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″

December 20, 1980: Young & Company, Demo Cates, Peter Jacques Band, Kurtis Blow, Funk Masters

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

ITV’S LOOK at the funk tribes on Sunday’s Twentieth Century Box programme actually got it right and was well worth waking up for! . . . UK Champagne will be a new offshoot from the DJM label for UK-originated product, debuting next month with vocal remix of Altitude ‘Six Nine Shuffle’, whilst Vintage Champagne will put Inferno’s Freda Payne ‘Band Of Gold’ on 12ín . . . Dave McAleer’s plans for Wally Champagne are eagerly awaited . . . PRAT product next month includes Rollercoaster ‘I Wish’ 12in, Sugarhill ‘Greatest Rap Hits EP’ 12in and Skyy ‘Here’s To You’ / ‘No Music’ (Excaliber 12in) . . . Fatman Graham Canter’s party last week at his new Soho Beat Route residency attracted all the mafia and record company regulars, while back at Mayfalr Gullivers with Graham Gold and myself every weekend, the punters say the music’s never been better . . . Fatman helping Chris Hill at the Royalty last Friday, reports that LaToya Jackson seems surprisingly ignorant about the tracks that she’s recorded, having to ask Jermaine whether she’d indeed done Billy Ocean’s ‘Are You Ready’! . . . Rusty Egan (admittedly plus bands) is packing ‘em in at the Venue on Thursdays and now talks of planned electronic/futurist all-dayers just like the soul ones (many of his crowd are crossover fans anyway) – incidentally can anyone come up with a better name for the Spandau Ballet-type scene than “futurist”? . . . Chris Britton launches his new Connection company (handling drink/cigarette/record company club promotions) with a private Mayfair Penthouse Club party tonight (Thursday) . . . Chris Klopper is now known as Chris Kaye (Tunbridge Wells 23186) and due to music changes at various venues, is looking for a good Friday jazz-funk residency in South-East or London . . . Dave Middleton (Bletchley 0908 – 76079) impoverished so wishing everyone a Merry Crlmble via this page instead of Christmas cards, is organising transport to Wimbledon for Tiffanys Boxing Day all-dayer from Milton Keynes for local fans . . . Ian Turner (Llandudno Cock ‘N’ Hen), not content with hickory shafted golf clubs, now craves revealing photos of ladies in stockings and suspenders – send ’em to 30 Rhos Road, Rhos-On-Sea, Colwyn Bay, Clwyd . . . Dave Middleton incidentally should send Ian one of his spectacular 1981 nudie calendars! . . . Steve Wiggins (Barry Freddies Bar) sent me a sprig of Christmas tree, saying it’s better than a quid (oh yeah?) as if I plant it, it could be a forest next year! . . . Steve Dee’s roadie Colin France has booked to go to Los Angeles next year to see what the jazz-funk scene is like out there – er, what jazz-funk scene? . . . US import newies not covered this issue include specialist sets from Dan Siegel, Terumasa Hino, Gil Scott-Heron, soul from Dee Dee Sharp Gamble, the Futures, and a “very rocky” Rinder & Lewis . . . MFSB ‘Mysteries Of The World’ can be a trick when it lulls, but Ray Martinez ‘The Natives Are Restless‘ (US Importe / 33 12in) bridges the beat perfectly – while other mixes I’ve been meaning to mention for ages include Ned Doheny synched for a long run out of Shakatak, Linx minus intro chopped out of Ned Doheny, Gap Band ‘Oops’ synched for a long run (starting at second “oops”) through Zapp, Real Thing out of LOTW ‘Sheriff’, and JR Funk ‘Feel Good Party Time’ (US Brass 12in) varied up minus intro out of James Brown. Graham Gold’s killer mix is Glen Adams Affair, tightly synching when the backing drops halfway on into Glory ‘Can You Guess What Groove This Is?’ (US Posse 12in), this then chopping into First Love ‘Don’t Say Goodnight’ (US Dakar 12in) . . . Froggy makes the point that his major mixes use records that are well known as then the ingredients of the mix are easier to spot and have greater impact . . . I suppose next week you’ll want the ‘Hammy’ awards for 1980 and the year’s end chart plus chart-toppers, so until then, BURPY BEANFEAST!


