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.””

March 10, 1979: Report from Billboard’s Disco V Forum, New York (Part One)

Four hundred quid and next to no sleep later, New York was certainly good fun last week, when a huge horde of disco business Britons descended on that city for Billboard’s Disco V Forum. In fact the consensus of opinion was that the actual Forum sessions were the least vital part of the affair, while the equipment exhibition was the most useful, and a statuesque 6 foot 1” young lady called Fern was the most stimulating. Say no more, wink wink, spare the blushes (thanks for the money, lads)!

After a sleepless weekend of getting last week’s page written, I arrived in New York on Monday evening, and went straight into a gargantuan spread at the amazing Gallaghers Steak House just over the road from the Roseland Ballroom. The Roseland, like a half-size Purley Top Rank was the world-famous venue for the Forum’s live music entertainment, and inside the specially disco-fied room we soon found the exuberant British contingent led by Chris Hill, Southgate Royalty-owning Adrian Webb, Froggy, Biddu and his rather Debbie Harry-hairstyled wife Sue, Polydor’s Theo Loyla, CBS’s Greg Lynn & Malcolm Jones, Miracle’s Pete Waterman, Magnet’s Tilly Rutherford, Island’s Erskine T, Funk Funktion’s Roger St Pierre & Sally Ormsby, Satril’s Henry Hadaway & Greg Gregory, Carlin Music’s Mike Collier, Lorraine Lewis (ex-EMI) and Rokotto-managing Murdo Wallace.

In no time we were chanting “wall to wall, carpet” as Edwin Starr souled his latest hit, and then we substituted “extra extra, read all about it” to words of his new ‘H.A.P.P.Y. Radio’ (which coincidentally he was composing down at Mayfair’s Gullivers on his last UK visit). Edwin however sounded fine, which cannot be said for the appalling Chic, who died the death – partly through poor amplification. Then we all piled into buses to head out across the towering Brooklyn Bridge for Flatbush where Casablanca Records, with much sought little stick-on camel badges as invitation, were hosting a roller disco party at the Empire Rink to promote their new star, Cher. Doing anything to get a hit, the society column queen was zipped around the rink by some steadying supporters, while her ‘Take Me Home’ disco effort was expertly mixed so’s you couldn’t notice into Donna Summer’s greatest hits. The jock at the rink was brilliant, but although the place was still crowded with skaters in the middle of the night, few were actually dancing as they roared around. So much for roller disco? Back at the Gotham Hotel, I set my Aiwa stereo radio/cassette to record WKTU (Disco 92) and hit the pillow for the first time in 66 hours.

Tuesday dawned late for many, but it was the first real day of the Forum at the Hilton Hotel. A must for most of the British contingent was the afternoon’s discussion panel about disco DJ mixing techniques. Here we pulled a popular “funk mafia” trick, by suddenly standing up with ready-prepared scorecards to cause a bigger sensation than the very respectable running mix by Jim Burgess of ‘I Will Survive’ into ‘At Midnight’. Amongst the tricks of the US style that we learnt about were the “flanging” effect, like phasing, of playing two copies of the same record, in exact synchronisation, and the method of playing two copies slightly out of synch to get phasing and echo effects, but with each record split balanced to opposing sides of the stereo speaker image – Roy Thode of New York’s Ice Palace demonstrated this using Instant Funk to perfection. However, the session was badly marred by continual squabbles about the Forum’s bad organisation, lack of mikes for the audience, and general untogetherness. Of the DJ’s making up the panel, though, it must be said that their use of the microphones provided for them merely underlined the fact that American DJ’s quite simply CAN’T, rather than don’t want to, use mikes when jocking.

Interesting stuff, huh? Well, sorry it’s got to end there, but the real meat of the week’s happenings will be revealed next issue.

Note: The second part of this report was actually printed a fortnight later, on March 24th.

