February 25, 1984: Julia & Company, AB’s, Duces Wild, T.C. Curtis, Shannon


DAYTON ‘The Sound Of Music’ has been test promo-ed as a really useful ‘US Pre-Release X-Tended Re-Mix‘ which straightens it out into a steady 114-115-114-115(break)-114-115bpm, replacing the jazzy but tricky intro with vocoder and beat . . . Galaxy featuring Phil Fearon ‘What Do I Do‘ is another frothy 113½bpm shuffling pop kicker, due commercially next week . . . Luther Vandross ‘I Wanted Your Love‘ is now on US 12in (Epic 49-04969), as is a remix of Gladys Knight & The Pips ‘When You’re Far Away‘ (US Columbia 44-04965, 111bpm) . . . Adrian Sykes’ new co-plugger at Island, Julian Palmer is starting an electro/alternative DJ mailing list — jocks honestly into it should send him their details at Island Records, 22 St Peters Square, London W6 9NW . . . Art Of Noise ‘Beat Box‘ now tops US Dance/Disco, Cheryl Lynn ‘Encore‘ is top US Black single — c’mon Britain, get on the case! . . . Break Machine’s video (like all the others) is good enough, but live on TVam with no clever editing they were brilliant — and were even more marvellous, according to Gary Van Praagh, at Soho Bananas (where they return on Tuesday 28) . . . Capital Radio’s Mister Ouch! Al Matthews acted the jitterbugging black GI victim of the dance hall punch-up in ‘Yanks’ . . . Burundi Black’s original unadorned African chant sounded highly incongruous throbbing out of the Amazonian jungle during ‘Fitzcarraldo’ on telly — couldn’t painstaking director Werner Herzog have found something more authentic, or at least less well known? . . . Radio Invicta’s nightly 103.6FM broadcasts may be from SE London but cover the metropolis and are good reason for turning the radio on at night again — though why do Mastermind leave their mixes until so late on Wednesday (actually Thursday morning)? . . . Giorgos Pappas calls his station Greek Cypriot Broadcasting For London, according to my local kebab take-away! . . . Gary Allen tonight (Thursday 23) starts a fetish club Decadance II at Liverpool’s Concert Street, where there’ll be a human cage and (he hopes) lots of kinky dressers . . . Daryl Stafford (well known printing error) insists The Cabaret Club is Bournemouth’s only exclusively gay club — so there! . . . Paul Parker appears exclusively at Haringey Bolts this Friday (24), when Froggy, Chris Dinnis, John C and Central Line “live” funk Yeovil Olivers, Roger Dynamite has another ’60s special at Gt Yarmouth Tiffany’s, and Robbie Vincent joins Colin Hudd at Dartford Flicks . . . WE FUNK ALL NIGHT!

MICHAEL JACKSON has blazed back into the US Top 5 now that ‘Thriller’ is out there on 12in (US Epic 49-04961), with something that we (and mixing DJs in particular) really missed — an instrumental flip! However, one step behind, well be getting it on the B-side of ‘P.Y.T.’ whenever that comes out here. The same 118bpm backing track, it retains some chorus singing and Vincent Price, and is worth buying on import for the cover pic alone.


JULIA AND COMPANY: ‘Breakin’ Down (Sugar Samba)’ (London LONX 46)
Steeped in gospel (dad was an original Dixie Hummingbird), Julia McGirt took over Jennifer Holliday’s role in ‘Dreamgirls’ and now wails as well as you’d expect over a fantastically infectious frisky jazz backing that’s already burning up the airwaves here — the UK 12in somehow runs slower at 115-114½bpm, with a new Pedro Edit for radio and same Club Insert.

AB’S: ‘Deja Vu’ (LP ‘AB’S’ Japanese Moon MOON-28007)
Now selling fast as word spreads it’s worth the money (c.£11.75), this “slant eyed soul” set is actually sung in Japanese with the odd disconcerting English phrase woven into it, all rather “yellow Level 42”, this lightly harmonised subtly half-stepping 0-91-92-88½-92-88½bpm jazzy jogger being the raved about standout — though also nice are the tranquil 97½-98bpm ‘Fill The Sail‘, 0-76½bpm ‘Django‘, (0-)96½bpm ‘In The City Night‘, and thunder-thumbed 125bpm ‘Dee-Dee-Phon‘.

