ODDS ‘N’ BODS
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”