November 24, 1984: Thelma Houston, James Ingram, Kool & The Gang, T.Ski Valley, Scheer Music


PAUL HARDCASTLE has pseudonymously recorded an electro remake of ‘Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag‘ for release as flip of the Pigbag original — on yet another label! . . . MCA have imported 5,000 Thelma Houston 12in and 1,000 Whispers LPs for sale at UK prices, while Eugene Wilde’s LP is already out here (Fourth & Broadway BRLP 502) with different sleeve and running order . . . CRC plan a brand new US remix of Linda Clifford ‘Runaway Love’ just after Christmas . . . Chaka Khan, back together again with Rufus, will make one solo and one group LP a year for the next five years — can’t be bad! . . . Howard Johnson is currently recording here with Rod Temperton and Barry Blue . . . Marvin’s two years younger brother Frank Gaye is in London shopping for a deal — sounding and looking the same, he was drafted to Vietnam in ’65 before he could start his own career and then later was overshadowed by those very similarities . . . Peter Stringfellow’s special Poppy Day charity night at London’s Hippodrome raised an incredible £40,000 in donations . . . Brothers Johnson have left A&M, a final ‘Best Of’ set being due next month compiled by Orin Cozier with a 4-track medley mixed by Les Adams . . . Victor Carstarphen, responsible for the brilliant Temptations ‘Treat Her Like A Lady’ arrangement, was a sometime partner of McFadden & Whitehead in the mid-’70s . . . Cheryl Lynn ‘Encore’ finally dropped out of our chart after nearly a year, in which it came to personify 1984’s “hot tempo” — now readjusting as you may have noticed into “today’s groove” (all these tempos are basically slow-ish, tense, and the soul equivalent of reggae’s heartbeat) . . . Kool & The Gang have a greatest hits “live” video called ‘Tonight’ on sale in America . . . ‘Thriller’-videoing John Landis’ next film ‘Into The Night’ has BB King singing three songs, each made into a video too . . . Hall & Oates ‘Out Of Touch’ topped US Hot Dance/Disco (oddly its exciting video hasn’t helped it here) . . . JFM came back on 103.3FM . . . Solar-FM’s loud Graham Gold will be warm-up, JFM’s large Steve Walsh on-air jock for the next three Thursdays at BBC Radio London’s Soul Night Out while Tony Blackburn is away — they at least will know how to keep a disco crowd actually dancing instead of just standing around looking bored stiff (let’s face it, once the novelty of seeing Blackburn act like a prat has worn off he doesn’t do much else to move one) . . . Friday (23) Tony Simmons (there every Sun) funks Luton Dumbos with lovers rock by Lovelite, Gary Oldis has a silly “jungle safari party” at Dalton Piercy Slix (fancy-dressers free), Norman Scott hosts the national Gay Disco Dancing finals at Harringey Bolts . . . Jackson Moore PA’s Stratford Romford Road’s The Pigeons Sat (24) . . . Sunday (25) Hammersmith Palais 3pm alldayer has Booker Newberry III, Cool Notes, Jaki Graham, Intrigue, Haywoode ‘n more with CJ Carlos, Chris Stewart, Cleveland Anderson, Lyndon T, Frenchie T, Baz Maleady etc plus hip hop events (out of town details on 0772-700282) . . . Booker Newberry III also joins many of the above plus Paul Hardcastle and possibly Phil Fearon PA-ing while Bluey’s new group Dante debut “live” at Gary Raymond’s Tuesday (27) Epping Forest Country Club funk special (advance tickets only, details on 0992-469069) . . . Wed (28) JFM’s Dave Collins (after extra soul gigs on 01-946 4534) & Marc Damon funk Purley Cinderellas Rockerfellas with the Cool Notes playing live . . . Sean Brett should by now have fully refurbished surroundings at Bolton’s The Dance Factory . . . George Knowles Jr & Sr and Stuart Cochrane of Scotland’s Stirling Leisure are opening a ¾-million quid Rox Rainbow club in Stirling mid-February and already are scouting for record company contact re PAs/etc on 0259-50655 or 0786-64904 . . . Pete Tong has left Fridays at Sheffield Park Hilly’s to find a new gig nearer his lnvicta Sound catchment area . . . Chic’s LP Version of ‘Chic Cheer’ does indeed seem hotter than the remix, while Disco Gary (London Tramp/Croydon Club Musique/Hastings Flamingos) tips their first LP’s ‘Est-Ce Que C’Est Chic?‘ and finds the ‘Good Times’ beat has made the Sugarhill Gang ‘Rappers Delight’ huge again . . . ‘Let’s Make A Baby’ was the Billy Paul classic now reggaefied by Peter Campbell, and for the third time of trying it’s Eramus Hall (not Erasmus) P’funking on US Capitol! . . . Richard Knapp (Hornchurch 41043) spent the summer jocking at San Antonio’s Star Club on Ibiza and now with colleague ‘Starmixer’ Si Read plans an Ibiza 84 reunion roadshow if any (beach?) parties are interested . . . Scarborough Scene 1 & 2 jock Howard Nurse is after a couple of weekly Sheffield Hi-NRG disco gigs while at university there, c/o Stephenson Hall, Sheffield S10 3LF . . . Danny Daniels seems to be steaming Sundays at Earls Court La Vie En Rose II, one of London’s black clubs where Krystol determinedly hangs on as an underground smash . . . HUBBA HUBBA!


