February 9, 1980: Tony Rallo & The Midnite Band, Narada Michael Walden, Jocko, Leon Haywood, Bobby Thurston

Odds ‘N Bods

Michael Jackson ‘Rock With You’ is amazingly on 3:20 7in-length 12in (Epic EPC 13-8206) with the long 128 bpm ‘You Can’t Win’ added to ‘Get On The Floor’ to make a 12:00 flip . . . Zkiffz ‘(I Wanna) Boogie With You’ is now on 12in (UA 12BP 332) with a sexy “hit me with your sticky dick” continuation, while the GQ ‘Standing Ovation’ 12in version does average 126 bpm but actually runs at 127-125-126-125-126 bpm . . . Stop ‘I Can Feel It’ will be Calibre CABL 101 from any day now . . . RCA have won UK rights to Salsoul, so it’s back to base for them again . . . Sunday sees a mass exodus of Funk Mafia to Los Angeles for a week long treat, travelers including (along with various womenfolk) Chris Hill, Robbie Vincent, Froggy, Sean French, myself (looks like I’m sharing with Sean this time – hope he doesn’t snore like Fatman!), Stan Barrett of Canvey Goldmine, the Southgate Royalty mob, and even Capital Radio’s Roger Scott, the excuse for the trip being Billboard’s Disco (sorry – dance music – the chickens!) Forum but the actual objective being Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, Universal City, the Beach Boys and a darned good time! . . . Greg Davies’s Disco Forum ’80 will cost a lot less, £2 only in fact, tickets from him at 11 Hampton Close, Wilstead, Beds MK45 3DA, the 8pm event being on Tuesday, February 19th at Stevenage Bo Jangles Club . . . Soho’s Groove Records, who will be selling imports at Stevenage, have made a commercial for Capital Radio play using (with permission) Bobby Thurston’s ‘Check Out The Groove’ . . . Mark Clark (Wokingham King Of Clubs) suggests Merry Clayton’s lovely slow ‘When The World Turns Blue’ is merely her over Joe Sample’s ‘Melodies Of Love’, while Froggy points out that Sharon Paige ‘Tonight’s The Night’ is the same song as One Way ‘Tonight’, on the flip of ‘Music’ . . . US of A ‘Bodysnatching’ was evidently put out with the wrong mix, though the new one’s no better . . . Candido’s new album has caused widespread disappointment among DJs . . . Roger St Pierre’s promotion company has now lost Ian Titchener, who with brother Nick has joined Barry McCloud to form Rush Release (01-669 0327/659 2701) for promotion, PR, press – they all only want your mailing list, huh, Roger?! . . . London’s LODJ Assn meet at 3pm this Sunday (10) in the Model Railway Club, Keen House, Calshot Street, Kings Cross, discussing microphones and hospital radio . . . North West Mobile DJ Assn (Bolton 53677) could be the answer for many jocks from Lancaster to Merseyside, Manchester and mid-Cheshire – they’re two years old and affiliated to the DJF . . . Polydor/DJF’s Theo Loyla and journalist Jerry Gilbert are starting an invitation-only monthly drinking session – sorry, meeting – for disco decision-makers because, as Jerry says, “most of the people who matter I see only about four times a year – and three of those are in Gullivers at 2am” – yes folks, the notorious Mayfair club may sometimes be maligned but it is the most influential in the country, considering who meets there! . . . Ronnie Laws ‘OTBA Law’ synched out of the “come on” chick in Al Hudson ‘You Can Do It’ and Michael Jackson ‘Rock With You’ vari-synched out of Prince ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’ last half are the killer mixes this week! . . . Whispers are number 5 in London’s best sellers this week – remember now, it’s 1980 and DISCO IS DEAD!

UK Newies

TONY RALLO AND THE MIDNITE BAND: ‘Holdin’ On’ (Calibre CABL 501) (‘Burnin’ Alive’ BNDA debut 1/5/80)
Huge and hopefully hit-bound ultra-catchy “ba de ba da”-scatted jittery 118 bpm 12in jazz-funk jumper due imminently on Pye’s new Disco label. Although irritatingly speeded up from the LP’s 116 bpm, it does at least now equal La Pregunta! For added value, the more “commercial” catchily counting through rhythmically similar 125 bpm ‘Burnin’ Alive’ is flip.

