November 17, 1984: Kool & The Gang, Charme, Pennye Ford, Roy Ayers, Breekout Krew

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

PIRATE UPDATE: South Manchester’s KFM had a full studio confiscation bust last Thursday, leaving the nearby Southside 92.1FM (STR renamed) planning to go week-long now, while the previous night London’s JFM 104.4FM amongst others lost their transmitter yet again (by chance Solar 102.45FM’s had temporarily broken down!) . . . Radio Mercury now seem to be beefing about Radio Jackie on Medium Wave clashing with their audience area rather than their signal . . . I get the impression there’s some dissatisfaction “up-country” about the content of these pages: maybe if I lived only within range of Radio One I too would be enthusing about Duran Duran, but as I live in Britain’s soul capital, London (where Tony Blackburn’s weekday BBC Radio London soul show tops the morning ratings, Solar-FM plays soul around the clock, Capital features soul heavily at weekends, other nearby ILR stations have expanded their soul programming, and import shops still shift the hottest vinyl), I write about what’s happening amongst those for whom black music is an easily accessible part of normal life — if this upsets some in less fortunate areas I’m sorry, it’s done to keep people in touch with the stuff that even less specialist DJs could be playing in the months to come . . . Andy Peebles sits in on Radio London for holidaying Tony Blackburn at the end of this month, which should be interesting as Andy’s old Piccadilly soul show in Manchester was the talk of the north — a pity though that Tony’s dropped his daily club DJ charts . . . Andy Grahamme’s weekday 2-5pm show on Kent’s Invicta Sound copies the Blackburn format with nothing but soul every afternoon, while of course Pete Tong Saturday 7- 10pm remains the specialist soul slot (heard best in London/Essex on 103.8FM) . . . Solar-FM’s chart-compiling breakfast jock Tony Monson now co-presents the Monday edition of Dave Gregory’s 7-9pm soul show on Essex Radio 95.3FM . . . Swindon Brunel Rooms jock Sandy Martin (not Continental ‘Ibiza’ hitster Sandy Marton!) now has a regular Friday night Disco-Trekin’ show on Wiltshire Radio 96.4/97.4FM — but what time? . . . London’s saturation soul radio has resulted in some records like Brass Construction, Mercy Mercy and even Fonda Rae “burning out” before finished copies finally hit the shops (LP tracks like Switch and Rose Royce seem unaffected by the wait though) — maybe record companies should re-think their traditional white label promotion methods? . . . Stevie Wonder ‘Love Light In Flight‘ is due here next week, The Intruders could be sooner on Streetwave . . . Robert Blenman is leaving PRT to become a music publisher at EMI Music, his parting shot being a TK compilation LP ‘Queen Of Clubs‘ including The Controllers ‘Somebody Gotta Win Somebody’s Gotta Lose‘ and — wait for it — Paulette Reeves ‘Jazz Freak‘ amongst the 16 cuts, due next week . . . Bluebird/10 is the joint label identity in a new distribution link with Virgin/10 Records for Bluebird, whose owners “The Two Billies” are about to become Scottish lairds with a castle by the Solway Firth! . . . Paul Hardcastle has replaced his current Cooltempo hit’s flip with a new sax-overdubbed 0-121bpm remix of Bluebird’s original ‘Rain Forest’ (currently climbing the US Hot Dance/Disco chart, which Chaka Khan still tops as well as Hot Black) . . . Rose Royce guitarist Walter McKinney will be joining our own Nat King Cool & The Cool Runners from the new year, probably in the role of lead singer “Nat” himself (the band also includes Nick Straker) . . . Sho-Pro’s soul weekender won’t be moving to Camber Sands until next October, in April merely slipping sideways back at Caister into the other nearby smaller Seashore camp to which it was briefly demoted in 1980 (for the “twin” events) . . . Suzanne Gigli ‘Boys Do It’ (Lamborghini) somehow came out as Suzanne Young last week, it’s Eramus Hall P’funking on US Capitol, Paula Anderson on US Starlite, Rich Cason’s track is ‘X-Plantary Zone, Roni Griffith is only 116bpm! . . . Disco Mix Club’s November mixes are Alan Coulthard’s brilliantly integrated Pop hotch potch and near flawless Heaven 17 medley (spoilt only by some of the later actual tracks), and Sanny X’s electronically augmented early ’70s Glam Rock oldies and surprisingly bad disjointed Evelyn King medley (normally a doddle for anyone to mix smoothly): DJ subscription details on 06286-67276 . . . Friday (16) finds Froggy at Stanmore Chevaliers (arrive before 11pm), Jackson Moore PA-ing at Manchester New Millionaire . . . Imagination are signing records at Rayners Lane Record & Disco Centre Saturday 11.30am . . . Sunday (18) Steve Walsh joins the Birmingham Powerhouse 2pm alldayer crew, Viola Wills joins DJ Alex Baker at the new Dicks Inn Sunday Club Musique gay venue in London Cavendish Square’s Phoenix . . . Paul French souls Gillingham’s new Kents fun pub in Jeffrey Street nightly, while the other Paul ‘Frenchy’ French is about to leave Dunfermline’s Night Magic to open a brand new Bacchus International club in Norway, Bergen’s Ole Bull (their most lavishly lit installation yet) . . . Alan James Jewell in, the land of opportunity, Hong Kong (he’s currently DJ at Casablanca in Aberdeen, zany video jock on TVB Pearl’s top-rated live ‘Music TV’ and about to start on ‘8.30 Video’, while his previously mentioned mixed disco LP and 12in remix were the first ever done locally) is looking for extrovert showmen DJs, mixing essential, for Hong Kong and Asian club work: send cassette, photo and history to him at The Manhattan Discotheques Ltd, South Seas Center, Tower II, Suite 805, Tsimshatsui East, Hong Kong . . . Adrian Allen (South Shields Chelsea Cat) is after Peter Brown ‘Love In Our Hearts‘ and Locksmith ‘Blackjack‘ (the latter old B-side huge Hi-NRG locally) on Boldon 364895 . . . Brainstorm’s old ‘Lovin’ Is Really My Game‘ is hitting US clubs by Zino featuring Tyne Mouton (US Pacific) while here it’s hot on LP by Sylvester — who will guest on Earlene Bentley’s next single ‘Stargazing‘ . . . RM’s fax man Alan Jones wonders how Les Knott can gauge floor reaction to a disco party chart “as presented on Harlow Hospital Radio”?! . . . HEAVE HO, HEAVE HO!


“MIGHTY ATOM” CLEVELAND ANDERSON, has joined ALAN DAVID for Saturday soul-funk-reggae-calypso sessions at The Warehouse in Glasgow’s Dunlop Street, guests this Saturday (17) including George Lee’s Anansi live and Cool Notes PA. Sounds a hoot, mon!


