May 31, 1980: Phyllis Hyman, GQ, Slave, Baby’O, Ben E. King

Jazz-funk finally came of age at Knebworth on Bank Holiday Monday when over 12,000 funk fans crowded in or around a vast circus big top to make the biggest ever audience to date for this type of music. The event was Showstopper Promotions’ National Soul Day, where a Chris Hill-led line-up of DJs linked the live performances of Eddy Grant & The Frontline Symphony, Lonnie Liston Smith & His Cosmic Echoes, Light Of The World and GQ. All the acts were well received, but it was the bill-topping GQ who hcaused most excitement with a superbly slick show which however related to the chanting call-and-answer atmosphere that had been building to a climax all day. Early in their set, with the night drawing on, there was a breathtaking burst of lazer which filled the huge tent as the lights were dimmed. The skilfully organised event was marred towards the end by a gang of black youths evidently hell bent on preserving their stereotype as troublemakers, but otherwise everything went extremely well – meaning that at some time in the future an even bigger big top will be going up to house even more people. Who said that disco was dead?!


Odds ‘N Bods

Surface Noise ‘The Scratch’ is now on WEA 12in (K 18291T) . . . Chaka Khan’s LP, despite advance ballyhoo, has been delayed until June . . . CBS is finally issuing a 3-track 12in by Lonnie Liston Smith, but are doing too little too late and surely only that out of embarrassment for their blatant neglect of a consistently popular import artist . . . King Sounds ‘Patches’ is on overdue 12in (Island 12WIP 6595) . . . Johnny Logan’s chart topper with its modish sax sounds disco to me even though the 0-105-101bpm beat is inconsistent . . . Chelmsford Saracen’s Head live jazz-funk night is now every Friday . . . Brighton Papillon, temporarily closed for soundproofing, reopens around Midsummer . . . Ilford Room At The Top admits members for free before 9:30pm on Fridays now . . . Pete Tong funks Fridays, Tom Holland Saturdays at Isle Of Sheppey Leysdown-On-Sea Island – and doesn’t Tom look good in MY sunglasses! . . . Whitehaven Whitehouse, whose proximity to the harbour prompted Ernie ‘JA’ Priestman to get fully clothed punters wet through collecting seaweed during the hot spell, has lost its late Sunday licence thanks to a teetotal new police chief, thus blowing out several slated Chris Hill visits . . . Dennis Brynner & Dave Van Sieger’s Saturday lunchtime rundown of Southampton Virgin record store’s hot newies is now relayed to the neighbouring Jean Bar shop and probably by now to Huckleberry’s burger joint too, while at Southampton Barbarellas every Fri/Sat Dave does a “dancing in the funkshine” spot with Parliafunkadelicment, James Brown, Instant Funk etc . . . Steve Dee this weekend provides the commentary at Castle Donington’s 1980 International MARCOS/National Kit Car rally; similarly Richard Witcombe & Dave Higgins (Shepton Mallet) and Red Star Disco (Wells) do a Youth Club disco for tour days at the Royal Bath & West Show, using equipment from Frome’s Derek James Disco Centre . . . London LBC Radio’s Steve Allen writes to clarify that he has no connection with Peterborough’s probably better publicized Steve Allen – but where does that leave the Original Mirrors’ Steve Allen, of Paula’s Pages fame?!? . . . Knebworth extras should by now have included PA’s by the Harlem Globetrotters, Mystic Merlin, and Side Effect’s Augie Johnston joining Hill for a ‘Keep That Same Old Feelin’’ rendition . . . Manfredo Fesi ‘Jungle Kitten’ (US Tabu LP) seems to be replacing ‘Dominoes’ in the mafia’s affections . . . ITV’s recent ‘CHiPs’ episodes about roller disco allied with good weather seem to have started a real spread of dancing on roller skates . . . Blackpool’s Pete “Macrobiotic” Haigh & Frenchie recently visited Canvey Goldmine, stayed over chez Hill, and said everything was “brill” . . . Phonogram’s Orin Cozier now says he’s a “man’s man” – hmm, and he seemed such a nice boy . . . David Bendeth has signed with Ensign . . . Gary Allan (Liverpool McMillans) is now known as Foggy following the addition of a fog machine . . . I, among many others, am no longer mentioning anything connected with a certain London DJ whose “fan” following are liable to wreck wherever he appears, as I don’t want to upset his “manager” by getting any facts wrong . . . Jason West’s favourite venue is not exactly Stevenage Bo Jangles! . . . Chris Hill refers us to ancient Egyptian pyramid carvings which clearly show people doing the Freeze, long before Alvin Cash . . . Bob Jones (Chelmsford) wants to know where to buy Japanese direct-cut/digital LPs like Lee Ritenour ‘In Rio’ (JVC), Yutaka Yokokura ‘Love Light’ (Alpha), Dave Grusin ‘Mountain Dance’ (JVC) – Hill’s got ‘em, so why not ask him? . . . Colin Day, ex-Derby Tiffanys, reports from Barbarellas in Wil, Switzerland, that Swiss clubs favour English or American jocks (many of the former avid RM readers) and that the scene is GREAT, with cheap £3.60 albums enabling him to push tracks by Fatback, Al Johnson, Switch, CHA, Jermaine Jackson despite a Wally preponderance amongst the locals, while a hot breaker is Baby’O ‘In The Forest’ . . . Brian Brindle (Chelsea Alibi) now mixes Mass Prod ‘Shante’ into Isaac Hayes ‘I Ain’t Never’, Ronnie Laws ‘OTBA Law’ into Ozone ‘Walk On’ and Ronnie Laws ‘All For You’ into ‘Young Child’ . . . Denise LaSalle ‘May The Funk Be With You’ runs gospel-111-pause-113bpm . . . Lipps Inc, hot on the heels of Liquid Gold here and huge Stateside too, surely proves that despite wishful-thinking media scaremongers, “disco” isn’t dead (unfortunately!) . . . KEEP IT FUNKY!



UK Newies

PHYLLIS HYMAN: ‘Under Your Spell’ (Arista ARIST 12343)
Attractive creamily thudding 116-115-116bpm backbeat swayer on limited edition 99p 3-track 12in with the jaggedly romping 125bpm ‘Hold On’ and older jogging 93(intro)-94-95bpm version of Exile’s ‘Kiss You All Over’.

GQ: ‘GQ Down’ (Arista ARIST 12353)
Bass bubble jittery 122-123bpm “rock” thudder, far from their best but on 3-track 12in with the untidily fast 132bpm ‘It’s Like That’ and more interesting 119(bass)-124-123-124-125(break)-126bpm ‘Lies’.

SLAVE: ‘Are You Ready For Love?’ (Atlantic K 11482T)
Kalimba-plinking happy 124-123-124-123bpm 12in bouncer with lightly chanting chaps ‘n chix and exotic percussion.  Continue reading “May 31, 1980: Phyllis Hyman, GQ, Slave, Baby’O, Ben E. King”

May 24, 1980: Surface Noise, Gene Chandler, Randy Crawford, Gayle Adams, Frank Hooker & Positive People

In The Groove

The story behind Surface Noise’s ‘The Scratch’ is an object lesson in how to make a hit. One-time musician and record company executive and now owner of Soho Greek Street’s Groove record shop, Chris Palmer not surprisingly knew exactly the sort of thing that his customers would be likely to buy, and so on April 27th at home he multi-tracked a catchy little instrumental to the mechanical beat of a Rhythmbox. This rough demo tape created enough enthusiasm from all who heard it for Chris to book studio time and a few supplementary musicians to lay down the finished version just over a week later. By Friday May 9th the acetates of this were being played to death on London radio and in enough clubs to hit our disco chart last week, by which time the buzz was so intense that WEA snapped up the master for such a fantastic deal that Chris is still reeling! Although the limited pressing on his own Groove Production label (the only one to feature the full-length flip) came into the shops last Friday (16th) and started selling like wild, WEA are now doing their best to get their own 12in (with added chick on the flip) into the shops during the course of this week. Now, is that hot or is that hot?!? Few potential chartbusters can have been turned around so quickly from initial conception to finished product, especially when by an unknown act (albeit with influential friends!). So, from The Groove we have ‘The Scratch’. What next . . . ‘The Warp’?!


