June 28, 1980: Cecil Parker, Rolling Stones, SOS Band, Crusaders, George Benson

Odds ‘N Bods

One Way & Al Hudson ‘Pop It’ / ‘Do Your Thang’ / ‘Copy This’ will be on UK 3-track 12in next week, as will John Hardy ‘Hard Work’, followed by a 4-tracker featuring Merry Clayton ‘Emotion’ / Dramatics ‘Music Is The People’s Choice’ / Heat ‘Just Like You’ / Love Committee ‘Boogie Papers’, all via MCA! . . . PRAT have picked up Baby ‘O ‘In The Forest’ for UK . . . Aurra ‘When I Come Home’ is being saved as a longer US remix which is already overdue . . . Taste Of Honey ‘Boogie Oogie Oogie’ will be B-side of their next 12in here and is not actually out again yet . . . Stanley Clarke’s disappointingly rock-orientated ‘Rocks, Pebbles, And Sand’ album (Epic) will be sold here with a free promo 12in of ‘We Supply’ for the first 10,000 copies . . . Phyllis Hyman’s longer largely 93 then 94-95-96-97bpm ‘Kiss You All Over’ remix is now alone as one double-A side of her still 99p 3-track 12in, ‘Under Your Spell’ and ‘Hold On’ being bunged up together on the other side this time . . . Tom Browne’s full US title is ‘Funkin’ For Jamaica (NY)’ – Jamaica being part of the New York borough of Queens on Long Island (in fact it’s where Kennedy Airport is situated) – this localized bit of title presumably, and probably rightly, being deemed confusing for Britain . . . Heatwave record their next Rod Temperton-penned LP in London over the next two months, Johnnie Wilder possibly producing . . . Winston Grant of Leeds won the Sheffield Top Rank-held national final of the Carling Black Label Lager disco dancer contest, getting £750 . . . Teesvalley Roadshow’s Graham Bond, a pirate radio freak, is publishing a quarterly ‘Disco Radio Review’ magazine which, though modest in concept (and the spelling could be better!), contains some sensible info for DJs – 40p (p&p included) from Invicta Promotions, 7 Crossbeck Way, Ormesby, Middlesbrough, Cleveland . . . Thames Valley DJ Assn members meet for a fire-fighting lecture and ICE Electrics demonstration at Reading Fire Station this Sunday (29) lunchtime . . . Terry Lennaine, whose next Merseyside bus to Gullivers is on August 9, together with Tony Morgan opens his own club The Zoo in New Brighton next Friday (4) . . . Peter Shauns has come down from the North to jazz-funk Folkestone Tobys nightly . . . Dave Van Sieger & Dennis Brynner both now have shows on Southampton University’s campus-restricted Radio Glen (312m MW), having been brought together by this page! . . . Graham Gold (01 951 3285) is “getting back into it and looking for a bit of work”, funky preferred . . . Richard Witcombe & Dave Higgins (Stratton-On-The-Fosse 232837/Shepton Mallet 3851), playing whatever’s popular, both want extra weekly bookings . . . Tom Holland, Sean French and myself are only amongst a growing number of DJs on diets – mine is certainly working, but will Fatman ever join us? . . . Froggy the fantom farter says the added sub-woofers at Southgate Royalty really make your eyelids flutter when Tom Browne’s bass comes on – and that’s not all that flutters when Froggy lets one go! . . . Phonogram’s John Waller’s missus says that Chris Brown’s new haircut makes him look like Len Fairclough . . . CJ Carlos (Soho Hombre De Bahia) was once actually playing the record he was then asked for by some bozo and yet totally befuddled answered, “yes, OK, in just a minute!” . . . Steve Wiggins (Barry Freddie’s Bar – which has a beach party this Friday) says “brat froth PRAT” Morgan Khan can try his line anytime, he’s got the best pantie selection in Wales . . . Steve Day (Chingford), freshly back from San Francisco, says virtually the only music heard on Northern California radio is Country-Rock . . . Peter Young is doing Greg Edwards’ Capital Radio soul show, it’s Mike Allen on the Best Disco broadcast of course . . . Chris Klopper (Goudhurst) is using Denise LaSalle ‘May The Funk Be With You’ as his theme tune . . . Bob Jones & Chris Hill have both independently revived Ingram ‘Mi Sebrina Tequana (My Sister’s Daughter)’ (US H&L LP), other oldies for Hill being The Whole Darn Family ‘Seven Minutes Of Funk’ (US Soul Int’l 12in), Pleasure ‘Ghettos Of Your Mind’ (Fantasy LP), while Steve “‘Im Again” Allen (Peterborough) has pulled out 1976’s Tommy Stewart ‘Practice What You Preach’ / ‘Make Happy Music’ (US Abraxus LP) . . . Bootzilla (Chesham Gatsbys/JR’s) mega-mixes these jazz-funk oldies: Mandrill ‘Funky Monkey’ (Arista 12in), Atmosfear ‘Dancin’ In Outer Space’ (MCA 12in), Mass Production ‘Cosmic Lust’ (Atlantic 12in), Lonnie Liston Smith ‘Expansions’ (RCA 12in), Wilbert Longmire ‘Black Is The Colour’ (Tappan Zee 12in), Mongo Santamaria ‘Watermelon Man’ (Tappan Zee 12in), Lonnie Liston Smith ‘Space Princess’ (CBS 12in) . . . Megamix’s own current killer is Cameron ‘Let’s Get It Off’ synching the very last part in to the slightly varied-up Flakes ‘Sugar Frosted Lover’ for a superb long running mix, while BT Express ‘Give Up The Funk’ synchs claps nicely out of the central part of Lakeside ‘From 9:00 Until’ . . . Ralph Treuhaft, aka Ralph Tee of Groove Weekly, recommends Camden Town’s Playback Records at 3 Buck Street for jazz-funk oldies, while Soho’s Groove Records itself closes the “list the most titles containing the word ‘groove’” competition next week – so hurry, hurry! . . . it seems crazy that specialist disco shops often can’t get UK 12in releases because these don’t get circulated to the one-stops they deal with (chart-return shops being their destination), as after all it’s the specialist shops who built demand for the 12in in the first place . . . also, when it’s relatively easy to break a disco hit ¡f the record’s right, it’s amazing how many people in the record business haven’t got a clue and do it all wrong – I’ve nothing specific in mind, but have merely been listening to a pile of no-hopers . . . Greg Davies (Stevenage Bo Jangles) sez “KEEP IT TIGHT!”

