May 12, 1984: Jimmie Gray, Yvonne Gage, L.J. Reynolds, Cherrelle, Jermaine Jackson

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

Giddy up and yi-hah! All those clubs wanting to hire mechanical bucking broncos/bulls can get them from Western Rodeo UK (01-785 6169) or Dave Gilbrook (Farnbrough 0252-510934), and Dave is planning to tour the country’s clubs with a package as The Club Indoor Rodeo Championships 1984 including a gunslinger fast draw contest as well as the bull, so contact him if interested in that too . . . Thames Valley DJ Association again awarded Record Mirror the Best Industry Publication prize at their Shownite ’84 last month – the first I knew about it was from some understandably bitchy remarks in their current newsletter, just received (nobody told me, but I couldn’t have got there that night anyway: however, many thanks and apologies) . . . Jocelyn Brown tells me that as well as being lead singer for Inner Life and certain records by Cerrone and Change (about which we knew), she’s also been on sides by Chic, The Jammers, while session work has included backups behind everyone from Roberta Flack to John Lennon . . . Bobby King is THAT Bobby King, the one who used to come down to Mayfair’s Gullivers whenever over here as vocalist with Ry Cooder! (he had two albums on US Warner Bros in the ‘70s) . . . Capital Radio’s Roger Scott remarks how strong black music is at the moment, all but two of the American singles on the station’s playlist being black – and a third of last week’s UK pop chart was black too (so, did Top Of The Pops going off air have anything to do with it?) . . . Patrice Rushen’s c105bpm hot tempo-ish swayer ‘Feels So Real’ doubtless surfaced on import last weekend, after my deadline . . . Edwin Starr had scheduled a DJs-dedicated ‘Play It Again’ single for this month prior to rushing ‘Marvin’ instead (er, any chance of re-recording the word “Sunday” as “Monday”, Edwin?) . . . Bobby Womack’s LP review last week confused the Patti LaBelle-duetted 35-71½bpm ‘Love Has Finally Come At Last’ and George Benson/Wilton Felder-backed 67/33½bpm ‘Through The Eyes Of A Child’ . . . Mercury here will have a 4-track LJ Reynolds 12in with ‘Don’t Let Nobody Hold You Down’/’Weigh All The Facts’/’Love Me All Over’, while Malaco soon belatedly issue Baiser ‘Summer Breeze’ . . . Island are entering the disco competition market with ‘Crew Cuts’ (clever title) including Malcolm X, Art Of Noise, Grandmixer D.ST., Warp 9, Nuance, Junie Morrison all mixed by Chad Jackson (St Helens) – who calls himself “The Man Of The Mix” and recently sent me a cassette of his efforts, a live mix one side and pause button-edited medley t’other, all very good but exhausting (incidentally, is it Chad rather than Chaz who’s walking around under Greg Wilson’s hairstyle?) . . . Bernard Penn, a buyer at Glasgow’s Goldbergs store, got talking soul with Steve Davis when he’d come in to promote his line of snooker tables and played Steve some cassettes he’d mixed himself on a home twin-deck system: this so intrigued Steve that Bernard now wonders if it was this that prompted his subsequent purchase of a disco unit and a course of mixing lessons from Froggy? . . . I can tell you, if you want to make Steve mis-cue, just shout out “Dee Dee Bridgewater”! . . . Cino Berigliano, now doing Ilford Palais Wednesdays with Coral King and Stevenage Annabellas Mondays, is looking to add DJs outside the London area to his Dance Disc Promotions mailing list on 01-551 0631 (office hours) . . . MBT Records want to get PA bookings for new group Universe – call Barry Jameson on 01-476 1880 . . . Switch Records are looking for black music cassette demos or full unsigned masters for a planned compilation LP, or doubtless singles release if up to scratch – details from Loftus Burton on 01-969 7135 . . . Horizon’s Gary Kent needs a new gig for his 1K disco rig to replace a 4 year pub residency (messages on 01-599 1471) . . . ‘Segue’ Steve Goddard sadly has left Horizon – he recently discovered the source of the term “segue” (pronounced segway, meaning one tune following on immediately after another): not surprisingly it’s from “seguera”, Italian for “to follow” . . . Dr Soul more or less knew that! . . . London Town Radio needs more soul DJs: send demo tape and brief CV to LTR, c/o 23 High Street, Little Sandhurst, Camberley, Surrey GU17 8TB, and try and beat the Home Office, and stay off the white lines . . . ‘Fatman’ Graham Canter has horrified his real friends with the avowed intention of buying a pub – don’t even do it! . . . Hammersmith Palais later this month (31) wobbles under the weight of the Weather Girls AND Steve Walsh together on stage – heavy jelly! . . . Cameo play Nottingham Rock City Fri 25, Hammersmith Odeon Sat 26, with more dates due, and Kenny G (minus vocalist Barry Johnson) tours Glasgow, London, Luton, Colchester & Birmingham around that time too . . . Record Shack have formed Anglo-American Management for tour representation of Miquel Brown, Earlene Bentley, Evelyn Thomas, Break Machine (and soon the likes of Lisa, Pamela Stanley, Thelma Houston, Viola Wills, Vicki Sue Robinson, Village People & Ritchie Family): contact Bill Grainger 0506-54305/The Shack 01-434 1498 . . . Misses Brown, Bentley & Thomas will be live together at a Hi-NRG alldayer next Bank Holiday Monday (28) at Preston’s Clouds, but meanwhile Evelyn Thomas continues energizing London Palm Beach Fri (11), Charing Scanners Sat (12), Brighton Bolts Sun (13), Rayleigh Pink Toothbrush Tues (15) . . . Linda Lewis PAs along with a Miss Wet T-Shirt contest Fri (11) at Bournemouth Boscombe’s The Academy (presumably not a Boys Town night!), Harringey Bolts has Simone Sat (12), Edinburgh Fire Island has Jimmy Ruffin & Jackson Moore Sun (13) . . . Steve Allen & The Mad Mixer attempt to re-establish a regular soul night in Leicester at Coasters Nightclub (Lee Circle off Charles Street) this Thursday (10) and again in three weeks (31) . . . Peter Lee launches a Shredded Wheat guzzling contest over the next three Thursdays at Bolton’s Dance Factory, where Monday (14) break dancing Broken Glass Street Crew and zany DJ (it says here) Wayne Curtis Blow II join him for a teenage disco . . . Chris Dinnis, recovering from glandular fever, now souls Exeter Boxes Wednesdays and Taunton Kingstons Thursdays, plus Yeovil Olivers the Fri (11) . . . Froggy funks Southend Zero 6 Fri (11), and Canning Town Bentleys every Thur/Sat . . . Gary Oldis starts a break dancing competition this Sat (12) with cash prizes (teams or singles) – teams wanting a gig at Scarborough Victorias call him on 0325-84619 (days) . . . Jin Kenny, mixing at Dublin’s Tamango, is trying Hi-NRG on Saturdays although product is head to find and due to Eire’s high VAT even UK releases (imported) are very expensive: Miquel Brown ‘So Many Men’ is huge, KC ‘Give It Up’ hit in Ireland a year before Britain – Jim also needs replacement Destination ‘Move On Up’, Brian Adams ‘Let Me Take You Dancing’ . . . Pete Haigh (0253-824156) needs Bloodstone ‘My Love Grows Stronger’ (US T-Neck 12in), Island’s Adrian Sykes will pay anything for the rare 12in of Willie Bobo ‘Always There’ (Big Phil Etgart still wants it too), and Bobby Lyle’s ‘The Genie’ LP . . . Dougall DJ’s computerised record finding service now seems operational (good timing?) – send your wants list (up to 50), mentioning any bids you’re prepared to pay for hotly sought items, with remittance of £6.50 for a full year’s search to Worldwide Records, PO Box 90, Luton, Beds LU1 3UJ . . . Andy Greg (Gregory), souling Laughton’s Tempo Rico wine bar, has a 7in of Peter Brown’s 1979 ‘Love In Our Hearts’ for Adrian Allen should he want it, and wonders whether Carl Anderson is the same guy that played Judas in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’? . . . ‘Hill Street Blues’ is bustin’ out all over now, and in the words of the immortal Michael Conrad, LET’S BE EXTRA CAREFUL OUT THERE!


HOT VINYL

JIMMIE GRAY: ‘The Kool People’ (JKO 12 JKO 107, via 01-354 0841)
American singer/keyboardist Jimmie returned home to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to remix and speed up this now 115½bpm simple languidly pushing swayer with Tubbs on bass and chix cooing through his own cool vocal, which originally surfaced here in November 1982. Now as then the 117bpm instrumental ‘Keepin’ Kool’ flipside version is possibly even more useful although with the guitar mixed down and everything smoothed off both have become more similar – and equally hypnotic.