THELMA HOUSTON: ‘I’d Rather Spend The Bad Times With You Than Spend The Good Times With Someone New’ (LP ‘Qualifying Heat’ US MCA MCA-5527)
Although all four of side one’s tracks feature Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis as main musicians, along with Monte Moir, they only prod/penned her 0-111bpm hit and this marvellously titled somewhat ‘I Feel For You’ flavoured exciting electro skittered frantic 120bpm driver, the previously unfamiliar Moir taking over for the actually much easier to use creamily bumping 0-113-0bpm ‘(I Guess) It Must Be Love‘ and infectious jauntily tripping 119bpm ‘Fantasy And Heartbreak‘. The less cohesive flip has Dennis Lambert’s classy 107bpm ‘Generate Love‘ (and AOR-ish 120bpm ‘Love Is A Dangerous Game‘), the good sultry slow tugged 85bpm ‘What A Woman Feels Inside‘, and inevitable rock-disco 158bpm ‘Shake You‘. Thelma herself sounds superb.

JAMES INGRAM: ‘Yah Mo B There (Jellybean Remix)’ (US Qwest 0-20270)
Jellybean remixed 4-track 12in of old material hottest for this great eagerly greeted smooth lush 117½-118bpm soaring Michael McDonald duet, now with fluttering electronic percussion and added break, flipped by the soulfully weaving subdued ‘Plane Love’-ish 95bpm ‘It’s Your Night‘ (both with new instrumentals).

KOOL & THE GANG: ‘Surrender’ (LP ‘Emergency’ US De-Lite 822 943-1 M-1)
Good simple sparsely striding 120bpm chugger, least worrying newie on a well-made set where not surprisingly in 1984 rock rears its head, but tempered with funk, the soulful 117½bpm ‘Fresh‘ thus making a sensible first UK single while the US gets ‘Misled‘, an exciting combination of taut vocal with yowling rock guitar and starkly lurching then spurting beat (sure to hit here eventually), the rock-funk 124½bpm title track and ambiguously racing catchy pop 182/91bpm ‘You Are The One‘ being other dancers, the lush swaying 75bpm ‘Bad Woman’ and attractive 0-95/47½bpm ‘Cherish’ (new song) the slowies. Continue reading “November 24, 1984: Thelma Houston, James Ingram, Kool & The Gang, T.Ski Valley, Scheer Music”

November 17, 1984: Kool & The Gang, Charme, Pennye Ford, Roy Ayers, Breekout Krew


