February 23, 1985: Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, DeBarge, Midnight Star, Tom Browne, War


Two weeks away on Sunday March 10, Disco Mix Club’s DJ Convention at London’s Hippodrome costs £10 with excellent buffet an extra £7 (food only available if booked): send cheque made payable to DJ Conventions 1985 at 25 Monkspath, Walmley, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands B76 8RX, and remember it’s who you meet that’s more important than the actual event . . . Manchester’s Millionaire has arranged an amazing exclusive boost for any visiting artistes doing PAs —they also appear beforehand at the Arndale Shopping Centre’s packed Top Shop, right next to a chart return record shop (details John Mayoh 061-236 2466 or Ratko Top Shop 061-747 4655) . . . Britain’s majority musical taste remains unfortunately as ever influenced over the short term (reflected in the chart) by national Radio One: however, it’s heartening to recall those many soul classics which might have sold better back in the 60s, when the Light Programme in its equally ignorant way was just as blinkered about black music, and which are now better remembered by everyone than the briefly successful “popular” pap that was forced instead onto a public who knew no better — until that is they eventually heard Booker T & The MG’s, Ramsey Lewis, Edwin Starr, Eddie Holman, Jackie Wilson, The Drifters, Delfonics, Tams, Isley Brothers and indeed all the early Motown hits, on the second or even third time around often many years later . . . Redds And The Boys’ import version is far stronger than the UK version . . . Kool & The Gang ‘Misled’ in a less rock-y remix “to help break it on the floor” is due flipped by the original . . . Record Shack picked up the new Disconet remix of Samantha Gilles, and 10 Records have Maxi Priest . . . Richard Jon Smith’s promoed 118⅓bpm ‘ABC Of Kissing‘ is a dead ringer for Phil Fearon! . . . Caister’s main camp, on the same April 12-14 weekend as the overflow Caister Soul Weekender has been ousted to the nearby Seashore camp, is rather strangely the site for a rival Caribbean Weekender with lots of London sound systems and such radio jocks as (probably) David Rodigan and CJ Carlos — could make an interesting clash! (details Jet Promotions 01-689 9231) . . . LWR, Solar, Horizon, Skyline and seemingly more Greek and Arab stations than ever were all going strong in London last week despite official claims and hopes to the contrary . . . Radio London Soul Night Out tickets are only available on the door from 9pm Thursdays at Kilburn’s National Club, to prepare for a scrum . . . Radio Mercury’s auntie funker Peter Young actually played Prince ‘Erotic City‘ — it’s the way he funks ‘em! . . . Bronski Beat ‘Smalltown Boy‘ topped US Dance/ Disco, with the Prince-prod/penned Sheena Easton ‘Sugar Walls‘ in hot pursuit and big in the Black chart too . . . Rick James predictably takes a Prince-like rock route on his new material — well, he would wouldn’t he? — while Mick Jagger’s current video is remarkably like Prince (or is that vice versa?) . . . Thames Valley DJ Assn meets noon Sunday (24) at Bracknell Oceans in Market Street . . . Phillip Sampson tonight (Thursday 21) opens Brighton’s first purpose-built gay club (the mind boggles!), Beverly Hills in Meeting House Lane, with next week (28) Earlene Bentley the first of its Thursday big name cabaret stars . . . Tuesday (26) Laura Pallas & Phyllis Nelson star with Adrian Dunbar at one-off gay Basseys in Southampton’s Mayfair Suite, while Sunday (24) sees Carol Jiani at Bournemouth Academy’s Bolts and Divine at Edinburgh Fire Island . . . Hi-NRG breakers include Vivien Vee ‘Americano‘ (Dutch Break), Fancy ‘Get Lost Tonight‘ (German Metronome), Rofo ‘I Want You‘ (Belgian Infinity) . . . Peter Stringfellow, raving about Edwin Starr’s new and unplaced ‘It Ain’t Fair‘, has signed Dusty Springfield to his Hippodrome label (she refuses to go Hi-NRG) . . . Friday (22) finds Lonnie Liston Smith and other explosive New York jazzers at Southgate Pink Elephant’s Ethiopia benefit night, Mainstream live at Dartford Flicks, Darren Dawes with Ian Swanson, Clive Farrer and Hi-Res Break Crew at Bracknell Rugby Club, and Chris Hill at Peckham Kisses’ allniter . . . Bossa Man Baz Fe Jazz guests Sat (23) with Rhythm Doc at Coventry’s Precinct Roma Wine Bar, and he’s in the jazz room (where else?) at next Sunday’s (3) Nottingham Rock City alldayer . . . Pete Haigh’s new monthly funk alternative on Morecambe Promenade Upstairs At Charlestons is Tuesday (26) . . . ET’s protege ‘Mambo’ Peter Sharma is now resident at Edgbaston Faces International with an upfront funk policy Wed/Sat — there’s also a new Celebrity cocktail bar with pianist Dave Mellor, ex-MD for the late lamented Matt Munro (my condolences to Michelle) . . . Alan ‘Gibbo’ Gibson has just arrived at Jackie’s in Cairo’s Nile Hilton Hotel for his latest Bacchus residency . . . Washington DC go go label DETT’s third UK 12in through Fourth & Broadway in April will be the newly mixed studio version of Experience Unlimited ‘E.U. Freeze‘, the basis for Kurtis Blow’s ‘Party Time’ — which itself is due again in freshened form . . . I frankly will be glad when go go goes, BPM-ing all that wandering percussion is driving me mad, but not before Tony Blackburn and I have been the guests of Island Records mid-March in Washington DC! . . . Nick Ratcliffe (Portsmouth Ritzy) adds Atlantic Starr ‘Gimme Your Lovin’‘ to his go go-ish oldies . . . Keith Bell, chairman of Winchester City Football Club, after his recent record wants received ‘phonecalls from all over Britain — and the discs for free from DJs Rob Fox (Peacehaven) & Andrew Charles (Plymouth) — plus he had two offers of friendly games for the Football Club, and a proposition from an ex-girlfriend who’d rediscovered his number here (his wife was well pleased)! . . . Record Mirror, where even the small print gets results! . . . French linguists will realize the ’50s Paris discotheque last week was L’Etoile . . . Bobby Womack’s singing discovery now seems to be spelt Alltrinna Grayson . . . Steve Wiggins (Barry) reports MCA product is hard to find even in Cardiff’s top record stores and wonders if they want jocks to push it? . . . LET’S DO OUR JOB BEFORE THEY DO THEIRS!


