April 28, 1979: Caister Weekender report, Earth Wind & Fire with The Emotions, GQ, Tata Vega, Raydio, Gino Soccio

Showstopper Promotions’ trail-blazing All-Weekender at Caister’s Ladbrokes Holiday Camp in Norfolk this last weekend was a seaside frolic that will linger fondly and funkily in many people’s memories for a long time . . . at least until the next one, in October! The brain-child of Robbie Vincent (who, appropriately as it turned out, sported a witty ‘Caister Escape Committee’ sweat-shirt), the funky fun began on Friday evening and continued with silly games and competitions right through to Sunday afternoon.

Something between 3,500 to 4,000 kids arrived ready to boogie, and the atmosphere was incredible. This was real escape, with virtually anything goes being the order of the day. Music was split between two large halls and a smaller retreat (which I never actually got to!), with a rota of star jocks doing alternating sets.

Obviously there was the strawberry-blonde dyed Chris Hill, but for many the high spot was Greg Edwards’s expert mixing session on the final afternoon. Hill’s rabble-rousing almost got out of hand when two nice young girls were shy about airing their breasts on stage and he literally threw them back into the crowd. If you must have nudity, Chris, how about employing a professional next time, so everyone’s happy? That nasty moment apart, he did his usual Funk Party rally act, rapping this time over McFadden & Whitehead’s ‘Ain’t No Stopping Us Now’ . . . which was played so often it was silly.

Sean French proved to be the dark horse among the DJs assembled there – an endearingly ungainly mover, Sean has been growing in stature as a crowd-pleasing funk jock and was much talked about over the weekend. This is not to belittle the fine funk jocks like Chris Brown, Tom Holland, Jeff Young, Froggy, and of course Robbie Vincent himself, all of whom lived up to their reputations.

Robbie’s special Wally contest was won by a guy in stacked heels, flares, satin jacket and curly wig, who fell about in Ian Moore style – but for me the winner was the truly obnoxious Glen Crimmens (17) of Ilford’s Lacy Lady, who poured beer all over himself, threw chairs, flashed porno pix and actually ate two Village People records! Wot, no piss drinking? The Lacy’s Funky friar did well though, he stood still to begin with, really dumb, thinking about it, then smeared the judges with snot!

Despite this free and easy atmosphere, there was no real trouble until the last day, when a security guard thought some kids from Hemel Hempstead were misusing a fire extinguisher and got clobbered for his trouble. This led to the police setting up roadblocks for the kids’ minibuses, and then started a great exercise in public relations whereby anyone with out-of-date tax disc or dodgy tyres got pulled in by the police as they left the camp to go home. Escape Committee, indeed! All those going by bus congregated around the gate and cheered everyone getting nicked, which in time defused the well meant but stupidly conceived situation.

With so many kids on the loose it was an amazingly well-behaved gathering for the whole weekend, everyone being there for fun, music and the company of kindred spirits. The real holiday camp spirit was raised by such silly contests as digging up buried treasure on the beach, a “Soul jog”, “drag race” (yes, nothing to do with street machines!), and the usual fancy dress dances.

Saturday’s big fancy dress ball ended with a mass side-to-side shuffle and unaccompanied chanting to ‘Now That We Found Love’ segued into ‘I Love Music’ . . . though at other times it was decidedly ‘Ain’t No Stopping Us Now’ that became the new anthem. The final Sunday afternoon farewell ended with Sections One, Two and Three of the crowd competing against each other in the usual way – except the team work is really sophisticated now, each section capable of doing something different in counterpoint to the others. Suddenly it was ‘Land Of Hope And Glory’, ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and the Monty Python theme, ‘Liberty Bell’, and everything was over.

Why, you may ask, didn’t I plug this amazing event in advance? Quite simply, the word had spread so fast on the grapevine when it was first announced some months ago that there were no tickets left, even then. The planned Caister Reunion All-Nighter at London’s Empire Ballroom (the previously hinted-at venue) has been refused a licence by the police at Whitsun, but now Showstopper Promotions hope to get one for the August Bank Holiday. Meanwhile, with a warning to CBS’s Greg Lynn to stay clear of Irish rock stars, and a big hi to Dee, I leave you with the weekend’s catchphrase . . . Gertcha!

