February 7, 1981: “A mixture of white rock and Wally pop can hardly fail with fashion–jumping posers, can it?”

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

HOT CUISINE ‘All Fired Up’ due to DJ demand will be re-released on newly lengthened 12in remix as the double A-side, so check which version you’re buying . . . Lenny White ‘Fancy Dancer’ finally made into a proper record at last, is circulating in an extended version as flip to a white label 12in promo of Kleeer ‘Get Tough’ . . . K.I.D. ‘Don’t Stop’ new catalogue number is 12EMI 5143 . . . ConFunkShun ‘Too Tight’ was originally only serviced on one-sided white label 12in, concealing the fact that its ‘Play Widit‘ flip is a far superior choppily starting brassy 123 (intro) – 121 – 123bpm instrumental bass bumper . . . Gene Dunlap, with a 3-track UK 12in of ‘Love Dancin’ / ‘It’s Just The Way I Feel’ / ‘Surest Things Can Change’ due imminently, used to play with Roy Ayers amongst others, so his ‘Running Away’ similarity ain’t so surprising, while his LP’s liner notes have indeed made a cock-up of the fact that Earl Klugh is on guitar . . . Jacksons ‘Can You Feel It’ plus the LAX LP and a Bob James newie should be due from CBS next week . . . WMOT and TEC have merged in the States . . . Champagne’s latest acquisition is Sylvia Striplin ‘Give Me Your Love’, which will explain its future chart progress . . . James Brown’s follow-up will not be the obvious ‘Funky Men’, but ‘Stay With Me’ instead . . . Manu Dibango has a white label 12in floating about . . . Showstoppers’ Caister ’81 over the first weekend in April has already sold out . . . Colin Day (Luxembourg Royal Bugatti), who remembers with me the day when soul music was soulful, reports that club regulars Ottawan have a new 12in ‘Haut Les Mains (Hands Up)’ as awful/good as the other two! . . . Al Taylor of St Asaph Stables fame starts a new Sunday Soul Club this weekend at Rhyl’s Dixieland Showbar with good music, free admission, pub booze ‘n’ food from 8-11.30pm . . . Honey Bee Benson, when not taking her new improved roadshow around the country, is at Gloucester’s plush Arabellas on Tues/Wed/Thursdays . . . Andy St John (02013 – 71972), who makes reasonably priced and customised disco jingles, is looking for jazz-funk/soul club gigs following the closure of Bournemouth’s Stateside Center (which I must say comes as a shock) . . . Stevie Allan, no longer packing thousands into Liverpool Rotters as he’s at Oscars instead now, needs bookings anywhere in the UK (051 426 2069) . . . Des A (Birkenhead NFR) sez Merseyside’s buzzing about new jazz-funk band Sutch ‘N’ Sutch . . . Gary Allan (Liverpool McMillans) finds that duck-calls make more noise than kazoos when used with Skyy ‘No Music’, while meanwhile Chris Hill has picked up on Gary’s recommendation of Roger Squire’s electronic syndrum, finding though that a dull-thud setting is great for running through vari-synch segues to add to the mix and the actual syndrum, “ping” is dynamite with “echo” . . . Canvey Goldmine’s suntanned Stan Barrett is a year older on Monday . . . Robbie Vincent caught up with a box load of jazz oldies in Florida, so now he too can play Eddie Ross . . . BMRB’s singles chart (the Top 75 most used by the music business) will now only include records with a trade price between 50p and £1.25 (ex VAT), with no more than four tracks, one featured artist, and 15 minutes maximum playing time – which will obviously affect some disco releases (Sugarhill’s ‘Rapper’ 12in to name but one) . . . Peter Young’s ‘Capital Countdown’ on Saturday mornings at 9am is compulsive listening for anyone interested in what’s actually selling in London, the first hour containing as well Peter’s intelligent section of hot newies, many of ’em jazzy/soulful . . . ‘TISWAS!’ then makes it difficult for me to sleep on Saturdays until the afternoon! . . . Hiroshima may play up their Japanese angle but are merely third generation Japanese-Americans from Los Angeles, founder Dan Kuramoto’s wife June Okida Kuramoto being the only member actually born in Japan, and an expert on the classical koto – but can she suck a large one? . . . Chris Dinnis (Exeter Boxes), by all accounts a nice lad, now resents my trying to get people to take him seriously . . . George Power & Andy Hunter say “hi” – or, more appropriately, “lo!” – to Sugar Shack (drop ’em Chris!) . . . John Grant (Manchester) says a chop between synths at end of Casiopea ‘Eyes Of Mind’ into Whispers ‘It’s A Love Thing’ is very effective, Kev Hill (Basildon Sweeneys) recommends Disco Dub Band ‘For The Love Of Money’ oldie out of Funk Masters, while Alan Coulthard (Barry Atlantic Wine Bar) revives Frantique ‘Strut Your Funky Stuff’ out of Fantasy, and joins many others running Sharon Redd through Blondie’s break . . . Chart File readers note, the Anglos ‘Incense’ was not by Stevie Wonder but by Jimmy Miller, before he became an Island producer . . . Robbie Collins (Ilford Room At The Top) suggests a new name for Futurist could be “Hi-Tech” – which of course you hear in a Hi-Tech Disco-Tech (we’ll let you know!) . . . Alan Donald (Rothesay Paddle Boat) suggests, “CHIP”, Chart for Hip Intellectual People – he obviously hasn’t seen the Futurist fans who used to hang out in the Rock Garden! . . . Divyen Shah (Harrow) likes pop music, and that’s all right . . . Martin Platts (Blackburn) maybe doesn’t realise his anagram is Stalin M Pratt! . . . John Mayoh (Thornton Illawalla Country Club) has along with many others noticed a sudden widespread taste for oldies amongst punters, making new product difficult to break – is this because of the recession keeping people at home more, or what? . . . I’d welcome your views on this, but in the meantime do your best to KEEP IT GOOD!


RAY CARLESS, Jamaica-born but British bred since the early ’60s, has been blowing tenor sax for years with a variety of musical acts, fronting his own reggae/funk Zami in the mid-’70s and then touring Europe with Afro-jazz/rock Boombaye before backing such as Hi-Tension, Jimmy Lindsay, Central Line and Black Slate (‘Amigo’) on record. Now his jazz preference has been given free reign on ‘Tarantula Walk’, due on Ensign 12in in a fortnight but circulating on promo already, featuring his sinuously strung out honking sax line over a bass-bumbled loping 118 – 119 – 120 – 121bpm thud beat. Ray may be Carless but he sure ain’t clueless (ouch – sorry, ‘baht that)!