UK Newies

CECIL PARKER: ‘Really Really Love You’ (EMI 12EMI 5086)
Terrific bassily booming soulful 110-111-112-113bpm 12in jogger in the ‘Back Together Again’ bag (slower now than the US 12in) with tootling sax and husky rap, huge for the Mafia.

ROLLING STONES: ‘Emotional Rescue’ (Rolling Stones RSR 105) (BNDA debut 7/19/80)
Great slinky spare 112-113-115-114-116-117-119bpm 7in strutter squeakily sung in somewhat Frederic Knight-like style, giving it strong crossover disco appeal.

THE S.O.S. BAND: ‘Take Your Time (Do It Right)’ (Tabu TBU 134564) (BNDA debut 4/12/80)
US smash simple repetitive chix-chanted 119-120-119bpm pop-slanted pure “disco” jolter finally on deserved UK 12in in all its intensity-building length.  Continue reading “June 28, 1980: Cecil Parker, Rolling Stones, SOS Band, Crusaders, George Benson”

June 21, 1980: Cameo, Whispers, Kool & The Gang, Patti Austin, Charanga 76

Odds ‘N Bods

Detroit Spinners ‘Cupid’ is also on 12in, while Bob Marley’s 12in flip includes the bonus 63bpm ‘Ride Natty Ride’ . . . Dave Grusin’s direct-cut Japanese import LP on JVC is getting big for jazz jocks, but I’ve yet to hear it as Groove don’t demonstrate direct-cuts as they’re so expensive! . . . Whitehaven Whitehouse got their Sunday licence back and celebrate with an all-dayer on August 3rd starring Chris Hill, Jeff Young, Pete Haigh, Frenchie and the resident jocks – see you there! . . . Jeff Young starts a weekly live jazz night this Sunday (22) at Dartford Flicks, starring Reg Webb’s Fusion . . . Flicks’ VE night last week was fun, but Robbie Vincent’s fascinating World War II tape did seem to last a week! . . . Erskine T (Thompson) is now Arista’s disco plugger, at 01-491 3870 on Mon/Tuesday Pete Haigh & Frenchie, rapidly expanding their activities from Caton Scarthwaite, are now part of a Northern funk mafia known as The Team and including Eric Hearn (Liverpool), Billy (Standish Cassinellis), Neil Neile (Stoke/Nottingham), Pete Girtley (Sheffield) and the Rumours funk night jocks . . . Darryl Hayden claims Yellow Magic Orchestra broke first at February’s Slough allniter and thanks the Richmond Cheekee, Pete’s “funk invaders” for first adopting it as their theme tune – however Mark Cotgrove writes from Southend to say “although I’m ashamed to admit it, I started the Zero 6 “space invader” dance (damn it)!” – anyone else for instant fame? . . . Colin Curtis thinks there were about a thousand Northerners at Knebworth and says the alldayer that he and John Grant returned for was down in numbers noticeably by 500 or so . . . Kev Hill funks – and he really does mean funks – a barbeque at the South Weald Flower Festival in Brentwood next Saturday (28) and advises £2.50 tickets covering food as well are available from him (send SAE) at 65 London Road, Brentwood CM14 4NN . . . Chris Britton is selling some rare disco 12in promos and pop collectors items, lists from him at 16 Portland House, Arnison Avenue, High Wycombe, Bucks . . . Ralph Tea, Marious Cee & Nigel RA See work in Fleet Street and in their spare time have put together a regular and rather hip jazz-funk fanzine called Groove Weekly which though skimpy is well worth seeing – Ralph also runs a jazz-funk disco around Watford, so for more details call him on Rickmansworth 77774 (presumably evenings) . . . Arbie is back at Retford MAYC, cos the wally jock who replaced him evidently lost over half the audience! . . . Pete Tong, whose West Kingsdown Hilltop jazz-funk night is every Monday, joins Dave Brown on BBC Radio Medway this Friday (20) from 7-8pm . . . Martin Collins now can be found behind the counter at Groove . . . Gary Oldis reports that Geordies are chanting “why aye” to Cameo’s ‘On The One’ at Aycliffe Gretna Green . . . Steve Dennis says that the alternations at Edgbaston Profile Suite will double the size and update his room . . . Sammy DeHavilland whispers that Halesowen Libertys manager Steve Lefearve was wearing a Saturday Night Fever badge! . . . SEDA have a little wine and cheese party in Chilham next Sunday, which could be pleasant if the weather’s good . . . Diana Ross’s remix of her Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards-produced LP‘s far from their own original version, which had a fuller-fleshed Chic texture – and its thinness is indeed annoyingly evident if you mix it out of something beefier . . . Teena Marie’s 7in might just as well be a different record, amazingly leaving out all the most distinctive features of the full version! . . . One Way ‘Pop It’ is another good mix out of Tom Browne ‘Funkin’ For Jamaica’ . . . Brian Brindle (Chelsea Alibi) sez that Change ‘Searching’ isn’t difficult to get into, he merely wacks up the volume on the intro and for all those who leave the floor, double enter it . . . DJ Donald seems to be getting less rock and more disco-orientated up in the Berwick/SE Scotland area, and probably starts a local paper review column soon . . . Paul “Wiggy” Wignall (Liverpool Oscars) is the latest Merseysider to complain at the lack of a proper import outlet there . . . Chart contributors and potential contributors, please note that our deadline is Wednesday/Thursday, so get ‘em in by then if possible (on your own paper – there are no printed forms) to James Hamilton, Record Mirror, 40 Longacre, London WC2 . . . KEEP IT FUNKY!

UK Newies

CAMEO: ‘On The One’ (Casablanca CANL 199)
Great jittery lurching 115bpm 12in funk smacker with infectious “wah oh” chanting that’s already become one of the big call and answer shouts (in fact possibly making it the biggest record at Knebworth), flipped by the similar but even heavier bass-pulverised 116-115bpm ‘Cameosis’ for read double sided value.

WHISPERS: ‘My Girl’ (Solar SO 12-8)
Teasingly started and interrupted by tapping and rattling percussion spliced in amongst the familiar Temptations bass line, this 116(intro)-118-119-118-120-119-116bpm 12in revival should be a pop smash – and in fact was instantly but briefly even bigger than ‘And The Beat Goes On’ around Christmas!