PIRATE UPDATE: South Manchester’s KFM had a full studio confiscation bust last Thursday, leaving the nearby Southside 92.1FM (STR renamed) planning to go week-long now, while the previous night London’s JFM 104.4FM amongst others lost their transmitter yet again (by chance Solar 102.45FM’s had temporarily broken down!) . . . Radio Mercury now seem to be beefing about Radio Jackie on Medium Wave clashing with their audience area rather than their signal . . . I get the impression there’s some dissatisfaction “up-country” about the content of these pages: maybe if I lived only within range of Radio One I too would be enthusing about Duran Duran, but as I live in Britain’s soul capital, London (where Tony Blackburn’s weekday BBC Radio London soul show tops the morning ratings, Solar-FM plays soul around the clock, Capital features soul heavily at weekends, other nearby ILR stations have expanded their soul programming, and import shops still shift the hottest vinyl), I write about what’s happening amongst those for whom black music is an easily accessible part of normal life — if this upsets some in less fortunate areas I’m sorry, it’s done to keep people in touch with the stuff that even less specialist DJs could be playing in the months to come . . . Andy Peebles sits in on Radio London for holidaying Tony Blackburn at the end of this month, which should be interesting as Andy’s old Piccadilly soul show in Manchester was the talk of the north — a pity though that Tony’s dropped his daily club DJ charts . . . Andy Grahamme’s weekday 2-5pm show on Kent’s Invicta Sound copies the Blackburn format with nothing but soul every afternoon, while of course Pete Tong Saturday 7- 10pm remains the specialist soul slot (heard best in London/Essex on 103.8FM) . . . Solar-FM’s chart-compiling breakfast jock Tony Monson now co-presents the Monday edition of Dave Gregory’s 7-9pm soul show on Essex Radio 95.3FM . . . Swindon Brunel Rooms jock Sandy Martin (not Continental ‘Ibiza’ hitster Sandy Marton!) now has a regular Friday night Disco-Trekin’ show on Wiltshire Radio 96.4/97.4FM — but what time? . . . London’s saturation soul radio has resulted in some records like Brass Construction, Mercy Mercy and even Fonda Rae “burning out” before finished copies finally hit the shops (LP tracks like Switch and Rose Royce seem unaffected by the wait though) — maybe record companies should re-think their traditional white label promotion methods? . . . Stevie Wonder ‘Love Light In Flight‘ is due here next week, The Intruders could be sooner on Streetwave . . . Robert Blenman is leaving PRT to become a music publisher at EMI Music, his parting shot being a TK compilation LP ‘Queen Of Clubs‘ including The Controllers ‘Somebody Gotta Win Somebody’s Gotta Lose‘ and — wait for it — Paulette Reeves ‘Jazz Freak‘ amongst the 16 cuts, due next week . . . Bluebird/10 is the joint label identity in a new distribution link with Virgin/10 Records for Bluebird, whose owners “The Two Billies” are about to become Scottish lairds with a castle by the Solway Firth! . . . Paul Hardcastle has replaced his current Cooltempo hit’s flip with a new sax-overdubbed 0-121bpm remix of Bluebird’s original ‘Rain Forest’ (currently climbing the US Hot Dance/Disco chart, which Chaka Khan still tops as well as Hot Black) . . . Rose Royce guitarist Walter McKinney will be joining our own Nat King Cool & The Cool Runners from the new year, probably in the role of lead singer “Nat” himself (the band also includes Nick Straker) . . . Sho-Pro’s soul weekender won’t be moving to Camber Sands until next October, in April merely slipping sideways back at Caister into the other nearby smaller Seashore camp to which it was briefly demoted in 1980 (for the “twin” events) . . . Suzanne Gigli ‘Boys Do It’ (Lamborghini) somehow came out as Suzanne Young last week, it’s Eramus Hall P’funking on US Capitol, Paula Anderson on US Starlite, Rich Cason’s track is ‘X-Plantary Zone, Roni Griffith is only 116bpm! . . . Disco Mix Club’s November mixes are Alan Coulthard’s brilliantly integrated Pop hotch potch and near flawless Heaven 17 medley (spoilt only by some of the later actual tracks), and Sanny X’s electronically augmented early ’70s Glam Rock oldies and surprisingly bad disjointed Evelyn King medley (normally a doddle for anyone to mix smoothly): DJ subscription details on 06286-67276 . . . Friday (16) finds Froggy at Stanmore Chevaliers (arrive before 11pm), Jackson Moore PA-ing at Manchester New Millionaire . . . Imagination are signing records at Rayners Lane Record & Disco Centre Saturday 11.30am . . . Sunday (18) Steve Walsh joins the Birmingham Powerhouse 2pm alldayer crew, Viola Wills joins DJ Alex Baker at the new Dicks Inn Sunday Club Musique gay venue in London Cavendish Square’s Phoenix . . . Paul French souls Gillingham’s new Kents fun pub in Jeffrey Street nightly, while the other Paul ‘Frenchy’ French is about to leave Dunfermline’s Night Magic to open a brand new Bacchus International club in Norway, Bergen’s Ole Bull (their most lavishly lit installation yet) . . . Alan James Jewell in, the land of opportunity, Hong Kong (he’s currently DJ at Casablanca in Aberdeen, zany video jock on TVB Pearl’s top-rated live ‘Music TV’ and about to start on ‘8.30 Video’, while his previously mentioned mixed disco LP and 12in remix were the first ever done locally) is looking for extrovert showmen DJs, mixing essential, for Hong Kong and Asian club work: send cassette, photo and history to him at The Manhattan Discotheques Ltd, South Seas Center, Tower II, Suite 805, Tsimshatsui East, Hong Kong . . . Adrian Allen (South Shields Chelsea Cat) is after Peter Brown ‘Love In Our Hearts‘ and Locksmith ‘Blackjack‘ (the latter old B-side huge Hi-NRG locally) on Boldon 364895 . . . Brainstorm’s old ‘Lovin’ Is Really My Game‘ is hitting US clubs by Zino featuring Tyne Mouton (US Pacific) while here it’s hot on LP by Sylvester — who will guest on Earlene Bentley’s next single ‘Stargazing‘ . . . RM’s fax man Alan Jones wonders how Les Knott can gauge floor reaction to a disco party chart “as presented on Harlow Hospital Radio”?! . . . HEAVE HO, HEAVE HO!

