April 18, 1987: Jim Bennett & His Bumpin Crew, Carey Johnson, True Mathematics, Benetta & Kevin, Wired

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

POLYDOR are starting a new dance label called Urban as a replacement for, and expansion of, Boiling Point — first release at the end of April will be Maceo & The Macks, followed by Cindy Valentine, Jackson Sisters ‘I Believe In Miracles’, Manu Dibango ‘Makossa 87‘ … Circa Records have circulated key shops with pre-release copies of the instantly strong-selling Hindsight ‘Heaven’s Just A Breath Away (The Bliss Mix)‘, a gentle jiggly 105½bpm tugging swayer due commercially in a different format on April 27, without the pre’s 104⅚bpm Paradise Lost dub mix flip … London are promoting their ‘The House Sound Of Chicago Volume 2’ double LP with a strictly promo-only 33⅓rpm four-track 12 inch containing two 126bpm mixes of last summer’s Adonis ‘No Way Back’, the 0-120bpm Hercules ‘7 Ways’ (here retitled ‘7 Ways To Jack’), and the slowed down 114⅔bpm Mr Fingers ‘Can You Feel It’ … Ben Liebrand’s more meatily altered 107bpm Extended Groove Mix of Hot Chocolate ‘Every l’s A Winner’ (EMI 12EMIX 5607) seems to be the better seller with DJs now it’s on 12 inch, and includes its own new powerfully lurching Bonus Beats … Shep Pettibone’s 113bpm remix of ‘Lessons In Love’ is, as warned, now on the B-side of the typical wordily jittering 114¾bpm Level 42 ‘To Be With You Again‘ (Polydor POSPX 855), maybe slightly more relevant to soul clubs than their last one, although I still don’t see why soul DJs continue to chart stuff like this yet ignore Dire Straits … Les Adams has given Jaki Graham a 0-79¼-83⅐-73¼bpm Megamix (EMI 12JAKI X10) that’s probably too late to salvage ‘Still In Love’, sandwiching it briefly between the Derek Bramble-duetted more soulful ‘Let’s Get Blue’, and ‘Love Under Moonlight’ … Dancin’ Danny D might have blown it this time by making his upcoming Patrice Rushen remix clodhoppingly Hi-NRG, while his Chinese-flavoured lurching 116¼-0bpm Radical Remix of the Taurus Boyz ‘Looking For A Lover’ (Cooltempo COOLS 141) is, unusually, a 33⅓rpm seven inch — too unusually, as DJs are reluctant to buy it so far … Epic look like creatively marketing Luther Vandross with Les Adams’ megamix from the Disco Mix Club … Patrice Rushen’s ‘Watch Out!’ LP is now out here (Arista 207 831), and Jody Watley’s US hit ‘Looking For A New Love‘ is finally due too, months after finished UK copes were originally circulated … Robert Brookins’ excellent value three-track UK 12 inch turns out to be only a promotional sampler, from which just ‘If I Only Knew‘ is scheduled as a future commercial A-side — MCA do it again! … Serious Records are starting another label called Needle Records, to carry a new ‘Dance Mania‘ compilation LP series, as a supplement to the ‘Upfront’ series, plus they’re releasing a beefed-up US revamp of ‘Rock The House (Medley)’, which in their version will no longer be credited to Mr K Mix by Special K … Morgan Khan actually had to buy a copy of his own original StreetSounds label’s limited-release ‘Jazz Juice 4′ LP for reference purposes, in readiness for its reappearance on his new label of the same name, all copies held in stock by the original label now of course being tied up by the bankruptcy proceedings of its parent company, Brazendown Ltd — hopefully this doesn’t mean the new pressing will be dubbed from disc? … Elite, with the release of Keni Stevens’ LP, is metamorphosing with a label name change into Jam Today … Phyllis Hyman, during a sequence of songs from her starring role in ‘Sophisticated Ladies’, at her London concerts suddenly went into a whistling solo, soon followed by a harmonica solo — only this latter turned out to be actually by one of her sound men, harping away at the control console in the middle of the auditorium while she was miming at the mike! … Epping Forest Country Club had its disco burnt out by an electrical fire, only the function suite being left operational at the moment … Roy Ayers’ second show will be broadcast live from Prestatyn on Radio 1 as part of Robbie Vincent’s extended programme this Sunday, the other live act at the soul weekender being the good-time R&B Boogie Brothers Band during Saturday lunchtime, while PAs will include Mason, Chuck Stanley, Tashan, Oran ‘Juice’ Jones, Cheryl Glasgow, David Grant — the largest ever DJ team promises plenty of new music will be played, with a minimum of shaving foam, while instead of the usual radio service this time there will be live on-site studio shows, videos and movies relayed to every chalet’s colour TV set by LWT (this one being Live Wire Television!) … I see that even some of the DJs appearing there think that Prestatyn is in South Wales, so it was just as well we did print my directions last week for finding it (in North Wales!) … Lillo Thomas and Phyllis Hyman were the latest stars to be spotted grooving at Gullivers, which finally moves from Mayfair in July to even more central London premises, where Graham Gold will still DJ at the weekends — plus he’ll be doing PR for the club by day, and is looking for other possible users of his many contacts (on 0923-42983, office hours), should any plugging-type people be interested … Tilly Rutherford, working now on acts like Hazell Dean out of Pete Waterman’s studio, is setting up a DJ mailing list to be run by ‘Aitch’, at PWL Empire, 4/7 The Vineyard, Sanctuary Street, London SE1 1QL … Paul Quinton is starting a mailing list for Hi-NRG/house-type DJs at Big Top Music, 66 Mollison Road, Meir, Stoke-On-Trent ST3 7AG … Jeff Thomas, the soul man at Swansea’s Martha’s Vineyard even on Mondays, has started a Wednesday Hi-NRG night and is after the right sort of guest DJs (good looking mixers) and PAs for it on 0792-702034 … Chris ‘Connie’ Crooks now Hi-NRGises Derby’s gay Rising Sun Fri/Sat/Sun/Wed, and Dimensions at Derby’s Fifth Dimension the third Monday of every month (I presume Bank Holiday makes no difference?) … Ian Levine’s various artists Hi-NRG compilation LP ‘That Nightmare Sound Volume 1‘ (Nightmare MARELP 1) confusingly shares not only some artists but also almost exactly the same sleeve design as ZYX Records’ US-issued ‘The Best Of Eurobeat Volume 1‘ … Sharon Redd’s kid sister Pennye Ford has replaced Mary Davis as lead singer in the SOS Band … Club Nouveau topped Billboard’s US 12 Inch Sales … Maze broke ZZ Top’s T-shirt sales record at Wembley Arena … Brighton’s Rhino reopens this Friday (17) in the seafront’s West Beach Hotel, def beats being spun by Steve Clancy, Warrick McGinty and rm’s own ace design editor Graham ‘Beastie’ Black (the Rhino Bro’ himself!) … Easter Day (19) Bolts returns to Boscombe’s Academy for a one-off special with Adrian Dunbar, while down the road on Bank Holiday Monday (20) at Bournemouth’s CoCo’s noon alldayer, Chris Dinnis heads the jazz ‘n’ soul DJ line-up … Monday lunchtime also finds Rick Robinson with a jazz and R&B session at Chertsey Bridge Cricketers — where Chris Brown does Sunday lunchtimes (when not at Prestatyn) now that Ascot’s Belvedere Arms has lost its music licence … Sly & Robbie are at Nottingham Rock City’s Easter Day alldayer, Birmingham Millionaires on Easter Monday, Newcastle-upon-Tyne Walkers Wed (22), Leeds Warehouse Thur (23), Manchester Hacienda (24), Brixton Fridge Sat (25) … LWR’s Gary Smith and Angela have named their baby James, and even considered asking my permission … LAH DE DAH DE!


PHYLLIS HYMAN had the dubious pleasure of my company at dinner, during which the stunning six-foot soulstress proved a messy and enthusiastic eater who really likes upmarket UK cooking — she actually took up smoking last month just to lose weight, which seems a bit drastic! When the subject of her historic unrobing in ‘Oui’ magazine was raised, she ripped open her cleavage and declared, “I have great boobs, I’m not ashamed of what I did! They only showed my top half, and backside, and ran nine pages of photographs together with nine pages of interview, something which they never normally do.” (Mel & Kim, eat your hearts out!) These enjoyable aspects of the meal apart, she also revealed that she’ll be singing in Spike Lee’s next movie ‘School Days’, she was meant to have recorded (and still wants to do) ‘Passion And Pain’ with producer Nick Martinelli, she confessed to her original mentor Norman Connors that she thinks he’s a terrible drummer (but a better producer), she wants to record in different foreign languages, and do a one woman show like her friend Dee Dee Bridgewater (who took over her role in the Duke Ellington musical ‘Sophisticated Ladies’). Quite a lady.


C.J. CARLOS – London’s original “CJ” – is back in the West End, on Tuesdays at Hombres and Thursdays at Le Beat Route, but he still rocks the house Saturdays at Norwood’s Limelight, and Fri/Sundays at his legendary venue, Dalston’s Oasis.


Is this man the UK’s answer to Freddie Jackson? Taking the brave step of creating a soul album on which everything is delicately sinuous, with nothing raising a sweat, the somewhat Phil Fearon-ish toned KENI STEVENS ‘Blue Moods’ (Jam Today KENI LP1, via PRT) has the (0-)94bpm title track, 66bpm ‘Spend The Night’, 108⅕bpm ‘Night Moves’, 100bpm ‘Too Much Too Soon’, 91⅙bpm ‘Passionate’, 38⅝/77¼bpm ‘Shine’, 87bpm ‘Cannot Live Without Your Love’. Move over Alexander, tell Chuck Stanley the news!


HOT VINYL

JIM BENNETT & HIS BUMPIN CREW ‘Bump & Roll (Give Up The Funk)’ (Bluebird BRT 36)
Apparently due for rush release in competition with Go Go Lorenzo & The Davis/Pinckney Project’s disappointing follow-up, this similarly styled though far superior 102⅚bpm go go bubbler is really infectious and quietly commercial in the same well arranged mellow way as ‘You Can Dance (If You Want To)’, with simple catchy synth, nice piano, swaying jiggly beats, and rhythmically rambling Chuck Brown-style exhortations (inst flip).

CAREY JOHNSON ‘Real Fashion (Reggae Style)’ (10 Records TENT 170)
From Charlie Gillet’s Oval imprint, this fabulous happy calypso style (0-)95bpm dated reggae chugger can’t help but make all who hear it feel good, and is already hot on London’s radio (dub flip), a possible smash.