YVONNE GAGE: ‘Doin’ It In A Haunted House’ (US Chycago International Music 4Z9 05006)
Stand by for the next Michael Jackson-related smash! Not an answer record as such, this soulfully wailed high “spirited” solidly socking 120-119bpm smacker cleverly appropriates and adapts so many bits from the backing track of ‘Thriller’ that it must be considered as a companion piece (the instrumental flip should be really useful mixed with MJ). Vampiric though this may seem, it’s done with such zest it has to be a hit.

L.J. REYNOLDS: ‘Don’t Let Nobody Hold You Down’ (LP ‘Lovin’ Man’ US Mercury 818 479-1 M-1)
The Chocolate Syrup soulster’s great huskily wailing 104bpm rolling and jittering jogger (with Jones Girls support) has already been tipped as possibly – now almost certainly – the next “Dennis Edwards”, but unlike Dennis’s set Larry’s is full of other floor favourites, big up North being the Philly-meets-Brass Construction 118bpm ‘Weigh All The Facts’, romping 127bpm ‘Don’t Worry’, buoyantly skipping 116½bpm title track, the chunkily jolting 111bpm ‘Touch Down’ being his current US single while on three smoochers the man is marvellous as well. Real soul sets rarely come as consistently good. Continue reading “May 12, 1984: Jimmie Gray, Yvonne Gage, L.J. Reynolds, Cherrelle, Jermaine Jackson”

May 5, 1984: Edwin Starr, Bobby Womack, Jermaine Jackson, Exquisite Taste, Divine Sounds

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

Last Thursday’s soul awards would have looked busier back at Xenon rather than the Lyceum, where the hired muscle weren’t exactly bright and many of the guests reckoned it was a Chris Hill & Tony Blackburn benefit night – still, it was good to see all the faces, and especially veteran soul prophet/DH Lawrence-lookalike David Godin, who now runs Sheffield’s National Film Theatre . . . Greg Wilson may have given up jocking but his hairstyle seems to be carrying on in the North-West under the name of Chaz! . . . ‘Streetsounds 9’ is completed by George Howard ‘Steppin’ Out’, Ingram ‘Night Stalkers’, Gap Band ‘Someday’ joining Stanley Clarke/Howard Hewett, Funk Deluxe, Jones Girls, Real to Reel, AB’s, Carl Anderson – hot enough? . . . Jonathan King’s excellent Wednesday BBC2 ‘Entertainment USA’ is back, the first two having just included an interview with Lionel Richie, plus the Jacksons’ hair raising Pepsi commercial! . . . Capital Radio producer Mike Childs reports US cable music channel MTV is now showing almost more commercials than videos . . . New York’s urban radio stations WRKS (KISS-fm), WKTU and WBLS – in that order – have taken the black sound back to number one in the city’s ratings, over more popular contemporary top 40 . . . Thompson Twins ‘Hold Me Now’ topped US Dance/Disco last week, overtaken now by Talk Talk ‘It’s My Life’ – Billboard’s DJ sample seems very rock-orientated these days – while in the black charts Cameo have top LP plus two Jackson 5 greatest hits sets, one a picture disc and the other on cassette with an MJ die-cut “stand-up” . . . Jermaine reckons the Jacksons’ world tour should be here by Christmas! . . . Eddy Murphy’s new “straight” vocal is due, produced by Rick James, while no less than Bruce Springsteen’s imminent ‘Dancing In The Dark’ has been mixed for clubs by Arthur Baker . . . Manu Dibango has been recording with Afrika Bambaataa & Nairobi for MCA, evidently marathon electro hot tempo with jazzy sax . . . Arrow plays Harrow (Leisure Centre, that is) in June – hot hot hot! . . . Peabo Bryson is now on Elektra (as is Teddy Pendergrass), and Fatback (who play London’s Venue June 13) are on Cotillion – Womack & Womack do the Dominion June 10/11, incidentally . . . Tony Prince’s ever-expanding Disco-Mix Club has now combined with the ubiquitous Theo Loyla’s mailing service to form a new marketing company renamed The Superjocks Hot Squad, including twelve area controllers to oversee local promotion (club/media/retail) and arrange DMC membership for bona fide DJs, who now need to be proposed and seconded by current subscribers to the monthly promos/megamixes cassettes and magazine (details on 06286-67276) . . . Theo Loyla has been servicing jocks (to no great effect) with selected CBS product like Shalamar and Peter Brown, which may explain his attitude to my comments about CBS’s records still selling whether DJs got them for free or not: however, it’s noticeable that nothing new other than ‘PYT’ has hit our charts since the company’s mailing list ended, The SOS Band only just making it now this week on re-release (I’ve yet to “black” anything although I’m still not getting any review copies to tell our 16,000 DJ readers about) . . . Nightclub chart contributors seem much more influenced by their most recent Island mailouts in particular, with emphasis on recent, as many “hits” are so short-lived one wonders why they charted them in the first place? . . . Island’s slipmats, Nike hooded training jackets and now (for the select few) canvas record carrying cases will soon be followed by day-glo sweatshirts for promotional wear – what’s next, Jocelyn Brown leather wallets containing real money (please!)? . . . Steve Ogley now has a matching pair (of Malcolm X slipmats, that is!) – he funks Thur/Fri/Sat at Lowestoft’s refurbished Ziggie’s (ex-Snaps), where Paul Lincoln (0502-86679) is desperate for promo VHS videos which would get large screen showings in two rooms seven nights a week . . . Paul Earnshaw is hoping to promote groups from the North of England via video and wants to hear from VJs at 78 Fern Street, Colne, Lancs . . . Lyndon T is updating the soul/funk/electro/Hi-NRG mailing lists at Polo Records, 351 Edgware Road, London W2 . . . Gary Crowley’s Magic Box has moved back to 4-6pm on Saturdays on Capital so as not to clash with his dimpled self on TV’s ‘Ear Say’, which now gives Greg Edwards three hours again 6-9pm (and he’s even doing a Best Disco again at the Lyceum this Friday!) . . . Phil Allen, as hinted, left Capital’s Saturday night-time soul show for the daily dawn shift, John Sachs currently caretaking until hopefully Peter Young can keep us informed with the Fusion Top 40 . . . Tony Monson celebrated his 40th birthday last Friday stranded on the air at Horizon for six hours as the other jocks didn’t show up! . . . London’s airwaves now include an Asian pirate – what with Greek, reggae, soul etc, this really is community local radio . . . Change ‘Change Of Heart’ is too hot to hold – mixed in logical sequence Y&P/SOS Band/Change it’s the one that causes a commotion on the floor, so can we have a 12in NOW, please? . . . Evan Rogers of course is like Michael Wycoff ‘Tell Me Love’, which Jan Allen (Eastbourne Shimmers) finds a useful hot tempo . . . Ian Levine, most upset, insists the dodgy level drop towards the end of side two of his flawlessly mixed ‘StreetSounds Hi-Energy 2’ wasn’t his doing, and answers comments from Paul Major (Hinckley Bubbles) and others about Evelyn Thomas copying the ‘Relax’ riff with “’Snot, it’s more like ‘In The Navy’”! . . . Jo Jolly’s 100MPH Disco at Brighton Poynings Devils Dyke Hotel mixes Roni Griffith ‘The Best Part Of Breakin’ Up’ with ‘High Energy’ . . . Evelyn Thomas herself kicks off a tour at Sheffield Chequers Fri (4), London Bang Mon (7), Harringey Bolts Thur (10) . . . Hazell Dean does Bournemouth Boscombe The Academy Fri (4), Mimi hits Harringey Bolts Sat (5), Eartha Kitt Sun (6) . . . Phil England does Eastbourne King’s Country Club Thur (3), Dorchester Buzz Inn Sat (5) . . . Radio London’s Tony Blackburn and JFM’s Graham Gold soul West Norwood Norwood Suite’s G. Bee’s Nite Spot Friday (4), when Invicta’s Mastermind Roadshow cut up Peckham Kisses (where resident jock Gordon Mac forgot to turn the tape over during their Easter “four deck mix” – thanx!), Radio Kent’s Dave Brown & Ian Reading funk Southend Zero 6, and Chris Kaye again funks Southborough Royal Victoria Hall . . . Saturday (5) Gary Oldis sez “name that toon for cash” at sunny Scarborough’s packed Victoria’s (however he’s after Southern residencies on 0325-84619), Froggy funks Leysdown Stage 3, Peterborough Fletton Fleet Sleckers’ 1am (Sunday) allniter stars Jonathon, Steve Allen etc . . . Chris Hill & Jeff Young in a confusion over the date can’t make Sunday (6) at Glasgow Panama Jack’s alldayer – they thought it was Monday! . . . Horizon’s Gilles Peterson is taking over from Paul Murphy playing jazz/latin/samba/salsa/bebop for the twinkling feet every Friday in Camden Electric Ballroom’s jazz room . . . Kev Hill shouts from Whispers that while indeed straight jazz ain’t so hot in Harlow his recent Caister Reunion night attracted lots of soul weekenders, many club regulars included as his solid soul/funk Saturdays attract crowds from London/Southend/etc, who come from the music rather than to drink and start a tuck! . . . miaou miaou . . . hey, forget about “fresh”, let’s look at that FLESH!