KOOL & THE GANG: ‘Hangin’ Out’ (De-Lite KOOL 912) (BNDA debut 9/8/79)
Powerfully remixed spurting 117(intro)-118-120-122-120-123-121-124bpm 12in “rock” smacker now flipped by the full version of 1976’s brassily galloping 117(intro)-121bpm ‘Open Sesame’, complete with good rattling break and bags of bounce. Continue reading “June 21, 1980: Cameo, Whispers, Kool & The Gang, Patti Austin, Charanga 76”

June 14, 1980: Tom Browne, Change, Ben E. King, Flakes, One Way ft Al Hudson

Odds ‘N Bods

Diana Ross’ new “Chic” LP, reviewed last week on import, is now out here (Motown STMA 8033) but add 1bpm to my original estimates (and the Temptations ‘Power’ on UK 12in is 126bpm) – in fact BPM differences caused simply by voltage variations between the times of doing them is giving me problems at the moment! . . . Johnny Guitar Watson’s B-side (on 7in anyway) is the slow ‘Jet Plane’ . . . BT Express and Cameo are both due now next week, but Cameo will be preceded for jocks by promo-only extra “special” versions . . . Invisible Man’s Band compared with the US original is so much brighter (even though 2bpm slower) that it sounds like a smash . . . George Duke’s rapid rather left-field rise is reminiscent of Azymuth . . . The Mexicano joins the “who shot JR” race with a 114bpm rapper called ‘Dallas’ . . . PEEL’s latest 4-track Sponsor-Disc finally has a disco-orientated jingle thanks to Foster Grant (the sunglasses one on telly) . . . Dartford Flicks’ VE Night wartime fancy dress party this Thursday (12) stars General Robbie Vincent, Catering Cpl Jeff Young, a real WWII searchlight outside, nostalgia on tape and guest surprises, the whole lot being videoed for showing again next week – now, where’s my gas mask?! . . . August Bank Holiday Saturday sees a 7000-capacity marquee going up at Skegness to house two major US jazz-funk acts (Colin Curtis tells me the Brothers Johnson are under negotiation) – what an original idea! . . . Mike Allen takes over Greg Edwards’ Capital soul show for a few weeks this Saturday . . . Ilford Room At The Top wants an experienced local club-orientated jock for extra work there, no time wasters, call Terry Hooper on 01-478 5588 (club hours) . . . Rob Harknett’s Danish DJ friend needs a British jock with “crazy” chat who’ll get room and evening meal as well as a good wage, send demo tape to White Corner, 7700 Thisted, Denmark . . . Chris Britton’s drink/record company-subsidised promotional disco tour still has a few vacant dates, call 0494-451797 and be amazed at the low asking price . . . Fatman’s jockette friend Nicky Mackenzie wants more London club work three nights a week (01-351 1624) while her flatmate had a mystery visitor – no, say no more! . . . Chris Klopper, whose Funkannection show works around West/Mid-Kent, wants to get up-front funk gigs slightly further afield (Goudhurst 211229 evenings) . . . Gordon Hart & Colin Dalton plead for more hip funksters so they can improve the music at Charing Cross Griffin Tavern’s dive bar in Villiers Street, Tues-thru-Fridays . . . Sammy DeHavilland reports a healthy clan scene growing at Halesowen Libertys on the jazz-funk Fridays, saying any Black Country funksters needing transport should contact him on 021-444 6593/7919 . . . Terry Lennaine’s recent busload of Merseysiders at Mayfair Gullivers was a lot of fun (they say they’ll be back regularly) – special hello’s to DJs John Hazelhurst & Steve Murphy, my tall friend Flora, and to Phil, Collette, Alan & Norman . . . Alan Jewell, chauffeur and dining companion of the stars, now mixes alongside Des Hill on Sat/Sundays at Finchley Road’s really lavishly redecorated Les Elites, where Terry Prince still does the other nights . . . BT Express ‘Funk Theory’ was of course originally a hit for Rokotto, who had a good laugh when they heard it recently! . . . Franklin Sinclair (Stretford) points out that Collins & Collins ‘You Know How To Make Me Feel So Good’ was originally on Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes’ ‘Wake Up Everybody’ LP . . . Larry Foster (Ilford Room At The Top) and Steve Wiggins (Barry Freddies Bar) both do a dance to ‘The Scratch’ in a fairly self-explanatory way, while Kev Hill (Brentwood) says the BT Express ‘Give Up The Funk’ “space invaders” dance (surely only a variation on the old Funky robot?) was being done in ‘74 to War’s ‘Me And Baby Brother’ – as Chris Hill says, if you look hard enough you’ll find Egyptian pyramid carvings that show every step ever invented! . . . Gary Oldis is delighted that he’s swung back to funk at Aycliffe Gretna Green club . . . Ashley Woods (Sleaford) says his pet python Clyde nearly escaped from his cage after getting into Breakwater ‘Release The Beast’! . . . Northampton Cinderella Rockerfella’s Jason Maine, aka Colin Prime, has had to find a painful new position so I’m told – for jocking, that is! . . . Mecca’s “mole”, Tina Lee should have been in her boxer shorts at the Stevenage forum . . . Steve Allen (Peterborough) asks, “wot about the Steve Allen of the ‘Benny Goodman Story’ fame?” . . . Phonogram’s Orin Cozier now says he’s “anyone’s man”, while the brat from PRAT confesses to being a pantie stealer – which seems highly likely! . . . Rod Bolam (Stevenage) recommends Manchester-based funkers the Reality Band and similarly Stevie Glover (Bournemouth) sez the local Blackwater Gold are dynamite, like a cross between Surface Noise and Hi-Tension (African Music Machine’s old ‘Blackwater Gold’ being their theme tune) – you can catch the latter every Sunday from July 6th at Bournemouth Maison Royale . . . Paul Lofthouse is the third DJ in Southampton’s Virgin spinning team . . . Mark Clark’s big Back Chat Roadshow backs the 208 jocks in Middlesbrough’s Albert Park this weekend . . . ‘And Justice For All’, a harrowing black comedy that’s not in itself an incredibly good movie, has a great jazz-funk score by Dave Grusin that should be on record . . . King Enri (Catford) has formed a rival mafia for fat DJs, the Flabby Fat Funkers DJA! . . . I’m on a diet! . . . Southampton University Bootsies points out the huge revival of disco in the charts, Erik-Jack (Bognor Regis) adding “disco is alive and well, it’s the record companies that are dead” . . . KEEP IT FUNKY!

