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”

April 12, 1980: Rodney Franklin, Bunny Mack, Prince, Herbie Hancock, Isley Brothers

Odds ‘N Bods

Keith Main’s Atmosphere Lighting & Sound shop presents a Disco Design ’80 exhibition on Saturday/Sunday (12/13) opening noon at Aberdeen’s Treetops Hotel in Springfield Road (details 0224 572923), with many well known equipment manufacturers in attendance all hoping to profit from Aberdeen’s disco boom (seven new clubs in the last year) . . . 12in newies next week include ‘Calibre Cuts’ and Narada ‘Shoulda Loved Ya’, while Diana Ross & the Supremes’ ‘Supremes Medley’ / ‘Love Hangover’ (Motown 12TMG 1180) is due around now . . . Michael Jackson ‘Working Day And Night’ was the flip of ‘Off The Wall’ – don’t some DJ’s turn their records over? – yet many are assuming it’ll be his follow up! . . . MCA goof again making the admittedly lovely ‘When The World Turns Blue’ the new Merry Clayton 7in, leaving the original of her hotter ‘Emotion’ to Epic’s Webster Lewis – didn’t ‘Street Life’ teach them anything? . . . Randy Crawford and Chaka Khan have solo LP’s simultaneously released here and in US at end of the month . . . Chris Britton, as hinted last week, has left High Wycombe’s Tuesdays due to a music policy switch (the Wallies can have it!), but via his new involvement with Rush Release is selling up a series of sponsored jazz-funk nights available to venues during the summer and featuring drink, cigarette and record company participation, imports, T-shirts and paraphernalia stalls, guest star PA’s, plus himself and Stuart Gensian as jocks – booking enquiries on 0494 451797 . . . Stevie Glover meanwhile wants drink, cigarette or record companies to do promotion nights during the summer at Bournemouth’s Maison Royale and Outlook clubs – enquiries on 0202 35128 . . . Chris, meet Stevie, Stevie, meet Chris! . . . Steve Dee (High Wycombe) has had his Amersham Jubilee Hall gigs blown out by a “violent fracas” that resulted in local newspaper headlines screaming “DISCO FEVER IS BEING RUINED BY ‘YOB ELEMENT’” – or should that be “Wally Herberts”?! . . . Mayfair Playboy Club’s hipper DJ Tony Jenkins reports that tennis star Buster Mottram is a jazz-funk fan, buying the new Gary Bartz, David Sanborn and Earl Klugh albums off Tony as soon as he heard them! . . . Gavin who? . . . Soho’s Groove Records are urging other shops to join them in boycotting a certain Chislehurst import wholesaler who by apparently supplying DJ’s direct is damaging retail sales . . . Groove also say they love drugged gays really! . . . Bracknell seems to be a hotbed of revealingly video-ed activity, to judge from rumours about a certain – no, say no more! . . . I keep telling you that Bristol is funky but last week was ridiculous . . . Ben E King, James Brown, Avenue B Boogie Band and even Jermaine Jackson are leading a “funky soul” revival in the 105-110bpm tempo range . . . Andy Davison (Sawston Black Bull) wants to know how Los Angeles disco jocks compare with British – didn’t you gather that while technically many are brilliant mixers, they use terrible dated gay ‘‘disco’’ material and can’t (so thus don’t) use a mike? . . . Dennis Brynner & Dave Van Seiger now display their Southampton Barbarella’s chain in the local Virgin store, which in turn they plug to their punters . . . Steve Allen (Peterborough) thanks Sister Sledge for naming their newie after his ‘Easy Street’ promotions company – pity the record’s no good though! . . . Martin “Sanders of Blackburn” Platts thinks it would he revealing to know what various disco leaders’ all-time fave raves are: my own are Elvis Presley ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’, Paul Whiteman ‘Rhapsody In Blue’ and Falcons ‘I Found A Love’ – so what does that tell you? . . . Jon Hill (Brighton Devils Dyke) wonders how one contributes items for this page? Simple. Jon, just send them in – anything of interest will be printed if possible . . . Neil Fincham (Dunbar Goldenstones) has the perfect “squelch”: “what’s the difference between (person joke’s aimed against) and Polo?” Answer: “people like Polo?” . . . unless it’s a label with Liquid Gold on it, eh?! . . . KEEP IT FUNKY!