IMPORTS

KLEEER: ‘Get Tough’ (LP ‘License To Dream’ US Atlantic SD 19288).
The base-pushed group now features some good looking chicks too, this dynamite rattling-introed sparse and steadily progressing 116 – 118 – 120 – 121 (bass on) bpm jittery driver having great piano breaks and a John Wayne impersonator, exploding over the weekend for all who used it (try mixing out of Young & Co ‘I Like’ for starters!). Far and away THE track, it’s infinitely better than the freakily introed 116 – 118bpm ‘De Kleeer Ting‘ and 124 – 126bpm ‘Running Back To You‘, although the gentle 101bpm swaying ‘Sippin’ & Kissin‘ is pretty.

Apart from a Frank Hooper LP containing a remix of ‘This Feelin’ and an evidently undistinguished RJ’s Latest Arrival 12in, there wasn’t much else about on import last week.


UK NEWIES

T.S. MONK: ‘Bon Bon Vie’ (Mirage K11653T).
Unexpectedly, out of the blue, good sense has prevailed and although ‘Candidate For Love‘ is already pressed it’s been shelved temporarily in place of this fabulous jauntily chugging sleazy singalong 109bpm catchy tripper, due on 12in, huge on import and a far more commercial hit-bound bet as it’s much requested already.

JOE SAMPLE: ‘Burnin’ Up The Carnival’ (MCA MCAT 571).
Brazilian flavoured exotic chix-sung throbbing and thrumming 107 – 109 – 108 – 109 – (incl break) – 0bpm jaunty skipper, with long piano passages, now remixed for 12in but not necessarily better than the LP version, may be rhythmically complex for general disco punters although of course anyone with an ear will love it.  Continue reading “February 7, 1981: “A mixture of white rock and Wally pop can hardly fail with fashion–jumping posers, can it?””

January 31 1981: Fuse One, Gene Dunlap, Azoto, The Breakfast Band, Rah Band

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

LEVEL 42 ‘(Flying On The) Wings Of Love (Remix ’81)’, as detailed last week, has now taken over the previous version’s catalogue number (Polydor POSPX 200) and added as flip their previous ‘Love Meeting Love’ . . . Joe Sample ‘Burning Up The Carnival’ is already about on UK 7in (MCA 671) but will be on remixed 12in . . . Stevie Wonder’s hit has not appeared on 12in after all, but ‘Happy Birthday’ was pressed on promo 12in with Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech as flip just in case it was released instead . . . LAX ‘All My Love’ is on rare US 12in promo with an instrumental version B-side (1bpm faster) . . . Marvin Gaye’s LP, due here Feb 16th, has evidently been banned on import just long enough after it came in for quick-off-the-mark jocks to build a buzz . . . EMI’s version of the Groove Production label is rushing KID now, so it should be easier to get, but Inversions is still via Groove only . . . RCA have not lost Solar, not yet at any rate, and await an ‘Imagination’ remix for 12in issue . . . Dells ‘Your Song’ remix 12in and Lakeside ‘Fantastic Voyage’ are due soon . . . CBS’s double LP of jazz-funk, scheduled for March 6th, will be titled ‘Bitter Suite Assortment’ . . . Young & Co’s retitled ‘(Strut Your Stuff) Sexy Lady’ 12in gets ‘Waiting On Your Love’ as flip – something for North and South! . . . Morgan Khan now handles A&R for all PRT black product since Graham Bells departure . . . Central London readers who got this copy on Wednesday (28) can catch Incognito tonight at Mayfair Gullivers, where hot jazz-funk bands will be appearing over the next few Wednesdays . . . Showstoppers reinforce their faith in Brighton with an all-star Chris Hill-headed all-niter there on Feb 27th . . . Haringey Lazers, where they were making the pina coladas with ice cream last week, has a disco dancing competition over six weeks from Feb 13th with star guests and even the lady Mayoress opening the show, contestants apply personally or in writing (with a photo) to the club at 6/9 Salisbury Promenade, Green Lanes, London N8 . . . Dartford Flicks also starts another disco dancing competition on March 13th, as usual for club dancers rather than slick gymnasts . . . Funktion’s Saturdays at Baker Street Barracuda now feature half-price drinks all night . . . Phil Lamb will be playing all types and vintages of soul for the nicely named CO MAN CHE Soul Society at the City Of Manchester College of Higher Education – everyone welcome, look for the posters. Staines tribe the Norwich Soul Bokkers have avoided confusion by renaming themselves the Staines Fusion Few, and are preparing fanzines for Brighton and Caister . . . Chris & Carol Hill plus some married chums including the Vincents, should by now be back from a fortnight in Florida, where the weather’s actually been colder than here – except for Miami, which is where they were . . . Southern TV last Thursday showed a fascinating BB King narrated programme about the Blues, made by the Mississippi Authority For Educational Television . . . MFSB’s massive chart drop is the mystery of the week – whassamatter jazz jox, ain’t it hip now it’s out? . . . Blondie, or at least the 12in instrumental break, is however getting lots of “hip” attention! . . . Harry Thumann turns out to be German, ‘Underwater’ breaking first in Holland quite some time ago . . . ‘Funky Mix’ is getting belated attention for its Michael Jackson portion . . . ‘Get Up And Boogie 1980’ is awful and not worth the effort of listing all the titles, I’m afraid . . . Alan Coulthard is now doing mobiles with his Barry neighbour Steve Wiggins, who in turn mourns the switch and contraction of Cardiff Broadcasting Company’s ‘Souled Out’ from Sunday to just one hour on Monday . . . Alan Gibson plays “futurist” at Birmingham Faces Profile Suite weekends . . . Gary Allan (Liverpool McMillans) raves about Roger Squire’s electronic syndrums, great he says used with Mammatapee ‘Monster Fun’, but warns jocks not to overdo the effect on every record . . . Bob Jones (Chelmsford) recommends the new version of ‘Let’s Groove’ by Groove Holmes on UK Manhattan LP, only £1.50 from Our Price – where he picked up the Dells ‘No Way Back’ (1976 Mercury LP track) for only 50p . . . Craig Dawson (Edinburgh) lists the current Dutch disco chart, two local entries being Stars On 45 ‘Stars On 45’ (CNR) and Fruitcake ‘My Feet Won’t Move’ (EMI) . . . Mike Allen (Capital Radio) says, apropos of nothing much, “It’s not true – don’t believe it!” . . . oh yeah? . . . KEEP IT GOOD!


IMPORTS

FUSE ONE: ‘Grand Prix’ (LP ‘Fuse One’ Japanese CTI K26P-6020).
Creed Taylor-produced superstar supersession with such as Ronnie Foster, John McLaughlin, Larry Coryell, Joe Farrell, Stanley Clarke, Ndugu, Paulinho DaCosta, on one of those expensive Jap albums which record shops are happy to demonstrate – hence the late review, this great electronically zinging, rattling, tinkling and splurging jittery 0 – 124 – 129bpm racer with sax punctuations and the purposeful slow basically 109bpm ‘Double Steal‘ jiggly jolter which are well established specialist monsters.

