October 11, 1975: George McCrae, Stretch, Bud Flanagan, Paul Melba, Maxine Nightingale

New Spins

GEORGE MCCRAE: ‘I Ain’t Lyin’’ / ‘You Treat Me Good’ (Jay Boy BOY 105)
The rhythm section that rules the world does its thing as George soars and cut-price brass battles through the dominating drumkit. So simple, so effective. Cooled-out though still busy beat on the flip.

STRETCH: ‘Why Did You Do It’ (Anchor ANC 1021)
Heartily-compressed drum beats and Doobie-type guitar jiggling back gruff Elmer Cantry on a superbly-produced semi-slow thudder that’s kinda like Bad Company meeting the Ides of March. Sounds like a smash.

BUD FLANAGAN: ‘Who Do You Think You’re Kidding Mr. Hitler?’ (Pye 7N 45530)
I goofed by playing this (the Dad’s Army theme) once at a gig where evidently the German ambassador was a guest! Oh well, the point being that I use it all the time, especially as part of a routine where it leads into Glen Miller’s ‘In The Mood’. Great jolly MOR.

PAUL MELBA: ‘You’re The Cream In My Coffee’ (Pye 7N 45537)
Silliness, ideal for certain MOR gigs, hidden on the flip of an unsuccessful ‘Misty’-fication of ‘Tenderly’.

MAXINE NIGHTINGALE: ‘Right Back Where We Started From’ (UA UP 36015) (Billboard chart debut 4/3/76)
Here comes Pierre “Fool” Tubbs again, giving Al Matthews’s back-up singer an amazingly infectious clapalong bouncy beat and a dead simple catchy tune. She looks great, too! Continue reading “October 11, 1975: George McCrae, Stretch, Bud Flanagan, Paul Melba, Maxine Nightingale”

October 4, 1975: The Joneses, George Benson, Black Rock, Roxy Music, T. Rex Disco Party

New Spins

JONESES: ‘Sugar Pie Guy’ (Mercury 6167223) (Billboard chart debut 10/26/74)
Remixed and re-issued, this goodie by the guys with the amazing “spudadoo spudadoo” bass man now has a disco flip that features an instrumental build-up to the “spudadoo”s and a long wukkawuk passage, broken into by some gruff joviality and repartee with a chick. If it worked before you’d better play it some more!

GEORGE BENSON: ‘Supership’ (CTI CT SP 002) (Billboard chart debut 5/17/75)
1975’s jumping bumpy rhythm re-write of ‘Sea Cruise’ (ship’s hooter and all) shows off George more on vocals than guitar, and should be a disco smash with ship’s bells on. Already breaking out as an import, it’s gotta be good.

BLACK ROCK: ‘New York City Bump’ (Seville SEV 1011) (mentioned in Billboard column 5/17/75, Billboard chart debut 9/20/75)
SONNY – the Sound Of New New York strikes again as Sonny Casella follows Jeanne Burton and Dooley Silverspoon with his most ambitious production yet. On the special effects B-side the entire chix-led Temptations-type relaxed bumper is backed by a montage of New York City street sounds as it takes us on a bus ride uptown . . . like ‘Living For The City’ gone mad! Heard in stereo it’s a mind-messer of awesome proportions.  Continue reading “October 4, 1975: The Joneses, George Benson, Black Rock, Roxy Music, T. Rex Disco Party”

September 27, 1975: Elton John, Sparks, MFSB, John Schroeder Orchestra, Bimbo Jet

Following my pleas for DJ reaction to the number of singles I reviewed each week, I am again cutting back to just those I personally would consider using – not only in my own mobile DJ but also as a club DJ.

To quote from contributing DJ Mark Rymann (Porthcawl), “I have to play records which I reckon can be easily accepted or else there’s an empty floor.”


New Spins

ELTON JOHN: ‘Island Girl’ (DJM DJS 610)
At last, another good fast dancer from Elt, who may be extremely popular but does tend to do too many dead slowies. Now maybe ‘Crocodile Rock’ can take a rest!

SPARKS: ‘Looks, Looks, Looks’ (Island WIP 6249)
Unlikely source for the new Hurricane Smith, but that’s what this brassy big-band swinger could easily be! Reminiscent of Manhattan Transfer, whose slower ‘Tuxedo Junction’ is even more MoR.

MFSB: ‘Let’s Go Disco’ (Philadelphia Int’l PIR 3635) (mentioned in Billboard column 5/3/75)
Simple stomp beat chanter, a certified smash!  Continue reading “September 27, 1975: Elton John, Sparks, MFSB, John Schroeder Orchestra, Bimbo Jet”

September 20, 1975: Bob Marley, Jack Ashford, B.T. Express, Trammps, Gary Toms Empire

As I did last week, I’m reviewing everything that’s come out this week which has any bearing on the disco scene. And as last week, I’m still wondering whether that’s what DJ’s want, or whether you’d be happy to let me exercise my critical judgment. Please write and tell me what you think.