TRUE MATHEMATICS and the Invisible Empire ‘After Dark’ (Champion CHAMP 12-44)
Rapping Mr Mathematics (but to you, True) casually chats about the night people on a hauntingly weaving 95-94⅔bpm swayer with a tugging beat that surges through scratched-in go go percussion and bursts of siren-like synth — on its less gimmicky way almost another ‘Amityville’ – flipped by the more urgently jolting 96⅓bpm ‘Greeks In The House‘ (dubs too). Fresh! Continue reading “April 18, 1987: Jim Bennett & His Bumpin Crew, Carey Johnson, True Mathematics, Benetta & Kevin, Wired”

April 11, 1987: Junior Gee & The ‘A’ Team, Sybil, Prince, Swing Out Sister, Jason

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

MORGAN KHAN has retained the label name StreetSounds (its parent company Brazendown Ltd being what filed for bankruptcy), and with new backing and a distribution deal via PRT intends to continue the label’s previous activities as of the end of this month, re-launching ‘Jazz Juice 4‘, ‘Hip Hop 16‘, another in the ‘Anthems’ series, and a new limited edition ‘StreetSounds Preview‘ series containing unreleased US masters, the new sister label equivalent of Streetwave being called (as hinted last week) Westside, although no releases are scheduled for that yet — his entire operation will be scaled down and starting as if from scratch, out of new smaller Ealing premises (which include a studio though), and so as not to dissipate his money and talent he has had to cancel the live rap festival UK Fresh ’87 after all … Germany’s BCM label has released a house Maxi-CD, ‘House Sound Of Chicago (CD Jack Attack)‘ (German DJ International Records D.J. 50-1007-44), containing Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley ‘Jack Your Body (Monty Remix)’, Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk & Jesse Saunders featuring Darryl Pandy ‘Love Can’t Turn Around (Farley Remix 2)’, Raze ‘Jack The Groove’, and the Mic Mac Meyers-mixed ‘The House Sound Of Chicago Megamix (Latin Mix)’ … LPs now out here include, from the same German source and here confusingly re-titled, the Trax Records double album compilation ‘The House Sound Of Chicago Volume 2 (Chicago Trax)‘ (London LON DP 32), plus the recently reviewed Lillo Thomas ‘Lillo’ (Capitol TC-EST 2031), Full Circle’s re-named First Circle ‘Boys’ Night Out’ (EMI America TC-AML 3118), Juicy ‘Spread The Love’ (Epic 450480 1) … Champion won’t now be releasing Kinkina ‘Jungle Fever’ until next month, although enough white labels have escaped to the right people to chart it, the Chakachas-originated (theirs is still available on Old Gold) throbbing panter being in a Phil Harding & Pete Waterman-remixed new 100bpm Megamix, a DJ StreetsAhead-scratched fresh 100bpm Skratch Fever version, plus the 99⅔bpm Original from around four years ago … Mel & Kim ‘Respectable’ has been out for nearly a fortnight in yet another Phil Harding-remixed 122½-122-122½bpm Shop Mix (Supreme Records SUPETZ 111), beat switching and frantic without improving on the main hit version, which this remix more closely resembles … Lola’s complete US 12 inch mixes are at last out here (Syncopate 12SYX 1), always better to my mind than the UK concoctions … Shep Pettibone’s currently imported 113bpm remix of ‘Lessons In Love’ will be on the B-side of Level 42’s UK follow-up next week … Norman Harris, guitarist/arranger/producer and one of the main creators of the mid-Seventies Philly Sound (he was a member of MFSB), died of heart failure in Philadelphia on March 20 … Radio London, wanting to contribute more to London’s oldies-swamped night-life than yet more repetition of ‘I Found Lovin’’ at their Soul Night Out, start a Nite FM Club Night at Kentish Town’s Town & Country Club this Saturday (11), with Dave Pearce, Pete Tong, Nicky Holloway, Gilles Peterson, Roger Johnson, Julian Palmer and Gary Crowley spinning crucial upfront rather than rare grooves – on a more sombre note, their Soul Night Out last Thursday at Leicester Square’s Empire Ballroom had a stabbing fatality … North Sea-based Laser will be back by the end of the month on 576AM, with a daytime black station WEZE starting in June on both AM and 10 kilowatt stereo FM, which should reach East London, Kent, and through East Anglia in stereo with the AM (Medium Wave) signal obviously getting far further … Yomi presents a one hour non-stop mix party Saturdays at 11pm on LWR … Graeme Park, the def dude, has one of his funky Glint nights at Derby’s Blue Note this very Thursday (9) … Romford’s glittery Hollywood nightclub opens Friday (10), with resident jocks Gary Sutton, John Tingley and Cosmic … Simon Dunmore spins real soul (fairly rare) at Hayes’ Keats winebar Sundays and at Uxbridge’s Abrook Arms fortnightly Fridays (this week) … Jody Watley (still not out here) replaced Company B ‘Fascinated’ atop Billboard’s US Club Play chart, last week’s highest new entry being Kissing The Pink’s house tempoed ‘Certain Things Are Likely‘, which should have done more here … Larry Blackmon didn’t only produce Bobby Brown’s ‘Girl Next Door’, he’s also directed its video … The Soul Club ‘I Want Your Guy‘ sounds like Jocelyn Brown ‘Somebody Else’s Guy’ with reason: now it’s no longer just on white label, I see it too was prod/penned by Allen George & Fred McFarlane (while in the US, on MCA, it’s already been remixed by Timmy Regisford) … Champion picked up True Mathematics, and – rather than their pop label, Polo – the blatantly Hi-NRG Paul Lekakis … TV-am’s daily play behind Mad Lizzy’s workouts would appear to have helped Judy Boucher’s chart climb, which proves it’s an MoR hit … Rough Trade will be reissuing next month CeIlulOid’s old catalogue, including the Fab 5 Freddy source of that much-scratched “fresh” … Kool & The Gang appear to be the Hot Chocolate of the Eighties (think about it!) … LAH DE DAH DE!


HOT VINYL

JUNIOR GEE & THE ‘A’ TEAM ‘The Terminator (Remix)’ (Fourth & Broadway 12BRWX 63)
Damon Rochefort’s reproduction of ‘The Terminator’ movie soundtrack is cut right down (minus all the amusing bits) in this UK rap’s rather brittle 96⅓bpm remix, with a spikily jittering new rhythm track and increased attention paid to Sharon Dee Clark’s ‘Mind Blowing Decisions’ hookline, plus some scratching by Chris Mackintosh, but for me its main appeal is now missing — even if it is allegedly better for dancefloors like this.

SYBIL ‘Let Yourself Go’ (Champion CHAMP 12-42)
Due here whenever Champion decide to switch from white label to full commercial availability, something they often delay for weeks if not months, this massive import smash is a haunting smoothly skittering and skipping soulfully warbled easily flowing flier in 121-120½-121¼-120½-120¼bpm Club and much more even 120¼bpm alternative Paradise Mixes, joined here by an 112½bpm remix of her older ‘Falling In Love’ hit.

PRINCE ‘Sign ‘O’ The Times’ LP (Paisley Park WX 88)
Still idiosyncratic though far more accessible than of late, this double LP’s dance tracks are the Paris-recorded live joyously bounding 114¾-114⅔-113-112-114-113⅔-113-113⅓bpm ‘It’s Gonna Be A Beautiful Night’ stomper, jauntily jumping 115¾-0bpm ‘Housequake‘ (actually led by someone called Camille with James Brown brass and paartaying background), lovely lazily swaying 63½-62½bpm ‘Slow Love‘, slinky chanting funk 109-108½bpm ‘Hot Thing‘, bouncily thudding 95½bpm ‘Strange Relationship‘, hoarsely strained tapping 120-0bpm ‘It‘, wailing vintage sweet soul-style 32-32¼/64½-0bpm ‘Adore‘, shuffling gently jogging Isleys-ish 102½bpm ‘The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker‘ (with wowing tones), fast striding rock (0-)122¼bpm ‘U Got The Look‘, and typically frantic (0-)197½-98¾-0bpm ‘Play In The Sunshine‘. Continue reading “April 11, 1987: Junior Gee & The ‘A’ Team, Sybil, Prince, Swing Out Sister, Jason”

April 4, 1987: Cameo, Fleetwood Mac, Jim Bennett & His Bumpin Crew, Lillo Thomas, The Whispers