MAZE featuring Frankie Beverly: ‘Back In Stride’ (Capitol 12CL 353)
Back in strength, too, this surprisingly catchy insidious jittery 113-0bpm pusher on 12in has the old New Orleans live ‘Joy And Pain’ & ‘Feel That You’re Feelin’’ as flip, while their terrific consistently satisfying LP ‘Can’t Stop The Love’ (US Capitol ST-12377) has the mellow mesmeric tugging title track 0-100bpm ‘Can’t Stop‘ swayer, jiggly burbling 110⅔-112-111bpm ‘Too Many Games‘, gently weaving 91¾-91½bpm ‘Reaching Down Inside‘, lovely drifting 0-94⅔bpm ‘Magic‘, insistently worming 102-101½bpm ‘I Want To Feel I’m Wanted‘, smoochy 70½-70-69⅔-70⅔bpm ‘Place In My Heart’. Back on top!

DeBARGE: ‘Rhythm Of The Night’ (US Gordy 1770GF)
From Berry Gordy’s hip hop kung fu movie ‘The Last Dragon’, a totally infectious Lionel “calypso”-type jaunty 116bpm singalong jiggler for dancing all night long (all night), only on 7in until the M&M remix but already glossily videoed to make it a smash (slow 37½-75bpm ‘Queen Of My Heart‘ flip).

MIDNIGHT STAR: ‘Operator’ (Solar MCAT 942)
Long overdue UK release for the simple strong Zapp-ish burbling backbeat (0-)119⅓bpm import smash, still flipped by the equally good older 107bpm ‘Playmates‘, likely to establish Solar’s current US superstars here. Their LP ‘Planetary Invasion’ (MCF 3251) has been hottest for the superb Marvin Gaye-ish 100⅚bpm ‘Curious‘, and rock-funk 118bpm title track. Continue reading “February 23, 1985: Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, DeBarge, Midnight Star, Tom Browne, War”

February 16, 1985: UTFO/Roxanne Shanté, Eddy and the Soulband, Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers, Thelma Houston, Fatback


