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!
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”