‘BUFFALO BILLY’ was the name of the first record I ever had as a child — now it seems ‘Buffalo Bill’ is the title of a Michael Jackson-penned/performed uptempo track from the Jacksons hopefully soon-come new LP, buzzing the States in rough demo form according to the US contacts of Wokingham Mark One Records shop owner/DJ Mark Clark . . . Jermaine Jackson’s debut Arista LP is disappointingly rock-disco to judge from advance cassette promos, while sister LaToya Jackson joins the queue of ladies enlisting Musical Youth’s support . . . Jocelyn Brown (and Lisa Stevens) sing back-ups behind Tina Fabrique . . . Phonogram’s latest marketing strategy is to make the Shannon ‘Give Me Tonight’ 12in a 3-tracker with a new 118½bpm Special Extended Version as A-side (Club JABXR 1) . . . Jeffrey Osborne’s ‘Stay With Me Tonight’ 7in has been selling at £1.50 shrink-wrapped with his US ‘Plane Love’ 12in — sneaky! . . . Sandy Martin (Swindon Brunel Rooms) and Paul Major (Hinckley Bubbles) can tell their punters to relax: Polydor have reissued the 131bpm Trans-X ‘Living On Video‘ (POSPX 650) . . . S.O.U.N.D. Recordings have put all the RAH Band’s recent titles on 7-track low-price ‘Upper Cuts’ LP (SNDLP 601) . . . Chic have quit Atlantic and are label shopping . . . The Jones Girls LP track ‘You Can’t Have My Love’ is 112-112½bpm . . . Peter Brown ‘They Only Come Out At Night‘ tops US Dance/Disco now — and Adrian Allen, Thur/Fri/Sat at Sunderland’s Chelsea Cat (“possibly the North’s oldest nightclub, going 20 years — as is the equipment!”), wonders if it was Peter Brown singing a ’79 track with the line “love in our hearts”? . . . Adrian Thomas (0248-723054), keeping things hot ‘n hip at Anglesey’s Minnies, is after soulful PAs (they’ve had Second Image recently) . . . Sandra Reid’s reggaefication of Midnight Star’s ‘Feels So Good‘ (Sir George) and Delroy Wilson’s ditto of the Chi-Lites ‘Changing For You’ (Mobiliser) make useful alternatives . . . Agents Aren’t Aeroplanes PA around the Bolts circuit at Harringey Sat (28), Brighton Sun (29), Southampton Warehouse/Raffles Bolts Mon (30) . . . East London Stratford’s The Pigeons has a gay Thriller horror night Saturday (28) with £35 for the campest corpse! . . . Lorna Luft (the other daughter of Judy Garland) has remade Connie Francis’ ‘Where The Boys Are‘, as well as starring in a remake of her old film . . . Adrian Parkin’s gay Monday Club has moved upmarket to a new venue and name as Dorothy’s at the Adega in Huddersfield (off John William Street in Byram Court), opening April 30 . . . Alan ‘Gibbo’ Gibson is briefly back in Brum between foreign engagements at The Millionaire Tues/Wed/Sat, and Fri with old partner Steve Dennis . . . Basildon Raquel’s first Essex Soul Festival next Sunday (6) stars Robbie Vincent, The Dude, Ian Reading, Micky Laudat & Stavros with full English Breakfast included in the £5 entry, tickets in advance only (details on 0268-24970/727696) . . . Friday (27) Odyssey play Harringey Bolts, Greg Edwards funks Harlow Whispers, Froggy mixes West Norwood, Norwood Suite G Bee’s, Chris Kaye soul-reggaes Southborough Royal Victoria Hall (on A26), Jeff Young & Pete Tong soul Sheffield Park’s Sheffield Arms in Sussex . . . Saturday (28) Steve Walsh funks Leysdown Stage 3, Darryl Hayden’s 2K video roadshow dazzles Stroud Leisure Centre . . . Colin Taylor at Beeston Charlie’s Barn has Monday “Ritzy” nights with £5 admission and free booze all night . . . Jim K (Kell) at Cambridge’s newly opened Bumpers fun pub in Histon Road is pretty upfront music-wise, to start with anyway . . . Thursday (3) Odyssey play Edinburgh Mad Hatters with Neil Fincham jocking . . . Les Knott (Harlow Bennys), spinning soul and funk but no jazz (no way in his town now), whispers he only knows about a dozen locals who went to Caister — “let’s have a reunion, yeah!” . . . miaou! . . . Danny Smith brags Gt Yarmouth’s The 151 Club has to shut its doors at 11.30pm (Thur-Sat) — what, to keep them in?! . . . Steve Ogley (Lowestoft Ziggie’s) complains that he only got one Malcolm X slipmat from Island with which to “cut the beat” . . . Tony Hall, veteran jazz critic/Record Mirror columnist most recently famous for managing Real Thing, now handles Loose Ends . . . Larry Wu’s full name is Larry Wu Wedgeworth . . . I hadn’t enough time to do a Nightclub chart this week, and before you know it there’s another early deadline looming — so please send all charts ‘n info again NOW, to arrive by Tuesday . . . suddenly everyone wants to hire a mechanical bucking bronco — anyone got any details I can pass on? . . . HIP HOP!
