieces Of A Dream – German Elektra LP
35 51 So Different – Kinky Foxx – Sound Of New York 12”
36 35 All My Life – Major Harris – London 12”
37 — Make Mine Guarana – Azymuth – US Milestone LP
38 37 Crotona Park – Dave Valentin – US GRP LP
39 38 Cavern – Liquid Liquid – US 99 12” EP
40 36 My Guy – Mary Wells – US Allegiance 12”
41 39 B-Boys Beware – Two Sisters – US Sugarscoop 12”
42 42 Running With The Night (Remix) – Lionel Richie – Motown 12”
43 26 Dressing Up – Street Angels – Street Beat 12”
44 41 Got To Have Your Love / It’s Really Love / Never Say Never – Melba Moore – Capitol LP
45 — Christmas Rappin’ – Kurtis Blow – Mercury 12”
46 25 All Night Long (All Night) (Instrumental) – Lionel Richie – US Motown 12”
47 — Watch The Closing Doors – I.R.T. – US RCA 12”
48 53 Give Me Your Love (Extended Remix) – Active Force – US A&M 12”
49 — Baby I’m Scared Of You / T.K.O. – Womack & Womack – German Elektra LP
50 27 Just Can’t Get Enough / Don’t Give Up Your Dream – Lew Kirton – Epic 12”
51 73 No Sell Out – Malcolm X / Keith LeBlanc – US Tommy Boy 12”
52 72 I Wanted Your Love / For The Sweetness Of Your Love / Busy Body – Luther Vandross – US Epic LP
53 55 Baby Doll (Remix) – Girls Can’t Help It – US Sire 12”
54 43 (Whatever Happened To) The Party Groove / ‘Jellybean’ Remix – The Walkers – London 12”
55 69 Bigger Than Life – Lamont Dozier – Demon LP
56 44 You Ain’t Got No Money – Jaime Lynn – US Salsoul 12”
57 — Copy Cat – P.Funk All-Stars – US Uncle Jam LP
58 79 Yah Mo B There / It’s Your Night / One More Rhythm / There’s No Easy Way – James Ingram – German Qwest LP
59 46 Stay With Me Tonight (Remix) – Jeffrey Osborne – A&M 12”
60 — Respect / So Many Ways / Don’t Ask Me To Be Friends – Billy Griffin – US Columbia LP
61 70 Time For Some Fun – Central Line – Mercury 12”
62 45 It’s Your Turn – Delegation – CBS 12”
63 40 King Of Soul Medley – Soul Kings – US Pandisc 12”
64 54 Red Hot – Herb Alpert – A&M LP remix/12” re-remix
65 — Beat Wave / Dub – Warp 9 – US Prism 12”
66 48 (Just Because) You’ll Be Mine – Instant Funk – US Salsoul 12”
67 67 Superstition/Good Times (Medley) – Club House – Island 12”
68 — This Love Is For Real – Ron Banks – US CBS Associated Records LP
69 — You And Me Right Now / I Want My Baby Back – Teddy Pendergrass – Philadelphia International LP
70 58 Deeper – Gerry Trew – Bluebird 12”
71 60 I’ll Let You Slide – Luther Vandross – Epic 12”
72 65 Bad Times – Captain Rapp – US Saturn/Becket 12”
73 57 A Night In New York – Elbow Bones & The Racketeers – EMI America 12”
74 — Brighten Up Your Night – Ebony Brothers – RCA 12”
75 — Please Stay – Fatback – US Spring 12”/LP
76 59 Tell Me If You Still Care – SOS Band – Tabu 12”
77 63 You Are Beautiful / Party Everybody / Believer – Chic – US Atlantic LP
78 — Love Is Still Waiting – Al Jarreau – WEA 12”
79 52 Summer Breeze – Baiser – Canadian Celsius 12”
80 — Get Into The Mix / Inst. Scratch Version – DJ Divine – US West End 12”
81 66 What’s Going On / I Heard It Through The Grapevine (Remix) – Marvin Gaye – Motown 12”
82 62 You Got Me Where I Want To Be – Sharon Brown – US Profile 12”
83 71 Neptune – Congress – Tooti Frooti 12”
84 75 Play That Beat Mr. DJ – G.L.O.B.E & Whiz Kid – US Tommy Boy 12″
85 64 Get Tough / Instrumental – CD III – US Prelude 12”


BREAKERS

No Breakers listed this week.