DUCES WILD: ‘Gimmick’ (US Next Plateau NP 50018)
The week’s hottest hip hop, great with Pumpkin/Art Of Noise, this 107bpm 12in judderer has terrific freaky FX as it progresses but really rates for its rapping lyrics (inst/bonus beats flip). Presumably they can’t spell “deuce”, or are they Mussolini fans?
[Editor’s Note: only the Instrumental/Bonus Beats is available online.]
Continue reading “February 25, 1984: Julia & Company, AB’s, Duces Wild, T.C. Curtis, Shannon”

February 18, 1984: Starpoint, Status IV, Captain Rapp, Jeffrey Osborne, Carl Anderson


PRELUDE RECORDS have left Epic here, and are currently chatting to RCA . . . Steve Harvey’s publishers succeeded in getting him a composer credit for Sharon Redd’s ‘Something Special’-like ‘Love How You Feel’ . . . Shannon ‘Give Me Tonight’ in the USA will be on Emergency 12in, but Mirage will do 12in promos too as they release her on 7in and LP there in a licensing arrangement that added the muscle needed to give her a Top 20 pop hit outside Emergency’s disco market . . . First Light’s instrumentalist Paul Hardcastle has medleyed his old ‘Daybreak’ and ‘AM’ with D Train’s ‘You’re The One For Me’ (and a bit of ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’!) for a certain large London DJ’s new Total Control Records . . . West Phillips will be remixed on Trans-Q/S.O.U.N.D. next week . . . ‘Hump To The Bump’ sadly will be Steve Arrington’s single here too . . . Elektra have a promo 4-track 12in sampler split between Womack & Womack (‘Scared’ / ‘TKO’) and Pieces Of A Dream (‘Fo-Fi-Fo’ / ‘Foreverlasting Love’), which could cause a chart jump next week . . . Elektra also has a new label design, while Pinnacle’s Banana logo is so well designed I know one shop who swear it spells “Banand” . . . Vince Lee is starting a new club mailing list at RCA, 1 Bedford Avenue, London WC1B 3DT . . . North West DJ Assn’s tailor-made DJ tuition courses (studio and live work covered) have started in Heywood, details from Paul Baxendale (Bolton 53817 afternoons) or Tony Potts (061-223 2188 evenings) . . . Thames Valley’s 1984 Shownite will be on Monday April 2nd at Syon Park’s Camellia Restaurant complex, discounted £1 advance tickets (sae and cheque payable TVDJA) from PO Box 14, Ashford, Middlesex . . . Radio Invicta now fill in with soul from midnight-6am when Skyline Radio go off the air, so it’s music 24 hours a day on 103.6FM/212MW in SE London . . . John Dawson hosts Groove Records Electra Top 20 at 9pm Saturdays on London Weekend Radio 92.5FM, London Town Radio 91FM (Saturday midnight thru Sunday morning) take dedi’s and enquiries (send sae) at LTR, c/o 23 The High Street, Little Sandhurst, Camberley, Surrey — however, biggest noise on London’s airwaves is a very powerful Greek station beaming out of Finsbury Park around 103FM, which has all the kebab takeaways jumping! . . . Blackbeat fanzine’s latest editorial misses the point about black electro music — it doesn’t pretend to be “soul”, it’s funk, the modern evolution of an old tradition (rap of course being the new blues) . . . Pumpkin’s excellent import has sold here when still nobody’s bought the cheaper UK issued and just as vital Trevor Horn-produced Art Of Noise ‘Beat Box’ (ZTT), now a US disco smash . . . I now realise that the word “fresh” has been cropping up in hip hop lyrics since last summer at least — and on fact goes back to 1982’s Fresh Face ‘Huevo Dancing‘ if not earlier . . . Harry Belafonte is producing ‘Street Beat’ in the South Bronx, Sidney Poitier is making a “street” movie in Chicago and there’s a martial arts/break dance film coming called ‘The Last Dragon’ — so by the end of 1984 hip hop can only be bigger (and then gone?) . . . Capital Radio’s ‘Story Of The ’70s’ (which I compile) last Friday reached May 1978, when, in the immediate wake of ‘Saturday Night Fever’, no fewer than 11 of the 18 singles which peaked in the UK Top 20 that month were loosely describable as “disco”! . . . Adele Bertei isn’t seen but does most of the singing in Thomas Dolby’s clever video, Haywoode strolls through Fashion’s video, and the dialogue started Rick James ‘Ebony Eyes’ video (though a different song) has an Everly Brothers-echoing plane crash . . . Alton Edwards ‘Everybody’s Watching‘ (Ike Hayes-prod!) is due here in a fortnight but will be out in June in America so its gymnastic video can tie into the Olympics . . . Hi Tension are not necessarily signed to Streetwave just yet . . . Tony Clark starts playing a wide range of sweaty ’60s soul and jazz on alternate Thursdays starting today (16) at Bristol Temple Meads Rockpile Club . . . Miquel Brown plays Haringey Bolts Fri (17), Charing X Heaven Sat (18), Leicester Square Hippodrome Mon (20) — the latter having Break Machine Fri (17) . . . Mastermind mix it up at Peckham Kisses Friday (17), when Chris Dinnis plays solid jazz at Yeovil Olivers, Graham Hunter funks Dorchester Buzz Inn, Colin Hudd says “wear leather” (£100 prize) at Dartford Flicks . . . Jonny Haywood this Saturday (18) slips over from his weekly funk at East Croydon Shocks in the Leslie Arms to PA at Camden Electric Ballroom’s body popping heat . . . Colin Curtis, Roger Tovell, Ralph Randell etc funk Birmingham Powerhouse 3pm all-dayer Sunday (19) . . . James Hamilton mixes the funk Tuesday (21) at Carlton Colville’s Hedley House near Lowestoft . . . E.T. says “Watch out, the Lollipop People are about!” . . . Michael Baker (last week) should be c.122bpm . . . Slags in Bloomsbury, brilliant pastiche though it was, still didn’t match the perfect Gino (whaddaya mean, you don’t video the Comic Strip?) . . .