Tripping the light fantastic, T.C. Curtis has somewhat belatedly unleashed a remix of his ‘Dance To The Beat’ (Hot Melt 12-TC 002, via IDS) now in the form of a 3-track 12in with a basic 119bpm A-side Remix or even brighter but shorter 118½bpm Club Remix as well as the original First Mix on the flip. A simple funk groove not unlike KC in chant structure, it’s moronic enough fun to deserve wider attention from pop jocks now the summer’s come.


HOT VINYL

EDWIN STARR: ‘Marvin’ (Streetwave MKHAN 12)
Borrowing its plopping backing twiddle from ‘I Can’t Stand The Rain’, this sincere heartfelt tribute “from a friend, to a friend” is a gently drifting 84/42-0bpm smoocher that’s usefully the same BPM as ‘Let’s Get It On’ (Kevin Keys ‘Distant Lover’ follows nicely). The lyrics especially will strike a responsive chord – except the opening evocative “it was a Sunday morning about 1am” is unfortunately a day out . . . the news broke here at 1am on Monday morning, and it was Sunday evening in the States. Other tributes are coming, though this’ll be a hard act to follow.

BOBBY WOMACK: ‘Tell Me Why’ (LP ‘The Poet II’ Motown ZL 72205)
Co-produced by Andrew Loog Oldham of early Stones fame (they covered the Womack brothers-comprised Valentinos’ ‘It’s All Over Now’ exactly 20 years ago), the gospel-drenched soul star’s hottest dancer is this superb jiggly 111bpm swaying backbeat snapper, great out of ‘Automatic’, while other slower snoggers are the Patti LaBelle duetted 35-71½bpm ‘Through The Eyes Of A Child’, and solo “shoo be doo wah” started old fashioned gently plopping 91-94bpm ‘Surprise Surprise’. The whole set is essential.

JERMAINE JACKSON: ‘Come To Me (One Way Or Another)’ (Arista JJK121)
Infinitely preferable to the derivative 136bpm rock-disco ‘Sweetest Sweetest’ A-side, this exotically frisky 115bpm rhythm kicker with a Latin lilt is a tuneful delight and locks onto Kenny G should the starkly skittering beats frighten you at first. An extremely classy return to ‘Rio’, not to be missed . . . and surely worth making plug-side? Continue reading “May 5, 1984: Edwin Starr, Bobby Womack, Jermaine Jackson, Exquisite Taste, Divine Sounds”

April 28, 1984: Terri Wells, Evan Rogers, The S.O.S. Band, L.J. Reynolds, Steps Ahead

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

‘BUFFALO BILLY’ was the name of the first record I ever had as a child — now it seems ‘Buffalo Bill’ is the title of a Michael Jackson-penned/performed uptempo track from the Jacksons hopefully soon-come new LP, buzzing the States in rough demo form according to the US contacts of Wokingham Mark One Records shop owner/DJ Mark Clark . . . Jermaine Jackson’s debut Arista LP is disappointingly rock-disco to judge from advance cassette promos, while sister LaToya Jackson joins the queue of ladies enlisting Musical Youth’s support . . . Jocelyn Brown (and Lisa Stevens) sing back-ups behind Tina Fabrique . . . Phonogram’s latest marketing strategy is to make the Shannon ‘Give Me Tonight’ 12in a 3-tracker with a new 118½bpm Special Extended Version as A-side (Club JABXR 1) . . . Jeffrey Osborne’s ‘Stay With Me Tonight’ 7in has been selling at £1.50 shrink-wrapped with his US ‘Plane Love’ 12in — sneaky! . . . Sandy Martin (Swindon Brunel Rooms) and Paul Major (Hinckley Bubbles) can tell their punters to relax: Polydor have reissued the 131bpm Trans-X ‘Living On Video‘ (POSPX 650) . . . S.O.U.N.D. Recordings have put all the RAH Band’s recent titles on 7-track low-price ‘Upper Cuts’ LP (SNDLP 601) . . . Chic have quit Atlantic and are label shopping . . . The Jones Girls LP track ‘You Can’t Have My Love’ is 112-112½bpm . . . Peter Brown ‘They Only Come Out At Night‘ tops US Dance/Disco now — and Adrian Allen, Thur/Fri/Sat at Sunderland’s Chelsea Cat (“possibly the North’s oldest nightclub, going 20 years — as is the equipment!”), wonders if it was Peter Brown singing a ’79 track with the line “love in our hearts”? . . . Adrian Thomas (0248-723054), keeping things hot ‘n hip at Anglesey’s Minnies, is after soulful PAs (they’ve had Second Image recently) . . . Sandra Reid’s reggaefication of Midnight Star’s ‘Feels So Good‘ (Sir George) and Delroy Wilson’s ditto of the Chi-Lites ‘Changing For You’ (Mobiliser) make useful alternatives . . . Agents Aren’t Aeroplanes PA around the Bolts circuit at Harringey Sat (28), Brighton Sun (29), Southampton Warehouse/Raffles Bolts Mon (30) . . . East London Stratford’s The Pigeons has a gay Thriller horror night Saturday (28) with £35 for the campest corpse! . . . Lorna Luft (the other daughter of Judy Garland) has remade Connie Francis’ ‘Where The Boys Are‘, as well as starring in a remake of her old film . . . Adrian Parkin’s gay Monday Club has moved upmarket to a new venue and name as Dorothy’s at the Adega in Huddersfield (off John William Street in Byram Court), opening April 30 . . . Alan ‘Gibbo’ Gibson is briefly back in Brum between foreign engagements at The Millionaire Tues/Wed/Sat, and Fri with old partner Steve Dennis . . . Basildon Raquel’s first Essex Soul Festival next Sunday (6) stars Robbie Vincent, The Dude, Ian Reading, Micky Laudat & Stavros with full English Breakfast included in the £5 entry, tickets in advance only (details on 0268-24970/727696) . . . Friday (27) Odyssey play Harringey Bolts, Greg Edwards funks Harlow Whispers, Froggy mixes West Norwood, Norwood Suite G Bee’s, Chris Kaye soul-reggaes Southborough Royal Victoria Hall (on A26), Jeff Young & Pete Tong soul Sheffield Park’s Sheffield Arms in Sussex . . . Saturday (28) Steve Walsh funks Leysdown Stage 3, Darryl Hayden’s 2K video roadshow dazzles Stroud Leisure Centre . . . Colin Taylor at Beeston Charlie’s Barn has Monday “Ritzy” nights with £5 admission and free booze all night . . . Jim K (Kell) at Cambridge’s newly opened Bumpers fun pub in Histon Road is pretty upfront music-wise, to start with anyway . . . Thursday (3) Odyssey play Edinburgh Mad Hatters with Neil Fincham jocking . . . Les Knott (Harlow Bennys), spinning soul and funk but no jazz (no way in his town now), whispers he only knows about a dozen locals who went to Caister — “let’s have a reunion, yeah!” . . . miaou! . . . Danny Smith brags Gt Yarmouth’s The 151 Club has to shut its doors at 11.30pm (Thur-Sat) — what, to keep them in?! . . . Steve Ogley (Lowestoft Ziggie’s) complains that he only got one Malcolm X slipmat from Island with which to “cut the beat” . . . Tony Hall, veteran jazz critic/Record Mirror columnist most recently famous for managing Real Thing, now handles Loose Ends . . . Larry Wu’s full name is Larry Wu Wedgeworth . . . I hadn’t enough time to do a Nightclub chart this week, and before you know it there’s another early deadline looming — so please send all charts ‘n info again NOW, to arrive by Tuesday . . . suddenly everyone wants to hire a mechanical bucking bronco — anyone got any details I can pass on? . . . HIP HOP!


HOT VINYL

TERRI WELLS: ‘I’ll Be Around’ (London LONX 48)
Now, this is the Nick Martinelli production that prompted London to pick up Philly World here, Harold Melvin et all sticking closely to the Detroit Spinners original phrasing and feel, but faster, wailing Terri’s cheerfully cantering 115bpm revival is prodded by electronic rhythms which suddenly erupt three-quarters through into a decidedly “electro” break which may seem upsetting but does add an edge where it’s needed (however, with two copies, you can always mix into the instrumental flip before it). The buzz is massive, as will the record be.