Not many realise the incongruous origins of the expression “go go”: amazingly it derives from the much loved 1948 Ealing comedy about thirsty Hebridean islanders hi-jacking a shipwrecked cargo of booze, Whisky Galore, which when shown in France to huge popular success was retitled ‘Whisky-A-Go-Go’ — a name subsequently adopted by so many Continental discotheques (another French name and invention), including the Whisky-A-Go-Go in Soho’s Wardour Street which is now the Wag Club (and was next door to London’s original 1962 La Discotheque!), that by the mid ’60s the term “go go” came to signify discos and disco dancing in general, and especially in the States, where unwittingly the Washington DC party crowd still keep that forgotten French expression alive with their “go go funk” . . . I know all this partly because I did some of my growing up in Paris during the late ’50s, and well remember my parents coming home for the first time from an amusing new type of nightclub rapidly becoming all the rage, where there wasn’t a band but instead you danced to records, which they told me was called a “discotheque” — the one they used to go to, often in a party with the Duke & Duchess of Windsor, was the fashionable if hardly smart L’Etoile (so Gallic that to get to their own loo the ladies had to walk through the stand-up gents, where my mother couldn’t avoid seeing the Duke do the dirty!) . . . Record Mirror, where you must admit the names that get dropped have class! . . . Soul On Sound’s Private Funktion night at London’s Hippodrome was a night full of familiar faces and spirited conversation, PAs including Canute, Ritchie Family (now called Rich Girls), Cool Notes, and Cashmere with an extended set as climax of which ‘We Need Love‘ got the little chickies swaying with the swing and will rightly be the next single . . . Cooltempo surprisingly have signed Change with a brand new single in three weeks, when Paul Hardcastle’s official follow-up will be ‘Nineteen‘, while the go go Pump Blenders are due sooner . . . Mick Clark at 10 Records picked up the Next Plateau catalogue, which now gives them the newly signed Aurra whose hot ‘Happy Feeling‘ will be out here next month just after imports arrive, while straight out of Philadelphia’s Sigma Sound studios he also snapped up O’Jays leader Eddie Levert’s 18 year-old son known just as Levert, whose less commercial but terrific pent-up slow deep soul ‘I’m Still‘ will be out soon too . . . Sergio Munzibai’s more densely pattering and pausing Commodores remix is on initially scarce white label here, while Mark King’s remix of Direct Drive (now flipped by another Paul Hardcastle remix) turns out oddly to be promo only . . . Northern Ireland’s Solomon & Peres wholesalers following my mention went out of stock of the John Anderson ‘Glenn Miller Medley’! . . . TC Curtis was Radio 2’s record of the week, surely unusual for a funky soul single? . . . Charlie Wolf rang to confirm Laser 558 was back on air with its transmitter mast mended, saying it was really “rough” earlier in the winter when they ran out of not only showering but also even drinking water for four days; rumours of another MoR frequency, and of further boats in the Mediterranean and at Hong Kong, derive from discussions ages ago and aren’t definite plans . . . Jon Guy reports that Manchester’s much changed KFM reappeared with a limited service on 1017kHz MW, Southside Radio continuing on 103FM when interference from the university’s pesky Radio Rag lets it . . . Paul Dakeyne, jocking at the soon to be £90,000 refurbished Juliets suite of Hull Romeo’s & Juliet’s, now creates a special weekly mastermix for the Kerry Evans show on Viking Radio 102.7FM Wednesdays at 8.30pm . . . ‘Guvnor’ Kev Hill, whose Chelmsford Tico’s soul night moved to Tuesday, has also started producing weekly mixes for Dave Gregory’s evening soul show on Essex Radio . . . Steve Allen’s soul show has been extended to 6-9pm Saturdays on Hereward Radio 95.7/ 102.8FM, and he joins Nick Graham & Trevor Mac at Peterborough’s Region Fleet Centre this Friday (15) . . . Radio London’s Soul Night Out returns Thursday (14) to Kilburn’s National Club, but in this series will be visiting other venues too . . . Robbie Vincent convincingly proved during an hilarious on-air exchange that Tony Blackburn should stick to talking about what he knows about — and that obviously isn’t soul music, or at least not the recordings of Jean Carn, Roy Ayers and Lonnie Liston Smith! . . . Theo Loyla, sitting at home in Herne Bay unusually without a gig last Saturday rang in to vote for the record of the week on Invicta Sound’s soul show hosted by Pete Tong, who asked him on air why as a DJ he wasn’t working — whereupon Theo was then rung by a listening John DeSade to stand-in at Charing’s Lodge that night as the regular jock couldn’t make it! . . . Angela Bofill plays London’s Dominion Monday March 4 (let’s hope she ignores her last two albums’ material) . . . Danny Smith (0493-843327) has two spare Feb 24 tickets for the New York Jazz Explosion — zoom! — sorry, make that had . . . ’60s jazz classics Lee Morgan ‘The Sidewinder‘ and Horace Silver ‘Song For My Father‘ have been promoed back-to-back by the revitalized legendary label Blue Note through EMI (DJs call Ian Dewhirst on 01-486 4488), while a reunion jazz concert at New York Town Hall next Friday (22) will feature Donald Byrd, Stanley Turrentine, Herbie Hancock amongst thirty musicians previously associated with Blue Note . . . Erskine Thompson is updating his Hot Licks mailing list — DJs send full work details to him at 81 Harley House, Marylebone Road, London NW1 . . . Ian Richards needs lots of PAs on 0923-779516 for Watford Baileys’ “non-stop disco party” next Monday (17) . . . Lenny Zakatek warns to watch for 7th Heaven, hot playing live and chased by labels . . . Ashford & Simpson topped Billboard’s US Black LPs (in which further down Wham! have joined Culture Club), while Billy Ocean ‘Loverboy‘ topped Dance/Disco . . . Strafe ‘Set It Off‘ (US Jus Born JB 001) has belatedly become the hottest thing in New York: my review of 9/6/84 read “Weirdly tugging rumbling slow c112bpm weaver with a White Lines-ish feel as guys wander about over the stereophonic meandering backing, all very odd” . . . Narada Michael Walden’s new c160bpm ‘Gimme, Gimme, Gimme‘ unbelievably cribs from Wham! ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’ . . . Channel 4 on Monday starts a series ‘Repercussions’ about various aspects of different black musics, with an accompanying £10.95 book (Century): programmes 2 & 3 about gospel Quartets and Los Angeles vintage R&B should be worth seeing but the opening hour with frustratingly unhelpful commentary about ethnic musicians in Gambia seemingly aimed exclusively at Africologists is unlikely to be an audience builder, despite some strong imagery . . . Yorkshire TV’s wittily different ‘The Beiderbecke Affair’ has ended — Sundays will never be the same . . . ‘Miami Vice’ on BBC1 Tuesdays may show the sordid side of Latin life but seems so real it’s fascinating, and the all-hit music’s hot too! . . . Betty Thomas (Hill Street’s Lucy Bates) flashed her boobs in ‘Skateboarders From Hell’ — how many saw ’em? . . . Cashmere stayed on in Britain until ‘Can I’ went back up the chart but still didn’t get onto ‘Top Of The Pops’ — too many black hits at the moment, it seems (can’t someone at the Beeb, radio and TV, work out that’s maybe because black records are popular?) . . . BBC2 s Thursday (14) ‘Love Story’ reveals Steve Dennis broadcasting in his old ‘Mr Romantica’ guise on BRMB — Steve’s currently reviving Eddie Murphy ‘Boogie In Your Butt‘ around Birmingham, where his Friday at the Three Horseshoes’ Huntsman Suite is becoming the hottest spot for fresh vinyl . . . Capital’s Gary Crowley plus Pete Barret soul Soho Wag Club Thursday (14) with TC Curtis & Dizzy Heights PAs . . . Radio One-featured The Dude opens a new weekly “Club 18-29”-type fun funk night Tuesday (19) at Castle Hedingham Memories in Essex, where this Thursday (14) Dave Malone takes time off from his normal Thur/Fri/Sun at the Queen’s Arms near Sudbury . . . Friday (15) finds Vicious Pink PA-ing for Wayne Curtis Blow II at Bolton Dance Factory, Owen Washington at Rayleigh Pink Toothbrush, Phil England at Yeovil Carnaby’s (Sat too) . . . Saturday (16) Carol Jiani plays Edinburgh Fire Island, Chris Dinnis souls Swindon Brunel Rooms Amphitheatre with Paul Lewis (who also funks Swindon Vadims Tuesday) . . . Baz Fe Jazz joins Gilles Peterson latin-jazzing Richmond Sheene Road’s Belverdere Arms Sunday (17), free admission . . . Damon Rochefort, fully employed at St James’s L’Equipe Anglaise, admits he doesn’t read his own publication . . . Primmer than Primula, safer than Safeway, Woah oh oh!