Disco News

CBS Records are very grudgingly introducing unlimited 12in editions at £1.99 but still think the format is merely a chart-place gimmick of no real value, their sales director even going on record saying “I’d rather it would all just go away and we could sell small black things with holes in the middle for the sake of the music on them” – Dear John Mair, it’s for the sake of the music (like bass response and clarity) that the 12in came into being . . . Billy Preston & Syreeta ‘Go For It’ (12TMG 1139) is due this week on brown vinyl 12in for a Motown first – it’s also in the new US-style 12in sleeve which features the US Motown label’s map of Detroit . . . RCA start releasing 20th Century product this week, with Edwin Starr’s ‘H.A.P.P.Y. Radio’ (very ‘Headline News’, Northern fans!) due on 12in any day now . . . Chris Michael Browne’s DJ contest finals are next Tuesday (1) at Elephant & Castle Charlie Chaplin’s, with judges set as disco pluggers John Waller, Fred Dove, Ray Edwards, plus Capital producer Mo Stone (really?), DJ Gavin Breck and probably myself . . . Nick Halliday (Basingstoke) kindly sent me Meco’s ‘Superman’ on 12in – having tried to get rid of it twice as a spot prize! . . . Graham Gold (01-570 7531) has funk, will travel – and needs more residency nights.

New Spins

EARTH, WIND & FIRE WITH THE EMOTIONS: ‘Boogie Wonderland’ (CBS 12-7292) (BNDA debut 6/2/79)
Given an exclusive UK preview at Caister (where unchecked turntable speed makes my provisional reading of 129-131bpm approximate only), this 8:20 12in finds the guys n’ gals joining forces for an urgent fast strutting full-tilt stamper with staccato chanting from the chix and smoothing strings over the chugging brass, all very exciting and enthusiastically received.

GQ: ‘Make My Dream A Reality’ (from LP ‘Disco Nights’, Arista ARTY 169)
Actually proving to be far from watered-down in comparison with the title track hit, this great 122bpm soul stormer has indeed got similar elements but is a much more powerful song . . . rather than just a disco workout. Due on full 6:22 12in in a fortnight, it’s here joined by the also hot 130bpm ‘This Happy Feeling’ and a dynamite revival of Billy Stewart’s ‘I Do Love You’ smoocher.

TATA VEGA: ‘Get It Up For Love’ (Motown 12TMG 1140) (BNDA debut 4/14/79)
Now indeed on 5:56 12in with the annoying slow centre section edited out, this intensifying 122bpm jittery swayer hangs together better than the LP version and should get even bigger. It’s double-A flipped by the 6:01 churning 124bpm clomper ‘I Just Keep Thinking About You Baby’.  Continue reading “April 28, 1979: Caister Weekender report, Earth Wind & Fire with The Emotions, GQ, Tata Vega, Raydio, Gino Soccio”

April 21, 1979: Poussez, Players Association, Dalida, Sly Dunbar, Herbie Hancock

The UK Disco Chart is currently being compiled by myself alone again, as in practice the RB Research computer system was far too complicated and actually took longer than doing it all by hand! Radio Luxembourg don’t seem to realise this yet, though. Anyway, contributors, please always include the label details when listing anything on import as many of you are missing out on the chance of a Hot Vinyl feature by not giving enough import info. Oh, and EMI LRD postcard users, please note that your cards do NOT get forwarded to EMI afterwards, contrary to whatever you may have been told.

