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!
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”