HOT VINYL

KOOL & THE GANG: ‘Fresh’ (De-Lite DEX 18)
Back on form, this self-produced beefily chugging simple 117bpm jiggler may borrow its nagging title from the world of hip hop but its modernity lies in uncluttered tight production rather than an “electro” sound (promos had no flip).

CHARME: ‘Georgy Porgy’ (RCA RCAT 464)
In its third released form since 1979, this now Jonathan Fearing-remixed Toto-penned tuggingly pulsed 101-102-103-101-103bpm catchy singalong swayer has the unmistakable moaning tones of Luther Vandross as its main attraction (inst flip, plus the old 106-107bpm HUES CORPORATION ‘Rock The Boat’).

PENNYE FORD: ‘Change Your Wicked Ways’ (Total Experience XET 503)
Originally a demo singer for Motown publishers Jobete, Pennye wails like Chaka Khan on a fabulous immediately familiar rolling and swinging 0-119bpm backbeat smacker, really classy (edit flip). Continue reading “November 17, 1984: Kool & The Gang, Charme, Pennye Ford, Roy Ayers, Breekout Krew”

November 10, 1984: The Temptations, Switch, Sister Sledge, Flea, Madonna

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

CAISTER’S BIGGIES, inevitable oldies apart, seem “officially” to have been decided as Temptations, Thelma Houston, Chic, Teena Marie, Roy Ayers, Evelyn Thomas ‘Heartless (Remix)‘, Dazz Band, Breekout Krew, Charme and Pennye Ford are due here now, Philip Bailey is already here (CBS TA4857), while the Controllers ‘Crushed‘ 12in in a week of so will include ‘Undercover Lover‘ AND ‘Givin’ Up On Love‘! . . . MCA now have the Solar label, with a Whispers 12in due . . . John Morales’ partner in the M&M remix team, Sergio Munzibai is US Motown’s new head of East Coast A&R — so maybe the label will get more streetwise again? . . . Tony Hodges (following Paul Buick — I hear ya!) kicked off his debut SOLAR 101.5FM Monday 1.30am dawn shift with a brilliant marathon ‘The Scratcher Mix’, one of the best “mixers” ever — so who did it? (he also used lots more mixers including Double Dee & Steinski) . . . Chris Hill  (Sheffield Park Hilly’s) observes that black clubgoers due to the increase in soul radio have become like pop punters, dancing to the words they know rather than to a new rhythm they don’t, making it harder to break anything that hasn’t already been plugged to death on radio — OK, so maybe disco DJs no longer call the shots, but I’m sure as an Ensign record company man he must appreciate the radio-created pre-release demand for Mercy Mercy (now of course that finished pressings are finally out the initial demand has gone!) . . . Gallup’s Top 75 is currently showing the immediate impact of sales to disco DJs the week of release, with no further punter or radio pick-up causing certain titles to slump the following week . . . Wham!, Style Council, Culture Club and so many more have built a career here by often copying the Motown-style black rhythm that back in the ’60s truly was “The Sound of Young America”, yet ironically today in America all the black stars are having to adopt a white rock rhythm in order to emulate Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’ in “crossing over” to pop radio — as James Mtume recently so sagely said, who needs to cross over when ‘Juicy Fruit‘ sold more copies on top of the Black chart than it would have done as number one Pop? . . . Mtume’s next album ‘Theater Of The Mind’ will be a concept set linked by narrative, while ‘C.O.D. (I’ll Deliver)‘ is their new US 12in . . . “You’re watching me watching you touch me all night long” could be a winning lyric right now — if it hasn’t already been done? . . . Rick Robinson funks South London Old Kent Road’s free admission The Oasis Thursdays, with Claudia PA-ing tonight (8), and is after more artiste/DJ/dance troupe PA’s/guest spots on 01-771 1761 . . . Phil England gets silly Thursdays at Burnham Beeches Henry’s (girls free B4 11) . . . Chris Hill joins Colin Hudd at Dartford Flicks Friday (9), when Take 3 PA at Dalston Oasis (and Soho Hombre Sat) . . . Richard Searling is promoting a Sunday (11) 2pm all-dayer at Manchester Legend with Colin Curtis, Simon Smith, Jonathon, Hewan Clarke, and the return of Greg Wilson (wot, record production doesn’t pay the bills?) . . . Sunday (11) The Cool Notes PA for Steve Jason at Peterborough Canters . . . Inner City Street Crew break up Manchester New Millionaire’s Monday (12) Disco Mix Club night, while Black Britain join Kevin Birchall Wednesday (14) at Manchester Tropicana . . . Paul Barron (Sheffield), who doesn’t contribute his own chart so is in no position to complain, should note our main Disco chart (strictly without personal bias) as rapidly and realistically as possible reflects what’s happening in SOUL clubs — if that’s not to his punters’ taste, they’re sure to appreciate our Nightclub hits though . . . Disco Gary (London Tramp) is after a copy of Greg Perry ‘It Takes Heart‘ on Medway 0634-683841 . . . Denmark’s DJ News editor Kev James is looking for UK clubs and jocks to test certain European promos: contact him at English And American DJ Club, Mollevej 14, DK 7323 Give, Denmark (phone 010-45-5-73 50 66) . . . “Hi Kev, my name’s Rob Harknett!” . . . Simon Walsh has left Bradford for steamy Bangkok’s Bubbles in the Dusit Thani Hotel until the new year, nightly spinning nothing but Hi-NRG hits from 2-3 months ago . . . Alan James Jewell is briefly back in London (and New York) from the sumptuous clubs of Hong Kong . . . I sped through the sun to Cornwall last week, scorching back through the night from (as it happens my birthplace) Redruth just in time to catch the BBC2 Thursday 9pm return of Jonathan King’s inestimable ‘Entertainment USA’ . . . BBC2 last Tuesday screened 1978’s marvellous ‘American Hot Wax’, an encapsulation of Rock ‘n Roll and the career of its first DJ Alan Freed, who championed (to the eventual detriment of his career) the sort of exciting black music that young white Americans had found on those funny little black stations in the early ’50s — and the film was a feast of vintage black (and white doo wop) vocal styles, often all too brief, but at least the TV version didn’t cut out Screamin’ Jay Hawkins as had the cinema version (which I saw three times when new!) . . . BBC2 ‘Arena’s’ exhaustive profile of the Everly Brothers had many tantalising glimpses of vintage clips by Bo Diddley, Elvis Presley, Eddie Cochran, Beatles and many more, all actually more exciting than anything we saw by Don & Phil themselves (exactly 21 years ago when they, Bo Diddley, Rolling Stones, Mickie Most & Julie Grant played Victoria, it was I from the balcony who shouted during a pause after they’d sung ‘Lucille’, “We want Little Richard!” — and a week later he too was added to the tour!) . . . ‘Arena’ this Friday 9.25pm has a film portrait of Billie Holiday — pretty well essential? . . . ‘Shout!’-singing Otis Day & The Knights in the ‘Animal House’ toga party scene (which inspired a Caister tradition) was actually DeWayne Jessie — who also acted in ‘Car Wash’ and ‘Bingo Long’ — the kid brother of ’50s black rocker and sometime Coasters member (Obediah) Young Jessie . . . ‘Conan The Destroyer’, rollicking comic strip hokum, gets quite funny halfway thanks to the startling presence of Grace Jones, who’s joined in the cast by another black star of a different sort, veteran basketballer ‘Wilt The Stilt’ Chamberlain (playing a character called Bombaata), who 20 years ago owned Harlem’s long established Smalls Paradise — where I used to hang out with Burgess Meredith, James Baldwin, King Curtis watching many informal performances by the likes of Martha & The Vandellas, Major Lance, Chuck Jackson (rather like Harlem’s Gullivers!) . . . Robert Prosky plays the new Sgt Stan Jablonski in ‘Hill Street Blues’, but his “Let’s do it to them before they do it to us” won’t be gracing the close of this column! . . . HEAVE HO, HEAVE HO!