Disco News

Rose Royce ‘Angel In The Sky’, due out this week, has been scrapped from the schedule . . . Heatwave’s new ‘Hot Property’ LP is set for May, while their ‘Razzle Dazzle’ single is out next week and Johnnie Wilder, recently in a car accident while visiting his parents, is OK and recuperating with them in Dayton, Ohio . . . Mass Production ‘Can’t You See I’m Fired Up’ 12in, reviewed last week, is now out here (Atlantic LV 27) . . . Voyage ‘Let’s Fly Away’ is finally on 12in (GTO GT 12-245) . . . CBS’s Tappan Zee funk-jazz 12in EP has been postponed until June 1st, but Hilary and Brainstorm are due on 12in in three weeks, with Michael Jackson on picture-disc 12in and Gary’s Gang ‘Let’s Lovedance Tonight’ / ‘Showtime’ on 7in in a fortnight . . . Thames Valley DJ Assn meet Satril’s Greg Gregory at lunchtime this Sunday (22) in Abingdon’s Charters Night Club, new members welcome . . . Cleethorpes’s Clouds Nitescene re-opens after alteration this Thursday (19), with resident DJ Ian Hay inviting South Humberside jocks interested in forming an association to contact him either there or at his home, 62 Winchester Avenue, Grimsby DN33 1HR . . . East Midlands DJ Assn secretary Carl Horsley (Derby 761530) wants to hear from manufacturers and promotion people interested in a planned EMDJA disco exhibition . . . Rus Phillips of Manor Park’s Ere For Music disco dept (open Saturdays) offers rather substantial discounts on imports to DJ Assn members spending at least £10 a week there . . . John “No Jeans” Lewis (Brighton Metro), controversial – argumentative? – as ever, now says “Younger’s beer is awful”; well, as a non-beer drinker, all I know is that it’s the only one that I ever do choose to drink, so stick that on a slipmat and mix it!

New Spins

POUSSEZ: ‘Come On And Do It’ (from LP ‘Poussez!’, Vanguard VSLD 79412) (BNDA debut 4/14/79)
Just made to mix out of Gino Soccio and huge on import, this simple 122bpm pounder trucks along for 7:38 with squealing and cooing chix repeating the “do it to me” title line and a great “where’d ya learn to funk like that, c’est bon” hook: however, Pye still seem to think the lightweight 130bpm ‘Never Gonna Say Goodbye’ should be the single. French for “push”, the group’s name is pronounced “Poo-say” . . . or “Pussy”?!

PLAYERS ASSOCIATION: ‘Ride The Groove’ / ‘Everybody Dance’ (Vanguard VSL 5012)
Their LP’s other two big dance tracks make a dynamite 12in coupling, the 122bpm insistently driving 6:55 topside chugger keeping up a weird fluttering electronic effect (which mixes with CHA ‘The Rock Is Hot’), while Chic’s 132bpm oldie on the 7:03 flip seems bland without the vocals until it hits a rattling long Latin rhythm break.

DALIDA: ‘Lambeth Walk’ (EMI 2937)
Cairo-born Italian songstress has been a superstar in France since the ‘50s and is currently wowing Continental discos with an irresistibly silly revival of this catchy old World War II dance craze hit! A must for MoR jocks – but instead of this English language version (which misses the whole point), try to get the livelier French-sung original (Orlando IS 49.447). Be warned, it’s so madly infectious you’ll be whistling in no time!  Continue reading “April 21, 1979: Poussez, Players Association, Dalida, Sly Dunbar, Herbie Hancock”

April 14, 1979: Gino Soccio, Eugene Record, Eruption, Carrie Lucas, Sister Sledge

Disco Forum VI in New York is only three months away, running from Thursday, July 12 to Sunday, July 15 . . . and the next Forum in February is scheduled for Los Angeles. If you want to combine a visit to New York’s disco scene with this event, it’s obvious that July is the only possible time to do this for more than a year now. As previously mentioned, Adrian Webb of Southgate Royalty is organising a package trip to the July Forum for UK DJs (and anyone else who’s interested), and the deal sounds very attractive indeed. So far, working on only a very small number of travelers (it gets better the more there are), he is offering for just over £300 a package to include Jumbo flight from Heathrow, road transport to and from hotel (and possibly a city bus while there), a week’s accommodation at either the Hilton or Sheraton, and probably entrance to clubs all arranged in advance – the trip lasting from Wednesday, July 11 to Wednesday, July 19. The accommodation would be for a shared room, but private rooms could be booked for slightly extra. So far this price does not include entrance to the Forum, which at “early bird” rates would be another £105 for DJs, although if enough people apply there is a strong possibility of a deal being done there too. Interested? Then write to Adrian Webb at the Royalty, Winchmore Hill Road, Southgate, London N14, or ring 01-886 4112. Nearly everyone I know is going, me too!