UK Newies

RODNEY FRANKLIN: ‘The Groove’ (CBS 13-8529) (BNDA debut 5/17/80)
Unearthed in Los Angeles by myself even ahead of Chris Hill and now on UK-only 12in, this madly catchy stop-go 109-112-109bpm jazz party instrumental has as anticipated become a monster that’s spawned its own “freeze” dance craze. Every time it stops for a bar you can have lotsa fun playing with the lights, inserting sound effects, catching the slipmat so it stops even longer or – especially – getting people to do silly things, having told them what to do in advance. Go to it!

BUNNY MACK: ‘Love You Forever’ (RCA MACK 12-1)
Tremendously happy high life-like 124-125bpm 12in afro bubbler with a ‘Frontline Symphony’ flavour has become huge in black-orientated clubs (after possibly I was the first to push it), and now there’s a major label behind it.

PRINCE: ‘Sexy Dancer’ (Warner Bros. K 17590T) (BNDA debut 11/10/79)
Extended 8:41 remixed 122bpm 12in of the great jaggedly jumping staccato smacker is now revealed as being basically instrumental and loses some of its powerful concision by being stretched out, but gains some brand new guitar bits.  Continue reading “April 12, 1980: Rodney Franklin, Bunny Mack, Prince, Herbie Hancock, Isley Brothers”

April 5, 1980: Roy Ayers, Bobby Thurston, Brenda Russell, Isley Brothers, Lonnie Liston Smith

Odds ‘N Bods

Teesvalley Roadshow’s Graham Murray, devoted Radio Caroline supporter, was the first to raise the alarm after hearing Mi Amigo’s coded distress signal up in Cleveland . . . Phillip Tan, EMI World Dancing finalist, managed to win the £700 first prize at Leysdown-On-Sea’s island with a terrific “robot” routine set to Yellow Magic Orchestra ‘Theme From The Invaders’ – which is now on longer yellow vinyl UK 12in . . . Ben E King, despite import buzz, has been on UK 7in since last year . . . Slave ‘Are You Ready For Love’, Prince ‘Sexy Dancer’, Kleeer ‘Close To You’ (or maybe ‘Winners’) c/w two oldies are all due on 12in, while the brat from PRAT plans 12in promos of Renzo Fraiese ‘12 Engle Street’, re-edited Phyllis Hyman ‘Loving You Losing You’, and a new 7in re-mix/make of Osibisa ‘Pata Pata’ . . . Mike Shaft was evidently the Piccadilly soul jock who didn’t ID himself . . . I bought a vicious-looking Armalite/M16-type air rifle up in the Lake District and now everyone who’s seen it wants one! . . . Gavin Breck did indeed and of course know who the Bros Johnson were, so apologies for casting doubt on his professionalism, it’s just he didn’t have their album with him so their manager got uptight . . . is Chris Britton happy in High Wycombe, or are there two Chris Brittons?! . . . Rus Phillips (East London) turned 21 and sent me a quid to celebrate, so – hic – thanksh! . . . Nicky Price’s lavish Lazers at the top Harringey end of Green Lanes managed to open after overnight £30,000 repairs to a petrol bomb attack’s damage – with excellent US-style lighting, the club lacks (so far) the sound to match . . . 1980’s word seems to be “groove”, and the dance is the Freeze! . . . Jackie Moore’s recently ignored ‘How’s Your Love Life Baby’ (US Columbia 12in) now works perfectly with Walden/Whispers-type smackers . . . Slim Tom Holland’s revived oldie tips are O’Donel Levy ‘Bad Bad Simba’ (1973 US Groove Merchant LP), Alphonse Mouzon ‘Snake Walk’ (Blue Note LP), while Bob Jones tips Gene Harris ‘A Minor’ (Blue Note LP), Doug Richardson ‘Salsa Mama’ (AVI LP) – jazz converts, get looking! . . . Brighton on Bank Holiday is one town I wouldn’t like to be in the year following ‘Quadrophenia’ . . . Steve Boley (Weston-Super-Mare) wonders whether Froggy’s roadies are called “toadies”? . . . KEEP IT FUNKY!

