ODDS ‘N’ BODS
LUTHER VANDROSS does indeed sing ‘Georgy Porgy’ by Charme, originally a B-side, although as everyone’s been quick to remind me it first came out in 1978 by Toto featuring Cheryl Lynn . . . Sister Sledge ‘We Are Family (Remix)‘ and Chic ‘Chic Cheer‘ will be out next month, as (rather late?) will be Matt Bianco ‘Half A Minute‘, but George Benson’s LP has gone back to the New Year . . . ‘Street Sounds 11‘ looks a winner with Staple Singers, Fonda Rae, Steve Washington, Rose Royce, Paul Hardcastle, Major Harris, The SOS Band ‘Weekend Girl’ Mtume ‘You Me And He’, Bonnie Pointer ‘Johnny’ — watch singles sales plummet! . . . Hi-Tension is not now commercially released until next week, while Brass Construction are in danger of “doing a Divine” unless copies hit the shops darned fast — all the initial disco buzz has gone and it hasn’t been on radio for weeks . . . Richard Welsh, in a growing trend, has left his managership of Holborn’s City Sounds record shop to take over disco promotion for Cooltempo, building a mailing list from scratch — so send full work details (which’ll be checked) to him at Chrysalis Records, 12 Stratford Place, London W1N 9AF . . . Roy Ayers has at least two jazz-funk goodies that I’ve heard on his long-awaited new LP . . . Yasuko Agawa ‘LA Night‘ is rumoured to be on US 12in (but has anyone actually seen one?) . . . JiFs in Chadwell Heath have evidently kept their import prices to LP £7.50 (from £6.99), 12in £4.50 (from £3.99) . . . Hereford’s The Disco Centre are organising SALSA ’84, a Second-hand Auction of Lighting, Sound and Accessories at Wormelow’s Park Hall on November 4 (11am for noon start), so call 0432-55407 now if you’ve any unwanted gear to sell . . . Dave Gregory’s weeknight 7-9pm Essex Radio 95.3/96.4FM ‘Gregamix’ show has now joined his Saturday 6-9pm ‘Electric Boogie’ in being totally black, the growing trend at least in the south-east (he mixes ‘Sexomatic’ out of ‘Medicine Song’) . . . Graham Gold on the old Horizon last Wednesday synched perfectly Staple Singers ‘Slippery People’/Bar-Kays ‘Sexomatic’/Slave ‘That’s The Way I Like It, before then playing back the previous week’s Eugene Wilde interview which luckily he’d recorded anyway at the time unaware the station had gone off air — it revealed Eugene actually wrote ‘Gotta Get You Home Tonight’ during an earlier London visit in May, immediately after a night out at Graham’s club Mayfair Gullivers! . . . Radio Mercury 103.6FM/ 1521kHz/197m MW, where you’re never more than three minutes away from an oldie (during weekday shows anyway), must have the country’s pleasantest setting for its studios in an elegant 150 year-old house just outside Crawley — don’t forget it starts this Saturday (20) with Peter Young’s 6pm soul show the first proper (non-introductory) programme, Pete then also doing weekdays 4-7pm, while (cripes!) Ian Davidson actually does Saturday mornings — so he really can say “good morning good people!” (Capital listeners will remember Ian fondly, the only man who reads so much off the back of an LP sleeve that once he even said “printed by Garrod & Lofthouse”!) . . . Mike Allen now runs down Groove’s electro chart at 11.30pm Fridays on his soulful weekend midnight shift on Capital, where weekday 3-5pm jock John Sachs is doing his best to get black material onto the playlist . . . Stockport’s KFM has moved studios, and up a notch to 94.3FM, while American accented Al Stockwell has moved from KFM to South Manchester’s brand new STR 92.1FM (currently just Fri/Sat/Sun 7am-midnight) for the Saturday 1-4pm ‘Livin’ Wildstyle For The Weekend’ pop-disco show, during which he counts down Record Mirror’s Nightclub chart — so he’s a fortnight out of date before he starts (however Manny Junior hip hops Sun 3-6pm) . . . ‘Tugboat’ Phil Blizzard (Stoke On Trent 0782-634584) is the latest graduate from Soho’s IBA-guided National Broadcasting School — a part-time college lecturer and disco DJ, he’s now a qualified radio presenter/producer too (given a gig) . . . New York City’s airwaves are still just led by the Top 40 format of WHIZ (Z-100), over the once dominant Urban Contemporary of WRKS (KISS-fm) at number two in the latest ratings . . . Prince ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ briefly topped US Black 45s, Stephanie Mills Dance/Disco, both toppled by respectively Stevie Wonder (Black and Pop — Motown’s first US chart-topper in over four years NOT by Lionel Richie!) and Diana Ross ‘Swept Away’ (her ‘Upside Down’ was Motown’s last non-Richie No.1): Lionel Richie has had at least one of his singles from ‘Can’t Slow Down’ somewhere in the US Top 40 since Oct 1st 1983, when ‘All Night Long (All Night)’ first hit, the LP itself still being Top 10 after 50 weeks . . . Alan ‘Gibbo’ Gibson en-route to Bangkok found Lionel Richie even being relayed over the PA in Moscow! . . . Mark Ryman (London Tokyo Joe) recently flew out for a one night gig in Karachi, Pakistan! . . . Jeffrey Osborne has produced his US hit partner Joyce Kennedy singing the ‘Stronger Than Before‘ Burt Bacharach/Carole Bayer Sager/Bruce Roberts song from Chaka Khan’s LP (on which of course The System, not Material, did ‘This Is My Night) . . . Pennye