May 30, 1987: T La Rock, Joyce Sims, David Sanborn, Faze One, Sweet Heat


WHITNEY HOUSTON may be flavour of the moment in the pop charts, but did you know, prior to her Arista debut, she contributed the Bill Laswell-produced ‘Memories‘ on a Material album about four years ago on CellulOid … Disco Mix Club have released a full two hour long VHS video of the Royal Albert Hall 1987 Technics World DJ Mixing Championship Finals (£29 from DMC Ltd, PO Box 89, Slough SL1 8NA, England), showing every competitor in colourful close-up for armchair critics to judge for themselves, plus the Janet Jackson, Alexander O’Neal, Jam & Lewis all-star awards presentation. It’s a professional production which cost £15,000 to make, and is worth seeing even if you were there … Herb Alpert has followed his tightrope-walking video with another brilliant one for ‘Diamonds’, with an hilarious comedy prologue in which buck-toothed disco DJ “Bucky” is finally persuaded by a plugger to play the record — a situation every jock will enjoy! … New York’s New Music Seminar looks likely to include a special British Dance Night showcase at one of the city’s top nightclubs, probably the Palladium, featuring 15 UK acts … Cooltempo managed to grab the UK singles rights for Eric B and Rakim’s ‘I Know You Got Soul’, following an earlier deal with the act, although their current US label Fourth & Broadway will have their upcoming LP here … Mirage, apparently selling well in the pop chart although still has much to do in the DJ charts, now has yet another 124bpm ‘Jack Mix III‘ (Debut DEBTR 3022) featuring this time ‘Living In A Box/Can U Dance/Jack Your Body/Showing Out/Respectable/Axel F/Jackin’/Do It Properly/Male Stripper/House Nation/Underwater/Let Yourself Go’ — provided they keep updating it with current hits, is there any reason why the idea shouldn’t run and run, for years on end? … Man To Man’s official ‘Male Stripper’ follow-up, already on a white label, here couples as double A-side the crass 129½bpm ‘Energy Is Eurobeat‘ with Paul Zone & Man Parrish’s current zingily racing 130-0bpm ‘I Need A Man‘ (Bolts BOLTS 5-12), the latter of course a now much altered Grace Jones oldie … MCA Records’ latest Solar oldie four-tracker is of Shalamar (SHALT 5), whose material has been reissued recently already, containing the classic sinuous 108⅓bpm ‘A Night To Remember’, lurching 102½-102¾bpm ‘There It Is’, dated 117bpm ‘Take That To The Bank’ and 127bpm ‘Uptown Festival’ … Capitol have reissued last October’s soulfully worried pent-up slow 0-38½/77bpm Freddie Jackson & Melba Moore ‘A Little Bit More‘ (12CL 446), following both singers’ sustained US success … US LPs recently reviewed in full on import and now out here are The Whispers ‘Just Gets Better With Time’ (Solar MCF 3381) and Norwood ‘Can’t Let You Go’ (MCA Records MCF 3381), both excellent soul sets … Donna Allen ‘Serious’ has now been marketed in a dubbier 0-110¼bpm Delirious Mix (Portrait 650744 8) … Herbie Laidly has added a bassier 119½-0bpm beat to make Company B ‘Fascinated (Mastermind Herbie Remix)‘ (Bluebird BRTX 35) a little bit more house than Miami … 10 Records have promoted T La Rock’s LP with a strictly promo-only 12 inch sampler containing the now 89-0bpm ‘Lyrical King‘, 100⅓bpm ‘This Beat Kicks‘, 104¾bpm ‘It’s Time To Chill‘, 89⅚-0bpm ‘Big Beat In London‘, serviced to mailing list DJs which may influence any subsequent chart action, diverting attention from the actual album … North Wales’s veteran jock Alan Taylor has opened his own record shop, Right Trax Records in Rhyl’s, Piazza Centre, offering discounts to DJs … Nottingham’s def dude Graeme Park has a recording project called Submission he keeps playing off successive tapes — so when’s it going to reach vinyl, then? — and no doubt he’ll be debuting ‘Submission 8′ (or whatever number it’s up to) this Friday (May 29) when he, Winston Hazel, Ping Pong, Parrot, Jass AB plus guest PAs funk ‘n’ jazz Sheffield City Hall 10pm-2am … Monday (June 1) Dave Pearce — no longer souling the afternoon now that Susie Barnes is back — presents Radio London’s 10pm A Fresh Start To The Week live from Camden Palace with hip hoppers Faze One, Derek B, Three Wise Men, Roger Johnson … Charing Cross Heaven next Friday (June 5), for its first Motown night in four years, presents the original Velvelettes, Martha Reeves and the reformed Vandellas, and Marv Johnson! … Le Palais, Hammersmith, reopens to the general public next Saturday (June 6) following two VIP nights, with Dave Munday as resident DJ/promotions manager … Brighton Montis XXI in Montpelier Road has funk/house/rap/go-go every Monday with Mick Fuller, plus jazz/Latin upstairs … Glen Gunner has started two weekly clubs, Blow Your Head at Soho’s Paramount City in Great Windmill Street every Tuesday with guest DJs (and rappers/scratchers invited on 01-578 3673), plus Blow Your Head (Again) on Thursday in jazz jock Paul Murphy’s new venue The Cat at  307 Finchley Road (corner Lithos Road) London, the fare at both being rare groove, rap, house, Sixties soul … Ian Reading has turned Thursday at Southend Zero 6 into hip hop night, but seems a bit confused calling hip hop “a new trend flooding New York at the moment” and then saying the evening will feature house and go-go, too! … Simon Dunmore and Ivor Jones play rare and real soul at Hayes’ Keats Winebar Sundays, the Rhythm Zone night having become a regular fixture the first Thursday every month at Northolt’s C&L Country Club … Ken ‘B’ Brudenell, having left his Mecca promotions post, has returned to jocking Thursday/Fridays at Luton Coliseum … Lowestoft Ziggies has added a seafront ‘real music’ bar called Rumours, playing mainly soul, funk, house and some MoR (eh?) with Paul Allen from the disco upstairs its frequent DJ … Steve Day has moved to Milton Keynes where he spins house/jazz/soul Sundays 6-7.30pm on the local CRMK 90.6FM, and seems to be gigging at just about every disco in the area … Jerry Hipkiss for the summer season now souls Severn Sound 102.4FM from 7-9pm Saturdays, followed 9-11pm by Ivanhoe Campbell’s reggae … US rap LPs of so-so specialist interest include the latest from the Fat Boys, with a track actually featuring the Beach Boys that combines the old ‘Papa Oom Mow Mow’ and ‘Wipeout’ (its title)! … Norwood’s UK follow-up will be the Colonel Abrams-ish ‘Give It Up‘ rather than the slower US choice — and, speaking of Colonel, where’s he been for the last year? … Judge Dread is resurfacing with one of his periodical send-ups, turning ‘Jack Your Body’ into the probably fairly dubious ‘Jerk Your Body‘ … Tina Charles ‘I Love To Love’ in its DMC Records remix by Sanny X has sold over 600,000 copies in Europe … John Sinclair (Loughborough Sammys) and Gary Hickson (Blackburn Kaleidoscope/Peppermint Place) both tip that One Way and Cameo synch superbly together, Kev Ashton (Newquay Frizzbys) similarly tips Lillo Thomas ‘I’m In Love’ blends imperceptibly with Herb Alpert ‘Keep Your Eye On Me’, and Graham Gold (Mayfair Gullivers) runs Joyce Sims with Black Britain … Def Jam’s recently touring Tashan, Chuck Stanley and Oran ‘Juice’ Jones have done noticeably worse with their current singles than Mason, for whom exposure to the crowd at Livewire’s Prestatyn weekender was not considered a waste of time – and Prestatyn probably didn’t hurt Maceo & The Macks, either! … LAH DE DAH DE!