TERRI WELLS: ‘I’ll Be Around’ (London LONX 48)
Now, this is the Nick Martinelli production that prompted London to pick up Philly World here, Harold Melvin et all sticking closely to the Detroit Spinners original phrasing and feel, but faster, wailing Terri’s cheerfully cantering 115bpm revival is prodded by electronic rhythms which suddenly erupt three-quarters through into a decidedly “electro” break which may seem upsetting but does add an edge where it’s needed (however, with two copies, you can always mix into the instrumental flip before it). The buzz is massive, as will the record be.
EVAN ROGERS: ‘Stay Here With Me’ (US RCA PW-13807)
The spaghetti soulster hits an even stronger groove than before with this chix-answering jiggly pushing 110bpm backbeat jogger, powerfully structured with a usefully familiar feel as soon as you hear it (inst/dub flip). Almost another ‘Hi, How Ya Doin’?’!
JEFFREY OSBORNE’s Monday was uncompromisingly American (it brought back memories of Harlem’s Apollo), soulfully impassioned, and tightly backed by the likes of Jeff Lorber and, an unexpected bonus, the ‘Hi How Ya Doin?’ singer Barry ‘Sunjohn’ Johnson on slap, snap and tickle bass — do not miss them at the Hammersmith Odeon (where it will be Ingram as support) next Friday 27! . . . I thought it was Capital Radio’s David Rodigan sitting in front of me — turned out to be Red Rose Radio’s Richard Searling (same hairstyle!) . . . Steve Davis, the surprisingly tall Dee Dee Bridgewater fanatic (he also plays snooker), is being taught to mix by none other than Froggy but won’t have much time to practise until summer . . . Nigel Martinez, the now US-domiciled percussionist, has amongst others been working with Maurice White on the next Earth Wind & Fire LP, which should hopefully see them return to better form (maybe doing some of his songs) . . . Terri Wells 115bpm ‘I’ll Be Around‘ revamp is another Nick Martinelli-produced electro driven Philly soul update, due next week though already on white label . . . Cameo’s 12in is now 4-tracked with the addition of Mark Berry’s 108½bpm ‘Club Mix‘ remix (Club JABX R2) . . . The Kane Gang’s instrumental flip seems to be titled ‘One Million Chickens Can’t Be Wrong‘! . . . ‘StreetSounds 9‘, due next week, will include Stanley Clarke/Howard Hewett ‘Heaven Sent You‘ (worth the price alone), Funk Deluxe, Real To Reel, AB’S, Jones Girls ‘Keep It Comin’ Carl Anderson ‘Don’t Make Me Wait’ — hotter than of late, huh? — while the Ian Levine-mixed ‘StreetSounds Hi-Energy 2‘ will have Miquel Brown ‘Saint’, Eastbound Expressway ‘Primitive Desire’, Cinema, Christopher Street, Yvonne Gidden, Velvette, Tina Fabrique, Linda Lewis, Laura Pallas, Romance, Café Society (all the latter from the current chart!) . . . now if only Morgan Khan could spot a hit before it had built a buzz . . . Boys Town/Hi-NRG breakers to look for in next week’s chart include Maegan ‘Doctor’s Orders’ (Savoir Faire), Hush ‘Hearts On Fire’ (Spirit), Claudja Barry ‘Trippin’ On The Moon’ (US Persona), 501’s ‘We Are Invincible’ (ERC), Life Force ‘What A Way To Go’ (Polo) . . . I said the Crusaders ‘Night Ladies’ was almost HI-NRG before realising it’s Jessica Williams actually singing! . . . Evelyn Thomas was featured on Fatback ‘Is This The Future?’ . . . Zena Dejonay I forgot to point out is very like Fantasy ‘You’re Too Late’ . . . Luther Vandross finally leapfrogged Michael & Lionel as top US Black LP, while Huey Lewis & The News ‘I Want A New Drug‘ tops US Dance/Disco (it’s good chunkily chugging 110bpm rock with guitars ‘n brass, on Chrysalis) . . . Harry Belafonte-produced hip hop flick ‘Beat Street’ has so much music that US Atlantic will be releasing at least two separate staggered soundtrack albums rather than a single double LP, to keep the price down, while 12in releases will be through the usual labels of such as Soul Sonic Force, Melle Mel, The System, Jenny Burton, Celia Cruz, musical mastermind for all original material being Arthur Baker … Billboard says that Tenderloinz ‘Where’s The Beef?