“MIGHTY ATOM” CLEVELAND ANDERSON, has joined ALAN DAVID for Saturday soul-funk-reggae-calypso sessions at The Warehouse in Glasgow’s Dunlop Street, guests this Saturday (17) including George Lee’s Anansi live and Cool Notes PA. Sounds a hoot, mon!


KOOL & THE GANG: ‘Fresh’ (De-Lite DEX 18)
Back on form, this self-produced beefily chugging simple 117bpm jiggler may borrow its nagging title from the world of hip hop but its modernity lies in uncluttered tight production rather than an “electro” sound (promos had no flip).

CHARME: ‘Georgy Porgy’ (RCA RCAT 464)
In its third released form since 1979, this now Jonathan Fearing-remixed Toto-penned tuggingly pulsed 101-102-103-101-103bpm catchy singalong swayer has the unmistakable moaning tones of Luther Vandross as its main attraction (inst flip, plus the old 106-107bpm HUES CORPORATION ‘Rock The Boat’).

PENNYE FORD: ‘Change Your Wicked Ways’ (Total Experience XET 503)
Originally a demo singer for Motown publishers Jobete, Pennye wails like Chaka Khan on a fabulous immediately familiar rolling and swinging 0-119bpm backbeat smacker, really classy (edit flip). Continue reading “November 17, 1984: Kool & The Gang, Charme, Pennye Ford, Roy Ayers, Breekout Krew”