Disco News

Radio Luxembourg now features the Top 30 from Record Mirror’s Disco Chart in their Disco Computer show every Wednesday night from midnight till 2 am Thursday morning, this particular slot being for the nation’s most danced-to records . . . Disco Tech of Pittsburgh, USA, are selling a ‘Beatmeter’ which gives a visual display of beat patterns from both decks and signals when a potential mix is a perfect match! I can imagine the response from some of you! . . . Raul De Souza’s LP reviewed on import last week is now out here as Tower EST 11918 . . . ‘Living On The Frontline / Frontline Symphony’ by Eddy Grant (Ice LP), raved about by me last August, is due for revival following renewed DJ attention thanks to a Chris Hill-prompted tie-in with Ensign . . . Dennis Brown ‘Ain’t That Loving You’ and Sticky Fingers ‘Wastin’ My Love’ are due on 12in next week, followed soon by Jackie McLean ‘Dr Jackyll & Mr Funk’ . . . Shirley Bassey goes disco on US UA 12in with ‘This Is My Life’! . . . Bournemouth’s Village reopens on April 27th as the Stateside Center, comprising the New York disco, Walt’s Diner, Brickenbackers, Sneaky Pete’s Bar and Village Bowl theatre, with a National Soul Festival on May 6th featuring Chris Hill, Greg Edwards, Robbie Vincent and Light Of The World – hmm, think I’ll check that out myself! . . . Southgate Royalty, already with a new sound system, will be getting Paradise Garage-style lighting soon, while on the Saturday after the Caister Funk Weekender the Royalty starts a weekly New York mixing night with Froggy’s additional sound system creating 5 kilowatts of quadra-pan surround sound zapping around the room! May Bank Holiday Monday (7th) sees Chris Hill and the usual mafia at a Royalty all-dayer, too. Whit Monday (May 28) could see a Caister Reunion all-nighter in the early hours of the Bank Holiday not a million miles from London’s Leicester Square . . . Larry Foster has left Ilford’s Room At The Top to return to his Mad Hatter mobile, but wants guest nights (or bookings on 01-554 4934) . . . Nick Halliday now also funks Bagshot Pantiles on Wed/Thursdays and Camberley Banners on Saturdays (what about Robin?) . . . Scott Wilson is now joined by Radio Forth jocks every Friday at Edinburgh’s Tony’s Cellar Bar . . . G. Paul Sharpe is playing more real disco music following Brighouse Stardust Showbar’s equipment update and name change to Sammy’s . . . John ‘No Jeans’ Lewis (Brighton Metro) is disgruntled by GTO’s rejection of his mailing list application – dunno why, though, ‘cos think what he’ll save in buying the occasional Heatwave single instead of incessant stamps for reaction reports! . . . Steve Wiggins (Barry Rugby Club) keeps getting his Polydor mail-outs stolen – stop thief! . . . K-Tel’s Scandinavian labels Arrival and Chart release product from Can’t Stop Prods, Ibis, Prism, Prelude, etc., often in original US form . . . Richard Evans ‘Do-Re-Me-For-Soul’ (US Horizon LP) is 117 bpm, and not of course as printed last week, 177 bpm.

UK Newies

GINO SOCCIO: ‘Dancer’ / ‘Dance To Dance’ (Warner Bros LV 23) (BNDA debut 2/24/79)
Immensely powerful but dead simple floor-filler on 8:23 12in hits a great going-nowhere 122bpm groove that pounds right through your skull and should smash, while the slow-starting and more lightweight 128bpm girlie group jumper on the 7:09 flip is also ludicrously repetitive and equally big in America. Terrific value!

EUGENE RECORD: ‘Magnetism’ (Warner Bros. LV 24)
Brought back to Britain by yours truly only to find that WEA hadn’t even heard of it, this dynamite exciting 7:03 12in explodes with some shattering synthesizer blasts before becoming, surprisingly, a 125bpm soul leaper (I still think this vocal bit is too long) and then jumps into a great jazz-funk instrumental section that really piles on the heat! Check too the marathon 11:45 B-side medley of ‘I Don’t Mind/Take Everything’ for a laidback 108-106bpm reminder of his Chi-Lites days.