‘ has “obvious double meanings in this season’s favourite catchphrase” — well, I hadn’t heard anyone use it until Labour MP Joe Ashton quoted it as a current catchphrase on Friday’s TV-am (which incidentally turned into some of the funniest TV in ages with Donny Osmond and Glen Campbell yokking it up when it wasn’t Chris Tarrant’s hilarious mailbag) — my favourite bedtime viewing! . . . Radio Invicta (my favourite night-time listening) hasn’t disappeared, it’s merely moved to 90.2FM . . . London’s globetrotting mighty atom Cleveland Anderson, now regularly up in Scotland, this weekend funks Paisley Paris Saturday (21), Coatbridge Le Club De France Easter Sunday (22) . . . Paul Macey now calls himself Tony James, and prior to starting his summer season at Cowes Thorness Bay Holiday Camp this weekend Fri/Sat/Easter Sunday is running a soul roadshow at Ladbrokes Nodes Point Holiday Camp at Bembridge (all on the Isle Of Wight) . . . Brian Mason, still at Hemel Hempstead Living Room Sun/St Albans The Adelaide Mon/Wed, is now Thur/Fri/Sat at Cricklewood’s new up-market Ashtons (over 21s) with star name radio DJs every Fri/Sat — and could have a gig for a good lighting jock if they call Mike on 01-452 1415 now! . . . John Dene, doing varied entertainment Mon-Fri at London Bishopsgate BB’s (pyjama party next Thursday 26) and high powered fun nights over at Newport (Gwent Tiffany’s Saturdays), tirelessly starts early evening 12-16 year-old Sundays next week (29) at Ilford Palais . . . Danny Daniels, now more Luther Vandross than Fats Domino, souls downstairs at Mayfair Gullivers Saturdays — and I do mean soul, he’s impressive . . . Gary Senior, reverting to his good Sheffield name from the more colourful Steel City G, reports Sheffield’s funk/Motown/Northern/jazz/reggae The Hothouse is now at new venue Turn-Ups in Commercial Street on Wednesdays (50p B4 10) . . . Afrika Bambaataa was a real example of the power of marketing to fool some of the people for a very short time . . . Awesome Foursome’s all four versions are so individually good it’s impossible to decide which is best — obviously two copies are vital for mixers . . . Boogie Boys ‘Break Dancer (Club Mix)‘ is heavily influenced by Art Of Noise . . . Executive synchs superbly as anticipated between Luther Vandross and Chic ‘Good Times’, while the Earons is indeed dynamite with Odyssey ‘Roots’ (incidentally, maybe Phil Fearon and the Earons should get together?) . . . Easter bunnies can and will go HIP HOP!
HOT TEMPO HIT LIST (another genre discovered by JH)
‘AIN’T NOBODY’ has now attuned more ears to the rhythm that’s been burning up black clubs this last winter, dubbed by myself for ease of reference as the “hot tempo”, a logical follow-on from the slinkier “summer tempo”. While both are basically down-tempo, the summer variety being exemplified by the Mary Jane Girls ‘All Night Long’, Gap Band ‘Outstanding’, Funk Masters ‘It’s Over’, the newer hot development adds an extra wriggle having an integrated tapping rumble tugging at the rhythm’s drive.
As previously mentioned, the epitome of this is Hawk Wolinski-penned material like Rufus ‘Ain’t Nobody’ and Jeffrey Osborne ‘Plane Love (US Remix)‘/’I Really Don’t Need No Light‘, plus the Terry Lewis & Jimmy Jam Harris-produced (and/or penned/arranged) Change ‘Change Of Heart’, Cheryl Lynn ‘Encore’, Gladys Knight & The Pips ‘When You’re Far Away‘ . . . however, ironically, last summer’s The SOS Band is indeed summer tempo!
Delving back — to its roots? — the hot tempo can be heard driving Lamont Dozier ‘Going Back To My Roots‘ (and to an extent Maze ‘Joy And Pain’), although it undoubtedly owes its current form to more recent experiments with electronic rhythm machines, such as Shango ‘Shango Message‘ (US CellulOid).