Disco News

Sparky & Wendy beat 40 dancers to survive for 50 hours at Bristol Assize Courts’ all-weekender marathon competition, while the dancing skill competition was won by Derek after already doing 30 hours non-stop (same length as Martin Starr jocked – losing his voice!), the bash raising over £1500 to ‘Save Some For The Children’ in hospital . . . Terry Betts of the gay guys ‘n gals Lemmons in London’s Westway, normally candlelit Fri/Saturday, has a rollerskating competition on Thursdays with £250 grand final in six weeks . . . Mike Davidson funks Liverpool Hollywood in Duke Street every Thurs-Sunday, operating a club mailing list for members with discounted records, hairstyling and concert coach parties . . . Bournemouth’s Village complex has shut for a major refit and renovation, opening before the summer season . . . Dartford Flicks, the funk venue with Studio 54 pretentions, goes – gulp! – rock ‘n roll on Tuesdays to the boppin’ beat of the Wild Wax crew . . . Island’s new disco division is headed by Erskine T with Eon Irving, their Inner Circle & Gibson Bros hits soon to be joined by Roundtree . . . Hamilton Bohannon’s ‘Cut Loose’ LP, reviewed on import last week, is out here as SRM 18702, while the title track on 12in is Mercury 9198082 . . . Patrice Rushen ‘Hang It Up’ is now on longer Elektra 12in remix . . . Joneses ‘Sugar Pie Guy’ classic from ‘75 has been remixed into 6:29 12in form for Mercury rerelease soon.

New Spins

VILLAGE PEOPLE: ‘In The Navy’ (Mercury 6007209) (BNDA debut 4/7/79)
Adding sailor suits to their stagewear, the boys clap ‘n holler an instantly catchy 127bpm singalong romper that’s also due on remixed 12in – for UK release this time, unlike the ‘YMCA’ remix!

INSTANT FUNK: ‘I Got My Mind Made Up’ LP (Salsoul SSLP 1511) (‘I Got My Mind Made Up’ BNDA debut 1/27/79)
Only the British LP has this full 9:40 113bpm US disco remix version of the title track, plus its 6:00 soulfully jumping fast 128bpm ‘Crying’ flip, while other warm cuts include the applause-spiced jazzy 128bpm ‘Wide World Of Sports’ instrumental and long P-funkily introed 119bpm ‘Dark Vader’ bumper. They’re better heard on record than seen live.

GEORGE BENSON: ‘Love Ballad’ (Warner Bros. K 17333)
Beautifully scat-sung ‘n plucked bouncy 112bpm mid-tempo driving jazz skipper, deceptively fast though slow seeming on 5:15 12in.  Continue reading “March 10, 1979: Report from Billboard’s Disco V Forum, New York (Part One)”

March 3, 1979: Gibson Brothers, Grey & Hanks, FLB, Mantus, Peggy Scott

As you read this, I am over in New York attending Billboard’s Disco Forum – mixing (physically!) with all the jocks, producers, pluggers, manufacturers and other members of the world-wide disco industry who have similarly converged for four days on New York’s Hilton Hotel for what promises to be the best Billboard bash yet. If you remember, I made it over to their first forum three years ago, but have not had time to attend any subsequent shows. Next week you can read all the relevant news on this page in RM.