HOT VINYL

THE TEMPTATIONS: ‘Treat Her Like A Lady’ (Motown TMGT 1365)
The biggest boost they’ve had in a decade, this terrific soaring and roaring vocal interplay filled buoyantly bumping 113bm jittery chugger is now a UK-only 12in remix and bound for the top in double quick time (older traditionally mellow 105½bpm ‘Isn’t The Night Fantastic‘ flip).

SWITCH: ‘Keeping Secrets’ (Total Experience XET 502)
Someone at RCA has finally pulled their finger out, this long overdue gorgeous gently plopping 104bpm “today’s groove” lush harmony jogger having been a huge underground hit on import LP for months, very much the sound of now in black London at least (unlike the punchily whipping 126bpm ‘Switch It Baby‘ flip).

SISTER SLEDGE: ‘We Are Family (1984 Remix)’ (Atlantic B9692T)
Bernard Edwards-remixed catchily trotting 116-117-118bpm revival of 1979’s classic anthem, without any Duran Duran additions but cleaner and tighter than before, flipped on 12in by a gently swinging 122-121-123½bpm ‘My Guy-Canadian Sunset‘ medley and the typical Narada Michael Walden produced 121bpm ‘All American Girls’. Continue reading “November 10, 1984: The Temptations, Switch, Sister Sledge, Flea, Madonna”

November 3, 1984: Matt Bianco, Rick James, Total Contrast, Thelma Houston, Linda Clifford

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

SHO-PROS last Caister was an emotional event (it’ll be moving to a sandy part of Kent next year), Chris Hill choking as WEA’s Fred Dove gave him a silver disc for reviving Sister Sledge ‘Thinking Of You’, while Froggy had pre-recorded a “re-mix” of the usual finale sequence — no definitive “Caister records” emerged, but big were Thelma Houston, Breekout Krew, Temptations, Teena Marie, Matt Bianco, Chaka Khan, Dazz Band, Brass Construction, Krystol, and (a Jeff Young exclusive) the Intruders ‘Who Do You Love‘ . . . Chris Hill’s biggest oldie on his last night at Canvey’s Goldmine was the Isley Brothers ‘Harvest For The World’, his near namesake Kev Hill up the road at Harlow’s Whispers packing Saturdays with oldies like Cameo ‘It’s Serious‘, Reuben Wilson ‘Got To Get Your Own‘ . . . Alan Donald, packing weekends at Rothesay’s Ashburn, points out the title track of Gilberto Gil’s 1979 LP ‘Alapala (The Myth Of Shango)‘, and suggests trying Horace Silver ‘Song For My Father‘ (Blue Note LP) with any Steely Dan (like ‘Rikki’, ‘Do It Again’) . . . Ian Anthony Stephens’ new Fantasia label is starting a mailing list (not entirely Hi-NRG so state what music types you play along with full work details) c/o Ken Crivello, 84 Redston Road, London N8 7HE, and similarly Dave McAleer is updating his Hi-NRG list (for radio DJs and dealers too) at Priority Promotions, 38 Wharncliffe Gardens, London SE25 6DQ . . . Record Shack are re-releasing The Ritchie Family’s original old ‘The Best Disco In Town‘ flipped by a new Hi-NRG remix . . . London picked up The Breekout Krew for rush release, Motown hustling out a 12in of The Temptations even sooner . . . Street Sounds are boxing all eight previously released ‘Street Sounds Electro’, ‘Crucial Electro’ & ‘UK Electro’ albums plus an otherwise unavailable bonus LP of the US Vintertainment label’s various ‘Hip Hop On Wax’ mixers as a limited edition ‘Essential Electro — The Business‘ 9-pack, due in three weeks for about £28 — all you little boys, tell your mum what you want for Christmas! . . . Morgan Khan is doubtless trying to register Hammersmith Palais as a chart return shop on December 20th, buyers of £12 tickets for Only The Party there being given £12-worth of “free” albums! . . . Richard Jones has started DAT Records (“Distinctive Artistic Technology” rather than “dat ting dare”!) for artistes like his sister Gloria Jonas, Billy Preston, Dennis Dwyer . . . Disco Mix Club’s ‘Madonna Goes To The Doctor‘ medley seems to have helped break the included Margie Joseph ‘Midnight Lover‘ especially in pop clubs — maybe a renewed WEA effort could make it actually do a Madonna ‘Holiday’? . . . JA Publications (8 Beverly Road, Canterbury, Kent) have printed two more lists of useful addresses and details, Hospital Radio (£3) and Campus Radio (£1) — both of necessity rather flimsy although the info is comprehensive . . . Kevin James edits an English language Danish DJ News monthly mag (Grønnedalen 16B st th, 7100 Veile, Denmark), which reveals the original of the Pepe Goes To Cuba and Boney M-covered ‘Kalimba De Luna’ is by Tony Esposito, “using a new drum-type instrument the Tamborder” . . . The Earons ‘Land Of Hunger‘ (reminiscent of Odyssey’s ‘Roots’) seems to have been big in holiday hotspots like Greece and Spain . . . London’s autumnal gales having abated last weekend Solar (definitely the permanent name now) re-erected their aerial on 102.45FM, but JFM were nowhere to be heard — and a new black DBC-style Lovelight Radio snuck in near where they’d planned moving to on 104.45FM (with suspiciously over-loud distortion around Kensal Rise!) . . . London’s Standard newspaper reports IBA Director General John Whitney was highly embarrassed when his leaving present from Capital Ratio, appropriately (as it turns out) an antique crystal radio set proved only able to pick up Horizon Radio! . . . South-East London’s fully legal experimental community Radio Thamesmead are beefing with justification that they’re only allowed to “broadcast” over Rediffusion’s TV cables, which only reach a third of homes in their area, while a low power pirate-type transmitter would give them full reception . . . Dave Gregory’s 7-9pm soul show has now been extended to all six weekday evenings on Essex Radio (95.3FM reaches Central London), Kev Hill guesting Nov 3 on the 6pm-starting Saturday edition . . . Northern guru Richard Searling, still Sheffield Radio Hallam’s Saturday 6-8pm soul jock, is now tearing back to Preston’s Red Rose for a new Saturday 10pm-2am addition to his Sunday 4-5pm ‘Soul Sauce’ show (Sun remains disco-ish, Sat is more soulful) — oh, and he’s with Pete Haigh again Friday (2) at Blackpool Baskerville’s for more Mecca classix . . . Steve Dennis’s Birmingham BRMB soul show has been totally restructured and moved from Friday to Saturday 6-8pm (he’s after star interview guests on 021-351 3217), while from Sunday (4) he and the Studio 222 Experience roadshow do Sat/Sun at Walsall’s Royal Hotel as well as Mon at Kingswinford’s Summerhill House Hotel and Fri at Ward End’s Fox & Goose . . . Friday (2) finds Froggy at Stanmore Chevaliers, Jeff Young at Dartford Flicks, Broken Glass Street Crew with George S Georgiou at Aycliff Bee Jays, Darryl Hayden at Epsom Youth Centre (Sat 3 at Ashill Community Centre in Norfolk) . . . Sunday (4) Leeds Tiffany’s 3pm alldayer stars Colin Curtis and the usual crew with breakdance competitions (so what else is new?) . . . Manu Dibango, playing Hammersmith Palais Monday (5), is reportedly suing Michael Jackson for his unauthorised use of ‘Soul Makossa’ during the break in ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ . . . George Lee’s Anansi is top 12in seller at Stern’s African Record Centre in London’s Whitfield Street . . . Chaka Khan topped US Hot Dance/Disco . . . Sheila E has finally started to break here after an appearance on ‘The Tube’ — the British are such a visual nation they can’t buy records for the music alone (and similarly they don’t care about a famine that’s been raging for years until it’s shown on TV) . . . US RCA’s ‘Ultra Dance‘ LP, not from 1982, is a brand new compilation of ’70s dance tracks including Charme plus the likes of Hues Corporation, Vicki Sue Robinson, Brainstorm, Grey & Hanks, Odyssey, Rhyze . . . The RAH Band are about to sign with a new major label, so the finished version of ‘Clouds Across The Moon‘ could be their January debut release (or its follow-up) . . . Record Mirror’s disco charts don’t compile themselves, and especially the main black/soul chart needs more sustained support from contributing DJs to match the time and effort put into its compilation by Alan Jones and myself — please send genuine floor reaction charts, Top 20 or even more if possible, to Disco Charts, Record Mirror, 40 Long Acre, London WC2E 9JT (anything received after Wednesday is too late for inclusion the following week so post Sun/Mon) . . . HEAVE HO, HEAVE HO!