NARADA MICHAEL WALDEN: ‘Tonight I’m Alright’ (from LP ‘The Dance Of Life’, Atlantic K 50678) (BNDA debut 12/22/79)
From the smash import Michael Jackson-ish set, this dynamite exciting “rock” smacker whaps through a deceptive 124(intro)-121-126(clapping)-123(instrumental)-122 bpm and is due on 12in, whilst out on US 7in for ages has been the bass-bumped hypnotic jiggly rolling 118-114-115-114 bpm ‘I Shoulda Loved Ya’ “rock” clapper. The other hot cuts are the chugging chanted 126-124-127-124-125 bpm ‘You’re Soo Good’ thudder with yowling guitar and disjointed 121-120 bpm ‘Lovin’ You Madly’ basher with long clapping breaks.

JOCKO: ‘Rhythm Talk’ (Philadelphia Int’l PIR 13-8222)
Veteran rock ‘n roll radio DJ does a real rapper’s delight over a remade 114 bpm backing track to ‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now’ – and thankfully the useful instrumental version is still on the flip. Up slightly in speed from the US pressing, it should now synch with the early part of McFadden & Whitehead’s original and will be big on its own in any case.  Continue reading “February 9, 1980: Tony Rallo & The Midnite Band, Narada Michael Walden, Jocko, Leon Haywood, Bobby Thurston”

February 2, 1980: Michael Jackson, GQ, Bunny Mack, Ronnie Laws, Cheryl Lynn

Odds ‘N Bods

‘Center City’ remains a collector’s item 12in as, after all that, it’s only the Fat Larry B-side on promo copies (at 2bpm slower than reviewed, ‘Here Comes The Sun’ being 1bpm faster) . . . Pye’s brand new black product label Calibre launches soon with Tony Rallo ‘Holdin’ On’ and has picked up Stop ‘I Can Feel It’ from Elite . . . Whispers hit last week’s London sales chart (non-disco) at a massive number 15! . . . Patrice Rushen’s 12in checks in at 130-129-130-129-128 (piano on)-127bpm, Roy Ayers at 113½-114bpm, Brass Construction ‘Shakit’ going down 1bpm . . . Mercury retain De-Lite for two more years and have a new Crown Heights Affair LP at the end of Feb . . . Light Of The World, Jocko, Narada Michael Walden are due on UK 12in next week, Slave and a Gap Band 3-tracker (‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ / ‘Steppin’ Out’ / ‘Oops!’) the week after . . . Shalamar ‘Right In The Socket’ is on 12in only, the 7in edit being just for radio . . . Grey & Hanks ‘Now I’m Fine’ is set for UK 12in in March, but no LP plans yet . . . I’m sworn to secrecy, but Arista have interesting plans for promoting GRP jazz product, about which certain select DJ’s will doubtless be hearing shortly – and it’s good to see Phyllis Hyman on Radio One’s main playlist, too . . . Merry Clayton ‘Emotion’, reviewed last week, is of course Webster Lewis’s ‘Give Me Some Emotion’ which Fatman loves so . . . Glenn J Simpson, having built up a largely mobile/youth club DJ mailing list, is now in a lather as his Sponsor-Disc idea is attracting cigarette and alcohol advertisers who require airplay outlets in licensed clubs and pubs: jox from these are all invited to apply for inclusions on his list now, at Public Eye Enterprises Ltd, Penthouse Suite, Town Centre House, Merrion Centre, Leeds LS2 8LY . . . Rusty Egan, well known sessions gorilla with various power pop combos, has been offered a thousand bucks a week to jock at New York’s Mudd Club, but doesn’t think it’s enough . . . Darryl Hayden (01-898 1127) will set fire to himself in aid of Cambodian refugees at any London area club for a £30 donation, following his blazing Lambeth Bridge leap . . . Paul Clark (Brighton 698699) is after Sussex area funky gigs prepared to take him plus a coach-load of lunatic followers . . . Blackpool’s Pete Haigh & Frenchie have teamed up to form the solidly funky Stateside Connection, bookable on Cleveleys 824156 . . . Norman Scott is cock-a-hoop over gay club Bang’s continued success in face of stiff opposition down Charing Cross way, while Tony Jenkins could be taking his Anthony’s soul club to Heaven on Sundays soon . . . Southampton University’s Bootsies soul club (Union Ballroom every Friday) made more money than any other social activity on campus last year . . . Chris Britton reports the Saturday crowds at High Wycombe Tuesdays come mainly from London as the locals only like his pop nights . . . Dave Hipperson’s Maximum Axis (01-207 0179) supplied an impressive array of disco gear for Record Mirror’s 25th Anniversary party, an event that made me nostalgicize about RM’s old Mod style-setter, Norman Jopling, without whom so much would not be as it is now: first to write about the Stones, instigator of the “Great Unknowns” soul star feature and much more, his “America Awakes” US reviews column was taken over by myself exactly eleven years ago . . . Garrell Redfearn has now completely closed his MIF production company . . . Loraine Trent’s remarkable CBS newsletter, in which she was quite staggeringly indiscreet about a DJ’s drinking problem, proved a big talking point last weekend and won her the Bitch Of The Year award eleven months early . . . 1980, remember at all times (and tell ‘em at Pye, RCA, Mercury & WEA!), is meant to be the year that disco died – if disco is dead, I hadn’t noticed!