TOM WILSON every Saturday at 6.30pm on Radio Forth broadcasts the Scottish Dance Chart, compiled from 100 disco jocks’ returns by First Class Radio & Club Promotions, whose Bill Grainger then repeats it during his Sunday wee small hours Hi-NRG show at 3am on Radio Clyde. As Scotland’s jocks are a law unto themselves, this makes immense good sense!


T LA ROCK ‘Lyrical King (From The Boogie Down Bronx)’ LP (10 Records DIX 52)
On this ponderously heavy specialist rap set, Mantronik only produces the old 98bpm ‘Back To Burn’ and helps on the break beat-cutting 100½bpm ‘This Beat Kicks‘, T LA and Louie Lou being joined by human beat box Greg Nice for the 89½-0bpm title track, amusing 0-86⅔-0bpm ‘Tudy Fruity Judy‘, 10 minute chattering hip hop hoedown 0-110-113-116-0bpm ‘Live Drummin’ With The Country Boy‘, 93⅙-0bpm ‘Bust These Lyrics‘, 90-0bpm ‘Big Beat In London’, 105bpm ‘It’s Time To Chill’, plus the totally human ‘Having Fun/Three Minutes Of Beat Box‘.

JOYCE SIMS ‘Lifetime Love’ (London LONX 137)
Already massive in soul clubs thanks to a mixture of advance promos and import copies, this Mantronik-produced plaintively small voiced haunting subtle 107½bpm monotonous ticking jitterer has had its six US mixes here reversed and reduced so that Soft Club is now the main A-side Jazzy Beat, Hard Dub 2 the Jazzy Dub, Hard Club (America’s A-side) the Def Beat, and Hard Dub and Def Dub.