This Monday (26) sees Europe’s biggest circus tent holding something like 15,000 funkateers at the first ever Knebworth festival to feature soul and jazz. Just outside Stevenage on the other side of the A1(M), the stately home’s park will now reverberate to the sound of Lonnie Liston Smith, GQ, Eddy Grant, Light Of The World all playing live and DJs Chris Hill, Robbie Vincent, Greg Edwards, Froggy, Sean French, Chris Brown, Tom Holland, Jeff Young, Brother Louie, Colin Curtis and John Grant. Additional features include a spectacular laser show, continuously running film of last month’s Caister weekenders, genuine circus acts – and doubtless some animal acts as well!

Then on Sunday, June 1st, it’s Stevenage Bo Jangles’ turn as the venue for Greg Davies’ Disco Forum 80. Starting at 2 pm, the event will include talks by record company reps, DJ association officers and someone from Bacchus International, displays by Optikinetics and Disco Supplies, and a panel discussion with record pluggers John Wailer, Sally Ormsby, Fred Dove, Theo Loyla, Loraine Trent, Roger St Pierre, plus (though not a plugger!) myself. To be sure of getting in on the day, book the £2 tickets in advance from Greg Davies, 11 Hampton Close, Wilstead, Beds MK45 3DA (further details on 0234-741462 or 04626-6821). And if he cancels this one at the last minute, I will personally kill him!


Odds ‘N Bods

Lipps Inc, evidently huge in Scotland (well it would be wouldn’t it?!), turns out to be but one of four tracks on a ‘Hot From The Casbah’ 12in EP featuring additional SLOP by Danielle, Evelyn Thomas & Ultimate . . . L.A. Boppers are due on 12in now . . . Voyage ‘I Love You Dancer’ (sensational out of ‘I Shoulda Loved Ya’) and Ndugu ‘Shadow Dancing’ (ditto ‘Stomp!’) deserve more support, while Stacy Lattisaw ‘Don’t You Want To Feel It’ and BT Express ‘Does It Feel Good’ look like being their respective LPs’ long-term winners . . . Change ‘Searching’ is already rapidly overhauling ‘A Lover’s Holiday’ to become a monster (how about singles release, Fred?), although John Kaye (Mirfield) adds to my original review saying “‘Angel In My Pocket’ is a 128bpm (?) Chic-like bass thudder that could be as hot, thus making the whole LP pretty useful all round” – OK John? . . . Three Degrees’ best known fan, no names mentioned, also digs Donna Summer and other black ladies! . . . West Kingsdown King’s Lodge is suddenly no longer a Pete Tong gig due to a takeover prior to last week’s advertised dates . . . RCA’s Rowdy “Chicken Shack” Yeats owned a Stourbridge record shop in the ‘60s called The Groove, and subsequently suggested this still registered name to the Soho shop when that opened . . . Soho’s Groove meanwhile has just started a “Check out the Groove” competition with free entry forms to customers, who have to list the most titles including the word “groove” to win (after July 4th) bumper prizes, the official adjudicator being myself . . . Dennis Brynner & Dave Van Seiger now spin ‘em and sell ‘em every Saturday lunchtime at Southampton’s Virgin record store . . . Raymondo returns to Fantasy, the US label this time though, as their UK advance man to work on building an import buzz for their product (excellent news!) . . . Rudy “Rapper” Gilpin, ex-Gulllvers, is now working in a hi-fi store while looking for another gig (01 578 3775 evenings), and Smokey Joe of the famed but now closed Cue Club needs a gig too (0442-47915) . . . Avenue B Boogie Band singer Will Collins hasn’t given up his day job yet – he works in a New York dry cleaners . . . Steve Dee’s new monster roadshow rig, featuring Gauss and JBL stacks driven by HH Electronic MOS FET power amps, will be unveiled at the next Bournemouth Stateside Center alldays (Froggy please note!) . . . Erik-Jack (Bognor Regis) is knackered what with discos at night and teaching disco dancing by day to 7,500 pre-teen schoolkids as part of the Butlins School Venture Weeks scheme! . . . Paul Stewart does his best to funk Belfast but says club managers there only want punters who dress like Wallys – still, Paul, it’s no worse than Peterborough! . . . Jo Field (Hemel Hempstead) now wants a BPM counter: you’ll have to get a “hand tally counter” from a stationers and click off the beats to a stopwatch, setting the counter to 9999 for the first beat to start on zero so that the timing is right . . . Sterling Vann (Bethnal Green Tipples) just won a T-shirt as I write this by ringing Dave Cash on Capital Radio and asking for more jazz-funk! . . . Brian Brindle (Chelsea Alibi) sez the rapidly reviving Lonnie Liston Smith ‘Expansions’ mixes perfectly out of Bunny Mack . . . ‘Calibre Cuts’ is actually number one for Richard Witcombe & Dave Higgins at Shopton Mallet Youth Centre . . . Noel “Double Top” Wright (Ware Beckets) is getting darts lessons (or something) from a lady punter . . . Edgbaston Faces manager evidently answers (reluctantly) to the name Eddie Dingbat, though he’d prefer Dignam! . . . Bournemouth Soul Centre – gee (hic!) thanksh! . . . Light Of The World’s upcoming new Augie Johnson-produced LP will revolutionize all our concepts of British soul, blah blah blah (sez “Ladies Man” Cozier) – just send us a promo and we’ll see! . . . Sean Martin (Borough Green) is keen to get a Swanley Moat gig as he thinks he could attract more funksters than the Wallys who are currently encouraged there – don’t bet on it, Sean . . . Andy Davison (Sawston) and another Andy of Paddington both point out the obvious, that Alvin Cash’s ‘Philly Freeze’ in 1966 preceded any invention of Chris Hills’ – yes, but . . . Bank Holiday Monday was originally going to be kept clear of funk events by gentleman’s agreement to make Showstoppers’ Knebworth a truly National soul day, except of course there aren’t many gentlemen in the business . . . Radio Invicta fans please note that I don’t listen to anything on the radio on Sundays, as once awake I watch telly! . . . Southampton University Bootsies’ student soul festival was evidently a big success, with visitors from all over South England, and yet the brief mention of it in this column amounted to half the advertising for it! . . . you know this page is read, so why aren’t YOU writing to it? . . . KEEP IT FUNKY!



UK Newies

SURFACE NOISE: ‘The Scratch’ (Groove Production GP 101)
Immediately catchy simple little flute ‘n synth hook over a bass-driven jaunty 119bpm jazz shuffle with sax, percussion, bass and piano breaks on 4:41 12in A-side, the 5:14 flip having more bass after the piano before the flute returns. As you’ve probably gathered, it’s gonna be huge!

GENE CHANDLER: ‘Does She Have A Friend?’ (20th Century/Chi-Sound TCD 2451)
Superb powerfully nagging purposeful 89-90-91bpm 12in plodder sets up an identifiable lyric situation from everyone’s personal experience that could make it the soulful summer’s answer to ‘Always In The Kitchen At Parties’.

RANDY CRAWFORD: ‘Last Night At Danceland’ (from LP ‘Now We May Begin’, Warner Bros. K 56791)
Crusaders-produced set for the ‘Street Life’ gal with Joe Sample to the fore, this being a lovely throbbing 106-110-112bpm jogger, ‘Same Old Story (Same Old Song)’ a slower 98-99bpm swayer, ‘Blue Flame’ a pent-up 108/54-111bpm lurcher and ‘Tender Falls The Rain’ a dead, dead slowie.  Continue reading “May 24, 1980: Surface Noise, Gene Chandler, Randy Crawford, Gayle Adams, Frank Hooker & Positive People”

May 17, 1980: Al Johnson, Stephanie Mills, Three Degrees, Breakwater, Booker T. Jones