EVAN ROGERS: ‘Stay Here With Me’ (US RCA PW-13807)
The spaghetti soulster hits an even stronger groove than before with this chix-answering jiggly pushing 110bpm backbeat jogger, powerfully structured with a usefully familiar feel as soon as you hear it (inst/dub flip). Almost another ‘Hi, How Ya Doin’?’!

THE S.O.S. BAND: ‘For Your Love’ (US Tabu 4Z9 04991)
Much remixed from last summer’s album and now hitting Stateside, this Terry Lewis & Jimmy Jam Harris-prod/penned typically pushing chick-wailed infectiously tense 112bpm hot tempo lurcher (good with ‘Plane Love’) is flipped by an amazing Extended Version 112½bpm dub which is full of staggering drum rolls, dark hip hoppery and dangerously opened out spaces. Talk about hot! Continue reading “April 28, 1984: Terri Wells, Evan Rogers, The S.O.S. Band, L.J. Reynolds, Steps Ahead”

April 21, 1984: James explains the “hot tempo”, Jocelyn Brown, Yarbrough & Peoples, Newcleus, Loose Ends

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

JEFFREY OSBORNE’s Monday was uncompromisingly American (it brought back memories of Harlem’s Apollo), soulfully impassioned, and tightly backed by the likes of Jeff Lorber and, an unexpected bonus, the ‘Hi How Ya Doin?’ singer Barry ‘Sunjohn’ Johnson on slap, snap and tickle bass — do not miss them at the Hammersmith Odeon (where it will be Ingram as support) next Friday 27! . . . I thought it was Capital Radio’s David Rodigan sitting in front of me — turned out to be Red Rose Radio’s Richard Searling (same hairstyle!) . . . Steve Davis, the surprisingly tall Dee Dee Bridgewater fanatic (he also plays snooker), is being taught to mix by none other than Froggy but won’t have much time to practise until summer . . . Nigel Martinez, the now US-domiciled percussionist, has amongst others been working with Maurice White on the next Earth Wind & Fire LP, which should hopefully see them return to better form (maybe doing some of his songs) . . . Terri Wells 115bpm ‘I’ll Be Around‘ revamp is another Nick Martinelli-produced electro driven Philly soul update, due next week though already on white label . . . Cameo’s 12in is now 4-tracked with the addition of Mark Berry’s 108½bpm ‘Club Mix‘ remix (Club JABX R2) . . . The Kane Gang’s instrumental flip seems to be titled ‘One Million Chickens Can’t Be Wrong‘! . . . ‘StreetSounds 9‘, due next week, will include Stanley Clarke/Howard Hewett ‘Heaven Sent You‘ (worth the price alone), Funk Deluxe, Real To Reel, AB’S, Jones Girls ‘Keep It Comin’ Carl Anderson ‘Don’t Make Me Wait’ — hotter than of late, huh? — while the Ian Levine-mixed ‘StreetSounds Hi-Energy 2‘ will have Miquel Brown ‘Saint’, Eastbound Expressway ‘Primitive Desire’, Cinema, Christopher Street, Yvonne Gidden, Velvette, Tina Fabrique, Linda Lewis, Laura Pallas, Romance, Café Society (all the latter from the current chart!) . . . now if only Morgan Khan could spot a hit before it had built a buzz . . . Boys Town/Hi-NRG breakers to look for in next week’s chart include Maegan ‘Doctor’s Orders’ (Savoir Faire), Hush ‘Hearts On Fire’ (Spirit), Claudja Barry ‘Trippin’ On The Moon’ (US Persona), 501’s ‘We Are Invincible’ (ERC), Life Force ‘What A Way To Go’ (Polo) . . . I said the Crusaders ‘Night Ladies’ was almost HI-NRG before realising it’s Jessica Williams actually singing! . . . Evelyn Thomas was featured on Fatback ‘Is This The Future?’ . . . Zena Dejonay I forgot to point out is very like Fantasy ‘You’re Too Late’ . . . Luther Vandross finally leapfrogged Michael & Lionel as top US Black LP, while Huey Lewis & The News ‘I Want A New Drug‘ tops US Dance/Disco (it’s good chunkily chugging 110bpm rock with guitars ‘n brass, on Chrysalis) . . . Harry Belafonte-produced hip hop flick ‘Beat Street’ has so much music that US Atlantic will be releasing at least two separate staggered soundtrack albums rather than a single double LP, to keep the price down, while 12in releases will be through the usual labels of such as Soul Sonic Force, Melle Mel, The System, Jenny Burton, Celia Cruz, musical mastermind for all original material being Arthur Baker … Billboard says that Tenderloinz ‘Where’s The Beef?‘ has “obvious double meanings in this season’s favourite catchphrase” — well, I hadn’t heard anyone use it until Labour MP Joe Ashton quoted it as a current catchphrase on Friday’s TV-am (which incidentally turned into some of the funniest TV in ages with Donny Osmond and Glen Campbell yokking it up when it wasn’t Chris Tarrant’s hilarious mailbag) — my favourite bedtime viewing! . . . Radio Invicta (my favourite night-time listening) hasn’t disappeared, it’s merely moved to 90.2FM . . . London’s globetrotting mighty atom Cleveland Anderson, now regularly up in Scotland, this weekend funks Paisley Paris Saturday (21), Coatbridge Le Club De France Easter Sunday (22) . . . Paul Macey now calls himself Tony James, and prior to starting his summer season at Cowes Thorness Bay Holiday Camp this weekend Fri/Sat/Easter Sunday is running a soul roadshow at Ladbrokes Nodes Point Holiday Camp at Bembridge (all on the Isle Of Wight) . . . Brian Mason, still at Hemel Hempstead Living Room Sun/St Albans The Adelaide Mon/Wed, is now Thur/Fri/Sat at Cricklewood’s new up-market Ashtons (over 21s) with star name radio DJs every Fri/Sat — and could have a gig for a good lighting jock if they call Mike on 01-452 1415 now! . . . John Dene, doing varied entertainment Mon-Fri at London Bishopsgate BB’s (pyjama party next Thursday 26) and high powered fun nights over at Newport (Gwent Tiffany’s Saturdays), tirelessly starts early evening 12-16 year-old Sundays next week (29) at Ilford Palais . . . Danny Daniels, now more Luther Vandross than Fats Domino, souls downstairs at Mayfair Gullivers Saturdays — and I do mean soul, he’s impressive . . . Gary Senior, reverting to his good Sheffield name from the more colourful Steel City G, reports Sheffield’s funk/Motown/Northern/jazz/reggae The Hothouse is now at new venue Turn-Ups in Commercial Street on Wednesdays (50p B4 10) . . . Afrika Bambaataa was a real example of the power of marketing to fool some of the people for a very short time . . . Awesome Foursome’s all four versions are so individually good it’s impossible to decide which is best — obviously two copies are vital for mixers . . . Boogie Boys ‘Break Dancer (Club Mix)‘ is heavily influenced by Art Of Noise . . . Executive synchs superbly as anticipated between Luther Vandross and Chic ‘Good Times’, while the Earons is indeed dynamite with Odyssey ‘Roots’ (incidentally, maybe Phil Fearon and the Earons should get together?) . . . Easter bunnies can and will go HIP HOP!


HOT TEMPO HIT LIST
(another genre discovered by JH)

‘AIN’T NOBODY’ has now attuned more ears to the rhythm that’s been burning up black clubs this last winter, dubbed by myself for ease of reference as the “hot tempo”, a logical follow-on from the slinkier “summer tempo”. While both are basically down-tempo, the summer variety being exemplified by the Mary Jane Girls ‘All Night Long’, Gap Band ‘Outstanding’, Funk Masters ‘It’s Over’, the newer hot development adds an extra wriggle having an integrated tapping rumble tugging at the rhythm’s drive.

As previously mentioned, the epitome of this is Hawk Wolinski-penned material like Rufus ‘Ain’t Nobody’ and Jeffrey Osborne ‘Plane Love (US Remix)‘/’I Really Don’t Need No Light‘, plus the Terry Lewis & Jimmy Jam Harris-produced (and/or penned/arranged) Change ‘Change Of Heart’, Cheryl Lynn ‘Encore’, Gladys Knight & The Pips ‘When You’re Far Away‘ . . . however, ironically, last summer’s The SOS Band is indeed summer tempo!

Delving back — to its roots? — the hot tempo can be heard driving Lamont Dozier ‘Going Back To My Roots‘ (and to an extent Maze ‘Joy And Pain’), although it undoubtedly owes its current form to more recent experiments with electronic rhythm machines, such as Shango ‘Shango Message‘ (US CellulOid).