HOT VINYL

MATT BIANCO: ‘Half A Minute’ (WEA YZ 26T)
Hopefully a smash to justify disco DJs power (and taste), this newly extended delightful 108bpm chick-sung samba shuffler has great instrumentation and an added percussion finale, flipped by the more ’60s-style Booker T-ish 120bpm ‘Matt’s Mood II’ (which interestingly is the only side pop jocks are into so far).

RICK JAMES: ‘You Turn Me On’ (Gordy TMGT 1359)
Long established as huge on the floor but alone not enough to sell his ‘Reflections’ LP, this now remixed rolling brassy 112bpm smacker has snatches of Spanish conversation and a new percussive cold outro, flipped by his classic duet with Teena Marie, the pent-up romantic slow tortuous ‘Fire And Desire‘.

TOTAL CONTRAST: ‘Sunshine’ (Total Contrast Records TCR 2)
Really nice attractive lazily tempoed breathy chaps-wailed mushily rumbling and bubbling 0-101bpm sinuous “today’s groove” tugger, double A-sided with the much harder rock-funk 113bpm ‘Next Time I’ll Know Better‘. Continue reading “November 3, 1984: Matt Bianco, Rick James, Total Contrast, Thelma Houston, Linda Clifford”

October 27, 1984: Dazz Band, Cool Notes, Roy Ayers, S.O.S. Band, Tom Browne

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

MATT BIANCO’s 12in next week teams an extended percussion-climaxed ‘Half A Minute‘ with ‘Matt’s Mood II‘ as flip — no messing about this time! . . . Kool & The Gang’s ‘Fresh‘ 12in is due next week while finally Switch ‘Keeping Secrets’ and a re-cut Mercy Mercy are due now . . . Al Jarreau plus David Sanborn’s band play Wembley Empire Pool Sunday 25 Nov, to be filmed and recorded for US syndication — so true believers are needed as an audience . . . Nick Ratcliffe (Portsmouth Ritzy) confirms Luther Vandross is actually credited on the original un-remixed ‘Georgy Porgy’ B-side of the 1979 RCA 12in by Charmé (with an acute “e”) featuring Vivien Cherry called ‘Do It All For Love’ — however, Ralph Tee (Rickmansworth) reckons it was also on their 1982 LP ‘Ultra Dance’ (incidentally the 1978 original by its writers Toto has just come out on their cheapo-cheapo Hallmark/Pickwick LP) . . . The Jones Girls after only one album have left RCA for Capitol and a doubtless welcome return to producer Dexter Wansel . . . Showstopper Promotions’ umpteenth Caister Soul Weekender is this weekend: even though a few veteran funkateers from the very first exactly six years ago will be there, Chris Hill is forced to admit the event is now on a par with Teddy Boy revivals, everyone dressing as they know their big brothers and sisters used to rather than as they do now . . . Chris Hill has left Canvey’s Goldmine, the club he put on the map more than ten years ago, to be replaced by his old warm-up jock from that era Big Tom Holland, Chris’s Saturdays as well as Sundays now being spent at Stan & Jayne Barrett’s Sheffield Arms near lovely Sheffield Park in Sussex — where the disco has been renamed Hilly’s in honour (grand opening Nov 10) . . . Tony Blackburn admits he only has a seven-incher — shock revelation scoop! — coming out on RCA, as a belated follow-up to his “Lenny Gamble” oldie (wot, no 12in?) . . . Billboard’s new US charts breakdown reveals some interesting discrepancies especially amongst the Hot Black Singles, where sales in general lag behind Airplay frequency, so that for instance last week Leon Haywood ‘Tenderoni’ was at 13 in Airplay, nowhere in the Sales Top 30, yet rising at 24 in the combined main chart (which is all we used to see) — the chart’s new typography is less easy to take in at a glance . . . Peter Young counts down the Record Mirror Disco Top 20 at 8.50pm on his Saturday 6-9pm Radio Mercury 103.6FM soul show, which last week he cleverly kicked off very drily exactly as if it was just one from his old Capital series, without any welcoming effusions for his new Sussex listeners . . . Chad Jackson promoting his ‘Crew Cuts Lesson 2‘ LP with “live” scratching demonstrations last week on his home turf in the window of Manchester’s HMV Shop attracted such a crowd that he had to stop after half an hour as record buyers couldn’t get into the shop — in London at the Virgin Megastore the crowd was smaller and I got the impression many ordinary shoppers were thinking “why’s he mucking up all those good records?” (some of his stunts were really good, others he spoilt by scratching on too long), and in fact to escape the piercing volume I explored the books department, spending £34! . . . David Toop’s well researched ‘The Rap Attack — African Jive to New York Hip Hop‘ (Pluto Press £4.95) was my most interesting purchase, the best reasoned examination of black music I’ve read since the oft-quoted Marshall & Jean Stearns ‘A History Of Jazz Dance‘, thoroughly recommended especially to people like Sheffield’s Mike Ward who refuse to acknowledge where “rap” belongs in the development of black music (by the way Mr Toop, if you’d care to contact me I’ve some first hand experiences of “live” soul raps by the likes of Irma Thomas which predate your chronology somewhat) . . . “Do Or Die” I now realize is hip hop-ese for Brooklyn’s black ghetto Bedford-Stuyvesant housing centre, which suddenly makes much more sense of Divine Sounds’ ‘Do Or Die