UK Newies

MICHAEL JACKSON: ‘Rock With You’ (Epic EPC 8208)
Great insidious lazy 115 bpm 7in “rock” swayer, already huge on import and LP, usefully flipped by the jerky hiccupping strangulated 124 bpm ‘Get On The Floor’.

GQ: ‘Standing Ovation’ (Arista ARIST 12328) (BNDA debut 3/1/80)
Michael Jackson-like urgent 126 bpm backbeat canterer with an interesting “diddle de da” rhythm arrangement, due on 12in, is catchier than one thinks at first.

BUNNY MACK: ‘Let Me Love You’ (Rokel SD-RK 09)
Absolutely dynamite 125-126 bpm afro-reggae throbber like a cross between ‘Jingo’ and ‘Frontline Symphony’, the 124-125 bpm ‘Love You Forever’ instrumental B-side version possibly being even better.  Continue reading “February 2, 1980: Michael Jackson, GQ, Bunny Mack, Ronnie Laws, Cheryl Lynn”

January 26, 1980: The Whispers, Brass Construction, Roy Ayers, Merry Clayton, La Pregunta

Odds ‘N Bods

Atmosfear’s newie, ‘Motivation’ / ‘Extracts’, will be on Elite 12in and not MCA in three weeks’ time . . . Light Of The World is due in a fortnight, the 128-129bpm ‘The Boys In Blue’ seguing halfway on 12in into the more jazzily flowing 124bpm ‘This Is This’ instrumental (which most acetate-serviced mafiosi prefer) . . . Real Thing’s jogging 109-108bpm ‘Saint Or Sinner?’ is due then too . . . France Joli is now on 3-track 12in containing both long and short ‘Come To Me’ plus ‘Let Go’ (Ariola/Dreyfus AROD 204) . . . Funkadelic is now set for 12in, to be followed later in February by UK 12in release of Modern Sound Corporation ‘Safari’, Jocko ‘Rhythm Talk’ . . . The Mexicano’s next will be a very different totally electronic Telex-type treatment of ‘The Israelites’, while the gorgeous ‘Lady’ is already set as the Whispers’ follow-up . . . EMI’s LRD division is being disbanded, disco labels like Motown, Source and Fantasy (they’ve just lost Salsoul, incidentally) moving into the UA/Liberty offices in Mortimer Street, with most of the pop labels going to EMI in Manchester Square . . . Positive Force and Shalamar were fleeting visitors last week for club PA’s around London . . . RCA’s “Rowdy” Yeats hopes to arrange a UK tour for the Solar Roadshow, starring Whispers, Shalamar, Dynasty & Lakeside . . . Mr Q’s real name probably is not Dave Crawford, as of course the latter wrote Jackie Moore’s ‘Time’ on which, together with ‘Second Time Around’, Mr Q based his ‘Love & Time’ import . . . DJF stalwart and Polydor plugger Theo Loyla reportedly survived a car smash (though the car didn’t) . . . Cliff Wilding still has some useful year planner wall charts for the cost of an SAE to his disco shop, Early Riser, 50 Beulah Road, Walthamstow, London E17 9LE . . . Honey Bee Benson has now joined such as DLT, Simon Bates & Mike Read for agency and management representation