Ford actually seems to fluctuate fractionally around 0-119bpm, while it’s Bobby Broom with an LP on Arista . . . Bar-Kays guitarist Marcus Price was shot dead while leaving a Memphis rehearsal studio Sept 24 — that group have had enough disasters, most original members perishing in the Otis Redding plane crash . . . Streetwave had a party for Rose Royce last week at Mayfair’s Gullivers, where amongst others I chatted at length with almost the entire staff of Horizon (a new slimline CJ Carlos included), pre-bust . . . Rose Royce apparently lost their audience halfway through their Dominion show with over-long self indulgent bass, guitar and drums solos: I myself felt when seeing them at Baileys that Loquient Jobe’s bass was very powerful in its initial shock impact but the others had nothing to say — however, the set there was saved by the huge hydraulic stage/dancefloor which then reverted to its latter function for the dance-along finale . . . Steve Jason let local rappers Rayon Gee & Owen Lee take over the mike during his Sunday soul spot at Peterborough Canters and the result was so good that the duo have written a rap specially about the club — and are recording a live version there this Sunday (21) . . . Chad Jackson (a ‘Funky Sister’ only for the first Windjammer remix) is currently giving “live” lunchtime mixing demonstrations in various record shops (Thur 18 Birmingham HMV Shop, Fri 19 London Virgin Megastore) to plug his ‘Crew Cuts Lesson 2‘ LP on Island, while having left Wednesdays at Manchester Legend he’s after major city weekend residency —mixing, of course! — on 0744-50587 . . . Silhouette plugger Bryan O’Connor’s razor-cut bonce was the cleverly interlocked sleeve design on the first ‘Crew Cuts’, and his hair still looks the same! . . . Tony Blackburn’s Soul Night Out will soon be making once monthly forays from Kilburn’s National Club to other assorted venues around London . . . Central London purchasers of Rif this Wednesday (17) are in time for Steve Watts’ latin samba night at Purley Brighton Road’s Bar Montmartre (½ price booze if appropriately dressed, bring your maracas) — he’s also at South Croydon Royal Oak Centre Scarlett’s Sat, and after more gigs on 71-52110 . . . Stafford Top Of The World’s exciting Hi-NRG mixer Bruce Harper has joined Reg Saunders for a new Wednesday Hi-NRG night at Birmingham’s Powerhouse . . . Thursday (18) Tony Simmons funks Luton Pink Elephant with jazz band Catch Catch Catch, and Ian Reading has another notoriously “rude” night at Southend Zero 6 . . . Friday (19) Mastermind Roadshow cut up Ealing Town Hall until midnight . . . Ray Davies mixes soul/disco-cum-chart and always some soulful smoochers Thur/Fri at Uxbridge High Street’s “Hippodrome-ish” new Regals (another old cinema?), where Top Hats Nightclubs have started a specialist soul Monday with Joe Field joined by Chris Hill (22), Tony Blackburn (29) . . . Simon Dunmore jazz-souls Mondays 8-11pm at Hillingdon’s Hiccups Wine Bar in Hercies Road, “proper punters” now replacing his mates as the place hots up . . . Steve Glover plays sophisticated stuff like Frank Sinatra’s ‘Mack The Knife’ at Bournemouth’s Zig Zag . . . Gt. Yarmouth’s Danny Smith, still Thur/Fri/Sat at the One Five One Club, now also jazz-soul-hip hops Wed at Spangles in Regent Road . . . Steve Ogley offers a reward at Lowestoft Oulton Broad’s Park Avenue Disco following the very selective theft of about a hundred imports, promos, vinyl DMCs, and — cruellest cut of all! — his Malcolm X slipmats . . . Ian Gordon reckons he’s swung weekends at Liverpool’s Corns around to “much harder material” and could do with PAs/promotion nights on 051-207 1962 (11am-4.30pm) . . . George S. Georgiou funking Aycliffe Bee Jays Country Club (funkiest Sun) and Steve Vaughn similarly at Stockton Buddy’s Bar are both keen for allniter/dayer gigs if offered — maybe the LADS up there could check ’em out? . . . Island plugger Julian Palmer and Mike’s brother Brian Gardner (now known as Slack & Black!) are a firm fixture Wednesdays at Soho Whisky-A-Go-Go’s Wag Club, mixing up funk, soul, hip hop and northern — and they’re muttering about a real mix-up coming soon (Double Dee & Steinski look out) . . . Ken Brudenell (Poole Mariners Wharf) and Paul Lewis (Swindon Brunel Rooms) both suggest synching the rightly re-activated Sheila E ‘Glamorous Life’ out of Chaka Khan ‘I Feel For You’ . . . Stephanie Mills’ video on Top Of The Pops should help her medicine go down even better . . . BBC-2’s excellent ‘The Money Programme’ last Sunday examined Michael Jackson’s finances — and expressed the fear that like Elvis Presley he may be shutting himself off too much from reality, which could adversely affect future career moves . . . London appears to be plastered with posters of Morgan Khan, bearing the caption “This man is a Nerd” — it is of him, isn’t it? . . . Adrian Allen (South Shields Chelsea Cat) sent my first Christmas card of the season . . . Graham Hunter of Basingstoke’s Firefly Roadshow bought a Mercedes Benz L409 van, but while it was being customised used the old Ford Transit for one last time — and of course broke down on the way to the gig! . . . HEAVE HO, HEAVE HO!