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

WESTSIDE STORY: Ealing entrepreneur Morgan Khan’s new label signs a distribution deal this week, so no details have been made public yet, although I understand its finance is largely from Indian and US sources … Pete Tong was indeed creating a scam, last week’s moody white label 128½bpm house instrumental credited as ‘The Bootleg — The Rare Grooves’ turning out to be commercially the B-side (actually subtitled ‘The Rare Groove Bootleg‘) from Arthur Baker’s 128¼bpm Club Senseless remix of – ulp! we’ve been had! – Fine Young Cannibals ‘Ever Fallen In Love’ (London LONXR 121) … Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis’s new (0-)114¼-114½bpm Manic Mix of Herb Alpert ‘Keep Your Eye On Me’ has indeed got chugging gospel organ, scratched-in girls going “funky” and just the Tijuana trumpet breaks, flipped on promo by an intro-less 114bpm instrumental of the hit version with, if anything, extra trumpet … Marshall Jefferson ‘House Music Anthem’ still has too many legal problems for RCA to release it here after all, despite pressing up 1,500 white labels … Charly won’t have Anita Baker’s ‘Angel’ here either, as they never clinched a deal – shame … Rhythm King’s £5.99 double album, Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers ‘Live ’87’ (Flame Records MELT LP3) includes as the stronger sides three and four, the previously imported jazzy ‘Go Go Swing‘ and ‘Here We Go Again‘ 12 inch medleys — and if you think I’m about to BPM a live go go double LP, I’m afraid you’ve another think coming! … Funkin’ Marvellous Records and Steinar share as main man George Hargreaves, who’s thus been able to promo back-to-back from both labels a teasingly introed 118⅔bpm Mark Berry remix of Lee Prentiss ‘U Me’ and a 0-112⅔-0bpm M&M remix of Mezzoforte’s chunkily jittering vocal ‘No Limit’ … Haywoode’s revival of ‘I’m Your Puppet’ was produced in Philadelphia by Nick Martinelli, a detail that might have helped had it been mentioned on the white labelled promos … Debut picked up Bobby McClure … Champion’s overdue reissue of Kinkina ‘Jungle Fever‘ will include a new scratch version by DJ StreetsAhead … Portsmouth label Domino Records’ next reissue will be the Michael Zager Band ‘Let’s All Chant’ … ‘Paul Revere’ for some reason has now replaced ‘No Sleep Till Brooklyn’ on the Beastie Boys’ 12 inch … UK 12 inch pressings may soon have to contain only a maximum 20 minutes of music, and twin-packed singles seem certain to be a thing of the past … MCA Records in the US have issued seven of their current black hits on cassette maxi-single, a test-marketed ploy being tried by other labels there too, fine for Walkman wearers but less so for DJs should this trend ever replace vinyl (or CD) … Fourth & Broadway label manager Ian Dewhirst sensibly suggests that, as well as standardised rules being applied to future Technics DJ Mixing Championships to prevent any ugly misunderstandings, the competition might also benefit from being split into two separate categories, for gimmicky showmanship and for scratch-type technique … Manchester mixer Rob Manley is now packing ‘em in and breaking new music at Wakefield’s Roof Top Gardens/Cassanovas, which has encouraged him to compile a mailing list of the North’s top club jocks in an effort to service them with new product and help break it further throughout that area — send full work details to him at 42 Emery Avenue, Chorlton-Cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 2LF, provided you work either side of the Pennines and play more than the hits … Peter King (0675-63554) is updating the Midlands’ mailing list for SuperJocks, and after mid-week PAs for his own venue, Madisons … Nicky Holloway’s Rockley Sands soul weekender attracted a proper soul club crowd, with no shaving foam but a good atmosphere, and will be repeated on October 16-18 … Sunday (5) Birmingham Powerhouse’s 3pm alldayer has a DJ throwdown including UK finalists Scooby Swift and kitchen sink-toting Johnny Jay … Chuck Stanley, Tashan and Oran ‘Juice’ Jones, with busy duettist Alyson Williams in support, comprise a Def Jam US Soul Attack tour over Easter, hitting Manchester International Club (18), Nottingham Rock City (19), London Camden Palace (20/21) … Rick Robinson’s jazz plus lager at 60p a pint are packing Saturday lunchtimes at Chertsey Bridge’s Cricketers … Bournemouth Clouds’ Monday ‘Soul Train’ has new school Alan Matthews and old school Paul Anthony varying the vintages on the two back-to-back floors … Pete Haigh, souling Blackpool’s The Club on Fridays, above Talbot Square’s Rumours, is desperate for the seven inch Silk ‘I Can’t Stop‘ and will swop Randy Brown ‘Always In The Mood‘ on 0253-824156 … Shirley Murdock’s new US 12 inch of her crawling ‘Go On Without You‘ slowie is flipped by the just UK-issued ‘As We Lay (Horizontal Mix)‘ in a much louder pressing … Rob Moir says thanks and goodbye to all at his Chester and North Wales venues as he jets off to Spain for the summer season … James Lewis (Swansea Whispers Thursday) is probably not alone spotting similarities in the rhythm between Tullio De Piscopo and the early Seventies Italian hit, Adriano Celentano ‘The Language Of Love‘ … Peter Sievewright (Perth Yorky’s) wonders whether Jimmy Ruffin ‘What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted’ will make it onto a 501’s commercial … Lola’s ‘Wax The Van’ title in black American slang apparently means “going in by the back door”, if you get my drift … shoot me through the grease, LAH DE DAH DE!


SIMON GOFFE (left) this Thursday (2) starts a new Across The Tracks night at Camden Lock’s Dingwalls in London, featuring all sorts of black music with the help of regular guests, beginning this week with rare groover Norman Jay (right), then funkster Nicky Holloway (centre left) and jazzer Gilles Peterson. Of course another name for the night could have been Canal Street Blues…


GRAEME PARK built Nottingham’s The Garage into a legend but has now moved with his upfront funk to that city’s newer The Barracuda, in Hurt’s Yard, every Tues/Saturday, leaving him more time to gig on other nights around the country. The dude is def.


Last week I mentioned how during some friendly banter with her, I gradually realised that it was none other than DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER (above, with yours truly) who was standing beside me at Maze’s Hippodrome party (not difficult to deduce, as there aren’t many Paris-based Americans currently appearing in the West End!) She’s playing Billie Holiday in the one-woman show ‘Lady Day’, which from April 10 is transferring from the Donmar Warehouse to the legit Piccadilly Theatre for a two month run. Also, just out here is her jazz trio-backed ‘Live In Paris’ LP (Affinity AFF172), not for dancing but great listening. Be like her number one fan, Steve Davis, and catch her if you can!


Established as a soul DJ around Camberley for the last ten years, Phonogram’s new disco plugger (and Buddy Holly lookalike) now really does have to spell his name as JOHNNY WALKER, to prevent confusion between his proper spelling and Radio One’s prodigal son Johnnie Walker!


HOT VINYL

CAMEO ‘Back And Forth’ (Club JABX 49)
Drastically remixed and opened out, their album’s hottest track now has a disjointedly jacking stereo title line vocal intro before the smacking 111⅔pm beat starts strutting jauntily through different phases to reach at last the catchily repeating roundelay lyrics, although the whole thing ends up overall with more instrumental than singing, gunshots and gurgling electronic voices punctuating the freakier dub (dustbins rattled and organ chorded itchy staccato 112¾bpm ‘You Can Have The World‘, too). Uniquely Cameo.

FLEETWOOD MAC ‘Big Love’ (Warner Bros W8398T)
I know it seems extraordinarily improbable, but this is house! Surging through 0-125¾-125½-125¾-125½bpm ‘Set If Off’ cymbal, pounding piano, jack track stutters and a typical episodic Chicago structure, its only prevented from being totally authentic by just a tiny bit of vocal early on. Honest! The irony is it’ll probably be the first crossover house hit in the States.

JIM BENNETT & HIS BUMPIN CREW ‘Bump & Roll (Give Up The Funk)’ (US Studio Records STU-1411)
Deserving to take over where Lorenzo Queen left off as easily the best and most commercial go go since ‘You Can Dance (If You Want To)’, this similarly well arranged infectiously weaving 103⅙bpm bumpy bubbler has a deadly simple synth riff and some nice neat piano fills behind Jim’s rhythm-riding exhortations (inst flip). Continue reading “April 4, 1987: Cameo, Fleetwood Mac, Jim Bennett & His Bumpin Crew, Lillo Thomas, The Whispers”

March 28, 1987: Mandy Smith, Cindy Valentine, Luther Vandross, Living In A Box, Patrice Rushen

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

HERB ALPERT has had most of his horn replaced by an organ sound on a new Manic Mix of his hit, likely to be marketed here in conjunction with (rather than replacing) the original … Pete Tong is circulating a rather fast 128½bpm house instrumental with a Creative Source-ish bassline and other vaguely familiar ingredients, credited on moody white label as The Bootleg ‘The Rare Grooves‘ (or should that be the other way around?), which although pressed independently at Lyntone must surely be some cunning scam to help boost an upcoming commercial release — isn’t it? … RCA, rather long after it was a “jazz” club hit, next week 12 inch Elvis Presley’s 106⅔/213⅓-212⅔bpm ‘Bossa Nova Baby‘ from 1963 (RCA ARON T1), while for variety — although interestingly the exact same BPM — the original from a year earlier is also out, by Tippie & The Clovers (you may recall my mentioning it) on the excellent double album ‘The Red Bird Story‘ (Charly CDX 15) … Fourth & Broadway for the DJ Convention specially pressed a Sly & Robbie promo 12 inch seguing the 103⅓bpm ‘Fire’ and ‘Boops’ with an 104-103⅔-0bpm Chris Mackintosh scratch mix of them as flip … Virgin, unable to shift commercial offerings by their group Well Red, have circulated a white label as by Double-U-R containing what amount to break beats mixed by Spikey, the 112½bpm 8.08 Mix and 112bpm Bass Drum Head Mix of something called ‘Honey‘ … Debut already have Eleanore Mills here, Champion have Sybil … Lola’s US mixes will be out here too, soon … US LPs now on UK release include Millie Scott (Fourth & Broadway BRLP 511), Herb Alpert (A&M AMA 5125), The System (Atlantic 7816911) … UK Fresh would appear still to be on, at the NEC on August 12, according to Morgan Khan — who’s filling me in on his new label plans too, this week! … Disco Mix Club’s DJ convention, as many observed, was less well attended than usual by record industry people, maybe because they opted for just the Monday’s more “glittering” Albert Hall bash instead of eating into their weekend time off on Sunday? … Technics world mixing finalists will be weeded down in preliminary heats the previous afternoon so that next year just the best eight will be in the main final showdown … Randy Muller, no longer put off by terrorist bombs, has been back in London remixing Full Circle, and was at the incongruous Hippodrome setting for Maze’s après-gig party —where I found myself chatting to someone who turned out to be Dee Dee Bridgewater, currently playing Billie Holiday on the West End stage in ‘Lady Day’ (she knew that her number one fan Steve Davis had been to see it, but he was too shy to go backstage and she’s really upset as she longed to meet him and get some snooker tips!) … Dave Pearce sits in for six weeks on Susie Barnes’ weekday 2.30-4.30pm Radio London soul show from next Monday, with Damon Rochefort supplying scandal and gossip on Fridays at 3.30 … Dave Gregory’s soul shows on Essex Radio have now expanded to Fridays 9pm-2am and Saturdays 6-10pm, the station’s Soul Night Special heading for the first time to Clacton Pier’s Oscars this Friday (27) … Friday also sees the opening of Manchester’s upmarket Applejacks, funked two nights weekly by Franklin Sinclair, and at Hemel Hempstead’s Heath Park a soul room with Joe Field, Graham Gold, Dave Ealand and jazz with Chris Bangs, Bob Cosby … Saturday (28) Pete Tong, Nicky Holloway and Gilles Peterson funk ‘n’ jazz The Slammer at Gravesend’s Red Lion, while Martin Collins, Graham Gold, Bob Jones and more warm up for Caister at Cambridge Corn Exchange … Chris Kaye (0732-356061) is running a fashion show-cum-disco called ‘It’s The New Style’ on May 22 at Tonbridge’s Angel Centre, and wants offers of anything relevant like PAs, demonstrations … Pillar Promotions are not interested only in rock and rap DJs, all types can apply for their mailing list on 01-735 8171 (ext 118) … “Bam Boo”, in the continued absence of more complete label details, is being credited by some to Bam Boo also as artiste while we join the majority in listing it as being by its writers/producers Lenny D. & Tommy Musto, on the Northcott Prod. Ltd. Label, which from the evidence that does exist seems reasonable … Jimmy Jam’s partner Terry Lewis introduced Pete Waterman to Janet Jackson as “the world’s best producer”, the guys having a mutual admiration society … Curtis Hairston’s previously reported US single of ‘(You’re My) Shining Star‘ is an extended 87bpm remix of the lazily sinuous title-repeated smoochy soul soarer … Cheryl Lynn, if you didn’t know, was evidently first discovered when competing on US TV’s ‘Gong Show’, the amateur talent series briefly shown here a while back! … Charly had better hurry up with Anita Baker’s ‘Angel‘, as the Style Council have already covered it! … LAH DE DAH DE!