by MPC (01-434 1861) . . . Emperor Rosko, writing from Van Nuys in California says “Hi” and “Remember the Alamo and 208” – see you in LA next month, Rosko! . . . Chris Hill returns on both Fridays and Saturdays to his original funking ground, Canvey Island’s Goldmine, starting this week . . . Steve Martell jazz-funks Preston Clouds every Friday/Saturday, Chris Golland joins Paul Clark on Fridays at Brighton Papillon and solos there Saturdays, Martin Starr jazz-funks Jasper’s Jazz Club in Bristol’s Park Street every Wednesday, and busy Chris Dinnis expands his horizons from South and East to West Devon and even further afield . . . Tom Myles of Wirral’s City Discos (051-677 7500) would like to hear again from the Manchester (or Preston?) DJF jock who rang recently, and also confirms the Wirral/Merseyside lack of import shops . . . Soho’s Groove Records shop have extended their Latin-American/Salsa section . . . New Year over, the disco chart has finally fleshed out again, the bottom end getting much stronger support and many titles increasing support but dropping places – and by the way, despite prophets of gloom and New Mod activity, hasn’t disco done well in the sales chart recently?!

UK Newies

THE WHISPERS: ‘And The Beat Goes On’ (Solar SO12-11) (BNDA debut 1/12/80)
In this exceptional week for strong UK releases all the first seven reviews deserve to lead off the list! This happens to be the hottest due to its amazing chart performance after just a few days of release, the smacking and thwhacking 115-116bpm “rock” whacker being hot off the presses and into the chart almost before the import version had hit our decks. Try it with Prince if you haven’t already!

Terrific bumping and jumping 121-122-123-120-124-120-124-120-124-123bpm ‘Moving’-type driver with catchy counting and butch chanting, now on 12in but strangely as flip to the good though less immediate 116-117bpm ‘Music Makes You Feel Like Dancing’ “rock” churner with gimmicky synthesizer effects. Their best in years, the parent LP (reviewed in depth on import) is also out (UAG 30285), but these are the best two tracks back-to-back.

ROY AYERS: ‘Don’t Stop The Feeling’ (Polydor STEPX 9) (BNDA debut 12/22/79)
Maddeningly nagging insistent repetitive simple chant over a great funkily thudding basic beat, the 7in being 113-114bpm, LP version 114-115bpm and US promo 12in 115-116bpm – so who knows what the overdue UK 12in will be?! The two bar wailing intro goes nicely out of Edgar Winter’s outro, or can be skipped for a chop out of Slave.  Continue reading “January 26, 1980: The Whispers, Brass Construction, Roy Ayers, Merry Clayton, La Pregunta”

January 19, 1980: Phyllis Hyman, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Herb Alpert, Jocko, Alton & Johnny