Slow and soulful in essence, so thus probably too specialist and black to have wide white appeal in this country (and let’s have no arguments about a synthesized rhythm being “soulful”!), the hot tempo’s other compatible hits must include Cameo ‘She’s Strange’, Bobby Nunn ‘Don’t Knock It‘, Kenny G ‘Hi How Ya Doin’?’, Pointer Sisters ‘Automatic’, Bobby Womack ‘Tell Me Why‘, Billy Griffin ‘Serious‘, Larry Wu ‘Let Me Show You‘ (Barbara Mason/Tout Sweet are mixable too), these being the brightest and most easily assimilated, things getting heavier and more crucial when you explore Kleeer ‘Go For It‘/’You Did It Again‘/’Tonight‘, Fatback ‘I Found Lovin’/’Is This The Future?’, Shannon ‘Sweet Somebody‘, Starpoint ‘Satisfy Me Lover‘, Patti Austin ‘Fine Fine Fella‘, Emotions ‘You’re The Best‘, Force MD’s ‘Let Me Love You‘, and — yes, although it’s got a lot of other things going for it too — even Jocelyn Brown ‘Somebody Else’s Guy!
Check all or any of these and you’ll soon hear what’s hot to trot!
JOCELYN BROWN: ‘Somebody Else’s Guy’ (Fourth & Broadway 12BRW 5)
Doubts about its mixability tempered my initial review of our current chart topper, needlessly of course, as now you just run Jocelyn’s caterwauling Jennifer Holliday-type acappella intro over a suitable instrumental until her own chunkily jiggling beefy 103bpm backbeat smacks in (intro-less dub flip) or — easiest — chop in precisely on the first beat immediately after her intro wail ends, just before “oh yeah” (this chop being dynamite out of Jo Jo ‘Jackson Rd‘). Anyway, she’s probably best recognised as the voice of Inner Life amongst other session groups, and this smashbound sassy strut is one hundred per cent pure soul!
YARBROUGH & PEOPLES: ‘Don’t Waste Your Time (Remix)’ (Total Experience XET 501, via RCA)
Terrific ‘Don’t Stop The Music’-style moodily pushing excitingly intense 103bpm ‘Outstanding’/SOS Band-type summer tempo groove (inst flip), which RCA’s newly acquired label could well hit with following prolonged radio exposure on import.
SUDDENLY SPRING has sprung, and more to the point Easter deadlines loom — please send charts ‘n into NOW, before the weekend if possible! . . . Polydor’s Pete Tong makes the sending of charts to Record Mirror a qualifying requirement of his DJ mailing list (he must have a small list!): for him or any other label I’m always happy to supply corroboration about DJs who say they send charts when they don’t . . . Dean Cavedaschi (Wallington), unsure of what was wanted, listed “the disco records that are making my audiences move” — a perfect definition, ideally a Top 20 or more, sent regularly to arrive normally by Wednesday addressed to James Hamilton, Record Mirror, 40 Long Acre, London WC2E 9JT (please don’t divide your charts into “disco” and “pop” or whatever unless each section relates to totally different gigs) . . . Showstoppers soul weekender at Caister sounds like a good ‘un with all the jocks working so hard individually that there was little collusion over what was played, though biggies appear to have been the anticipated Detroit Spinners, Change, Jocelyn Brown, Matt Bianco, Don Wilkerson ‘Dem Tambourines‘ (Blue Note), Huey Piano Smith ‘Don’t You Just Know It‘ (Kent), other individual successes including Terry Callier ‘Ordinary Joe‘ (Elektra), Sivuca ‘Ain’t No Sunshine‘ (Brazilian obscurity), Natalie Cole ‘Lovers‘ (Capitol), but the big one-off finale blinder was a customised Caister video by Terri Wells of her imminent revival of ‘I’ll Be Around’! . . . Chris Brown (Camberley Frenchies/Ascot Belvedere) protests that his live Tom Jones ‘It’s Not Unusual/Land Of A 1000 Dances‘ is purely a fun record very popular in silly sessions, and he’s always first to campaign against the over-use of oldies as otherwise the scene will become like Northern Soul . . . Jeffrey Osborne’s Dominion support will now be local girl Julie Roberts, but if work permits allow it could be Ingram at Hammersmith Odeon (Barbara Mason can’t make it) . . . Julia & Co’s remix is now flip of the original, in selected specialist shops only . . . Streetwave’s £2.99 price tag on the AB’S classifies their 12in as an LP, so it’ll never hit the singles chart despite big sales — seems silly? . . . Tia Monae has now resurfaced on Carrere (CART 320) with the Dub Mix/Club Mix/Club Mix Instrumental (all 0-117bpm), but still no Dub Mix Instrumental! . . . Kool’s newie is 