SNOOKER CHAMP and soul fan Steve Davis, who recently bought a complete disco unit for his home, won “a pair of slipmats to help his cueing” in my year-end Hammy Awards — immediately after which on New Year’s Eve he announced over London’s airwaves “I’ve just found what I need to help my mixing . . . slipmats!” Could there be a connection? The event marked the first birthday celebration of London Weekend Radio (92.5FM Sat 7am/Sun 5am) and in particular of The Jonny Haywood Saturday Funktion (3-5.30pm), for which Steve brought along Herbie Hancock ‘Palm Grease‘, George Duke ‘I Can Hear That‘ and Dee Dee Bridgewater ‘Just Family‘. One cool dude!


STARPOINT: ‘It’s All Yours’ (US Elektra 0-66973)
On a new label and never sounding so good before, wailing Renee Diggs struts her stuff in Patrice Rushen/Chaka Khan/Valerie Simpson style over an electronically bumped Kashif-ish 114½bpm 12in lurcher that’s lithe and lean and built for speed (edit/LP version flip). Watch it go!

STATUS IV: ‘Lovin’ You’ (Design Communications DEST 8)
Finally on UK release, this Eric Matthew-produced excellent creamily rolling very soulfully harmonised mellow 113bpm 12in handclappin’ and fingersnappin’ swayer with superb honking horns halfway (inst dub flip) has been one of the year’s hottest imports so far.

CAPTAIN RAPP : ‘Bad Times (I Can’t Stand It)’ (Becket BKSL 10)
The SOS Band-producing ex-Time members Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis perform this drastically overdue (though proven “sleeper”) burbling and lurching now 120½bpm 12in backbeat nagger, driving remorselessly behind stridently squawking Kimberley Ball and rapid-fire rappin’ Rich Cason (sparser dub/strong inst flip), best for serious dancers. Continue reading “February 18, 1984: Starpoint, Status IV, Captain Rapp, Jeffrey Osborne, Carl Anderson”