Get ready for the rap saga that’s taken American black kids by storm, and is already outdoing Johnnie Taylor’s old tales of ‘Jody’ (although it’s unlikely to be as long lasting as soul’s endless ‘Woman To Woman’ — ‘She’s Got Papers’ — ‘Another Man — ‘I Don’t Play That’ saga).

First of all there was UTFO ‘Roxanne, Roxanne’ (US Select FMS 62254), double-A-sided with the 0-109bpm ‘Hanging Out‘, in which Kangol Kid, Dr Ice & The Educated Rapper complain about a stuck-up Brooklyn girl called Roxanne and compare their unsuccessful attempts to chat her up, then (with the first few thousand rare pressings actually backed by their original 100bpm Full Force-created scratching instrumental cassetted off radio!) came the scolding-pitched young ROXANNE SHANTÉ ‘Roxanne’s Revenge’ (US Pop Art PA-7406) with her nagging reply, which prompted not only the similarly scolding SPARKY “D” ‘Sparky’s Turn (Roxanne You’re Through)’ (US NIA NI-1245) but also — getting back in on the act with of course the original Full Force track — ROXANNE (with UTFO) ‘The Real Roxanne’ (US Select FMS 62256). Stark and somewhat specialist though good fun, they all include various other dub, scratch and instrumental mixes, making the complete saga a cut-up caper for hip hop jocks, while the next chapter is rumoured to be ‘Roxanne’s Mother’! Roxanne had a baby, and can’t work no more?

Continue reading “February 16, 1985: UTFO/Roxanne Shanté, Eddy and the Soulband, Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers, Thelma Houston, Fatback”