Slow and soulful in essence, so thus probably too specialist and black to have wide white appeal in this country (and let’s have no arguments about a synthesized rhythm being “soulful”!), the hot tempo’s other compatible hits must include Cameo ‘She’s Strange’, Bobby Nunn ‘Don’t Knock It‘, Kenny G ‘Hi How Ya Doin’?’, Pointer Sisters ‘Automatic’, Bobby Womack ‘Tell Me Why‘, Billy Griffin ‘Serious‘, Larry Wu ‘Let Me Show You‘ (Barbara Mason/Tout Sweet are mixable too), these being the brightest and most easily assimilated, things getting heavier and more crucial when you explore Kleeer ‘Go For It‘/’You Did It Again‘/’Tonight‘, Fatback ‘I Found Lovin’/’Is This The Future?’, Shannon ‘Sweet Somebody‘, Starpoint ‘Satisfy Me Lover‘, Patti Austin ‘Fine Fine Fella‘, Emotions ‘You’re The Best‘, Force MD’s ‘Let Me Love You‘, and — yes, although it’s got a lot of other things going for it too — even Jocelyn Brown ‘Somebody Else’s Guy!

Check all or any of these and you’ll soon hear what’s hot to trot!


HOT VINYL

JOCELYN BROWN: ‘Somebody Else’s Guy’ (Fourth & Broadway 12BRW 5)
Doubts about its mixability tempered my initial review of our current chart topper, needlessly of course, as now you just run Jocelyn’s caterwauling Jennifer Holliday-type acappella intro over a suitable instrumental until her own chunkily jiggling beefy 103bpm backbeat smacks in (intro-less dub flip) or — easiest — chop in precisely on the first beat immediately after her intro wail ends, just before “oh yeah” (this chop being dynamite out of Jo Jo ‘Jackson Rd‘). Anyway, she’s probably best recognised as the voice of Inner Life amongst other session groups, and this smashbound sassy strut is one hundred per cent pure soul!

YARBROUGH & PEOPLES: ‘Don’t Waste Your Time (Remix)’ (Total Experience XET 501, via RCA)
Terrific ‘Don’t Stop The Music’-style moodily pushing excitingly intense 103bpm ‘Outstanding’/SOS Band-type summer tempo groove (inst flip), which RCA’s newly acquired label could well hit with following prolonged radio exposure on import.

NEWCLEUS: ‘Jam On It’ (Sunnyview SUNYL 103)
Better appreciated by serious dancers than was ‘Wikki Wikki’ (which the Smurfs here amusingly reprise), this mainly humanoid-rapped 0-116bpm electro skitterer (inst flip) is actually pretty infectious even if without so much silly gimmickry. Smurfs with hidden depths, yet? Continue reading “April 21, 1984: James explains the “hot tempo”, Jocelyn Brown, Yarbrough & Peoples, Newcleus, Loose Ends”

April 14, 1984: The Emotions, Kenny G, Real To Reel, George Howard, The Kane Gang

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

SUDDENLY SPRING has sprung, and more to the point Easter deadlines loom — please send charts ‘n into NOW, before the weekend if possible! . . . Polydor’s Pete Tong makes the sending of charts to Record Mirror a qualifying requirement of his DJ mailing list (he must have a small list!): for him or any other label I’m always happy to supply corroboration about DJs who say they send charts when they don’t . . . Dean Cavedaschi (Wallington), unsure of what was wanted, listed “the disco records that are making my audiences move” — a perfect definition, ideally a Top 20 or more, sent regularly to arrive normally by Wednesday addressed to James Hamilton, Record Mirror, 40 Long Acre, London WC2E 9JT (please don’t divide your charts into “disco” and “pop” or whatever unless each section relates to totally different gigs) . . . Showstoppers soul weekender at Caister sounds like a good ‘un with all the jocks working so hard individually that there was little collusion over what was played, though biggies appear to have been the anticipated Detroit Spinners, Change, Jocelyn Brown, Matt Bianco, Don Wilkerson ‘Dem Tambourines‘ (Blue Note), Huey Piano Smith ‘Don’t You Just Know It‘ (Kent), other individual successes including Terry Callier ‘Ordinary Joe‘ (Elektra), Sivuca ‘Ain’t No Sunshine‘ (Brazilian obscurity), Natalie Cole ‘Lovers‘ (Capitol), but the big one-off finale blinder was a customised Caister video by Terri Wells of her imminent revival of ‘I’ll Be Around’! . . . Chris Brown (Camberley Frenchies/Ascot Belvedere) protests that his live Tom Jones ‘It’s Not Unusual/Land Of A 1000 Dances‘ is purely a fun record very popular in silly sessions, and he’s always first to campaign against the over-use of oldies as otherwise the scene will become like Northern Soul . . . Jeffrey Osborne’s Dominion support will now be local girl Julie Roberts, but if work permits allow it could be Ingram at Hammersmith Odeon (Barbara Mason can’t make it) . . . Julia & Co’s remix is now flip of the original, in selected specialist shops only . . . Streetwave’s £2.99 price tag on the AB’S classifies their 12in as an LP, so it’ll never hit the singles chart despite big sales — seems silly? . . . Tia Monae has now resurfaced on Carrere (CART 320) with the Dub Mix/Club Mix/Club Mix Instrumental (all 0-117bpm), but still no Dub Mix Instrumental! . . . Kool’s newie is 105½bpm . . . PRT on promo-only 12in edited together J. Blackfoot and Anne LeSear into a 66½-70-67bpm ‘Maxi-Taxi Cab Mix‘ to complete the saga (Anne’s 7in is out here next week) . . . Jive Afrika’s first promo from Hugh Masekela, ‘Don’t Go Lose It Baby‘, is a monotonously driving jiggly 120½bpm semi-instrumental with ‘Roots’-y chanting and surprise rap climax, due soon, as is EMI’s home grown Jaki Graham ‘What’s The Name Of Your Game‘, a stark 104½bpm example of the current “hot tempo” (ie ‘Ain’t Nobody’/’Plane Love’-penning Hawk Wolinski material crossed with Change/Cheryl Lynn/Gladys Knight/SOS Band-producing Terry Lewis & Jimmy Jam Harris — and guess what, Wolinski/Lewis/Harris have combined to produce Thelma Houston — will that be hot or what?!) . . . I never have room for such vital info as the fact that Kleeer ‘Tonight’ vari-synched exactly runs chord for chord night through Cameo ‘She’s Strange’, or that Brass Construction’s ‘Walkin’ The Line’ title line can be repeatedly dropped into Funk Deluxe ‘This Time’, or that Jocelyn Brown chops sensationally (right after the intro) out of the worth investigating Jo Jo ‘Jackson Rd‘, or that Collage/Dells/Dennis Edwards vari-synch into a beautiful smooth sequence . . . Nicky Holloway needs an enthusiastic MoR pop-soul jock midweek at Bermondsey’s Swan & Sugarloaf on 01-237 1862 . . . Brussels-based Station Independente Satellite 101.65FM has started an English service 7pm-3am and invites interested DJs to send demo tapes/CV details to Kevin Gover, Rue Vilain XIIII 40, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium . . . London’s entire population if they didn’t before must now know what Marvin Gaye sounded like . . . I forgot, that Brooklyn Fox show in ’64 also starred the Shangri-La’s amongst others! . . . Toni Smith is one helluva woman and did a great really horny PA at Mayfair’s Gullivers while recently in London — she’ll be back for fuller promotion soon . . . Top Of The Pops being off the screens last week could just result in soul hits moving up the chart in usual fashion, but it deprived us of a Chaka Khan video specially filmed at Stringfellows —where resident DJ Peter Anthony tells me Jeffrey Daniel has been wearing that old sailor suit again! . . . Kevin Antony Roberts is currently in the studio cutting two new Hi-NRG singles which are specially NOT at 129bpm! . . . Miquel Brown’s heart pacemaker is actually set at an ultra Lo-NRG 40bpm, and she’s battling to get Ian Geoffrey Levine to produce her down at around 120bpm for a change! . . . Disco Mix Club’s current mixes are a second bash at Shalamar and more Floorfillers by Alan Coulthard, who had a new toy for his birthday and it shows — Tony & Christine Prince gave him a digital delay unit! — while Sanny Xenokattas who staggered everyone with the same device at the Hippodrome convention has that event’s same sequence (though a different take) included, which loses out by being canned rather than vibrantly “live” . . . Alan Coulthard’s 7in edit of the Crusaders ‘MegaStreet’ is even punchier and more to the point than the 12in, being just ‘Street Life/Many Stops/Inherit The Wind/Dead End’ . . . Island sent DJs a pair of Malcolm X slipmats bearing the legend “we send the sounds … you cut the beat!” . . . Pete Richards & Big Phil Etgart’s “Western” night this Thursday (12) at Greenford Barbarellas has a mechanical bucking bronco . . . Slave extended their tour and now wind up at Frating Tartan House near Colchester on Friday (13), which’ll upset Essex Radio soul DJ Dave Gregory just along the road at Copford’s Windmill, while Chris Hill makes his debut at Peckham’s award-winning Kisses . . . Saturday (14) Kev Hill has a Caister reunion at Harlow Whispers, while at Mayfair’s Titanic (in Lansdowne Row just south of Berkely Square) the weekly scratching ‘n rapping hip hop challenge is between The Language Lab (Nick Jones, Danny, Mix In Machine, Jive Junior & Man Friday) versus The Island All Stars (Adrian Sykes, Julian Palmer, Papa Levi and more) — get down! . . . Cameo are top US Black single — their video always makes me think it should be of the Gap Band somehow . . . Michael Jackson’s success is certainly helping other uptempo black hits into the US pop chart, but with ‘Beat It’ he’s done a dis-service too as now seemingly every black album is lumbered with a horrid fast rock-disco clone . . . STAY FRESH!