Odds ‘N Bods

Surface Noise ‘The Scratch’ (due imminently on Groove Production GP 101) literally exploded in London over the weekend, with rave reaction to the 120bpm jazz instrumental from dancers and saturation radio play from Greg Edwards, Mike Allen & Robbie Vincent – Groove’s Chris Palmer when last heard was muttering “I think I’ll have to press more than the thousand” . . . A&M have unearthed a new longer cut of Brothers Johnson ‘Light Up The Night’ for 12in next week . . . Stacy Lattisaw ‘Jump To The Beat’ will be on 12in here soon . . . Teena Marie’s 12in is delayed due to EMI’s factory strike . . . Jeff Lorber Fusion ‘Lava Lands’ is a frenetic 124-126bpm stereo searer, ‘Fusion Juice’ a punchy 121-122bpm wailer with sax ‘n synth solos, just to clarify last week’s review . . . Roberta & Donny could be another McFadden & Whitehead after all considering they beat even the Specials on Capital Radio ‘People’s Choice’ last week . . . Steve Allen’s seminar last week for his Peterborough DJ team was spirited fun – present were Dave Peters, Barry Jay, Tom Bryan, Pat Mills, Malc James, Paul (Ivor) Lee, Vince King, Rob Starr, Phil Woods, Jay Cee, John Stevens, Mike Barrie . . . Vaughan Mason & Crew ‘Bounce Rock Skate Roll’ is evidently huge in East Anglia’s many USAF bases . . . Peterborough’s Anabelles is at least honest in its seediness while the only other club in town is the brand new La Scala which struck me like a Wimpy Bar with pretensions although the locals think it’s spiffing – suits and ties are the rule at both, giving them real kids appeal, I don’t think! . . . Whitehaven Whitehouse’s Ernie Priestman, suntanned from Cumbrian waterskiing, joins the Peterborough mob in wanting to see more “up-country” gossip in this column – I can’t write it if YOU don’t send it! . . . Bristol mafioso Martin Starr, mightily impressed by Mike Allen’s jazzy Capital shows (around midnight at weekends) since he started funking Basingstoke Sinatras every Friday and Cobham Silvermere plus Sinatras Saturday, reports Yellow Magic Orchestra to be huge in Bristol “. . . and I wasn’t even on it!” . . . Martin Collins getting a good reputation for his funky Sundays at Stevenage Bo Jangles, also his Letchworth gigs at the Grange on Fridays and Pelican Wednesdays . . . Stevenage’s Vergers tribe think that the crowd at Caister are too young now, a comment heard from many more, all of whom are younger than me – but we all like the same music don’t we? . . . Larry Foster (Ilford Room At The Top) invented a dance called the Lurch and now has an even newer Son Of Lurch, while something called Rowing The Boat goes well with the Gap Band down Ilford way, evidently . . . Chris Dinnis reports that “the West’s worst singer” Mike Pidsley has been causing a sensation in Devon by dropping his Y-fronts every time ‘The Groove’ freezes! . . . Thames Valley DJ Assn members meet on Sunday (18) at Wheelers End Brickmakers around lunchtime . . . Steve Young (01-455 6409), promoting the Radio Trent DJs’ “best disco” on alternating Thursdays, wants record company PA’s with the possibility of radio interviews for any artistes supplied . . . Phonogram’s disco promotion dept has been renamed Street Beat promotions by Orin “Ladies Man” Cozier . . . Caroline Roadshow’s current gigs are being advertised on Radio Orwell to get over the lack of newspapers, their up-coming summer tour to be called Shipwreck Tour ‘80 with proceeds going towards the refloating of Mi Amigo, which it is hoped will become an offshore radio museum somewhere in East Kent . . . Steve Day & Neil Harnett will be playing disco music to the crowds at Tottenham Hotspurs FC when the next season opens . . . Pete Haigh & Frenchie (Blackpool) have revived Bataan ‘The Bottle’ (Epic), Patrice Rushen ‘Jubilation’ (US Prestige LP), Archie Bell ‘Let’s Groove’ (Philadelphia Int’l) in the North-West, while Tees Valley Roadshow’s Graham Bond says instrumentals are getting big in the North-East . . . David Emery, at Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s still flourishing Stage Door every Tuesday, finds it hard getting through to Pye’s Morgan Khan by phone – why not do as I do and ask for “the brat from PRAT”, you’ll get through in no time! . . . Sally Field says “happy birthday Jo” for last week . . . Darryl Hayden is probably the fire eating DJ that Disco Dave Singleton is looking for (try calling 0734-789482 or 01-898 1127) . . . KEEP IT FUNKY!



UK Newies

AL JOHNSON: ‘I’m Back For More’ (CBS 8545)
Sensuously jogging 90/45bpm 7in soul ballad shared with wailing Jean Carn, a cover of the Leo’s Sunshipp tune and around on import for ages, flipped by the nice 22bpm ‘You Are My Personal Angel’ smoocher.

STEPHANIE MILLS: ‘Sweet Sensation’ (20th Century TCD 2449) (BNDA debut 4/12/80)
Somewhat stolid 109-110-111bpm 12in “rock” clomper borrows from ‘Ladies Night’ but pales now in comparison with her import LP’s superior ‘D-A-N-C-I-N’’.

THREE DEGREES: ‘Starlight’ (Ariola AROD 228)
Giorgio co-produced classy slow 21(intro)-41/82bpm 12in jogger makes a welcome change, but the flip’s frantic 136bpm ‘Bodycheck’ and 134bpm ‘Set Me Free’ find them back on form.  Continue reading “May 17, 1980: Al Johnson, Stephanie Mills, Three Degrees, Breakwater, Booker T. Jones”

May 10, 1980: Jermaine Jackson, Sho Nuff, Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway, Stacy Lattisaw, Cameo

Odds ‘N Bods

Sunday (11) Midland dealers Disco Electronics, N H Field’s Discoscene & Roadshows Disco Centre present the major Disco Light & Sound ‘80 exhibition from noon-7pm at Solihull’s St John’s Hotel in Warwick Road, with over twenty leading manufacturers on show, a Lasertronics demonstration and more, admission 75p (full info on 021-707 1925) . . . Greg Davies’ Disco Forum ‘80 at Stevenage Bo Jangles during the afternoon of Sunday June 1st looks like making proper sense this time, with virtually all record companies there and a panel that still looks promotion-biased. £2 tickets from Greg at 11 Hampton Close, Wilstead, Beds MK45 3DA (0234-741462) . . . Whispers ‘Lady’ is now due on 12in (Solar SO 12-4) . . . Chris Hill & Froggy have raved-over promos of Sonny Rollins keyboardist Mark Soskin’s upcoming ‘Rhythm Vision’ LP (US Prestige) . . . PRAT have signed WMOT and issue Philly Cream’s newie soon, plus on Calibre next week they put out Freeez with a remixed B-side . . . Delegation’s album strangely seems to be selling now it’s on Mercury import more than when out here last year! . . . Donald Byrd’s “dead” ‘Dominoes’ 12in is due at last next week, while the hotter ‘Live At The Roxy’ version from the old Hollywood-recorded ‘Blue Note All Stars’ LP was in fact the only track recorded in New York’s Central Park instead! . . . Groove’s Chris Palmer turns multi-tracked one man band with a great instrumental jazz-funk leaper to be released on his shop’s own label as ‘The Scratch’ by Surface Noise . . . Groove is also doing roaring business with hard-to-get classic jazz cut-out albums, much to Chris Hill’s annoyance as now everyone can play his old rarities! . . . Hill has retaliated against everyone nicking his “freeze” dance with a new step, the “anti-freeze” – stay while ‘The Groove’ is playing and go potty ¡n the pauses! . . . Johnny Wright, of Holborn’s City Sounds record shop, hosted a black-tie spaghetti dinner for all the funk mafia last week – police were seen taking numberplate details of Chris Hill, Robbie Vincent, Chris Brown, Sean French, Froggy, Tom Holland, Jeff Young, Bob Jones, Pete Tong, Mick Clark, Paul Clark, Graham Canter, James Hamilton, Adrian Webb and Fred Dove! – after which it was down to Gullivers for Froggy to do his Moulinex mix . . . The Grape Escape in Red Lion Street was the meeting place, where barman Tony makes the best pina colada ever, matters discussed ranging from Steve Walsh’s size in gumboots to the adoption of the term SLOP to signify gay Shirt Lifter Orientated Product . . . Disco Dave Singleton (061-775 1299) wonders if there’s a busier DJ in the land: he’s currently doing twenty-one gigs a week (afternoons at Manchester Winchester Wild West Club, evenings at Manchester Rainbow and Knutsford Daddy Monkeys), and would like to hear from a fire-eating DJ! . . . Ashley Woods (Sleaford) bought a royal African python named Clyde, who really digs Grover Washington ‘Snake Eyes’ and Brothers Johnson ‘You Make Me Wanna Wiggle’! . . . Paul Anthony now funks Birmingham Libertys with its blue neon-lit infinity mirror tunnel entrance on Thurs/Saturdays, and early week is at Solihull Scandals . . . Noel Wright funks Ware Beckets Wed/Fridays now, with Les Knott on Thursdays . . . Nick Langham (Dalston Maksims) doesn’t feature our disco chart any more as his punters think it’s dated, whereas Radio Luxembourg’s Tony Prince doesn’t think it’s dated enough because he hasn’t heard some of the Top 30 hits yet . . . Steve Dennis “The Menace” features his club’s Funky 15 every Wednesday at Birmingham Faces . . . Mark Clark’s Hot Gossip Roadshow accompanies, tummy in, Gary Glitter at Hastings Pier Ballroom on Saturday (10), the kids in Hastings being really funky sez Mark – at that gig? . . . Liz Bailey (Leicester) wonders what CBS’s Loraine Trent has against gay discos . . . Radio Caroline being off the air, will the under belly of East Anglia now gradually lose its interest in heavy rock? . . . will pigs fly? . . . KEEP IT FUNKY!