February 9, 1985: Jenny Burton, Cashmere, Jeff Lorber, Phyllis Nelson, Dazz Band


London’s pirates last weekend were hit by the biggest burst of harassment yet, the DTI now evidently being supported by helicopter surveillance and an extra team of “pirate-busters” from Liverpool, South. West London’s long-standing Radio Jackie losing its studio twice within 24 hours (yet returning defiantly on Monday), London Greek Radio losing their studio too, and Solar-FM switching off just before losing their transmitter again … Eddy and the Soulband seem to be winning the ‘Shaft’ battle despite Van Twist being supplied to shops on UK white label ahead of schedule … Virgin have snapped up the great T.C. Curtis ‘You Should Have Known Better‘ (VS 75412) … Level 42 bassist Mark King has remixed Direct Drive, for no real reason other than “creative marketing”, due now … 10 Records picked up First Love … Chaka Khan seems to have been disappointing everyone at her concerts, especially in Edinburgh and London (where a dodgy throat was used as an excuse) —incidentally, The System originally intended her ‘This Is My Night’ for the ‘Beat Street’ soundtrack … I had a delicious dinner and enthusiastic long conversation at Stringfellows last week with Dan Hartman, who revealed that his US hit ‘We Are The Young‘ is so anthemic as it was originally intended to be the theme song for Breakdance’ and in fact that sequence had already been filmed before, as no contracts had been exchanged, he decided he’d keep the song for himself —whereupon Ollie & Jerry then had to write their own theme song at the some tempo to fit the rhythm danced to on screen! (Dan’s favourite New York club remains Paradise Garage, about which he still raves) … Eugene Wilde ‘Gotta Get You Home Tonight’ and now New Edition ‘Mr Telephone Man‘ have topped US Hot Black singles since last mentioned, similarly Nuance ‘Loveride‘ and now Jellybean ‘Sidewalk Talk‘ (on promo-only 12in off his EP) topped Hot Dance/Disco in Billboard … BMP, the group name, is made up of the first name initials of its members Butch McNeil, Marlon Holland, Pete DaCosta (their album’s rather ragged) … Luther Vandross’s new LP is imminent … Jimmy Jam Harris, Terry Lewis & Monte Moire will be recording themselves as The Secret, along the lines of Chic (and The System?) … Crawley’s Radio Mercury 103.6FM has decreed that in the South-East the weekend starts a half hour later — Peter Young’s essential Saturday soul show now runs only from 6.30-9pm (however, Sandy Martin’s on Wiltshire Radio is an earlier 7-9pm on Fridays) … Laser 558’s honey-toned large lady Jessie Brandon has confirmed past speculation by joining London’s Capital Radio, on which Phil Fearon has been sitting in for Greg Edwards — and Steve Collins’ early Sunday 1-5am soul show still beats all the pirates by playing lots of fresh newies … Kent’s Invicta Sound 103.8FM was in danger of losing Andy Grahamme’s weekday 4-5pm non-stop soul hour until he logged 57 protesting ‘phonecalls within 15 minutes of the announcement … Paddington Green’s Bluebird Records shop has evidently located a load of old go go cut-outs, while the Blue/10 label sent out a brightly logo-ed “Go Go” sweatshirt to plug Little Benny (extra-extra large for all, it seems!) … Chuck Brown, Kurtis Blow, Fatback Band & James Brown are all go go going back up our chart, while other oldies currently being mentioned by jocks within a go go context include Maceo ‘Soul Power 74‘, Fred Wesley & The JB’s ‘House Party‘, James Brown ‘Bodyheat‘, Gary Toms Empire ‘7-6-5-4-3-2-1 (Blow Your Whistle)‘, Trouble Funk ‘Pump Me Up‘ and ‘Early In The Morning‘, War ‘War Is Coming‘, Charles Earland ‘(It’s A) Doggie Boogie Baby‘, and oddest of all Ashton Gardner & Dyke ‘Resurrection Shuffle (Instrumental)’! … Euston’s Shaw Theatre this Fri/Sat (8/9) at 8pm presents the legendary rap-innovating Last Poets, followed in April by a Rap Attack week of hip hop workshops, masterclasses and gigs including a DJ convention with Afrika Bambaataa, the Mastermind Roadshow and top New York DJs (sounds well crucial!) … Saturday’s Channel 4 two hour ‘Gospel According To Al Green’ must have been the most exhaustive (and exhausting?) TV examination of a soul singer over, a shame then that I kept dozing off! … Jackie Wilson seems likely to have his life story filmed —rights have been acquired by New York’s ERB Productions — while Marvin Gaye’s tribute on video by Diana Ross has been getting rave reaction (a pity though that her actual song isn’t tougher) … Prince, so far as “soul” discos are concerned, this time around seems hottest in the Midlands, and Magnum Force ‘Cool Out‘ is surprisingly big around Bolton … Island were crafty to suggest a similarity between Nuance and Art Of Noise, the latter now belatedly piggybacking up the Nightclub chart … Adrian Allen (Boldon 364895) info’s that in England John Anderson’s ‘Glenn Miller Medley’ (Modern MOD 006) is distributed via Spartan, but he himself has a few copies for jocks in a hurry — incidentally, I know some of you favour Frank Barber’s Miller medley on PRT but to my mind it’s nothing like as timeless, or powerful … Showstopper Promotions (01-886 4112) have sold out the 15th Caister Soul Weekender on April 19-21 but are now booking for an in every respect similar overflow event on the previous weekend 12-14, both at the smaller Seashore camp near Gt Yarmouth used for the other doubled-up events in 1980 (the autumn Caister is likely to be at Kent’s Camber Sands during the old site’s refurbishment) … Chris Kaye (0892-45023) is after soul/reggae PAs for several tailormade gigs in Kent/Sussex, and similarly upfront mixer Paul Fernandez (01-550 0840 office hours) wants PAs for his Fri/Saturdays at Purley and Kingston Cinderella’s Rockerfella’s … Joy, Babs & Teddy, the 1950s’ singing Beverley Sisters guested on Monday at the first anniversary of London Hippodrome’s gay night! … Lorraine McKane plays Edinburgh Fire Island Sat (9) … Tottenham’s Eltons has reopened with £50,000 lazer ‘n lights as Websters, Hi-NRG stars queuing up to PA at the first gay Guys Tuesday (12) hosted by Norman Scott … Thursday (7) Tony Blackburn, Steve Walsh, CJ Carlos & Graham Gold with PAs including Direct Drive & Cool Notes are at Hammersmith Palais, where coincidentally CJ, Graham & Direct Drive return Sunday (10) for a North-South 3pm alldayer along with Colin Curtis, Tim Westwood and at least 14 more regional DJs … Direct Drive are also at Maidstone’s Sunset Club Sat (9) with Disco Gary … Friday (8) finds the start of Danair & Jonathon More’s funk/roots/afro/go go Flim Flam versus Meltdown night at New Cross Harp Dance Club in Clifton Rise (between the stations), and of Gordon ‘BMP’ Mac’s Blinders at Peckham Kisses with Tim ‘Zulu’ Westwood … Darren Dawes’ Studio 54 Roadshow does Bracknell Rugby Club Fri (8), Windsor Thames Hotel’s “Caister Reunion” (?) Sat (9) … Essex’s incipient megastar Onyx joins Kev Hill at Harlow Whispers Sat (9) … Mastermind start a weekly afternoon gig (2-5pm, £1.50, no age restriction) at Lewisham Paradise Garage on Sunday (10) before that evening joining Steve Jackson & Gordon Mac at Peckham Kisses (ladies free) … Monday (11) Gary Kent & Gary Taylor start a Solar-FM under-18s’ night at Ilford Town Hall (£1.50), and Brother To Brother’s brother Russell gets go-going at Harefield’s Breakspear … Tuesday (12) Ralph Tee begins jazzing the City of London’s Bass Clef in Coronet Street with a live group weekly, starting with George Lee’s Anansi … Polydor’s mailing list obviously has the same jocks as Fourth & Broadway’s —bad luck, Paul! … Broader than Broadway, Safer than Safeway, WOAH OH OH!