GENE DUNLAP: ‘Love Dancin’ (LP ‘It’s Just The Way I Feel’ US Capitol ST12130).
Superb satisfying set produced with a jazzy bias by drummer Dunlap and sung by the Ridgeway’s (sisters and a brother) maybe more listening than raving although this delicately pitter-pattering low-key bubbling 115bpm gentle jiggler with wheezing synth actually beefs up when you whack on the bass and mix perfectly out of Roy Ayers ‘Running Away’ (a pivotal feature in my own sets as you may have gathered!). The lovely title track is a swaying 45/90bpm melodic lurcher. ‘Rock Radio‘ an Isley-ish fast pulsating 127 – 128bpm smacker, ‘Before You Break My Heart’ a pretty winsome smooth slow 60bpm jogger with nice vocals, ‘I Got You’ a gospel-ish 34/69bpm slowie where Earl Klugh plays keyboards and the lustful explosively jazzy Spanish guitar 0 – 112/56 – 113 – 118bpm ‘Surest Things Can Change’ instrumental, but not on the slow 38bpm ‘Should I Take Her Back, Should I Let Her Go’.

AZOTO: ‘San Salvador’ (Dutch Rams Horn RAMSH 3008).
Italian-recorded rattling 125bpm 12in Euro bounder with nice piano and guitar effects enlivening overly mechanical bland strings, the instrumental latter part being better than the first half shopgirl aimed Wally vocal section and proving surprisingly hot for jazz fans.  Continue reading “January 31 1981: Fuse One, Gene Dunlap, Azoto, The Breakfast Band, Rah Band”

January 24 1981: Marvin Gaye, Joe Sample, Ozone, Freeez, MFSB

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

BEGGARS BANQUET have snapped up the Freeez LP for re-release this week . . . Level 42 ‘Wings Of Love‘ is circulating on acetate in a superior new ’81 Mix’ based on the ‘UK Dance Floor’ version, at 114 (intro) – 112 – 113 (vocal) – 116 (break) – 115 – 116 (guitar) – 115 – 114 (vocal) – 118bpm . . . Sharon Redd ‘Can You Handle It’, due on UK 12in mid-Feb, is evidently already on bootleg 12in . . . Billy Ocean will now definitely be on UK 12in next week, followed in a fortnight by EWF ‘And Love Goes On’, Trammps ‘Looking For You’, Pointer Sisters ‘Could I Be Dreamin’, the Heatwave LP and Narada Michael Walden’s Sister Sledge set . . . Radiation ‘Rocket In The Pocket’ has been remixed, probably a good thing as the original in fact sounded very strange through a club system . . . Rose Royce’s follow-up will indeed be ‘I Wanna Make It With You’ . . . Island’s Elaine Sutcliffe invites all types of DJ to send their work details to Disco Promotions, Island Records, 22 St Peters Square, London W6 9NW, for mailing list consideration – she’s got my address, so maybe she’ll service me too? . . . Rush Release are trying their hardest to service decent disco music rather than pop and currently handle DJM/Champagne product . . . Fatman Graham Canter and Jeff Young sit in for Robbie Vincent on Radio London this Saturday morning (24) . . . Robbie Dee (Southend Quills) now does the weekday early afternoon show on Radio Basildon . . . Severn Sound has a great car window sticker, “I get it loud in Stroud”! . . . Funktion at the Embassy every Sunday now costs £5 which includes ALL your drinks from 7 till 1am (their ‘Blue Ball’ there the other Monday was even checked out by talkative Gary Numan), while Funktion at Heaven is free this Tuesday (27) . . . East Anglia DJ Assn holds an anniversary dinner dance on Tuesday 10th March at Thetford’s Anchor Hotel (tickets £8), donations from record companies or shops for their fund raising tombola are welcomed . . . Ashley Woods (Stretford 0529-3-3531) will accept the highest bid for his Benny Golson ‘Killer Joe’ LP and 7in and Chick Corea ‘Central Park’ 12in . . . Robbie Collins (Ilford Room At The Top/Richmond Cheekee-Pete’s) regularly visits Glasgow and wonders if any disco or promoter would give him a gig when he’s there call 01-520 7547 evenings 6-7pm . . . Chris Green, highly considered around Watford, wants a gig anywhere (Garston 70178 / Watford 35195) . . . Paul Clark’s Rustington Smugglers Roost venue has closed due to new ownership, but he’s still with Phil Leppard every Thurs/Sunday at Brighton Metro, where Friday 30th sees Brighton’s first all-niter with Chris Brown, Martin Collins and many more . . . Southampton University’s Bootsies soul club has sadly been finished by its organisers, due to pressure from exams . . . Alan Coulthard (Barry Atlantic Wine Bar), a keen mixer now calling himself Tom Moulinex, recommends Newport’s Flashback Records shop as the meeting place for South Wales funkateers . . . Dave Van Sieger (Southampton Barbarellas) on a recent visit to Iceland discovered a Ronnie Laws / Mass Production-influenced local jazz-funk band, Mezzaforte – and they’ve an album out too . . . Tony Reeve & Steve Harvey, known as the ‘Gruesome Twosome’ when they jazz-funk Watford Rolls Royce (thanx for the drink lads!), tip as a left field outsider ‘Night Train‘ off Steve Winwood’s new LP . . . Gap Band had never seen “rowing” until they did a PA, and joined in on the floor, at Soho’s Le Beat Route last Saturday – where I had a lovely time playing Freeez, Inversions, Eddie Russ and the jazzy like, hopefully turning it into a useful West End venue for the music in civilised surroundings (smart casual dress I’m afraid) . . . Morgan Khan, Alan Jewell and I looked in at Harringey Lazers on Thursday for a pina colada, but Nicky Price had run off with the coconut cream . . . Tony Perkins’ pal Sue Halder upstaged the Playboy bunnies by wearing what looked like a skin-tight beige jersey, which closer inspection proved to be just skin! .. Ben Cree, or someone very like him, is rumoured to be alive and well and living with a sunray lamp in Cambridge . . . Tony Hodges, booked for a gig in Bedford, ended up unable to find the venue – in Bradford! . . . Tony Monson, the most “wanted” man in Chelsea? . . . Andy Hunter, despite publicity for the place, has left Brixton’s Solar shop . . . Ralph Tee and chums have made an hilarious demo tape of ‘Love Groove’ . . . Groove’s Chris Palmer boasts the phone in his car is the hardest number to get in London – or does he mean the hardest to get connected to? . . . K.I.D. nearly had a battle from a note-for-note cover version allied to a media blitz until a last minute cease-fire . . . White Heat could be the next London jazz group to emerge from Capital Radio sessions . . . Polydor personnel, just about to move into the Polygram building, were more affected by the fire than Phonogram staff . . . Alexis Korner on Radio 1 once again kindly credited me with turning him on to Otis Redding, more years ago than we ought to remember . . . James Brown’s hit is ‘Rapp Payback’, NOT ‘Playback’ with an “L”, but when will people realize? . . . Steve Wiggins (Barry Freddies Bar), who had a letter read out on Tiswas, has now sent me a tea bag – unused – to have a New Year’s drink! . . . UK Disco 90 this week really shows up which companies have had a DJ mailing since Christmas – but there are some extremely hot imports up there too, which people have had to buy . . . KEEP IT GOOD!