ERUPTION: ‘One Way Ticket’ (Atlantic K 11266-T) (BNDA debut 9/29/79)
Rather strangely this forcefully pounding unsubtle 124bpm pop chugger, on limited 3:34 12in, started life in 1959 as B-side to Neil Sedaka’s ‘Oh Carol’ and is structured lyrically around several late ‘50s song titles like ‘Bye Bye Love’, ‘Lonesome Town’ and ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ – see how many more you can spot! It remains extremely catchy.  Continue reading “April 14, 1979: Gino Soccio, Eugene Record, Eruption, Carrie Lucas, Sister Sledge”

April 7, 1979: Wings, Mike Oldfield, Bunny Sigler, Brainstorm, Lemon

Disco News

CBS finally pull their finger out and issue an amazing Tappan Zee 12in EP on May 4, containing Wilbert Longmire ‘Black Is The Colour’, Mongo Santamaria ‘Watermelon Man’, Richard Tee ‘First Love’, Bob James ‘Touchdown’! . . . Herbie Hancock ‘Tell Everybody’ and Melba Moore are on UK 12in next week, as are Eugene Record, Lamont Dozier, Air Power and Mass Production . . . Two Man Sound has been remixed by Pete Waterman for the US but is due here again on new 9:20 12in . . . Gino Soccio previously recorded as Kebekelektrik! . . . ‘Makin’ It’ was shown on Thames TV last Wednesday afternoon and returns in a few weeks – it’s ‘Happy Days’ meets ‘Saturday Night Fever’ (Stigwood’s involved), starring Sylvester Stallone/Al Pacino (ie Tom Conti)-type David Naughton, whose RSO 12in of the theme is a US disco hit already . . . DJF (GB) officers stand for re-election (or replacement) at the AGM this Tuesday . . . North Midlands Assn of DJs hold a Forum this Wednesday (11) at Sheffield’s West End Hotel in Glossop Road at 7:30pm – contact Derek Dane on Sheffield 874280 if interested . . . Dorset/Somerset borderland jocks wanting a DJ Association could call Tony James on Dorchester 66254 . . . Chris ‘Michael’ Browne (no relation now to the Bangalore Brownie!) is running a jocking competition every Tuesday until the May 1st final at Elephant & Castle, Charlie Chaplin’s pub, with £40 first prize and various others, open only to experienced DJ’s (equipment provided) who should call Chris first on 01-340 5876 after 10:30am . . . Glenn J. Simpson is setting up a new disco promotion service for not only records but also disco equipment (representing just whom is not clear at the moment), so if interested apply with details about your DJ activities in writing to him at On Air, Penthouse Suite, Town Centre House, The Merrion Centre, Leeds 2 . . . Dartford Flicks, far from boppin’, goes Roller-Disco on Tuesday nights now, while DJ Colin Hudd hopes to have a ‘Kinks & Fetishes’ fancy dress night soon! . . . Chris Bangs also funks to Roller-Disco now at South Harrow Bogarts on Thursdays & Saturdays . . . Ilford Room At The Top is having trouble getting its appropriate licences and now closes on Sundays . . . Mick & Paul Clark of Brighton’s Papillon challenge any London funk club to a crazy football and disco ducking competition at the Papillon on Sundays! . . . Rayleigh Crocs has installed a laser lightshow . . . Niels Birk reports from Denmark that Scandinavia’s hottest disco label is, er, K-Tel – but don’t all laugh, as K-Tel’s two local disco labels Arrival and Chart release product from Can’t Stop Productions . . . Wiggins of Harry Rugby Club notoriety keeps getting his Polydor promo packages pinched (better than your bum, dear!) anyway, stop thief! . . . Phonogram’s John Waller is evidently upsetting jocks when invited to spin a few by being better than them (but then he was a DJ to begin with) . . . Is it true that Mike Allen can’t dance?