HOT VINYL

THE EMOTIONS: ‘You’re The Best’ (LP ‘Sincerely’ US Red Label RLLP-001 -1)
Generally downtempo set only really sparked for dancers by their now extended current 7in, a swaying 105bpm “hot tempo” jogger quite blatantly inspired by ‘Ain’t Nobody’ but less vocally biting (so better mixed out of Jocelyn Brown rather than Chaka Khan to give it more contrast). Useful, though expansive like this!

KENNY G: ‘Hi, How Ya Doin? (Gravity Mix)’ (Arista ARIST 12-561)
So well established on LP already that it’s sure now to be a text book crossover hit, this brightly remixed 113bpm swaying electro lurcher has a dangerously catchy “hi, how ya doin’, hey, what’s happenin’ baby?” hookline that’s burrowed into every soul fan’s brain and should make it an equally deadly pop monster. Gullivers Graham Gold does a dynamite doubling-up megamix using the 7in instrumental flip repeatedly echoing the intro acappella hookline, switching and swapping between versions back and forth . . . oddly though the 12in flip’s labelled instrumental is in fact the original LP vocal, with the similarly pleasant jazzier 107bpm ‘Tribeca‘.

REAL TO REEL: ‘Love Me Like This’ (Arista ARIST 12565)
Busy producer Leon F Sylvers III gives the brothers — Leslie, Matthew, Dominic and Peter — a terrific slinkily jogging chunky 105bpm soul wailer with excellent vocal interplay and great chatter bits, rightly huge on import. Get it! Continue reading “April 14, 1984: The Emotions, Kenny G, Real To Reel, George Howard, The Kane Gang”

April 7, 1984: Marvin Gaye obituary, Change, Detroit Spinners, Stanley Clarke, Kool & The Gang, Bobby King

MARVIN GAYE
2nd April 1939-1st April 1984

THE NEWS echoed the shooting of Sam Cooke in 1964, but the circumstances had the ring of true Greek tragedy: Marvin Gaye was shot on the eve of his 45th birthday “in self defence” by his own father, the Reverend Marvin Gaye Sr… the father in whose Washington DC church the young Marvin had gained his early musical grounding.

For two years from 1955 Marvin was in the Don Covay-led local doo-wop group The Rainbows, who scored a regional hit with ‘Mary Lee‘ (Red Robin/Pilgrim), before forming a splinter group The Marquees who recorded on OKeh (as a result of fellow former Rainbow Billy Stewart’s involvement with Bo Diddley on the label).

In 1959 Harvey Fuqua, who had been a judge when Marvin won a high school singing contest, recruited the Marquees to become his reformed Moonglows — Marvin singing lead on ‘Mama Loocie‘ (Chess). Settling in Detroit, Harvey married Gwen Gordy (whose Anna label pre-dated Motown) and Marvin married Anna Gordy, so it’s not too surprising to find the fortunes of Harvey and Marvin becoming closely entwined with those of big brother Berry Gordy Jr!

Although his solo debut in 1961 was an album of standards, ‘The Soulful Moods Of Marvin Gaye’, in an attempt by Berry to diversify the still fledgling Tamla label, Marvin finally started his hit singles streak in the autumn of 1962 with the then typically percussive ‘Stubborn Kind Of Fellow‘, produced by William Stevenson and backed (in their own vinyl debut) by Martha & The Vandellas.

Only this last Saturday on Radio 1’s ‘Hitsville USA’ series, Marvin observed that he had worked with everyone in the Motown family (“except perhaps the Elgins”), and indeed in true family spirit his chief role early on had been that of drummer on many sessions with the Miracles and others! To move on apace he was of course also used as the (not entirely willing?) partner of first Mary Wells and then Kim Weston, Tammi Terrell and Diana Ross in a series of successful duets which, in this country especially, did much to undermine his own identity.

Also, with William Stevenson he wrote and produced for such “outside” acts as the Artistics (on OKeh — an earlier loyalty?), while for Motown’s subsidiary Soul label his finest production in 1969 was the Originals sublime smoocher ‘Baby I’m For Real‘.

In the meantime as a gospel influenced soul singer with an intimately caressing vocal style, his biggest US hits had been ‘Pride And Joy‘ (summer ’63), ‘How Sweet It Is’ (Xmas ’64) and ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ (Xmas ’68) … this latter unreleased for many months after its recording in a disagreement probably over Marvin’s unhappiness at the emphasis then placed on his duet hits. However, once finally out, ‘Grapevine’ became the Motown company’s biggest ever hit at that time and paved the way for Marvin to take greater control of his own recording destiny.

The result was a watershed not only for Marvin or Motown but for soul as a whole, the moody introspective self-produced concept album ‘What’s Going On’ and its spring ’71 title track smash, built up from layers of gently drifting amorphous sound. This approach continued through the sexual ‘Let’s Get It On’ (summer ’73), rhythmic ‘Got To Give It Up’ (spring ’77) and was triumphantly re-orchestrated for electronic instruments on autumn 1982’s climactic ‘Sexual Healing’.

However, between times, Marvin’s personal life had driven him to depression, and he had finally split with Motown to record for CBS. Working with Harvey Fuqua as advisor and recording in Belgium, Marvin Gaye’s bold experiment with ‘Sexual Healing’ had given his career a much needed boost. Now in a sad full circle of fate, his life has been taken away by the man who gave it. The joy he gave others will live on…


ODDS ‘N’ BODS

SUNDAY NIGHT found London’s Horizon Radio responding to the news with continuous Marvin Gaye music while Radio Invicta prattled on in obvious ignorance until they managed to slot a brief tribute into their schedule: however, given a few hours preparation, it was Capital’s Roger Scott on Monday afternoon who played a neatly edited virtually chronological 25 minute medley of all Marvin’s milestone records . . . I only met Marvin Gaye once, when Smokey Robinson introduced us backstage at the Brooklyn Fox during a Murray The K show in ’64: on the same bill were the Supremes, Temptations, Ronettes, Little Anthony & The Imperials, Millie Small, Dusty Springfield, Searchers and a whole host more Merseybeat groups, plus a full feature movie, all in rotation four shows a day for a week — ah, memories! . . . Capital’s Saturday night soul DJ Phil Allen is about to upset his most loyal listener, but Tony Monson does an expanded disco sales chart show Sundays 8- 10pm on Horizon Radio stereo 102.5FM, now going daily 7am-1am (more at weekends) . . . Oscar J Jennings has left Skyline for weekday evenings 6-8pm drive time on London Weekend Radio 92.5FM — or LWR as it’s known, being on air 7 days a week! . . . Chris Hill, Carol and myself had a great trip to Cumbria, gorging again at the world famous Sharrow Bay Hotel on Ullswater, but it was a pity the crowd at Ernie & Kathleen Priestman’s lavishly lit Old Hall in Egremont hadn’t been kept more up to date musically — however, the night got really good, the lighting (including four flying saucers on tracks and a £21,000 laser) would rival anything bar the Hippodrome, and Judy Hutchinson made a lovely tall dancing partner! . . . Chris Paul (South Harrow Bogarts) has been using The Champs ‘Tequila‘ as a crowd wind-up for years and keeps having to buy replacements as he sells his copies — I wonder, did Chris Hill get one off him?! . . . Chris Brown is threatening to play a live Tom Jones medley of ’60s Wilson Picket-type things at Caister, this weekend (I told you it was getting like Northern Soul!), which may be what scared punters off from the now cancelled Showstoppers trip to Jersey . . . Jeffrey Osborne has added an extra London date at Hammersmith Odeon on April 27 . . . Slave wind up their UK tour Sunday (8) at Glasgow Zanzibar’s monster funk all-dayer, Monday (9) at Bradford Caesar’s Palace — meanwhile Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five and Davy DMX cut it up Sun/Mon (8/9) at London’s Venue before heading next weekend to Nottingham’s Rock City (Fri 13), Aylesbury Friars (Sat 14) . . . Motown again got Bobby Womack for Britain, while London have the Philly World label from which first product (already promo-ed ahead even of US release) in two weeks will be Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes ‘Don’t Give Me Up‘, a blandly predictable 119bpm “soul” swayer over bumping M&M-mixed Nick Martinelli electronics, and a revival by Terri Wells of the mafia’s fave D. Spinners oldie! . . . Collage’s ‘Get In Touch’ LP is available here (Solar 96-0240-1), if you can’t find their 12in original . . . Gary Crowley’s front door to your living room, Channel 4’s ‘Earsay’ has theme music by Ian Levine & Fiachra Trench which as ‘Frantic Love‘ by Eastbound Expressway is due soon on guess which boys town label . . . I wonder what would happen if the HI-NRG chart didn’t mention anything until it was on full commercial release? . . . Earlene Bentley Saturday (7) plays Edinburgh Fire Island, where Laura Pallas will be lucky ever to have a hit . . . Southampton’s Warehouse has metamorphosed into the hi-tech Raffles featuring general music, though Adrian Dunbar makes Saturday a non-stop dance night and as from Monday April 16 starts a new weekly branch of Bolts for the boys . . . LWR’s Sunday noon-2pm jazz doc, Bob Jones souls Royston’s The Bull Thursday (5) . . . Invicta’s Darren Fogel & Skyline’s Patrick French soul West Norwood’s Norwood Suite Fridays (£1 off if you show this mention!) . . . Horizon’s Gilles Peterson joins Paul Oakenfold Fridays to funk under-18s at Wallington Public Hall’s Candy Box, and Peter Smedley Sundays to jazz-samba Sutton Christie’s wine bar (Surrey) . . . Essex Radio’s soul DJ Dave Gregory funks Southend’s re-vamped and laser-lit TOTS Tuesdays . . . hip HOP!


