January 18, 1986: L.L. Cool J, Val Young, Quest For Life, Doug E. Fresh, Aleem

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

There’s no need for speculation about the name of America’s Danté, who turns out to be Dennis Sanders, Phoenix-bred gospel singer who split for Oakland when 17, branching out into singing backup sessions before moving to Philadelphia and a solo debut on ‘Freak In Me‘ … Fantasia Records lack the distribution needed and are keen to licence their excellent Frankie Johnson Jnr ‘Whenever You Call Me‘ – you call Ian Anthony Stephens on 01-235 7726 for a deal … Tom Silverman has copied Def Jam’s move to a major, and signed a half share of his Tommy Boy hip hop label to Warner Bros in the States: meanwhile, Def Jam’s launch here through CBS will include an invitation-only proper party (free booze even!) later in the month … Change’s megamix on WEA promo turns out to be not by Les Adams, as informed, but by Alan Coulthard (who had a merry pub crawl with Cardiff homebody Damon Cheesedip over Christmas!) … Kurtis Blow slipped out here to some shops by mistake ahead of schedule, which gave him an unfortunately ill co-ordinated low chart entry … WEA are now reissuing the Jellybean-mixed lethargic (0-)119bpm Madonna ‘Borderline (US Remix)‘ (Sire W9260T) … Regina ‘Baby Love‘ is now due here on the new Funkin’ Marvellous Records (12MARV01, via PRT) … The Gap Band ‘Gap Band VII’ LP (Total Experience FL85714) is also due here … PRT picked up the Doug E. Fresh answering Symbolic Three ‘No Show‘, and Chrysalis got Betty Wright … Freddie Jackson’s ‘Rock Me Tonight‘ US soul smash of 1985 is being re-released here and could actually cross over this time, with four TV appearances booked already … Royalle Delite despite another UK visit (by all the girls this time) have had their slow ‘Spend A Little Time With Me‘ postponed for a few weeks, if not for a rethink! … Billboard’s US chart toppers since last mentioned in December have included atop Club Play: Phyllis Nelson ‘I Like You‘ (also top 12in Sales throughout), Total Contrast ‘Takes A Little Time‘, Alisha ‘Baby Talk’, Stevie Wonder ‘Go Home (Remix)’, and atop Black Singles: Eugene Wilde ‘Don’t Say No Tonight‘, Lionel Richie ‘Say You, Say Me’ … Jack To Jack are a Birmingham trio along DSM lines about whom a whisper is circulating … rm’s new printing schedules mean, although the Disco chart remains unaffected and bang up to date, the rest of my column has to be finished by an early Friday deadline — record companies and scandal mongers please note! … GET LOOSE!


HOT VINYL

L.L. COOL J ‘I Can’t Live Without My Radio’ (Def Jam recordings/CBS TX 6684)
This very stark basic juddering 89⅓bpm rap is strictly for headspinners (unlike ‘The Show’, say), flipped by the more interestingly gentle 0-95bpm ‘I Can Give You More‘ plus its instrumental, which feature isolated piano plonks amidst the beat box thuds. The kid is certainly a master at his art, rapping alone to minimal hip hop backing, and if you were concentrating before Christmas you’d have seen my BPM listing for his complete ‘Radio’ LP (US Def Jam/Columbia BFC 40239), the excitingly scratched 98½bpm ‘Rock The Bells‘ being currently hottest cut.

VAL YOUNG ‘If You Should Ever Be Lonely’ (US Gordy 4557GG)
Starting (after a quiet click track for mixers) with a startling acappella-style intro that’s immediately striking, the superior Street Mix becomes an offbeat throbbing and clonking 118bpm canterer with pealing vocal lines and a ringing ‘phone bell, while the instrumentally started less surprising Club Mix is however more of a song (with an edit too). M&M mixed of course, but it was Levi Ruffin Jr and Fred Jenkins who produced, rather than Rick James. Truly, hot to trot!