DAVID SANBORN ‘Chicago Song (Extended Version)’ (Warner Bros W8392T)
Writer/producer Marcus Miller’s tighter 104bpm remix of the saxist’s bluesily jogging jazz-funk instrumental is so sneakily catchy that it could easily be a crossover hit here. I hope so! Continue reading “May 30, 1987: T La Rock, Joyce Sims, David Sanborn, Faze One, Sweet Heat”

May 23, 1987: “‘Rare Grooves’ is an obvious marketing concept under which labels can repackage any old material”


MORGAN KHAN, “Britain’s Berry Gordy” still looking for “Britain’s Michael Jackson”, offers aspiring black music acts an instant talent assessment and the chance of cost-price use of Westside Records’ recording studio (if not an actual contract) if they turn up between 6-7pm any Mon/Wed/Friday at his new Ealing office in Springbridge Mews (just around the corner off Haven Green from the old Streetwave office): incidentally, Westside is indeed the outlet for his own artistes — debuting on June 1 with Faze One’s lispingly spoken sinuous bubbly 89⅔bpm ‘Good Friends‘ — but in fact his first singles, including Cultural Vibe, are out next week on the Hardcore label, the outlet for licensed product … Bobby Womack would appear now actually to have covered Living In A Box for US release anyway … BBC Radio Bristol’s previously announced 1987 West Of England Rapping & Mixing Contest is now on June 18 so as not to clash with election day, hosted by Tristan Bolitho at Bristol’s Studio in Frogmore Street with prizes of equipment and appearances — to enter, send in the application form that’s widely available at the area’s record shops and BBC local stations, then turn up for preliminary heats at 2pm that afternoon, DJs with their records for a seven minute set, rappers with a backing cassette for a three minute session … Mike Rice and Andy Rolfe’s habit of playing local mix fans’ home-produced megamix tapes on their Friday nights at Downley’s Masters has grown into a proper Mastermix ’87 contest to find the best mixer in Bucks and Berks — get your eight minute mix tapes to Mike at The Masters, Belfield Shopping Parade, Downley, nr High Wycombe, Bucks, so that over the next few Fridays they can be whittled down to Just four for the finals on Wednesday June 24, when the finalists will be judged live as well as on tape for a first prize gold disc donated by Nine O Nine (Mike himself hopes then to beat the current record of mixing 16 song titles in two minutes) … Portrait’s subsidiary dance label Up Beat, although used already on some promos, will actually be launched in July with a reissue of the O’Jays’ ‘My Favourite Person’ rare groove … ‘Rare Grooves’ is an obvious marketing concept under which labels can repackage any old material, and Jam Today has done just that with a six-track unremixed album of old Elite singles (CHIL LP 1), including Atmosfear of course, the only one actually attracting interest being Touch’s 126¾bpm bounding synth instrumental ‘Keep On‘ and Dave Chambers’ 102⅚bpm jazz saxing of Jean Carn’s ‘Don’t Let it Go To Your Head’ … Arista are reissuing Tom Browne ‘Funkin’ For Jamaica’ to meet demand … Jesse James, who back in the Seventies had soul hits like ‘Believe In Me Baby‘ on 20th Century Fox, is the singer and not Harvey Scales on ‘I Can Do Bad By Myself’ (reviewed last week) … Maxx Kidd tells me Trouble Funk have done vocals for Bootsy Collins on a “computerised funk” record, not go go … Jonathon More cold cuts KISS-fm’s Saturday afternoon ‘Meltdown Party’ show, and this Saturday (23) Meltdown meets Shake & Fingerpop with special Northern guests Colin Curtis and Pete Haigh in Brixton’s St Matthew’s church crypt from 11pm … Sunday (24) The Stammer at Northfleet’s Red Lion has a 6pm funk ‘n’ jazz barbecue with such as Pete Tong, Nicky Holloway, Eddie Gordon, Gilles Peterson … Bank Holiday Monday (25) New Brighton RJ’s hold a noon-2am charity soul all-dayer with Pez Tellett, Jon Jessop, Desa, Steve Proctor, Greg Wilson and more, while a bit later Livewire’s 5pm-1am ‘long-dayer’ at Great Yarmouth Tiffanys stars Chris Hill, Robbie Vincent, Froggy, Pete Tong, Jeff Young, Kev Hill, Trevor Fung – is this a “Caister reunion”?! … Monday also actually sees an up-to-date Caister reunion at St Ives Recreation Centre in Bedfordshire with Graham Gold, Bob Masters, Chris ‘Charlie’ Brown and more … Monday too, Keith Williams’ fortnightly Soul Spectrum covers the past 25 years’ black music at Nantwich Cheshire Cat … Tuesday (26) Brian Davies hosts a house party at the heart of house nation, Stourport-on-Severn Plato’s … Chris Hill, in a low key way, returns with Kev Hill to Canvey Island’s Goldmine on June 12 to start a Friday soul season … Croydon’s ex-Skyline Radio DJ Nik Love is now successfully souling in South Wales at Blaenavon’s Imperial Club (normally known as Imps) Hammersmith Palais when it reopens after a £2½m refit will be known, very posh, as Le Palais, Hammersmith (or should that be ‘Ammearsmeeth?) … East Anglia has its own ‘Groove Weekly’-like soul fanzine, complete with spelling mistakes, the monthly issued ‘The Gap’ by post from 225 Queen Ediths Way. Cambridge CB1 4NJ), May’s copy including interesting observations about rare grooves, and a visit to Cleveland, Ohio … Ray Young (Great Barr) is among many who always want to know how to find record company addresses: easy, buy the Music Week Directory 87, available for £12.50 (payable to Music Week) from Sylvia Calver, Morgan-Grampian plc, Royal Sovereign House, 40 Beresford Street, London SE18 6BQ … Capital Radio’s evening drive time man Peter Young joins me in suggesting again to A&M that a reissue of Chris Montez ‘The More I See You‘ could “do a Tom Jones” … LAH DE DAH DE!