UK Newies

TOM BROWNE: ‘Funkin’ For Jamaica’ (Arista ARIST 12357) (BNDA debut 8/23/80)
A 2½ bar trumpet note followed by chattering chaps intro this dynamite 112bpm 12in heavy funk clapper that explodes with the dirtiest and loudest bass you’ve ever heard! Out here ahead of the US, it’s causing a sensation for lucky acetate-serviced Mafiosi and mixes perfectly on into ‘Bounce Rock Skate Roll (Pt 2)’ . . . if you can synch the latter’s claps! The more normal 48/96-98 bpm ‘Her Silent Smile’ jazz trumpet jogger is flip.

CHANGE: ‘A Lover’s Holiday’ (WEA K 79141T) (BNDA debut 3/29/80)
Bass-snapped chix chanted simple steady 117 bpm 12in thudder not unlike Gino Soccio’s ‘Dancer’, flipped by the Chic-influenced fluidly melodic chap-sung gay 119 bpm ‘The Glow Of Love’ which many now prefer.

BEN E. KING: ‘Music Trance’ (Atlantic K 11495T) (BNDA debut 3/1/80)
Long established great jauntily bubbling 109(intro)-108-110-109 bpm funk chugger finally (and probably too late) on speeded-up commercial 12in as the flip to the similarly speeded but badly mixed and nowhere as strong blandly romping 118-117-120(“one chance”)-119(break)-120-119 bpm ‘You’ve Only Got One Chance To Be Young’ swinger.  Continue reading “June 14, 1980: Tom Browne, Change, Ben E. King, Flakes, One Way ft Al Hudson”

June 7, 1980: Birth of the rowing dance, Bobby Thurston, Stacy Lattisaw, Odyssey, Starship Orchestra, Johnny Guitar Watson

Southend Boating Song

Gina Hall of Hornchurch writing on behalf of Fat Kev and Howie, founders of the Golden Lion Rowing Team, fills in some really interesting details about the birth of the now rapidly spreading “rowing” dance (which surely is a close cousin of Chris Hill’s Just One Cornetto silly?).

Gina says that the dance, which consists of sitting on the floor and rowing to the beat of the music (see photo), was originated exactly a year ago when Anita Ward’s Ring My Bell was new on import.

Some regulars at Romford’s Golden Lion pub came up with the idea while enjoying an evening’s drinking in the lounge bar of the Zero 6 disco in Southend, where they proceeded to try it out on the floor, much to everyone else’s amusement.

“Mainly because it’s great fun both to watch and do”, explains Gina. “Soon we had a flourishing Golden Lion Rowing Team with an ever-growing number of rowers, for whose sake Ring My Bell was endured until the record died the death by being smashed up.”

“Rowing continued through parties at Christmas and then in the New Year along came the Gap Band’s I Don’t Believe You Want To Get Up And Dance (Oops!)” – reissued on 12in this week as Oops Up Side Your Head (Mercury MERX 22) – “which proved to be a worthy beat substitute.”

“Once again rowing was a hit and now after a few more months the thing is really catching on. At the Zero 6 it is as much of an institution as Shout and the freeze or anti-freeze. The whole place is reduced to swarms of people sitting on the floor swaying back and forth to the music and adding to the already many variations and improvisations such as clapping, aeroplane and circular motions.”

“The Caister and Isle of Wight weekenders have been the most recent holders of rowing contests. You may find the situation rather amusing, but recognition is all I strive for – down here rowing is a serious business (although essentially a fun thing)! Now in fact the latest dance craze at Zero 6 is the jerky space invaders dance performed to BT Express’s Give Up The Funk.”

Hmm, thanks a lot Gina. Let’s hope it stays fine in Southend so they have “jolly good boating weather”!

Odds ‘N Bods

BT EXPRESS ‘Give Up The Funk’ / ‘Does It Feel Good’ will be on 4-track Calibre 12in with remixed versions as flip (CBS has ‘em only in the States) . . . Cameo ‘On The One’ / ‘Cameosis’ is on UK 12in next week but their LP is postponed, and Kool & The Gang ‘Hangin’ Out’ will be backed here by 1976’s ‘Open Sesame . . . I missed all the really hot vinyl and info last week due to early Bank Holiday deadlines – amongst the UK 12in versions now out are LA Boppers (MERX 12), Liquid Gold and Manhattan Transfer, while Raydio ‘For Those Who Like To Groove’ finally makes 12in as the second track on a B-side preceded by the almost seguing 117bpm ‘Until The Morning Comes’ (ARIST 12334) . . . Brothers Johnson (the remix being 124bpm) is on 3-track 12in with ‘Free Yourself Be Yourself’ the addition . . . Teena Marie turns out to have been 117bpm all this time (which just shows what voltage fluctuations can do) . . . Tom Browne ‘Funkin’ For Jamaica’, a dynamite 112bpm ultra heavy funker serviced to mafiosi on acetate, will be on UK 12in ahead of US release . . . Change ‘Searching’ seems to be heavily requested but not played so much as DJs find it tricky to slot in, the upcoming UK 12in in any case being ‘A Lover’s Holiday’ / ‘Glow Of Love’ . . . Roy Ayers & Wayne Henderson’s disappointing new ‘Prime Time’ LP is being rushed out here to combat US imports . . . Elaine & Ellen ‘Fill Me Up’ is on US 12in (Ovation OVD 5004) . . . Phyllis Hyman’s 12in is being repressed with a new extended disco version of ‘Kiss You All Over’ . . . London’s Oxford Street HMV Shop is evidently selling the import cut-out double ‘Blue Note Live At The Roxy’ album (featuring the live ‘Dominoes’) for under two quid . . . Martin Collins (Ware Beckets on Thursdays) started the buzz on Manfredo Fest ‘Jungle Kitten’ (US Tabu LP), playing the 137bpm samba to Sean French . . . John Handy ‘Hard Work’ (ABC/Impulse LP) at 131-130-131-132bpm, though slower seeming, and Dexter Wansel ‘Life On Mars’ (US Philadelphia Int’l LP) at 118bpm are the other big revivals for jazz-funkers . . . Knebworth’s outbreak of trouble by about twenty black hooligans once it got dark prompted DJ Pepe to say “today for the first time I’m ashamed to be black”, and was the subject of Greg Edwards’ ‘Bathroom Call’ on Capital last Saturday . . . Sho-Pro will have to improve the catering facilities next time as the queues were ridiculous . . . Colin Curtis and John Grant, whisked back North to another alldayer (hence defeating the point in including them at Knebworth) were evidently amazed by the scale and atmosphere, Curtis reportedly saying “the North have no idea what they’re missing” . . . Ernie Priestman brought his Whitehaven Whitehouse partners Phil Haslehurst & Wayne Nicholls (plus wives) down to Knebworth, then spent the day working on his tan . . . Robbie Vincent made sure the funky bugler (discovered at Caister) was one of the stars at Knebworth! . . . Southend Zero 6’s claim to be the home of “rowing” may be sound, but surely the craze really got started at an alldayer in Harlow around the end of ‘78? . . . Greg Davies’ Disco Forum 80 was well attended by record company pluggers and mobile DJs, achieved little, and started ludicrously late . . . Stevenage is no place to try and eat after 9:30 on a Sunday night! . . . Surface Noise’s Chris Palmer on bass and Capital Radio’s Mike Allen on guitar used to be in a group called the Moondogs, er – fifteen years ago (gulp!), and they hope to reunite if ‘The Scratch’ hits ‘Top Of The Pops’ . . . Froggy says it’s amazing what some people will do to make their roadshows look bigger – he’s even heard of someone sawing speaker cabinets in half! – and advises that buying a monster roadshow doesn’t guarantee more work; often it means less work for less money as the buyer goes power crazy (“never mind the quantity think about the quality” being the Froggy motto) . . . Mark Clark’s re-named Back Chat Roadshow, now sponsored by Electro-Voice and running Sentry IV’s with EV II’s loaded with the new EV M standard Driver (200w each) powered by 2x Crown DC 300 A Amps, whatever that means, backs Alvin Stardust at Hastings Pier Ballroom this Saturday (7) . . . Grant Brodie, tragically murdered last week, was a great kid well into his jazz-funk and a regular down at Gullivers – his death has saddened Fatman and myself immensely.