‘Saturday Superstore’ viewers and BBC DJs should note that the bespectacled singer next to saxophonist Wilton Felder not only looks and sounds like but actually IS Bobby Womack! He and his spine-tingling protégé Altrina Grayson are the real stars of the eagerly anticipated new single credited just to WILTON FELDER, ‘(No Matter How High I Get) I’ll Still Be Looking Up To You’ (MCA MCAT 919), a tortuous soul-drenched 28½-57½…61⅓bpm gut wrencher roared and wailed by the duo in stunning style (Wilt blows alone on the flip’s speedy 138⅔bpm instrumental ‘La Luz’).


JENNY BURTON: ‘Bad Habits’ (US Atlantic 0-86909)
From the fellahs who gave us ‘Somebody Else’s Guy’, so similarities can be forgiven, this monstrously vivacious bouncy 103½bpm skipper finally supplied Jenny with soulful material to equal 1975’s ‘Nobody Loves Me Like You Do‘ (when known as Jeannie Burton), the more Jimmy Jam-ish 98⅓bpm ‘Let’s Get Back To Love‘ flip being quietly stormy although on her LP ‘Jenny Burton’ (US Atlantic 81238-1) only the extremely Teena Marie-ish lurching 112bpm ‘Nobody Can Tell Me (He Don’t Love Me)‘ also rises above her more usual electro (and some ballads).

CASHMERE: ‘We Need Love’ (LP ‘Cashmere’ US Philly World 90243-1)
Getting right away from the blatant pop commercialism of their included hit, this is a great soulfully worried buoyantly tripping little 103½bpm ticker, while the gently swaying 94⅔bpm ‘Cutie Pie‘, jerkily bubbling 120bpm ‘Keep Me Up‘, wriggling 117⅓bpm ‘Someone Like You‘, ‘Thriller’-ish 120bpm ‘Fascination‘ and jittery D Train-ish 120bpm ‘Don’t Keep Me Waiting‘ are all degrees of good.

JEFF LORBER: ‘Step By Step’ (US Arista AD 1-9311)
On remixed 12in ahead of his The System-produced album, this Audrey Wheeler wailed soulful 109⅓bpm jitterer is proving quite a nagger in Thelma style, flipped by its inst plus the jerkily tinkling instrumental 108bpm ‘Pacific Coast Highway‘ — this latter also on that ‘Step By Step’ LP (US Arista AL8-8269) along with the jaggedly lurching electro-jazz 116⅓bpm ‘Groovacious‘, Luther-ish 104⅔bpm ‘Every Woman Needs It‘, Luther meets Jimmy Jam-ish 98⅓bpm ‘It Takes A Woman’, System-ish 111⅓bpm ‘Best Part Of The Night‘, James Ingram-ish 122bpm ‘When You Gonna Come Back Home‘, Madonna-ish 120⅓bpm ‘This Is The Night‘, snarling 106bpm ‘On The Wild Side’, better by far than his last set. Continue reading “February 9, 1985: Jenny Burton, Cashmere, Jeff Lorber, Phyllis Nelson, Dazz Band”

February 2, 1985: “Just think, Breakdance Revival nostalgia nights as a way of filling clubs mid-week in 1999!”