November 10, 1984: The Temptations, Switch, Sister Sledge, Flea, Madonna


CAISTER’S BIGGIES, inevitable oldies apart, seem “officially” to have been decided as Temptations, Thelma Houston, Chic, Teena Marie, Roy Ayers, Evelyn Thomas ‘Heartless (Remix)‘, Dazz Band, Breekout Krew, Charme and Pennye Ford are due here now, Philip Bailey is already here (CBS TA4857), while the Controllers ‘Crushed‘ 12in in a week of so will include ‘Undercover Lover‘ AND ‘Givin’ Up On Love‘! . . . MCA now have the Solar label, with a Whispers 12in due . . . John Morales’ partner in the M&M remix team, Sergio Munzibai is US Motown’s new head of East Coast A&R — so maybe the label will get more streetwise again? . . . Tony Hodges (following Paul Buick — I hear ya!) kicked off his debut SOLAR 101.5FM Monday 1.30am dawn shift with a brilliant marathon ‘The Scratcher Mix’, one of the best “mixers” ever — so who did it? (he also used lots more mixers including Double Dee & Steinski) . . . Chris Hill  (Sheffield Park Hilly’s) observes that black clubgoers due to the increase in soul radio have become like pop punters, dancing to the words they know rather than to a new rhythm they don’t, making it harder to break anything that hasn’t already been plugged to death on radio — OK, so maybe disco DJs no longer call the shots, but I’m sure as an Ensign record company man he must appreciate the radio-created pre-release demand for Mercy Mercy (now of course that finished pressings are finally out the initial demand has gone!) . . . Gallup’s Top 75 is currently showing the immediate impact of sales to disco DJs the week of release, with no further punter or radio pick-up causing certain titles to slump the following week . . . Wham!, Style Council, Culture Club and so many more have built a career here by often copying the Motown-style black rhythm that back in the ’60s truly was “The Sound of Young America”, yet ironically today in America all the black stars are having to adopt a white rock rhythm in order to emulate Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’ in “crossing over” to pop radio — as James Mtume recently so sagely said, who needs to cross over when ‘Juicy Fruit‘ sold more copies on top of the Black chart than it would have done as number one Pop? . . . Mtume’s next album ‘Theater Of The Mind’ will be a concept set linked by narrative, while ‘C.O.D. (I’ll Deliver)‘ is their new US 12in . . . “You’re watching me watching you touch me all night long” could be a winning lyric right now — if it hasn’t already been done? . . . Rick Robinson funks South London Old Kent Road’s free admission The Oasis Thursdays, with Claudia PA-ing tonight (8), and is after more artiste/DJ/dance troupe PA’s/guest spots on 01-771 1761 . . . Phil England gets silly Thursdays at Burnham Beeches Henry’s (girls free B4 11) . . . Chris Hill joins Colin Hudd at Dartford Flicks Friday (9), when Take 3 PA at Dalston Oasis (and Soho Hombre Sat) . . . Richard Searling is promoting a Sunday (11) 2pm all-dayer at Manchester Legend with Colin Curtis, Simon Smith, Jonathon, Hewan Clarke, and the return of Greg Wilson (wot, record production doesn’t pay the bills?) . . . Sunday (11) The Cool Notes PA for Steve Jason at Peterborough Canters . . . Inner City Street Crew break up Manchester New Millionaire’s Monday (12) Disco Mix Club night, while Black Britain join Kevin Birchall Wednesday (14) at Manchester Tropicana . . . Paul Barron (Sheffield), who doesn’t contribute his own chart so is in no position to complain, should note our main Disco chart (strictly without personal bias) as rapidly and realistically as possible reflects what’s happening in SOUL clubs — if that’s not to his punters’ taste, they’re sure to appreciate our Nightclub hits though . . . Disco Gary (London Tramp) is after a copy of Greg Perry ‘It Takes Heart‘ on Medway 0634-683841 . . . Denmark’s DJ News editor Kev James is looking for UK clubs and jocks to test certain European promos: contact him at English And American DJ Club, Mollevej 14, DK 7323 Give, Denmark (phone 010-45-5-73 50 66) . . . “Hi Kev, my name’s Rob Harknett!” . . . Simon Walsh has left Bradford for steamy Bangkok’s Bubbles in the Dusit Thani Hotel until the new year, nightly spinning nothing but Hi-NRG hits from 2-3 months ago . . . Alan James Jewell is briefly back in London (and New York) from the sumptuous clubs of Hong Kong . . . I sped through the sun to Cornwall last week, scorching back through the night from (as it happens my birthplace) Redruth just in time to catch the BBC2 Thursday 9pm return of Jonathan King’s inestimable ‘Entertainment USA’ . . . BBC2 last Tuesday screened 1978’s marvellous ‘American Hot Wax’, an encapsulation of Rock ‘n Roll and the career of its first DJ Alan Freed, who championed (to the eventual detriment of his career) the sort of exciting black music that young white Americans had found on those funny little black stations in the early ’50s — and the film was a feast of vintage black (and white doo wop) vocal styles, often all too brief, but at least the TV version didn’t cut out Screamin’ Jay Hawkins as had the cinema version (which I saw three times when new!) . . . BBC2 ‘Arena’s’ exhaustive profile of the Everly Brothers had many tantalising glimpses of vintage clips by Bo Diddley, Elvis Presley, Eddie Cochran, Beatles and many more, all actually more exciting than anything we saw by Don & Phil themselves (exactly 21 years ago when they, Bo Diddley, Rolling Stones, Mickie Most & Julie Grant played Victoria, it was I from the balcony who shouted during a pause after they’d sung ‘Lucille’, “We want Little Richard!” — and a week later he too was added to the tour!) . . . ‘Arena’ this Friday 9.25pm has a film portrait of Billie Holiday — pretty well essential? . . . ‘Shout!’-singing Otis Day & The Knights in the ‘Animal House’ toga party scene (which inspired a Caister tradition) was actually DeWayne Jessie — who also acted in ‘Car Wash’ and ‘Bingo Long’ — the kid brother of ’50s black rocker and sometime Coasters member (Obediah) Young Jessie . . . ‘Conan The Destroyer’, rollicking comic strip hokum, gets quite funny halfway thanks to the startling presence of Grace Jones, who’s joined in the cast by another black star of a different sort, veteran basketballer ‘Wilt The Stilt’ Chamberlain (playing a character called Bombaata), who 20 years ago owned Harlem’s long established Smalls Paradise — where I used to hang out with Burgess Meredith, James Baldwin, King Curtis watching many informal performances by the likes of Martha & The Vandellas, Major Lance, Chuck Jackson (rather like Harlem’s Gullivers!) . . . Robert Prosky plays the new Sgt Stan Jablonski in ‘Hill Street Blues’, but his “Let’s do it to them before they do it to us” won’t be gracing the close of this column! . . . HEAVE HO, HEAVE HO!