ALEXANDER O’NEAL ‘Fake’ (Tabu 650891 6)
Jam & Lewis stir together their current production tricks, season them with a hefty dose of purple pepper and then pour them into a mould that was originally cast 30 years ago by the 5 Royales’ equally emphatic ‘Think‘ (better known by James Brown). The result is a dynamically burbling jittery 111½bpm chugging lurcher (in five mixes), a jauntily driving groove but with too monotonous a muttered, moaned and roared vocal line to have real crossover penetration — except that, as every O’Neal fan is going to be buying this brand new fresh biscuit as soon as it hits the shops on May 26, it’ll probably be one of those unexpected instant top 20 entries that takes Radio 1 by surprise!

DEREK B ‘Rock The Beat’ (Music Of Life NOTE 3)
In the UK’s most credible hip hop effort to date, London DJ Derek Boland cuts up James Brown beats into an infectious jiggly 101bpm rap – and all the rapping is by him too, multi-tracked! — that’s right in there now with his confusingly near namesake Eric B (three dubs too). FFFFurrresh!

LL COOL J ‘I’m Bad’ (Def Jam 650856 8)
Borrowing some ‘Shaft’ and ‘Dragnet’ resonances complete with cop car radio effects (and a “mother” that radio will never play!), this aggressively rapped scratching violent dense 0-89½bpm bass pusher is a sonic whirlwind of excitement, flipped by the live frantic 101 bpm ‘Get Down‘ and older emptily jittering 89½bpm ‘Dangerous‘. Baaaad! Continue reading “May 23, 1987: “‘Rare Grooves’ is an obvious marketing concept under which labels can repackage any old material””

May 16, 1987: Donna Allen, The Whispers, Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince, Herb Alpert, Joyce Sims


INVICTA RADIO, having lost Pete Tong from the Sunday soul show, is still getting taped programmes from its other soul DJ, The Dude — sent from New York City, where he’s currently on WBLS following the expiry of his UK work permit! … Alexander O’Neal’s upcoming ‘Fake‘ single has some more of that Jam & Lewis gospel organ and a mellow ‘Love Bizarre’ purple funk groove driven by chugging Timmy Thomas-ish rhythm, excitingly insistent more than a song … Shep Pettibone has remixed Janet Jackson ‘The Pleasure Principle’ … Cooltempo snapped up the Rappin’ Reverend here, and Champion has Sweet Heat … Cultural Vibe ‘Power‘ will be amongst the imminent first releases on Morgan Khan’s new Westside label, while Dance Music turns out to be the actual name of the label that is about to continue the ‘Streetsounds’ LP series … Serious Records’ ‘Upfront 6‘ compilation includes current hits by Sybil, Eleanore Mills, Mel & Kim, Kenny ‘Jammin’ Jason, Zushii, TC Curtis, Full House, On The House plus LP cuts by Millie Scott and Keni Stevens — hot or what? … Chris ‘CJ’ Mackintosh’s previously promoed ‘CJ Scratch’ mix of ‘Boops’ is now commercially available as B-side to the Sly & Robbie 12 inch (4th + B’way 12BRWX 61), while Les Adams’ ‘Throwdown Medley’ has cropped up again as a Kool & The Gang flip, this time to try and sell ‘Stone Love’ … Diana Ross’s percussively tapping breathy swaying ‘Dirty Looks‘ (108⅔bpm off acetate) may be too ramblingly disjointed a song for huge pop success but could help restore her soul credibility when it’s on EMI here soon … Miles Davis’s recent ‘Tutu’ LP’s Marcus Miller-created ‘Full Nelson‘ has been given a Herb Alpert-inspired snappily jolting 110¼bpm industrial funk remix, on US Warner Bros promo … Club Nouveau’s follow-up is merely a straight reissue of their ‘Rumors’-answering (0-)110bpm ‘Jealousy‘ (Warner Bros W8551T), too late surely to mean much now? … Pepsi & Shirlie haven’t figured much in this column before, but a more house-style 123bpm Dot & Daisy’s Club Remix of their ‘Heartache’ hit has been promoed ahead of it being B-side to the follow-up (well, if Mel & Kim can fit!) … Gloria Gaynor ‘Be Soft With Me Tonight‘ never meant much in its original mix and now is in a new more tightly compressed 88bpm Stock Aitken Waterman remix (still on Fanfare 12FAN 11, merely over-stickered) … Andy Carroll and ‘Rare Grooves Master’ Mike Knowler joke that although ‘Urban Guerrilla’ Steve Proctor may have left to join Polydor, they’re still holding the fort at Liverpool’s The State (where some of ‘Letter To Brezhnev’ was filmed) … Tony Jenkins souls Mondays at Covent Garden’s ultra-trendy Browns … Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis will be producing Patti LaBelle on a song called ‘Just The Facts‘ from a new ‘Dragnet’ movie … Big Al Butler, the huge but gentle Washington DC-a go go security guy photographed two years ago dancin’ the Happy Feet with Steve Walsh, was recently killed while capturing a supermarket robber … Prince ‘Sign ‘O’ The Times’ topped US 12 Inch Sales and Kissing The Pink ‘Certain Things Are Likely’ topped Club Play in Billboard … Georgio, whose ‘Sex Appeal‘ failed to appeal here but is big in the US, was picked up by Motown from the independent Macola label … I spent the last bank holiday weekend in a North Wales houseparty with Matt Johnson of The The – the thing is, so did my father, and you could call it a culture clash! … I wonder which of today’s unplayed newies will be the rare grooves of tomorrow? … LAH DE DAH DE!