New Spins

BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS: ‘No Woman, No Cry’ (Island WIP 6244)
Recorded live at their Lyceum gig, Bob and the boys’ mournful slowie is almost Dylanesque – which may help explain its enormous appeal to Capital Radio’s listeners, who have voted it up to No. 1 in the Capital Hit Line. More rock than reggae, so those unfamiliar with reggae have nothing to fear. Pity it fades early (3:50), though doubtless the LP cut’ll be longer.

JACK ASHFORD & THE SOUND OF NEW DETROIT: ‘Do The Choo-Choo’ (Parts 1 & 2) (London HLA 10507) (Billboard chart debut 7/5/75)
Archetypal disco sounds of the Hamilton Bohannon type, just made to be danced to. Basically instrumental, nothing to do with Archie Bell (or Little Eva).

B.T. EXPRESS: ‘Give It What You Got’ (EMI INT 515) (mentioned in Billboard column 7/12/75, Billboard chart debut 8/2/75)
Repetitive funky chanter, the US hit from their ‘Non-Stop’ LP. Presumably the equally big ‘Peace Pipe’ has been taken off the flip so it can be our follow-up; instead we get the sparse but spry ‘Happiness’ as coupling.  Continue reading “September 20, 1975: Bob Marley, Jack Ashford, B.T. Express, Trammps, Gary Toms Empire”

September 13, 1975: Dooley Silverspoon, B.T. Express, Crown Heights Affair, Seventh Wave, Buddy Holly

For every Jack there’s a Jill, or so the saying goes, and it seems to me as though for every record (no matter how duff) there’s a DJ prepared to play it.

My principle, when reviewing records, has always been to try and weed out the ones my critical faculties told me were duff, and only mention the ones which were halfway decent – or, at least, of interest and usable.

Furthermore, when this page started, I set out only to mention the records that I considered were likely to cut through a crowded room and make dancers pay attention on the very first hearing.

Now I find myself getting paranoid about the way in which so many things that I never mentioned keep cropping up in our contributing DJs’ weekly chart returns. By no means are all the things I missed out in the duff category, but enough of them are to make me wonder whether perhaps I ought to mention absolutely everything that comes out, just in case I miss a future disco monster by personally thinking it the biggest load of cobblers.

Would you please write in and let me know whether you are happy to let me exercise my critical judgment? Or whether, like this week, I should give blanket coverage of just about everything issued that’s got any sort of beat? (But where would that have placed ‘Magic Roundabout’, huh?!)

I’ve always reckoned I have a pretty good set of ears when it comes to running my own discotheque so please don’t shatter my confidence now!


LP Trax

DOOLEY SILVERSPOON: ‘Dooley Silverspoon’ (Seville SEL 1) (‘Let Me Be The No. 1 (Love Of Your Life)’ mentioned in Billboard column 9/27/75, Billboard chart debut 10/18/75)
It’s not just the fact that I was the first person anywhere in the world to be given a copy of this that makes me enthusiastic. But also the fact that Dooley’s debut album is produced by Sonny Casella, the man who made Jane Burton’s incredible ‘Nobody Loves Me Like You Do’ and the fact that there’s much of the same great sound on many of these tracks . . . now do you understand? My fave is the one most like Jeanne, the ultra-long ‘Let Me Be The No. 1 (Love Of Your Life)’, although even better for dancing is the full, long version of Dooley’s new single, ‘As Long As You Know (Who You Are)’, and the combined parts 1 & 2 of ‘Bump Me Baby’. Strings, shrieking, pretty melodies and ever-hustling hi-hats are the main elements of this Miami-influenced New York Sound. That’s the way I like it, uh-huh!

B.T. EXPRESS: ‘Non-Stop’ (EMI International INA 1501) (mentioned in Billboard column 7/26/75, Billboard chart debut 8/2/75)
The BTE’s first LP thru EMI is, as the title says, non-stop all the way except for a truly awful slow attempt at ‘Close To You’ on Side 2. To tell the truth I find the result a bit monotonous and the tracks too similar to differentiate between them. However, my own fave is the last cut of all, ‘Whatcha Think About That’, while in the US the two most popular are the first two, ‘Peace Pipe’ and ‘Give It What You Got’. Funky fodder through and through, with more vocals than their hit singles might have led one to expect.  Continue reading “September 13, 1975: Dooley Silverspoon, B.T. Express, Crown Heights Affair, Seventh Wave, Buddy Holly”

September 6, 1975: Z.Z. Hill, Persuasions, Ray Charles, Ray Stevens, Jim Reeves

This page is a special service to the many readers of Record Mirror & Disc who are either full or part-time DJs. We hope it’ll also be interesting to the general disco-goer. If you have any queries, please write.