New Spins

WINGS: ‘Goodnight Tonight’ (Parlophone 12Y R6023)
Best kept secret of the year so far, this 124bpm “disco” outing is also available on extended 7:25 12in with beefier beat response, more rhythm break time, and . . . the best bit by far, absolutely drool-provoking lavish packaging! Housed in a glossy LP-type sleeve, the inner sleeve is then like a blown-up version of the old ‘50s Parlophone 7in bag!

MIKE OLDFIELD: ‘Guilty’ (Virgin VS 24512)
Giorgio Moroder meets ‘Tubular Bells’ – a obvious thing to say, but true! Pressed in lovely blue vinyl with white label and photo sleeve, this 128bpm synthesizer thumper will be big with pop fans and comes in two versions, on 4:00 A-side and 6:38 flip. I actually rather like it.

BUNNY SIGLER: ‘By The Way You Dance’ (Salsoul 12SSOL 117) (BNDA debut 3/10/79)
Boy, what a goof last week! Reviewed then in good faith from a white-label promo, this now turns out to have a totally different Tom Moulton remix A-side version on the 7:05 12in, and something else on the flip! Now at 125bpm, the new treatment is only available here, and rightly is exploding already.  Continue reading “April 7, 1979: Wings, Mike Oldfield, Bunny Sigler, Brainstorm, Lemon”

March 31, 1979: Philly Cream, Beach Boys, Wardell Piper, Bunny Sigler, M

New Spins

PHILLY CREAM: ‘Jammin’ At The Disco’ (Fantasy 12XFTC 173) (BNDA debut 4/14/79)
Slightly slow, this dynamite 109bpm jogger vari-speeds up to make the running mix of the month when synchronised with Instant Funk (long version)! Ten thousand of the 6:45 import 12in have been over-stickered for UK sale, and at any speed it’s a killer on its own – building through chanting, chording and rattling (including steel drums) to some great tension-filled instrumental breaks.

BEACH BOYS: ‘Here Comes The Night’ (Caribou CRB 12-7204) (BNDA debut 4/7/79)
Pounding 133bpm pure disco on 10:42 12in with lots of different breaks, this pop killer took £33,000 and six months to make and is in fact their new LP’s version minus most of the vocals – taken out to please mix-minded US jocks (who some may think mad)!

WARDELL PIPER: ‘Captain Boogie’ (Midsong POSPX 42) (BNDA debut 4/14/79)
Powerfully stamping 130bpm 8:15 12in hits a sorta ‘Boogie Oogie Oogie’ groove before squawking chix emphasise it vocally even more so, but it’s all a lot rougher and rawer.  Continue reading “March 31, 1979: Philly Cream, Beach Boys, Wardell Piper, Bunny Sigler, M”

March 24, 1979: Report from Billboard’s Disco V Forum, New York (Part Two)

This page takes so long to compile that, as mentioned before, by the time I’d typed it, then flown the Atlantic and boogied all night, I’d been up for 66 hours . . . the result you can see above, where snap-happy David See caught Froggy and myself quietly crashing while Chic bombed badly at New York’s Roseland Ballroom! Unfortunately I didn’t get much more sleep during the week of the Billboard Disco Forum V, so that the above picture also explains in part why last week’s page was rather lacking. Sorry!

Anyway, rather than continue my report on the scandal and fun to be found in NYC a fortnight ago, I’d better concentrate on the harder facts. Froggy is actually a good starting point, as he was the only British DJ to attend the Forum purely as a DJ . . . and he came back totally converted to American disco mixing! Although he didn’t pay all the enrollment dues, the trip still cost him £350, which he found to be money well spent. “It’s given me more knowledge about the American scene and equipment – the lighting effects are fantastic – and it’s totally changed my thoughts on mixing. I didn’t take it seriously until I heard it over there. Although I was against them at first, I think vari-speed turntables are now definitely of value, and I can’t wait to get my own. The mixes were brilliant!”