UK Newies

BOBBY THURSTON: ‘You Got What It Takes’ (Epic EPC 13-8594) (BNDA debut 3/1/80)
Terrific tapping and rattling polyrhythmic 120-121-122bpm 12in smacker (faster than the LP) with ultra-catchy title line chant builds to jazzy guitar and piano, and has been one of the big side-to-side one-two-three-kick swayers. Better than his last one it deserves to be bigger but may be too late for the funkateers to support again.

STACY LATTISAW: ‘Jump To The Beat’ (Atlantic K 11496T) (BNDA debut 5/17/80)
Narada Michael Walden-produced typical 120-118-119-118-119(bass)-120(“go ahead”)-118-120bpm 12in smacker is a simple if piercingly squeaky smash, flipped by the thudding 102-101-102-101-102bpm ‘You Don’t Love Me Anymore’.

ODYSSEY: ‘Use It Up And Wear It Out’ (RCA PC 1962) (BNDA debut 4/5/80)
Great happy throbbing 127-128bpm 12in Afro rattler with catchy “one two three shake your body down” chanting and party flavour mixes perfectly out of Osibisa’s ‘Pata Pata’ percussion, the ‘Don’t Tell Me, Tell Her’ alternative A-side being a good beefy 85bpm jogger.  Continue reading “June 7, 1980: Birth of the rowing dance, Bobby Thurston, Stacy Lattisaw, Odyssey, Starship Orchestra, Johnny Guitar Watson”

May 31, 1980: Phyllis Hyman, GQ, Slave, Baby’O, Ben E. King

Jazz-funk finally came of age at Knebworth on Bank Holiday Monday when over 12,000 funk fans crowded in or around a vast circus big top to make the biggest ever audience to date for this type of music. The event was Showstopper Promotions’ National Soul Day, where a Chris Hill-led line-up of DJs linked the live performances of Eddy Grant & The Frontline Symphony, Lonnie Liston Smith & His Cosmic Echoes, Light Of The World and GQ. All the acts were well received, but it was the bill-topping GQ who hcaused most excitement with a superbly slick show which however related to the chanting call-and-answer atmosphere that had been building to a climax all day. Early in their set, with the night drawing on, there was a breathtaking burst of lazer which filled the huge tent as the lights were dimmed. The skilfully organised event was marred towards the end by a gang of black youths evidently hell bent on preserving their stereotype as troublemakers, but otherwise everything went extremely well – meaning that at some time in the future an even bigger big top will be going up to house even more people. Who said that disco was dead?!