Disco News

Instant Funk’s UK LP, due now, contains the full US 12in version of ‘I Got My Mind Made Up’ . . . Herbie Mann ‘Superman’ is now on UK 5:53 12in (Atlantic LV 18), while Crackin’ ‘Double Love’ 12in is due in a month . . . Joe Simon and Don Ray are now not due in shops on Polydor 12in until March 16, when Arpeggio ‘Love And Desire’ is also scheduled . . . Tilly Rutherford helms the new Magnet disco dept, with Joanna Kochen still the DJ’s contact, while Lettice has left Arista and Dave McAleer returns from RCA to Pye in next to no time . . . Bob Jones has convinced Chelmsford Dee-Jays to let himself and Paul Gratue funk the joint every Wednesday with imports only, while the Bob ‘n Paul funk team also now do Seven Kings Cauliflower every Tuesday (Hornchurch Kingswood having lost licence) and have a Kingswood Revival Night at Rayleigh Crocs on Thursday next (8) . . . Thames Valley DJA’s new secretary is funky Frank Smith of the Moving Sound roadshow, on Ashford (Middlesex) 42587 days / 52659 nights . . . South Wales DJA’s secretary is Paul Baccara, recently moved to 12/14 Stuart Terrace, Pontyclun CF7 8AF (Llantrisant 224217) . . . David Emery, ex-Newcastle Scamps, will jazz-funk anywhere with his Discotrax outfit, on (0632) 813797 . . . Ilford’s famous Room At The Top is the latest venue to appeal for their late-night licence to be renewed, and Terry Hooper badly needs favourable support for the club from responsible citizens.

New Spins

GIBSON BROTHERS: ‘Cuba’ (Island 12WIP 6483) (BNDA debut 4/7/79)
Dynamite – the most exciting record of the moment is a madly happy catchily chanted jumping salsa skipper of 7:42 12in with a cleanly zapping 122bpm backbeat and a backing behind the Latin rhythm that’s just like Karen Young’s ‘Hot Shot’! Instrumental flip’s useful for mixing, but try running Lonnie Liston Smith’s Latin break over this and then into Gonzalez!

GREY & HANKS: ‘Dancin’’ (RCA PC 1458) (BNDA debut 1/20/79)
Simple but powerfully effective creamily clomping 122bpm hustler on 6:54 12in, now maybe overshadowed by Gary’s Gang and GQ but still almost in that compulsive class, reaches a frantic “dance dance dancin’” climax.

FLB: ‘Boogie Town’ (Fantasy 12FTC 168)
Fat Larry’s Band as well, with an exciting hot import galloper on 7:41 12in with skippable 116bpm intro before the vocoder and brass whip things up at 126bpm. Continue reading “March 3, 1979: Gibson Brothers, Grey & Hanks, FLB, Mantus, Peggy Scott”

February 24, 1979: WEA’s LV Set

Disco News

Cardiff Troubadour in Rover Way has a £1,000 first prize dancing competition every Tuesday until the final on March 20th, with free entry for contestants . . . Brighton Bunnies funk club welcomes “casual but smart” potential members on Thurs/Fridays, and yet is sending coachloads of loons to the next Purley fest all dressed as skindivers (for an ‘Aqua Boogie’, natch – details Paul Clark, 0273-698699)! . . . Island soon launch a new disco label, Fearless . . . Thelma Houston UK 12in is promo only, bah! Jean Michel Jarre on blue 12in and Bee Gees on US 12in are a few more promos currently about . . . Bill Summers wonders if Shalamar or he cut the first ‘Bank’ record – his being mixed by last May . . . CBS seem very formal, adding the “z” to Pam Todd’s ‘Baise Moi” . . . Bronwyn King’s Special Events (01-836 1605) is a new promotional and model agency that supplies glamorous female personnel for special promotions, exhibitions and the like, with girls in London, Manchester and Birmingham – could be useful for the industry if not so much for jocks (dunno, though!) . . . Miquel Brown 12in has been mailed to all DJF (GB) affiliate members . . . Thames Valley DJA meets this Sunday (25) at noon in High Wycombe’s Night Spot Disco, Desborough Road, to learn about making audition tapes . . . Havering DJA, covering East London/West Essex, only has 12 members but thrusts onwards with record and equipment discounts already arranged (details Brian Mead, Romford 61129 days) . . . North Midlands ADJ have a nice new little magazine edited by Don Bunting (Sheffield 372422), and seem well organised . . . East Midlands DJA hold a fund-raising disco at Derby New Assembly Rooms on April 5th and would welcome a promotional night to tie in with it – promo people please call Carl Horsley on Derby 761530 . . . Dave Xanadu is starting a Hastings and Bexhill DJA, so potential members write him at St Margerets, Potmans Lane, Bexhill-on-Sea . . . don’t be last on your block to have a DJ Association! . . . Chris Hill’s is the best though . . .