IMPORTS

YOUNG AND COMPANY: ‘Strut Your Stuff’ (LP ‘I Like What You’re Doing To Me’ US Brunswick BL 754224).
Nicely old-fashioned looking strong set produced with endearingly youthful civic pride in East Orange, New Jersey, the already proven killer being this sparer, funkier 116 – 115 – 116bpm variation (but by no means carbon copy) of their title track hit formula while also similar is the 122 – 123 – 124bpm ‘Waiting On Your Love‘, the rolling 111 – 113bpm ‘Checking You Out‘ being a bit monotonous and the 131 – 133 – 134bpm ‘Love Me All Night‘ reminiscent to these aged ears of 1964’s Sapphires. And they have nothing to do with Young-Holt. MK!

DEMO CATES: ‘Jamin’ (Sax)’ (Canadian Scorpio DK 49).
Suddenly six 12in remakes from Canada of various recent dance hits have arrived here, all featuring a different variety of rap on one side and even better, a jazz-funk instrumental version on the other, the artists all containing someone called Demo who presumably plays sax. This at 127bpm (mixing with Funk Masters) is Stevie’s ‘Masterblaster (Jammin’)’. DEMO-BARRY ‘Funk‘ (DK 43) at 111 – 112 – 110 – 112bpm is Tom Browne’s ‘Funkin’ For Jamaica (NY)’. BOBBY/DEMO ‘Ounce (Rap)‘ (DK 47) at 101bpm (nice out of Yarbrough & People’s) is Zapp’s ‘More Bounce To The Ounce’. BARRY & DEMO ‘Another’ (DK44) at 110bpm is Queen’s ‘Another One Bites The Dust’, while a version of Cameron’s ‘Magic’ in the same series is proving elusive. Why not get the set?

MILLIE JACKSON: ‘I Had To Say It’ LP (US Spring SP-1-6730).
Dynamite satirical 110bpm title track rapper gets back at Kurtis Blow with hilariously filthy throwaway lines as well as the usual “hot” call-and-answer gimmick, and will be huge here when on 12in next month.  Continue reading “December 20, 1980: Young & Company, Demo Cates, Peter Jacques Band, Kurtis Blow, Funk Masters”

December 13, 1980: James Brown, Dramatics, Trammps, Yarbrough & Peoples, Gap Band