February 11, 1984: Shannon, Dennis Edwards, Rodney Franklin, Warp 9, Larry Wu


AMIDST FIERCE fighting, London won Julia And Company for rush UK release . . . Shannon’s remix will go on sale when current commercial copies are exhausted . . . New York DJ turned hot pop remixer, John ‘Jellybean’ Benitez has signed to EMI America in his own right, debuting next month with the 5-track 12in EP ‘Wotupski‘ (as in “What’s up, Doc?”) featuring different actual artistes on each cut . . . Ian Levine, slipping back into his old shape, has mixed Miquel Brown ‘Men’/Kofi/Laura Pallas/Simone/Shirley Lewis/Abba ‘The Visitors’/Earlene Bentley ‘Life’/Gloria Gaynor/Sharon Redd ‘Winner’/Eartha Kitt for ‘Street Sounds Hi-Energy 1‘ (HINGR 16), due now . . . Gary London starts this week presenting a Record Shack sponsored Hi-NRG Disco show 8-10pm, Saturdays on SE London’s Skyline Radio 103.6FM/212MW . . . Tyne-Tees’ The Tube is rumoured to be trying to avoid all mention of the word “disco” on their Hi-NRG special in a fortnight (24th)! . . . Alan Coulthard’s megamixes on Disco Mix Club cassette this month include ‘Hi-NRG 83’ (fine after a dodgy Irene Cara start), yet another remix of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, and a largely successful Mac ‘n Jack medley of Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson material (the former’s oldies working best, actually) — however, probably most useable of all is a Salsa medley by Steve Gladders . . . CBS weigh in with two more all-mixed albums, both lumbered with poor material dragging down the hits, Peter Romer’s ‘Electro Shock — Voltage 1‘ (VOLT 1) having a neat side two in Dead Or Alive’s weak pop revival of KC’s ‘That’s The Way I Like It’/Herbie Hancock ‘Rock It’/The Tribe ‘Jungle Rock’/Herbie Hancock ‘Autodrive’ though side one is dull, while Greg Wilson’s ‘Dance Mix — Dance Hits Vol. III‘ (DM3) is forever clashing vocal on vocal and offsets some neat tricks with surprising clumsiness too . . . Total Contrast’s own label is now distributed by PRT . . . BBC 2’s Arena Special last Saturday, ‘Say Amen Somebody‘, was such a compulsive grabber for true soul fans that I bet most stayed with it rather than changing channel for Mel Brooks — focusing on gospel music, the programme’s standouts were the Barrett Sisters (who, spiritual lyrics apart really brought back the atmosphere of Harlem’s Apollo Theatre in the mid ’60s — fantastic!) and the obese O’Neal Twins (who, as a point of interest were the direct inspiration for Sam & Dave in ’64): it was O’Neal who articulated an epitaph for soul as well as gospel in the sage observation, “Unfortunately we are living in a hit record society, and we get caught up on a hit record and miss the substance” . . . Amen . . . Karen Spreadbury of pluggers Eyes & Ears has stopped promoting London’s Xenon niterie after 14 months and says thanks to all the liggers who put it on the music biz itinerary (does this mean now they’ll all be going somewhere else?!) . . . Chris Britton (Watford Baileys) is booking small dance acts (two to five members) into Europe and invites all to send him CVs with photos and videos at The Paddock House, 4 Paddock Way, Warners End, Hemel Hempstead, Herts — where he’s also selling a complete late ’70s to present dance record collection (700 LP/12 in, 400 7in) for £425 ono . . . Steve Dennis starts his new 7-9pm Friday funk show on BRMB this week, plus on Saturdays he’s got the 6-9am breakfast show and 11pm-2am snooze show — is he gonna be knackered or what?! . . . Hereward Radio’s Saturday evening soul host Steve Allen currently electro-funks Tuesday at The Gables and souls Sunday at the Wheatsheaf pubs, both in Peterborough . . . Millie Jackson is at Watford Baileys Thurs-Sat (9-11) this week . . . Friday (10) finds Pete ‘n Jeff with a fancy dress “odd couples” lovers ball (½ price before 11pm) at Sheffield Park’s Sheffield Arms on the A275 in Sussex, Nicky Holloway & Sean French with a pyiama party at Bermondsey Dockhead’s Swan & Sugarloaf, Greg Edwards with Cohn Hudd at Dartford Flicks (Colin’s recent number one is now top US Dance/Disco hit, Laid Back ‘White Horse‘) . . . Saturday (11) Chris Hill & Jeff Young rattle their maracas at Canvey Goldmine’s Brazilian Carnival night and things get hot at Daryn Stafford’s weekly Boys Town night in Bournemouth’s Cabaret Club . . . Sunday (12) Nottingham’s Rock City all dayer (3pm) stars Steve Allen and the other usual non-chart returning mob . . . Monday (13) Chris Paul, George Alexander & Mick Salmon celebrate Valentines Day early at South Harrow Bogart’s, while on Tuesday Theo Loyla returns after 2½ years to the totally refitted Bridge Country Club near Canterbury . . . Danny Smith, pretty upfront Wed/Thur/Fri/Sat at Gt Yarmouth’s after-hours 151 Club, is looking for good “modern” DJs on 0483-57303 (though for what he doesn’t say) . . . Feminine Touch need another jazz-soul venue while Upton Park JR’s is being redecorated (call via JD Roadshow on 01-579 0225) . . . Brentwood’s mad Kev Hill (0277-223030) once again guarantees extra punters should any Galway area niteries care to book him during his annual visit . . . Tony Monson agrees with Cyndi Lauper’s similarity to Sue Thompson, tempered with a lot of Little Peggy March ‘I Will Follow Him‘ (yeah, well us old ‘uns remember them!) . . . Lauriece Hudson, not Laurence (last week’s review), is a lady . . . US Atlantic has another nicer new 12in sleeve design, and US Arista a new label . . . DIN DAA DAA!