UK Newies

JERMAINE JACKSON: ‘Burnin’ Hot’ (from LP ‘Let’s Get Serious’, Motown STML 12127) (BNDA debut 4/5/80)
With the Stevie Wonder-ful jittery burbling title track now on smash-bound 111bpm 12in (12TMG 1183), this equally powerful Narada Michael Walden-ish 119bpm smacker is the consistently good album’s other outright winner and can be expected to chart in a big way on its own.

SHO NUFF: ‘It’s Alright’ (Ensign ENY 3712)
Maddeningly happy ultra catchy simple little jiggly 122bpm 12in chanted bubbly smacker, re-edited to Chris Hill’s requirements from a less infectious original.

ROBERTA FLACK WITH DONNY HATHAWAY: ‘Back Together Again’ (Atlantic K 114811) (BNDA debut 4/5/80)
The slinkier LP version’s over-long instrumental intro has been cut right down, the rhythm mixed more obtrusively and the central section altered to make a languidly swaying 109(intro)-111bpm 12in backbeat bumper that has the potential to be probably this year’s ‘Bring The Family Back’ rather than blockbuster ‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now’ (both of which it resembles).  Continue reading “May 10, 1980: Jermaine Jackson, Sho Nuff, Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway, Stacy Lattisaw, Cameo”

May 3, 1980: Caister report

Oldies rule indeed! This last weekend at Caister saw lots more just like before – in fact the sense of deja-vu was all too apparent as the DJs forced on into routines that had worked the week before – while the crowd appeared to be made up of rather older original funkateers and tribes. They certainly seemed taller! Enfield’s band of Robin Hood & the Merry Funkers were the best fancy-dressers, and in place of the Mohican placard flasher this week there was the mad bugler, who more or less hit the right notes when blasting forth with the Last Post or Boots and Saddles.

Sunday was sunny, and wafting through the caravans was the sound of skylarks, laughter and jazz cassettes, with a steady bass thump from the Mermaids Hall ever present. Apart from a few swiftly stopped incidents, the main hooliganism came from Showstopper’s boss, Adrian Webb, setting a bad example by squirting a fire extinguisher around the backstage dressing room.

WEA’s Fred Dove seemed strangely upset that Robbie Vincent plugged Boney M’s ‘Brown Girl In The Ring’, Chris Hill revived his Chuck Berry-inspired “I looked at my watch” accompaniment to John Handy’s ‘Hard Work’ (expect to hear this some more), and Froggy did well – Robbie made him miss the final ‘Shout’ cue and then he forgot to take his roadies home!

‘Shout’ and its associated chanting, so easily used to create audience response, did in fact become almost too much of a good thing, prompting one punter to snarl “aw shut up and put the music on!”

This clash of interests should be alleviated at the next Caister in October (when incidentally the Country weekender is at the old Ladbrokes camp), as the neighbouring room which this time housed the video screens will then be turned into a separate jazz venue for hard core music fans. And the Caister after that, because this one ran so smoothly, will be back at the old camp with its variety of venues.

Now that the Mafia’s main eating place is established as the Anglia Lodge (just off the top end of Yarmouth’s front in Regent Road – ask for Charlie), serving lobster and massive T-bones till the middle of the night, I reckon I’ll keep coming back for as long as there’s a Caister! But why, when I managed both weekenders this time, was there nobody from the specialist black press at even one?


Odds ‘N Bods

James Last ‘Seduction’ is now on same-length £1.35 12in (Polydor PDX 2071) . . . Roberta Flack ‘Back Together Again’, more the Caister theme than an anthem, is on 12in next week (Atlantic K 11481T) with a shorter intro and remixed middle . . . Skyy have been renamed New York Skyy just for the UK to avoid confusion with Sky, and ‘First Time Around’ is now their official A-side . . . PRAT have flipped Tony Rallo ‘Burnin’ Alive’ for a ready-made follow-up . . . Paul McCartney’s 131bpm ‘Coming Up’ should be called DOP – Dance Orientated Pop! – while Boney M’s ‘My Friend Jack’ is in reality a drug song about LSD, first done in ’67 by Smoke . . . El Coco’s 117bpm ‘Let’s Get It Together’ remix has great added smack ‘n sax, Renzo Fraiese’s remixed ’12 Engle Street’ running at 123-125-lull-128-123-128(outro)bpm, should you have had a PRAT promo . . . Chris Hill’s hotly hyped 122bpm Sho Nuff ‘It’s Alright’ will be out next week . . . Wednesday (7) sees me addressing an evening seminar of Steve Allen’s Peterborough-based DJ team, but what about I’m not sure (yet)! . . . Kenny Baxter’s Turntable are now resident jazz-funk group, with other live guests and Bob Jones spinning jazz on disc, every Thursday at Chelmsford’s Saracen’s Head . . . John Mayoh (Bolton Rockerfellas) infos that various experienced local jocks run a training course for would-be DJs at 7:30pm every Monday in Bolton’s Cotton Tree Hotel, Prince Street . . . Jason West’s winning ‘Smelly Feet’ DJ rap is being put on limited white label by Phonogram . . . Michael Brown (the truth is out!) asks “who is Mario Viola and where is his baby photo?” . . . Chris Bangs (South Harrow Bogarts on Sundays) speed-spins Lonnie Liston Smith ‘Bridge Through Time’ at about 40rpm . . . Brian Brindle (Chelsea Alibi) says he’s never been asked for Liquid Gold – is this a record? . . . Chris Jones (Cardiff) wonders since when were the Dooleys either rock or new wave but agrees they’re not disco – they’re certainly dorks though, right?! . . . Kev Rousell (Margate Sounds Sensational mobile) is both a soul and heavy metal freak, and accurately observes that heavy gigs are a lot easier to make seem exciting . . . Gary Allan (Liverpool McMillans) needs a new Johnny Guitar Watson ‘A Real Mother For Ya’ 12in, his being destroyed in a pre-Caister warm-up water fight (that’ll teach him!) . . . Caister showed for sure that silk shorts and dimpled white thighs don’t go well together . . . Jo Field’s sister WAS there this weekend! . . . Colin Curtis & John Grant are flying down to the Knebworth Soul Day by helicopter, but the Southern mafia have yet to ensure it’s one of Jimmy Carter’s! . . . Franklin Sinclair (Stretford) wonders why Radio Luxembourg substitutes records on the Disco Computer chart show featuring our Top 30 – purely because they haven’t always got some and can’t get them out to the station in time . . . I wonder if Martin Platts (Blackburn) has ever really listened to Elvis Presley ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’, amazingly soulful for a white singer in ’56, it subsequently turned me towards deep black soul like the Falcons ‘I Found A Love’ . . . Geno Washington, while a good performer, was always the Wally mods’ fave and meant little to hipper soul fans, who preferred original rather than cover versions . . . Doctor John (Stratford Disco-Tech) appears to be jocking at Zurich’s Way Out in Switzerland, where Earth & Fire ‘Weekend’ is number one (that’s Earth & Fire, no Wind) . . . Paul Stewart (Belfast) sends a nicely funky chart from Northern Ireland – but where d’ya work, Paul? . . . “JC” Ellis (Newark) wants Record Mirror to feature colour posters of funksters like Narada Michael Walden, Shalamar, Whispers, Brothers Johnson, Phyllis Hyman, etc – so how about it Alf, there’s people out there buying records by them! . . . KEEP IT FUNKY!