Dreadful news for anyone looking forward to the Disco Mix Club’s trip to New York in March – their carrier Virgin Atlantic has cancelled its midweek flights for the rest of the winter and DMC can’t find any other airline as cheap, so the whole trip is postponed until hot ‘n humid August when it will be rescheduled to coincide with the New Music Seminar … don’t know about you, but I was really counting the days until that welcome late winter break! … DMC’s 2nd International DJ Convention remains at London’s Hippodrome on Sunday March 10, with the addition of the Mixing Championships as detailed in the advertisement last week … ‘Shaft’ by Eddy and the Soulband belonged to Phonogram all along through some Dutch connection and thus will be out here on Club in a fortnight at the same time as closely related Polydor release Van Twist, which they’ve already promoed well in advance (their version is the green vinyl mix, the earlier white one seeming to be 121⅓-0bpm) … Sasss’s girls aren’t called Jones after all, they’re Marilyn Ashford & Karen Scott in their recording debut … Amii Stewart ‘Friends’ in the extended remix which’ll grace the UK version of her LP is now on Dutch High Fashion Music 12in … Change’s B-side medley fluctuates around approx 111-110-111-109-110-111bpm … Loose Ends adopt a deliberate wriggling 102⅔bpm Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis-type approach on ‘You Got Me Hangin’ On A String Now‘ (?), currently on single-sided white label … Julia & Co’s ‘I’m So Happy’, due in shops the end of next week, is less instant than last year’s ‘Sugar Samba’, a disjointedly jolting then happily shuffling 111⅓bpm romper breaking down again towards the end … Michael Z (presumably Zager), somewhat pointlessly considering Paul Hardcastle’s major success, has done a 124bpm cover of the original ‘Rain Forest’ (US SSS International SSS-878) — meanwhile, Paul’s The Silent Underdog ‘Pigbag’ remake seems hottest in the Midlands … Saturday’s Commonwealth Institute-organised seminar ‘Rock ‘N Roots’ was a lot more worthwhile than might have been anticipated, it being heartening to find black music attracting so many articulate believers (any future seminars there will be a must) … Soul On Sound starts reviving the old Funktion moveable club idea as Private Funktion next Wednesday (6) at nowhere less than London’s Hippodrome, with Toby Perkins, Ray Stevens & Tosca presenting many star PAs and a free SOS cassette for all ticket buyers (a discounted £6 only), the soon to be announced Thur/Sun Private Funktion nights being equally well housed at two legendary swish Mayfair joints … Bootleggers’ Ethiopia charity last week, at which I supplied the ’60s music and Sothebys auctioned such star-donated goodies as George Michael’s old blue jeans, raised over £19,000 … America and Britain have now diagonally swapped singles by Kool & The Gang, with ‘Fresh’ the US follow-up to its UK follow-up ‘Misled’, both of which have been remixed (for eventual release here) by Mark Berry — with whom after several near misses and some successful telephone contact in the last year I finally came face to face over an orange juice last Wednesday, during his latest London visit to avail himself of our superior studio facilities and the low pound while producing Scottish rockers Chewy Raccoon (his hot remix secret is to reproduce the rhythm tracks, bring up the snare, boost the bottom and clean out the middle!) … Wednesday had also seen me remeeting after many years both Island’s founder Chris Blackwell and Tommy Boy’s Boston-bred boss Tom Silverman for a late lunch pizza, Tom revealing that despite its reputation for pure electro his label is increasingly using “real” instruments (spurred on by the doo-wop/soul revivalism of its most successful act, currently hugely so in the States, the Force MDs), Chris in turn revealing that he’s making a movie in Washington DC about the go go music scene (and that — something I never knew — he only signed up Free after talking to me about them at a gig at the Marquee!) … I also learnt that go go is so named because of its “go go bells”, whatever they are! … Britain’s record business is leaping onto the go go market with such voracity it should be gone gone by Easter: Streetwave have even re-recorded ‘Bustin’ Loose‘ by something called the Go Go All Stars — how low can you go go? … Polydor go go “shoo-be-do-wop”? … Kurtis Blow’s scene-setting ‘Party Time‘ is one that should be re-released, its lyrics actually explaining the rhythm, and if so let’s hope it’s in the subsequent longer LP mix … Zulu Nation mouthpiece Tim Westwood is starting to sound like the old jazz-funk mafia jocks four years ago, saying how now that the media are paying less attention to hip hop it’ll go back underground to become stronger than ever and last forever — which in a limited way it probably will, just like all the other old crazes that become a youthful lifestyle (just think, Breakdance Revival nostalgia nights as a way of filling clubs mid-week in 1999!): however, Tim, somewhere you missed my original point, which was that electro music had creatively peaked before the film makers last year then turned your precious lifestyle into a mass market fad, which has given a lot of passing fun to a lot of kids, most of whom are only attracted by the thrill of watching people spinning on their shoulderblades and, as history has shown, will soon fall prey to the next craze that commercial pressures foist upon them — supporters like these the Nation needs? — whereas I would agree that the specific rap scene, here so closely connected with toasting, really will continue to develop … Paul Major (Birmingham Millionaire) requests a complete listing of James Brown’s singles, without obviously realising the enormity of such a list: Mr Brown satisfied the juke box market in America (and filled his pockets) by issuing a different single either by himself as a vocalist or instrumentalist or as the JBs (for instance), just about every month throughout the period approximately 1965-1975! … Pete Haigh, (0253-824156) who guests at Preston Cloud’s Tudor Room next Thursday (7) for the local Polytechnic’s soulful Spectrum Society (details Richard Smart at the SU on Preston 58382), is after the P’funky Sweat Band ‘Jamaica‘ (US Family LP or 12in) — “that was a go-goer!” quoth he … Winchester City Football Club chairman and commercial stationers sales director Keith Bell actually sent me a brand new Rexel ENM hand tally counter with the info that (including VAT) it costs £8.64 trade, £13.29 retail, (incidentally you can still get one at Rymans on special order): anyway, our Keith, obviously in a league with music fan Elton John, is looking for copies of Dooley Silverspoon ‘As Long As You Know Who You Are‘ and Faith, Hope & Charity ‘To Each His Own‘ on Eastleigh 619023! … Valerie Simpson, not to seem ungallant, looked just a little older than 16 when I saw her, in luxuriant wig and figure hugging diamante encrusted pink sheath dress, with a pomaded and quiffed Nick Ashford in ankle flashing tight Italian suit, appearing as Valerie & Nick at Harlem’s Apollo Theater in May 1964 — they had several singles under that name on the Glover label then, before the next year, while working for Scepter/Wand owning Florence Greenberg & Marvin (Prelude) Schlacter’s publishing company Flomar Music, they wrote with Joshie Armstead ‘Let’s Get Stoned‘ (and its Oct-Dec ’65 R&B hit A-side ‘Never Had It So Good‘) in fact for blind white singer Ronnie Milsap on Scepter (everyone then assumed he was black before he became a Country superstar), the song only in its first cover version becoming a soul smash the following summer by Ray Charles … Milsap’s matrix number was 603941B … Colin Hudd at Dartford Flicks is currently raving about the Whispers’ late ’70s UK RCA 12in revival of the Bread oldie ‘Make It With You‘, now “just right for ’85” he says … MCA plugger Paul Bunting has only been unreliable because he slipped on some ice and was hospitalised with concussion — which nevertheless doesn’t stop Disco Gary Van Den Bussche (London Tramp/Croydon Musique/Maidstone Sunset) moaning “why are MCA so unhelpful to DJs, maybe they think they don’t need us?” … Solar 102.45FM have been patchily off-air as a result of a truly piratical and stupid spate of inter-station sabotage, while Horizon’s 94.5FM test transmission returned at the weekend: however, while it may have housed Radio Fulham, 92.1FM is now home for LWR playing mainly soul and some Hi-NRG around the clock … Carl Richardson, still Hi-NRG at Hull Fagins Sat, goes gay weekly from this Thursday (31) at Bradford’s free admission Benson’s in Simes Street … Norman Scott does Luton’s gay Bolts every Sunday … Hi-NRG jocks of a less upfront nature who couldn’t be bothered to send in charts over Christmas have been wittering on again about the printed results, so here then for them is their own current Hi-NRG Disco list, compiled from last week’s mailed-in DJ returns but totally excluding the Sunday ‘phone-in’ “upfront” jocks about whom some are seemingly still suspicious — compare this result with the complete combined chart’s positions (in brackets) to see how it holds back, or is held back (according to your viewpoint), the “upfront effect”: 1 (1) Earlene Bentley/Sylvester, 2 (4) Samantha Gilles, 3 (10) Dead Or Alive, 4 (2) Carol Lynn Townes, 5 (5) Lorraine McKane, 6 (3) Sylvester, 7 (6) Lydia Steinman, 8 (15) Sheryl Lee Ralph (remix), 9 (24) Sheryl Lee Ralph (UK), 10 (9) Carol Jiani, 11 (7) Touchdown, 12 (25) Venus/Jeanie Tracy (remixes), 13 (23) Martinique, 14 (12) Hot Gossip, 15 (8) Fancy, 16 (17) Melissa Manchester, 17 (18) Sam Harris, 18 (-) Bronski Beat LP, 19 (-) Girly, 20 (22) Evelyn Thomas, 21 (11) Sinitta, 22 (20) Tabu, 23 (14) Village People, 24 (-) Flirts, 25 (26) Tony Caso, 26 (-) Princess UFO, 27 (-) The Limit, 28 (-) Pointer Sisters, 29 (-) Barbara Pennington, 30 (-) Jolo … Claudja Barry, Nayobe, Koffie, Alicia Myers, Barbara Fowler, Cruisin’ Gang, Stephanie Wells (ranked by strength) all have mail-in support, leaving just the newest Peggy Blu and Patti LaBelle making it purely on upfront play last weekend — but look out for Sheryl Lee Ralph ‘You’re So Romantic‘/’Evolution‘ off her US LP, which could have reached the 30 had the “upfront effect” been as great as in recent weeks (incidentally I can’t cope with any more ‘phoned-in charts!) … I had to process every stage of all this week’s charts in Alan Jones’s brief absence, thus making the above breakdown possible, and also bringing to my notice that some new contributors are loading their charts with promo product from one company, which is pointless as that sort of chart just gets discarded — oh, and please don’t divide your returns into Disco, Nightclub and Hi-NRG if they all relate to the same basic gig, we’ll decide where you belong! … Nick Ratcliffe (Portsmouth Ritzy) addressed his latest chart to James Ingram Esq — close, but no cheesecake! … Adrian Dunbar says Southampton may not be well served with soulful record shops, but does have cable vision which plays quite a few soul/disco videos, resulting in requests at Raffles for such as Sheila E, Ashford & Simpson, Sam Harris … Friday (11) finds Jeff Young joining resident Nicky Holloway at London Bridge Tooley Street’s Royal Oak for the first weekly night of go-go soul downstairs while El Dorado & Dave Hucker latin jazz upstairs (no admission after 11.30pm) — Chris Hill being Nicky’s guest Mon (4) … Tuesday (5) Steve Walsh starts weekly along the road at Bermondsey Dockhead’s Swan & Sugarloaf … Pete Tong currently packs Friday at South Harrow Bogarts … Vicious Pink and also Floy Joy hove sent out some promotional dayglo slipmats, so thick that there can’t be many turntable spindles long enough to poke through them! … Broader than Broadway, Safer than Safeway, WOAH OH OH!