IMPORTS

MARVIN GAYE: ‘Heavy Love Affair’ (LP ‘In Our Lifetime’ US Tamla T8-374M1).
Despite all the odds this comfortingly familiar new set, part recorded in London, finds him back at the peak of his powers with this dynamite deceptively rhythmic ‘What’s Goin’ On’-type 99 – 98 – 99bpm jiggling swayer (useful out of Yarbrough & Peoples) likely to become its classic, a bass-bubbled continuation of his old ethereal multi-layered sound easing along the rolling 112 – 114 – 113bpm ‘Funk Me‘ and skipping 120 – 122 – 121bpm ‘Love Party‘, ‘Love Me Now Or Love Me Later‘ at 81 – 79 – 80bpm and ‘Life Is For Learning’ at 75/37bpm being slowies, while trickier are the lilting convoluted smooth 0 – 117 – 118bpm ‘Praise’, ramblingly rhythmic then suddenly close 121 (intro) – 118 – 119 – 120 – 31 – 0bpm title track and disjointed strange 109 – 108 – 21 – 109bpm ‘Far Cry’.

JOE SAMPLE: ‘Burnin’ Up The Carnival’ (LP ‘Voices In The Rain’ US MCA MCA-5172).
Latin-flavoured lovely throbbing and thrumming 106 – 107 – 108 – 110 – 0bpm jaunty piano jiggler sung by Josie James with Flora Purim and Seawind’s Pauline Wilson, the only obvious dancefloor filler (it works with Sharon Redd) on an otherwise downtempo listening set, although such as the 102/51bpm ‘Greener Grass’ and 93/46bpm ‘Dream Of Dreams’ may get specialist jazz play.

OZONE: ‘Love Zone’ (LP ‘Jump On It’ US Motown M8-950M1).
Excellent strong dance set combines Narada-style smack with an often jazzy instrumental flow and mellow yet staccato soul group vocals, the killer being hard to predict but possibly this gently starting thumping 115 – 116bpm bounder, or the sleazily jolting 108 – 109bpm ‘Rock And Roll, Pop And Soul‘, or then again the slow starting solidly strutting 0 – 120 – 121bpm ‘Mighty-Mighty‘ has bright pop appeal, ‘Come On In‘ being a jittery 109bpm judderer, the title track a spurting 115bpm thudder and ‘Ozonic Bee Bop‘ a bass jiggled 112bpm bumper. They’re all good!  Continue reading “January 24 1981: Marvin Gaye, Joe Sample, Ozone, Freeez, MFSB”

January 17, 1981: Ned Doheny, K.I.D., Fantasy, Katsutoshi Morizono, Wizzdom

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

SOLAR RECORDS are reportedly leaving RCA for Elektra worldwide, while the Whispers are rumoured to be leaving Solar – all of which may have some bearing on RCA UK’s earlier stated decision not to go with the current Shalamar and Whispers US singles . . . RCA meanwhile have picked up Ensign, who have left Phonogram . . . Phonogram’s offices you may have seen on telly being badly damaged by fire – they may be amazingly hot in the disco chart but that was ridiculous! . . . Central Line is now on Mercury (LINE 12) . . . 12in hotsies next week include MFSB and Unlimited Touch . . . Millie Jackson’s 12in edits out that naff discordant piano . . . Gap Band 12in ridiculously loses the great revving-up intro . . . Beggar & Co commercial 12in copies will be an extended remix . . . Champagne serviced disgruntled DJs only with 7in copies of Gil Scott-Heron ‘The Bottle’, causing so much muttering they might as well not have bothered (presumably a vital 12in will follow) . . . Billy Ocean will now only be on 12in if you can prove to CBS’s Loraine Trent that the demand is there . . . Freeez LP pressings ran out immediately and are unlikely to be replaced for a while . . . Record Shack will be working on Spectrum ‘Taking It To The Top‘, which actually is a goodie – a well played purposefully trotting mid-teens BPM jazzy swayer with the (not very) vocal side unexpectedly becoming a rapper briefly . . . Fred Dove’s WEA mailing list is now back in full operation . . . Pye’s Graham Betts joins CBS Press next week . . . US imports eagerly awaited include sets from Joe Sample and Bill Summers . . . DJ-serviced Mercury 12in promos due commercially next week are ConFunkShun ‘Too Tight’ 120 – 121 (break) – 120bpm, Bar-Kays ‘Boogie Body Land’ 120 – 121 (rapper on) bpm . . . GTO’s advertising department ought to know which of Heatwave’s faces fit the names by now, surely? . . . Ian Nick Titchener’s Rush Release Limited, 2nd Floor, 15 Trinity Road, London SW17 7SD, servicing pop-slanted material, needs more genuine hard-working jocks especially from Northern Ireland . . . James ‘Fish’ Heron (who says Country & Western has always been big around Stranraer – it must be all those ferries from Ireland!) now works for the even more pop-orientated Public Eye Enterprises Ltd, Penthouse Suite, Town Centre House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8LY and is revamping their mailing lists too . . . Swindon Bo Jangles (in the Rolleston Arms, Commercial Road, Old Swindon) may cease to exist by losing its licence unless funkateers can turn up in sufficient numbers to prove it’s needed – Stuart Mac plays the right sounds so catch him there Fri/Saturdays and look out for such as Sean French & Chris Brown on the next two Wednesdays . . . Chris Dinnis (OK, London jocks, stop laughing!) invites top DJs and jazz-funk bands to call him on 06476-271 for gigs at Exeter Boxes (doubtless Steve Walsh’s manager will be on the blower soon) . . . Alan Rice (known to certain London soul radio listeners) works Mon-Wed Kensington Muppets, Fulham Scamps Wine Bar other nights, but really wants a six night residency (or less, as long as it’s somewhere else, he says) – after that, he’ll need it, so call 01-274 5312 afternoons . . . Soul Ingredient Records on Saturdays only at ABC Discomart, 56 Surbiton Road, Kingston-upon-Thames sell good value cheap new imports . . . Graeme Bilton, recently moved from London to St Neots (0480-75282), wants local Cambridgeshire work . . . Eddie Rosemond ‘Funk It‘ has evidently been bootlegged and is selling well in the North-East . . . Gary Allan (Liverpool McMillans) missed the LWT Royalty programme and is after borrowing, hiring or buying a video of it (051-526 5407) . . . 1980’s Disco Champs chart somehow omitted Odyssey ‘Use It Up And Wear It Out’ at number 9, sorry ‘baht that . . . Brickhouse Records in Grays have in stock some early Demo Cates LPs which are West Indian and feature a bloke on the sleeve, while the Canadian LP sleeve’s lady was photographed by Carib Studios, which certainly sounds West Indian, but why feature this particular lady if she isn’t in fact Demo? . . . L.A.X. are the initials by which Los Angeles International airport is locally known . . . Bob Boyer, teamed on some of the Demo Cates singles, is the Canadian-based David Bendeth bands vocalist . . . John Grant, with whom I recently had an interesting lunch, says the Whispers’ US 12in is big around Manchester even if nowhere else . . . West London’s Norwich Soul Bokkers (Staines Branch), who may be changing their tribal name to avoid confusion, nevertheless maintain that all jazz/funk/soul came from the sheep shearing countryside of East Anglia, ‘Dominoes’ first being sung by tribes of farmers around their campfires in the West Norwich plantations, while ‘Movin’ was the anthem of those millions or Norfolk peasants forced to emigrate to the Americas by evil Henry VII (‘Liquid Gold’ to his friends) – hmm, I see! . . . January 8th was the birthday not only of Elvis Presley, David Bowie and – er – Shirley Bassey, but of Chris Hill too – which must explain something! . . . Chris & Carol Hill’s Christmas party sounds like it was Dallas with the wraps off – who pulled whose wife? . . . and which well-known DJ gave his wife a radio for Christmas, so she could listen to him when out in the garden?! . . . Morgan Khan, whose new domesticity hopefully won’t take his mind off the job too much, didn’t holiday in Sao Paulo after all but hit Casablanca, El Jadida and Sri Lanka instead – like I said, it helps when your dad runs (and girlfriend works for) an airline! . . . Paul Major (Lowestoft) had New Year’s Eve fun with crazy foam pie fights, silly string and spraying champers, but Kev James (Golders Green, Refectory on Thursdays) warns jocks that a DJ colleague in a similar situation is being sued by someone who lost a contact lens – so think before you squirt in future . . . UK Disco 90 is once again after Xmas at last based more on fact than guesswork – contributors keep your charts coming and it would be nice to hear from more jocks who go out to find their sounds rather than waiting for the mailman to deliver them . . . KEEP IT GOOD!