TRISTAN BOLITHO now mixes it up at Bristol’s brand new Parkside Club, in Bath Road’s Amos Court, and also has a little featurette on BBC Radio Bristol’s ‘Close Up’ programme, relaying the area’s club news. For this, he’d like to hear about any mixing and scratching-type gigs, which he’ll plug (write to him at ‘Close Up’, BBC Radio Bristol, PO Box 194, Bristol). The station is also running a West Of England mixing and rapping contest on June 11, details to follow.


DONNA ALLEN ‘Perfect Timing’ LP (Portrait 450888 1)
My original faith in (the obviously included 110⅕bpm) ‘Serious‘ seems at least to have been justified, powerfully wailing Donna being even more soulful on the impassioned cool rolling 116⅕bpm ‘Satisfied’ (now on import 12 inch too), bubbling (0-)113⅕bpm ‘Sweet Somebody‘, Howard Johnson-duetted drifting 94bpm ‘Perfect Timing‘, tortuous 70bpm ‘Daydreams‘, trotting 122bpm ‘Another Affair‘, jerky 108⅕bpm ‘Bit By Bit’, murky 109½bpm ‘Wild Nights’, and her jolting 116⅕bpm ‘Bad Love’ B-side.

THE WHISPERS ‘Rock Steady’ (MCA Records MCAT 1152)
Excellent typical catchily trotting 116⅓bpm singalong swayer with clipped choruses in vintage style (instrumental flip, plus 1984’s lovely Philly-style 66¼bpm ‘Are You Going My Way‘). A smash!

JAZZY JEFF & FRESH PRINCE ‘A Touch Of Jazz’ (Champion CHAMP 12-47)
As well as their LP’s original jazz-funk scratch medley, there are three dynamite much re-scratched and extended remixes, at 103⅓bpm here apart from the 103⅙ Collapsed In The Street Mix, which is the most altered of all with added rap. The shape of things to come? Continue reading “May 16, 1987: Donna Allen, The Whispers, Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince, Herb Alpert, Joyce Sims”

May 9, 1987: Maceo & The Macks, Lillo Thomas, Voices In The Dark, Norwood, The Whispers