Chris Hill was attending the Forum as both DJ and Ensign label representative, and advisor to Southgate Royalty entrepreneur, Adrian Webb. In Chris’s usual outspoken way, he found the Forum’s panel discussions a waste of money but the exhibition part of the event a real eye-opener. “It took just a visit to New York to convince Webb that the Royalty was a toilet and did need upgrading!” Adrian’s reply was more restrained (if enigmatic). “Terrific, we are in a go situation. Hic! No, seriously, they’ve got good hardware but we’ve got the best DJ’s in the world. If enough DJ’s apply to us at the Royalty, we will do a package deal tour for the next Forum in July, getting a plane, hotel rooms and so on, making it easier for British jocks to attend.” Adrian’s expansive mood could be explained by the fact that he’d discovered 750 dollars (presumably hot money) stuffed under a chair in his hotel suite!

Also club-owners, Paul and Michael Berrow of Birmingham’s Rum Runner (frequent visitors to New York) likewise found the trip worth while. Michael explained, “The cost of our trip is a drop in the ocean when one considers our budget for lighting and sound over the next 12 months. Now we’ve seen everything available.” Paul added, “We should have brought our electrician with us, and a DJ. The British scene has a lot to offer the Americans, and vice versa. The combination of both talents could well develop a great new disco concept.”

So, the hardware and DJing aspect of the Forum seem to have been worth the effort for club owners and DJ’s, but how about for record company people? Henry Hadaway of Satril did not find it worth going to as a convention. “It was not very well organized, the place was badly planned, and I heard very little product. However I did meet several important people, and I still believe it’s a good thing but needs better planning.”

This opinion may not be shared completely by Carlin’s Mike Collier, Miracle’s Pete Waterman or Magnet’s Tilly Rutherford, who were busily beavering away doing record deals left right and centre . . . but more often than not were to be found in the lavish top-floor Hilton suites where US record companies were entertaining the delegates. In fact, you could go to these permanent parties without having to enroll for the Forum, and of course this is where the real business was initiated, if not went on.

Bad news for DJ’s, though, was that free promotional record hand-outs were few and far between this time: fair enough for US jocks who have record pools for distribution of the product that they might otherwise have picked up, but not so fair for foreign visitors hoping for hot vinyl.

What about the Forum’s exhibition as a showcase for British hardware? Pulsar of Cambridge’s popular Derek Saunders was exhibiting their products with both Lights Fantastic and MGM, Pulsar’s US distributors, and reported, “The main surprise was we had people from Hong Kong, France, Germany, Australia – I didn’t think it would be so international. Otherwise it’s been business as usual.” Lasertronics of Westgate-on-Sea’s Mike Geary sold two Laserwriters and set up six new dealerships, adding “There’s no way we can compete with the Americans when you look at the technology they’ve got, but we do fill and have exploited a hole in the market with our small machines.” John Golding, though English, has actually set up his Ultra-Volta Discoware firm in Gilbertville, Massachusetts, as he realises that the very effective fluorescent plastic jewellery he makes will have a far larger market in the States – yet he ended up at the Forum by arranging for Adrian Webb to have a UK dealership!

So, in a variety of ways it’s obvious that the Disco Forum is worth attending . . . not the least of which being the great fun that’s to be had. More about that next week, when we reveal more about the certain Miss Ferne Kaps (a real party pleaser!), the clubs, lights, noise and events that were there to be enjoyed.