REUNION

THIS SATURDAY (17) sees the reunion of Fatman & Megamix – yes, Graham Canter and myself, plus the excellent Rudi ‘Rapper’ Gilpin, will be funking Soho’s Le Beat Route back together again on a weekly basis. I’ll still be with Graham Gold at Mayfair Gullivers on Fridays, playing to a slightly older and largely black crowd, while at the Beat Route (conveniently just over Greek Street from Groove Records – which stays open until 10pm remember) a younger crowd is encouraged, making it probably a better venue for real jazz-funkers and out of town visitors. Various funk mafia jocks will be joining us in future, while this first Saturday there’s a special introductory discount entrance charge for anyone carrying a copy of Record Mirror. Come by and say “hi” sometime soon, OK?


JAMES MTUME, Philadelphia – raised amidst the musical influence of his father and uncles, the Heath Brothers Jazz group, did not turn to music himself until he headed West in the ’60s to Pasadena College, playing congas with Hugh Masekela. Switching to guitar he then gigged with Sonny Rollins and Herbie Hancock before moving back east to Newark, New Jersey, working with Joe Henderson and Freddie Hubbard. Four years followed with Keith Jarrett, Gary Bartz, Ndugu and Michael Henderson in the influential Miles Davis line-up, Mtume then forming his own band with current co-composer/producer Reggie Lucas to work in particular with Roberta Flack, as well as on many hit records. Mtume the group consists of Hubert Eaves (keyboards), Howard King (drums), Reggie Lucas (guitar), James Mtume (congas / keyboards / vocals), Tawatha (vocals), Basil Fearrington (bass) and is pronounced “Em – too – may”.


UK NEWIES

NED DOHENY: ‘To Prove My Love’ (CBS 13-9481).
1980’s most eagerly awaited release, only available then for those with the cash, on hard-to-find Japanese LP, is now 1981’s first no-stopping-it 12in smash! A superb mellow 112 – 113bpm bumpily chugging swayer with gently crooned George Benson-ish humming and easy flow, it incidentally synchs sensationally keyed in bar on bar for a long running mix with Shakatak ‘Feels Like The Right Time’. Just watch this one go!

K.I.D.: ‘Don’t Stop’ (Groove Production GP 104).
. . . and the first brand new no-stopping-it smash of 1981 is this dynamite synth burbled ultra catchy simple naggingly monotonous bubbling 114bpm 12in disco clomper with electronic voices and basic repetitive Yarbrough & Peoples lyrics, which has already exploded overnight in London on limited white label. The similarly repetitive but triter 115bpm ‘Do It Again‘ flip is worth pop attention too.

FANTASY: ‘You’re Too Late’ (Epic 13-9500).
Just a part of CBS’s concerted New Year attack on the chart, this excellent cleanly produced creamily striding 121 – 122bpm 12in import smash with chix on one side, instrumental the other, vari-mixes perfectly out of GQ (and then on into Skyy) and is catchy enough hopefully to sell well.  Continue reading “January 17, 1981: Ned Doheny, K.I.D., Fantasy, Katsutoshi Morizono, Wizzdom”

January 10, 1981: James Brown, Freeez, Rose Royce, Mammatapee, Dee Dee Sharp Gamble