SHANNON: ‘Give Me Tonight’ (LP ‘Let The Music Play’ US Mirage 790134-1)
Avid hip hoppers preferred her instrumental dub’s excitement but the “disco”-pitched gal’s album is all vocal, this 119bpm jitterer — freakiest towards the end — being a very obvious frantic follow-on from the title track hit (here in 115½bpm 7in edit and the disappointing newly promo-ed 0-116¾-115½-116-116¾bpm vocal remix), other similar style including the 116bpm ‘My Heart’s Divided‘, 108bpm ‘Sweet Somebody‘, while the 149bpm ‘One Man‘ pumper is blatant US rock-disco.

DENNIS EDWARDS: ‘Don’t Look Any Further’ LP (US Gordy 6057GL)
With obvious exceptions, albums on Motown these days don’t exactly set the pulse racing in anticipation, but here from an unexpected source (the Temptations original “new boy”) comes a right good ‘un. The noisemaker is the dynamite jogging 95bpm title track duet with Siedah Garrett, a snappily jiggling but lazily swaying drifter growled and wailed through catchy ‘Roots’-ish chanting, but check too the smoochy Sam Dees co-penned 66½bpm ‘(You’re My) Aphrodisiac‘ and smoothly thrumming 115bpm ‘I Thought I Could Handle It‘, others of lesser though still reasonable degree being the 66bpm ‘Just Like You’, 108bpm ‘I’m Up For You’, 102bpm ‘Can’t Fight It’, 70-140/70bpm ‘Let’s Go Up’, 119bpm ‘Shake Hands (Come Out Dancin’)’.

RODNEY FRANKLIN: ‘Stay On In The Groove’ (LP ‘Marathon’ US Columbia FC 38953)
Realistically just a one-track album, but that track’s a corker! Starting in an ultra-mixable hip hop flurry, it settles into an electro-backed 121bpm groove with cooing chix and a sizzling jazz piano melody over the by then mind-snaring backbeat (Luther locks on superbly!). Otherwise the frantically pumping 149bpm title track has Ronnie Laws on soprano sax, the samba-ish 0-130bpm ‘Lumiere‘ has LP producer Stanley Clarke on piccolo bass, while (two slowies apart) the vocal 128½bpm ‘Let’s Talk‘ and 126bpm ‘Searchin’ For‘ (sic) are sub-EWF. Continue reading “February 11, 1984: Shannon, Dennis Edwards, Rodney Franklin, Warp 9, Larry Wu”