105½bpm . . . PRT on promo-only 12in edited together J. Blackfoot and Anne LeSear into a 66½-70-67bpm ‘Maxi-Taxi Cab Mix‘ to complete the saga (Anne’s 7in is out here next week) . . . Jive Afrika’s first promo from Hugh Masekela, ‘Don’t Go Lose It Baby‘, is a monotonously driving jiggly 120½bpm semi-instrumental with ‘Roots’-y chanting and surprise rap climax, due soon, as is EMI’s home grown Jaki Graham ‘What’s The Name Of Your Game‘, a stark 104½bpm example of the current “hot tempo” (ie ‘Ain’t Nobody’/’Plane Love’-penning Hawk Wolinski material crossed with Change/Cheryl Lynn/Gladys Knight/SOS Band-producing Terry Lewis & Jimmy Jam Harris — and guess what, Wolinski/Lewis/Harris have combined to produce Thelma Houston — will that be hot or what?!) . . . I never have room for such vital info as the fact that Kleeer ‘Tonight’ vari-synched exactly runs chord for chord night through Cameo ‘She’s Strange’, or that Brass Construction’s ‘Walkin’ The Line’ title line can be repeatedly dropped into Funk Deluxe ‘This Time’, or that Jocelyn Brown chops sensationally (right after the intro) out of the worth investigating Jo Jo ‘Jackson Rd‘, or that Collage/Dells/Dennis Edwards vari-synch into a beautiful smooth sequence . . . Nicky Holloway needs an enthusiastic MoR pop-soul jock midweek at Bermondsey’s Swan & Sugarloaf on 01-237 1862 . . . Brussels-based Station Independente Satellite 101.65FM has started an English service 7pm-3am and invites interested DJs to send demo tapes/CV details to Kevin Gover, Rue Vilain XIIII 40, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium . . . London’s entire population if they didn’t before must now know what Marvin Gaye sounded like . . . I forgot, that Brooklyn Fox show in ’64 also starred the Shangri-La’s amongst others! . . . Toni Smith is one helluva woman and did a great really horny PA at Mayfair’s Gullivers while recently in London — she’ll be back for fuller promotion soon . . . Top Of The Pops being off the screens last week could just result in soul hits moving up the chart in usual fashion, but it deprived us of a Chaka Khan video specially filmed at Stringfellows —where resident DJ Peter Anthony tells me Jeffrey Daniel has been wearing that old sailor suit again! . . . Kevin Antony Roberts is currently in the studio cutting two new Hi-NRG singles which are specially NOT at 129bpm! . . . Miquel Brown’s heart pacemaker is actually set at an ultra Lo-NRG 40bpm, and she’s battling to get Ian Geoffrey Levine to produce her down at around 120bpm for a change! . . . Disco Mix Club’s current mixes are a second bash at Shalamar and more Floorfillers by Alan Coulthard, who had a new toy for his birthday and it shows — Tony & Christine Prince gave him a digital delay unit! — while Sanny Xenokattas who staggered everyone with the same device at the Hippodrome convention has that event’s same sequence (though a different take) included, which loses out by being canned rather than vibrantly “live” . . . Alan Coulthard’s 7in edit of the Crusaders ‘MegaStreet’ is even punchier and more to the point than the 12in, being just ‘Street Life/Many Stops/Inherit The Wind/Dead End’ . . . Island sent DJs a pair of Malcolm X slipmats bearing the legend “we send the sounds … you cut the beat!” . . . Pete Richards & Big Phil Etgart’s “Western” night this Thursday (12) at Greenford Barbarellas has a mechanical bucking bronco . . . Slave extended their tour and now wind up at Frating Tartan House near Colchester on Friday (13), which’ll upset Essex Radio soul DJ Dave Gregory just along the road at Copford’s Windmill, while Chris Hill makes his debut at Peckham’s award-winning Kisses . . . Saturday (14) Kev Hill has a Caister reunion at Harlow Whispers, while at Mayfair’s Titanic (in Lansdowne Row just south of Berkely Square) the weekly scratching ‘n rapping hip hop challenge is between The Language Lab (Nick Jones, Danny, Mix In Machine, Jive Junior & Man Friday) versus The Island All Stars (Adrian Sykes, Julian Palmer, Papa Levi and more) — get down! . . . Cameo are top US Black single — their video always makes me think it should be of the Gap Band somehow . . . Michael Jackson’s success is certainly helping other uptempo black hits into the US pop chart, but with ‘Beat It’ he’s done a dis-service too as now seemingly every black album is lumbered with a horrid fast rock-disco clone . . . STAY FRESH!
