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!
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”