Hot producing/writing team (from right to left) MIKE STOCK, MATT AITKEN and PETE WATERMAN have been up to their remix tricks again! They’ve now, typically, put out MEL & KIM ‘Respectable’ in a much harder totally revamped semi-instrumental frantic scratched and freakily jack track-ed 0-122bpm Tabloid Mix (Supreme Records SUPETX 111), on for a full third of the record before anything recognisable from the hit version appears, while they’ve really excelled themselves by just about totally ignoring Bill Wyman’s little friend in turning MANDY SMITH ‘I Just Can’t Wait‘ into an aptly subtitled terrific breezily cantering 114bpm instrumental Cool & Breezy Jazz Version (PWL Records PWLTX 1), with jazz guitar by Matt Aitken. Well hard and credible!


HOT VINYL

CINDY VALENTINE ‘In Your Midnight Hour’ (US Polydor 885-657-1)
The sleeve shot just doesn’t do justice to lovely Cindy (already seen with Mike Sefton in rm, 15/11/86), who whispers then plaintively chants over a jittery percussive 102⅓bpm chugging rhythm that seems self-consciously similar to the same label’s Gwen Guthrie approach. Beware the abrupt vocal fade, although the dub ends (edit too, and more Madonna-ish 116¾bpm ‘Work It Out‘). Continue reading “March 28, 1987: Mandy Smith, Cindy Valentine, Luther Vandross, Living In A Box, Patrice Rushen”

March 21, 1987: Technics DJ Mixing Championships, Eleanore Mills, Sly & Robbie, Millie Scott, Sybil, Dynasty

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

CHAD JACKSON’s win in the world final of the Technics DJ Mixing Championships, seen to be deserved by anyone paying attention (like us judges!), has created such an incredible controversy that all my ‘phone calls seem to be from people believing the lies spread by those who stood to benefit had someone else won … I, as a judge, initially rated Denmark’s Ken Larsen (who came third) as the likely winner thanks to the way he mixed dazzlingly without headphones, followed by the USA’s subtly double-beating Joe Rodriguez (who was second) and France’s vigorously scratching Dee Nasty (unplaced) – however, on last, Chad (who in fact I’ve never marked as a winner before) blew them away by using every current mixing technique without fault, topping the Dane by draping a Union Jack over the console’s controls while he mixed without using either headphones or faders! … Chad won on merit, there was no fixeroo, and he also took his place in the championship fairly, as last year’s runner-up to defend the title in the absence of 1986 champ DJ Cheese (who, contrary to rumour, was indeed invited, twice) … Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis had a hero’s welcome from a crowd just as impressed by their credentials as by Janet Jackson and Alexander O’Neal (if not more so), the Royal Albert Hall being the prestigious venue that had attracted such stars to fly in specially on Concorde – apart from the silly ugliness surrounding Chad’s win, it was a night about which the disco industry should be proud … Paul Dakeyne demonstrated the art of mixing Compact Discs using Technics’ vari-speed SL-P1200 CD players at the previous day’s International DJ Convention, which thankfully had as a new entertaining focal point a rapping contest in place of the mixers … Manchester’s rapping Prince Cool won this, with help from The Terminator’s incredible human beat box, after battling through vicious slanging matches with the other rappers, all of whom had their beats provided by two guys wielding “rhythm sticks” — keyless synthesizers worn and played around the neck like a guitar … Avtar Singh, whose home studio was recently robbed, won a contest by “mixing” 16 different records’ title lines in just two minutes … Music Week columnist Barry Layzell won the Pop Mastermind competition with 19 correct answers (Cliff Richard being his specialist subject), our own Alan Jones tying for second with radio DJ Mike Read at 13 points … Rikki Patrick was the most impressive PA – I missed the closing dance party with all the visiting Chicago house stars … Steve Walsh sent his chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce to collect Alexander O’Neal, and took him (a CBS artiste) to A&M’s launch party for the Breakout label at Soho’s Le Beat Route, where MC Double Def Sef was delighted to greet him in the absence of Janet Jackson … Groove Records just over the road did a roaring trade in back catalogue (rather than newies), snapped up by out-of-towners … C.J. Carlos — the “real” C.J. — was celebrating his engagement to Claire Boots with a private party at late nite eaterie Rockys following the Albert Hall, and Loose Ends were amongst the many who headed there next … Herb Alpert’s amazing vertiginous tightrope video should turn a hit into a smash … Micron’s rap ‘n’ scratch of ‘EastEnders’ won’t be about any more, the Beeb caught up with it! … Shep Pettibone is currently mixing it up in London … Arista belatedly picked up Marshall Jefferson ‘House Music Anthem’, while Flame have King Sun-D Moet … Helena’s ‘Be Soft With Me Tonight‘ turns out to be a cover, released ahead of a version by Gloria Gaynor … Jonathan Woss, chat show host of Channel 4’s Friday night ‘The Last Wesort’, used to be a researcher for ‘6.20 Soul Train’!  … Les ‘Mixdoctor’ Adams presents a two hour mixing show Saturdays at 11pm on Solar 93FM … UK pressings of Grandmaster Flash turn out to be 101½bpm, while White Knight ‘White Knight Jacks’ should be 124¾bpm … Nicky Holloway’s Poole weekender at Rockley Sands in Dorset is this weekend (20-22), practically rammed with room for just a few more on 01-439 2628 – DJs are Jeff Young, Pete Tong, Jay Strongman, Gilles Peterson, Paul Oakenfold, Chris Brown, Johnny Walker, Chris Bangs, Bob Masters, plus there’s a presentation of the current West End comedy ‘Bouncers’ … Dave Withers promotes a Black Music Record Fair this Saturday (21) 10.30am-5pm at Manchester YMCA … Gloucester’s crippled DJ Metal Mickey scratches using his crutches, given the chance by clubs un-frightened of his handicap, and will be doing that this Saturday (21) at Queens Club when Perry Jay presents bouncy Maria Whittaker there … DJ Danny and Kevin Ashton head a charity 3.30-11.30pm soul alldayer also this Saturday at Redruth’s Penventon Hotel, to benefit a local hospital (not the one there where I was born, though!) … Steve Ogley and David Superfly jack the house Thursdays at Oulton Broad’s Chequers, playing funk/house, electro with free admission and half price drinks — sounds too good to be true! … Colin Hudd, Chris Hill and Eddie Gordon soul Gravesend’s Waterfront every Friday … Luther Vandross did backing vocals on Nick Kamen’s debut album (don’t forget, he also sings commercials) … Terence Trent D’Arby, considering he’s just 25, seems to know a surprising amount about the typical stage acts of soul singers in the Sixties, which he does his best to recreate! … Company B ‘Fascinated’ topped US 12 Inch Sales too now, in Billboard … Eurobeat chart returns have greatly increased, in case the look of the current chart suggests otherwise, so maybe Ian Levine really is a popular producer! … Scott & Raven aren’t massive but are number one in nearly every chart that lists them … LAH DE DAH DE!


JANET JACKSON was announced as winner of the best female singer award at the Albert Hall, but then the news was dropped that she hadn’t managed to make it to the ceremony and instead there would be a world exclusive preview of her new video. A big disappointment. However, as the video finished, crafty Tony Prince then announced that the video had arrived by ‘plane carried by a courier — and here was the courier, Janet Jackson!


HOT VINYL

ELEANORE MILLS ‘Mr Right’ (US VinylMania VMR 007)
Co-created by Larry Woo and Gordon Worthy, this friskily bubbling 117-116½-116 (break)-116½bpm bounder has honking sax and wriggly Latin rhythms behind Stephanie’s nagging sister, a New York fusion of current Miami and Chicago influences with lots of oomph of its own (116½-116-116½bpm instrumental Right Mix, 117bpm Bonus Beats, 0-116½bpm Radio Mix). It sounds about right, too!

SLY & ROBBIE ‘Boops (Here To Go)’ (Fourth & Broadway 12BRW 61)
Featuring such as Bill Laswell, Bootsy Collins, Herbie Hancock, Grandmixer DST, Shinehead, Half Pint and Rammellzee, the fascinating 0-102⅔bpm P’funky bassline weaver is just one edited part of the Jamaican rhythm team’s imminent marathon LP exploration of the Ohio Players’ old ‘Fire’, using rap, reggae, funk and more (103⅙bpm instrumental, and their old 0-92½bpm ‘Don’t Stop The Music’ too). That was fresh!

MILLIE SCOTT ‘Love Me Right’ LP (US 4th + B’way B’WAY 4004)
A strong set by the quietly elegant lady, with the Loose Ends-ish sultry David Ball-duetted 99⅚bpm ‘Let’s Talk It Over’, brassily jaunty 104⅙bpm title track, brightly romping 115bpm ‘One Stop Lover‘, Earl Klugh guitared classy slow 0-74-0bpm ‘Don’t Take Your Love’, breezily striding 115bpm ‘2 Hot 2 Handle‘, ponderously lurching 105bpm ‘Can’t Stand The Heat’, plus her 102bpm ‘Every Little Bit’, 109⅕bpm ‘Automatic’, 110bpm ‘Prisoner Of Love’ hits. Continue reading “March 21, 1987: Technics DJ Mixing Championships, Eleanore Mills, Sly & Robbie, Millie Scott, Sybil, Dynasty”

