ODDS ‘N’ BODS
TEDDY PENDERGRASS ‘Love T.K.O.’ will finally be out here to coincide with his UK visit, jocks getting a 3-track promo-only 12in . . . Morgan ‘Mr Reliability’ Khan’s R&B label for UK product will debut after much re-recording with Imagination ‘Body Talk‘, a falsetto-sung slinky steady, slow-rolling 83bpm ‘Rise’-type thudder with Yarbrough & Peoples-style feel through a piano-based sound that’s all its own – and to judge from Capital Radio play it’s rather good . . . RCA look likely to be picking up the next reggae smash too, the lovely Shirley James / Danny Ray ‘Why Don’t You Spend The Night‘ currently on Black Jack 12in . . . Manchester-originating Inversions secret ingredient since moving South turns out to have been session sax superstar Steve Gregory, so no wonder they’re good – Steve, once a mainstay of Gonzales, I’ve known since he was in that 1965 Alan Price Set (with Radio One’s John Walters on trumpet), but he still looks about 18, darn him! . . . Alan Price back then incidentally could be reckoned to have had the first jazz-rock group . . . Inversions at Mayfair Gullivers last Wednesday were technical perfection to hear, visually only coming alive when their percussionist let rip, and attracted to the club such as Johnnie & Keith Wilder, Zoot Money, plus Gully’s stars in residence, Clem Curtis and Carl Douglas . . . Casablanca / Chocolate City labels will soon be distributed here via Phonogram . . . East Midland DJ Assn hold a disco exhibition on Sunday 26th April between noon and 8pm at Derby Tiffanys, fast food and bar open all day, details from Derby (0332) 367959 / 763769 . . . Staines Fusion Few’s fanzine will be available for free, while Groove Weekly have a double boomer-basher issue for Caister in which Exeter’s Chris Dinnis starts a fortnightly ‘Wild West Column’ covering the funk scene at his end of the country . . . Caister-goers are as usual advised to take home comforts with them (I’m not sure about the chalets, but you won’t go wrong taking matches, bog paper, soap, towel, an FM radio and plenty of food) . . . Yarmouth’s Anglian Lodge at 69 Regent Road (50 yards up on the left off the roundabout at the top of the main seafront promenade) is traditionally the mafia’s favoured late-nite eaterie for cheap lobsters and gigantic steaks, but check first that it’ll be open late on Friday (Gt. Yarmouth 3985) . . . Nostalcia ‘Break Down‘ has sold so well it could be in short supply and is unquestionably the most useful “mixer” to date for funk jocks – a real floor filler, it really flows without any naff links to disrupt the happy dancers . . . Nostalcia in fact breaks down at 117-116-117-116-117-122-120-122bpm and the much poppier ‘Goodie Goodie Mixer’ at 115(TK)-114-115bpm . . . Mike Allen can now be revealed as Capital Radio’s future lunchtime jock, Graham Dene going back to breakfasts but just at the weekend . . . Congress ‘That’s Jazz’ could kick off a chain reaction, with Greg Edwards planning to go into record production properly next year . . . Mark Clark (Bracknell) has left Reading’s Radio 210 to go back on the road – “there’s more money in it and less bitching!” says he . . . MI5 mole probes and tales of treachery are getting as common in the papers now as shock horror sensations about chart hyping . . . Chris Tittley & Pete Haigh (Blackpool), who notice a return to heavy funk but with a fast beat in their area report that the Northern jazz-funk scene is now getting organised with a sense of responsibility, to prevent a repeat of last year’s debacle . . . I discovered a dynamite long running mixing General Caine II ‘Jungle Music‘ into Mel Sheppard ‘Can I Take You Home‘, while Graham Gold went brilliantly from the new US promo remix of ConFunkShun ‘Lady’s Wild’ into Heatwave ‘Jitterbuggin’ . . . Brian Brindle (Chelsea Kings Road) finds the 1973 Eddie Harris ‘Is It In‘ LP popular and modern sounding still (try it with Manu Dibango!), and Mad Max Cosgrove (Southern) recommends the old Hi-Tension ‘Latin Inspiration‘ . . . Bob ‘The Boring Minder’ Jones gets Chelmsford Countryman full to overflowing on Mondays playing old jazz and ’70s soul . . . John Douglas is surprised the Under-16s on Tuesdays at Colchester Embassy prefer chart disco hits to the Mod/Futurist thing, while on the jazz-funk Sundays there, he and Gary Soul have revived in a big way the Penthouse Orchestra ‘Let Me Be Your Fantasy‘ . . . Ronnie Jones ‘Video Games‘ (Polydor 12in) which I still rate highly, has been getting more futurist play than straight disco . . . Barry King, resident with his Wheels of Steel show at Ballymena’s Raglan Lounges in Northern Ireland says Landscape now pulls as many dancers as the local number one, Kelly Marie . . . Alan Coulthard (Barry Atlantic Wine Bar) should note that it was quite accurately observed that Carol Jiani was listed as a gay smash, but it’s a crossover and surely sounds faster than its 122bpm . . . Stephen Robinson (Darlington), that recent futurist splurge was not intended by me to takeover the page to the extent it did, OK? . . . I picked up on ‘Pick Up The Pieces’ rather than conversation heard in ‘Superman II’ during a Mid West small town bar scene . . . Disco 90 and Futurist 40 chart contributors are requested to post their charts early in the hope they’ll reach us by Thursday, (with any info enclosed being published the following week), the address being Record Mirror, 40 Long Acre, London, WC2E 9LG . . . Richard Hart (Wells-Next-The-Sea) provides us with this exchange “I say I say did you know that Steve Austin has changed his parts supplier to Ford” – “No, why?” – “Cos Ford parts are easier to get” . . . Boom Boom . . . KEEP IT GOOD!