Bed Sty‘ . . . Les Cokell opens Leeds’ gay Rockshots 2 in Call Lane with PAs by Earlene Bentley, Miquel Brown, Norma Lewis, Laura Pallas, Jackson Moore, Odyssey, Mari Wilson, Nicci Gable, Betty Valentino, 501’s, Girltalk this Friday (26), when Imagination and Shakatak PA with Steve Walsh and the JFM jocks at London’s Lyceum, and John Mayoh has a Motown night at Manchester’s New Millionaire . . . Wednesday (31) Hull Romeos & Juliets have a Pernod-plugging Halloween “Appointment With Fear”, free before 10pm if you’re “dressed to kill” . . . John Dene (Bishopsgate BB’s/Portsmouth Ritzy) suggests A&M should try a sax-extended version of The Carpenters ‘This Masquerade‘, which confuses his punters into thinking it’s by Sade! . . . Slack & Black is actually Julian Palmer and fellow Island plugger Adrian Sykes, but Mike’s brother Brian Gardner thinks he and Julian should call themselves that, especially on Tuesdays when Soho’s Wag Club becomes The Slammer for a reggae toasting night . . . Horizon listeners have been raving over the RAH Band’s great “inter-planetary phonecall” – featuring ‘Clouds Across The Moon‘, played off a demo tape originally circulated about three months ago to just a few obviously wrong people, whose discouraging response then has meant that another inferior track is set for release — boo! . . . Crystal Palace McDonalds should have excellent reception! . . . Gary London’s Saturday 8-10pm Skyline 90.2FM Hi-NRG show now refers to it as “Gay Dance Music”, which indeed is what our own Hi-NRG Disco chart (which he counts down) has always reflected . . . Al Rockwell, not Stockwell, is the Stockport STR 92.1FM pirate . . . Neil Matthew “broadcasts” a funky show pre-match Tues/Sat at Billericay Town Football Club on a “station” called NLR (New Lodge Radio) which they call “Britain’s only legal pirate” — he’s also mobile with Fighting Machine Roadshows, and after a weekday pub gig on 02774-51536 (evenings) . . . Chris Britton seems to be moving around, most recently Thursday at London West End’s new Shaftesbury’s and Wed/Fri/Sat at Tottenham Ritzy . . . Inner Life ‘No Way’ didn’t feature Jocelyn Brown, it was Debbie Cooper from Change . . . Joyce Kennedy, US hit ballad partner of Jeffrey Osborne, was lead singer in the old multi-racial Mother’s Finest . . . Stephanie Mills I can’t help thinking on her LP sleeve looks awfully like Brass Construction’s cuddly percussionist Sandy Billups in drag! . . . David Grant, intent again on being a soul rather than pop star (hurrah!), has let his hair grow back into an Orin Cozier style — what next, glasses? . . . I’m still not noticeably being serviced by CBS so was surprised to receive a letter signed by Adam Ant and Marco Pirroni hoping I’d like their enclosed Francois Kevorkian-remixed 12in of the ugly ‘Apollo 9’, their “first venture into club mixes” . . . ‘Top Secret!’ from the makers of ‘Airplane’, in which the hero is a berk, has Val Kilmer doing a ridiculously accurate copy of Elvis Presley’s ‘Jailhouse Rock’ gyrations, except he sings ‘Tutti Frutti’ instead . . . ‘The Bill’ could be a London ‘Hill Street Blues’ — it seemed really odd when the sergeant didn’t say “let’s be careful out there”! . . . HEAVE HO, HEAVE HO!


LONDON’S PIRATE soul stations were indeed back last week, if somewhat patchily, plus the general music Skyline returned loud and clear on 90.2FM. Solar FM’s test transmissions actually packed up just about the time you’d have been reading last week’s column, but the station is liable to reappear at any time on 102.5FM — probably under its old identity as Horizon Radio, though with new co-operative DJ management . . . stay tuned. JFM returned last Wednesday with intermittent transmissions and a weaker signal on 103.25FM, promising to go 24 hours a day with lower power but a more efficient transmitter system when they move up to 104.3FM, a move planned for this Monday and not (as I write) carried out — maybe because as I warned them this would bring them perilously close to a powerful Greek-Cypriot on 104.1FM? In any event, JFM is trying to get well away from Radio Mercury (who themselves obliterate anything within reach of 103.6FM), although as evidently even Solar FM were complained about to the Dept of Trade & Industry as interfering with Mercury’s reception it seems a clash of signals is not the real reason for this sort of complaint! BBC and ILR stations would do well to bear in mind the main root of Rock ‘n’ Roll in the late ’40s/early ’50s: American white kids, fed up with the overly manufactured pop of their day, tuning along their dials and getting hooked by the excitement and greater substance of the black music they found on those funny little black stations. Ring any bells?


YUM YUM! Double delicious twins are San Diego sisters Jeanette & Claudette Russ, who were discovered singing in church and first called Split Image before their relationship was emphasized as TWIN IMAGE on their debut single ‘Kiss And Make It Better’ (Capitol 12CL 342), a Jerry Knight-penned perky Kashif-ish 118bpm pop-soul lurcher starting with a strikingly acappella “ooh, let me show you what a kiss can do — ooh, let me show ya”, the line that underpins the whole song (inst flip).