States Picks

Z. Z. HILL: ‘I Created A Monster’ / ‘Steppin’ In The Shoes Of A Fool’ (UA UA-XW631-X)
Penned/produced by none other than Lamont Dozier, Zee Zee’s new R&B hit couples a heavily thumping, slow funker with an incredibly subtle bright jogger. The hit side is extremely powerful sounding and has some great stereo effects, but the flip is artistically in a far superior league, starting with very few elements meshing to do a lot and finishing with a lot doing something that sounds very simple. Maybe if UA get hip they’ll put this out here in a hurry, then you can hear what I mean.

PERSUASIONS: ‘One Thing On My Mind’ / ‘Darlin’’ (A&M 1698-8)
No longer singing acapella, the soulful Persuasions harmonize and emote to a Tymes-type backbeat and slick 1975 arrangement which doesn’t detract from their superb vocal interplay even if it does depersonalize them somewhat. Surprisingly, they manage to make the flip less soulful than the Beach Boys’ original, though.

RAY CHARLES: ‘Living For The City’ (Crossover 981)
It’s come full circle when Ray Charles feels he has to sing Stevie Wonder to gain credibility, as Little Stevie began his career by recording a tribute album to Ray. The result, an R&B hit, presents us with the interesting experience of hearing Ray duetting with himself in stereo, and delivering a raspingly breathed sermon-style rap about the roaches in the city. It’s kinda good, but why couldn’t he have written something comparable himself?  Continue reading “September 6, 1975: Z.Z. Hill, Persuasions, Ray Charles, Ray Stevens, Jim Reeves”

James Hamilton’s first column: June 28, 1975

Gee, but it’s great to be back home! Has it really been ten months?

Welcome, anyway, to this, the first of a regular weekly page devoted to fax & info for regular disco DJs, dancers and super sharp record freaks in general.

Just to give it all some credibility, I’d better explain where I’m coming from. I’ve been a discotheque DJ myself for over 13 years, having started out as a club jock in London and New York. During the mid-60s my main interest was soul music – and, in fact, when I was doing the weekend allniters at Soho’s The Scene in ‘65/’66 I played nothing but Northern Soul . . . on its first time around!

When I went mobile in 1968 I soon saw that an all-soul policy was too restricting, and also that as most other mobile discotheques were aimed at the kids it would make sense if I set out to win over an older age group. Older audiences, incidentally, are usually richer and more appreciative of the trouble you take. Consequently I now tend to play to very mixed age groups, for which I carry a vast range of music. There are even occasions when I don’t play a single current chart record – mainly because modern music really does sound so dull in comparison with the sort of crazy “party” music I’ve made my specialty.

This is an aspect of disco dee-jaying that I hope this page, with your participation, will bring out into the open. There are – or ought to be – huge differences of approach to dee-jaying in a club and on a mobile date. In a club you know that the audience has paid to be entertained by the musical specialty of that club, whereas at most private parties the audience is totally uncommitted. Thus in a club it would be suicide but at a mixed age probably a sensation if you managed to work in a knees-up or Scottish reel, for instance.

Let’s hear from you, the dee-jays, about some of the more lunatic records that you to liven up your presentation. Every week we’ll run a hot tip with a suggestion about record sequences or other tricks that work for you. To kick it off, try this!

When you’ve misjudged and the disc you’re playing isn’t going over well, turn it to your advantage. Don’t just fade the record out: switch off the deck and let the disc grind to a halt as you start the next one. You’ll get a laugh!

Together with the first weekly Disco Page, here is the Record Mirror’s very first National Disco Chart, compiled from the returns of all the disco dee-jays who recently registered as contributors to it.

It was obvious from the very first glance at all the completed chart forms that Van McCoy’s ‘The Hustle’ would come out on top . . . but then that could have been predicted anyway, right? What is really interesting is that amongst all the more usual current chart names, some of the contributing DJs have placed really quite obscure or unlikely records. All the submitted charts make interesting reading, so let’s see what some of the less likely records are.

Dougall DJ of Twechar, Kilsyth in Scotland earns my respect for including Pete Wingfield’s great doo-wop cum sweet soul parody, ‘Eighteen With A Bullet’ (Island WIP 6231), which if it isn’t a hit here will certainly be one in America, where the music trade jargon will mean more to the radio-listening public. Dougall DJ also includes A Raincoat’s ‘I Love You For Your Mind Not Your Body’ (EMI 2289), which is almost as witty although in a totally different musical style, this being kinda Roxy/Sparks/Harley-type staccato and modern . . . and good.

Pete Brown of Seasons Discotheque from Wembley, Middlesex, is right on the spot in my estimation – he’s got ‘El Bimbo’ at number one already (as an import)! As he’s evidently well into the soul sound – listing such as the Brothers, Joe Bataan, Earth, Wind & Fire and Miami – I wonder if he realised at the time that Bimbo Jet are Spanish?  Continue reading “James Hamilton’s first column: June 28, 1975”