Odds ‘N Bods

Surface Noise ‘The Scratch’ is now on WEA 12in (K 18291T) . . . Chaka Khan’s LP, despite advance ballyhoo, has been delayed until June . . . CBS is finally issuing a 3-track 12in by Lonnie Liston Smith, but are doing too little too late and surely only that out of embarrassment for their blatant neglect of a consistently popular import artist . . . King Sounds ‘Patches’ is on overdue 12in (Island 12WIP 6595) . . . Johnny Logan’s chart topper with its modish sax sounds disco to me even though the 0-105-101bpm beat is inconsistent . . . Chelmsford Saracen’s Head live jazz-funk night is now every Friday . . . Brighton Papillon, temporarily closed for soundproofing, reopens around Midsummer . . . Ilford Room At The Top admits members for free before 9:30pm on Fridays now . . . Pete Tong funks Fridays, Tom Holland Saturdays at Isle Of Sheppey Leysdown-On-Sea Island – and doesn’t Tom look good in MY sunglasses! . . . Whitehaven Whitehouse, whose proximity to the harbour prompted Ernie ‘JA’ Priestman to get fully clothed punters wet through collecting seaweed during the hot spell, has lost its late Sunday licence thanks to a teetotal new police chief, thus blowing out several slated Chris Hill visits . . . Dennis Brynner & Dave Van Sieger’s Saturday lunchtime rundown of Southampton Virgin record store’s hot newies is now relayed to the neighbouring Jean Bar shop and probably by now to Huckleberry’s burger joint too, while at Southampton Barbarellas every Fri/Sat Dave does a “dancing in the funkshine” spot with Parliafunkadelicment, James Brown, Instant Funk etc . . . Steve Dee this weekend provides the commentary at Castle Donington’s 1980 International MARCOS/National Kit Car rally; similarly Richard Witcombe & Dave Higgins (Shepton Mallet) and Red Star Disco (Wells) do a Youth Club disco for tour days at the Royal Bath & West Show, using equipment from Frome’s Derek James Disco Centre . . . London LBC Radio’s Steve Allen writes to clarify that he has no connection with Peterborough’s probably better publicized Steve Allen – but where does that leave the Original Mirrors’ Steve Allen, of Paula’s Pages fame?!? . . . Knebworth extras should by now have included PA’s by the Harlem Globetrotters, Mystic Merlin, and Side Effect’s Augie Johnston joining Hill for a ‘Keep That Same Old Feelin’’ rendition . . . Manfredo Fesi ‘Jungle Kitten’ (US Tabu LP) seems to be replacing ‘Dominoes’ in the mafia’s affections . . . ITV’s recent ‘CHiPs’ episodes about roller disco allied with good weather seem to have started a real spread of dancing on roller skates . . . Blackpool’s Pete “Macrobiotic” Haigh & Frenchie recently visited Canvey Goldmine, stayed over chez Hill, and said everything was “brill” . . . Phonogram’s Orin Cozier now says he’s a “man’s man” – hmm, and he seemed such a nice boy . . . David Bendeth has signed with Ensign . . . Gary Allan (Liverpool McMillans) is now known as Foggy following the addition of a fog machine . . . I, among many others, am no longer mentioning anything connected with a certain London DJ whose “fan” following are liable to wreck wherever he appears, as I don’t want to upset his “manager” by getting any facts wrong . . . Jason West’s favourite venue is not exactly Stevenage Bo Jangles! . . . Chris Hill refers us to ancient Egyptian pyramid carvings which clearly show people doing the Freeze, long before Alvin Cash . . . Bob Jones (Chelmsford) wants to know where to buy Japanese direct-cut/digital LPs like Lee Ritenour ‘In Rio’ (JVC), Yutaka Yokokura ‘Love Light’ (Alpha), Dave Grusin ‘Mountain Dance’ (JVC) – Hill’s got ‘em, so why not ask him? . . . Colin Day, ex-Derby Tiffanys, reports from Barbarellas in Wil, Switzerland, that Swiss clubs favour English or American jocks (many of the former avid RM readers) and that the scene is GREAT, with cheap £3.60 albums enabling him to push tracks by Fatback, Al Johnson, Switch, CHA, Jermaine Jackson despite a Wally preponderance amongst the locals, while a hot breaker is Baby’O ‘In The Forest’ . . . Brian Brindle (Chelsea Alibi) now mixes Mass Prod ‘Shante’ into Isaac Hayes ‘I Ain’t Never’, Ronnie Laws ‘OTBA Law’ into Ozone ‘Walk On’ and Ronnie Laws ‘All For You’ into ‘Young Child’ . . . Denise LaSalle ‘May The Funk Be With You’ runs gospel-111-pause-113bpm . . . Lipps Inc, hot on the heels of Liquid Gold here and huge Stateside too, surely proves that despite wishful-thinking media scaremongers, “disco” isn’t dead (unfortunately!) . . . KEEP IT FUNKY!

UK Newies

PHYLLIS HYMAN: ‘Under Your Spell’ (Arista ARIST 12343)
Attractive creamily thudding 116-115-116bpm backbeat swayer on limited edition 99p 3-track 12in with the jaggedly romping 125bpm ‘Hold On’ and older jogging 93(intro)-94-95bpm version of Exile’s ‘Kiss You All Over’.

GQ: ‘GQ Down’ (Arista ARIST 12353)
Bass bubble jittery 122-123bpm “rock” thudder, far from their best but on 3-track 12in with the untidily fast 132bpm ‘It’s Like That’ and more interesting 119(bass)-124-123-124-125(break)-126bpm ‘Lies’.

SLAVE: ‘Are You Ready For Love?’ (Atlantic K 11482T)
Kalimba-plinking happy 124-123-124-123bpm 12in bouncer with lightly chanting chaps ‘n chix and exotic percussion.  Continue reading “May 31, 1980: Phyllis Hyman, GQ, Slave, Baby’O, Ben E. King”

May 24, 1980: Surface Noise, Gene Chandler, Randy Crawford, Gayle Adams, Frank Hooker & Positive People

In The Groove

The story behind Surface Noise’s ‘The Scratch’ is an object lesson in how to make a hit. One-time musician and record company executive and now owner of Soho Greek Street’s Groove record shop, Chris Palmer not surprisingly knew exactly the sort of thing that his customers would be likely to buy, and so on April 27th at home he multi-tracked a catchy little instrumental to the mechanical beat of a Rhythmbox. This rough demo tape created enough enthusiasm from all who heard it for Chris to book studio time and a few supplementary musicians to lay down the finished version just over a week later. By Friday May 9th the acetates of this were being played to death on London radio and in enough clubs to hit our disco chart last week, by which time the buzz was so intense that WEA snapped up the master for such a fantastic deal that Chris is still reeling! Although the limited pressing on his own Groove Production label (the only one to feature the full-length flip) came into the shops last Friday (16th) and started selling like wild, WEA are now doing their best to get their own 12in (with added chick on the flip) into the shops during the course of this week. Now, is that hot or is that hot?!? Few potential chartbusters can have been turned around so quickly from initial conception to finished product, especially when by an unknown act (albeit with influential friends!). So, from The Groove we have ‘The Scratch’. What next . . . ‘The Warp’?!

This Monday (26) sees Europe’s biggest circus tent holding something like 15,000 funkateers at the first ever Knebworth festival to feature soul and jazz. Just outside Stevenage on the other side of the A1(M), the stately home’s park will now reverberate to the sound of Lonnie Liston Smith, GQ, Eddy Grant, Light Of The World all playing live and DJs Chris Hill, Robbie Vincent, Greg Edwards, Froggy, Sean French, Chris Brown, Tom Holland, Jeff Young, Brother Louie, Colin Curtis and John Grant. Additional features include a spectacular laser show, continuously running film of last month’s Caister weekenders, genuine circus acts – and doubtless some animal acts as well!