No UK Newies or Imports this week.


UK Disco Top 90 – May 3, 1980

01 01 Brothers Johnson – Stomp! – A&M 12″
02 03 Bobby Thurston – Check Out The Groove – Epic 12″
03 04 Rodney Franklin – The Groove – CBS 12″
04 02 Leon Haywood – Don’t Push It Don’t Force It – 20th Century 12″
05 09 Mystic Merlin – Just Can’t Give You Up – Capitol 12″
06 07 Detroit Spinners – Working My Way Back To You – Atlantic 12″
07 05 Narada Michael Walden – Tonight I’m Alright – Atlantic 12″
08 14 Jermaine Jackson – Let’s Get Serious / Burnin’ Hot – Motown 7″/LP
09 12 Narada Michael Walden – I Shoulda Loved Ya – Atlantic 12″
10 06 Whispers – And The Beat Goes On – Solar 12″
11 10 Liquid Gold – Dance Yourself Dizzy – Polo 12″
12 08 Tony Rallo & The Midnite Band – Holdin’ On / Burnin’ Alive – Calibre 12″
13 13 Mass Production – Shante – Atlantic 12″
14 18 Crown Heights Affair – Use Your Body & Soul / You Gave Me Love – De-Lite 12″
15 11 Gibson Brothers – Cuba / Better Do It Salsa – Island 12″
16 21 Raydio – For Those Who Like To Groove / Two Places At The Same Time – Arista 7″
17 27 Teena Marie – Behind The Groove – Motown LP
18 30 Shalamar – Right In The Socket (remix) / The Second Time Around – Solar 12″
19 28 Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway – Back Together Again – US Atlantic 12″ promo/LP
20 51 Brenda Russell – In The Thick Of It / So Good So Right – A&M 12″
21 20 Sharon Paige – Tonight’s The Night – Source 12″
22 22 Dayton – Eyes On You / Livin’ For Today / Dank – US UA LP
23 15 Michael Jackson – Rock With You / Get On The Floor – Epic 12″
24 23 Chuck Cissel – Cisselin’ Hot – Arista 12″
25 26 Bobby Thurston – You Got What It Takes – Epic LP
26 17 Trussel – Love Injection – Elektra 12″
27 24 Ben E. King – Music Trance – Atlantic 7″/US 12″ promo
28 45 Roy Ayers Ubiquity – Running Away / Can’t You See Me – Polydor 12″
29 68 Diana Ross & The Supremes – Supremes Medley / Love Hangover – Motown 12″
30 44 Blondie – Call Me – Chrysalis 7″/Polydor LP/US Chrysalis 12″
31 19 Phyllis Hyman – You Know How To Love Me – Arista 12″
32 16 Fern Kinney – Together We Are Beautiful – WEA 12″
33 53 Gary Bartz – Music / Rockin’ All Night / After The Love Has Gone / Need Your Love / After Glow – US Arista LP
34 35 Lonnie Liston Smith – Love Is The Answer (all cuts) – US Columbia LP
35 40 Community People – Education Wrap – US Delmar Int’l 12″
36 31 Ronnie Laws – Young Child – UA 12″
37 65 Jerry Knight – Overnight Sensation – A&M 7″/US 12″
38 43 Chico Hamilton – Strut / Magic Fingers / Alekasam / Mysterious Maiden – US Elektra LP
39 55 Isley Brothers – Go All The Way / Pass It On / Don’t Say Goodnight / Say You Will – Epic LP
40 42 Brothers Johnson – Light Up The Night / This Had To Be / Celebrations / Smilin’ On Ya / You Make Me Wanna Wiggle – A&M LP
41 54 Herbie Hancock – Go For It / Making Love / Tell Everybody – CBS 12″
42 49 Herbie Hancock – Saturday Night / Stars In Your Eyes – CBS LP
43 41 Bunny Mack – Love You Forever – Rokel/RCA 12″
44 87 Chicago – Street Player – CBS 12″
45 46 Dr. Hook – Sexy Eyes / When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman – Capitol 12″
46 33 Ronnie Laws – O.T.B.A. Law (Outta Be A Law) / Every Generation / As One – UA LP
47 29 Atmosfear – Motivation / Extract – MCA 12″
48 25 Slave – Just A Touch Of Love – Atlantic 12″
49 76 Stephanie Mills – D-A-N-C-I-N’ / Try My Love / Mixture Of Love – US 20th Century LP
50 57 V/A – Calibre Cuts – Calibre 12″
51 38 Light Of The World – The Boys In Blue / This Is This – Ensign 12″
52 89 James Last Band – The Seduction (Love Theme) – Polydor 12″
53 58 Prince – Sexy Dancer – Warner Bros. 12″
54 50 Players Association – The Get Down Mellow Sound – Vanguard 12″
55 56 Con Funk Shun – Got To Be Enough / Happy Face – US Mercury 7″/12″/LP
56 72 Skyy – First Time Around (remix) / High – Salsoul 12″
57 48 Wilbert Longmire – Hawkeye – Tappan Zee LP
58 32 GQ – Standing Ovation – Arista 12″
59 80 Ndugu & The Chocolate Jam Co. – Give Your Love / Shadow Dancing – US Epic 12″ promo/LP
60 NE Raydio – It’s Time To Party Now / Until The Morning Comes / Tonight’s The Night / Everybody Makes Mistakes – Arista LP
61 59 Heath Brothers – For The Public – US Columbia 7″/LP
62 34 Blondie – Atomic – Chrysalis 12″
63 61 Donald Byrd – Dominoes (live at the Roxy) – US Blue Note LP
64 66 Randy Brown – The Next Best Thing To Being There / We Ought To Be Doin’ It / Love Formula 69 / You’re So Good – Casablanca 12″/US LP
65 88 Earl Klugh – Amazon / If It’s In Your Heart / Spellbound / Doc – US UA LP
66 52 Kleeer – Winners / Your Way / Open Your Mind / Rollin’ On – US Atlantic 12″ promo/LP
67 67 Billy Ocean – Stay The Night – GTO 12″
68 73 Kleeer – Close To You – Atlantic 12″
69 78 Stone City Band – Little Runaway / Strut Your Stuff – US Gordy LP
70 NE Change – A Lover’s Holiday / Searching / The Glow Of Love / It’s A Girl’s Affair – US RFC LP
71 NE Stephanie Mills – Sweet Sensation – US 20th Century 12″
72 62 Herbie Hancock – I Thought It Was You (Direct-Cut) – Japanese CBS/Sony LP
73 NE Dynasty – Satisfied / It’s Still A Thrill – Solar 12″
74 RE B.T. Express – Give Up The Funk / Taking Off – US Columbia LP
75 79 Al Johnson & Jean Carn – I’m Back For More / School Of The Groove / You Are My Personal Angel – US Columbia 7″/LP
76 64 Leo’s Sunshipp – Give Me The Sunshine / I’m Back For More – US Lyon’s LP
77 NE Sho Nuff – It’s Alright – Ensign 12″ promo
78 60 Gap Band – I Don’t Believe You Want To Get Up And Dance – Mercury 12″
79 74 Toots & The Maytals – Chatty Chatty / Turn It Up – Island 12″
80 63 Mandrill – Dance Of Love / Feeling Good / When You Shake – US Arista LP
81 71 Givens Family – The Year Of The Child – US Venture 12″
82 RE Avenue B Boogie Band – Bumper To Bumper – US Salsoul 12″
83 RE Whispers – Lady – Solar 7″/LP
84 NE Odyssey – Use It Up And Wear It Out / Don’t Tell Me, Tell Her / If You’re Lookin’ For A Way Out – US RCA 12″/LP
85 NE Manu Dibango – Goro City / Tek Time – Island 12″
86 81 Osibisa – Pata Pata – Pye 12″/Calibre 12″ remix
87 NE Viola Wills – If You Could Read My Mind – Ariola Hansa 12″
88 NE Voyage – I Love You Dancer / Do It Again – US Marlin LP
89 RE Niteflyte – If You Want It – Ariola 12″
90 84 El Coco – Let’s Get It Together (remix) – US AVI 12″ promo
NE = new entry; RE = re-entry