THE TEMPTATIONS: ‘Treat Her Like A Lady’ (Motown TMGT 1365)
The biggest boost they’ve had in a decade, this terrific soaring and roaring vocal interplay filled buoyantly bumping 113bm jittery chugger is now a UK-only 12in remix and bound for the top in double quick time (older traditionally mellow 105½bpm ‘Isn’t The Night Fantastic‘ flip).

SWITCH: ‘Keeping Secrets’ (Total Experience XET 502)
Someone at RCA has finally pulled their finger out, this long overdue gorgeous gently plopping 104bpm “today’s groove” lush harmony jogger having been a huge underground hit on import LP for months, very much the sound of now in black London at least (unlike the punchily whipping 126bpm ‘Switch It Baby‘ flip).

SISTER SLEDGE: ‘We Are Family (1984 Remix)’ (Atlantic B9692T)
Bernard Edwards-remixed catchily trotting 116-117-118bpm revival of 1979’s classic anthem, without any Duran Duran additions but cleaner and tighter than before, flipped on 12in by a gently swinging 122-121-123½bpm ‘My Guy-Canadian Sunset‘ medley and the typical Narada Michael Walden produced 121bpm ‘All American Girls’. Continue reading “November 10, 1984: The Temptations, Switch, Sister Sledge, Flea, Madonna”

November 3, 1984: Matt Bianco, Rick James, Total Contrast, Thelma Houston, Linda Clifford