WEA’s LV Set

As promised, here’s a run-down on the two-week old set of long version 12in “LV”s issued by WEA. Be prepared to check the BPMs as printed on the labels against those printed here, as the labels are not always correct. (My BPMs may not always correspond with others either, but at least if you stick with me you’ll be consistent!)

CHIC: ‘I Want Your Love’ (Atlantic LV 16) (BNDA debut 12/16/78)
Insidious little mid-tempo 115bpm jittery swayer, on 6:53 remix 12in or shorter 7in – the latter flipped by the heavy 101bpm ‘(Funny) Bone’ funk instrumental, while the 12in has both ‘Le Freak’ and the already hot Latin-type 113bpm ‘Chic Cheer’, with long applause intro.

DENNIS BROWN: ‘Money In My Pocket’ (Lightning LV 5)
Monster reggae import for months, the dynamite catchy 78bpm groover will now crossover and smash pop.

FANTASTIC FOUR: ‘B.Y.O.F. (Bring Your Own Funk)’ (Atlantic LV 14)
Great 6:02 clapping 123bpm freak stamper harks back to the ‘60s soul sound, even working Wilson Pickett’s ‘1000 Dances’ chant into its otherwise modern framework, and mixes superbly into Philly Cream ‘Sly-Hi’ and Montana ‘I Love Music’ (skipping very start of both). The remixed chugging 113bpm ‘Sexy Lady’ flip is now less Hot Chocolatey than before, and big for some already.  Continue reading “February 24, 1979: WEA’s LV Set”

February 17, 1979: Players Association, Herbie Hancock, Caroline Crawford, Rick James, Mike Mandel

Disco News

Bournemouth Maison Royale’s Roadshow Of The Year finalists, fighting it out this Thursday (15), are John DeSade (Maidstone) v Steve Maxted (Swanley) v Paul’s Sound Mobile (Salisbury) v Tony Holden (Reading) — and with that line-up it should be a fight indeed! . . . Eddie Henderson ‘Cyclops’ is now on 12in (Capitol 12CL 16034), and the 9:48 “eye-cued” 118bpm remix 12in of T-Connection ‘At Midnight’ is also out (TK TKR 12-7517) . . . Miracle’s remixed Love Symphony Orchestra will NOT have the Penthouse Pet sleeve but is out early March, when they’ll also have Blair ‘Night Life’ on 12in, and Capitol will do a Tavares 12in with instrumental flip . . . Peter Tosh ‘Don’t Look Back’ has resurfaced on remixed dub white-label 12in which could be an ethnic monster if issued properly . . . Island have a one-sided promo 12in of remixed Hi-Tension ‘Power & Lightning’ (130bpm) and ‘Unspoken’ (132bpm) . . . Real Thing’s 12in and 7in turned out not red vinyl but a nasty translucent yellow-green piss colour! . . . Discolonga Max? – really, it could happen! . . . Gill Watkins of Leapfrog Promotions, Priory House, Kingsgate Place, London NW6 (01-328 7251), would like to add both club and mobile jocks to their mailing list . . . Trevor John Hughes has finally found a funk venue, every Fri/Saturday at Oakengates Jubilee ‘77 Club, while Graham Gold’s new Sunday funk gig starting March 11th will be at the Greenford Hotel Barbarellas in Uxbridge Road, Southall, running till 11:30 under the Champers name again . . . Steve Martell, ex-Leicester Fusion and Chesterfield Jingles, is now resident at the soon to be refitted Preston Clouds . . . Chris Lee’s Carvey Bardots funk gig has closed so he’s mobile on Hornchurch 50448 while waiting for another residency – any offers? . . . Bob Jones has had to tone down the Jazz-funk at Chelmsford Dee-Jays (the kids were dancing and not drinking) but still spins hip sounds at Hornchurch Kingswood: however, he’s after funky guest spots (even mobile work with someone else’s gear) on Chelmsford 2924 . . . Essex-based too, Craig Royale is well-known locally for jocking but also runs CR’s Import Records from 8 Elderberry Gardens, Witham, Essex CM8 2PT (Witham 46186) specializing in jazz/funk/soul/latin, so send for a catalogue . . . Carl Anthony Henry (Blackpool), you’re hip in spirit but “B” in fact!