Then on Sunday, June 1st, it’s Stevenage Bo Jangles’ turn as the venue for Greg Davies’ Disco Forum 80. Starting at 2 pm, the event will include talks by record company reps, DJ association officers and someone from Bacchus International, displays by Optikinetics and Disco Supplies, and a panel discussion with record pluggers John Wailer, Sally Ormsby, Fred Dove, Theo Loyla, Loraine Trent, Roger St Pierre, plus (though not a plugger!) myself. To be sure of getting in on the day, book the £2 tickets in advance from Greg Davies, 11 Hampton Close, Wilstead, Beds MK45 3DA (further details on 0234-741462 or 04626-6821). And if he cancels this one at the last minute, I will personally kill him!

Odds ‘N Bods

Lipps Inc, evidently huge in Scotland (well it would be wouldn’t it?!), turns out to be but one of four tracks on a ‘Hot From The Casbah’ 12in EP featuring additional SLOP by Danielle, Evelyn Thomas & Ultimate . . . L.A. Boppers are due on 12in now . . . Voyage ‘I Love You Dancer’ (sensational out of ‘I Shoulda Loved Ya’) and Ndugu ‘Shadow Dancing’ (ditto ‘Stomp!’) deserve more support, while Stacy Lattisaw ‘Don’t You Want To Feel It’ and BT Express ‘Does It Feel Good’ look like being their respective LPs’ long-term winners . . . Change ‘Searching’ is already rapidly overhauling ‘A Lover’s Holiday’ to become a monster (how about singles release, Fred?), although John Kaye (Mirfield) adds to my original review saying “‘Angel In My Pocket’ is a 128bpm (?) Chic-like bass thudder that could be as hot, thus making the whole LP pretty useful all round” – OK John? . . . Three Degrees’ best known fan, no names mentioned, also digs Donna Summer and other black ladies! . . . West Kingsdown King’s Lodge is suddenly no longer a Pete Tong gig due to a takeover prior to last week’s advertised dates . . . RCA’s Rowdy “Chicken Shack” Yeats owned a Stourbridge record shop in the ‘60s called The Groove, and subsequently suggested this still registered name to the Soho shop when that opened . . . Soho’s Groove meanwhile has just started a “Check out the Groove” competition with free entry forms to customers, who have to list the most titles including the word “groove” to win (after July 4th) bumper prizes, the official adjudicator being myself . . . Dennis Brynner & Dave Van Seiger now spin ‘em and sell ‘em every Saturday lunchtime at Southampton’s Virgin record store . . . Raymondo returns to Fantasy, the US label this time though, as their UK advance man to work on building an import buzz for their product (excellent news!) . . . Rudy “Rapper” Gilpin, ex-Gulllvers, is now working in a hi-fi store while looking for another gig (01 578 3775 evenings), and Smokey Joe of the famed but now closed Cue Club needs a gig too (0442-47915) . . . Avenue B Boogie Band singer Will Collins hasn’t given up his day job yet – he works in a New York dry cleaners . . . Steve Dee’s new monster roadshow rig, featuring Gauss and JBL stacks driven by HH Electronic MOS FET power amps, will be unveiled at the next Bournemouth Stateside Center alldays (Froggy please note!) . . . Erik-Jack (Bognor Regis) is knackered what with discos at night and teaching disco dancing by day to 7,500 pre-teen schoolkids as part of the Butlins School Venture Weeks scheme! . . . Paul Stewart does his best to funk Belfast but says club managers there only want punters who dress like Wallys – still, Paul, it’s no worse than Peterborough! . . . Jo Field (Hemel Hempstead) now wants a BPM counter: you’ll have to get a “hand tally counter” from a stationers and click off the beats to a stopwatch, setting the counter to 9999 for the first beat to start on zero so that the timing is right . . . Sterling Vann (Bethnal Green Tipples) just won a T-shirt as I write this by ringing Dave Cash on Capital Radio and asking for more jazz-funk! . . . Brian Brindle (Chelsea Alibi) sez the rapidly reviving Lonnie Liston Smith ‘Expansions’ mixes perfectly out of Bunny Mack . . . ‘Calibre Cuts’ is actually number one for Richard Witcombe & Dave Higgins at Shopton Mallet Youth Centre . . . Noel “Double Top” Wright (Ware Beckets) is getting darts lessons (or something) from a lady punter . . . Edgbaston Faces manager evidently answers (reluctantly) to the name Eddie Dingbat, though he’d prefer Dignam! . . . Bournemouth Soul Centre – gee (hic!) thanksh! . . . Light Of The World’s upcoming new Augie Johnson-produced LP will revolutionize all our concepts of British soul, blah blah blah (sez “Ladies Man” Cozier) – just send us a promo and we’ll see! . . . Sean Martin (Borough Green) is keen to get a Swanley Moat gig as he thinks he could attract more funksters than the Wallys who are currently encouraged there – don’t bet on it, Sean . . . Andy Davison (Sawston) and another Andy of Paddington both point out the obvious, that Alvin Cash’s ‘Philly Freeze’ in 1966 preceded any invention of Chris Hills’ – yes, but . . . Bank Holiday Monday was originally going to be kept clear of funk events by gentleman’s agreement to make Showstoppers’ Knebworth a truly National soul day, except of course there aren’t many gentlemen in the business . . . Radio Invicta fans please note that I don’t listen to anything on the radio on Sundays, as once awake I watch telly! . . . Southampton University Bootsies’ student soul festival was evidently a big success, with visitors from all over South England, and yet the brief mention of it in this column amounted to half the advertising for it! . . . you know this page is read, so why aren’t YOU writing to it? . . . KEEP IT FUNKY!

UK Newies

SURFACE NOISE: ‘The Scratch’ (Groove Production GP 101)
Immediately catchy simple little flute ‘n synth hook over a bass-driven jaunty 119bpm jazz shuffle with sax, percussion, bass and piano breaks on 4:41 12in A-side, the 5:14 flip having more bass after the piano before the flute returns. As you’ve probably gathered, it’s gonna be huge!

GENE CHANDLER: ‘Does She Have A Friend?’ (20th Century/Chi-Sound TCD 2451)
Superb powerfully nagging purposeful 89-90-91bpm 12in plodder sets up an identifiable lyric situation from everyone’s personal experience that could make it the soulful summer’s answer to ‘Always In The Kitchen At Parties’.

