ODDS ‘N’ BODS
UNDERGROUND SOUL truly surfaced to confound the overground media last week when Maze sold out two terrific nights at Hammersmith Odeon after just one plug on Robbie Vincent’s Radio London show . . . Maze refresh the parts that mere boogie bands miss — by going back to gospel roots, disguised by a web of rhythm that’s far from traditional, they use subtly shifting simple repetition and Frankie Beverly’s superb sinuous vocal gymnastics to cut right through to the soul (it can be no coincidence his favourite singer is Sam Cooke) . . . Monday’s show was evidently recorded live, so maybe we can expect London’s very own version of ‘Joy And Pain’, the final encore of which was continued in acappella unison for a full two minutes by the audience (in fact it was only the band returning to wave goodbye which stopped it), to start up again spontaneously as people drifted out through the foyer — and then minutes later, Capital Radio’s John Sachs played the record … magic! . . . Funktion’s Peter Byfield obviously knew something we didn’t when he referred to himself as “the Freddie Laker of jazz-funk” — Funktion folded last week, leaving the future of their Barracuda club in some doubt (now then, who claims to be the “Tiny Rowlands of jazz-funk”?!) . . . Lenny Henry has rapidly recorded his ‘Katanga Rap’ . . . RCA picked up Stone ‘Time’ . . . KR reissue in a fortnight Lloyd Charmers superb lovers rock reading of Phil Collins ‘If Leaving Me Is Easy’ . . . Phonogram dropped Janet Kay . . . Bob James ‘Angela (Theme from Taxi)’ is due on 3-track 12in, Star Sound’s follow-up is (yawn) a Rolling Stones medley (how many of them have there been?), while in a fortnight after Easter there’s a new 12in by Herbie Hancock and also “D” Train’s revival of Dionne Warwick’s ‘Walk On By’ . . . Rick James has cancelled his UK visit next week . . . SEDA ’82 Spring Fair at Hollingbourne’s Great Danes Hotel a few miles east of Maidstone starts this Saturday afternoon with a record fair, followed by Froggy’s disco in the evening, then Sunday (4) there’s the equipment exhibition, followed by an annual dinner and cabaret . . . Froggy will again be Radio One’s jazz-funk mouthpiece as well as doing some nifty mixes when Peter Powell’s summer soul show returns . . . Thames Valley DJ Assn secretary Frank Smith is currently on a computer programming course so he can cope with the new Sinclair ZX 81 now installed at TVDJA HQ to handle membership data . . . Tom Amigo (Barry) is also settling into his new day job computer programming . . . London’s Organisation of DJs (LODJ) is after more members — call Ralph on 01-805 8211 . . . Burnley’s Martin Platts, typically, this Saturday runs up the highest point in Lancashire with a 40lb pack on his back to raise funds for a hospice, starting at 11am at Darwen Circus (there’ll be a disco 800 feet up at the summit!) . . . Alan Taylor, 26 Terence Avenue, Rhyl, Clwyd, North Wales, LL18 1DD, has a US VHS 1½hr video of roller disco and invites Mark Clarke to drop him a line for a list of song titles used . . . Rob Harknett (Harlow) has a DIY tip for people wanting to paint their lamp bulbs: ‘Instalead’ comes in many colours and handy £1.05 tins from good class shops . . . Chris Kaye, 36 Dudley Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 1LH, has a secure but boring day job writing for a technical mag on frozen foods when he’s not DJing, but would prefer an interesting creative position in the music biz (so would lots of people who used to be in the music biz) . . . Staines Fusion Few and the Grooving Gropers both stayed away from Caister in protest at the banning by Showstoppers of Groove Weekly, who evidently had the temerity to print some letters criticising the previous Caister and other Sho-Pro gigs . . . Kevin James (Golders Green Great Expectations/various London