THE EMOTIONS: ‘You’re The Best’ (LP ‘Sincerely’ US Red Label RLLP-001 -1)
Generally downtempo set only really sparked for dancers by their now extended current 7in, a swaying 105bpm “hot tempo” jogger quite blatantly inspired by ‘Ain’t Nobody’ but less vocally biting (so better mixed out of Jocelyn Brown rather than Chaka Khan to give it more contrast). Useful, though expansive like this!
KENNY G: ‘Hi, How Ya Doin? (Gravity Mix)’ (Arista ARIST 12-561)
So well established on LP already that it’s sure now to be a text book crossover hit, this brightly remixed 113bpm swaying electro lurcher has a dangerously catchy “hi, how ya doin’, hey, what’s happenin’ baby?” hookline that’s burrowed into every soul fan’s brain and should make it an equally deadly pop monster. Gullivers Graham Gold does a dynamite doubling-up megamix using the 7in instrumental flip repeatedly echoing the intro acappella hookline, switching and swapping between versions back and forth . . . oddly though the 12in flip’s labelled instrumental is in fact the original LP vocal, with the similarly pleasant jazzier 107bpm ‘Tribeca‘.
THE NEWS echoed the shooting of Sam Cooke in 1964, but the circumstances had the ring of true Greek tragedy: Marvin Gaye was shot on the eve of his 45th birthday “in self defence” by his own father, the Reverend Marvin Gaye Sr… the father in whose Washington DC church the young Marvin had gained his early musical grounding.
For two years from 1955 Marvin was in the Don Covay-led local doo-wop group The Rainbows, who scored a regional hit with ‘Mary Lee‘ (Red Robin/Pilgrim), before forming a splinter group The Marquees who recorded on OKeh (as a result of fellow former Rainbow Billy Stewart’s involvement with Bo Diddley on the label).
In 1959 Harvey Fuqua, who had been a judge when Marvin won a high school singing contest, recruited the Marquees to become his reformed Moonglows — Marvin singing lead on ‘Mama Loocie‘ (Chess). Settling in Detroit, Harvey married Gwen Gordy (whose Anna label pre-dated Motown) and Marvin married Anna Gordy, so it’s not too surprising to find the fortunes of Harvey and Marvin becoming closely entwined with those of big brother Berry Gordy Jr!
Although his solo debut in 1961 was an album of standards, ‘The Soulful Moods Of Marvin Gaye’, in an attempt by Berry to diversify the still fledgling Tamla label, Marvin finally started his hit singles streak in the autumn of 1962 with the then typically percussive ‘Stubborn Kind Of Fellow‘, produced by William Stevenson and backed (in their own vinyl debut) by Martha & The Vandellas.
Only this last Saturday on Radio 1’s ‘Hitsville USA’ series, Marvin observed that he had worked with everyone in the Motown family (“except perhaps the Elgins”), and indeed in true family spirit his chief role early on had been that of drummer on many sessions with the Miracles and others! To move on apace he was of course also used as the (not entirely willing?) partner of first Mary Wells and then Kim Weston, Tammi Terrell and Diana Ross in a series of successful duets which, in this country especially, did much to undermine his own identity.
Also, with William Stevenson he wrote and produced for such “outside” acts as the Artistics (on OKeh — an earlier loyalty?), while for Motown’s subsidiary Soul label his finest production in 1969 was the Originals sublime smoocher ‘Baby I’m For Real‘.
In the meantime as a gospel influenced soul singer with an intimately caressing vocal style, his biggest US hits had been ‘Pride And Joy‘ (summer ’63), ‘How Sweet It Is’ (Xmas ’64) and ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ (Xmas ’68) … this latter unreleased for many months after its recording in a disagreement probably over Marvin’s unhappiness at the emphasis then placed on his duet hits. However, once finally out, ‘Grapevine’ became the Motown company’s biggest ever hit at that time and paved the way for Marvin to take greater control of his own recording destiny.
The result was a watershed not only for Marvin or Motown but for soul as a whole, the moody introspective self-produced concept album ‘What’s Going On’ and its spring ’71 title track smash, built up from layers of gently drifting amorphous sound. This approach continued through the sexual ‘Let’s Get It On’ (summer ’73), rhythmic ‘Got To Give It Up’ (spring ’77) and was triumphantly re-orchestrated for electronic instruments on autumn 1982’s climactic ‘Sexual Healing’.