HOT VINYL

DAZZ BAND: ‘Let It All Blow’ (Motown TMGT 1361)
As predicted this is indeed a simple groove that’s ended up absolutely massive, and in double quick time to boot — a great 115bpm semi-electro lurching chugger with Herbie Hancock-style piano and just a lazily delivered “heave ho, heave ho, let it all blow, down down down down” the total deadly catchy lyric content (inst flip). The next ‘Dr Beat’?

THE COOL NOTES: ‘I Forgot’ (Abstract Dance 12AD 002)
Another masterful languidly lazy drifter, surprisingly as fast as 110bpm, this time sung by Steve Mackintosh with the delightful Lorraine and Heather in title chanting support, everything from the neat little scratch intro kept to a beautifully interlocked minimum for the maximum effect — this is British black music at its most distinctive and least derivative (girls-sung 139bpm ‘Baby I Just Want It‘ flip with dated appeal).

ROY AYERS: ‘In The Dark’ (US Columbia 44-05115)
Currently tickling ears and feet with his tinkling vibes on Terri Wells’ ‘Who’s That Stranger‘, Roy’s back in his own right too with this infectious huskily sung sound FX-spiced lightly driving (0-)120bpm jazz-funk chugger co-produced by Stanley Clarke, bound to be big at Caister as it’s bang in that old bag — the flip’s more subduedly shuffling instrumental 121-1201/2bpm ‘Love Is In The Feel‘ being good too. Continue reading “October 27, 1984: Dazz Band, Cool Notes, Roy Ayers, S.O.S. Band, Tom Browne”

October 20, 1984: Champaign, Angela Bofill, Teena Marie, Force MD’s, Laura Pallas

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.


HOT VINYL

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”

October 13, 1984: Chaka Khan, Eugene Wilde, Lionel Richie, Tom Browne, Bobby Broom

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

LONDONERS COMPLAINING that the soul pirates by plugging certain great records so much are lessening their lasting value should wake up to the reality of American-style soul radio, which is basically what we’ve got now, and stop being so selfish in their “soul is sacred” outlook — it’s just part of daily life to millions of black Americans for whom it’s also a business in which to make money, and while this doesn’t preclude the creation of timeless art it may indeed seem to cheapen something that once in cloistered Britain seemed rare and special . . . WEA seem to be “doing a Fonda Rae”, holding back UK pressings of the Chaka Khan 12in (which, unlike US copies that people have been forking out for, includes the 7in edit too), while evidently owing to US RCA being caught short of stocks the Glenn Jones LP has all but dried up . . . Island got Washington DC’s DETT label for a Fourth & Broadway 6-track “go-go” sampler LP to include Chuck Brown ‘Bustin’ Loose’, Trouble Funk’s re-recorded ‘Drop The Bomb’, Hot Cold Sweat ‘Meet Me At The GoGo‘ and more . . . Cooltempo picked up Cutty . . . Shalamar’s now solo Jody Watley debuts on Mercury with ‘Where The Boys Are‘ — no, NOT that one! . . . Kool promises a new jazz track with definitely George Benson & Ron Carter, and hopefully Patti Austin or similar singer . . . Eugene Wilde has been proving a big ladies’ fave, especially last week at Mayfair’s packed Gullivers where he helped judge and then PA-ed after the grand final of the Mr Gullivers competition — I hear his hotel’s been practically besieged by female admirers throughout his visit! . . . Grandmaster Melle Mel is the cut-up rapper on “Chaka Khan I Feel For You” . . . Disco Mix Club’s October mixes are Sanny Xenokottas’ very timely James Brown medley, Les Adams & Al Dupres’ exciting general mix-up, while Alan Coulthard medleys Break Machine as predictably as their music dictates, and brilliantly hip hops Herbie Hancock/Man Parrish/Melle Mel/Ollie & Jerry with lotsa sneaky inserts — one of the most useful packages yet (DJs-only subscription details on 06286-67276) . . . Southern Sound, 2CR, Radio Mercury, County Sound, Radio Victory & Radio 210 have started an ILR network broadcasting the rock review/magazine show ‘The Hawk’ in the hour preceding Capital’s Sunday afternoon networking of their new national chart show — however, of far greater significance to us, when Peter Young starts at Radio Mercury on Oct 20 his Saturday 6-7pm Soul Cellar (oldies) and 7-9pm Pete’s Party (newies) will be relayed also by Southern Sound, so that “Mrs Young of Pease Pottage” will cover even more of the south-east with wit and excitement! . . . Mercury incidentally has also recruited from Capital the legendary Ian “Good Morning Good People” Davidson for Saturday nights and Tony Myatt for weekday breakfasts . . . Al Matthews Sunday 6-7am Capital Gospel Train may be awfully early (or late!) but it’s really worth catching, the best singing you’ll hear all week . . . Tom Wilson has gone legal at last, on Radio Forth 96.8FM mainly for the (quite jazzy) midnight shift . . . Graham Gold’s “dance mix” last Wednesday afternoon on Horizon 102.5FM synched Lillo Thomas ‘Settle Down’/Jermaine Jackson ‘Come To Me’/Dazz Band ‘Let All Blow’, after which he proved the similarity of Tom Browne’s newie to The SOS Band by mixing it into ‘No One’s Gonna Love You’, and then just as he was about to interview Eugene Wilde the transmitter blew up! . . . LWR were briefly back amateurish and over-modulated, on 92.45FM — which blotted out a BBC transmission (wallys) . . . Sundays it seems Bournemouth FM is on 91FM . . . Jon Guy is now KFM’s official soul jock, Sunday 6-8pm . . . Steve Walsh must be unique amongst DJs, working for BBC, ILR and pirate radio, respectively Radio London (at the National Club with Tony Blackburn), Guildford’s County Sound, and JFM . . . Tony Blackburn last Thursday was wearing his underpants outside his tights in a Superberk outfit (actually they were shorts, so he looked more like Mickey Mouse in a cape!), Bill Fredericks’ deep bass voice causing most stir during the PAs . . . Tony’s exhortations to come on down to the National Club are all very well but as the night wears on they leave the police and bouncers having to cope with a crowd of disaffected youths who practically climb the drainpipes in their desperation to get in . . . Kev Hill reports Sister Sledge’s recent London Dominion show was evidently highlighted before the curtain had even gone up by Boy George in the audience being abused by the entire Duran Duran contingent in the opposite Royal Box! . . . Jacques Morali semi-jokingly is talking about making a record called ‘We Hate Donna Summer’! . . . Sense is 130bpm, Kofi’s remix singularly UN-dramatic! . . . Saturday (13) London Lyceum’s 2pm strictly Under-18s hip hop alldayer has Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force + Shango, Mastermind, Steve Devonne, Jonathan, Steve Jackson, Gordon Mac plus rappers, breakers & graffiti — and it’s nothing to do with the GLC (in fact it’s a co-promotion of Steve Walsh & JFM) . . . Saturday also sees Intrigue PA at Harlow Whispers, Haywoode at Burnham-on-Crouch’s aptly named Scandals (been yachting, chaps?) . . . Sunday (14) Ilford Palais 3pm alldayer stars Froggy, Graham Gold, Colin Hudd, Ian Reading, Nicky Holloway . . . Dave Thomas starts jazz-funk-electro Wednesday (17) at Shrewsbury Ravens Meadows Park Lane Suite . . . Pete Tong finally blew his noze . . . Rowdy Yeats seems to be back in the business — so how come he hasn’t sent me the record he’s plugging? . . . Phil Eve as a roving photographer reckons he hits more clubs in London per night than anyone else . . . Peter Stringfellow recently returned for a reunion night at what used to be the King Mojo, his mid-’60s Sheffield club, taking along once regular visitors Jimmy James & The Vagabonds including Count Prince Miller . . . Renko, married? . . . LET’S BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!