Appeared in Billboard:
#1 (BNDA debut 2/23/80) / #2 (BNDA debut 3/1/80) / #3 (BNDA debut 5/17/80)
#4 (BNDA debut 2/23/80) / #6 (BNDA debut 10/20/79) / #7 (BNDA debut 12/22/79)
#8 (BNDA debut 4/5/80) / #9 (BNDA debut 12/22/79) / #10 (BNDA debut 1/12/80)
#11 (BNDA debut 11/17/79) / #12 (BNDA debut 1/5/80) / #14 (BNDA debut 3/22/80)
#15 (BNDA debut 4/7/79 & 9/8/79) / #16 (BNDA debut 5/17/80) / #17 (BNDA debut 3/29/80)
#18 (BNDA debut 10/20/79) / #19 (BNDA debut 4/5/80) / #21 (BNDA debut 2/16/80)
#23 (BNDA debut 8/18/79) / #24 (BNDA debut 1/12/80) / #25 (BNDA debut 3/1/80)
#26 (BNDA debut 12/8/79) / #27 (BNDA debut 3/1/80) / #28 (BNDA debut 9/24/77)
#30 (BNDA debut 3/8/80) / #31 (BNDA debut 11/10/79) / #37 (BNDA debut 4/19/80)
#39 (BNDA debut 4/26/80) / #41 (BNDA debut 7/14/79 & 4/19/80) / #42 (BNDA debut 4/19/80)
#48 (BNDA debut 1/12/80) / #53 (BNDA debut 11/10/79) / #54 (BNDA debut 3/22/80)
#56 (BNDA debut 3/8/80) / #58 (BNDA debut 3/1/80) / #60 (BNDA debut 12/6/80)
#66 (BNDA debut 4/5/80) / #67 (BNDA debut 4/11/81) / #70 (BNDA debut 3/29/80)
#71 (BNDA debut 4/12/80) / #73 (BNDA debut 1/19/80) / #74 (BNDA debut 4/19/80)
#78 (BNDA debut 3/8/80) / #80 (BNDA debut 4/19/80) / #84 (BNDA debut 4/5/80)
#87 (BNDA debut 8/30/80) / #88 (BNDA debut 5/17/80)


Bubbling under the UK Disco Top 90:

HIROSHIMA: ‘Lion Dance’ (Arista 12”)
KWICK: ‘I Want To Dance With You’ / ‘We Ought To Be Dancing’ / ‘Tonight Is The Night’ (US EMI America LP) (BNDA debut 6/14/80)
EDDY ROSEMOND: ‘Funk It’ (US Laser 12”)
DEXTER WANSEL: ‘Life On Mars’ (US Philadelphia Int’l LP)
DEODATO: ‘Whistle Bump’ (remix) (US Warner Bros. 12”) (BNDA debut 5/27/78)
FREEEZ: ‘Keep In Touch’ (Pink Rhythm 12”)
GREY & HANKS: ‘Now I’m Fine’ (RCA 12”) (BNDA debut 3/8/80)
TRAMMPS: ‘Hard Rock And Disco’ (Atlantic 12”) (BNDA debut 4/19/80)
JIMMY RUFFIN: ‘Hold On To My Love’ (RSO 7”)
AVERAGE WHITE BAND: ‘Let’s Go Round Again’ (RCA 12”) (BNDA debut 7/12/80)
DOROTHY MOORE: ‘Talk To Me / Every Beat Of My Heart’ (Epic 7”)
PARLIAMENT: ‘Theme From The Black Hole’ / LOOSE CHANGE: ‘I Wanna Hold On To You’ (Casablanca 12” EP) (BNDA debut 2/23/80)
AURRA: ‘In The Mood (To Groove)’ / ‘When I Come Home’ (US Dream LP) (BNDA debut 5/17/80)
CROWN HEIGHTS AFFAIR: ‘You’ve Been Gone’ / ‘I See The Light’ / ‘Sure Shot’ (De-Lite LP)
JUDY ROBERTS BAND: ‘Never Was Love’ (US Inner City LP)
RENZO FRAIESE: ‘12 Engle Street’ (Pye 12” promo)
RANDY CRAWFORD: ‘Last Night In Danceland’ (US Warner Bros. LP promo)
COLLINS & COLLINS: ‘You Know How To Make Me Feel So Good’ / ‘Do You Wanna Dance’ (US A&M LP)
RAY GOODMAN & BROWN: ‘Special Lady’ (Mercury 7”)
LOVE COMMITTEE: ‘I Wanna Make Love To You’ / ‘Boogie Papers’ (US T-Electric LP)
LIPPS, INC.: ‘Funkytown’ (US Casablanca 12”) (BNDA debut 1/26/80)
BREAKWATER: ‘Say You Love Me Girl’ (US Arista LP)
DENISE LASALLE: ‘I’m So Hot’ (US MCA 7”) (BNDA debut 5/31/80)
ISLEY BROTHERS: ‘Shout’ (RCA 12”)


DORC

1 (2) UB40, 2 (1) Lambrettas, 3 (3) Bodysnatchers, 4 (4) Madness, 5 (10) Dexy’s Midnight Runners, 6 (6) Muffins, 7 (9) Bad Manners, 8 (5) The Beat, 9 (18) Nolans, 10 (12) Genesis, 11 (7) Vapors, 12 (-) Paul McCartney, 13 (15) Pretenders, 14 (11) Dooleys, 15 (-) Rupert Holmes, 16 (-) B.A. Robertson, 17 (16) Harry J., 18 (-) Jam ‘Going Underground’, 19 (14) Selector, 20 (13) M

April 26, 1980: “Sunny Caister”, Mass Production, Kleeer, Wilbert Longmire, Voyage, Aurra

Sunny Caister

Swimsuits are a must if you’re going to Caister 2 this weekend – so are brollies! – not because of the weather, though but because you’ll get soaked by condensation raining down from the ceiling of the hall where all the funky action is! The Showstopper Promotions-run soul weekender has moved locations from the larger Ladbrokes camp to their Seashore caravans only camp which, nearer Yarmouth, is totally exposed right on the beach. Since Springtime seems later in reaching East Norfolk than other areas this year, the caravans last weekend were buffeted by howling gales and storms of hail in place of gentle April showers.

However, this was the only sour note in an event that ended by creating the best (and most trouble-free) atmosphere of any Caister yet. With only one music venue featuring the ‘Family’ team of Chris Hill, Robbie Vincent, Sean French, Chris Brown, Tom Holland, Jeff Young and Froggy (immortalised by the phantom Mohican placard flasher as “Froggy mixes better than a Kenwood Chef”) all in rotation, there is no variety in the music to choose between as there was at the old camp’s three main venues. But by being further from civilisation, there is no noise restriction and the grand finales can finish later.

What finales they are too! Roberta Flack ‘Back Together Again’ blending into Billy Paul ‘Bring The Family Back’ into McFadden & Whitehead ‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now’ is the starting point, followed by an assortment from El Coco ‘Let’s Get It Together’, O’Jays ‘I Love Music’, Isleys ‘Shout’, Bobby Thurston ‘You Got What It Takes’, Sho Nuff ‘It’s Alright’, interspersed by Gerry & The Pacemakers ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, Lonnie Donegan ‘The Party’s Over’, Vera Lynn ‘There’ll Always Be A Caister’ (that Hill remains a mobile jock at heart!), and great call-and-answer responses of the usual “wah-ooh wah-hah” shout, “oh yes we are” – “oh no you’re not” pantomime routine, and some incredibly good “just the girls”/”just the fellahs” acappella singing.

Last Saturday a video camera was relaying the action into a neighbouring room where two colour screens and an extension of Froggy’s massive roadshow made it a cooler environment to hear what was happening, although by the finale that room was packed too and the crowd were joining in the chanting. Come the Sunday finish this room was empty of people but full of condensation-caused fog!