Odds ‘N Bods

Three Degrees and Earth, Wind & Fire appear to be on commercial UK 12in (obviously CBS can’t sell the latter!) . . . Hi Power and Stop are both group names and both are in circulation on white label promos, Hi Power’s long instrumental version of Brothers Johnson’s ‘Get The Funk Out Ma Face’ being an extremely exclusive acetate due next month on Hithouse, Stop ‘I Can Feel It’ being due on Elite next week but circulated on white label 12in to enough shops around Christmas for it to hit our disco chart this week . . . Stop are NOT Atmosfear in disguise, incidentally (though who ARE Atmosfear in fact?!) . . . Light Of The World’s forthcoming ‘The Boys In Blue / This Is This’ 11:50 12in is also circulating to Mafiosi on acetate . . . Parliament ‘Theme From The Black Hole’ will be a rush-released UK follow-up to their brand new ‘Party People’ / ‘Flashlight’ / ‘Tear The Roof Off The Sucker’ 12in EP . . . Roy Ayers ‘Don’t Stop The Feeling’ is due on UK 12in this week, while next week sees Brass Construction’s LP and a hot 12in coupling of ‘Shakit’ / ‘Music Makes You Feel Like Dancing’! . . . Gibson Brothers ‘Cuba’ will be re-released early February on 12in back-to-back with ‘Better Do It Salsa’, and Slave ‘Just A Touch Of Love’ is planned for UK 12in too . . . Kev Hill reports the recent Chelmsford all-dayer went so well that another is set for February 14th, and Paul Clark infos that the Funk Mafia return to Brighton at Easter . . . Chris Britton, the Chris Browne that was, is further protecting his reputation by taking on as manager Rockerfella Discotheques’ Gavin Breck (01-609 2657) . . . Ian Titchener, plugger at Bocu Music and with brother Nick a long-time chart contributor via their Wallington-based Rock Street mobile, is now heading Roger St. Pierre’s Funk Funktion disco promotion service (01-858 8892) . . . Gary Allan (Liverpool McMillan’s) used Henry Hall’s ‘The Teddy Bears’ Picnic’ over Christmas and his crowd went so wild that it and many more “sillies” are becoming a regular feature . . . Mark Clark (Wokingham King Of Clubs) advises jazz-funk fans that Ronnie Scott’s quartet is currently featuring a terrific 132-134bpm version of Freddie Hubbard’s ‘Little Sunflower’ in their live spots at Ronnie’s jazz club . . . Groove Records’ Chris Palmer was actually responsible for last week’s “pulled a mussel” joke, telling it to Mike Allen just before he went on air . . . Roger Guidery, who with partner Andrew Shurrock runs the Radnage (High Wycombe)-based Diamond Dog Mobile, also plays organ in church on Sundays! . . . Gary Oldis, as recently mentioned was running a North-Eastern roadshow with dancers Bad Girls Plus, but skidded on black ice just after Christmas, wrote off his car, and smashed a lot of recent oldies: current stuff he’s OK for, but can anyone offer him (name your price) stuff like ‘Contact’, ‘Mighty Real’, ‘Got My Mind Made Up’, ‘Shake Your Groove Thing’, either at his home (14 Neville Parade, Newton Aycliffe, Co Durham) or the nearby Gretna Green disco?

UK Newies

PHYLLIS HYMAN: ‘You Know How To Love Me’ (Arista ARIST 12323) (BNDA debut 11/10/79)
Big on import LP and now out here on 12in, this superb creamily whapping clapping 116-117bpm soul strutter is right in the ‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now’ and ‘Young Hearts Run Free’ groove.

HAROLD MELVIN & THE BLUE NOTES: ‘Prayin’’ (Source 12SRC 102)
McFadden & Whitehead-penned steadily clapping smooth 124-127bpm 12in soul romper rawly emoted in gospel style has its almost angelic instrumental intro replaced for the 7in version by a shimmering dead slow deep soul vocal preamble.

HERB ALPERT: ‘Rotation’ (A&M AMSP 7500) (BNDA debut 12/22/79)
Tapping and synthetically booming intro with a ‘Topsy’-type voice intoning the title starts this sombre strange 105bpm 12in jazz-funk instrumental jiggler, which works well with careful programming, and is evidently packaged in US-style die-cut sleeve and see-thru vinyl.  Continue reading “January 19, 1980: Phyllis Hyman, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Herb Alpert, Jocko, Alton & Johnny”