HOT VINYL

CHAKA KHAN: ‘I Feel For You’ (Warner Bros 925162-1)
On an electro influenced set supervised by Arif Mardin, brother Joe Mardin’s great moodily purposeful slow 94bpm groove ‘Caught In The Act’ and The Sembello Brothers’ jiggly buoyant 101bpm jogger ‘Eye To Eye‘ are in the soaring soul stye we love, while Material’s ‘This Is My Night‘ is a violently staggering 0-108½bpm judderer, Hawk’s ‘Hold Her‘ an intense but slightly disappointing (0-)107-106½bpm judderer, Gary Wright’s ‘My Love Is Alive‘ gets John Robie’s full 119-0bpm ‘IOU’ electro treatment, Prince’s 124bpm title track smash is a usefully extended version of the superior 7in mix, Bacharach/Bayer Sager/Roberts’ ‘Stronger Than Before‘ is a delicate 0-81bpm ballad and David Foster’s ‘Through The Fire‘ a tender 0-65bpm crawler, just Philippe Saisse’s emptily jolting 103-0bpm ‘La Flamme‘ and jumbled 118bpm ‘Chinatown‘ letting the rest down. Think it’ll sell?

EUGENE WILDE: ‘Gotta Get You Home Tonight’ (Fourth & Broadway 12BRW 15)
The voice of Simplicious is wowing the ladies both in person and on vinyl with this superb gently jogging 93bpm swayer, a fully orchestrated ‘Sexual Healing’ as if sung by Marvin and Lionel, here in a slightly brighter less mellow mix (inst flip).

LIONEL RICHIE: ‘Penny Lover (Remix)’ (Motown TMTG 1356)
Finally the fifth single from ‘Can’t Slow Down’, much remixed to tempt anew all those who bought the album for it, this delectable mellow 99bpm singalong swayer on 3-track 12in is flipped by the bubblingly building (0-)111bpm ‘You Are’ and dead slow 0-32-0bpm ‘My Love’. Continue reading “October 13, 1984: Chaka Khan, Eugene Wilde, Lionel Richie, Tom Browne, Bobby Broom”