RANDY CRAWFORD: ‘Last Night At Danceland’ (from LP ‘Now We May Begin’, Warner Bros. K 56791)
Crusaders-produced set for the ‘Street Life’ gal with Joe Sample to the fore, this being a lovely throbbing 106-110-112bpm jogger, ‘Same Old Story (Same Old Song)’ a slower 98-99bpm swayer, ‘Blue Flame’ a pent-up 108/54-111bpm lurcher and ‘Tender Falls The Rain’ a dead, dead slowie.  Continue reading “May 24, 1980: Surface Noise, Gene Chandler, Randy Crawford, Gayle Adams, Frank Hooker & Positive People”

May 17, 1980: Al Johnson, Stephanie Mills, Three Degrees, Breakwater, Booker T. Jones

Odds ‘N Bods

Surface Noise ‘The Scratch’ (due imminently on Groove Production GP 101) literally exploded in London over the weekend, with rave reaction to the 120bpm jazz instrumental from dancers and saturation radio play from Greg Edwards, Mike Allen & Robbie Vincent – Groove’s Chris Palmer when last heard was muttering “I think I’ll have to press more than the thousand” . . . A&M have unearthed a new longer cut of Brothers Johnson ‘Light Up The Night’ for 12in next week . . . Stacy Lattisaw ‘Jump To The Beat’ will be on 12in here soon . . . Teena Marie’s 12in is delayed due to EMI’s factory strike . . . Jeff Lorber Fusion ‘Lava Lands’ is a frenetic 124-126bpm stereo searer, ‘Fusion Juice’ a punchy 121-122bpm wailer with sax ‘n synth solos, just to clarify last week’s review . . . Roberta & Donny could be another McFadden & Whitehead after all considering they beat even the Specials on Capital Radio ‘People’s Choice’ last week . . . Steve Allen’s seminar last week for his Peterborough DJ team was spirited fun – present were Dave Peters, Barry Jay, Tom Bryan, Pat Mills, Malc James, Paul (Ivor) Lee, Vince King, Rob Starr, Phil Woods, Jay Cee, John Stevens, Mike Barrie . . . Vaughan Mason & Crew ‘Bounce Rock Skate Roll’ is evidently huge in East Anglia’s many USAF bases . . . Peterborough’s Anabelles is at least honest in its seediness while the only other club in town is the brand new La Scala which struck me like a Wimpy Bar with pretensions although the locals think it’s spiffing – suits and ties are the rule at both, giving them real kids appeal, I don’t think! . . . Whitehaven Whitehouse’s Ernie Priestman, suntanned from Cumbrian waterskiing, joins the Peterborough mob in wanting to see more “up-country” gossip in this column – I can’t write it if YOU don’t send it! . . . Bristol mafioso Martin Starr, mightily impressed by Mike Allen’s jazzy Capital shows (around midnight at weekends) since he started funking Basingstoke Sinatras every Friday and Cobham Silvermere plus Sinatras Saturday, reports Yellow Magic Orchestra to be huge in Bristol “. . . and I wasn’t even on it!” . . . Martin Collins getting a good reputation for his funky Sundays at Stevenage Bo Jangles, also his Letchworth gigs at the Grange on Fridays and Pelican Wednesdays . . . Stevenage’s Vergers tribe think that the crowd at Caister are too young now, a comment heard from many more, all of whom are younger than me – but we all like the same music don’t we? . . . Larry Foster (Ilford Room At The Top) invented a dance called the Lurch and now has an even newer Son Of Lurch, while something called Rowing The Boat goes well with the Gap Band down Ilford way, evidently . . . Chris Dinnis reports that “the West’s worst singer” Mike Pidsley has been causing a sensation in Devon by dropping his Y-fronts every time ‘The Groove’ freezes! . . . Thames Valley DJ Assn members meet on Sunday (18) at Wheelers End Brickmakers around lunchtime . . . Steve Young (01-455 6409), promoting the Radio Trent DJs’ “best disco” on alternating Thursdays, wants record company PA’s with the possibility of radio interviews for any artistes supplied . . . Phonogram’s disco promotion dept has been renamed Street Beat promotions by Orin “Ladies Man” Cozier . . . Caroline Roadshow’s current gigs are being advertised on Radio Orwell to get over the lack of newspapers, their up-coming summer tour to be called Shipwreck Tour ‘80 with proceeds going towards the refloating of Mi Amigo, which it is hoped will become an offshore radio museum somewhere in East Kent . . . Steve Day & Neil Harnett will be playing disco music to the crowds at Tottenham Hotspurs FC when the next season opens . . . Pete Haigh & Frenchie (Blackpool) have revived Bataan ‘The Bottle’ (Epic), Patrice Rushen ‘Jubilation’ (US Prestige LP), Archie Bell ‘Let’s Groove’ (Philadelphia Int’l) in the North-West, while Tees Valley Roadshow’s Graham Bond says instrumentals are getting big in the North-East . . . David Emery, at Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s still flourishing Stage Door every Tuesday, finds it hard getting through to Pye’s Morgan Khan by phone – why not do as I do and ask for “the brat from PRAT”, you’ll get through in no time! . . . Sally Field says “happy birthday Jo” for last week . . . Darryl Hayden is probably the fire eating DJ that Disco Dave Singleton is looking for (try calling 0734-789482 or 01-898 1127) . . . KEEP IT FUNKY!

UK Newies

AL JOHNSON: ‘I’m Back For More’ (CBS 8545)
Sensuously jogging 90/45bpm 7in soul ballad shared with wailing Jean Carn, a cover of the Leo’s Sunshipp tune and around on import for ages, flipped by the nice 22bpm ‘You Are My Personal Angel’ smoocher.

STEPHANIE MILLS: ‘Sweet Sensation’ (20th Century TCD 2449) (BNDA debut 4/12/80)
Somewhat stolid 109-110-111bpm 12in “rock” clomper borrows from ‘Ladies Night’ but pales now in comparison with her import LP’s superior ‘D-A-N-C-I-N’’.

THREE DEGREES: ‘Starlight’ (Ariola AROD 228)
Giorgio co-produced classy slow 21(intro)-41/82bpm 12in jogger makes a welcome change, but the flip’s frantic 136bpm ‘Bodycheck’ and 134bpm ‘Set Me Free’ find them back on form.  Continue reading “May 17, 1980: Al Johnson, Stephanie Mills, Three Degrees, Breakwater, Booker T. Jones”