January 12, 1980: Prince, George Duke, Dance People, The Whispers, Eddie Cheba

Odds ‘N Bods

Hot newies due on UK 12in in about a fortnight include War ‘The World Is A Ghetto’, Narada Michael Walden ‘Tonight I’m Alright’, Patrice Rushen ‘Haven’t You Heard’, while Martha & The Vandellas ‘Heatwave’ / ‘Dancing In The Street’ will be on Mod-aimed 7in and Trojan launch a six volume ‘Creation Rockers’ LP set of reggae oldies . . . Atmosfear are rumoured to be hiding behind the name Hi Power on a white label 12in titled ‘Stop’ currently circulating . . . WEA’s Fred Dove says that the LV 12in series was a success and sold extremely well, it’s just that the format was used for a more selective choice of repertoire as the year wore on . . . South Eastern Discotheque Association (SEDA) hold their annual equipment exhibition on Sunday, 23rd March, at the Great Danes Hotel just off the M20 near Maidstone . . . Clyde Coast DJ Assn member DJ’s are the exclusive agents for tickets to the George McCrae show at Irvine Magnum Leisure Centre on Wednesday, 23rd January . . . Reggie Bosanquet was a guest at my New Year’s Eve gig, and says his next record will be (I quote) “top of the pops”! . . . Pink Floyd chopped out of the bass break ¡n Kurtis Blow was the surprise best mix of my Christmas gigs – try it LOUD! . . . Paul Anthony (Birmingham Rum Runner/Holy City Zoo etc) sent me a luxury Willy warmer for Christmas – Willy says thanks, but suggests it would be even warmer with the fur side inside! . . . Teesvalley Roadshow (Redcar 475854) now promote themselves with printed ballpoint pens as well as keyrings . . . I’ve been reviving a few oldies during the seasonal lack of new vinyl, and the BPMs might be of use to some of you: BT Express ‘Express’ (Pye) 111(intro)-110-108-110bpm, Candi Staton ‘Young Hearts Run Free’ (Warner Bros 12in) 116-117-118bpm, Crown Heights Affair ‘Dreaming A Dream’ (Polydor LP) 118-119bpm, Eddie Drennon ‘Lets Do The Latin Hustle’ (US Friends & Co LP) 112-119-118-119bpm, Fatback Band ‘Spanish Hustle’ (US Event LP) (19 beat intro) 121-123-125-123bpm / ‘(Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop’ 108-111 bpm, Isaac Hayes ‘Disco Connection’ (ABC 12in) c 131bpm – this last being similar to and in range of Isleys ‘It’s A Disco Night’ . . . New Year holidays have held up the mail it seems, so there have been only a few charts and no disco dates since before Christmas.

UK Newies

PRINCE: ‘Sexy Dancer’ (from LP ‘Prince’, Warner Bros. K 56772) (BNDA debut 11/10/79)
Totally self-performed multi-tracked set, this terrifically powerful 122bpm backbeat whapping panting breath-sucking strutter being a great chop mixer (especially out of ‘Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’) and even more exciting than the included 118-116bpm ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’, while ‘Still Waiting’ is a perfectly lovely yearning 39/78bpm slow squeaky swayer.

GEORGE DUKE: ‘I Want You For Myself’ (Epic EPC 8137) (BNDA debut 12/15/79)
Also good out of Michael Jackson, this easily chugging attractive current jazz-funk biggie with squeaky Lynn Davis and pretty piano riding the oogie oogie rhythm is now on edited 120bpm 7in only.

DANCE PEOPLE: ‘Funk Attack’ (from LP ‘Fly Away’, Satril SATL 4013)
Although here mixed rather too inextricably out of the preceding zingy title track, this surprisingly authentic electric bass-led 131½bpm instrumental jazz-funk flier goes beautifully out of ‘Space Bass’ and (regardless of that) is picking up some specialist jocks ‘cos it’s darned good.  Continue reading “January 12, 1980: Prince, George Duke, Dance People, The Whispers, Eddie Cheba”

January 5, 1980: Kool & The Gang, Dan Hartman, Dennis Brown, The Destiny Orchestra, Love De-Luxe