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

CBS SOON releases a 17-track jazz-funk compilation LP including (and hopefully this does not preclude 12in issue too) Ned Doheny ‘To Prove My Love’, MFSB ‘Mysteries Of The World, Benny Golson ‘New Killer Joe’, Herbie Hancock ‘Just Around The Corner’ . . . UK 12in releases this month include Wilton Felder ‘Insight’, Crusaders Last Call’ / ‘Honky Tonk Strutting’, ConFunkShun ‘Too Tight’, Bar-Kays ‘Boogie Body Land’, Blondie ‘Rapture’ . . . T.S.Monk’s 12in LV will be ‘Candidate For Love’ / ‘Last Night Of The Wicked Romancer’ / ‘House Of Music’ and amazingly not ‘Bon Bon Vie’ (the US single) which already gets ’em singing along . . . Ensign’s white labels by Beggar & Co and David Bendeth will be out later in the month, preceded by Rudy Grant (The Mexicano) reggaefying Stevie Wonder’s ‘Lately’ and Ray Carless ‘Tarantula Walk’ . . . Groove Prod’s Inversions tracks have been delayed by a bit of re-recording, but look out for the Yarbrough & Peoples-ish K.I.D. ‘Don’t Stop‘ due imminently . . . Funk Masters ‘Love Money’ is evidently being remixed . . . Whispers LP review last week should have read “the least interesting dancer surprisingly being the 12in-issued falsetto choppy smacking 0 – 117 – 118 – 119bpm ‘It’s A Love Thing'” – and indeed let’s hope RCA don’t go with it here, as it’s the LP’s noticeable stiff . . . Funktion’s White Ball at the Embassy was a dazzler (say Tony & Ray), and is followed this Monday (12) by another, but this time you gotta wear blue, while as before the £9 ticket (£8 in advance) gets free food ‘n’ booze – oh, and their New Year’s Eve at the Barracuda packed in 1,300 and turned away about as many (mind you, when they’re turned away, who’s counting?) . . . 1979’s EMI dancerette Julie Brown, is currently starring in a spectacular ‘The Disco Queen’ stage show at Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre . . . DJs Marc Roman & Colin Judge are selling a ‘Disc Jockey’s Gig Guide & Diary’ – basically a bound stack of booking forms useful for keeping by the telephone – the 106-page standard version costing £2.95, 210-page bumper £3.95, and customized 210-page de-luxe £6.95 (all inc P&P), cheques/PO’s to Holly House Publications, 2 Holly Road, St-Marys-Bay, Romney Marsh, Kent, TN29 0XB (details 0303-822983) . . . Andrew Macey, Paul West & Kevin Rousset have formed the Thanet-based Soulcializer mobile (0843-32247) specializing in white labels and rappers, but are finding it hard to locate the local soul-scene (which is a bit like putting the cart before the horses, surely?) . . . Steve Dennis’s Birmingham Faces “rowing” championships before Xmas were won by the ‘Famous Five’ team . . . Bernie Lyons reports certain Dublin jazz-funk jocks are mulling over the possibility of a Funktion-type operation there as the scene for them at the moment isn’t exactly flourishing . . . TV star Andy Hunter, spotted on LWT at Brixton’s Solar Records shop where he flogs jazz-funk to discerning tribesmen, says any publicity can’t be bad publicity, even if it is courtesy of Radio Invicta (work that out if you can!) . . . Sheffield’s Radio Hallam seemed to be plugging the Nolans and Patrice Rushen about equally over Xmas and slotted several surprisingly specialist disco sounds into its general programming (in that respect it’s hipper than Capital), while Richard Earling’s New Year’s Eve party edition, was more like ‘At Last The 1966 Show’! . . . Sunday after Xmas did you catch all those US gospel-greats on ITV’s god slot – sensational pure soul! . . . Adam & The Ants appeared to be the seasonal pet hates of parents with pre-teen children, which means the guys have got to be superstars . . . Jermaine Jackson’s LP has turned out to be a total stiff with DJs – maybe a beefier remix might help? . . . I hope the growing habit of certain labels to use only flimsy paper 12in sleeves doesn’t last too long . . . Bernard Penn from Newton Mearns, Glasgow, can’t order Dave Baker ‘Glow Of Love’ and Funk Masters ‘Love Money’ locally without distributor information – which I always give when I know it – but why not get ’em by mail from London? . . . It’s a brand new year so let a man come in and do the funky popcorn-huh! – MAKE IT FUNKY!


SKYY – struttin’ on Cloud 9 – have their ‘Here’s To You‘ import smash released by Excaliber next week (EXCL 505), but here of course they’ll have to be called New York Skyy, for much the same reason as the Spinners are now known as the Liverpool Spinners.


UK NEWIES

JAMES BROWN: ‘Rapp Payback (Where Is Moses?)’ (RCA RCAT 28).
Shock horror gasp sensation – CBS passed not wanting to get involved with the TK-Polydor wrangle and RCA stepped into the breach . . . and should give JB his first big hit in ages! Speeded up on UK12in to 118bpm, it’s a dynamite typical groove, more a grunter than a rapper and in fact even better on the much longer LP version.

FREEEZ: ‘Southern Freeez’ LP (Pink Rhythm EL PEE 1).
Pushed for time last week, I was sadly unable to appreciate the subtle glory of this superb Latin-influenced beautifully played UK jazz-funk set, from which the chick-sung 124 (intro) – 128bpm title track-rattler with great atmospheric solos is the immediate dancers fave, followed by the jittery 0 – 131 – 133 – 132bpm ‘Flying High‘, ‘Mariposa (Butterfly)‘ being a complex tinkling 0 – 67/134 – 130 – 134 – 130bpm patterer, whilst most straightforward are the leaping 127 (intro) – 134 – 138 – 136 – 138 – 136 – 138 – 132 – 0bpm ‘Caribbean Winter‘ and smacking 126 – 128 – 63 – 126 – 128 – 126bpm ‘Sunset‘. All are lovely listening (and in fact lotsa jox have been asking for the BPM’s!).

ROSE ROYCE: ‘I Wanna Make It With You’ (LP ‘Golden Touch’ Whitfield K 55881).
Great useful squeaky falsetto-sung solid jittery 120bpm funk smacker, probably level pegged with the bass-burbled ‘Car Wash’-style frenetic 112bpm ‘You’re A Winner‘ heavy funk churner as the set’s disco biggie, although the first single will pair the dead slow 17/34bpm title track with the squeaky pent-up old style slow thudding 101 – 102bpm ‘Help Yourself’ jiggler, ‘Funkin’ Around’ being a slow 85½bpm P’funker.  Continue reading “January 10, 1981: James Brown, Freeez, Rose Royce, Mammatapee, Dee Dee Sharp Gamble”