Disaster struck on Sunday evening, my typewriter broke —meaning that much of Monday was wasted in buying a replacement, so there wasn’t then time to do any HOT VINYL reviews. You can see from the chart new entries what was truly hot, and they plus more will be reviewed in full next week. Sorry!


SYLVESTER: ‘Take Me To Heaven’ (Cooltempo COOLX 106)
Both remixed by Ian Levine, the frantically rattling 0-137bpm but otherwise undistinguished choice of A-side over his flip’s previously hotter and far better 128bpm ‘Sex’ is presumably due to the latter’s lyrics and title. Hasn’t ‘Relax’ taught anyone anything?

LIFE FORCE: ‘Reach For The Stars (Remix)’ (Polo 12-37, via PRT)
Finally released just as it drops off our Hi-NRG chart alter a run of 12 weeks, which seems like craziness to me, this chick song dynamically spurting and rattling 129bpm galloper will have to convince anyone who didn’t get it on white label that they need it now (much starker 131bpm inst flip).

SINITTA: ‘Cruising’ (Fanfare 12FAN 2, via PRT)
Miquel Brown’s daughter, Amii Stewart’s niece, the perfectly formed Sinitta lets it all hang out on a perkily bounding 130bpm hark-back to ‘High Energy’ (inst flip). Continue reading “February 2, 1985: “Just think, Breakdance Revival nostalgia nights as a way of filling clubs mid-week in 1999!””