HIT NUMBERS

Beats Per Minute for the Top 75 entries of a fortnight ago on 7in (endings denoted by f/c/r for fade/resonant/cold):

Jingle Belles 141f, Dennis Waterman/George Cole 0-80c, Paul McCartney 45-94-43-0r, Frida/BA Robertson 86-0r, George Benson 0-117½f, Malcolm McLaren 0-143-142-0f, Bing Crosby/Grace Kelly 0-25-0r, The Jets 166-164-0f, Bucks Fizz (0-)133-132f.


BOYS TOWN/HI-NRG DISCO

01 01 Where Is My Man – Eartha Kitt – Record Shack 12”
02 05 He’s A Saint He’s A Sinner / Manpower / So Many Men So Little Time (Remake) / Beeline – Miquel Brown – Record Shack LP
03 02 I Am What I Am – Gloria Gaynor – Chrysalis 12”
04 03 Skiing In The Snow – Laura Pallas & The Reputations – Record Shack 12”
05 06 Earthquake – Flirtations – Siam/Proto 12”
06 04 Giving Up / I Cry For You – Bobby “O” – Design Communications 12”
07 09 You’re A Winner – Sharon Redd – Prelude LP
08 07 La Cage Aux Folles – Le Jete – Dance/Pinnacle 12”
09 10 Where Are You Now – Cerrone – Record Shack 12”
10 16 It’s Too Late – Simone – KRP 12”
11 24 Save Yourself For Me / I’m The One / I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten / Queen Of Fools – Dee Dee Martin / Charade / Simon Orchestra / Jessica Williams – Passion LP/12” twin-pack
12 08 Trouble In Paradise / Too Late – Sylvester – US Megatone 12”
13 13 You Can Dance – Motion – Canadian DBA 12”
14 11 Don’t Leave Me This Way (Mega-Mix) / Twelve Inches Of Pleasure (Medley) – Slip / Various – Proto 12”/LP twin-pack
15 20 Primitive Desire – Eastbound Expressway – Record Shack 12”
16 14 And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going – Koffie – Red Rooster 12”
17 15 Catch Me (I’m Falling In Love) – Marsha Raven – Passion 12”
18 12 Love How You Feel – Sharon Redd – Prelude 12”
19 17 Take My Heart Away (Remix) / Love On The Rocks / Destiny – Gillian Lane / Lama / Two Sisters – US Disconet LP
20 22 Relax (Sex Mix) – Frankie Goes To Hollywood – ZTT 12”
21 18 Rocket To Your Heart – Lisa – US Moby Dick LP
22 — Sweet Temptation – Gem – US Street King 12”
23 25 Thriller – Michael Jackson – Epic 12”
24 30 Let’s Stay Together – Tina Turner – Capitol 12”
25 — Happy Station / Stop (Remixes) – Fun Fun / Valerie Allington – Dutch High Fashion Music 12”
26 26 A Night In New York – Elbow Bones & The Racketeers – EMI America 12”
27 — Evergreen – Fantasia – Passion 12”
28 29 Let The Music Play / Dub Version – Shannon – Club 12”
29 28 Life Is The Reason – Norma – US ERC 12”
30=— Pillow Talk – Lustt – Canadian Street-Level 12”
30=— Going Through The Motions – Danny Lugo & Destination – US C&M 12”
30=— Holiday – Madonna – Sire 12”


The HAMMY Awards

TWELVE MONTHS ago I referred to 1982 as the year of fierce electronics, but that was a mere preamble to what erupted in ’83. The electronic influence has been felt not only in the obvious explosions of hip-hoppery but also, and more pervasively, in the way that most records are actually made now.

A simple comparison between almost anything in the disco charts of now and then will reveal how the sound you hear has hardened, tightened, become more stark, sparse and empty as electronic rhythm machines replace drummers (even on traditional “soul” sessions) in stripped down arrangements recorded digitally for ever greater clarity . . . and coldness?