February 4, 1984: Jackie Wilson obituary, Julia & Company, Steve Arrington’s Hall Of Fame, Afrika Bambaataa & Soul Sonic Force, Tania Maria, Bryan Loren


OFFICIALLY REVEALED on their import LP sleeve, the featured singer on Rockwell ‘Somebody’s Watching Me’ (now a UK 12in, Motown TMGT 1331) really is Michael Jackson — the hot head’s current motto must be “Things go better with Coke!”, huh? . . . Gary Crowley’s master mix version of ‘Play That Beat Mr DJ’ turns out to be the winning entry by US DJs Double Dee & Steinski of a recent US radio competition, and although only about here on strictly privileged aircheck cassettes (unless you dubbed it off Gary’s show yourself, of course), it could end up at least on white label provided 21 Records here can sort out the copyright problems — which are immense, as the mix is made up of not only GLOBE & Whiz Kid’s original but also (are you ready?) Spoonie Gee ‘The Monster Jam’ a NASA aircheck, Alex Dreier ‘Power Closing Techniques’, James Brown ‘Soul Power’, World Famous Supreme Team ‘D’Ya Like Scratching?’ Funky Four + 1 ‘That’s The Joint’, Yazoo ‘Situation’, Dr Saint ‘Harry Houdini’s Final Seance’, Incredible Bongo Band ‘Apache’, Culture Club ‘I’ll Tumble 4 Ya’, Love Bug Starski ‘Starski Live At The Disco Fever’, Rufus Thomas ‘Tutti Frutti’, The Dance Instructor ‘Betty White’s Dance Party’, Humphrey Bogart from ‘Casablanca’, Herbie Hancock ‘Rockit’, Supremes ‘Stop In The Name Of Love’ (over Peech Boys ‘Don’t Make Me Wait’ rhythm!), Grandmaster Flash ‘Adventures On The Wheels Of Steel’, Kurtis Blow ‘Party Time’, Bohannon ‘Let’s Start The Dance’, Soul Sonic Force ‘Planet Rock’, Indeep ‘Last Night A DJ’, Peech Boys ‘Don’t Make Me Wait’ (acappella), Konk ‘Konk Party’, and the legendary mayor of New York Fiorello LaGuardia ‘The Little Flower’ whadaya mean, you haven’t heard it yet?! . . . Shannon’s promo “remix” instead of emphasising the dub’s excitement sticks mainly to the vocal, and far from equalising the two original sides’ different BPMs now runs 0-116½-115¼-116½bpm — a blown opportunity . . . Godwin Logie is remixing Lefturno for UK release next week on MCA . . . The B Boys 33 1/3bpm 5-track 12in is now not surprisingly classified as an LP — and Chester Browton (Selsey) reports Radio Victory’s Saturday night soul host Franklin Hughes managed to play ‘Cuttin’ Herbie’ right through at the wrong speed without even noticing (I also hear he’s got deep pockets)! . . . Mel Brooks’ last rap ‘It’s Good To Be The King’ was number one in France for ages and already his ‘Hitler Rap’ is huge there too . . . Soul Sonic Force mention “fresh” in their newie, there’s the Fresh 3 MCs, Tyrone Brunson, Tara, and now Davy DMX all with ‘Fresh’ as, or in, their current titles — what’s with this “fresh” (another ‘All The Way Live’, ‘To The Bank’)? . . . Ian Levine is seguing ‘Street Sounds Boys Town 1‘ and is also back producing Evelyn Thomas again, while Miquel Brown ‘He’s A Saint He’s A Sinner’ is due on doubtless fast-selling 12in this week . . . ‘Gangster Of The Grove’ Eddie has teamed with Stevie B for a new Boys Town night on Thursdays at Canvey Island’s Monico, while the same night is Hi-NRG with Duane Henson at the Grapevine in Peterborough’s aptly named Queen Street . . . Steve Walsh starts his weekly residency Thursday (2) at Fleet Country Club with