pubs) was asked by a Greek accented young lady for some ballet music — no, not Swan Lake — “Belly dance music. I’m a belly dancer!” . . . Kev Hill (Basildon Sweeney’s) loved his trip to see Earth Wind & Fire: someone nicked his sweatshirt, while outside his car was broken into with superglue squirted all over his locks and the CB radio taken, and then his exhaust blew on the way home . . . I encountered a thief at Le Beat Route: some swine stole my original copies of Gene Chandler ‘Nothing Can Stop Me’, Tyrone Davis ‘Can I Change My Mind’, Willie Tee ‘Thank You John’ / ‘Walking Up A One Way Street’ and ‘Teasin’ You’ — offers of replacements would be appreciated . . . Steve Wiggins (Barry) has his own woes, a dose of glandular fever . . . Paul Major now funks Gt Yarmouth’s Brunswick (Regency Suite) every Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday when its the Country Bumpkins Club . . . Eddie Gee of the 150-strong Loughborough University Jazz-Funk Society has a campus radio soul show called ‘The Sounds Of Underground Loughborough’, and goes mobile with Rohail Banduri in the Mastermind Roadshow . . . Robbie Collins now jazz-funks Ilford Lords on Fridays and has a teenage soul disco there on Mondays . . . Shalamar ‘I Can Make You Feel Good’ actually sounds insidiously catchy on radio . . . Voggue ‘Love Buzz’ is 122-121-122bpm . . . Roger Ames — I didn’t know Junior Giscombe was a white non-“disco” performer! . . . I must emphasise that the purpose of DJs sending us charts is not to hype records received in the mail but to reflect true floor reaction to your current playlist, thus giving the lower end of both the UK Disco 90 and POD more stability, and enabling companies to advertise their disco hits with more confidence — instead of, as was the recent case, watching their record drop right out again after an initial high entry — hyping helps nobody if you aren’t getting genuine audience reaction — and if you really are playing all the rubbish received in the mail, the last person it’s helping is you . . . KEEP IT GOOD!
MAZE featuring FRANKIE BEVERLY: ‘Joy And Pain’ (Capitol 12CL 211).
With nothing to stop it being a pop smash as it’s rhythmically similar to ‘Roots’ (out of which it mixes superbly), this live-recorded terrific jittery soulful subtle 106-105bpm anthem has an acappella singalong finish and should break wide open now following their sensational shows here, especially on 3-track clear vinyl 12in, flipped by the lovely gentle 38½-0bpm ‘Happy Feelin’s’ and older equally lovely mellow 49bpm ‘Golden Time Of Day’. To continue your education, get the parent ‘Live In New Orleans’ album (EST-12156), with the full length ‘Joy And Pain’, chugging 105-106-105bpm ‘Southern Girl‘, hustling 118½-119-120bpm ‘Changing Times‘ and similarly sinuous long 97-98-100-101-99bpm ‘Feel That You’re Feelin‘ and 95-94-96-0bpm ‘The Look In Your Eyes‘. THE sound of ’80s soul, not to be missed.
BRASS CONSTRUCTION: ‘Can You See The Light’ (Liberty 12UP 652).
Randy Muller in an overdue style change has created a dynamite ultra-infectious skipping little 116-117-116-115-116bpm 12in smacker with a nagging simple synth riff and catchy “na na na” chants which explode into the title line, all of which the funk fans are lapping up even if some stick-in-the-mud jazzers are groaning, while it’s breezy enough to hit pop fans too.
STONE: ‘Time’ (Carrere CART 236).
Blatantly modelled on the Strikers ‘Body Music’ and synching like a bitch with “D” Train, this tick-tocking alarm clock introed 123(very start)-121-123-121-123bpm 12in shrill chix/gruff guys prodded synth grumbler is so dead simple it’s the right side of moronic to have wide appeal, the shorter 121-123bpm instrumental flip being useful for mixing too. Continue reading “April 3, 1982: Maze, Brass Construction, Stone, The McCrarys, Judy Roberts”