TWENTY YEARS ON…

THIS WEEK in 1964 The Beatles achieved the still unequalled feat of having the top five singles in the Billboard US Hot 100 (‘Can’t Buy Me Love’/’Twist And Shout’/’She Loves You’/I Want To Hold Your Hand’/ ‘Please Please Me’). However, of far greater significance to black music fans were all the soul hits which in those days crossed over as a matter of course into the US pop chart — a subject I keep going on about! — but if you need convincing just check through these, from w/e April 4, 1964: Betty Everett ‘Shoop Shoop Song’, Temptations ‘The Way You Do The Things You Do’, Marvin Gaye ‘You’re A Wonderful One’, Tommy Tucker ‘Hi-Heel Sneakers’, Bobby Bland ‘Ain’t Nothing You Can Do’, Chuck Berry ‘Nadine’, Dean & Jean ‘Hey Jean Hey Dean’, Chubby Checker ‘Hey Bobba Needle’, Ray Charles ‘My Heart Cries For You’, Lenny Welch ‘Ebb Tide’, Ray Charles ‘Baby Don’t You Cry’, Mary Wells ‘My Guy’ (its chart debut at 50), Major Lance ‘The Matador’, Soul Sisters ‘I Can’t Stand It’, Marvelettes ‘He’s A Good Guy’, Little Stevie Wonder ‘Castles In The Sand’, Miracles ‘The Man In You’, Impressions ‘I’m So Proud’, Shirelles ‘Sha La La’, Vibrations ‘My Girl Sloopy’, Anna King & Bobby Byrd ‘Baby Baby Baby’, Irma Thomas ‘Wish Someone Would Care’, Jerry Butler ‘Giving Up On Love’, Ruby & The Romantics ‘Our Everlasting Love’, Coasters ‘T’ Ain’t Nothin’ To Me’, Tymes ‘To Each His Own’, Tams ‘You Lied To Your Daddy’, Gloria Lynne ‘I Should Care’, Freddie Scott ‘Where Does Love Go’, Contours ‘Can You Do It’, King Curtis ‘Soul Serenade’, Tams ‘It’s All Right’, Ben E King ‘That’s When It Hurts’, Otis Redding ‘Come To Me’, Baby Washington ‘I Can’t Wait Until I See My Baby’s Face’, Gloria Lynne ‘Be Anything (But Be Mine)’, Chuck Jackson ‘Hand It Over’, BB King ‘How Blue Can You Get’, Ronettes ‘(The Best Part Of) Breakin’ Up’ . . . fair makes your mouth water, huh? Those were the ones that I marked at the time as having a soul sensibility (they were also the ones that I got), but they omit Louis Armstrong ‘Hello Dolly’ and Danny Williams ‘White On White’! The ‘British Invasion’ opened the US chart to black acts as white Americans were thrown into confusion, but under not dissimilar circumstances the US Hot 100 of w/e March 31 1984 could only field 21 black crossovers to 1964’s impressive 39.


HOT VINYL

CHANGE: ‘Change Of Heart’ LP (US Atlantic/RFC 80151-1)
Sure to top the disco chart in double quick time, the dynamite ultra-nagging 107½bpm title track jitterer is like Yarbrough & Peoples singing ‘She’s Strange’, produced by masters of the current hot tempo Jimmy Jam Harris & Terry Lewis, and the last part is true, fact! HOT! Rarely has a record excited me and my dancers so much (though on current form even if out here it probably wouldn’t cross over until Christmas, snigger snigger!). Other toned down Jimmy Jam tracks are the 110bpm ‘You Are My Melody‘, 109bpm ‘Warm‘, slow 72/36bpm ‘Say You Love Me Again’, current group leader Timmy Allen handling the Kashif-ish 113bpm ‘Lovely Lady’ slowed-down ‘Searching’-like 107bpm ‘True Love’ (144½bpm at 45rpm!), more mundane 122bpm ‘Got My Eyes On You’, 111bpm ‘It Burns Me Up’.

DETROIT SPINNERS: ‘Love Is In Season’ (LP ‘Cross Fire’ Atlantic 780150-1)
Already creating a Cameo-sized buzz on advance 7in (where unbelievably it’s only on the B-side), this Leon Sylvers III-produced gorgeous gently swaying 101½bpm soul satisfying vocal delight will obviously be massive at Caister this weekend and could revive the Harvey Fuqua-founded veteran group’s fortunes yet again. The 7in A-side’s rolling 114bpm ‘Right Or Wrong‘ with its old (‘Twine Time’?) bassline, lushly pushing 112bpm ‘Two Of A Kind‘, chunkily current 111bpm ‘Not Just Another Lover‘ are other good dancers, along with the 122bpm ‘Keep On Keepin’ On’, 0-108bpm ‘All Your Love’, 65½bpm ‘Secrets’, 65bpm ‘Our Time For Love’, and now mandatory fast ugly 144bpm title track — but this is the season for ‘Love Is In Season’!

STANLEY CLARKE: ‘Heaven Sent You’ (LP ‘Time Exposure’ Dutch Epic 25486)
Much of the set is listenable but undanceable dexterity ‘n flash from the bassist/synthesist, who luckily for this one truly terrific soulful mellow (0-)102bpm swaying jogger has recruited as vocalist Shalamar main man Howard Hewett, who’s never sounded so convincing. A must! The recently 12-inched jaggedly funky instrumental 122bpm ‘Are You Ready‘ and gently loping vocal 109bpm ‘Future Shock‘ (not Curtis/Herbie’s) are OK too, though it’s Howard’s hit. Continue reading “April 7, 1984: Marvin Gaye obituary, Change, Detroit Spinners, Stanley Clarke, Kool & The Gang, Bobby King”