a PA by Second Image, who he’ll also be interviewing on County Sound Saturday evening . . . Steve Walsh with Cino Berigliano plus one Capital Radio DJ are now keeping the Best Disco tradition going on Fridays at London’s Lyceum, Cap Rad’s own Mister Ouch! Al Matthews funking Tottenham Eltons though this Friday (3), when Chris Hill twinkles at Benson-on-Thames Rivers and Jeff Young joins Colin Hudd at Dartford Flicks . . . Island’s Adrian Sykes visits Peter Lee at Bolton’s Dance Factory this Saturday (4) with David Joseph, LCGG and the George Kranz Dancers, while on the Isle Of Sheppey Froggy joins John ‘Nick’ Osborne at Leysdown Stage 3 . . . Rod Bolam hopes to revive memories of his pioneering Letchworth Broadway jazz-funk nights of ’76-’78 when starting this Monday (6) with similar aims at his current Thur/Fri/Sat residency, Stevenage’s Annabella’s in Danestrete — good luck! . . . 16 year old Warren Aylward funks Southsea Nero’s with poppier partner Ray Andrews on Mondays, when this week (6) Pete Tong will be souling Bermondsey Dockhead’s Swan & Sugarloaf — which is where starting Wednesday (8) RM’s own Lisson Grove lip Gary Crowley will be joining resident Nicky Holloway weekly now! . . . Quentin Cook and co-promoter Bill Short promise live acts ‘n hot toons every Wednesday at The Roxy in Brighton’s swish Pink Coconut — just as long as the acts are decent, dear! . . . Radio Horizon’s Nick Lawrence funks Thur/Fri/Sat at Mile End’s Benjy’s, Mike Morgan does Fri/Sun at Writtles Chequers as well as still supporting Kevin Springham at Chelmsford’s bustling lazer-lit Dukes . . . Rich Edwards had £2,500 of flight case packed 7in, 12in & LP records plus two Sure mikes and some Disco Mix Club cassettes pinched from his car in Birmingham — all were stamped with his name and Gloucester 25874 phone number, so ring that or the Brum fuzz if you’ve any info . . . Big Phil Etgart (01-864 3271) is offering vast sums for either the original or remake of Monk Higgins ‘Who-Dun-It‘ (I’ve got that on Chess somewhere, but I’m not selling!) . . . US imports seem to be settling down as at least £6.99 LP, £4.50 12in (some famous central stockists are evidently charging 25p more) . . . US LPs include Maleman (Mercury — punchy mid/down-tempo beat), Deco (Qwest — very derivative though with fans), Jenny Burton (Atlantic — predictable ‘One More Shot’ remakes), Homi & Jarvis (GRP — laid back), T. Ski Valley (Capo — a “best of” set by Tyrone Cox, his real name!) . . . Mezzoforte mixes less alarmingly (its intro can seem a bit violent) if you skip the opening “funk” passage — it’s rather nice out of Billy Griffin’s old ‘Hold Me Tighter In The Rain’ . . . Cosmic (also Thur/Fri/Sun at Basildon New Yorker) on his Wednesday at Southend’s Rain rivalled Flicks’ “boobless wonder popping out of the cake” by presenting the boss with an 18 year old 40 inch busted blonde — pics promised! . . . Lamont Dozier confesses in song, “Twiggy was my passion!”! . . . Ronnie McNeir is still hanging on deservedly up North, Melle Mel ‘White Lines’ is proving to be as long lasting a sleeper as Chill-Fac-Torr ‘Twist’, while presumably Hashim is hot with the services in the NAAFI — but Stevie Wonder’s ‘Happy Birthday’ reissue didn’t exactly take off like a rocket did it? GINO – Full Story And Pics, read all abaht it! . . . DIN DAA DAA!