March 14, 1987: Grace Jones, Bam Boo, Herb Alpert, Jocelyn Brown, Salt-n-Pepa

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

DJs are already crawling out of the woodwork to claim they’ve been playing Tullio De Piscopo since 1984 — all very commendable, but it wasn’t them that made it a hit! … Janet Jackson, Alexander O’Neal, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk, Jaki Graham, Loose Ends, and Mel & Kim were all due as special guests collecting awards on Monday at the Royal Albert Hall — as by now you may already know, as an unprecedented 140 journalists (plus TV) were covering the event! … Sunday’s DJ Convention saw record companies adopting a more American approach to it as a promotional outlet, Virgin for instance handing out bags containing a special promo LP of current product and “Virgin Dance”-emblazoned short-sleeved shirts for all attendees, while at the Albert Hall on Monday every banner-hung box was booked by companies for use as a hospitality suite … Morgan Khan had guaranteed StreetSounds’ bank overdraft and its debt to RCA against the value of his Sunningdale private home, so it’s not only his car he looks like losing … Serious Records seem seriously to be filling the StreetSounds void, signing a two year deal with PRT … Simon Harris has picked up the Microphone Prince ‘Who’s The Captain?’ for his Music Of Life label, now via Pinnacle, and is starting a StreetSounds-style LP series called ‘Def Beats‘, the label’s 12 inch singles ail being at 33⅓rpm and shrink-wrapped like imports … Charly snapped up UK rights to the old Anita Baker ‘Songstress’ album at last, so maybe ‘Angel‘ will be a singles hit yet! … Steve Proctor has quit Liverpool’s The State to take over club A&R and promotion at Polydor in London, where he’s after gigs on 01-499 8686, his first vinyl protect being the overdue legal reissue of Maceo And The Macks ‘Cross The Track’, flipped by James Brown ‘Funky Drummer’! … Slough DJ Tony Hodges is now club promotions man at Creole — and their brand new Nine O Nine label, to be launched by Wired and C.T. Satin here — building a DJ mailing list on 01-965 9223 … Rhythm King’s next volume of ‘Rob Olson’s Chicago Jackbeat‘ will include Hercules ‘7 Ways’, On The House ‘Pleasure Control’, this week’s T.J., plus other newies by J.B. Traxx, Denise Motto, Rare Form, plus they’re releasing a UK-only live double LP of Chuck Brown at single LP price … Portrait picked up Donna Allen’s LP for the UK, plus Frankie Knuckles, first fruits of Julian Palmer finally finding his feet at CBS … Keni Stevens’ debut LP for Elite, promoed on cassette, bravely sets his slightly Phil Fearon-ish tones to amorphous gently tapping atmospheric backings, nothing fast, and could be the first British entry in the Alexander O’Neal, Freddie Jackson stakes … Phonogram here is hoping to equal its US crossover success by reissuing Jeff Lorber featuring Karyn White ‘Facts Of Love’ (Club JEFDJ 48) as a twin-pack containing the Five Star-ish trotting bubbler in Victor Flores’ 0-108⅙bpm Passion Mix, Larry Levan’s 0-106⅔bpm Actuality Mix and 106⅙bpm Reality Dub, Jeff Lorber & Taavi Moté’s (previously unheard, I think) 0- 106½bpm ‘Fact # 1’, as well as its 0-106½bpm LP Version (plus ‘Every Woman Needs It’ and ‘Sand Castles’); meanwhile, a new US Warner Bros 12 inch credited there to The Jeff Lorber Band featuring Karyn White couples ‘True Confessions (The Left Bank Mix)‘ with ‘Midnight Snack‘, all the above from the same ‘Private Passion’ LP … Breakout’s commercial 12 inch copies turn out to be in fully pictorial sleeves after all, only advance copies being in the house bag design shown last week … Les Adams’ megamix of Luther Vandross material (too fast to include ‘See Me’) is at last on the new Disco Mix Club March edition … ‘Animal House’ fraternity party stars of ‘Shout!’ fame, Otis Day & The Knights (in reality, “Otis” is actor DeWayne Jesse, brother of rock ‘n’ roller Young Jesse) are being produced by George Clinton for MCA Records again … Loose Ends ‘Slow Down’, as you may have noticed, topped the US Black Singles chart, while Mel & Kim ‘Showing Out’ topped 12 Inch Sales and Paul Parker ‘One Look‘ then Company B ‘Fascinated’ topped Club Play in Billboard … Jeff Thomas has started a petition to get a specialist soul show onto Swansea Sound radio, send your collected signatures to him at 32 Landeg Street, Plasmarl, Swansea SA6 8LA … Chippenham Goldiggers needs a female DJ for Thursdays, call Barrie Thyer on 0249-656444 … Ken ‘B’ Brudenell has already left his post at Mecca Agency International to resume DJing … ‘Jazz Juice 4‘ is now so scarce (apparently it was never fully released by StreetSounds) that it’s selling for over a tenner … I bought Cannon’s brand new EOS 650 autofocus SLR camera so soon after its launch that some of the photos in its instruction booklet were taken just 11 days earlier, and on collecting my 70-210mm zoom lens straight from the warehouse discovered it was only the third one to be sold here to date – how’s that for up-front? … LAH DE DAH DE!


Here’s proof that the brand new British single from LUTHER VANDROSS will be ‘See Me‘, in an exclusive UK Remix — a bit percussive and not an improvement to my mind, so maybe it won’t be inducement enough for all those who bought the original either on his LP or as the B-side of his last 12 inch to buy it again. Hopefully we won’t see another Alexander O’Neal situation, where the truly in-demand track had already saturated its market before finally becoming an A-side? Anyway, on seven inch (to which this is the sleeve) the flip is ‘A House Is Not A Home’. Luther will be returning here in July to play four nights at Wembley and two at the NEC!


HOT VINYL

GRACE JONES ‘Party Girl’ (Manhattan 12MT 20) Remixed by Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero, this tapping and jittering typical 106½bpm Big Apple bumper is imperiously sung as ever although basically just a rhythm groove (dub too), and could work with Lola.

“Bam Boo” (US NCP 187)
On an oddly uninformative label that fails to identify either the artists or, with any degree of certainty, its own name this nevertheless is one of the freshest house hits in a while, happily galloping through bright 120-119¾-0bpm percussion, dated synth, “rock the joint” shouts and a muttered title line reminiscent of the old ‘Big Bamboo’ (dub flip), worth serious investigation.

HERB ALPERT ‘Keep Your Eye On Me’ (Breakout USAT 602)
Catchy enough in its stark way to be a smash, Herb’s drily muted trumpet tootles over a Jam & Lewis-created driving jittery Janet Jackson-style (0-)114½bpm rhythm track, with a freaky effects-filled intro. His US LP of the same name (US A&M SP-5125) was too late for review so check the Disco chart for BPMs. Continue reading “March 14, 1987: Grace Jones, Bam Boo, Herb Alpert, Jocelyn Brown, Salt-n-Pepa”

March 7, 1987: Norwood, The House Sound Of Chicago Megamix, Lillo Thomas, Lee Prentiss, Full Circle

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

DJ CHEESE will not be defending his title at Monday’s World Final of the Technics DJ Mixing Championships in the Royal Albert Hall as he is concentrating now on his recording career, so last year’s runner-up will take his place battling the 16 international finalists — and that runner-up of course is Chad Jackson! … Exposé will be special guests at the final, the girl group who are in the vanguard of the new Hi-NRG Latin Disco style that on US radio is rapidly becoming known as ‘Hot’, with Miami a ‘hotter’ source city than Chicago so far as US clubs are concerned … Streetwave and StreetSounds, according to their liquidator, had never at any point in their history been solvent and ended up with debts of £1,240,000, managing director Morgan Khan admitting that the labels had lost £750,000 in the last 13 months (about the time their magazine ‘The Street Scene’ folded), although he claims to have been unaware of the situation — one immediate result is that he’s already had to swap his Jaguar XJS for a more modest Renault 5 … Germany’s ‘Chicago Trax — Volume 1’ double LP will sell in the UK as London’s ‘The House Sound Of Chicago — Volume 2 (Chicago Trax)‘, all 19 tracks selling here for the price of one import 12 inch: meanwhile, Trax Records artists Frankie Knuckles, Marshall Jefferson, Kevin Irving, Adonis and Fingers Inc are currently over here going from house to house at London Limelight Thursday (5), Gt Yarmouth Tiffanys Sat (7), Nottingham Rock City (8), Manchester Hacienda Mon (9), Southsea 5th Avenue Tues (16) — but nowhere in the North-East, house’s greatest strong-hold! … Michael Jackson’s album appears finally to be due next month, after which in the US his two new Pepsi commercials will begin their TV airing … MCA Records for some strange reason have put back the release of Jody Watley’s single until the end of March, when everyone already serviced with it (including radio) will doubtless be expected to regenerate their enthusiasm! Cooltempo similarly have now rescheduled the Taurus Boyz to March 16 … Luther Vandross ‘See Me‘ has been remixed for release later on the month — but as an A side? … London picked up the Masters Of Ceremony ‘Sexy’ … I wish someone would boost the brilliant Microphone Prince ‘Who’s The Captain?‘, selling at hip hop stockists and attracting crossover interest but never charted by enough DJs to hit … Nitro Deluxe as warned is now being creatively marketed with the 114⅔bpm ‘Let’s Get Brutal‘ and its 114¼bpm Dub, flipped by a 0-115⅔-115¼- 15bpm Brutal Mix of ‘This Brutal House’ by Dancing Danny D, who’s so totally restructured it that oddly he’s left out the piercing synth hookline (Cooltempo COOLR 142) … Raze ‘Let The Music Move U’ is now flipped also by an excellent brand new proper Vaughan Mason-created 121⅔bpm It’s A Jungle Remix of ‘Jack The Groove’ (Champion CHAMP X12-27), with many musical overlays as it smoothly bounds along … Bluebird Records have just signed with Stiff for distribution via EMI, and are re-promoting Company B ‘Jam On Me‘ with a new Herbie-Laidley-created 112¾bpm Mastermind Remix as A-side (BRTX 27) — the Miami girls’ ‘Fascinated‘ will be follow-up even though they’re now on Atlantic, just in the US … Darlene Davis ‘I Found Love’ starts more sharply at 116bpm (before then wandering off again) in two new back-to-back Valentine Mixes (Serious Records OUSX 1) … CJ McKintosh has already done a scratch remix of Junior Gee & The ‘A’ Team … Boy George has bought himself some twin decks to practice scratching — can we expect him as an observer at the Royal Albert Hall? … Rick Robinson and DJ Kiwi, when together at Croydon Easy Street, created their own contemporary mix of ‘Lean On Me’ (covered by Club Nouveau) by synching the Bill Withers original (vari-speeded +6) with the Hot Chocolate ‘You Sexy Thing’ bonus beats (down -2) … Arthur Baker’s secret project for Champion turns out to be ‘Jackin At The Opera House‘, featuring Jellybean’s ‘Sidewalk Talk’ vocalist Catherine Buchanan and Freeez’s keyboardist Andy Stennett … ‘Love Ain’t No Toy‘, the Norman Whitfield penned song now revived by Amii Stewart, in case like most people you couldn’t place it, was originally an album track by Yvonne Fair … Go Go Lorenzo & The Davis/Pinckney Project’s UK follow-up ‘Top Bottom Side And Rear‘ will again be licensed to Boiling Point but promoed by UK owners Bluebird … Heavy D & The Boyz’ “fat boy rap” follow-up will aptly be called ‘Chunky But Funky‘! … The Gap Band’s US follow-up to ‘Big Fun’ is their album’s ‘Get Loose, Get Funky’, retitled though for singles as ‘Zibble, Zibble (Get The Money)‘! … ‘Moonlighting’ is being added to Al Jarreau’s ‘L Is For Lover’ LP, from which the moodily rolling 88bpm ‘Golden Girl‘ is also included on his 12 inch … Tony Blackburn had a hardened music biz audience in stitches as compere of the Music Week Awards 1986, which as he said was “like an audition!” … Robbie Vincent’s Sunday evening soul show on Radio One will be broadcast live in extended form at Easter from the Prestatyn weekender … Easter in Prestatyn also sees the opening of the brand new £2½ million Nova luxury discotheque, with swimming pools, restaurant and fun pub under the same roof … Chris Bangs and Bob Masters, not to be outdone by Livewire’s Prestatyn four-dayer, will once again be behind a small scale but friendly Easter weekender at Bournemouth’s Neptune on Boscombe Pier (details on 0582-65123) … Hardrock Soul Movement, Faze One, DJ StreetsAhead and Tim Westwood hip hop over to Holland for a March 11-16 rap tour (Tim’s Monday Rap Trap had to close) … Thursday (5) Jay Strongman and Rob Milton start the weekly Pay-Off at Charing Cross Heaven, playing black grooves from Sixties to now (including Hank Ballard, I bet!) … Friday (6) Georgie Fame and the Jazz Defektors star at Blackpool Tower Ballroom’s Spring Ball ’87, and Danny Smith jazz-souls Cambridge’s The Globe … Richard Short, funking Watford’s £50,000 refitted Pockets Thursdays, is after other Watford/Harrow weekend gigs on 0923-45217 (evenings) … Aberdeen mobile jock Harry Duncan, into soul and electro, feels isolated so far north and wants international DJ pen-pals at 100 Victoria Street, Dyce, Aberdeen, Scotland – in a place actually called Dyce, is his theme tune ‘I Can’t Take It’? … George Hargreaves, the song’s writer, is desperately seeking mint seven and 12 inch copies of Five Star’s forgotten first single, ‘Problematic’ (on Tent when via PRT) – call him on 01-247 9035 … David Grant – sporting a very severe Larry Blackmon haircut – debuts on Polydor with ‘Take Us Back’, a tapping and tumbling (0-)101½bpm Spandau Ballet-ish pop song which regrettably will mean nothing on floors … WEA’s disco plugger Fred Dove and I are considering starting a music biz club for Canon T90 camera owners – however, I’m now the much poorer owner of their new autofocus EOS 650, too! … Manchester’s jazz-funkers the Stems are now known as 5th Of Heaven and are supporting Maze here … Man 2 Man, Man Two Man, from now on the new spelling is Man To Man featuring Paul Zone & Man Parrish … the Fly Boys are “crutch rap”, make no mistake – what’s “crunch rap”? … ILLIN’ ‘N’ CHILLIN’!