New Spins

PLAYERS ASSOCIATION: ‘Turn The Music Up!’ LP (Vanguard VSD 79421) (BNDA debut 4/7/79)
Quite simply – it’s here! Hottest import LP for ages, every cut’s a killer, from the dynamite 115-118bpm title track through the smoochy 88bpm instrumental ‘The Closer I Get To You’, 132bpm ‘Everybody Dance’, 107bpm ‘I Wish’, 47/95bpm ‘More Than A Little Bit’ and 120bpm ‘Ride The Groove’, it’s jazz-funk disco perfection.

HERBIE HANCOCK: ‘Tell Everybody’ (from LP ‘Feets Don’t Fail Me Now’, CBS 83491) (BNDA debut 7/14/79)
Forget ‘You Bet Your Love’ (included here of course), as this dynamite 7:12 storming 120bpm leaper is like it but even more so! Already exploding for hip jocks, it chop mixes nicely on into Damon Harris (minus the latter’s intro). Other hot cuts are the 118bpm ‘Ready Or Not’ freaker and wistful ‘Trust Me’ smoocher.

WEA LV SERIES: With several titles in this “Long Version” 12in set already climbing the chart, and full catalogue details given last week, I must apologize for not reviewing them all in full now as promised . . . but it has been possibly the hottest week for disco releases in memory and there just isn’t room! You’ll find BPM info (sometimes slightly inaccurate) on most of the labels, and – apart from the terrific Bettye LaVette re-mix – the material is all well known. Reviews next week – but get ‘em now!

CAROLINE CRAWFORD: ‘Coming On Strong’ / ‘A Nice Feeling’ (Mercury 9198055)
Hamilton Bohannon-powered 132bpm frantically flying excitement with rawly wailing vocal yells from his ‘Let’s Start The Dance’ singer, on 4:57 12in, while the equally strong 5:11 flip’s a beautiful jazzy 115bpm instrumental stamper, big for many especially in the North-West. Hot on import for months, these are absolute musts.  Continue reading “February 17, 1979: Players Association, Herbie Hancock, Caroline Crawford, Rick James, Mike Mandel”

February 10, 1979: “Jazz-Funk Over-Kill”

Disco News

Bournemouth Maison Royale’s UK Roadshow Of The Year final is next Thursday (15), with finalists so far being John DeSade (Maidstone), Steve Maxted (Swanley), Paul’s Sound Mobile (Salisbury), while this Thursday (8) the last semi-final is between Glen Ross (Birmingham) & Haze International (Portsmouth) . . . Motown’s Les Spaine is revising his club jock mailing list, so write him at Motown Records, Heron Place, 9 Thayer Street, London W1 . . . Arista have had such phenomenal phone-in reaction to GQ’s previously unheard-of import that it’s being rushed by them as soon as possible . . . RCA schedule Bill Summers next week, followed by Grey & Hanks, David Fathead Newman on remix 12in . . . WEA plan a promo-only Mick Jackson remix 12in, while Sister Sledge 12in is due in two weeks and evidently a 99p Rose Royce 12in has already snuck out . . . Boney M. ‘Dancing In The Streets’ is now on 6:00 remix US Sire 12in . . . Don Ray ‘Got To Have Loving’ is out again on Polydor 12in next week . . . West Midlands DJ Assn mount a “disco-show-exhibition-fun night”, West Midlands Discoscene ’79, next Sunday (18) at Birmingham’s Albany Hotel, Smallbrook Queensway, with member jocks and BRMB’s Dave Barnes, laser show, disco dancing display, various prizes and local dealers demonstrating disco equipment – all in aid of Cancer Research, and the hope that more local jocks will support the association . . . Robby Baron’s Red Bull in Peckham has been completely redecorated and will now feature Greg Edwards every Monday, King Enri on Thursdays, Victor Scott on Fridays and soul band Jabba on Sundays . . . Graham Gold’s successful Sunday funk night at Greenford Champers has had to close due to a brewery policy switch, but the same crowd will be able to groove from Feb 22 at Harrow-on-the-Hill’s Kings Head where Graham’s Tues/Thursday residency will include guest spots by Chris Hill, Graham Canter and Robbie Vincent . . . Erik-Jack, ex-Young Generation dancer and now boss of Bognor’s Life discos, is to choreograph steps for the cheerleaders of Arundel District’s ‘It’s A Knockout’ team – disco comes to that TV show now, too, huh?!