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

MAURICE WHITE, in London last week, tells me that Earth Wind & Fire’s US newie will be a remixed ‘And Love Goes On’ . . . Tom Browne’s up-coming ‘Magic’ LP title-track will be on UK 12in early January . . . Champagne is evidently picking up Gil Scott-Heron ‘The Bottle’ . . . Mtume and Jermaine Jackson current singles are now on 12in, while the Jacksons ‘Lovely One’ has been selling strongly on French import 12in . . . Change ‘The Glow Of Love’ is not so much a remix as a longer extended 8:15 version . . . LWT’s ‘Twentieth Century Box’ programme about the tribes at Southgate Royalty with Chris Hill will be on ITV this Sunday (14) at 1:30 pm . . . Thames Valley DJ Assn’s Xmas party and surprise “quiz” is at noon on Sunday at Slough Alexandra’s in Bath Road, Cippenham, and later that evening the London Organisation Of DJ’s party at Mayfair Baileys Wine Bar in North Audley Street . . . BBC Radio Norfolk’s Wally Webb Show precedes the networked Top 40 on Sundays from 3 to 5pm with a weekly guest DJ, import and UK newie reviews – Wally being the only local jock with a job on the station . . . Funktion/Playboy Club’s Tony ‘The Perk” Jenkins recommends a killer mixer sent from the States, ‘Manhattan No. 1 Special Disco Mix‘ (US Disco Sample Records Inc 12in) . . . Ray Stevens now jocks for Funktion at Baker Street Barracuda on Saturdays, Fridays at the Penthouse having been dropped, while Funktion’s Embassy Sundays now start with roller disco until 10pm and their Tuesdays at Heaven are the best venue of the lot – superb lighting, cheapo cheapo bar prices, great atmosphere . . . Stringfellows’ lighting is like something from ‘Close Encounters Of The Third Kind’ but otherwise the much-vaunted St Martins Lane Nightspot is like a better decorated provincial Scamps . . . Graham Gold has really cracked it at Mayfair Gullivers, creating a great happy atmosphere with well mixed good music . . . Ian Shaw, funking Southall Georgina’s on Tues/Fridays, no longer has his Richmond Cheekee Pete’s and Brollys funk gigs following the management’s demand that he play pure “disco”, which he did and they still didn’t like it . . . American media people are seemingly so scared of the “disco” connotation that even the theme tune to TV’s ‘CHiPs’ has been de-discofied (and sounds awful now) . . . I must confess to thoroughly enjoying Ottawan ‘D.I.S.C.O.’ (at least the French version) at my mobile gigs – shock horror gasp sensation! – the strange long instrumental break mixing nicely on into Tabou Combo ‘New York City‘ . . . Ralph Tee of the burgeoning ‘Groove Weekly’ fanzine should note that Kanu Sukalagwun doesn’t play a Hammond organ, but a Yamaha (of course!) . . . ConFunkShun’s old ‘Ffun‘ at 111 – 113bpm could be worth trying again . . . Adrian Lauder & John Aitchison of Kilmarnock’s Charisma Discos and LA Lighting & Audio were first in with a Christmas card this year – they obviously got in before the last posting date for England! . . . Britain’s current austerity with punters going out less often will mean that they are likely only to know the radio hits when they do go out this Christmas, so within reason do your best to KEEP IT GOOD!


IMPORTS

JAMES BROWN: ‘Funky Men’ (LP ‘Soul Syndrome’ US TK 615).
Looking great on the sleeve and sounding good in the groove. Mr Brown is back on form with a dynamite long 13:58 version of the 116bpm ‘Rapp Payback‘ hit which now expands more loosely through various bass-backed breaks, the other killer being this typical strung-out 120 – 114 – 119 – 116 (bridge) – 120 – 118 – 119 – 120bpm strutting rampage (is that Bobby Byrd and even the Flames back in there?), while ‘Smokin’ & Drinkin’’ is a coughing-punctuated 110bpm convoluted patterer, ‘Stay With Me‘ a tense slow 102bpm chugger, and the basically instrumental 130bpm ‘Honky Tonk’ and 149bpm ‘Mashed Potatoes’ are re-made oldies.

DRAMATICS: ‘Get It’ (LP ‘The Dramatic Way’ US MCA MCA-5146).
Strange almost ‘Bolero’-like ever-building low-key then tensely exciting hypnotic ebbing and flowing 107 – 108 – 112 – 113 – 110 – 112 – 114 – 111bpm thudder goes through various stages, some with a steady smack added to the perpetually pulsing rhythm or searing sax taking over from the nagging vocal patterns. Out a while but at the time I thought too complex to catch on, it was broken by Chris Hill at Southampton and is now spreading fast.

THE TRAMMPS: ‘Mellow Out’ (LP ‘Slipping Out’ US Atlantic SD 19290).
Mass Production-penned/produced set(surprisingly), this lovely easily tripping gentle 111bpm swayer having jazzy guitar and synth behind the guys sweet harmonies, ‘Looking For You‘ being a slickly driving 123 – 124bpm subtly urgent chugger, ‘Trained Eye‘ a rapper-rhythm 120 – 121 – 120bpm jolting chugger, ‘Breathtaking View‘ a busy 133 – 132bpm churner, ‘Groove All Mighty‘ a jerky 122bpm bumper, while pleasant soothing slowies are the 42bpm ‘Loveland’ and 41 – 42bpm ‘I Don’t Want To Ever Lose Your Love’ (what never?).  Continue reading “December 13, 1980: James Brown, Dramatics, Trammps, Yarbrough & Peoples, Gap Band”