January 3, 1981: Whispers, Sharon Redd, Shalamar, L.A.X., Millie Jackson

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

DEMO CATES of the Canadian disco remakes currently flooding in on the Scorpio label turns out to be a middle-aged black lady saxophonist, full name Demona . . . Record Shack are excited about their latest UK-aimed mixer, ‘Get Up And Boogie 1980’ . . . Billy Ocean is finally due on UK 12in next week, a Dutch import having pushed him into the chart at last . . . Heatwave ‘Gangsters Of The Groove’ is now on UK 7in (GTO GT 285) but a brand new and UK-only extended 12in will be out later in the month . . . Simon’s record shop in Yateley have put out a white label of Radiation ‘Rocket In The Pocket’ which has been getting some minor DJ action and will be reviewed next week . . . Altitude’s ‘Six Nine Shuffle‘ has not necessarily been improved by the up-coming UK Champagne remix’s addition of typical hackneyed “session” chix . . . Inversions have signed to Chris Palmer’s Groove label and have a 3-track 12in due by next weekend . . . Chris Hill has been handing out white-labels of Beggar & Co ‘Help Me Out‘, a Light Of The World spin-off “doing a Linx” at 58 (intro) – 116bpm with instrumental flip, and David Bendeth ‘Love Collect’, a jerky 120 – 123 – 121 – 123bpm with the much mentioned but disappointing 128bpm ‘Goldmine‘ as flip . . . Slave ‘Watching You’ / ‘Dreamin’ is already pressed on UK 12in but not scheduled yet . . . Trammps LP and a Kleeer set are due here next week . . . Linda Clifford ‘Runaway Love‘ (US Warner Bros 12in) is huge again for mafiosi in Ilford / Essex . . . Johnny Wright of Holborn’s City Sounds record shop hosted another mafia party just before Xmas, present being Chris Hill, Robbie Vincent, Jeff Young, Mick Clark, Tom Holland, Chris Brown, Sean French, Bob Jones, Froggy, Brother Louie, Craig Royale, David & Sketch from Linx, Showstoppers’ Adrian Webb & John Morris, Groove Weekly’s Ralph Tee (who stayed up late specially!), myself, a stand-up comic (who had a hard time with Hill), and two naughty ladies who did dirty things (and nearly ruined Hill’s hard time!) . . . Adrian ‘Grecian 2000′ Webb came up with a classic about Chris Hill, “The man who put the Pee into peroxide”! . . . Sean French has lost so much weight (over 5 stone) that he won six months’ supply of RyVita from ‘Slimmers’ magazine! . . . Fatman Graham Canter then played genial mine host for some of us at Soho’s Le Beat Route, where future developments should see a weekly mafia night and the rebirth of a celebrated DJ team, until which his best night is actually Thursday . . . Chris Britton’s new expanded Connexion company now co-ordinates product promotions for all aspects of the leisure industry, encompassing such as record, drink, cosmetics, fashion campaigns singly or combined at different types of venue like clubs, shopping centres, or roadshow tours, full details on 01-586 0204 or 0494-451797 (mornings) . . . Kenneth Richardson of Kilmarnock’s The Card And Pop-Inn record shop, had sold over 2,500 import copies of ‘Spank’ prior to its UK release, other Scottish underground hits including Uncle Louie ‘Full Tilt Boogie‘ . . . Tom Wilson (Edinburgh Oscars) recently visited London for the day and spent most of the time stuck in traffic and one-way systems, but he did manage to get to Groove . . . Gary Allan (Liverpool McMillans), who sent a toy gnome with a crowd of Merseysiders who visited Mayfair Gullivers just before Xmas, thinks the Gap Band ‘Rubber’ sounds like Johnny Guitar Watson . . . Watford’s New Penny club is auditioning for DJs, contact Mr Harris any night except Tues / Wednesday after 8pm on Watford 22003 . . . Richard ‘Lofty’ Lofthouse, now resident Mon – thru – Thursday at Whitley Bay’s new pub The Compass, also works in the singles basement record department of JG Windows in Newcastle’s Central Arcade, giving discounts to all regular DJ customers . . . Tyneside jock Dirty Harry has sent a postcard from Ghana, but no explanation (yet) . . . Graham Bond of Tees Valley Roadshow (with a few January dates free on Redcar 471236) says Roger Squires did deliver his goods . . . Paul Macey, who spent the summer as resident jock at the Isle of Wight’s Nodes Point holiday camp, would love to see veteran campers at his new Greenford Oscars gig in the Oldfield Tavern, Greenford Road . . . Morgan Khan of Excaliber spent the festive last few days in Sao Paolo, Brazil – still, travel does come cheaper when your dad runs an airline! . . . Norwich Soul Bokkers (Staines Branch) a tribe whose actual connection with Norwich is uncertain — have a nice little magazine containing a picture feature titled ‘Paula Yates eat your heart out — Funk DJs In Their Lingerie’ (they’ve superimposed the DJs’ heads over pin-up pix)! . . . Happy New Year, thanks again for all the cards and even presents, and KEEP IT UP!


AHMAD JAMAL – recently getting plenty of background listening play off his current Motown LP ‘Night Song’ (STML 12145) — was born Fritz Jones in Pittsburgh on July 2nd 1930 and started tinkling the ivories at the early age of three, playing and studying piano through his school years until he left in 1949 to tour first with the George Hudson Band and then the Four Strings, before forming his own trio in 1951. Adopting the Mohammedan faith during the ’50s, Fritz changed names-prior to releasing his ‘But Not For Me’ live LP on Argo in 1958, from which came his breakthrough ‘Poinciana’. A veteran of many labels, he’s now hoping with Motown to reach a wider audience than ever before. The rest is up to you . . .


IMPORTS

WHISPERS: ‘I Can Make It Better’ (LP ‘Imagination’ US Solar BZL1-3578).
Released exactly as was their ‘And The Beat Goes On’ — spawning last LP just before Xmas and too late for review then, this possibly even more consistently good set may actually lack a comparable monster single track but all are worth attention. Many jocks prefer this straightforwardly rolling 120bpm smacker, others the bassily jiggling 122 – 123bpm title track, I personally am mixing the 112 – 113 – 114bpm ‘Continental Shuffle‘ out of the sensationally similar Heatwave ‘Jitterbuggin’ and have also used the jittery then lushly swaying 121bpm ‘Up On Soul Train‘, the least smacking 0 – 117 – 118 – 119bpm ‘It’s A Love Thing‘, while gorgeous smoochers are the 0 – 34/69bpm ‘Say You (Would Love For Me Too)’, 32bpm ‘Girl I Need You’, 27bpm ‘Fantasy’.

SHARON REDD: Can You Handle It’ (LP ‘Sharon Redd’ US Prelude PRL 12181).
Another good ‘un from the team who brought you Bobby Thurston and Gayle Adams (Sharon seems related to veteran arranger Gene Redd), the subdued patterningly pulsating set’s killer being this naggingly repetitive simple 109 – 108 – 109bpm swayer with typically jazzy guitar and sax, which mixes like a bitch between Roberta/Peabo ‘Back Together Again’ and Billy Paul ‘Bring The Family Back’ (that’ll give you some idea of what it’s like!), and is here sandwiched between the mood-related steadily plodding 105 (intro) – 107bpm ‘You Got My Love‘ and tension building 110bpm ‘It’s A Lie‘, the 112 – 113bpm ‘Love is Gonna Get Ya‘ being similarly pleasant and ‘Try My Love On For Size‘ a nicely done but unincisive 118 – 120bpm bounder.

SHALAMAR: ‘Some Things Never Change’ (LP ‘Three For Love’ US Solar BZL1-3577).
A strong if shallow pop-disco set, this being a buoyantly socking well crafted typical 118 – 117bpm Solar smacker and ‘Make That Move‘ another at 118 – 117bpm with nice piano and harp break, both better than the 12in-issued 120bpm ‘Full Of Fire‘, while ‘Work It Out‘ is a smoothly rolling ‘Back Together Again’-type 111 – 112 – 113 – 114 – 113 – 114bpm swayer and ‘Pop Along Kid‘ a chunky trite 115bpm chugger with beefy bass synth break.  Continue reading “January 3, 1981: Whispers, Sharon Redd, Shalamar, L.A.X., Millie Jackson”

December 27, 1980: Hammy Awards 1980 / “The year that disco died” / End of Year Chart 1980

HAMMY AWARDS

ONCE AGAIN the spotlight hits the podium. Ray McVay strikes up the band, Peter Gordeno comes dimpling into view, and . . . what the hell has this to do with disco? Yes folks, on a more serious note, it’s time for the Hammy Awards for 1980!

LABEL OF THE YEAR:
“White Label”, the hottest logo of the lot (at least at Record Shack!).