The condensation also fogged up the mirrors in the main room which were meant to send laser beams all around the place in a “dry” (ha ha) run for the much bigger and more spectacular laser display that will be at Sho-Pro’s big-top Knebworth Soul Day on May 26th Bank Holiday Monday (starring Lonnie Liston Smith, GQ, Eddy Grant, Light Of The World, the ‘Family’ jocks plus Colin Curtis & John Grant, circus acts and more). This event it is hoped will attract a truly national audience.

As it was, Caister 1 had crowds from Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Birmingham and Bristol as well as London and the South, the reaction of Liverpool McMillans DJ Gary Allan, at his first Caister, being “we like to think that the all-dayers in the North are as good as this, but they aren’t!” Gary’s coming back this weekend, as are 300 more including myself to join the 2,000 or so fresh campers.

My motivation for returning it must be admitted is a great late-night restaurant in Yarmouth (lobster thermidor for £5.50!) and the fact that the old Ladbrokes camp has Sho-Pro’s Country Weekender going on at the same time. Yi-ha, git DOWN!

Oh yes – the music. Roy Ayers ‘Can’t You See Me’ seemed to be played rather a lot, Donald Byrd ‘Dominoes’ (Live At The Roxy) was as well but to better response and Dexter Wansel ‘Life On Mars’ was heavily requested evidently. Oldies rule?


Odds ‘N Bods

Ronnie Laws’ short UK tour – Birmingham (May 2), Hammersmith (3), Brighton (4), Manchester Dunstable (8) – sees UA release ‘Every Generation’ and not ‘OTBA Law’ as his next single . . . PRAT’s next disco special’s a 6-track 33 1/3rpm 12in (they may find this classified as an LP for chart sales returns) featuring La Pregunta ‘Chameleon’, Rinder & Lewis ‘Blue Steel’, Renzo Fraiese ‘12 Engle Street’, David Benoit ‘Los Angeles’, Jon Faddis ‘Razor Blade’ / ‘Good And Plenty’ (12P 5016) due mid-May . . . Phyllis Hyman’s Arista follow-up ‘Under Your Spell’ 12in will cost only 99p for the first 5,000 copies sold . . . Crown Heights Affair on fancily packaged UK 12in does indeed run faster. ‘Use Your Body & Soul’ at 120-119-120bpm and ‘You Gave Me Love’ at 116bpm, and debuts the De-Lite label here . . . Osibisa ‘Pata Pata’ switches from Pye to Calibre (CABL 102) in a remixed version with added afro party chanting . . . Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway ‘Back Together Again’ has been delayed . . . Ben E King ‘Music Trance’ will eventually be the B-side to a brand new A-side on UK 12in next month . . . Odyssey ‘Use It Up And Wear It Out’ (US RCA PD-11963) and Heath Brothers ‘For The Public’ (US Columbia 43-11258) are now on LP-length US 12in (Heath Bros minus the LP’s clapping intro/outro) while Cheryl Lynn ‘Keep It Hot’ (US Columbia 43-11261) gets a remixed break . . . BT Express’ long awaited (and rumoured to be cancelled) ‘1980’ album has finally appeared but doesn’t sound too special to these ears . . . Caister previews included Freeez ‘Keep In Touch’ (Pink Rhythm 12 Pinky 1), a fast flowing jazzy c. 133bpm 12in UK instrumental with Atmosfear-type breaks that you’d better order now as only 500 will be pressed, El Coco ‘Let’s Get It Together’ (remix) (AVI 12in), Eddy Grant ‘My Turn To Love You’ (Ice 12in), and Chris Hill’s hotly hyped remix of Sho Nuff ‘It’s Alright’ (Ensign 12in) . . . but who is Lorna Greene and why was Chris covering her up!? . . . Robbie Vincent’s oldies along with the more likely ‘Sausalito’ and ‘New Killer Joe’, included Le Pamplemousse ‘Get Your Boom Boom’ and O’Jays ‘Use Ta Be My Girl’ – which caused a conga line! . . . Caister artifacts include a “Don’t stop – FREEZE” badge and a T-shirt with the Glacier Mint bear saying “Freeze!” . . . Sho Pro’s Roger “Dynarod” Dance spent a lot of time in the loo, while Froggy came clean in the bath . . . Sunday 11th May at Solihull’s St Johns Hotel there’s a major Disco Light & Sound ‘80 exhibition organised by three Midlands dealers (details 021 707 4925) . . . Thames Valley DJA members meet this Sunday (27) lunchtime in Camberley Duke Of York for talks on first aid electronics crossovers . . . Brighton’s funky Paul Clark got voted the Public Relations Officer of the Sussex DJ Assn, much to his surprise . . . Jason West did his award-winning ‘Smelly Feet’ rap at USAF Alconbury Aquarius Club and someone let off a stink bomb! . . . Steve Dee’s staff of Amersham fracas fame have adopted my “Wally Herberts” comment as a slogan for future T-shirts! . . . Chris Dinnis’ last funk night at Sidmouth Winter Garden drew funk fans from Gloucester, Bristol, Cornwall, Weymouth and even North London, while his Exeter reunion attracted some Pete Tong followers from Kent . . . Chris Sidney Brown’s forthcoming ‘Family Album’ picture book surely won’t be complete without baby photos of Royston Hill, Allen Holland, Jeff Elkins and Steve Howlett?! . . . Noel Wright (Ware Beckets on Thurs/Fridays) says the local Ware Anti-Mod Pro-Soul Brigade keep insisting he chop Lena Martell into ‘Love Theme From Crossroads’ – are they really Wallys, he wonders? . . . Steve Dennis “The Menace” funks Birmingham Faces in Five Ways on four and a half nights a week – what would the next figure be in numerical sequence? . . . Camberley Frenchies’ Paul Wheeler & Robin Nash are planning with Mayfair Playboy Club’s Tony Jenkins some special jazz-funk Bunny Parties with PA’s by a celebrity secret jazz-funk fan . . . Yankee Disc’s Mike O’Shea offers £50 reward for the unidentified DJ who stirred up trouble with Groove’s Chris Palmer to identify himself . . . Rowdy Yeats of RCA (who are currently carving up the Disco Sales Chart) used to be in a Dudley-based precursor to Chicken Shack called Sounds Of Blue, along with Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac, Stan Webb etc . . . Tom Holland, whose warm-up jockette (and constant companion) is the oddly named Jeanneane Cesvette (alias Miss Blue Note), now revives CJ & Co ‘Sure Can’t Go To The Moon’ (US Westbound LP), Doug Richardson ‘Salsa Mama’ (US AVI LP) . . . Jeff Young has a gruesome line in true hospital stories (he’s a hospital lab technician in real life – don’t give up your day job, Jeff!) . . . Raydio, Lakeside, Ben E King, James Brown and the like have brought back heavy funk in a big way to Mayfair Gullivers . . . Kev Hill (Brentwood), fresh back from Ireland, says Galway area discos are invariably large houses DIY converted into dance halls and playing no soul at all but lots of Dave Edmunds ‘Singing The Blues’ . . . Andy Davison (Sawston) says the American and usually black disco jocks at East Anglia’s many USAF bases don’t use mikes but also don’t play gay disco – instead they mix jazz-funk and soul – they’re obviously not from LA! . . . Chris Jones (Cardiff) wonders how many other disco DJ’s are radio amateurs – I’m not sure if he means legal hams or naughty CB fans, but Sean French could probably tell him a thing or two . . . Chris Hill may have started the Freeze, but it would be nice if CBS would acknowledge my own part in actually finding and telling the world about ‘The Groove’ – which incidentally leapt straight into London’s sales Top 20 as the highest new entry last week . . . KEEP IT FUNKY!


UK Newies

MASS PRODUCTION: ‘Shante’ (Atlantic K 11475T)
Amazingly War-like jazzy instrumental builds with shifting solos in ‘Ghetto’ style on UK-only 12in from a quietly beating long start through 124(intro)-126-124-127-128bpm and is huge for funk jocks around the South and Merseyside.

KLEEER: ‘Close To You’ (Atlantic LV 36)
Creamily jittering 117(intro)-119-117(bass)-119bpm backbeat chugger has increased dramatically in my estimation since discovering its main beat mixes perfectly out of Jermaine’s ‘Burnin’ Hot’! While ‘Winners’ is on US 12in promo, this LV 12in is flipped by a Fred Dove segued medley of the old 124bpm ‘Tonight’s The Night’ and ‘I Love To Dance’.