2 PUERTO RICANS, A BLACKMAN AND A DOMINICAN have created quite a rumpus as their ‘Do It Properly!’ slots samples from other house hits into what’s basically Adonis ‘No Way Back’ — and that latter will soon be released here commercially by London with their version on the legal flip, but here called ‘The Adonis Bootleg’ … Steve Walsh has reassembled all the original members of Freeez, apart from John Rocca, to remake ‘Southern Freeez 87’ for his Total Control Records, now with four new “freeze” pauses prompted vocally by Steve himself on the flip’s Avenger Mix in an attempt to make the old Rodney Franklin-started dance craze a summer hit again … Sybil ‘Let Yourself Go’ (actually rather reminiscent of ‘Southern Freeez’, isn’t it?) is being creatively marketed as a remixed 120½bpm Champion Mix (Champion CHAMPX 12-42), with conversational chat at the start followed by almost more digital chipmunks than proper singing … Swing Out Sister’s ‘Twilight World’, bouncing back into our Disco chart, is also in a new 0-113bpm Outer Limits Mix (Mercury SWING 422), with a dialogue-like diatribe break usefully early on, while Dancin’ Danny D’s 119¾-0bpm Observation Mix of Patrice Rushen ‘Watch Out’ (Arista RIST 12R), as warned, adds clodhopping almost Hi-NRG percussion to destroy the original’s delightful airiness, and Frankie Knuckles ‘You Can’t Hide From Yourself’ (here given its proper full title) is also in the dubbier chugging 121-0bpm Chip E’s House Remix (Portrait PARTY Q1) … Peggi Blu actually had a theatrical training, appearing as a child in ‘The Wiz’, and recorded a disco album on MCA Records in 1980, although currently her success in the States is as a multi-winner of TV’s ‘Star Search’ talent contest, like Durrell Coleman and Sam Harris — let’s hope her fame is less meteoric than theirs … Susie Barnes may find she has a hard act to follow on her return from an around the world trip, as in her absence Dave Pearce has been turning Radio London’s weekday afternoons into the best and most crucial daily soul show on radio … ‘Solid Soul’ has begun taping its new season of 18 shows for Channel 4, ultra smart dancers (who said posers?) being able to apply for tickets in person at Concorde House, 1 Barb Mews, Brook Green, Hammersmith … Robbie Dee is still taking entries at Southend-on-Sea’s Rain Discotheque (0702-333277) for the remaining Wednesday heats of a Disco Dance Competition 1987, the £250 first prize final being on May 20 … Concorde Artistes are promising a cleaner Miss Wet T-Shirt Contest for this its tenth year of touring UK clubs, with less female flesh and more T-shirt on show under the shower, huge new video monitors allegedly making up for this! … Thursday (7), def dude Graeme Park starts the weekly Sweat Box at Derby’s Blue Note, while Simon Dunmore, Dean Thatcher, Steve Saunders and Les Fisher soul (and rare groove) the Rhythm Zone at Northolt’s C&L Country Club … Neil McKenzie and Warren Thompson are most upfront ‘n’ funky on Thurs/Fridays at Dunfermline Johnsons, having weaned their receptive crowd away from the area’s still otherwise prevalent Hi-NRG, and in fact they launch a really hard crucial weekly Def Club there this Sunday (10) … Monday (11) Chad Jackson cuts it up at Jeff Thomas’s weekly soul night in Swansea’s Martha’s Vineyard, while 30 miles away on Tuesday (12), Bridgend’s brand new Aston’s launches a weekly soul night with James Lewis and special guest Robbie Vincent (first of many regular attractions) … Georgie Fame plays Dagenham’s Beacon Leisure Centre with Steve Wren next Friday (15), advance tickets on 01-593 5000 … Franklin Sinclair, fairly funky at Accrington Maximillians on Wednesdays, was persuaded with the promise of some Technics SL 1200 decks to stay on at Manchester’s Richfields instead of moving as previously announced (threatened?) to the new Applejacks — power to the DJ! … Catterick’s increasingly funky Kim Jacques now jocks at Darlington’s revamped Walking Cane … TKO DJs Roberto and Toni Forzoni run the Italians disco on Sundays at Clerkenwell Turnmills … Gaz Anderson has moved to London’s Regines after four years at Bootleggers … Terry Adams is promotions manager at Kingston-upon-Thames Cinderella’s Rockerfella’s, where he’s after class PAs on 01-541 1515 (Tues/Thurs afternoons) … Mike Shawe (0272-554246 days), one of Bristol’s few funk DJs at the city centre Hollywood, is desperate for Cloud One ‘Flying High‘ (US Heavenly Star) and will swap such as Oneness Of Juju … Ripple ‘I Don’t Know What It is But Is Sure Is Funky‘ (US GRC seven inch) seems to be building into a “rare groove” hit — four DJs were charting it this week … Vaneese Thomas, daughter of Memphis R&B veteran Rufus Thomas and sister of Sixties soul queen Carla Thomas, has been signed by Geffen Records from Hush Productions … Eddie Kidd ran into a real life enactment of his Levi 501’s commercial when a bouncer barred him from Romford’s plush new Hollywood because, you guessed it, he was wearing jeans — even when Eddie said who he was the bouncer replied, “Yeah, and l’m Peter Stringfellow” (the club made up for this boob by booking him for a PA the very next night)! … Jody Watley topped US 12 Inch Sales, Club Nouveau and then Kraftwerk ‘The Telephone Call (Remix)‘ having topped Club Play in Billboard … Steve Hodge has done a stuttery-started 111¼bpm remix of Herb Alpert ‘Diamonds’, due here in a fortnight, which despite Janet Jackson’s vocal contribution is still pretty pedestrian … Loose Ends’ latest US hit is the two and a half years old ballad, ‘You Can’t Stop The Rain‘ … MCA Records in the States have signed Sahara (remember ‘Love So Fine’?), Timmy Regisford remixing their ‘How Long’ US debut … Gigolo Tony’s rap version of the Hokey Cokey, ‘Hoki Poki‘ (US 4-Sight) surprisingly failed to intrigue DJs here but is selling in the States … Champion Records are now distributed by RCA/Ariola … Hi-NRG chart contributors, it would help immensely if you could include label details of anything new in your charts each week, as they’re often not known to us… Rhythm King’s upcoming ‘Rob Olson’s Chicago Jack Beat Volume II‘ compilation LP will include Duane & Co ‘Hard Core (On The One)’, MG² ‘My House Is Bigger Than Your House’, Matt Warren ‘Bang The Box (Remix)’, Kevin Irving ‘Ride The Rhythm (Remix)’ and Denise Motto ‘Tell Jack’ … Sheila E’s next single will be ‘Koo Koo‘, rather than one of her LP’s dance tracks, while The System’s now finally happening ‘Don’t Disturb This Groove‘ is set for UK release in four weeks … Bobby Womack was apparently flattered to find Living In A Box using his vocal style, which makes one wonder if Bobby himself would be more likely to hit the top 10 if he recorded something with a more modern beat … LAH DE DAH DE!

PETE TONG has already quit the Sunday soul show on Kent’s Invicta Radio so that he can increase his radio profile in London, where most of his club work now lies — and indeed he has made his debut as special guest presenter the last Friday of the month on Radio London’s 10pm-midnight NITE FM slot.

CHRIS BROWN, contrary to rumours, is still spinning his inimitable soul and jazz at Ascot’s Belvedere, but on Wednesday nights rather than at Sunday lunchtimes, which are the popular sessions that had to be discontinued due to their very popularity … the neighbours were complaining about all the illegal parking!