March 31, 1984: Pointer Sisters, AB’s, Art Of Noise, Cameo, Gino Soccio

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

SOMETHING like 16,000 actual DJs and goodness knows how many other followers of the music reading these pages, I don’t see why it should be up to me to chase record companies for their beastly product — if they can’t be bothered to get it to me they needn’t expect to see any mention of it . . . Julia & Company’s cooled out less jazzy Munzibai & Morales remix (115bpm on acetate, great out of Galaxy ‘Carnival Mix’) in a change of tactics will now only have 1,500 pressed for specialist shops as the original hit is slipping already . . . Barbara Mason and possibly the group Ingram are mooted as support for Jeffrey Osborne’s one-off London Dominion show on Monday April 16! . . . Slave’s UK tour continues after tonight (Thur 29) at Hammersmith Odeon, playing Manchester Carousel Fri (30), Nottingham Rock City Sun (1), London Lyceum with Greg Edwards Mon (2), Taunton Kingston’s Tues (3), Brighton Top Rank Wed (4), Basildon Raquel’s Thur (5), . . . Thames Valley DJ Assn’s second annual Shownite is Monday evening (2) at Syon Park’s Camellia Restaurant Complex (Islesworth, off the London-Hounslow road), £2 on the door, with exhibits, promotions, awards, entertainment, booze and lots of DJs buying rounds . . . Kev Hill (Harlow Whispers), who got his car back inevitably minus vinyl and cassette deck, was among many visitors to the Disco Mix Club Hippodrome convention annoyed by Radio 1’s Johnny Beerling talking so long that there wasn’t then time for forum questions . . . Island picked up Jocelyn Brown who, somewhat surprisingly not from the cast of ‘Dreamgirls’, has in fact been the session singer behind such as Inner Life, Change, Cerrone . . . Phil Fearon guests on the One Blood US mix, their B-side original 93bpm ‘Get In Touch (Sound City Mix)’ sharing the side with a 68½bpm ‘No Tears Woman‘ reggae chugger . . . Kool’s follow-up 105½bpm ‘In The Heart‘ next week is flipped by a rock-orientated 120bpm remix of ‘Tonight‘ . . . ‘StreetSounds Electro 3‘ (ELCST 3) so soon after ‘Crucial Electro’ and with largely unproven material may be a mistake — current Pumpkin, Newcleus, Davy DMX are warm, Fresh 3 MC’s, Imperial Brothers, Divine Sounds, Boogie Boys (‘Zodiac’) less so . . . Eartha Kitt’s new remix is from the latest DJs-only US Hot Tracks 2-LP set (SA 3-1, £40 if Record Shack have any left!), which besides a Pointer Sisters 134bpm ‘Jump’ remix has an original artists ‘Best Of Hot Tracks 1983’ megamix starting usefully with a synth underpinned new ‘Billie Jean’ (119)/’Jeopardy/Last Night A DJ/Rock The Boat’ (117)/’Pilot Error/Love Is A Stranger’ (116-122)/’Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ (123bpm) before then getting Hi-NRG . . . US import LPs currently cost £7.50-£7.99, 12in £4.25-£4.50 or more, depending on where you shop . . . ‘Segue’ Steve Goddard (looking like a 6′ 5½” cross between Colin Hudd and Bob Jones!) sounds punchy on stereo Radio Horizon 102.5FM — I remember buying records from his brother at the Paul’s For Music stall in Brick Lane fifteen years ago! . . . Mastermind’s master of the “one handed four beat cutback”, Cut It Up Max (whose incredible long tension building live ‘Rockit’ scratch, beat by individual beat, needs hearing to be believed) keeps reviving my old C.O.D./Tyrone Brunson ‘The Bottle/The Smurf’ megamix on Radio Invicta 103.6FM Wednesday nights, and I must say it now sounds better than I thought at the time — incidentally, the original Gil Scott Heron/Brian Jackson ‘The Bottle (Drunken Mix)‘ has been revived by so many jocks in the wake of ‘Breakin’ Down’ that maybe a re-release would work? . . . Chris Kaye souls Tonbridge’s The Loggers pub next to the station (free) Tuesdays, but for other ventures offers work to established SW London/Surrey soul-funk DJs with loyal fans prepared to travel: contact him c/o Woodleafe Promotions, Unit F, Thorpe Works, Holden Park Road, Southborough, Tunbridge Wells, Kent (wot, no post code?!) . . . Ian Gordon at Liverpool’s new The Blitz in Duke Street is after PA’s (an ideal set up, he says) on 051-489 3798 — he mixes new wave/funk Thur/Fri/Sat . . . Andy Bianchi (Poole Mariners Wharf under-18s Saturday afternoon) is after freebie giveaways like promo stickers, badges, T-shirts, while Mark Anthony, now doing Wed/Fri/Sat at Edgbaston Faces French Club Jardine, says “Friends, Romans, record companies, send me your promos!” . . . Theo Loyla is reviving his Super Jocks mailing list at 6 Tomay Cottages, Hawthorne Corner, Herne Bay, Kent CT6 6TL . . . Neil Fincham is attempting to launch a DJ association for East/West/Mid-Lothian & Fife — anyone interested write to him c/o Mad Hatters, 126 High Street, Edinburgh . . . Phil Blizzard (Stoke-on-Trent 634584) is in London on Wednesdays doing some radio production work and could be available for voice-overs or club gigs . . . Dave Smith, funking Fridays at Mayfair Samantha’s, had four Shure microphones (one a special EQ model) nicked in their bag from his car by the Barbican Centre . . . Friday (30) Chris Hill souls Egremont Old Hall (I’ll be an onlooker), Peter Lee has an Island mega-promotion with David Joseph, Phil Fearon, Frankie GTH at Bolton’s Dance Factory, Hereward Radio’s Steve Allen electro-funks Peterborough’s Marcus Garvey Club, John DeSade with Capital’s suave John Sachs and a Paradise PA funks New Addington Kim’s, Pete Haigh & Richard Searling have their third ‘Mecca Soul Revival’ at Blackpool’s Baskervilles, where Saturday (31) they also start a weekly current funk ‘n soul night — Pete incidentally confirmed its existence by sending me the 12in of Race ‘What Is Race?’ (US Ocean Front TOF 1000) . . . Danny Daniels fills in for holidaying Graham Gold this week at Mayfair Gullivers, with me back on Saturday (31), when Chris Ramrachia & Nytro Express funks Bushey’s Hartspring Sports Centre in Park Avenue, Kev Ashman has a “silly hat” party at Charing King Arthur’s Court . . . Monday (2) Chris Hill debuts at Bermondsey Dockhead’s Swan & Sugarloaf, Paul Webb at Dublin’s Pink Elephant in South Fredrick Street has a “Black Monday” (music-wise) the first in every month . . . Tuesday (3) JFM’s Graham Gold starts weekly funking Tottenham Rudolph’s (over-21s) . . . Bob ‘The Doc’ Jones jazz-souls Wednesdays at Braintree Springwood Estate’s Fantasy Club (Rayne Road off A120), where Russ B electro-funks Fri/ Sat (free every night) — Bob’s also moved Tuesdays to Chelmsford’s ‘The United Brethren’ in New Writtle Street with his boxes of jazz ‘n R&B . . . Cyndi Lauper’s remix topped US Dance/Disco last week but has already been ousted by Shannon ‘Give Me Tonight’ while Central Line ‘Time For Some Fun‘ is steadily climbing US Black and Dance charts . . . Channel 4’s ‘I Love Quincy‘ certainly kept Gullivers’ punters at home in the dry last Friday! . . . Steve Levine’s demonstration on Saturday Superstore of making music by computer was fascinating . . . Record Shack’s ebullient Jeff Weston, flushed with chart success, last week treated Miquel Brown, new signing Steve Grant (ex-Tight Fit), label exec Paul Savory, Froggy, Island’s Adrian Sykes and myself to a Peking duck — which was an unexpected treat considering my lunch date was just with Adrian! . . . STAY JUST AS FRESH AS YOU ARE!


HOT VINYL

POINTER SISTERS: ‘Automatic’ (Planet RPST 105, via RCA)
To its sales advantage here never on import despite massive US disco success, this dynamite Jellybean-remixed solidly pushing 111bpm chugger is huskily sung in almost masculine style, rhythmically right in the current hot (if specialist) groove making it a must for mixers . . . and with the girls name it’ll doubtless get crossover radio support too. The less vibrant original 110bpm LP version and emptily frantic 145bpm ‘Nightline‘ are flip. A monster!

AB’S: ‘Deja Vu’ (Streetwave XKHAN 503)
Thoroughly irritating for all who paid around £12 for the Japanese import LP just to get this one killer cut, it’s now on UK 12in (running at 33 1/3rpm), a floor-filling terrific very Level 42/Brothers Johnson-style subtly jiggling slinky cool 0-91-92-88½-92-88½bpm jazzy jogger, most intriguingly sung in Japanese with the odd English word woven into it. People’s ears will prick up if radio play it so it could be a smash.

ART OF NOISE: ‘Beat Box’ (ZTT ZTIS 108)
Despite topping America’s dance chart and being incredibly influential the original 108bpm version of this Trevor Horn exercise in hip hop was largely ignored here — to British DJs’ everlasting shame. Now it’s been totally remixed and revamped into two new “diversions”, even more imaginatively freaky, the 108½bpm Diversion One ending with acoustic piano while the 107bpm Two incorporates what sounds like a car’s ignition system! Especially if you’ve rushed out to buy Depeche Mode and Scritti Politti, hear those plus the original and be amazed. Continue reading “March 31, 1984: Pointer Sisters, AB’s, Art Of Noise, Cameo, Gino Soccio”