RECORD COMPANY OF THE YEAR:
WEA (including Atlantic, Elektra, WEA, Warner Bros, Whitfield, Carrere), way out ahead with their number of hits among our year-end chart champs.

RUNNERS UP: (scored by number and stature of hits):
2) CBS (including CBS, Epic, Philadelphia International, Tabu, TK),
3) PRT (including Calibre, Sugarhill, Excaliber, Casablanca, Vanguard),
4) Phonogram (including Mercury, De-Lite, Ensign),
5) RCA (including Solar, RCA, 20th Century-Fox, Milestone),
6) Motown, 7) Arista, 8) EMI (including Capitol, Island, EMI, UA, Source),
9=) DJM/Champagne, 9=) A&M.

HIT OF THE YEAR:
Whispers: ‘And The Beat Goes On’ (Solar).

IMPORT OF THE YEAR:
Ned Doheny: ‘To Prove My Love’ (Japanese CBS Sony LP – evidently due for belated CBS 12in soon).

12in OF THE YEAR:
‘Bits & Pieces III’.

LP CUT OF THE YEAR:
MFSB: ‘Mysteries Of The World’ (US TSOP – purely because it’s the biggest so far not yet to be put out on 12in).

OLDIE OF THE YEAR:
Donald Byrd: ‘(Fallin’ Like) Dominoes’ (US Blue Note LP ‘Live At The Roxy’).

ONES THAT GOT AWAY:
Voyage: ‘I Love You Dancer‘ (US Marlin LP), Lakeside ‘From 9.00 Until‘ (Solar 12in), JR Funk ‘Feel Good Party Time‘ (US Brass 12in).

HITS THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN (if they’d been better marketed):
Raydio: ‘For Those Who Like To Groove‘ (Arista), Ben E ‘King: ‘Music Trance‘ (Atlantic), Ronnie Laws ‘O.T.B.A. Law‘ (UA), Starship Orchestra: ‘You’re A Star‘ (CBS), Bobby Thurston: ‘You Got What It Takes’ (Epic).

MARKETING PLOY OF THE YEAR: Arista creating a buzz on Tom Browne ‘Funkin For Jamaica’ via acetates and getting the 12ín out here ahead of the US.

RUNNERS UP:
Record Shack proving you can fool some of the people some of the time by making them think that a white label is in itself worth buying blind. Morgan Khan’s belief that anything already recorded can be made more saleable by a remix.

DISCO PROMOTION PERSON OF THE YEAR:
Morgan Khan, still with a word power problem but now slightly better understood, whose enthusiasm for disco is a 24 hour-a-day obsession.

RUNNER UP:
RCA’s David ‘Rowdy’ Yeats, whose real job is actually in Marketing but that doesn’t stop him.

TREND OF THE YEAR:
Jap-Jazz.

EVENT OF THE YEAR:
Showstopper Promotions’ Knebworth National Soul Day (and not any ill-fated imitations!)

JOCK OF THE YEAR:
Chris Hill, still the most visible, audible, sensible and outright most impressive of them all.

MIXER OF THE YEAR:
Kenwood Chef.

IN THE GROOVE:
Chris Palmer.

LADIES’ MAN:
Orin Cozier.

JAPANESE GENTLEMAN:
Sadao Watanabe.

SLIMMER OF THE YEAR:
Sean French.

SHOULD TRY HARDER:
Steve Walsh.

FIRST ON THE ‘URBAN COWBOY’ COUNTRY & WESTERN BAND- WAGON:
James ‘Fish’ Heron (which bandwagon was that, or was it really big in Stranraer?).

IF KELLY MARIE CAN DO IT WHY CAN’T SPARGO AND MASSARA?:
Dave McAleer.

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO:
Boney M, Chic, Sister Sledge?

COMEBACK OF THE YEAR:
James Brown.

ALBUM SLEEVE YOU’D LEAST LIKE TO WAKE UP NEXT TO:
Prince: ‘Dirty Mind’.

WETTEST TIME OF THE YEAR:
February 1980 in Los Angeles with ‘The Wonderful World Of Webb’ Tours.

BEST TRIP OF THE YEAR:
M1 – M6 – A66 – A595 to the Whitehouse in Whitehaven.

MOST TRAVELLED ROUTE OF THE YEAR:
A12 to and from Caister.

COFFEE TABLE TOME OF THE YEAR:
Bruno Brown’s ‘Family Album’.

DANCE OF THE YEAR:
Rowing.

A NICE LADY REALLY:
Loraine Trent.

WHO SHOT J.R.?:
Don Ghostey (or was it Geno D’Sothy?).

WHAT A FOOL BELIEVES (SCAM OF THE YEAR):
Kanu Sukalagwun.

Well, that little lot will have to do. Thanks for all your Christmas cards. See you in the New Year . . . and (I almost forgot) – KEEP IT GOOD!


HINDSIGHT

1980 – THE YEAR that “disco died”. Oh Yeah? The Americans for some reason may have got cold feet and allowed the media to kill the goose that in 1979 had laid so many golden eggs, but here in Britain if anything, disco in chart terms was never more powerful. The economic recession may have resulted in fewer records being sold, and as the year wore on, in fewer people going out dancing so often, but for several reasons it was obvious that the British are a disco-orientated nation. It is true that 1980 probably saw a real fragmentation within the disco arena of clubs, pubs, mobiles, dance halls and all other venues, dividing them into those that specialise in general popular “dance” music and those that specialise in hard jazz-funk, soul or what is known now as disco. Despite this broadening of the mass taste in dance music, the market for soul-type disco showed its strength as sales of other types of music slumped around it. Soul has always been a fairly predictable seller (just as has been the year’s other “unexpected growth music”, heavy metal) so that when sales in general reached a low ebb, the fans and especially DJs buying the disco releases in their usual steady amounts were enough to push certain records into the charts on sales that previously would not have been sufficient to reach the Top 75. Of course, once a record is seen to be selling, even if in fact only relatively within a depressed market, the media may be more inclined to feature it and – the important factor – record shops to stock it. When those conditions were allied to Top Of The Pops being off the TV screens, the disco hits really had a field day! Jazz-funk may not have won over everyone – the year’s biggest seller (John Lennon not-withstanding) was Kelly Marie, proving that old-style zingy “disco” is still alive too, and Liquid Gold, Ottawan, Lipps Inc, the Nolans and more are a legacy from the previous almost prehistoric disco era who still loom large within the sphere of generally popular dance music. However, it’s fairly safe to say that never before have so many surprisingly hard-core soul and jazz-funk records scored so consistently well within the pop sales charts. Even if radio is unwilling to feature the music outside of its specialist programmes (the ratings of which have grown this year too), at least it’s obvious that this is the music that a large and loyal following are prepared to buy. So, disco is dead? Long live disco!  Continue reading “December 27, 1980: Hammy Awards 1980 / “The year that disco died” / End of Year Chart 1980″