This is the sleeve design of A&M’s brand new Breakout label, launched during the International DJ Convention, with its first releases due over the next two weeks being the snappy (0-)114½bpm HERB ALPERT ‘Keep Your Eye On Me‘ (USAT 602), soppy sweet 43⅙-0bpm JANET JACKSON ‘Let’s Wait Awhile (Remix)‘ (USAT 601) — coupled for strength with Parts l & II of the old 103½bpm ‘Nasty (Cool Summer Mix)‘ — and very trickily remixed 112-0bpm VESTA WILLIAMS ‘Don’t Blow A Good Thing‘ (USAT 600) — maybe prophetically titled, so coupled with the soulful 86⅓bpm ‘You Make Me Want To (Love Again)‘.


HOT VINYL

NORWOOD ‘I Can’t Let You Go’ (US Magnolia Sound MCA-23686)
Out of a trickily nervy intro the jittery 101⅓bpm electronic beat seems to mellow when it reaches the Philadelphia soulster’s prodding hoarse Abrams/Vandross-ish voice, repetitive female chants building the intensity in bursts, the whole thing ending up very soulful indeed with surging gospel fervour (edit and Luther-ish (0-56¼-)112½bpm ‘Don’t Let Love‘ flip). With a buzz already, it’ll be big!

VARIOUS ARTISTS ‘The House Sound Of Chicago Megamix’ (German DJ International Records/BCM DJ33-1006-45)
The same German label that originated the ‘Chicago Trax — Volume 1’ LP now has a 30 minute 12 inch containing three house medleys incorporating tracks by Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk, Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley, House People, Farm Boy, Raz, Mario Reyes, Femme Fion, Chip E, Fingers Inc and Mark Imperial, tightest and excitingly Hi-NRG being the Peter Vriends-created 0-124¾-126-127¼-126⅔-126¼-125½-124¾-0bpm Jackin’ Mix, ‘Mix Mac’ Meyers letting through one very sloppy link during his 119-121⅔-121¼-121½-121bpm Latin Mix but trucking tightly on his 121⅔-121½-121⅔bpm Dub Instrumental Version.

LILLO THOMAS ‘Sexy Girl (Sexy Mix)’ (Capitol 12CL 445)
The hit import now (0-)107⅔bpm yelping, cooing and soaring repetitive wriggly soul groove is here flipped by the old tensely wriggling (0-)108½bpm ‘Settle Down (Extended Remix)’ and even older calmly strolling 104¾bpm ‘(You’re A) Good Girl (Special Mix)’ instead of his excellent sincere remake of Otis Redding’s ‘I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)’, which surely would have given it wider appeal? Continue reading “March 7, 1987: Norwood, The House Sound Of Chicago Megamix, Lillo Thomas, Lee Prentiss, Full Circle”

February 28, 1987: Bruce Willis, Bananarama, Full Circle, Donald Byrd, Gigolo Tony

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

Steve Walsh learnt while at MIDEM that Boris Badenough isn’t having a go at Rocky Jones, in fact ‘Hey Rocky!’ is about TV’s cult cartoon series ‘Rocky And Bullwinkle’, and will be promoed with a new B-side for radio which has the characters’ voices (cut-up Steinski style in the actual record) answering questions left blank for DJs to fill in themselves … 19 releases on Chicago’s Trax Records label, including current stuff, have been compiled on a fast-selling German import LP, ‘Chicago Trax (Volume 1)’ (BCM TX 33-5001-43) – presumably the ‘What’s Up Rocky?’ credited to Boris Betanoff is the same as the above? … Darryl Pandy has done a vocal version of ‘Jack Your Body’, to be called ‘Work Your Body’, for D.J. International Records … Chris Amoo of the Real Thing, as probably everyone knows by now, was the proud owner of Crufts’ Supreme Champion 1987 (we’re talking dogs here), Viscount Grant – commonly called “Gable” … MC Double Def Sef launches A&M’s new dance label Breakout with a lunchtime reception at Soho’s Le Beat Route in Greek Street on Monday, March 9, conveniently sandwiched between the previous day’s International DJ Convention and that evening’s World Final of the Technics DJ Mixing Championships (also conveniently, for out-of-towners, just across the road from Groove Records shop!) … Bathgate’s Bill Grainger (0506-54305), the guy who more than anyone else “broke” Tullio De Piscopo, has started First Class Radio & Club Promotions to plug dance records in Scotland with personal DJ contact (servicing all types of dance music, not just hi-NRG/Eurobeat) … Kool Moe Dee – true to his stance as rap’s caring social worker? – hosts the second annual rap awards this Saturday (28) at New York’s Town Hall, with appearances by such as Salt-n-Pepa, LL Cool J, UTFO, Spoonie Gee, Doug E Fresh, Oran ‘Juice’ Jones, Stetsasonic … Kurtis Blow is currently guest presenter of Saturday morning kids’ TV on the US NBC network! … Damon Rochefort’s involvement as producer of Junior Gee & The ‘A’ Team actually extends to being the impersonator of Arnold Schwarzenegger, recreating all ‘The Terminator’ (and Dalek!) dialogue himself … Breakfast Club, reviewed last week, turns out to be the “nom de disque” of Madonna’s frequent collaborator Stephen Bray, so it’s surprising he hasn’t concocted something a bit sharper for himself … I know, I know: the jazz tune synched under Salt-n-Pepa ‘My Mike Sounds Nice’ is Grover Washington Jr ‘Mr Magic’ – incidentally, the girls’ UK-only 0-91⅔bpm remix will be on Champion here March 10 … Nitro Deluxe, were the UK pressing and original import similar enough in format to be combined in the chart, would have been top Disco hit since two weeks ago … John Rocca’s ‘I Want It To Be Real’ may have always meant something in Chicago but even its Ultimate Mix ’87 (not due on CityBeat for nearly a month) still seems unlikely to mean much here in its main (0-)122-122½bpm Club Vocal, although the total instrumental 121⅔-121¾bpm Farley’s Hot House Piano Mix is self-descriptive and could find takers … Arthur Baker while here has produced a secret project for Champion … ‘(You’re My) Shining Star’ is Curtis Hairston’s new US release … Dennis Edwards, still recording solo too, has rejoined the Temptations … Livewire/Top Hat on Saturday, March 14, start a monthly soul and jazz night amidst the shark tanks at Brighton Aquarium, dubbed “the night that bites back!”, with Chris Hill, Robbie Vincent, Pete Tong, Gilles Peterson, Paul Clark, Big H and Froggy, in two music rooms … Livewire (01-364 1212) at their four day Easter weekender in Prestatyn have added to the DJ bill Paul Oakenfold, Chris Forbes, CJ McKintosh (Chad Jackson is booked anyway, plus hopefully Jazzy Jeff, and now maybe Atlantic Starr) … London’s ebullient soul jock CJ Carlos had better keep a higher profile if he doesn’t want his once distinctive initials to become more synonymous with Mixing champ CJ McKintosh! … Larry Foster of Gants Hill Villa has spent the last year preparing a Music Quiz for East London, weekly heats beginning on March 18 at Walthamstow’s The Lorne Arms, entry forms being available in advance from him on 04023-75059 … Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers play three nights at Kentish Town’s Town And Country Club, March 26/27/28 … Thursday this week (26), Paul Williams, Mike Knight and Alan Coles support go go-funk group Bustin’ Loose at Georgetown’s The Kirkhouse, Merthyr Tydfil, while Chris Brown, Chris Bangs and Simon Dunmore jazz-soul the Rhythm Zone at Northolt’s C&L Country Club (just off the A40 south of the Polish War Memorial) … Friday (27) Joe Field, Bob Masters, Chris Bangs, Bob Cosby and Dave Ealand fill two rooms with soul and jazz at Hemel Hempstead’s Heath Park … Saturday (28) Jasper, Norman Jay and Martin Drake have a Seventies Funk Attack at Hackney’s Shen-Ola Nightclub, while Kev Hill souls Great Yarmouth Mole Club … Eon Irving funks London West End’s Munkberrys Wednesdays … Andy Baker funks Fridays at Bangor’s hi-tech Octagon (on a par, equipment-wise he reckons, with the Hippodrome) … Bishop Stortford’s Juicy Duck is undergoing a complete £30,000 facelift (which would probably buy a few new pygmy bulbs for the Hippodrome!), much to the delight of Les Knott and his fellow jocks … Mecca, as well as aggressively recruiting new DJs around the country, have revamped Bolton’s Cinderella Rockerfellas into the new Ritzy (with a Central Park brasserie), while Tiffanys in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Dunstable are being renovated … Paul Frettingham soon becomes a real VJ, as well as DJ at Nottingham’s Central Park/Ritzy, where an actual TV studio will transmit closed circuit programmes of videos and PAs to the club’s 34 screens … Jackie Becker (Brighton Escape Club Mon/Savannah Club Tues/The Crypt Thurs) tips that Candido ‘Jingo’ mixes well with ‘Jack The Groove’ and ‘Jack Your Body’, plus Quando Quango ‘Genius’ is good with such as ‘It’s OK, It’s OK’ and ‘IMNXTC’ … Stacey Q ‘We Connect’ topped US 12 Inch Sales, Madonna ‘Open Your Heart’ and then Mel & Kim ‘Showing Out’ topped Club Play in Billboard – whose US Black Singles Chart, now once again printed in rm, is not in fact a reflection of the dance singles that are selling, but of the singles being played by black-orientated “urban” radio … DJs are still not supporting the Eurobeat chart in significant enough numbers yet they continually whinge that it isn’t truly representative of what’s really big in their clubs – so who’ve they got to blame? … ILLIN’ ‘N’ CHILLIN’!