JACKIE WILSON, who died a couple of weekends ago, never recovered from a heart-attack which had left him in a coma for several years — sad irony for a performer whose stage antics made him truly “the black Elvis”. One of his most fantastic tricks was to spin round with his back to the audience, drop to his knees, and hang upside down by the back of his legs over the edge of the stage, so that all the girls would swarm down and cover him in kisses, every now and then Jackie’s voice carrying on the song as he lowered his still aloft microphone-holding hand.

Detroit born, as an under-age 16 year old he won a Golden Gloves welter weight boxing championship in 1948 before turning to singing, being spotted at a talent show in 1951 by Johnny Otis. Anticipating the departure in 1953 of Clyde McPhatter from Billy Ward’s Dominoes, Jackie auditioned for the group and did indeed take over as lead singer for four years before going solo in ’57. This is where things get interesting, because in an early example of a now familiar pattern, his first hit was a top ten smash in Britain yet only peaked at 62 in the USA and that hit was ‘Reet Petite’, co-penned by Berry Gordy Jr (Gordy co-wrote many Wilson hits, his first taste of success, before founding Motown). The unusual quasi-operatic range of Jackie’s voice was emphasised on his only other UK hits of that era, ‘To Be Loved‘ and ‘All My Love‘, while in the States his rootsier R&B style gave him greater crossover success, his first stone smash being ‘Lonely Teardrops‘ at Xmas ’58, ‘I’ll Be Satisfied‘ and ‘Doggin’ Around‘ from the next two years recently having been made popular again by Shakin’ Stevens and Klique respectively.

As far as the newer breed of soul fan is concerned, though, his name will live on thanks to his ’66/’67/’68 recordings, ‘Whispers‘, ‘Higher And Higher’, ‘I Get The Sweetest Feeling’ — though on a shameful about turn, Britain didn’t latch on to the last named classic until it charted here in 1972, and again in 1975. His early ’70s UK visit, backed by just a simple guitar trio, showed us for a final time what a magnificently musical talent he possessed, as well as an exciting physical presence. He has already been missed.


JULIA AND COMPANY: ‘Breakin’ Down (Sugar Samba)’ (US District Of Columbia DYSC DC-OPUS)
Most talked about buzz of the week, and already hotly battled over by several UK labels, this jazzily introed totally joyful staccato sung strutting jiggly 117-116bpm cantering samba builds incredible excitement as it intensifies through fiddle-pitched sax to full blown brass and an ever more rhythmic climax while Julia (McGirt?) squalls up a vocal storm to rival Aretha Franklin at her high flying best. Yeah, they really do make records like that these days!’ (Edit/dub flip). Run for cover, the fallout could be deadly.

STEVE ARRINGTON’S HALL OF FAME: ‘What Do You Want From Me’ (LP ‘Positive Power’ Atlantic 780127-1)
The most impressive feature of this excellent non-”electro” funk set is the newly mature authority of Steve’s versatile voice, growling, yodelling, scatting, wailing and cajoling while his well muscled rhythm machine cranks out a heart pounding remorseless momentum. Most Slavish are this sinuously chugging 108bpm pent-up roller (great with Circle City Band) and the “classically”-introed 107-106-105bpm ‘Mellow As A Cello‘, his vocal being most fluid on the dropped coin-introed 119-120-119-120-119-120bpm ‘Money On It‘, while ‘15 Rounds‘ is an 115-116bpm update of the Dominoes ’60 Minute Man’, ‘Hump To The Bump‘ a steel drums climaxed speedy Narada-ish 121-122-123bpm smacker, the title track a jiggly 116½bpm chugger, ‘Young And Ready’ a basic 107-108bpm thudder and ‘Sugar Momma Baby’ a soulful slow (0-) 80¼bpm jogger.

AFRIKA BAMBAATAA & SOUL SONIC FORCE: ‘Renegades Of Funk’ (US Tommy Boy TB 839)
Advertised for two months and now finally about on import just ahead of UK release, the Arthur Baker/John Robie-produced 114bpm 12in hip hop rapper isn’t particularly inventive but must rank with the classics as Afrika, Mr Biggs, GLOBE, Pow Wow and Jazzy Jay pop their tops to typical electro backing. With an instrumental flip and another actually stronger ‘Renegades Chant‘ version, out of which the ultra-catchy ‘Iko Iko’ bit will be spliced into our 7in edit, it’s likely mixers will need two copies — if not, Brunson bridges well and it’s good with ‘White Lines’, Break Machine etc. Continue reading “February 4, 1984: Jackie Wilson obituary, Julia & Company, Steve Arrington’s Hall Of Fame, Afrika Bambaataa & Soul Sonic Force, Tania Maria, Bryan Loren”