MACEO & THE MACKS ‘Cross The Track (We Better Go Back)’ (Urban URBX 1, via Polydor)
At last legally available, in an extended Simon Harris re-edit to boot, the James Brown-produced saxist and his band’s extremely nagging see-sawing jiggly old funker has a mind numbing repetitive piping siren-like tone and girls ‘n’ guys-alternated chants, making it by far the biggest record at Prestatyn as well as of course (in its also included basically 101⅓-103½-102¾-102⅓-102⅔bpm original seven inch version) the hottest “rare groove” bootleg for the last few months. In monitoring the extended version I actually logged 28 shifts in the Beats Per Minutes, fluctuating around 100¼-103¾bpm at both extremes but which I averaged at 100⅘bpm (not that it’s ever exactly that)! In addition the 12 inch includes the “parrty”-chanting wicky wacky 106-104½-105bpm ‘Soul Power 74‘ sax instrumental and, likewise from 1973, the title-chanting burbling afro-flavoured steady 114bpm ‘Parrty – Part 1‘. Party hardy, y’all!

LILLO THOMAS ‘I’m In Love (Longer Love Mix)’ (Capitol 12CL 450)
Considerably beefed up from his hot LP version with overdubbed rhythmic human bass and a tabla break — to the regret of some although I think it’s really bright now — this rolling and soaring 114-0bpm chugger (in three mixes) isn’t due fully for over a week but is too big a secret to keep until then!

VOICES IN THE DARK ‘Keep It Warm (Remix)’ (Champion CHAMP 12-46)
Gradually unfurling through chipmunk effects, remixed specially for the UK from the less good import, this shrilly nagging girls sung and sax squalled, chiming 115½-114¾bpm shuffling strider has the simple dated appeal of a ‘Ring My Bell’ and could easily now cross over (Edit/lnstrub flip). Continue reading “May 9, 1987: Maceo & The Macks, Lillo Thomas, Voices In The Dark, Norwood, The Whispers”

May 2, 1987: Prestatyn Easter Weekender, DJ Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince, Eric B & Rakim, Duane & Co, Black Britain, The O’Jays


LIVE WIRE’s Easter weekender at Prestatyn Pontins seems to have been an unqualified success, a bit long at four days (a sense of routine sets in), with the superior camp site already booked for a three day return weekender on October 30-November 1 — but before then there’s a 5pm alldayer on Bank Holiday Monday, May 25, at Great Yarmouth Tiffanys with the usual “mafia” stars … OK, so it was Exit 20 on the M6 after all (three separate maps said Exit 9), but otherwise my route directions for finding Prestatyn seemed much appreciated by all except Tim Westwood, who couldn’t handle the duckpond details! … Prestatyn apparently wasn’t considered “credible” enough an audience for the Tashan/Chuck Stanley/Oran ‘Juice’ Jones tour, after all, although Bobby Womack came specially as a surprise guest to play to the 4,000 soul fans (who, as promised, kept shaving foam and water fights to a minimum this time) … Robbie Vincent’s live show on Radio 1 unfortunately helped perpetuate the old ‘soul boy’ image, the crowd chanting and whistle-blowing along (they booed the News!) … Chad Jackson (repeating his snooker cue stunt) and Chris ‘CJ’ Mackintosh were star turns in the hip hop-orientated Warehouse venue (all halls being in the same smart building), while the Jazz Village was a haven of Sixties jazz and soul … I hear that Bob Masters’ Bournemouth weekender went well, too … Mason’s dad looks so like Chuck Brown that that’s who I thought he was at first — their album was actually completed two years ago … Tom Jones’ ‘It’s Not Unusual’ is being reissued as an extended mix flipped by his live medley of it with ‘Land Of 1000 Dances’, always huge at jazz gigs (like ‘Bossa Nova Baby’) for the likes of Chris Brown! … Germany’s BCM label has been at it again, compiling a 10 track CD ‘Chicago Trax — Volume 1‘ (BCM T.X. 50-5001-44) from its (and London’s here retitled) Trax Records double LP, with the addition of Farmboy’s ‘Jackin’ Me Around’, while on vinyl their again confusingly retitled version of the US ‘The House Sound Of Chicago — Volume 2‘ (BCM/DJ International Records DJ 33-3003-43) substitutes Darryl Pandy s storming 122-0bpm ‘Work Your Body’ for the Frankie Knuckles track … TC Curtis’s widely promoed next single, not due for over a fortnight and oddly not on his new LP, is the drily pattering go go-ish repetitive 0-103⅔bpm ‘Love Got Me On A Merry-Go-Round’ … Club Nouveau ‘Lean On Me’ is being creatively marketed as a (0-)90½bpm Club Edit Nouveau (Warner Brothers W8430TX), which seems rhythmically cleaner … Level 42 ‘To Be With You Again’ has already been trickily remixed by David ‘O’ Ogrin as the 114¾bpm A.D.S.C. Mix (Polydor POSPA 855), with a dub replacing the flip’s ‘Lessons In Love’ remix to make the whole exercise fairly pointless … One Way’s commercial B-side appears to be the (0-)75¼bpm ‘Oh Girl’ … Lee Prentiss, whose UK recorded 114½bpm cover version of Rainy Davis’ US hit sleeper ‘Sweetheart‘ is out on May 11, is currently midway in a marathon 17 date PA tour mainly of Scotland and the North … Isley Jasper Isley’s datedly Steely Dan-ish 130½/132bpm ‘8th Wonder Of The World‘ seems only to be on seven inch (Epic 650750 7) … I came back from Prestatyn with a streaming cold, so recuperative sleep filled some of the time in which I would normally have BPMed the Sly & Robbie LP, strong sets by the Whispers and Norwood, plus the trickily varying four-track 12 inchers of (THE Prestatyn smash!) Maceo & The Macks ‘Cross The Track‘ (Urban URBX 1) and War ‘Low Rider (Remixes)’ (LA International XLAX 100, via PRT) – as usual, check the Disco chart in case they hit … Simon Harris is doing a weekly half-hour megamix between 1-1.30am on Chris ‘Trog’ Forbes’ Saturday night-Sunday morning Capital Radio soul show, and will be following his War ‘Low Rider’ B-side mix (Arthur Baker did the A-side) with a house mix of ‘Galaxy’ … CBS tried unsuccessfully to jam Music Of Life Records’ ‘Def Beats 1’, album, claiming the name could be confused with the Def Jam label, little realising that the word “def” is in such common usage that it’s listed in Collins English Dictionary — and what about Def Leppard?! … Graeme Park, who packs out Nottingham’s Barracuda on Saturdays following his photo appearing in rm, is now featuring oldies (Sixties/Seventies soul, Seventies disco-funk) every second Friday there, May 1 being next … Sunday (3) lain Norman and Def Stef soul-funk-rap-jazz Stowmarket’s Stag Tavern, weekly if this one’s a success … Polygram in the US has revised the Wing label, with such dance artistes as Atlantic Starr’s former vocalist Sharon Bryant … LL Cool J’s new album uses rock ‘n’ roll breaks by Bill Haley … LAH DE DAH DE!