QUEST FOR LIFE ‘Baby Don’t Stop Me’ (US SeaBright PAL-7094)
This Leon Ware co-penned chaps supported overwrought chick-led deliberately tempoed dense 102⅚ jitterer builds and builds unresolved tension in somewhat Lamont Dozier ‘Roots’ style, and has been exciting much interest since Christmas strictly in soul circles. A real napper that gets under the skin, it’s too specialist to cross over, but for those in the know it has an even longer dub (edit and acappella too). Continue reading “January 18, 1986: L.L. Cool J, Val Young, Quest For Life, Doug E. Fresh, Aleem”

January 11, 1986: Kurtis Blow, Cherrelle with Alexander O’Neal, Evelyn Thomas, Viola Wills, Mantronix

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

DEN HARROW’s new Eurobeat hit you will see is called ‘Charleston‘ — no, not the 1920s oldie, but the name being given to the Continent’s current slower dance tempo in Italy and France (so did we jump the gun in retitling the Hi-NRG chart to Eurobeat when this could be more appropriate?) … Sahara ‘Love So Fine‘ just refuses to die, Christmas plays and sales bringing it back into the Disco chart, where maybe not surprisingly there’s been a big resurgence of the solo sets by Cherrelle and Alexander O’Neal — the latter’s ‘What’s Missing‘ most now surely be a candidate for 12in release? … George McCrae ‘Rock Your Baby’ has been remixed on US Sunnyview Classics (with his 1974 original as flip), while Bernard Wright’s new import 12in couples a remixed ‘After You’ with ‘Yo Nard’ on US Manhattan … Les Adams’ excellent Change medley, covering all their vintages and making intelligent use of digital delay, has been promoed by WEA with no commercial release date set yet (maybe if it does come out it should be titled ‘Give Me, Give Me, Give Me Some Change’?): meanwhile Disco Mix Club colleague Alan Coulthard has a similarly promo-only Haywoode megamix on CBS, rhythmically more compatible of course so more slickly flowing but for some reason largely instrumental … Disco Mix Club’s December mixes were mainly 1985 medleys, Les Adams’ Funk, Alan Coulthard s Pop (and Merry Mixmas!), Sanny X s Rock, Euro and general Dance Party, while just received their January mixes are Les’s current funk, Alan’s pop-soul oldies (kicked off by his fave much-used Sharon Redd ‘Beat The Street’), Sanny’s hip hop and Billy Idol megamix (subscription details on 06286-67276) … Les Adams incidentally has been impressing various DJ Association meetings with his live mixing demonstrations, and can be caught by the public megamixing funk on a 3000 watt system at Norbury’s Sussex Tavern every Tues/Thur … Disco Gary VanDenBussche still funks Fridays at Croydon Southend’s facelifted Club Musique, now called Langleys, where Dirty Dave Shirt souls Saturdays (and Shepherds Bush Silks Fri) … Chris Brown’s Sunday lunchtimes are legendary but he classily souls Wednesday nights as well as Ascot’s The Belvedere Arms (at Blacknest Gate on the A329) … Kevin Hawkins has started ‘70s soul at Westcliff On Sea Swag Club Tues, disco at Brentwood Blazers Thurs and Hornchurch Rivals Sun (latter two are wine bars), with weekends at reopened Brentwood Elliotts … Jeff Thomas has dropped all other gigs to be resident jock at Bridgend’s Valbonne (ex-Drones) in Mid-Glamorgan … Stevie Dee is now the sole DJ at Gillingham’s Regency in the King Charles Hotel, having added jazz-funk Sundays to his other full line-up of nights … Paul Anderson & Steve Walsh’s sidekick Freddie M funk Peckham Kisses Friday with girls admitted free … Jonathon More & Rob Milton’s somewhat esoteric Meltdown night is back at Deptford Champs Fridays … Gary Steel funks Greenford Oscars Sundays and does Gerrards Cross Smarties Fridays … London Charing Cross Road Busby’s has had a major refit, the fourth (I think) to be endured there by long standing resident Greg Gregory in the last ten years … Ciarian Lawlor does Fri/Sat at Birmingham’s refurbished The Millionaire — which I’ll be visiting next month as a roving guest judge of the 1986 Technics DJ Mixing Championships … Merseyside’s Personality DJ Of The Year “Julia” Grant, entertainment overlord of Firehurst Leisure’s rapidly expanding Mersey/Manchester pub chain (18 and adding), does La Jardin nightly and then doubles at Clouds Mon/Tues, Coconut Grove Wed/Fri, Secrets Thur/Sat (Sunday she has a lie in!) … Darryl Hayden’s fire-eating video roadshow recently gigged at the House Of Commons … Dartford’s Mixmaster Fressh FM is touting for work on 04747 6381 (evenings) — ask for Chris Marshall! … Ken Brudenell (Southampton Raffles) reckons Patti Austin ‘The Heat Of Heat‘ if issued here on 12in could be another Cherrelle as they’re so similar … Chris Gagola, playing to Radio One listeners at Hemel Hempstead’s The Living Room, nevertheless has successfully revived Sheila E ‘A Love Bizarre’ in anticipation of its UK release this month, and remains a big fan of The Family ‘High Fashion‘ … Level 42 to my mind have been a rock group (albeit soulful like Steely Dan) for several years now, yet still there are DJs who play them but don’t touch Tina Turner — how odd … Ladies Choice are men? … ‘Vision Quest’, the movie, has been renamed by Warner Bros for video release after the song Madonna is seen singing — her only appearance — ‘Crazy For You‘ … Club DJ Of The Year nominations are still welcome from globe trotting disco pluggers, few of whom managed to get them to me before Christmas … I had a refreshing full fortnight off, half in North Notts and half in North Wales, the New Year’s Eve party at my mate Sparrow Harrison’s mansion in the latter once again being the only one outside London to relay Capital Radio’s four hour party tape, to which I rocked ‘n’ rolled with Ann ‘Spud’ Murphy — many renewed thanks to all for your cards, and the odd Jeroboam! … 1986 deserves to see us all campaigning for more soul during daytime shows on BBC Radio One —IN EIGHTY-SIX LET’S GIVE ‘EM STICK!