Disco News

British DJ Micki Gee broke the 1,176 hour marathon DJing record last Monday and raised £15,000 for retarded kids at Odal’s in Reykjavic, Iceland (so that’s what they do during the long winter nights!) . . . Giorgio and Ritchie Family are now on 12in, while Sylvester and Beach Boys are due on 12in this week . . . WEA’s 12in plans include Lamont Dozier ‘Boogie Business’ / ‘Going Back To My Roots’, Eugene Record ‘Magnetism’, Gino Soccio ‘Dancer’ / ‘Dance To Dance’, Dennis Brown ‘Ain’t That Lovin’ You’ and a US remixed Doobie Bros. . . . Wardell Piper is due next week on Midsong 12in (POSPX 42), while Miracle revive Blair ‘Night Life’ and Brainstorm ‘Lovin’ Is Really My Game’ on 12in in two weeks . . . RCA reissue five 12in Disco Direction Classics on April 6, including Shalamar ‘Uptown Festival’ for the first time commercially . . . London Organisation of DJ’s presents a Jocks Night Out on Monday (26) at Streatham Bali Hai, aimed at fellow DJ’s and their friends, with such as Chris Hill and Greg Edwards socialising – but despite what the ads say, I myself will not be there . . . Manor Park’s Ere For Music disco dept reopens on Saturday (24) . . . Thames Valley DJA meet this Sunday (42) at noon in Farnborough Sports Centre’s Recreational Suite, with several disco pluggers attending . . . Mike ‘Doc’ Hayes (Wellington 2613) is acting secretary of the new Taunton DJ Assn and needs prospective members . . . King Enri, turning on South Londoners at Lewisham’s Chequers record store, wants more evening residencies (call 01-852 3900 in office hours) . . . Robbie Collins now funks Charing Cross Global Village every Friday / Saturday, while Dave Rawlings is resident at Reading Rebeccas every Tuesday / Wednesday . . . Liverpool’s Greg Wilson (New Brighton Golden Guinea) currently sports a really authentic 1963 Merseybeat hairstyle (fringe brushed across but not TOO long at back and sides)!

New Spins

ARPEGGIO: ‘Love And Desire’ (Polydor POSPX 40) (BNDA debut 12/16/78)
Dynamite exciting smash-bound 130bpm backbeater has quavering catchy high-pitched vocals, driving rhythm and “stun-gun” syndrums, all on full-length 7:34 12in. Hot on import, huge in New York, it’ll be the next really big one here.

NARADA MICHAEL WALDEN: ‘I Don’t Want Nobody Else (To Dance With You)’ (Atlantic K 11269) (BNDA debut 4/14/79)
Monstrous import out now in full 6:30 12in form, the powerfully thudding backbeat jumper – crossover funk at its best seems to be 128bpm on edited 7in although the original US 12in is 126bpm.

WINGS: ‘Goodnight Tonight’ (Parlophone R 6023)
So now McCartney goes disco, for that’s what this relaxed subtle 124bpm roller really is! With lots of interesting changes, including a flamenco-type break, it keeps on chooglin’ and should be the rejuvenating smash he needs.  Continue reading “March 24, 1979: Report from Billboard’s Disco V Forum, New York (Part Two)”

March 17, 1979: “Vari-speed decks are vital if you want any flexibility in your mixing.”

Mix Master

Having to use fixed-speed turntables for my mixes on Capital Radio’s Best Disco In Town (broadcast Fridays at 11pm) has really brought home how vital vari-speed decks are if you want any flexibility in your mixing. Although with a chop mix you can go up and down the BPM speed scale without having to worry about getting out of synch, when doing a running mix on fixed-speed decks you are limited to just those records with the same BPM (some however do mix out of BPM if they have a sufficiently poly-rhythmic backing) . . . and the BPMs have to be exactly right!  Last week’s show featured a few mixes that are probably worth passing on – you’ll have to feel the best mixing points for your own floor situation, though. Produced by the same people, Chic ‘I Want Your Love’ and Sister Sledge ‘He’s The Greatest Dancer’ synch together perfectly during Chic’s instrumental part, then the strange strings bit two-thirds through Sister Sledge synchs nicely with Players Association ‘Turn The Music Up’ (the 12in seems to be 116bpm and not 120bpm as printed on label!) . . . the problem with this bit of cleverness being that you’re stuck with the same tempo for bloody ages! Chopping dramatically on the right beat, you can create far more excitement by going up and down the BPM scale in the sequence starting with Herbie Hancock ‘Tell Everybody’, FLB ‘Boogie Town’ (minus intro), Kleeer ‘Keep Your Body Workin’, pt. 2’, Narada Michael Walden ‘I Don’t Want Nobody Else’ (minus intro), Rick James ‘High On Your Love Suite’ (minus synthesizer intro), Real Thing ‘Can You Feel The Force’ (start after applause at the main fast beat) – you should spot the last three’s similarity of mixing points especially easily. With vari-speed decks, of course, you don’t have to worry about BPM at all.

The Disco Page will be back to normal next week.  Continue reading “March 17, 1979: “Vari-speed decks are vital if you want any flexibility in your mixing.””