This emptiness has made mixing a must if DJs are to maintain a flow, whereas before the fuller sound made older records much easier to bung together. Now instead of noise there is space, and space doesn’t cut through with much impact unless the isolated beats within it are synched together.

It was lucky good timing that Alan Coulthard and Tony Prince established their DJs-only subscription Disco Mix Club during 1983, converting many jocks previously unconvinced by the concept. In fact 1983 has been the year in which mixing made stars of the DJs themselves as actual artistes on hit records, not just megamixing medleys or remixing other people’s work (like current hotshot John ‘Jellybean’ Benitez) but by creating their own “scratch” tracks, cutting records into a beat box backing. To give grudging credit where it’s due, Malcolm McLaren lifted this technique and that of “break” dancing from the streets of New York and served them up on all-important video.

Break dancing consequently caught the public’s imagination in double quick time and, aided by Jeffrey Daniel’s earlier body-popping influence, tied in with the electro scratch music to create real excitement and interest in disco music again, especially amongst afro/asian kids. This unfortunately widened the rift between those excited by the shock of the new and those who liked their black music just the way it was, creating an “us” and “them” situation that had started festering in ’82.

While electro modernity took over the main urban centres, our country cousins continued looking back for the old (more musical) values of soul, vintage R&B, jazz and latin — in their limited elitist way creating a new Northern Soul-like scene, designed to separate its old mafia jocks from the mob. Although unable to fault the excellent performances they’ve unearthed, I here concentrate on new releases — including doubtless some that’ll be revived in fifteen years too!

With the contraction and fragmentation of the over-all soul scene, the specialist venues and DJs who supply our chart get fewer as the majority of discos follow the taste of a general public whose main influence would seem to be whatever it’s seen on telly. As 1983 closes, the hits in our disco chart reflect the taste of the real enthusiasts for our music, now truly “urban contemporary”. Roots, maybe, but from small acorns mighty oaks may grow.

HIT OF THE YEAR:

Booker Newberry III ‘Love Town’ (Polydor) — seven weeks at number one and a number six pop hit nationally.

CROSSOVER DANCE HIT:

Forrest ‘Rock The Boat’ (CBS) — topped all three disco charts.

ARTISTE OF THE YEAR:
Michael Jackson.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR:
‘Thriller’.

DISCO LABELS OF THE YEAR:
1. Epic, 2. CBS, 3. Polydor, 4. Streetwave, 5. Prelude (previously top for two years running).

RECORD COMPANIES (labels ranked by hit strength):
1. CBS (Epic/CBS/Prelude/Tabu/Philadelphia International), 2. PolyGram (Polydor/London/Mercury/Club/Montage/Total Experience/De-Lite), 3. RCA (RCA/Salsoul/Laurie), 4. PRT (Philly World/R&B/Sound Of New York/Becket/Sugarhill/PRT), 5. Streetwave, 6. Motown (Motown/Gordy), 7. WEA (Warner Bros/WEA/Korova/Atlantic/Solar), 8. Island (Island/Ensign), 9. Arista (Arista/West End), 10. US Spring (their 12in import hits did end up on UK Club LP — eventually!).

BOYS TOWN LABELS:
1. Record Shack, 2. Proto, 3. Passion — plus honourable mention to Bobby O’s “O” and Bobcat labels which if combined would come equal 2nd.

COMEBACK OF THE YEAR:

The Chi-Lites ‘Changing For You’ (R&B).

IMPORTS OF THE YEAR (all eventually on UK LP — but why no 12in?):
Fatback ‘Is This The Future?‘ (Spring), Candido ‘Jingo (Remix)‘ (Salsoul), Tania Maria ‘Come With Me‘ (Concord Jazz Picante LP — the year’s highest placed album track).

THE SMASH THAT SOMEHOW NEVER WAS:

Oliver Cheatham ‘Get Down Saturday Night’ (MCA).

THE ONES THAT GOT AWAY:
New York Skyy ‘Show Me The Way‘ (Epic), Kurtis Blow ‘Party Time‘ (Mercury), Sakhile ‘Sakhile‘ (Jive Afrika), Spence ‘Get It On‘ (Arista).