December 6, 1980: Patrice Rushen, Change, BT Express, Blackbyrds, Heatwave

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

STEVIE WONDER, rather than ‘Happy Birthday’ or even ‘Lately’, has chosen ‘I Ain’t Gonna Stand For It’ as his next single . . . UK 12in releases due imminently include Grover Washington Jr ‘Let It Flow’ / ‘Winelight’, Yarbrough & Peoples ‘Don’t Stop The Music’, Ernie Watts ‘Just Holdin On’, Lenny White ‘Kid Stuff’ / ‘Slip Away’ / ‘Fancy Dancer’ (the last title only on the 12in, not the 7in) . . . James Brown ‘Rapp Payback’ is apparently unavailable to CBS here due to his Polydor / TK contract wrangle . . . Millie Jackson’s brand new send-up of Kurtis Blow and other rappers, ‘I Had To Say It‘, will be on promo 12in by Xmas with luck . . . WEA import LPs actually available here with UK catalogue numbers are Patrice Rushen (K 52260), Lenny White (K 52261), Grover Washington (K 52262), Prince (K 56862), Slave (SD 5224), Ritchie Rome (E6 256), Ernie Watts (E6 285) . . . London’s DJ world has been shaken by Fatman Graham Canter leaving Mayfair Gullivers for Soho Le Beat Route “to put it back on its feet” (at least it’ll be handy for Groove just across Greek Street!), but his replacement at Gullivers in the diminutive form of Graham Gold is already proving popular with the punters (when I’m with him at the weekends it’s the Little & Large show!) . . . Excaliber have won Skyy (their ‘Here’s To You’ is on US 12in promo), and in the chart race between the PRAT ex-partners Morgan Khan is way ahead of Dave McAleer thanks to Young & Co . . . Fred Dove has temporarily suspended WEA’s club mailing list as he (probably with reason) reckons that the slump in attendances means it’s less easy to find sufficient time when the club is full to plug new product effectively . . . Showstopper Promotions next National Soul Day will be indoors at the Brighton Conference Centre (with full facilities already built-in) on 4th May 1981, Caister 7 at the old camp being the weekend of April 10/11/12th . . . Greg Davies (0234-49932) could have work for experienced club jocks in the Beds/Herts area . . . Paul of the Cavalis reggae label (adding jazz-funk material next year) invites jocks to send full work details for mailing list consideration to him at Cavalis Ltd, 82 Rivington Street, London EC2 . . . Steve Dennis next Friday (12) holds a ‘World Rowing Championship’ for teams of five from clubs anywhere competing for speed rowing on machines and for style to ‘Oops’, full details from him at the venue, Faces, Five Ways, Birmingham 15 . . . London Weekend Television’s Royalty-filmed “tribes” show will now go out at 1:30 on Sunday week (14) . . . Polydor mailing list jocks recently polled about their music paper reading habits, kept Record Mirror way ahead of the rest for the third poll running . . . Alan Jones last week neglected to mention Stephanie Mills main juvenile claim to fame being her creation of the Diana Ross / Judy Garland role in the original stage production of ‘The Wiz’, following which Motown signed her but she left the label when the movie role didn’t go to her . . . O V Wright of ‘That’s How Strong My Love Is’ fame recently died, and Dramatics’ composer Tony Hester was murdered in a Detroit mugging . . . Antonia Rodriguez ‘La Bamba’ still seems big in Scotland / far North, while the influx of up-country mobile/mailing list-orientated chart contributors is having such effect on the UK Disco 90 as putting ‘D.I.S.C.O.’ back into the Top 30 and generally confirming what we already know is (or more to the point has been) popular with pop buyers . . . I am tempted to start two different charts, one for general jocks and one for soul specialists . . . Steve Walsh when last seen was playing ‘Bourgie Bourgie at Harringey Lazers’ Thursday ladies night, where Nicky Price serves fruit salads disguising knockout cocktails to trap unwary innocents . . . Chris Dinnis (Exeter Boxes) still maintains his Kanu Sukalagwun was a white label given to him by a friend (?) from London who told him the titles and that it was hot – if true, the moral Chris is, don’t trust Londoners bearing gifts! . . . Sterling Vann (Bethnal Green Tipples) found Kunz Donkumnobiga ‘T.O.B.E.D. (There’s One Born Every Day)’ (Japanese Tight Ship LP), while on the anagram Rick Shaun James (Ayesbury) has M Janoit ‘Le Sham’ (French Bonne – Farce 12in) – this disguises a disco journalist ‘not a million miles from me’ – and DJF Press Officer Frank W Smith (sorry, Mailin StMilkwharf) sent in a letter filled with DJ anagrams . . . Soho’s Groove Records has a supply of kazoos for Skyy purchasers . . . WEA’s “Surface Noise makes me crack up” isn’t the most tactful badge slogan . . . Pye’s cutting lathe runs slightly fast, explaining the difference in BPM between US and UK releases on Excaliber . . . Sugarhill Gang did indeed find friends at Funktion . . . Paul Clark & Phil Leppard’s jazz-funk Thursdays at Brighton Metro, once the “no-jeans” bastion of John Lewis, now welcomes jeans and T-shirts . . . Ian The Frogsaver has so many records that, at his Wednesday jazz-funk nights with Dave Middleton at Bletchley Peaches, he’ll buy a round of drinks if anyone asks him for a record he hasn’t got . . . Martin Platts (Blackburn) runs five miles every morning, doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, but does the other! . . . Honey Bee Benson now seems to be at Bishop’s Stortford Triad Leisure Centre . . . Tom Wilson (Edinburgh Oscars) says, “next time remember Margaret Thatcher is old enough to be your mother” – not mine mate, unfortunately, unless she was a child bride! . . . DJF’s aggressive new MU-opposing slogan sports a clenched fist and the message, “Hire a Live DJ” . . . KEEP IT DEAD!