Odds ‘N Bods

Greg Davies’s Disco Forum ’80 at Stevenage Bo Jangles on Tuesday February 19th seems angled at DJ’s disgruntled with record company mailing list policies, the panel including John Waller (Phonogram), Theo Loyla (Polydor), Fred Dove (WEA), Roger St Pierre (Funk Funktion) – £2 tickets (cheques to “Bo Jangles Club”) and full details of the 8pm-2am event from Greg at Bo Jangles, 58 Oueensway, Stevenage, Herts (04626-76432 or 0234-741462) . . . Soho’s Groove Records shop held a private party at Mayfair Gullivers before Christmas for some of their regular customers – there can’t be many other shops to have done likewise, but as they said, “you all paid for it”! . . . Chris Brown, who actually offered his own cigarettes around at the Groove party, is currently compiling a lavish photo book about the UK jazz-funk scene, to be called ‘I Was There – The “Family” Album’ . . . Big Tom Holland the bun eater is going freelance as his Ilford Lacy Lady residency is closing the disco room . . . Gary Oldis has been promoted out of Aycliffe’s Gretna Green to tour the North-East’s FLD-owned disco chain with a sexy five gal one guy dancing troupe called Bad Girls Plus, while the chain’s latest link is the Harts Horn Disco in Knaresborough’s Market Place . . . Redcar’s Coatham Hotel, the Cleveland area’s biggest ballroom, is due to reopen as a disco . . . Paul Clark (Brighton Papillon) wonders if anyone’s got that old multi-coloured Eastside Connection 12in for sale as his has been nicked . . . Sally Ormsby, Steve Wiggins (Barry Rugby Club) awaits your reply to his fifteen letters! . . . New Mods asking for Madness ‘One Step Beyond’ at funk discos seem to be the current equivalent of the old Status Quo brigade – any other jocks reaching the same conclusion?! . . . Edwin Starr ‘Contact’ synchs perfectly out of Slick ‘Space Bass’, as I discovered during my mixing “duel” with Froggy in Erith!

UK Newies

KOOL & THE GANG: ‘Too Hot’ (Mercury KOOL 812) (BNDA debut 9/8/79)
Lovely slinky sleazy 106bpm 12in swayer with George Benson-ish guitar and other lush jazzy elements, very briefly the original B-side to ‘Ladies’ Night’ and now flipped by the ‘Whistle Bump’-like introed 122bpm repetitive ‘Tonight’s The Night’ “rock” chanter.

DAN HARTMAN: ‘Relight My Fire’ (Blue Sky SKY 13-8104) (BNDA debut 11/10/79)
Michael Jackson-ish 122-121-120bpm 12in romper still sounds recognisably like his oldies with wailing chick joining in before an atmospheric “wind” break, the flip featuring the full sound effects, synthesizer and vibes 122bpm ‘Vertigo’-introed version.

DENNIS BROWN: ‘Slave Driver’ (Laser LAS 20T)
Bob Marley-penned powerful smoothly driving 65/130bpm 12in reggae throbber has Curtis Mayfield-type touches and strong “catch a fire” chorus, going into a toasting dub last part.  Continue reading “January 5, 1980: Kool & The Gang, Dan Hartman, Dennis Brown, The Destiny Orchestra, Love De-Luxe”

December 29, 1979: The Hammy Awards for 1979

The Seventies are over and now many interested parties are eagerly trying to make out that the era of disco is dead and that “dance music” – which seems to boil down to 2-Tone’s product – is the sound of now. This may well be so for a large portion of the population, but historical perspective can put these assertions in their place. Would you call the Rolling Stones a disco group? You most certainly would not, yet the Stones are almost undoubtedly the most danced to group of recent years . . . at parties, pubs and other environments that are not necessarily disco clubs.

Club music, whether the public likes it or not, has ever since the early 60s been orientated towards black soul music. There seems little reason to suppose that this will change just because there’s a new form of energetic pop music on the charts. The fact that this new music draws some of its inspiration from past disco formats of the 60s does not make it compatible with the rhythms and conventions of modern disco. Mobile DJ’s, pubs and some specialist venues will or do already feature it with obvious relief, but just as there have always been a vast majority of DJ’s who have to play a wide variety of music to keep their general public happy, there will continue to be a minority of jocks working in a club environment where disco is distilled to its purest soulful form.

Why is soul equated with disco? The pattern has been set since the Twist gave way to the early Motown, Stax and James Brown of the original Mod era discotheques, and the name of the place became synonymous over the years to the type of music danced to within it. Maybe the term “disco” should be dropped altogether, so that we can revert to calling soul by its own name, and not confuse it with other species of dance music. This could make sense – except soul is so often not soulful, and in itself now a misnomer!