SHO-PROS last Caister was an emotional event (it’ll be moving to a sandy part of Kent next year), Chris Hill choking as WEA’s Fred Dove gave him a silver disc for reviving Sister Sledge ‘Thinking Of You’, while Froggy had pre-recorded a “re-mix” of the usual finale sequence — no definitive “Caister records” emerged, but big were Thelma Houston, Breekout Krew, Temptations, Teena Marie, Matt Bianco, Chaka Khan, Dazz Band, Brass Construction, Krystol, and (a Jeff Young exclusive) the Intruders ‘Who Do You Love‘ . . . Chris Hill’s biggest oldie on his last night at Canvey’s Goldmine was the Isley Brothers ‘Harvest For The World’, his near namesake Kev Hill up the road at Harlow’s Whispers packing Saturdays with oldies like Cameo ‘It’s Serious‘, Reuben Wilson ‘Got To Get Your Own‘ . . . Alan Donald, packing weekends at Rothesay’s Ashburn, points out the title track of Gilberto Gil’s 1979 LP ‘Alapala (The Myth Of Shango)‘, and suggests trying Horace Silver ‘Song For My Father‘ (Blue Note LP) with any Steely Dan (like ‘Rikki’, ‘Do It Again’) . . . Ian Anthony Stephens’ new Fantasia label is starting a mailing list (not entirely Hi-NRG so state what music types you play along with full work details) c/o Ken Crivello, 84 Redston Road, London N8 7HE, and similarly Dave McAleer is updating his Hi-NRG list (for radio DJs and dealers too) at Priority Promotions, 38 Wharncliffe Gardens, London SE25 6DQ . . . Record Shack are re-releasing The Ritchie Family’s original old ‘The Best Disco In Town‘ flipped by a new Hi-NRG remix . . . London picked up The Breekout Krew for rush release, Motown hustling out a 12in of The Temptations even sooner . . . Street Sounds are boxing all eight previously released ‘Street Sounds Electro’, ‘Crucial Electro’ & ‘UK Electro’ albums plus an otherwise unavailable bonus LP of the US Vintertainment label’s various ‘Hip Hop On Wax’ mixers as a limited edition ‘Essential Electro — The Business‘ 9-pack, due in three weeks for about £28 — all you little boys, tell your mum what you want for Christmas! . . . Morgan Khan is doubtless trying to register Hammersmith Palais as a chart return shop on December 20th, buyers of £12 tickets for Only The Party there being given £12-worth of “free” albums! . . . Richard Jones has started DAT Records (“Distinctive Artistic Technology” rather than “dat ting dare”!) for artistes like his sister Gloria Jonas, Billy Preston, Dennis Dwyer . . . Disco Mix Club’s ‘Madonna Goes To The Doctor‘ medley seems to have helped break the included Margie Joseph ‘Midnight Lover‘ especially in pop clubs — maybe a renewed WEA effort could make it actually do a Madonna ‘Holiday’? . . . JA Publications (8 Beverly Road, Canterbury, Kent) have printed two more lists of useful addresses and details, Hospital Radio (£3) and Campus Radio (£1) — both of necessity rather flimsy although the info is comprehensive . . . Kevin James edits an English language Danish DJ News monthly mag (Grønnedalen 16B st th, 7100 Veile, Denmark), which reveals the original of the Pepe Goes To Cuba and Boney M-covered ‘Kalimba De Luna’ is by Tony Esposito, “using a new drum-type instrument the Tamborder” . . . The Earons ‘Land Of Hunger‘ (reminiscent of Odyssey’s ‘Roots’) seems to have been big in holiday hotspots like Greece and Spain . . . London’s autumnal gales having abated last weekend Solar (definitely the permanent name now) re-erected their aerial on 102.45FM, but JFM were nowhere to be heard — and a new black DBC-style Lovelight Radio snuck in near where they’d planned moving to on 104.45FM (with suspiciously over-loud distortion around Kensal Rise!) . . . London’s Standard newspaper reports IBA Director General John Whitney was highly embarrassed when his leaving present from Capital Ratio, appropriately (as it turns out) an antique crystal radio set proved only able to pick up Horizon Radio! . . . South-East London’s fully legal experimental community Radio Thamesmead are beefing with justification that they’re only allowed to “broadcast” over