UK NEWIES

PATRICE RUSHEN: ‘Never Gonna Give You Up (Won’t Let You Be)’ (Elektra K 12494T).
Beautifully recorded 12in coupling pairs this terrific sparkling happily swinging jaunty Emotions-type 118 – 117bpm strutter with the steadily snapping 106bpm ‘Don’t Blame Me‘ jittery jogger, her two best LP cuts making excellent value.

CHANGE: ‘The Glow Of Love’ (WEA K 79187T).
The ‘Lover’s Holiday’-flipping original LP version has been on stop-gap 12in again until now finally the extended 119bpm 12in remix of the lovely creamily rolling Luther Vandross-sung modern soul classic is officially out, with the shrill chix-sung 128bpm ‘It’s A Girl’s Affair‘ as flip. Check which version you’re buying as this was the LP version’s flip too.

BT EXPRESS: ‘Stretch’ (Excaliber EXCP 503).
Just to be difficult, the full length bass thudded 112 – 113bpm heavy funk smacker now appears also to be in limited 10,000 copy 3-track 12in edition featuring as flip their LP’s two main attractions, the remixed 110 (intro) – 109 – 108 – 109bpm ‘Express‘ tinkling chugger and 107bpm ‘Do It (Till You’re Satisfied)’ lurching funker, leaving the ‘Old Gold, Future Gold’ LP (EXCLP 5001) somewhat bare unless you want the throbbing 124 (intro) – 126 – 123 – 127bpm ‘Peace Pipe‘ and jerky 108 (intro) – 110 – 111 (outro) bpm ‘Shout It Out‘ remixes or the newly recorded fast churning 130bpm ‘Midnight Beat’, plodding 121/60bpm ‘Let Me Be The One’ and slow 40bpm ‘I Just Wanna Hold You’.  Continue reading “December 6, 1980: Patrice Rushen, Change, BT Express, Blackbyrds, Heatwave”

November 29, 1980: Bits & Pieces III, Skyy, Light Of The World, Herbie Hancock, BT Express