THE ONE THAT LOOKS LIKE GETTING AWAY:
Madonna ‘Holiday’ (Sire).

THE MAN WITH THE MASTER PLAN:
Fred Dove.

IMPORTS THAT DESERVED UK RELEASE:
Ronnie McNeir ‘Just Can’t Let You Go‘ (Crossroad), Trammps ‘Up On The Hill (Mt. U)‘ (Venture), Wuf Ticket ‘The Key‘ and ‘Ya Mama‘ (Prelude).

SLEEPERS OF THE YEAR (hanging on just outside the chart for months):
Anita Baker ‘The Songstress’ (US Beverly Glen Music LP), Jimmy Cobb ‘So Nobody Else Can Hear’ (US Contempo Vibrato Recordings LP).

THE ONES I STILL PLAY:
Mary Jane Girls ‘All Night Long‘ (Gordy — the year’s singalong hit), The Gap Band ‘Outstanding‘ (Total Experience), Michael Wycoff ‘Tell Me Love‘ (RCA).

HOTTEST SUMMER TEMPO:
98-106bpm.

THE AFRO/CARIB CONNECTION:
Arrow ‘Hot-Hot-Hot‘ (AIR), Byron Lee ‘Hot-Hot-Hot‘ (Dynamic), Marcia Griffiths ‘Electric Boogie‘ (Island), Asterisks ‘Darling Cool It‘ (Sunburn).

MOST RECORDED SONG TITLE:
‘All Night Long’.

BASS RIFF:
‘Billie Jean’ (runner-up, Keni Burke ‘Risin’ To The Top’).

RHYTHM ARRANGEMENT:
Liquid Liquid ‘Cavern‘ (99) / Grandmaster & Melle Mel ‘White Lines’ (Sugarhill).

BROADCASTERS OF THE YEAR:
Tony Blackburn, Gary Crowley, Peter Young, Delbert.

LET THE MUSIC PLAY:
Radios Sovereign and Caroline.

ESSENTIAL TELLY:
‘Entertainment USA’.

LATE NIGHT VIEWING (well, I watch em before going to bed!):
TV-am’s Anne Diamond, Nick ‘n Wincey, Commander Phillpot, Chris Tarrant, Toni Arthur — always good for many friendly laughs (unlike TV-am’s bigger “names”).

VERY RUM:
The Malibu World Disco Dancing Finals.

WALKIN’ THE DOG (a chihuahua of course):
Leee John.

A SET OF SLIP MATS TO HELP HIS CUEING:
Steve Davis!

HIP HOP BE BOP (DON’T STOP):
Herbie Hancock & Grandmixer D.ST.

PARTY OF THE YEAR:
Phil Fearon’s birthday trip down the Thames.

BEST LEGS IN THE BIZ:
Sid Haywoode.

MR RELIABILITY:
Morgan Khan.

SPECIAL SERVICES TO ’60s SOUL:
Ted Carroll, whose Kent and Ace labels release many excellent compilations plus such as the Impressions first four US albums.

LET’S BE CAREFUL OUT THERE:
Michael Conrad.

WIKKI WIKKI:
Wikki Wikki!

(PLEASE NOTE: all actual statistics are derived from the year-end disco charts which were printed Dec 17).

One thought on “December 31, 1983: The Hammy Awards, Kool & The Gang, Circle City Band, Barbara Mason, Hashim, I.R.T.”

  1. That’s a fascinating overview of 1983 – not least James thinking ‘Holiday’ would be the one that got away! Which feels kind of unimaginable, given what we know now.

    Interesting also that James singles out Oliver Cheatham’s ‘Get Down Saturday Night’ – the basis for a UK number one pop hit 18 years later – and Kurtis Blow’s ‘Party Time’, two years before 1985’s short-lived Go-Go craze (which never crossed over).

    I think this may be CBS UK’s last year of showing interest in black music – by the end of 1984, they’d be failing to release hot US tracks they had automatic access to (‘Encore’, ‘After The Dance Is Through’).

    Thanks so much for this website – it is totally amazing and much appreciated! Happy New Year!

    Like

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