HOT VINYL

KURTIS BLOW ‘If I Ruled The World’ (Club JABX 26)
Already monstrous as it fits right in with Full Force, Mantronix, Doug E. Fresh and the rest, this half sung/half rapped (0-)97bpm infectious bouncy jiggler from ‘Krush Groove’ has go go percussion, chix chanted choruses and scratching breaks (dub/inst flip), another to fly the flag for “new wave hip hop”.

CHERRELLE with Alexander O’Neal ‘Saturday Love’ (Tabu TA 6829)
Well, we at least all knew that this 115⅓bpm catchy slinker would be a smash, although most must be disappointed that the 12in lacks the LP’s dialogue intro, inessential for disco use of course but a major part of the total track’s appeal and doubtless responsible for the album’s renewed sales (her old 120bpm ‘I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On‘ vocal is flip, sadly not the superior exciting instrumental version). Meanwhile back in the States. their 12in is an acappella started more spaciously remixed 116bpm Extended Version (US Tabu 4Z9 05332), with instrumental flip and a useful rhythm-started acappella for mixers … so CBS have further options to issue to boost the chart place, if needed!

EVELYN THOMAS ‘Cold Shoulder’ (Record Shack SOHOT 60)
Borrowing shamelessly from Instant Funk’s ‘Got My Mind Made Up’ chant, this Ian Levine produced/John Morales mixed infectiously pushing 105bpm piledriver has an irresistible rhythm and soaring vocals designed to drive soul clubs wild (dub flip) – don’t stop, don’t stop, I’ll tell you when! Phew, is this good! (Due fully Jan 20). Continue reading “January 11, 1986: Kurtis Blow, Cherrelle with Alexander O’Neal, Evelyn Thomas, Viola Wills, Mantronix”