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

GAP BAND ‘Burn Rubber On Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)‘, serviced to the lucky few on acetate, is a great 117bpm heavy funk smacker kinda like something else I can’t think of, with a revving car intro 36 beats long which mixes well through Tom Browne’s “chick” break . . . Arista have circulated acetates of an up-coming segued Hiroshima ‘Cruisin’ J-Town’ / ‘Warriors’ 12in . . . Narada ‘I Want You’ / ‘Get Up!’ and Edit Point remlx (on Magnet now) should be due on 12in, while we still await Change ‘The Glow Of Love’ . . . Jimmy ‘Bo’ Horne is a Top 10 sales record and huge disco hit in Scotland – thanks to ‘Spank’ . . . Gil Scott-Heron ‘The Bottle’ on Inferno 12in has finally filtered South . . . Johnny Boston is now on 12in and Nick Straker (oh goodie!) is due as a remix too . . . UK “burp!” Players won Capital Radio’s People’s Choice vote last week . . . Ray Edwards’ soul show on Reading’s Radio 210 has been extended to four hours on Saturday evenings . . . Tony Jenkins now opens up Charing Cross’s previously gay Heaven for Funktion members every Tuesday . . . Rusty Egan starts an electronic night at Victoria s Venue next Thursday (4) . . . Graham Gold has Robbie Vincent back to Southall Georgina’s on December 13th for a “fave oldies” night, and all requests given to Graham before then win a 12in . . . Chris Kloppper’s Disquestation shop at 2 Vale Road, Tunbridge Wells offers regular discounts on US and UK product, cheapo so check ’em! . . . Holland’s Stand By Productions, publishers of Disco Special magazine, mount Holland’s first international disco equipment exhibition at Hilversum’s Expohall from 9th to 12th May next year, for cheap display details contact Arthur van den Bergh at PO Box 78, 6160 AB Geleen, Holland, van Akenstraat 4 (phone 01031449445200) . . . Morgan Khans Excaliber party for the play-back of BT Express’s album last week could have been better catered but brought together a lot of jocks ‘n’ dealers . . . DJM are now rumoured to be wooing Salsoul, while Champagne after a great start seems hell-bent on becoming a Wally label . . . James Brown is still, they hotly affirm, with Polydor despite a “one-off’ LP for TK . . . UK Disco 90 contributing DJ numbers have suddenly been swelled by an influx of mobile/mailing list -orientated jocks, fleshing out the middle section of the chart, bringing in Bowie, Blondie & Barbra, and actually holding back import orientated titles which in fact gained considerably this week – Reddings, Herbie Hancock, Charles Earland, Rodney Franklin, Edit Point, LAX, and (second week running) GQ all adding points/jocks but dipping . . . Fred Dove’s Ottawan segue is a fave with these jocks, although at my own Wally gig last Saturday (up-market mind you – with a couple of real princes present!) I did a far better mix using the French versions from ‘D.I.S.C.O.’ into ‘OK’ . . . Paul Mulligan (Edinburgh) and Thomas Crawley (Hamilton) both point out the plugs Ottawan are getting on Tiswas – “OOOHHHHHH KAAAYYYY” . . . Neil Fincham with Colin Cordrey is now at old gold -orientated Millionaires in Edinburgh’s Frederick Street, and Stuart Hamilton with Phil Kelly is excited to be working in Merseyside’s most exclusive disco (he says), the Coconut Grove in Green Lane, Tuebrook . . . Stevie Allen (Liverpool Rotters) says it’s the heavy advertising that packs all the clubs in the Rotters chain with over a thousand punters a night- now then Scousers simmer down! . . . Chris Brown’s ‘Family Album’, criticised by some for its necessary high price, looks like a bargain when compared with ‘Rock Stars In Their Underpants’! . . . Spandau Ballet’s BPM was worked out from the computer tape master’s number of beats divided by the running time – but maybe something shrank in the transfer to disc? . . . Paul ‘The Funky’ Major, busy around Yarmouth/Lowestoft, “slow-spins” Azymuth ‘Papasong’ on UK 12in at 33 1/3rpm making it mix with Shakatak ‘Steppin’ and indeed its ‘Dear Limmertz’ A-side . . . JP Smith (Bethnal Green) is going bananas trying to identity the artist and label of a holiday hit he heard in Majorca called ‘Wake Up And Move’ – anyone any ideas? . . . Ian Turner (Llandudno Cock ‘N’ Hen Disco Bar) asks if anyone has any old hickory shafted golf clubs they don’t want – is he a Kanu Sukalagwun fan by any chance, one wonders? – but he seems serious, so ring (0492)-79404 if you can help . . . Jo Field (Hemel Hempstead) rapping Bill Ellingford’s lyrics to a Kurtis Blow track has come up with ‘Hi-Fi Rap’ by Vinyl Crisis, an equipment salesman’s spiel set to music – wanna listen, Orin? . . . Andy Greg (Loughton) has tried his hand at song writing – er, Andy, don’t give up yer day job! . . . Steve Wiggins (Barry Freddies Bar), straightening his suspenders, warns Dave Bumford that jealousy will get him nowhere! . . . Marshall ‘Woolie’ King (Sunderland Mayfair Suite) says it’s not his super new hairstyle that makes his ears stick out – OK, so what is it? . . . Brian Brindle (Chelsea Alibi) chops the vintage Champs ‘Tequila’ out of Linx ‘You’re Lying’ without losing any dancers – mind you, the Alibi floor only holds about eight people at a pinch! . . . Richard ‘Tricky Dicky’ Scanes of London’s Dicks Inn gay disco circuit says, “Let’s drop the jazz out of funk and get back to encouraging some exciting music” . . . Hi! to our growing number of USA-based DJ readers – if you feel like writing, please do . . . KEEP IT GOOD!