Rediffusion’s TV cables, which only reach a third of homes in their area, while a low power pirate-type transmitter would give them full reception . . . Dave Gregory’s 7-9pm soul show has now been extended to all six weekday evenings on Essex Radio (95.3FM reaches Central London), Kev Hill guesting Nov 3 on the 6pm-starting Saturday edition . . . Northern guru Richard Searling, still Sheffield Radio Hallam’s Saturday 6-8pm soul jock, is now tearing back to Preston’s Red Rose for a new Saturday 10pm-2am addition to his Sunday 4-5pm ‘Soul Sauce’ show (Sun remains disco-ish, Sat is more soulful) — oh, and he’s with Pete Haigh again Friday (2) at Blackpool Baskerville’s for more Mecca classix . . . Steve Dennis’s Birmingham BRMB soul show has been totally restructured and moved from Friday to Saturday 6-8pm (he’s after star interview guests on 021-351 3217), while from Sunday (4) he and the Studio 222 Experience roadshow do Sat/Sun at Walsall’s Royal Hotel as well as Mon at Kingswinford’s Summerhill House Hotel and Fri at Ward End’s Fox & Goose . . . Friday (2) finds Froggy at Stanmore Chevaliers, Jeff Young at Dartford Flicks, Broken Glass Street Crew with George S Georgiou at Aycliff Bee Jays, Darryl Hayden at Epsom Youth Centre (Sat 3 at Ashill Community Centre in Norfolk) . . . Sunday (4) Leeds Tiffany’s 3pm alldayer stars Colin Curtis and the usual crew with breakdance competitions (so what else is new?) . . . Manu Dibango, playing Hammersmith Palais Monday (5), is reportedly suing Michael Jackson for his unauthorised use of ‘Soul Makossa’ during the break in ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ . . . George Lee’s Anansi is top 12in seller at Stern’s African Record Centre in London’s Whitfield Street . . . Chaka Khan topped US Hot Dance/Disco . . . Sheila E has finally started to break here after an appearance on ‘The Tube’ — the British are such a visual nation they can’t buy records for the music alone (and similarly they don’t care about a famine that’s been raging for years until it’s shown on TV) . . . US RCA’s ‘Ultra Dance‘ LP, not from 1982, is a brand new compilation of ’70s dance tracks including Charme plus the likes of Hues Corporation, Vicki Sue Robinson, Brainstorm, Grey & Hanks, Odyssey, Rhyze . . . The RAH Band are about to sign with a new major label, so the finished version of ‘Clouds Across The Moon‘ could be their January debut release (or its follow-up) . . . Record Mirror’s disco charts don’t compile themselves, and especially the main black/soul chart needs more sustained support from contributing DJs to match the time and effort put into its compilation by Alan Jones and myself — please send genuine floor reaction charts, Top 20 or even more if possible, to Disco Charts, Record Mirror, 40 Long Acre, London WC2E 9JT (anything received after Wednesday is too late for inclusion the following week so post Sun/Mon) . . . HEAVE HO, HEAVE HO!


MATT BIANCO: ‘Half A Minute’ (WEA YZ 26T)
Hopefully a smash to justify disco DJs power (and taste), this newly extended delightful 108bpm chick-sung samba shuffler has great instrumentation and an added percussion finale, flipped by the more ’60s-style Booker T-ish 120bpm ‘Matt’s Mood II’ (which interestingly is the only side pop jocks are into so far).

RICK JAMES: ‘You Turn Me On’ (Gordy TMGT 1359)
Long established as huge on the floor but alone not enough to sell his ‘Reflections’ LP, this now remixed rolling brassy 112bpm smacker has snatches of Spanish conversation and a new percussive cold outro, flipped by his classic duet with Teena Marie, the pent-up romantic slow tortuous ‘Fire And Desire‘.

TOTAL CONTRAST: ‘Sunshine’ (Total Contrast Records TCR 2)
Really nice attractive lazily tempoed breathy chaps-wailed mushily rumbling and bubbling 0-101bpm sinuous “today’s groove” tugger, double A-sided with the much harder rock-funk 113bpm ‘Next Time I’ll Know Better‘. Continue reading “November 3, 1984: Matt Bianco, Rick James, Total Contrast, Thelma Houston, Linda Clifford”