HOT VINYL

BRUCE WILLIS ‘Respect Yourself’ (Motown ZT 41118)
With the part of Mavis played by June Pointer in dominating support, the star of TV’s ‘Moonlighting’ tackles the Staples Singers’ classic in similar 118⅓-0bpm style. Bruce is actually promoting his album ‘The Return Of Bruno’ with a half hour video hosted by Dick Clark as if in the US TV series ‘Rock Heroes’ (like ‘Portrait Of A Superstar’), tracing through hilariously accurate period pastiches and dozens of superstar interview clips the supposed career since the mid-Sixties of Bruno Radolini, supplying this his singing alter ego with an instant mythic past. See it if you can!

BANANARAMA ‘Trick Of The Night’ (London NANX 12)
You’d never know from hearing the dreary seven inch pop version, but for the 12 inch its producers Stock-Aitken-Waterman and mixer Phil Harding have revived their old trick, making the first half of this (0-)105½bpm jiggler sound exactly like Princess’s ‘Say I’m Your Number One’, instrumental for ages before any real vocal begins! (A separate strictly promo pressing hasn’t any vocal at all, in dub and instrumental versions, for collectors). Now that DJs are discovering this, the flip’s house-ish (0-)117¾bpm ‘Set On You‘ is helping sell it, too.

FULL CIRCLE ‘Workin’ Up A Sweat’ (EMI America 12EA 229)
Massive on import but worth buying again now, the Randy Muller-produced Lutheran soul vocal group’s piano underscored jittery roller here is without the 109-108¾bpm Special Sweaty Mix‘s offputtingly electro intro and has a new mellower 108¾bpm Album Version, just the 108bpm Dub Version being still in schizoid original form, with juddery edits. Class, more than crossover. Continue reading “February 28, 1987: Bruce Willis, Bananarama, Full Circle, Donald Byrd, Gigolo Tony”

February 21, 1987: Technics DJ Mixing Championships, Amii Stewart, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Tullio De Piscopo, Boris Badenough, Juicy

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

Last week’s UK final of the Technics DJ Mixing Championships was plagued with equipment problems, to the extent that Bristol’s (much improved) Dirty Den and defending champion Chad Jackson had to compete twice, and Birmingham’s hotly tipped Scooby Swift was stymied by a headshell not fully rammed home – this however didn’t stop him from turning one of the pick-ups upside down to play the underside (backwards) of a record specially prepared and mounted on a spindle several inches above the turntable! … 21 judges hopefully left no room for dispute over the result, Chris ‘CJ’ McKintosh being a clear winner (his regular gig is Fridays at Escapism in New Cross’s Goldsmiths Tavern), Chad claiming second despite his bad luck, and Johnny Jay from Manchester’s Gallery coming third (using headphones most of the time, although as you see he pulled some other stunts!) … Des Mitchell, back again from Tenerife, was also much improved over his heat’s performance and only just missed a place … Glasgow’s George Little, as a photograph in my possession proves, wasn’t wearing much under it when he swirled his kilt! … Mantronik was due to spin a few in a PA but, working more with beat boxes than record decks these days, he apparently felt he’d be upstaged when the first thing he saw on arriving at the Hippodrome was Chad scratching with a chair, so he left! … Chad’s spot began blazingly with Elvis Presley ‘Trouble’, Eddie Cochran ‘C’mon Everybody’, synched over T. La Rock ‘Back To Burn (Dub)’, then LL Cool J ‘Rock The Bells’ scratched instead; at Adrian Sykes’ star-studded birthday party the following night in Mayfair’s Gullivers, Chad then did a blinding scratch set using the club’s records (in his retirement, he plans to start making records of his own this year, with fellow Mancunian mixer Rob Manley promising something different!) … EMI’s new dance label Syncopate will be launched with Lola ‘Wax The Van’ … MC Double Def Sef’s new project, the A&M Breakout dance label will kick off after the International DJ Convention next month with Herb Alpert, a coupling of Janet Jackson ‘Let’s Wait Awhile’/‘Nasty (Cool Summer Mix)’ and Vesta Williams ‘Don’t Blow A Good Thing (Remix)’ … ‘Scream’ will definitely be Mantronix’ follow-up here, and Loose Ends are reissuing ‘Gonna Make You Mine’ (in only one mix, Virgin promise!) … Jazzy Jeff’s LP on Champion is out here ahead of the US, where he’s now on Jive – who (not without argument) are claiming him for the UK too in future … Portsmouth’s Domino Records rather handily, considering its inclusion in ‘Touch Of Jazz’, are reissuing Donald Byrd ‘Change (Makes You Want To Hustle)’ … Chicago house label Trax Records’ pressings are sometimes of inferior quality apparently because the vinyl used is from recycled K-Tel LPs – what, label and all?! … StreetSounds’ albums are suddenly becoming collectors’ items, particularly the Philly boxed set (selling at £60 in some places) … Streetwave – separate from and not to be confused with StreetSounds – has a creditors’ meeting on Monday (23) at London’s New Berners Hotel to discuss the company’s probable liquidation … UKHAN? UKHANT! … Kev Hill and Simon Williams are after hip hop and heavy metal jocks for a mailing list: send work details to them at Pillar Promotions, Southbank House, Black Prince Road, London SE1 7SJ … Martin Collins, Bob Jones, Graham Gold, Chris Bangs, Bob Masters, Joe Field, Jonathon More, Paul Clark, Paul Morrisey, Bob Cosby, Tony Fernandez, Mervyn Anthony, Alex Lowes and Richard Searling are the DJ team for Caister Soul Weekend XIX on April 3-5 (details from Netphase on 01-886 8141) … Friday (20) Uxbridge Regals has a Record Industry Party with pluggers playing their own product, and Fat Larry’s Band join Dave Rawlings at South Harrow Bogarts … The KISS-fm club is open Saturdays 10pm-4am in Haringey’s Green Lanes on Salisbury Parade (not a stone’s throw from Bolts!) … Tim Westwood’s House Of Rap chills Monday’s Rap Trap just behind Charing Cross at the Sanctuary in Craven Street … Megastar earmuff-wearer John Saunderson sparkles every Thursday at Maidenhead’s Cinderella Rockerfellas … Carl Cox, Paul Clark and weekly guests go under the name of Brickhouse when souling Sundays in Brighton, usually at the Apollo (though check on 0273-698699 for other venues) … Melba Moore is soon to join the cast of ‘Falcon Crest’, playing a lawyer … ‘LA Law’ is the yuppy ‘Hill Street Blues’, full of well dressed, attractive, sexy people in otherwise familiar situations, for the time being a fresh change … Bruce Willis excelled himself on ‘Moonlighting’ last week, walking into the office singing the entire “hi everybody” intro of Archie Bell & The Drells’ ‘Tighten Up’ – incidentally, it’s the Pointer Sisters who recreate Mavis Staple’s vocal on his US hit revival of ‘Respect Yourself’ … ILLIN’ ‘N’ CHILLIN’!


JOHNNY JAY scratched with everything including the kitchen sink and came third in the Technics DJ Mixing Championships, CHAD JACKSON used a chair (plus his nose, a ball, and his foot) and came second this year, while “C.J.” McKINTOSH relied on just his expert flawless scratching, exciting technique, and sense of music to come out on top. Is there a moral in that?


COLIN HUDD, having left Flicks, is now playing his choice of the very best music no matter what its type on Thursdays at Welling’s The Station (guess what that’s near!), while his twin Dennis Hudd is getting ready to start a more pop-orientated night at Ealing’s Broadway Boulevard on Wednesdays soon.


HOT VINYL

AMII STEWART ‘Love Ain’t No Toy (Remix)’ (RCA PT 41106)
Written way back by Norman Whitfield in his typical ‘Cloud Nine’ style, this purposefully pushing 102⅓bpm gritty jitterer drives remorselessly through emulator “toy-toy-toy” chipmunks as it develops towards a more coolly grooving last half, packing quite a wallop in the beat department, with a remix of her old pleasantly swaying 94⅚bpm ‘Friends’ and the Giorgio Moroder-produced 125⅘bpm Eurobeat ‘Lover To Lover‘ as flip.

D.J. JAZZY JEFF & FRESH PRINCE ‘Rock The House’ LP (Champion CHAMP 1004)
Jeff was turned on to jazz-funk in London and went home to scratch together an explosive 104bpm instrumental ‘Touch Of Jazz’, using Marvin Gaye ‘T Plays It Cool’ (from ‘Trouble Man’), Bob James ‘Westchester Lady’, Donald Byrd ‘Change (Makes You Want To Hustle)’, Bobbi Humphrey ‘Harlem River Drive’, and Grover Washington Jr ‘Mr Magic’. The set’s standout, it’s sure to start a trend! As well as the scratch ‘n’ rap duo’s singles, other fresh cuts are the human beat boxed partying 0-102- 0bpm title track, jiggly 97bpm ‘Just Rockin’‘, 90bpm ‘Taking It To The Top‘ with brass from James Brown’s ‘Cold Sweat’, and the typical story-rap 92½bpm ‘Don’t Even Try It‘.