Jeff Young was the roving reporter, out in the crowd with a mike, during Robbie Vincent’s live Radio 1 soul show from Prestatyn.

Bobby Womack’s appearance on the first, Friday, night at Prestatyn was such a well kept secret that nobody in the much teased crowd knew who the mystery guest was going to be until he actually hit the stage for a full live set!

Chris Forbes’ main appearance at Prestatyn was in a double-header with Chris Hill on the Friday night, but he was so keen that after returning to London for his Saturday night show on Capital Radio, he came right back to North Wales just for the finale!

Chillin’ at Prestatyn were the Soul Splash crew, who’ve been known to promote their own alldayers and similar events too, with ambitious plans for the future.

Live Wire Television, the special close circuit channel at Prestatyn, on the Sunday night was hosted by Robbie Vincent (centre), with his assistant Cathy O’Brien and the omnipresent ‘Dr Ruth’ Maggot, who gave sexual advice about the use of condoms and other such timely contraptions.

ROY AYERS played two full live concerts at Prestatyn, the climax of each being a breakneck challenge on the vibes by his percussionist Unfortunately, during Sunday’s simultaneous Radio 1 broadcast, he got bogged down on some new unfamiliar instrumentals and only played such hits as ‘Poo Poo La La’ after he’d gone off air.


DJ JAZZY JEFF & FRESH PRINCE ‘A Touch Of Jazz’ (US Jive 1040-1-JD)
Much rescratched and extended with a title line vocal drop-in, Jazzy Jeff’s 103⅙bpm vintage jazz-funk medley of Marvin Gaye ‘T Plays It Cool’, Bob James ‘Westchester Lady’, Donald Byrd ‘Change’ (and now ‘Places And Spaces’), Bobbi Humphrey ‘Harlem River Drive’, Grover Washington Jr ‘Mr Magic’ is in three new mixes (the flip’s with added rap and some Chic ‘Good Times’) plus the LP’s original, beautifully packaged.

ERIC B AND RAKIM ‘I Know You Got Soul’ (US 4th + B’way BWAY-438)
Casually though insistently chatted jiggly 104bpm rap ‘n’ scratch set to Bobby Byrd’s 1971 soul hit of the same name (in three mixes), so naturally massive already in this “rare groove” era. Considering somewhere I’ve got the complete recorded works of James Brown and all his associated acts up to the mid-Seventies, I wonder what they’re worth now?

DUANE & CO ‘Hard Core (On The One)’ (US Dance Mania Records DM 004)
Marshall Jefferson programmed drums with presumably Jesse Saunders cutting in James Brown to blatantly commercial effect, as before, on the new 121bpm ‘J.B. In Heat’, 121bpm ‘J.B. Traxx II‘, 118¾bpm ‘Lowdown ‘N’ Funky‘, 118⅔bpm ‘At The Organ‘ variations on the rare groove goes house theme. Continue reading “May 2, 1987: Prestatyn Easter Weekender, DJ Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince, Eric B & Rakim, Duane & Co, Black Britain, The O’Jays”