October 6, 1984: Chaka Khan, Paris, Dazz Band, Hi-Tension, Linda Clifford

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

RADIO LONDON’S Thursday Soul Night Out at Kilburn’s National Club (a really nice huge venue) is causing traffic snarl ups as the crowds converge to see Tony Blackburn pose topless, flash his knickers and “break” dance on one knee — all the stars queue too to do PAs and indeed everyone who’s anyone is there, a definite must to visit and so much cooler than that rival Best Disco In Town (though how long before the novelty wears off?) . . . Rose Royce last week at Watford Baileys, wailin’ with falsetto Kenny Copeland and new girl Ricci Benson dramatically acappella, and Lequeint Jobe thunderously flashy on bass, were extremely good — but no goosebumps . . . Baileys DJ Ian Richardson’s disco console emerges from behind curtains in a sort of illuminated dredger bucket suspended from the ceiling on tracks ten feet above everyone’s heads, which must help cut out annoying requests! . . . Morgan Khan’s crafty marketing ploy in holding back UK copies of Fonda Rae has meant that she shot into the sales chart with a huge build up of orders . . . Glenn Jones’ ‘Finesse’ LP had completely sold out in London by last weekend . . . Rayners Lane’s Record & Disco Centre are managing to hold import prices lower than many shops, LP up from £7.99 to £8.35, 12in from £4.50 to £4.75, and are pegging the more expensive UK CBS 12in series at £2.79 — however, Tricky Dicky at Soho Newport Court’s Record Cellar is adding only 15p to the trade price to sell the more expensive UK 12in at £2.20, most Hi-NRG product remaining £1.99 there . . . Change’s follow-up, already promoed, will be the beautiful 0/36-72bpm ‘Say You Love Me Again‘ (although ‘So Far Away’ might make a more memorable title), a highlight of their live stage act and likely to be huge in the black ballad-prefering pop charts . . . Wilton Felder features both Bobby Womack and Altrina Grayson on his new LP, and guested the night before Stevie at Bobby’s Hammersmith show . . . John Luongo’s great New Boogie Mix of A Taste Of Honey ‘Boogie Oogie Oogie’, previously mentioned as a ‘Golden Honey’ LP track, is also about on rare US 12in promo and clocks in at a radically restructured 119-125(intro)-124½(vocal)-125bpm . . . Greyhound Record Productions have reissued Greg Henderson ‘Dreamin’‘ (GRPT 101) . . . ‘Penny Lover’ is finally Lionel Richie’s new US single . . . Temper topped US Dance/Disco, only to be toppled by Prince ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ — the more soulful ‘Erotic City’ flip being duetted by Sheila E, whose ‘The Glamorous Life‘ has to be 1984’s main “one that got away” (her ambition incidentally is to record instrumental jazz-funk) . . . James Brown is the latest star to make commercials for US radio and TV, his for McDonalds plugging especially Louisiana Hot Sauce and Chicken McNuggets, which we’ve yet to sample here . . . Pete Tong starts his Invicta Sound soul show this Saturday 7-10pm, heard in Kent on 95.1/103.8FM and 497/242MW . . . Martin Collins is keeping busy with his Chiltern Radio 97.6FM soul shows Sunday afternoon and weekday evenings 7-9pm, plus Luton Dumbo’s Sat/Benson-on-Thames Rivers Fri . . . John Keenan’s chart from Barrow-in-Furness Champers is mentioned on Colin Young’s Friday 7-8.30pm Radio Cumbria TIU show . . . Horizon’s naughty Chris Stewart didn’t namecheck Les Adams as supplying his ear-tickling mixes, while — whoops, almost, yeah, got it, oh no, crash! — the otherwise excellent CJ Carlos practices his own mixing live on air . . . Froggy funks Fridays at Southgate Pink Elephant, and has been busy in his new remix studio to judge from his Saturday teatime Horizon show, after which discerning listeners tune to JFM for Clive Richardson’s great oldies and Paul Dodd’s hip hop . . . London Allstar Breakers, made up of the best from several crews, won the International section of New York’s Swatch World Breakdancing Competition at the Roxy a fortnight ago, American crews not unnaturally coming 1/2/3 overall, the LAB lads now being contracted for TV and gigs all over the place back home — Paul Oakenfold who accompanied them reports that American breakers now seem to incorporate tap dance and gymnastic moves . . . Zomba Books has published a ‘Street Dance’ instruction book by Yonina Knoppers, which could have been better laid out for £1.99, photographed demonstrators The UK Rockers being amongst many more hip hop crews at London’s Lyceum this Saturday (6) . . . Danny Daniels funks new black hot spot Earls Court La Vie En Rose II Fri/Sat/Sun, the latter night a DJ jam with the likes of Mastermind sitting in . . . Graham Gold, your wife is on the phone and the baby’s crying again! . . . Split Image are now called Twin Image, due here soon . . . I suspected my mail was hiccupping at the time — everything posted Aug 21-28 arrived Sept 29! . . . Symphony Sid, legendary New York jazz jock immortalised in song by King Pleasure, has died aged 75 — real name Sid Torin, his heyday was the ’40s when he broadcast live from Birdland and Harlem’s Apollo Theatre . . . Jenny Burton turns out to be the great Jeanie Burton whose impressive mid-70s singles came out here on Seville, a lovely lady with whom I had the pleasure of dancing at the first New York Billboard Disco Forum in 1976 . . . George Michael, never out of Harringey Bolts, this time slipped Norman Scott an acetate of Wham’s LP off which the disco ‘Everything (That She Wants)‘ packed the floor . . . Hazell Dean’s follow-up will be more pop than Hi-NRG . . . Chrysalis signed Sylvester, rushing ‘Rock The Box‘ next week . . . ‘Once Is Not Enough’ whose C. Shore composer credit was originally the only name on the label is belatedly revealed to be by Oh Romeo . . . Dolmann, hitting Hi-NRG, plays the role of a rock star in ‘The Predator’ movie later this year . . . John Dineley, to judge from a cassette, is an exciting Hi-NRG mixer, weekends at Llandudno’s Cavern Bar . . . Friday (5) Norma Lewis joins John C at Yeovil Electric Studio, Pete Haigh & Richard Searling revive northern classics at Blackpool Baskervilles (behind the Tower) . . . Saturday (6) Kev Hill turns 26 at Harlow Whispers and hopes for lots of nice pressies (and a special secret PA) . . . Sunday (7) Robbie Vincent joins Chris Brown & Johnnie Walker for a Midnight Special at Camberley’s Cambridge Hotel Frenchies, whose owners Top Hat Nightclubs open a “great new million pound venue” on Oct 15, somewhere . . . Steve Phillips funks Thur/Fri/Sat at Bristol’s Prince Rupert (a large bar in Broadmead), and starts Sunday (7) at the Smugglers Bar off the city centre in Wapping Road . . . “Toddy” starts Tuesday (9) teenage hip hop at Lewisham Paradise Garage . . . Steve Dennis, soon to unveil his “ultimate mobile disco” The Studio 222 Experience, returns to Edgbaston’s revamped and renamed (yet again) Faces International Wednesdays and the next two Saturdays, plus he’s supplying “dynamic” DJs for other nights through October — meanwhile those other Faces alumni Alan ‘Gibbo’ Gibson and Jon Alsop are on the move again for Bacchus, the latter to Toronto’s Sparkles from which Alan’s just returned to Bangkok’s Diana’s . . . Bermondsey Dockhead’s Swan & Sugarloaf is soulful again on Fridays at least, with Sean French . . . Larry Foster funks Hackney Victoria Park’s flashy Follies Sat, Gants Hill The Villa Fri (‘Segue’ Steve Goddard there Thurs now), his Hackney Road Pickle House old soul Wed now including ’50s R&B (8-11pm) . . . Kev Ashman now does Ashford (Kent) South Eastern Tavern Wed, and regular Sats at The Lodge atop Charing Hill just off the A20 (claiming the SE’s largest video screen) . . . John Dene & Nick Ratcliffe, still high-powered pop Sat, are now solid funk Thurs at Portsmouth Ritzy, as is Paul ‘Frenchie’ French at Dunfermline Night Magic . . . Night Beat features the best in black music Thur/Fri/Sat at Chorley Market Street’s Academy Dance . . . Russ ‘Stone’ Harris souls Bournemouth Hop Inn Sundays, Hollywood Nights and other clubs along the South Coast . . . Clive Farrer funks Bracknell Wildridings fun pub Wed/Sun, Ian Stewart funks Fri/Sat/Sun at Wickford’s Dickens in Essex . . . Darren Fogel (Hatfield Woodside Country Club Thur/Finchley JP’s Wine Bar Fri/West Hampstead Lately Fri/Sat) hints he’s appearing under his own “kosher” name in ‘Minder’ soon . . . ‘Hill Street Blues’ moves to 10pm Saturday on Channel 4 from Nov 3, where hopefully such footling alternatives as snooker and skating won’t take precedence as they do on Thames . . . South London now has a late night pirate TV station too! . . . LET’S BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!


HOT VINYL

CHAKA KHAN: ‘I Feel For You’ (Warner Bros W 9209T)
Now remixed but with its exciting impact ruined by being restructured and drawn out, UK 12in copies of this Prince-penned adventurous 124bpm jerker thankfully include its superb 7in version (so familiar from radio play) with the male-muttered “Chaka Khan I feel for you” intro scratch and Stevie Wonder harmonica — in fact short excerpts from Stevie’s first “live” 1963 US hit ‘Fingertips’ drop into the background almost subliminally! A smash.

PARIS: ‘I Choose You’ (Bluebird Records BRT 9)
Produced by Carl Davis & Otis Leavill, this beautiful lazily drifting but rhythmically tricky 43(intro)-84-82-83-82½bpm pent-up smoocher consists mainly of the title line being worried every which way by an agonised squeaky falsetto chap, pure aching soul (128bpm ‘Punkin Funkin‘ flip). As with their imminent Walter Jackson and Magnum Force LPs, Bluebird initially imported some US pressings prior to UK release.

DAZZ BAND: ‘Let It All Blow’ (US Motown 4524MG)
Although the flip is officially instrumental, the A-side of this starkly clomping semi-electro 115bpm lurching driver is hardly very vocal with just “heave ho, let it all blow” chants over ‘Rockit’-inspired piano and see-sawing beats. One of those simple grooves that end up massive. Continue reading “October 6, 1984: Chaka Khan, Paris, Dazz Band, Hi-Tension, Linda Clifford”