However, between times, Marvin’s personal life had driven him to depression, and he had finally split with Motown to record for CBS. Working with Harvey Fuqua as advisor and recording in Belgium, Marvin Gaye’s bold experiment with ‘Sexual Healing’ had given his career a much needed boost. Now in a sad full circle of fate, his life has been taken away by the man who gave it. The joy he gave others will live on…
ODDS ‘N’ BODS
SUNDAY NIGHT found London’s Horizon Radio responding to the news with continuous Marvin Gaye music while Radio Invicta prattled on in obvious ignorance until they managed to slot a brief tribute into their schedule: however, given a few hours preparation, it was Capital’s Roger Scott on Monday afternoon who played a neatly edited virtually chronological 25 minute medley of all Marvin’s milestone records . . . I only met Marvin Gaye once, when Smokey Robinson introduced us backstage at the Brooklyn Fox during a Murray The K show in ’64: on the same bill were the Supremes, Temptations, Ronettes, Little Anthony & The Imperials, Millie Small, Dusty Springfield, Searchers and a whole host more Merseybeat groups, plus a full feature movie, all in rotation four shows a day for a week — ah, memories! . . . Capital’s Saturday night soul DJ Phil Allen is about to upset his most loyal listener, but Tony Monson does an expanded disco sales chart show Sundays 8- 10pm on Horizon Radio stereo 102.5FM, now going daily 7am-1am (more at weekends) . . . Oscar J Jennings has left Skyline for weekday evenings 6-8pm drive time on London Weekend Radio 92.5FM — or LWR as it’s known, being on air 7 days a week! . . . Chris Hill, Carol and myself had a great trip to Cumbria, gorging again at the world famous Sharrow Bay Hotel on Ullswater, but it was a pity the crowd at Ernie & Kathleen Priestman’s lavishly lit Old Hall in Egremont hadn’t been kept more up to date musically — however, the night got really good, the lighting (including four flying saucers on tracks and a £21,000 laser) would rival anything bar the Hippodrome, and Judy Hutchinson made a lovely tall dancing partner! . . . Chris Paul (South Harrow Bogarts) has been using The Champs ‘Tequila‘ as a crowd wind-up for years and keeps having to buy replacements as he sells his copies — I wonder, did Chris Hill get one off him?! . . . Chris Brown is threatening to play a live Tom Jones medley of ’60s Wilson Picket-type things at Caister, this weekend (I told you it was getting like Northern Soul!), which may be what scared punters off from the now cancelled Showstoppers trip to Jersey . . . Jeffrey Osborne has added an extra London date at Hammersmith Odeon on April 27 . . . Slave wind up their UK tour Sunday (8) at Glasgow Zanzibar’s monster funk all-dayer, Monday (9) at Bradford Caesar’s Palace — meanwhile Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five and Davy DMX cut it up Sun/Mon (8/9) at London’s Venue before heading next weekend to Nottingham’s Rock City (Fri 13), Aylesbury Friars (Sat 14) . . . Motown again got Bobby Womack for Britain, while London have the Philly World label from which first product (already promo-ed ahead even of US release) in two weeks will be Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes ‘Don’t Give Me Up‘, a blandly predictable 119bpm “soul” swayer over bumping M&M-mixed Nick Martinelli electronics, and a revival by Terri Wells of the mafia’s fave D. Spinners oldie! . . . Collage’s ‘Get In Touch’ LP is available here (Solar 96-0240-1), if you can’t find their 12in original . . . Gary Crowley’s front door to your living room, Channel 4’s ‘Earsay’ has theme music by Ian Levine & Fiachra Trench which as ‘Frantic Love‘ by Eastbound Expressway is due soon on guess which boys town label . . . I wonder what would happen if the HI-NRG chart didn’t mention anything until it was on full commercial release? . . . Earlene Bentley Saturday (7) plays Edinburgh Fire Island, where Laura Pallas will be lucky ever to have a hit . . . Southampton’s Warehouse has metamorphosed into the hi-tech Raffles featuring general music, though Adrian Dunbar makes Saturday a non-stop dance night and as from Monday April 16 starts a new weekly branch of Bolts for the boys . . . LWR’s Sunday noon-2pm jazz doc, Bob Jones souls Royston’s The Bull Thursday (5) . . . Invicta’s Darren Fogel & Skyline’s Patrick French soul West Norwood’s Norwood Suite Fridays (£1 off if you show this mention!) . . . Horizon’s Gilles Peterson joins Paul Oakenfold Fridays to funk under-18s at Wallington Public Hall’s Candy Box, and Peter Smedley Sundays to jazz-samba Sutton Christie’s wine bar (Surrey) . . . Essex Radio’s soul DJ Dave Gregory funks Southend’s re-vamped and laser-lit TOTS Tuesdays . . . hip HOP!