TULLIO DE PISCOPO ‘Stop Bajon . . . Primavera’ (Greyhound Label 12GRY 009)
In fact familiar to some holidaymakers, and DJs, for several years, it took Scotland’s gay clubs to break this infectious lightly leaping Italian jazz-funk throbber, detailed last week and here at 104⅔-103½-103⅔-103⅓-104-0bpm with a shorter 104⅙-103-103⅙-102⅚bpm instrumental flip, now destined to be a crossover smash! Continue reading “February 21, 1987: Technics DJ Mixing Championships, Amii Stewart, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Tullio De Piscopo, Boris Badenough, Juicy”

February 14, 1987: Millie Scott, Tullo De Piscopo, Mel & Kim, Taurus Boy, Herb Alpert

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

With ironic timing the day before he was profiled by London Weekend Television in their ‘South Of Watford’ series, Morgan Khan ran out of finance for his StreetSounds and Streetwave labels, making most of the staff redundant last Thursday while he struggled to assemble a new financial package to save the situation – hopefully his TV shot will help him … Disco Mix Club are looking for the UK’s best rappers to compete for the Shure Golden Microphone Award at March 8’s International DJ Convention – send demo cassettes to Shure Golden Mic, PO Box 89, Slough SL1 8NA, and be prepared if accepted for a rap slanging match to knock out your competitors! … Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley ‘Jack Your Body’ in its new Nomis Sirrah-mixed Monty ‘House’ Remix (London LONXR 117) clocks in at (0-)122⅓-122-121¼-122⅓-122-122⅓-121½-0bpm … Nitro Deluxe’s UK release, as well as doing away with ‘Let’s Get Brutal’ (which inevitably will be creatively marketed here in a few weeks with a remix), has been retitled for some strange reason from ‘The Brutal House’ to ‘This Brutal House’ … Paul Hardcastle’s remix of George McCrae ‘Rock Your Baby’, now that I’ve received it on 12 inch (Portrait 650312-8), turns out to be 112½-112⅔bpm and even better than the seven inch suggested … Record Shack are promoting Sadie Nine’s strangulatedly sung bounding 118½bpm ‘Let’s Work It Out’ (due Feb 23) as house rather than hi-NRG, although it’s getting support from both camps … The Jets, yet another family group who wiggle shoulders, arms and legs in a unison side-to-side three-step, have also had their Minneapolis-style frisky old (0-)125¾bpm ‘Curiosity’ re-promoted, flipped by a dub-ish 121⅔bpm ‘Crush On You’ version and the less danceable 119bpm ‘The Candle’ (MCA Records MCAT 1119) … The Real Thing ‘Hard Times’ has been much improved by a mellower more flowing (0-)110⅕bpm The Real Mix (Jive JIVER 137), although the lurching and surging song remains awfully uninspired … Steinski & Mass Media ‘We’ll Be Right Back’ has been stripped down into a dull (0-)101-0bpm Hard Sell remix (4th + B’way 12BWX 59) by the label’s Ian Dewhirst and Jon Williams, its only advantage being a backing-less Bonus Voices of the featured TV bits … Monte Moir is producing new material by Aurra … Atlantic’s new girl Miki Howard was of course in Side Effect … Maze, having sold out Wembley Arena at the end of this month, are adding four new dates on March 19-22 at Hammersmith Odeon – where Phyllis Hyman appears on April 13 … Caister Soul Weekend XIX is at Gt Yarmouth’s Seashore camp on April 3-5 … Roger Johnson, the first ever UK winner of the Technics DJ Mixing Championships in 1985, does live mixes every Monday on Radio London during Dave Pearce’s show, and otherwise works behind the counter at Hammersmith’s Spin-Off’s disco store – no globe trotting as an ambassador of mix for him … Dave’s radio guests two Mondays ago, scratching live, were Run-DMC! … Alan Coulthard would be first to admit that I was regularly using the term “Megamix” (which other people had even made my nickname in the late Seventies!) long before he is now reported to have “coined” it four years ago, when he began creating megamixed medleys as the Disco Mix Club’s original producer … Full Circle are having to be renamed as First Circle in the US to avoid confusion with another group there, although here they’ll remain the same (this means that only a very few rare copies of their now wrongly printed import LP have got through so far) … Hot House is obviously a good name for a group, except right now (with “house” having a whole new meaning) it may be the wrong name, their classy slowie sadly looking more like a turntable hit than a seller … Leeds’ Dave Hutchinson calls himself Funkmaster Hutchy, not (as last week’s caption had it) Funkmaster Hotcity! … LL Cool J is calling himself Ill Ill Cool J, as in “illin’”! … A&M’s disco man Mike Sefton now calls himself MC Double Def Sef! … Jamaican-accented the Masters Of Ceremony are from New Rochelle, just outside New York City heading north-east from The Bronx … Champion Records’ ‘Ultimate Trax 2’ compilation will feature another battle of the DJs, this one between Whiz Kid and Jazzy Jeff … Shep Pettibone has remixed Run-DMC ‘It’s Tricky’ for US release, flipped by the brand new ‘Uptempo’ … I’m pleased to see the Beastie Boys’ great ‘Girls’ is big in Liverpool! … Robbie Nevil topped US Club Play in Billboard – whose US Black Singles chart is now printed again in rm … Luther Vandross – nice for him but bad for us – has scored his first US Top 20 pop hit with the fast ‘Stop To Love’, which may influence his future release pattern … Luther did not, despite hints that he might, look in at Tony Jenkins’ welcome return to the Hippodrome (instead he was at Stringfellows) … Arthur Baker with singers Craig Derry and Will Downing of Wally Jump Junior & the Criminal Element are currently PA-ing around the country, including this Saturday in London at the Doo At The Zoo and Delirium … Friday (13) Danny Smith jazz-souls Gt Yarmouth’s Mole Club … Valentine Saturday (14) Jonathon More, Norman Jay and oldies-playing KJ & J McCray shake up Brixton St Matthew’s church crypt (opposite The Fridge) late … Adrian Dunbar’s popular Bolts gay nights have been forced to close at Bournemouth’s Academy with a farewell Valentine party this Sunday (15) … Man 2 Man meet Man Parrish are reviving Grace Jones’s ‘I Need A Man’ on import next month … Loose Ends PA at Swansea Martha’s Vineyard on Monday (16), when Jan Allen starts a weekly free admission jazz ‘n’ soul night at Eastbourn’s Bitter End … is the Limelight still burning bright? … you can stand still to anything – currently, it appears to be to ‘Almaz’! … ILLIN’ ‘N’ CHILLIN’!


Raze topped our Disco chart for six weeks last year with ‘Jack The Groove’, which only now has followed ‘Jack Your Body’ up the pop charts too. Masterminded by Vaughan Mason (right), whose ‘Bounce Rock Skate Roll’ was a funk hit in 1980, the New Jersey-based group includes Ben Epps (who has a hunch he may be related to veteran bongo star Preston Epps), and East Orange’s frisky Wanda Sykes, four times a winning body-builder, who sings their more recent ‘Let The Music Move U’.


STOP PRESS

Jazzy Jeff disappointed everyone (including judges Shep Pettibone, Steve Thompson, Bruce Forest and the Latin Rascals, who waited two hours for him) by failing to show up for the US Finals of the Technics DJ Mixing Championships at New York’s Hearthrob last Friday. As he’d won the North-Eastern US heat, there was no other DJ to represent such crucial cities as New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC, with the result that the winner (by unanimous decision) was San Diego’s ‘D.J. Master Rocker’ Joe Rodriguez, with Chicago’s Rodger Vergara Jr second and Miami’s Tony Garcia third. Jeff’s loss is Joe’s gain, the chance of international fame in the World Finals at the Royal Albert Hall on March 9.


Avtar Singh, after competing in the London heat of the Technics DJ Mixing Championships, returned home to find his studio (he runs a DJ school) had been burgled. £7,500 worth of equipment had gone, (drum machines, samplers, studio mixer, most items marked with “Calibar Roadshow”), plus all his record collection. He’s offering a £1,000 reward for information leading to recovery, on Slough 45521. And he wasn’t even placed in the heat.


Joanna Plumley is that relative rarity these days, a girl DJ. When discotheques began here in the early Sixties, it was normal for the DJs to be girls – a tradition carried on now mainly by the up-market hotel-situated chains run by such as Juliana’s, which is exactly who she worked for prior to her current shared residency at Bournemouth’s new Clouds. Incidentally, Ken Brudenell is keen to hear from more female DJs for the files of Mecca Agency International, so call him on 01-631 1976.


HOT VINYL

MILLIE SCOTT ‘Ev’ry Little Bit’ (Fourth & Broadway 12BRW 58)
Glamorous Mildred – sometime member of the Glories, Quiet Elegance, and Cut Glass (obviously from a very young age!) – is now produced by Bruce Nazarian & Duane Bradley in the shuffling and tapping typical Nick Martinelli style on a pleasantly gently jittering 102bpm smooth swayer featuring David McMurray’s jazzy sax (dub flip), already hot on import.

TULLO DE PISCOPO ‘Stop Bajon (Primavera)’ (Spanish Blanco y Negro Music MX 114)
We have Scotland’s gay clubs to thank for discovering this superb Italian jazz-funk throbber (more commonly called just ‘Primavera’) – at 104⅓-103⅙-103⅓-103-103⅔-0bpm hardly Hi-NRG despite its Eurobeat chart placing – which I’ve known about for some time but first actually heard on Radio Clyde five weeks ago, ordering it immediately afterwards, only for it finally to arrive in this its Spanish pressing a matter of days ahead of UK release on Greyhound Records! Leaping lightly along, it features jazz trumpeter Don Cherry with tympanist Tullio and one of those Falco-style unobtrusive muttering European chant-raps, or a shorter 104⅙-103-103⅙-102⅚bpm instrumental flip. Either way, miss it at your peril!

MEL & KIM ‘Respectable’ (Supreme Records SUPET 111)
Due commercially on February 23, the girls’ follow-up is a beefily bounding 0-121¾bpm house-type churner created once again by Stock-Aitken-Waterman (so it’s not the Isleys’ oldie!), with a deadly commercial Eurobeat-ish singalong vocal melody, and more sparsely Chicago-style (0-)119¼bpm Extra Beat Version jack track flip. Continue reading “February 14, 1987: Millie Scott, Tullo De Piscopo, Mel & Kim, Taurus Boy, Herb Alpert”