ODDS ‘N’ BODS
MATT BIANCO’s 12in next week teams an extended percussion-climaxed ‘Half A Minute‘ with ‘Matt’s Mood II‘ as flip — no messing about this time! . . . Kool & The Gang’s ‘Fresh‘ 12in is due next week while finally Switch ‘Keeping Secrets’ and a re-cut Mercy Mercy are due now . . . Al Jarreau plus David Sanborn’s band play Wembley Empire Pool Sunday 25 Nov, to be filmed and recorded for US syndication — so true believers are needed as an audience . . . Nick Ratcliffe (Portsmouth Ritzy) confirms Luther Vandross is actually credited on the original un-remixed ‘Georgy Porgy’ B-side of the 1979 RCA 12in by Charmé (with an acute “e”) featuring Vivien Cherry called ‘Do It All For Love’ — however, Ralph Tee (Rickmansworth) reckons it was also on their 1982 LP ‘Ultra Dance’ (incidentally the 1978 original by its writers Toto has just come out on their cheapo-cheapo Hallmark/Pickwick LP) . . . The Jones Girls after only one album have left RCA for Capitol and a doubtless welcome return to producer Dexter Wansel . . . Showstopper Promotions’ umpteenth Caister Soul Weekender is this weekend: even though a few veteran funkateers from the very first exactly six years ago will be there, Chris Hill is forced to admit the event is now on a par with Teddy Boy revivals, everyone dressing as they know their big brothers and sisters used to rather than as they do now . . . Chris Hill has left Canvey’s Goldmine, the club he put on the map more than ten years ago, to be replaced by his old warm-up jock from that era Big Tom Holland, Chris’s Saturdays as well as Sundays now being spent at Stan & Jayne Barrett’s Sheffield Arms near lovely Sheffield Park in Sussex — where the disco has been renamed Hilly’s in honour (grand opening Nov 10) . . . Tony Blackburn admits he only has a seven-incher — shock revelation scoop! — coming out on RCA, as a belated follow-up to his “Lenny Gamble” oldie (wot, no 12in?) . . . Billboard’s new US charts breakdown reveals some interesting discrepancies especially amongst the Hot Black Singles, where sales in general lag behind Airplay frequency, so that for instance last week Leon Haywood ‘Tenderoni’ was at 13 in Airplay, nowhere in the Sales Top 30, yet rising at 24 in the combined main chart (which is all we used to see) — the chart’s new typography is less easy to take in at a glance . . . Peter Young counts down the Record Mirror Disco Top 20 at 8.50pm on his Saturday 6-9pm Radio Mercury 103.6FM soul show, which last week he cleverly kicked off very drily exactly as if it was just one from his old Capital series, without any welcoming effusions for his new Sussex listeners . . . Chad Jackson promoting his ‘Crew Cuts Lesson 2‘ LP with “live” scratching demonstrations last week on his home turf in the window of Manchester’s HMV Shop attracted such a crowd that he had to stop after half an hour as record buyers couldn’t get into the shop — in London at the Virgin Megastore the crowd was smaller and I got the impression many ordinary shoppers were thinking “why’s he mucking up all those good records?” (some of his stunts were really good, others he spoilt by scratching on too long), and in fact to escape the piercing volume I explored the books department, spending £34! . . . David Toop’s well researched ‘The Rap Attack — African Jive to New York Hip Hop‘ (Pluto Press £4.95) was my most interesting purchase, the best reasoned examination of black music I’ve read since the oft-quoted Marshall & Jean Stearns ‘A History Of Jazz Dance‘, thoroughly recommended especially to people like Sheffield’s Mike Ward who refuse to acknowledge where “rap” belongs in the development of black music (by the way Mr Toop, if you’d care to contact me I’ve some first hand experiences of “live” soul raps by the likes of Irma Thomas which predate your chronology somewhat) . . . “Do Or Die” I now realize is hip hop-ese for Brooklyn’s black ghetto Bedford-Stuyvesant housing centre, which suddenly makes much more sense of Divine Sounds’ ‘Do Or Die Bed Sty‘ . . . Les Cokell opens Leeds’ gay Rockshots 2 in Call Lane with PAs by Earlene Bentley, Miquel Brown, Norma Lewis, Laura Pallas, Jackson Moore, Odyssey, Mari Wilson, Nicci Gable, Betty Valentino, 501’s, Girltalk this Friday (26), when Imagination and Shakatak PA with Steve Walsh and the JFM jocks at London’s Lyceum, and John Mayoh has a Motown night at Manchester’s New Millionaire . . . Wednesday (31) Hull Romeos & Juliets have a Pernod-plugging Halloween “Appointment With Fear”, free before 10pm if you’re “dressed to kill” . . . John Dene (Bishopsgate BB’s/Portsmouth Ritzy) suggests A&M should try a sax-extended version of The Carpenters ‘This Masquerade‘, which confuses his punters into thinking it’s by Sade! . . . Slack & Black is actually Julian Palmer and fellow Island plugger Adrian Sykes, but Mike’s brother Brian Gardner thinks he and Julian should call themselves that, especially on Tuesdays when Soho’s Wag Club becomes The Slammer for a reggae toasting night . . . Horizon listeners have been raving over the RAH Band’s great “inter-planetary phonecall” – featuring ‘Clouds Across The Moon‘, played off a demo tape originally circulated about three months ago to just a few obviously wrong people, whose discouraging response then has meant that another inferior track is set for release — boo! . . . Crystal Palace McDonalds should have excellent reception! . . . Gary London’s Saturday 8-10pm Skyline 90.2FM Hi-NRG show now refers to it as “Gay Dance Music”, which indeed is what our own Hi-NRG Disco chart (which he counts down) has always reflected . . . Al Rockwell, not Stockwell, is the Stockport STR 92.1FM pirate . . . Neil Matthew “broadcasts” a funky show pre-match Tues/Sat at Billericay Town Football Club on a “station” called NLR (New Lodge Radio) which they call “Britain’s only legal pirate” — he’s also mobile with Fighting Machine Roadshows, and after a weekday pub gig on 02774-51536 (evenings) . . . Chris Britton seems to be moving around, most recently Thursday at London West End’s new Shaftesbury’s and Wed/Fri/Sat at Tottenham Ritzy . . . Inner Life ‘No Way’ didn’t feature Jocelyn Brown, it was Debbie Cooper from Change . . . Joyce Kennedy, US hit ballad partner of Jeffrey Osborne, was lead singer in the old multi-racial Mother’s Finest . . . Stephanie Mills I can’t help thinking on her LP sleeve looks awfully like Brass Construction’s cuddly percussionist Sandy Billups in drag! . . . David Grant, intent again on being a soul rather than pop star (hurrah!), has let his hair grow back into an Orin Cozier style — what next, glasses? . . . I’m still not noticeably being serviced by CBS so was surprised to receive a letter signed by Adam Ant and Marco Pirroni hoping I’d like their enclosed Francois Kevorkian-remixed 12in of the ugly ‘Apollo 9’, their “first venture into club mixes” . . . ‘Top Secret!’ from the makers of ‘Airplane’, in which the hero is a berk, has Val Kilmer doing a ridiculously accurate copy of Elvis Presley’s ‘Jailhouse Rock’ gyrations, except he sings ‘Tutti Frutti’ instead . . . ‘The Bill’ could be a London ‘Hill Street Blues’ — it seemed really odd when the sergeant didn’t say “let’s be careful out there”! . . . HEAVE HO, HEAVE HO!
LONDON’S PIRATE soul stations were indeed back last week, if somewhat patchily, plus the general music Skyline returned loud and clear on 90.2FM. Solar FM’s test transmissions actually packed up just about the time you’d have been reading last week’s column, but the station is liable to reappear at any time on 102.5FM — probably under its old identity as Horizon Radio, though with new co-operative DJ management . . . stay tuned. JFM returned last Wednesday with intermittent transmissions and a weaker signal on 103.25FM, promising to go 24 hours a day with lower power but a more efficient transmitter system when they move up to 104.3FM, a move planned for this Monday and not (as I write) carried out — maybe because as I warned them this would bring them perilously close to a powerful Greek-Cypriot on 104.1FM? In any event, JFM is trying to get well away from Radio Mercury (who themselves obliterate anything within reach of 103.6FM), although as evidently even Solar FM were complained about to the Dept of Trade & Industry as interfering with Mercury’s reception it seems a clash of signals is not the real reason for this sort of complaint! BBC and ILR stations would do well to bear in mind the main root of Rock ‘n’ Roll in the late ’40s/early ’50s: American white kids, fed up with the overly manufactured pop of their day, tuning along their dials and getting hooked by the excitement and greater substance of the black music they found on those funny little black stations. Ring any bells?
YUM YUM! Double delicious twins are San Diego sisters Jeanette & Claudette Russ, who were discovered singing in church and first called Split Image before their relationship was emphasized as TWIN IMAGE on their debut single ‘Kiss And Make It Better’ (Capitol 12CL 342), a Jerry Knight-penned perky Kashif-ish 118bpm pop-soul lurcher starting with a strikingly acappella “ooh, let me show you what a kiss can do — ooh, let me show ya”, the line that underpins the whole song (inst flip).
DAZZ BAND: ‘Let It All Blow’ (Motown TMGT 1361)
As predicted this is indeed a simple groove that’s ended up absolutely massive, and in double quick time to boot — a great 115bpm semi-electro lurching chugger with Herbie Hancock-style piano and just a lazily delivered “heave ho, heave ho, let it all blow, down down down down” the total deadly catchy lyric content (inst flip). The next ‘Dr Beat’?
THE COOL NOTES: ‘I Forgot’ (Abstract Dance 12AD 002)
Another masterful languidly lazy drifter, surprisingly as fast as 110bpm, this time sung by Steve Mackintosh with the delightful Lorraine and Heather in title chanting support, everything from the neat little scratch intro kept to a beautifully interlocked minimum for the maximum effect — this is British black music at its most distinctive and least derivative (girls-sung 139bpm ‘Baby I Just Want It‘ flip with dated appeal).
ROY AYERS: ‘In The Dark’ (US Columbia 44-05115)
Currently tickling ears and feet with his tinkling vibes on Terri Wells’ ‘Who’s That Stranger‘, Roy’s back in his own right too with this infectious huskily sung sound FX-spiced lightly driving (0-)120bpm jazz-funk chugger co-produced by Stanley Clarke, bound to be big at Caister as it’s bang in that old bag — the flip’s more subduedly shuffling instrumental 121-1201/2bpm ‘Love Is In The Feel‘ being good too. Continue reading “October 27, 1984: Dazz Band, Cool Notes, Roy Ayers, S.O.S. Band, Tom Browne”