Jazz-Funk Over-Kill

Dave Else (Guildford Bridge) has some good points to make about the jazz-funk trend. “All the warnings flying around these days about using too much jazz-funk seem to make good sense to me. While the various Chrises attract a very hip crowd who will accept all that is thrown at them, I find down here (only 20 miles from central London) that the majority of punters are still not ready for the real heavy heavy jazz which is often listed by the “top” jocks in their Hot Vinyls, etc. We do have a very hip minority at the Bridge, but if I played to them all evening the door money would drop and I’d be out on me ear!”

“Anyway, if I chose to play to a minority then I’d play deep soul and 60’s sounds all night!” (Nice one – JH) “My solution to this problem of satisfying everyone (including Wallies – I deal with them on my mobile gigs)” (yes, Dave does weddings etc. on Godalming 23522 – JH) “is to let my warm-up DJ’s play their latest jazz-funk LP’s amongst more popular sounds during the early part of the evening and keep the minority happy, then I play all the top sounds together with whichever newies I think the majority will take to.”

“By this time the minority are also out for a good time and enjoy everything played. I also do include moody jazz in slow spots, and play out at the end with one. This doesn’t make me the hippest DJ around but I’m more interested in making people happy.”

All of which makes eminent good sense, and can be applied to just about any disco situation. No matter how hip the DJ’s taste or the crowd’s pose, it’s always worth remembering that the best times are had by those who can let their hair down and boogie . . . and to get that atmosphere you need something simple to boogie to. Deep down, which would you really rather boogie to, Sea Level ‘Fifty-Four’? Come in, Section Three!

WEA this week launch a set of 12 LV long version 12in specials, selling now for £1.79 each, under the campaign heading “Funk Fixers”. Full reviews and BPM will be in next week’s issue (when I’ve actually seen and checked them for differences from the originals), but their catalogue details are as follows: DENNIS COFFEY: ‘Gimmie That Funk’ / ‘Calling Planet Earth’ (Atlantic/Westbound LV 6), AQUARIAN DREAM: ‘You’re A Star’ / ‘Play It For Me’ (Elektra LV 7), KAREN YOUNG: ‘Hot Shot’ (Atlantic LV 8), BETTYE LAVETTE: ‘Doin’ The Best I Can’ (remix) (Atlantic LV 9), WILLIE HUTCH: ‘Come And Dance With Me’ (remix) / ‘Easy Does It’ (Whitfield LV 10), PHREEK: ‘Weekend’ (remix) / ‘Have A Good Day’ (Atlantic LV 11), SLAVE: ‘Stellar Fungk’ / ‘You And Me’ (Cotillion LV 12), NORMA JEAN: ‘Saturday’ / ‘This Is Love’ (Bearsville LV 13), FANTASTIC FOUR: ‘B.Y.O.F.’ / ‘Sexy Lady’ (remix) (Atlantic/Westbound LV 14), HOWARD KENNEY: ‘Save Some For The Children’ (Warner Bros. LV 15), CHIC: ‘I Want Your Love’ (remix) / ‘Chic Cheer’ / ‘Le Freak’ (Atlantic LV 16), LOVE DE-LUXE: ‘Here Comes That Sound Again’ (Atlantic LV 17).