WILBERT LONGMIRE: ‘Hawkeye’ (from LP ‘With All My Love’, Tappan Zee CBS 84155)
Great pattering long 115-116bpm jazz guitar instrumental was big on import and chops (minus intro) out of ‘OTBA Law’ and then synchs into ‘You Got What It Takes’ for my fave mix of a few weeks ago.  Continue reading “April 26, 1980: “Sunny Caister”, Mass Production, Kleeer, Wilbert Longmire, Voyage, Aurra”

April 19, 1980: Gays & Wallys

Gays & Wallys

Tricky Dicky, well-known around London for his gay discos (catch him this Saturday at Stratford Pigeons Hotel in Romford Road), writes “I must agree with all you say about USA gay discos – they certainly helped to kill disco there. It’s not so obvious here and most UK gay clubs are doing fine even though numbers have dropped slightly due to the opening of Heaven, but that should be short-lived as it’s following the defunct US gay disco course. Soon it’ll be back to talking jocks who actually help market the music, which in gay discos is getting funkier although the jazz fad won’t touch them. As well as the most commercial tracks like Bros Johnson, Walden and Jermaine Jackson ‘Burnin’ Hot’, the big gay tracks here are still Jessica Williams ‘Queen Of Fools’, P’zzazz ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ and the Abbe (with an “e”) album.” Thanks for that support, Dicky, and I’m glad my decidedly knocking comments have been accepted so constructively by our own gay scene.

Meanwhile, regarding my frequent references to Wallys, Steve West (Sayers Common Cinderellas at the Stroods Motel on the A23) writes: “Wallys are the bulk of the industry’s bread and butter. Speaking for myself, I have 11 years’ experience of “The People Business” which is, after all, what we are in. Most of us in this business are working to the average Joe Bloggs who wants to meet a girl, have a late drink and a bit of fun. 60 to 70 per cent of them couldn’t care less what music is playing as long as they know the record or have heard it on the radio, another 10-15 per cent just want to drink, which leaves 15 per cent of which 10 of the 15 just follow whatever trend happens to be around nationally (ie: currently 2-Tone and sixties music), leaving five per cent who are hard core funkateers (and who incidentally also get catered for at Cinderellas within the broad musical spectrum). So why do we have to “keep it funky”, as this would make ¡t rather boring for the other 95 per cent wouldn’t it? This is not to say that there shouldn’t be specialist discotheques, as there is a need to be catered for.”

You’ve actually encapsulated my own feelings exactly, Steve. As I have in fact said, there is nothing wrong with Wallys – they are the vast majority, of thoroughly nice to know citizens, with as you have said a merely peripheral interest in disco music. When the right record (like a Liquid Gold) comes along, these are the people who make it a smash. However, it’s the passionately involved specialist minority who take a real interest in disco music and are capable of starting hits of a maybe more modest dimension which nevertheless can become monsters (like the Whispers).

At whom should this page be aimed? The majority who only buy and play what’s already popular, or the minority who usually start that popularity? I personally believe the latter, and am currently delighted that so many charts are being sent in from clubs where people go because they want to hear the music there. The top end of our UK Disco 90 is still dominated by the mass – or if you like, Wally-taste.

It would be good to get even more charts contributed from every type of DJ (send your Top 30 floor response charts, written on your own paper, to me at Record Mirror, 40 Long Acre, London WC2E 9JT), but do be warned for your own continued employment’s sake – DON’T try to force your punters into becoming jazz-funk fans if they obviously don’t like it! However, if they do, KEEP IT FUNKY!


Odds ‘N Bods

Roberta Flack ‘Back Together Again’ (due on 12in next week) seems set as the Caister anthem, especially since Billy Paul ‘Bring The Family Back’ mixes perfectly out of it (chop in two beats before Billy sings) . . . Easter Monday’s Brighton Beach Party had to turn away around 4,000, but Bournemouth didn’t do so well . . . Showstopper Promotions’ National Soul Day at Knebworth on May 26th Bank Holiday will star the excellent GQ and possibly Lonnie Liston Smith . . . Brenda Russell ‘In The Thick Of It’ is indeed on lavishly packaged but same-length 12in (A&M AMSP 7515). Blondie ‘Call Me’ only being on 7in here, the full version remaining on Polydor LP or US 12in . . . Jermaine Jackson is now set for UK 12in early May, followed by Teena Marie ‘Behind The Groove’ which is currently huge for mafiosi (and has increased dramatically in my own estimation!) . . . Donald Byrd’s original (non-‘Roxy’) ‘Dominoes’ 12in has mysteriously been held back until mid-May, although DJ copies are just beginning to circulate . . . Diana Ross’s Chic-produced new LP has been sent back to the producers by Motown and is thus delayed . . . Detroit Spinners ‘Body Language’ reissue has been scrapped . . . Taste Of Honey ‘Boogie Oogie Oogie’ could be back on unlimited 12in . . . Randy Crawford & Chaka Khan LP’s may now be out here over a week after the importers (sorry, Freudian slip) imports . . . Paul Fearn won £250 and some MCA LP’s at Dartford Flicks’ “club” dancer competition (Fred Dove’s sister came second!), after which the appalling Ian Moore was successfully challenged by the somewhat self-consciously bad Slick Eddie, who kept falling over like an epileptic gibbon . . . Flicks owner Mike Keam and DJ Colin Hudd keep trying to top each other with slagging T-shirts (Colin must regret his old flare-trousered publicity pose!), while I enjoyed meeting fellow judges John Allan (Evening Echo), Dave Potter (South Ockendon Route 66 Records), Colin Snow (THE Record Man of Rayleigh) and 6 foot 2 dancer Sue Judson (humma humma!) . . . Cambridgeshire’s zany Jason West, now emphasising the funk and import element of his comedy-filled roadshow (035387-755), won Phonogram’s recent rapping contest with his ‘Smelly Feet’ set to Kurtis Blow’s B-side . . . MCA have cut their DJ mailing list from 500 to a temporary 100 . . . Caroline Roadshow’s new jock is not surprisingly Tom Anderson, from a certain sunken ship . . . Franklin Sinclair (Manchester) proves the power of ‘The Groove’ – at least 20 kids rushed up to ask what it was the first time he played it! . . . Skyy’s re-remixed ‘First Time Around’ deserves more attention than it’s getting – try mixing it out of Trussel! . . . Billy Ocean sounds stronger in club use than I may have suggested . . . Reggie Bosanquet did tell me his single would be “top of the pops”, but did he really mean top of Kenny Everett’s new ‘Bottom 30’?!? . . Nick Christian (West Kirby) is the latest jock to complain that East Anglian Productions have so far failed to complete a pre-paid order for customised jingles from last November – they may take time to make, EAP, but can’t you at least reply to his calls? . . . Arbie beams over and out, leaving Retford MAYC to the Wallys . . . KEEP IT FUNKY!


UK Newies

NARADA MICHAEL WALDEN: ‘I Shoulda Loved Ya’ (Atlantic K 11413T) (BNDA debut 12/22/79)
One of the definitive “smackers” and hotter for many than ‘Tonight I’m Alright’ ever since the Whispers became its perfect partner, this smash-bound slightly faster 117-114-115-114bpm 12in is all set to be a monster. It’s even getting Capital Radio play!

MYSTIC MERLIN: ‘Just Can’t Give You Up’ (Capitol 12CL 16133)
Great creamily thumping slick 122-freeze-124-chix-125bpm soul loper with lovely jazz sax has evidently been on UK-only 12in a while now.

CROWN HEIGHTS AFFAIR: ‘Use Your Body & Soul’ (Mercury MERX 9) (‘You Gave Me Love’ BNDA debut 3/22/80)
Buoyantly clapping mellow 116-117-118bpm 12in swinger goes into a bass-bumped central rap, the almost equally hot double-A ‘You Gave Me Love’ being a jiggly 115bpm bumper with catchy “woohoo-oo oo” smacking bits. BPM’s are from my US 12in, the initially serviced UK 7in running respectively 2 and 1bpm faster.  Continue reading “April 19, 1980: Gays & Wallys”