PIRATE BUST UPDATE
SOUTH LONDON’S pirate TV station Channel 36, plus the proximity of JFM on 103.3FM to ILR’s imminent Radio Mercury on 103.6FM (about which I warned months ago), finally last Thursday prodded the Department of Trade & Industry’s men into swooping on the heights of Crystal Palace and confiscating all the transmitter aerials along Church Road, the street corners of which were thronged with pirates watching while their property was dismantled! Horizon, JFM, Skyline and LWR were thus all off the air, only Radio Jackie being left on Medium Wave, but as transmitter confiscation in the past has meant only a brief hiccup you can expect many to be back — and indeed already Horizon’s DJs have organised a new co-operative management to run Solar 102.5FM (Sound of London Alternative Radio) which actually began broadcasting a continuous music test transmission as early as Sunday evening, still going round the clock as I write (great — no boring chat!). The most dramatic event of last Thursday though was the swoop on Horizon’s studio. Rivals JFM had taken time off after the latest anti-pirate laws came into force in which to move their studio location and set up an infra-red transmitter link, which spared them from further detection, but unfortunately Horizon had merely moved up one floor in their original East Dulwich building and spent £15,000 on brand new studio equipment (this despite decoy details of a move to Victoria!). In the lull when no action was taken against them their security became lax, and it was only when on-air jock CJ Carlos glanced at the TV monitor at about 4.45pm that he realized the front door was being beaten down — so, quick as a flash, he pulled out the actual transmitter link (the one prosecutable bit of equipment) and, Plan A, chucked it out of the window into the neighbour’s garden. This is where farce takes over, as the neighbour picked it up and was bringing it back round to the front door when luckily he was waylaid by Gary Kent, arriving just after the Department’s men and the police has forced an entry, who smuggled it into the private ground floor flat’s front room and immediately scattered all the component parts! However nobody in charge of the bust seemed too sure of procedure, and confiscated absolutely everything out of the studio, brand new cart machines, Technics desks, the lot, leaving just the clock on the wall and a chair — this despite Horizon’s then owner Chris Stewart suddenly remembering Plan B, that the building belonged to an African diplomat and had diplomatic immunity. CJ Carlos actually languished in the police cells for two hours, but eventually got away with all his records bar those that he’d played on air. Anyway, Chris Stewart has washed his hands of Horizon, it’s now back as Solar with new studios being built, and who knows what the future of London’s airwaves will hold? Don’t forget though that any legal soul station, should such ever materialize, will obviously be bound by the same restrictive “needletime” agreement with the Musicians Union which prevents both the BBC and ILR from playing wall-to-wall records around the clock — so make the most of the pirates while you’ve got them.
Heavyweight dudes George Lee and Steve Walsh seem to agree that “George Lee’s NOT a Nancy” . . . as pronunciation of his label credit might lead one to think, it reading “GEORGE LEE’S ANANSI”! Finally biked to me by Rowdy Yeats, saxophonist George’s ‘Sea Shells’ (Ebusia EB 001) is indeed a brassily shuffling and pausing 0-120-0-120-123(piano)-124-0bpm afro-jazz instrumental, flipped by the moodily atmospheric slow ‘Song Of Peace‘, both quality jazz.
CHAMPAIGN: ‘Off And On Love’ (CBS TA 4768)
CBS without any disco feedback have made the disastrous mistake of putting the dreadful stark 108bpm Dance Remix on the A-side, relegating the sizzling hot superb scat-climaxed jauntily catchy 110bpm soul swayer hit side to the B-side, which it now shares with the undanceable short cod-creole ‘Laissez Le Bontemps Roulez’ Buyers, beware!
ANGELA BOFILL: ‘Can’t Slow Down’ (US Arista AD 1-9277)
Prod-penned by The System, wailing Angie’s back in business with a ‘Plane Love/Medicine Song’-style starkly rumbling 111bpm judderer full of bonging bells, slippery scratches and much pent-up excitement (sparser electro inst flip).
TEENA MARIE: ‘Lovergirl’ (US Epic 49-05100)
Self-prod/penned as usual, the 12in version of her rhythmically Rick James-ish 123bpm frisky bounder has an intensely keened catchy “I just want to be your lovergirl” hook line which with some subdued rock guitar (inst flip) must help widen her appeal Stateside without any of her LP’s less satisfying compromises. Continue reading “October 20, 1984: Champaign, Angela Bofill, Teena Marie, Force MD’s, Laura Pallas”