January 4, 1986: Year-end Disco/Hi-NRG charts for 1985

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

ADRIAN WEBB gathered most of the old ‘funk mafia’ faces plus some younger newcomers for a pre-Christmas feast at Bob Payton’s Chicago Rib Shack. to confirm that the DJ line-up at Live Wire’s April 11-13 Bognor Regis Butlins ‘Ultimate Soul Weekender’ will be much as previously announced, with the significant absence of Martin Collins but the addition of Colin Curtis, Jay Strongman and Trevor Fung: present at the happy gathering (I felt a bit like a New York cop noting number plates outside a Mafia wedding!) were the team of Chris Hill, Robbie Vincent, Froggy, Pete Tong, Chris Brown, Bob Jones, Sean French, Jonathan, Colin Hudd, Nicky Holloway, Gilles Peterson, Trevor Fung, plus Eddie Gordon, Mervyn Anthony, John Hassinger, WEA’s Fred Dove & Zoe Glitherow, Kentish booker Brian Rix, Dartford Flicks owner Mike Kearn, Camberley Frenchies manager Bob ‘The Knob’ Houlton, many female accomplices and myself — the cosa nostra revealed? … Gilles Peterson’s odd spelling has been explained at last: he’s half Swiss, half French, and his real surname is something impossible! … Disco Mix Club’s next 3rd International DJ Convention has been confirmed for London’s Hippodrome again on Sunday March 16, when the World Final of the 1986 Technics DJ Mixing Championship will also be held (the separate UK Final having been there on Feb 26) … C. J. Carlos, reeling from the politics of the last few weeks, remains piratical at heart and would have returned to the airwaves on any station, TKO happening to be the one that gave him the best offer — unfortunately on the old Solar wavelength, which is all that’s really caused confusion … CJ incidentally has been resident now for two and a half years at Dalston’s Oasis, longer than anyone else has lasted in that area … TKO is fully automated using a machine that plays both sides of four cassettes without anyone having to be there, which will disappoint the DTI’s “pirate busters” should they think they’ve found a whole studio … Thursday (2) Steve Walsh, Tosca and others open up Streatham Gems, while Nicky Holloway & Trevor Fung soul St. Martin’s Lane Laceys weekly … Sunday (5) Bob Jones, Chris Bangs, Ed Stokes, Russ B & Tony Fernandez dive “In At The Deep End” at Canvey Goldmine for a night of interesting music … Wednesday (8) Belfast Soul Club meets at Derriaghy Lisburn Road’s Ferraris in the Stagecoach Inn, but £1 tickets are required in advance from Terry Corr at 7 Colenso Court, Belfast BT9 5BB (enclose SAE) — which seems a bit complicated … BBC2’s terrific two-part Arena special ‘The Apollo Story’ was made especially poignant by the death shortly before it of the featured ‘Big’ Joe Turner, the Kansas City shouter whose belting vigorous R&B needed little adaptation to become rock ‘n’ roll — such of his classics as ‘Shake, Rattle And Roll’ and ‘Flip, Flop And Fly’ were covered in the mid-’50s by Bill Haley and Elvis Presley, but for sheer power and lusty exuberance his originals could not be bettered … I could write reams about my own experiences at the famous Harlem showcase, which l used to visit weekly when living in New York during 1964, but suffice at this stage to say that one notable appearance I caught there, actually in 1967, was the debut of the Parliaments singing ‘Testify (I Wanna)’ in shimmying baggy lime green satin suits — the same group led by George Clinton who subsequently got spaced out and Funkadelicised as Parliament! … Eon Irving (Chelsea Mainsqueeze) tips the Jennifer/Jocelyn-ish first album by Shirley Murdock due soon on US Elektra and sent him from the States as a test pressing … Torso, realising that being a great dance troupe on Radio London’s Soul Night Out broadcasts doesn’t exactly reveal their talent in peoples’ living rooms, seem set to start recording on A&M so that they can be heard too! … Pet Shop Boys ‘West End Girls’ keeps reminding me of Al Stewart singing William De Vaughn’s ‘Be Thankful For What You’ve Got’ – how about you? … Robbie Vincent would have enjoyed playing Baby Boomer Trivial Pursuits with Chris Hill over Christmas rather more had Chris not cheated by learning the answers first! … Christmas has yet to happen as I write this for a foreshortened deadline, without time to do any full reviews, but as in the last issue all the major releases were at least mentioned with their BPMs you should be as up to date as possible at this early stage: however, due here now are Rochelle ‘My Magic Man‘ (Warner Bros W8838T), the Lisa-Lisa-ish (0-)112¼bpm jiggly pop nagger with kids appeal, Kurtis Blow ‘If I Ruled The World’ (Club JABX 26), and it appears possibly James Brown ‘Living In America’ (Scotti Brothers TA 6701) — back to normal next week … HAPPY NEW YEAR! Continue reading “January 4, 1986: Year-end Disco/Hi-NRG charts for 1985”