New Spins

GARY’S GANG: ‘Keep On Dancin’’ / ‘Do It At The Disco’ (CBS 12-7109) (BNDA debut 1/6/79)
Here at last, and on 12in too, is the next Dan Hartman-like sensation from CBS. Already a smash on import, the dynamite “dance dance dance” 126bpm chanter explodes through several breaks and some amazing synthesizer sounds on the full 7:15 12in, but amazingly all these best bits are edited out for the bland radio-aimed 3:40 7in. You’ve GOT to get the 12in! Also big for many, the 127bpm 5:45 B-side’s got squeaky, Mickey Mouse-type vocal harmonies and rattling Latin percussion edited to 3:30 for 7in.

INNER CIRCLE: ‘Everything Is Great’ (Island 12WIP 6472)
In the Third World/Hi-Tension bag but even more funk than fusion, this bottom-heavy chanting 122bpm groover is a bit messy as a song but chugs towards a climax with great freaky stereo effects amongst the percussion. Issued on very limited 12in, even those shops that ordered early are finding it scarcer than hens’ teeth, so do your best to get it!

PARADISE EXPRESS: ‘Dance’ / ‘Poinciana’ (Fantasy 12 XFTC 167) (BNDA debut 12/9/78)
Sadly dropping out of the chart just as it’s finally released, this frantic 131bpm remake of the Paul Jabara number is easily confused with Sylvester . . . mainly because it’s by his backing group! On 8:16 12in, it’s flipped with a 130bpm disco version of the recent Gato Barbieri hit, but this starts with slow seashore effects before the rhythm builds gently to smoothly singing girls and a very pretty vocal, with a syndrum and percussion break.  Continue reading “February 10, 1979: “Jazz-Funk Over-Kill””

February 3, 1979: Real Thing, Cheryl Lynn, Winners, James Brown, Donna Summer

Chris Browne (Elephant & Castle, Charlie Chaplins) thinks Beats Per Minute mixing is a fine idea with many possibilities, BUT . . . “in the wrong hands it could bore the arse off every discotheque patron in the land!” Chris continues, “I’ve always mixed by ear and by gut feel, which – I think – is the best method. BPM should be used more as a guide line than a strict rule. What happens, for instance, if a punter requests something that rates 130bpm and you’re playing at around 120bpm? ‘Sorry mate, I’m not playing that tempo at the moment . . .’ (broken nose, etc)! Let’s just hope that BPM doesn’t create a lot of ‘instant DJ’s’ with robotic formats.” Pretty much the message I’ve been trying to get across, Chris. Anyway, the result is that jocks have been practising their mixing whether the BPM’s or not, and here are some of their segue suggestions. First-time mixer Dave Middleton (Bletchley Peaches) tried ‘Instant Replay’ into ‘In The Bush’ into ‘I’m A Man’ into ‘Que Tal America’, and found it worked – look ma, no voice! More adventurous but also a beginner, Tony Green (Ainsdale Tiffanys) found percussion mixes easy regardless of different BPM speeds, and suggests mixing into and out of the percussion break of Lonnie Liston Smith, Gene Chandler, Lakeside, Village People (US 12in remix). Phil Mitchell (Hull University Soul Club) takes the tempo up in steps with Weather Report ‘River People’, Marvin Gaye ‘Funky Space Reincarnation’, Instant Funk, Olympic Runners ‘Sir Dancealot’, which builds you up nicely to any freak tempo disc. Veteran mixer Simon Greenwood (Esher & Bristol Le Village Discos) gets sophisticated with Caroline Crawford ‘Coming On Strong’, mixing Paradise Express ‘Dance’ (minus the first 20 secs) under Caroline’s accapella vocal break, which he whips out when she’s said her bit, then near the end of ‘Dance’ either chopping into Sylvester ‘Dance (Disco Heat)’ or mixing into Peaches & Herb ‘Groove Thing’ 12in. Finally, jazz-funker Chris Lee (Canvey Bardots) creates excitement with the crowd effects of Instant Funk ‘Wide World Of Sports’, mixing outro into Willie Bobo ‘Always There’, Rainbow ‘I Like It’, Sea Level ‘54’, Ayers & Henderson ‘Lovers Should Always Be Together’ (LP track at 45 rpm), all straightforward mixes at appropriate points towards the end of each.