Once again the spotlight hits the podium, Tony Holden’s video camera begins to turn and a stream of substitutes step up to accept other people’s awards . . . yes folks, it’s the Hammy Awards for 1979!

LABEL OF THE YEAR: MCA, for discovering after the year was already half over that good disco music and even jazz if issued on 12in can and indeed does sell.

RECORD COMPANY OF THE YEAR: CBS, including Philadelphia International, Epic, TK, Tappan Zee, Blue Sky who put out so much product that the good stuff HAD to hit (and would have done so anyway).

RUNNERS UP: Pye, for starting well with 20th Century and Vanguard and then returning with Sugarhill and AVI (not forgetting Pye itself), RCA, for having the courage to stick with their 12in policy and release a lot of product when much of it (on RCA, Solar, 20th Century, Prestige, Milestone) did not cross over to big sales despite disco success.

ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY: CBS, for putting on 12in only what they think needs the sales impetus, WEA, for getting burned by their mass 12in LV release and subsequently deciding that all we want is Chic anyway (if you can find a dealer who bought enough albums to qualify for a 12in quota).

IMPORT OF THE YEAR: Lonnie Liston Smith ‘Space Princess’ (US Columbia 12”).

12IN OF THE YEAR: Crusaders ‘Street Life’ (MCA).

ONE THAT GOT AWAY: Edwin Starr ‘It’s Called The Rock’ (20th Century 12”).

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO: The Village People (who qualify for a gold record of their rendition of the New York telephone directory).

LP CUT OF THE YEAR: ‘Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush’ (Kiddicraft LP ‘Children’s Party Songs & Games’).

7IN OF THE YEAR: Er . . . who plays anything on 7in anyway (unless it’s on CBS)?

MARKETING PLOY OF THE YEAR: Fantasy getting Slick ‘Space Bass’ onto UK 12in before it was available in any other commercial form anywhere.

RUNNER UP: Mercury ditto with Kurtis Blow ‘Christmas Rappin’’ and insisting against De-Lite’s wishes that Kool & The Gang ‘Ladies’ Night’ should be on 12in here in order to sell.

DISCO PROMOTION PERSON OF THE YEAR: Ray Edwards, better known as Raymondo, who while working for EMI-LRD did more to promote disco in general (regardless of record label) amongst radio station personnel than anyone else.

RUNNERS UP: All my mates who I know and who know me, but excluding the so-called disco promotion people whose only contact has ever been a piece of typewritten paper enclosed with their product.

TREND OF THE YEAR: The “rock” dancestep rhythm.

EVENTS OF THE YEAR: Showstopper Promotions’s soul weekenders.



TELL IT LIKE IT IS: Greg Lynn (CBS), for a classic quote.

IT PAYS TO INCREASE YOUR WORD POWER: Morgan Khan (Pye) and Fred Dove (WEA), for knowing what they want to say but not always how to say it.


GOLDEN HANDSHAKE: Garrell Redfearn (MIF – which stands for Make It Funky, incidentally – and Disco magazine), for keeping the faith despite everything yet sadly saying a tentative goodbye.

A LARGE BRANDY AND COKE: Fatman Graham Canter (Mayfair Gullivers).

JOCK OF THE YEAR: Froggy, for being violently and unreasonably opposed to US-style mixing until his first visit to New York in February, since which he has done such an about turn that he is now virtually its biggest exponent (a little travel can broaden your mind!).

THAT’S ALL VERY WELL BUT: Dr Hook ‘When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman’ (Capitol), Bellamy Brothers ‘If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body’ (Warner Bros.), Cliff Richard ‘We Don’t Talk Anymore’ (EMI), Roxy Music ‘Dance Away’ (Polydor) . . . which by being universally applicable to general audiences were, certainly for me, the MoR crossover hits of 1979.

Well, that lot should give some people something to think about. See you next year!  Continue reading “December 29, 1979: The Hammy Awards for 1979”