TWENTY YEARS ON…
THIS WEEK in 1964 The Beatles achieved the still unequalled feat of having the top five singles in the Billboard US Hot 100 (‘Can’t Buy Me Love’/’Twist And Shout’/’She Loves You’/I Want To Hold Your Hand’/ ‘Please Please Me’). However, of far greater significance to black music fans were all the soul hits which in those days crossed over as a matter of course into the US pop chart — a subject I keep going on about! — but if you need convincing just check through these, from w/e April 4, 1964: Betty Everett ‘Shoop Shoop Song’, Temptations ‘The Way You Do The Things You Do’, Marvin Gaye ‘You’re A Wonderful One’, Tommy Tucker ‘Hi-Heel Sneakers’, Bobby Bland ‘Ain’t Nothing You Can Do’, Chuck Berry ‘Nadine’, Dean & Jean ‘Hey Jean Hey Dean’, Chubby Checker ‘Hey Bobba Needle’, Ray Charles ‘My Heart Cries For You’, Lenny Welch ‘Ebb Tide’, Ray Charles ‘Baby Don’t You Cry’, Mary Wells ‘My Guy’ (its chart debut at 50), Major Lance ‘The Matador’, Soul Sisters ‘I Can’t Stand It’, Marvelettes ‘He’s A Good Guy’, Little Stevie Wonder ‘Castles In The Sand’, Miracles ‘The Man In You’, Impressions ‘I’m So Proud’, Shirelles ‘Sha La La’, Vibrations ‘My Girl Sloopy’, Anna King & Bobby Byrd ‘Baby Baby Baby’, Irma Thomas ‘Wish Someone Would Care’, Jerry Butler ‘Giving Up On Love’, Ruby & The Romantics ‘Our Everlasting Love’, Coasters ‘T’ Ain’t Nothin’ To Me’, Tymes ‘To Each His Own’, Tams ‘You Lied To Your Daddy’, Gloria Lynne ‘I Should Care’, Freddie Scott ‘Where Does Love Go’, Contours ‘Can You Do It’, King Curtis ‘Soul Serenade’, Tams ‘It’s All Right’, Ben E King ‘That’s When It Hurts’, Otis Redding ‘Come To Me’, Baby Washington ‘I Can’t Wait Until I See My Baby’s Face’, Gloria Lynne ‘Be Anything (But Be Mine)’, Chuck Jackson ‘Hand It Over’, BB King ‘How Blue Can You Get’, Ronettes ‘(The Best Part Of) Breakin’ Up’ . . . fair makes your mouth water, huh? Those were the ones that I marked at the time as having a soul sensibility (they were also the ones that I got), but they omit Louis Armstrong ‘Hello Dolly’ and Danny Williams ‘White On White’! The ‘British Invasion’ opened the US chart to black acts as white Americans were thrown into confusion, but under not dissimilar circumstances the US Hot 100 of w/e March 31 1984 could only field 21 black crossovers to 1964’s impressive 39.
CHANGE: ‘Change Of Heart’ LP (US Atlantic/RFC 80151-1)
Sure to top the disco chart in double quick time, the dynamite ultra-nagging 107½bpm title track jitterer is like Yarbrough & Peoples singing ‘She’s Strange’, produced by masters of the current hot tempo Jimmy Jam Harris & Terry Lewis, and the last part is true, fact! HOT! Rarely has a record excited me and my dancers so much (though on current form even if out here it probably wouldn’t cross over until Christmas, snigger snigger!). Other toned down Jimmy Jam tracks are the 110bpm ‘You Are My Melody‘, 109bpm ‘Warm‘, slow 72/36bpm ‘Say You Love Me Again’, current group leader Timmy Allen handling the Kashif-ish 113bpm ‘Lovely Lady’ slowed-down ‘Searching’-like 107bpm ‘True Love’ (144½bpm at 45rpm!), more mundane 122bpm ‘Got My Eyes On You’, 111bpm ‘It Burns Me Up’.
DETROIT SPINNERS: ‘Love Is In Season’ (LP ‘Cross Fire’ Atlantic 780150-1)
Already creating a Cameo-sized buzz on advance 7in (where unbelievably it’s only on the B-side), this Leon Sylvers III-produced gorgeous gently swaying 101½bpm soul satisfying vocal delight will obviously be massive at Caister this weekend and could revive the Harvey Fuqua-founded veteran group’s fortunes yet again. The 7in A-side’s rolling 114bpm ‘Right Or Wrong‘ with its old (‘Twine Time’?) bassline, lushly pushing 112bpm ‘Two Of A Kind‘, chunkily current 111bpm ‘Not Just Another Lover‘ are other good dancers, along with the 122bpm ‘Keep On Keepin’ On’, 0-108bpm ‘All Your Love’, 65½bpm ‘Secrets’, 65bpm ‘Our Time For Love’, and now mandatory fast ugly 144bpm title track — but this is the season for ‘Love Is In Season’!