Disco News

Orville Sweeney switches his disco promotion desk from Anchor to RCA this week . . . Gary’s Gang is out on 12in next week! . . . Players Association and T-Connection LPs are due then too, with Bell & James, Joe Simon ‘Love Vibration’ and Krypton ‘Can You Read My Mind’ 12ins to follow mid-month . . . T-Connection indeed is, but Deborah Washington is however not on commercial 12in, and Bob Marley ‘Stir It Up’ isn’t even on 7in now as another is being chosen . . . Ariola launch special limited edition gold vinyl extended 7in versions this week of 3 Degrees, Chanson, Deborah Washington, Winners, John Paul Young, Sugar Cane ‘Valhevala’ and Linda Fletcher ‘Hush’, 10,000 of each . . . Love Symphony Orchestra is coming on Miracle, but will it be the Penthouse Pets sleeve?! . . . Gregg Diamond ‘Starcruiser’ is on 7:17 US 12in with 10:06 ‘This Side Of Midnight’ flip (thanx for info, Adrian Sykes, Tottenham) . . . WEA’s big 12in plans include simultaneous release in shoppers’ browser pack of twelve LV’s with an upped price of £1.79 – cheaper than imports still – to include such as Aquarian Dream, Howard Kenney and other recent biggies . . . Dave Rawlings (Basingstoke Maxwells) speed-spins Grover Washington Jr ‘Do Dat’ at about 130bpm by varying the 7in speed to halfway between 45 and 78rpm (funny decks you’ve got Dave!), at which it’s then a good jazz-funk flier . . . Dartford Flicks is gaining Studio 54-type queues and now not only have you got to look funky and freaky to get in but this Saturday DJ Cohn Hudd will be allowing in any funksters clutching copies of Record Mirror – but you gotta get there early to get in at all!

New Spins

REAL THING: ‘Can You Feel The Force?’ (Pye 7NL 46147)
Long a fave on LP and now huge due to some timely 12in promos, this dynamite brassily leaping 132bpm “whup-whup-whoo-hoo” rhythm rattler has been remixed with added applause and a terrifically freaky ‘Star Wars’-style 53 second intro that’s great running through, say, ‘Que Tal America’ or the ‘Countdown/This Is It’ rhythm break. It’s all on 7:33 red vinyl 12in, and is a disco smash!

CHERYL LYNN: ‘Got To Be Real’ (CBS 12-6967) (BNDA debut 11/25/78)
Subtly powerful wailing 116bpm Emotions/Chaka Khan-style strutter is on full 5:10 12in complete with long but languid instrumental break – but, amazingly, though the US 7in is the same generous length, here the 7in is just the original LP version’s break-lacking 3:48. Bah!

WINNERS: ‘Get Ready For The Future’ (Ariola ARO 144)
Brass Construction-type 120bpm chugger, huge on import last summer, has a great freaky synthesizer break near the end – ideal for mixing – and is on longer promo 12in or gold vinyl 7in (AROE 144).  Continue reading “February 3, 1979: Real Thing, Cheryl Lynn, Winners, James Brown, Donna Summer”