IMPORTS

BITS & PIECES III: ‘Let’s Do It – More Of The ’80s Medley’ (Canadian Special Disco Mixer 12in)
To call this latest disco mixer “brilliant” would be to do it an injustice – this is fan-bloody-tastic! Consistently and compulsively danceable, synchronised to a steadily clapping 123bpm overlaid beat, it starts out with snippets from recent disco hits before (on the longer B-side version) suddenly taking a nostalgia trip back to the ‘60s for verses or even just individual lines from the Archies, lots of Beatles, Four Seasons, Everly Bros, Neil Sedaka, Roy Orbison, Paul McCartney, Martha & The Vandellas, Fortunes, Brian Hyland and so on, to end out of James Brown at 120bpm with a freaky electronic fade. A MUST for all mobile, MoR and pop jocks, Record Shack have it, you will want it!

SKYY: ‘Superlove’ (LP ‘Skyyport’, US Salsoul SA 8537).
Randy Muller-prod / largely penned set, much better than their others (they’ve even toned down their prattish stagewear on the sleeve!), this perky synth-driven little 121bpm skipping smacker is incredibly similar to Prince’s ‘Head’ while the cleanly driving 122 – 123bpm ‘Here’s To You‘ has great mellow synth in the last half, ‘No Music‘ is a short clapping 112bpm acapella rap-type chanter which reintroduces their Skyyzoo (kazoo) for possible silly session fun and ‘I Can’t Get Enough‘ languidly smacks along at 115 – 114bpm with jazzy piano between beautifully controlled vocals.

JERMAINE JACKSON: ‘The Pieces Fit’ (LP ‘Jermaine’ US Motown M8-948MI).
Without the benefit of Mr Wonder this time although Herbie Hancock’s in there somewhere, this sub-‘Serious’ frenetic but sparse 109bpm jitterer has Bee Gees-type harmonies, ‘Little Girl Don’t You Worry‘ is a brittle swinging 116bpm smacker and ‘Can I Change My Mind‘ a lazily swaying 99bpm revival of Tyrone Davis’s classic. It isn’t on the level of the last one.  Continue reading “November 29, 1980: Bits & Pieces III, Skyy, Light Of The World, Herbie Hancock, BT Express”