DAVID BENDETH was born In East London but from high school days on has shuttled backwards and forwards between Canada and London, and more recently New York. In 1979 he was backed by the likes of Lenny White, Billy Cobham and Marcus Miller on his debut solo LP, which spawned his ‘Feel The Real’ hit now re-recorded on his brand new ‘Just Dessert’ album.
On track with Shakatak
“DJs seem to like the name – no one ever says “That was the new single by Shakatak”, they all say “That was the new single by Shak-a-tak.” It’s a good word to get your chops around.”
The words of Bill Sharpe and Roger Odell, two-fifths of another little part of the British jazz-funk uprising, name of Shakatak and recent chart residents with ‘Feels Like The Right Time’ and ‘Living In The UK’. Like their Polydor stablemates Level 42 they’ve been getting famous quietly, preferring to build slowly and surely via those records and a series of successful but spasmodic club gigs. If they’ve gone in your ear already and been made welcome, you’ll want to know that the coming out is imminent, by way of an album and tour.
They’re plenty happy that people are writing about them at all, mispellings or not, for a long time they didn’t think that their music was quite the ticket so far as potential record sales went. Roger recalls the birth of the band. “I was playing in a sort of jazz-rock, jazz-funk band with Bill and Keith Winter (Shakatak guitarists) called Tracks. I was also playing with Nigel and Steve Underwood (Shakatak bass) in another band doing Earth, Wind and Fire material and so on. We did a record ourselves with Tracks, a little 200 copies job, and sold them just at our local gig. Nigel heard it and said we should combine the two bands.”
Bill Sharpe recalls of ‘Steppin’: “I think Radio One refused to play it because of all the gaps in it. It did remarkably well considering it had hardly any radio play, it got to about 76 or something.” Frustrating to get so near to the all-important 75? Seems not. “Being our first record we were pretty pleased that it did so well. “Anyhow the two subsequent singles, which are hard to resist jazz-pop just made for radio have cracked that chart and the big push is coming. Their first album ‘Drivin’ Hard’, recorded in the first two months of this year, is out in May and they’re aiming at a three or four week tour in support of that. They promise some variety and experimentation on the LP, too. “People who’ve just heard our singles will be surprised,” notes Bill Sharpe.
‘Living In The UK’ sounds like an appropriate hit for one of the nation’s new wave of jazz-funkers. Ain’t no half ‘Steppin’.
ALPHONSE MOUZON: ‘By All Means’ (Excaliber EXCL 509).
The hottest jazz-funk album import smash of the year now with the hottest two tracks back-to-back on excellent value full length (a combined 22:30) 12in! The star-billed drummer thumps along behind Herbie Hancock’s fluidly sizzling piano, the ‘Seawind Horns’ blistering brass. Lee Ritenour’s guitar rhythm accents and a Freddie Hubbard flugelhorn solo on the 57-113-114 bpm subtly building then hard driving A-side (beat started at the main bass beat or the brass), the ‘Do I Have To?‘ flip being an attractive nagging 98bpm jogger.
FUSE ONE: ‘Grand Prix’ (CTI CTSPX 16).
And yet more excellent jazz-funk 12in value, combining the two hottest tracks from the first of a planned series of Creed Taylor-produced supersession albums. Fuse One comprising here Joe Farrell, John McLaughlin, Stanley Clarke and Paulinho DaCosta on a bounding electronically pinging and plunking 0-129-126-129-131-130bpm fast jagged throbbing racer, flipped by the possibly more easily accessible catchily tootling 109-110 bpm ‘Double Steal‘ jogger.
BENNY GOLSON: ‘The New Killer Joe Rap / The New Killer Joe’ (LP ‘Bitter Suite’ CBS 22082).
Make no mistake – this is the one that’s going to sell CBS’s (once more) excellent value budget priced double LP of jazz-funk classics! Much sought since it was scarce on import, the jive-talking sleazy 117bpm rap by Ted Lange in Dr Horse ‘Jack That Cat Was Clean’ style leads into a superb sparse bass-pushed 119bpm groove very similar to the original Quincy Jones version. The other great tracks being such recent faves as MFSB ‘Mysteries Of The World’, Ned Doheny ‘To Prove My Love’, Herbie Hancock ‘Just Around The Corner’, Rodney Franklin ‘In The Center’, George Duke ‘Brazilian Love Affair’, Hubert Laws ‘Family’, plus Richard Tee ‘First Love’, Stanley Clarke ‘Together Again’, Phil Upchurch ‘Strawberry Letter 23’, Eric Gale ‘Sara Smile’, Ramsey Lewis ‘You Are The Reason’, Bob James & Earl Klugh ‘Kan’, John Tropea ‘To Touch You Again’ / ‘Lady Blue’, Willie Bobo ‘Palos’, Sadao Watanabe ‘All About Love’, and interestingly the widely overlooked almost futurist synth jiggled thudding 0-110bpm Johnny Harris ‘Odyssey (Part 1)‘. Given a bit more time I might even get around to BPMing the rest one day! Continue reading “April 4, 1981: Shakatak, Alphonse Mouzon, Fuse One, Dave Pike, Nobuo Yagi”