UK Newies

ROY AYERS: ‘Running Away’ / ‘Can’t You See Me’ (Polydor POSPX 135) (BNDA debut 9/24/77)
‘Best Of’-culled jumpy jazz-funk classics back-to-back and on UK 12in for the first time ever, both around 116bpm mixing well with Tony Rallo (LP version) during their vibes breaks.

BOBBY THURSTON: ‘You Got What It Takes’ LP (Epic EPC 84257) (BNDA debut 3/1/80)
Dynamite jittery long 118-119-120bpm title track with jazzy guitar and incredibly catchy chorus mixes dazzlingly out of Wilbert Longmire ‘Hawkeye’.

BRENDA RUSSELL: ‘In The Thick Of It’ (A&M AMS 7515)
Lovely slow starting/ending 52/104-107bpm 7in jogger, persistently rumoured to be due on 12in.  Continue reading “April 5, 1980: Roy Ayers, Bobby Thurston, Brenda Russell, Isley Brothers, Lonnie Liston Smith”

March 29, 1980: Mass Production, Heath Brothers, Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway, Jermaine Jackson, Community People

Odds ‘N Bods

Blondie ‘Atomic’ hits the Disco Top 30 this week – if that many jocks are on it presumably even DOR is “disco”! – while the ‘Call Me’-featuring ‘American Gigolo’ LP is no longer delayed . . . Mystic Merlin ‘Just Can’t Give You Up’, Dr Hook ‘Sexy Eyes’ / ‘When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman’ and Hiroshima ‘Lion Dance’ are due now on UK 12in, but Pressure is NOT on 12in . . . Mass Production ‘Shante’, Chico Hamilton ‘Strut’, Roberta Flack ‘Back Together Again’, Twennynine ‘Peanut Butter’, Deodato ‘Whistle Bump’ (remix) / ‘Knights Of Fantasy’ / ‘Space Dust’, El Coco ‘Let’s Get It Together’ (remix) and Shalamar ‘Right In The Socket (remix) / ‘The Second Time Around’ are all coming on 12in, Shalamar in blue vinyl . . . Atlantic’s set of 10 four-track 7in soul classics (advertised last week) will be followed next month by Island issuing six 6-track 10in EPs – yes, 10in! – on their revived Sue label featuring soul classics originally on ¡t, the first being ‘Harlem Shuffle’ . . . Sharon Paige’s UK 12in has an instrumental flip and is faster by 2bpm than last week’s review . . . Delegation on 12in is 114bpm, and thanks to a gift from Fatman I can now reveal that Herbie Hancock’s direct-cut remake of ‘I Thought It Was You’ is 125-123-124-125-122-121-pause-125-123-124(vocoder break)-123-122-0bpm – the last part being dynamite! . . . DJ Federation (GB) have reduced their public liability insurance for members to £11 ea and are again accepting individual memberships at £10 ea from people in areas uncovered by affiliated associations (details from 01-348 3269) . . . Rush Release need another 70 jocks for their mailing list and also specialist reggae DJs for a different list – write ‘em at 8 Morton Gardens, Wallington, Surrey (01-669 0327/659 2701), and remember that when on a list you shouldn’t send us a chart full of free material unless it’s really happening for you (hyping doesn’t help anyone) . . . Southampton University’s Bootsie hold a student soul festival on Friday 2nd May and, while well supported already, want as many other universities, colleges and polys as possible to be represented to show the strength of soul among students nationally – cost is only 60p, free accommodation is available, so send cheque/PO (payable SUSU Events Dept) with SAE and quoting NUS number of similar, to Events Dept, Students Union, University of Southampton . . . Frenchie, Pete Haigh & Peter Paige go fancy dress on Monday (31) at their Caton (Lancaster) Scharthwaite Hotel jazz-funk night, coach party reservations on Morecambe 420796, Lancaster 61744, Cleveleys 824156 . . . Camberley Frenchies jazz-funks Thursdays from next week (3) with Johnnie Walker, Robin Nash and mafia guests . . . Chris Hill and myself are not partners nor co-owners of Canvey’s Goldmine, as mis-stated in Billboard’s belated Disco Forum report which of course ignored our main point that gay dominance is what killed US Disco – Billboard’s Hot 100 pop chart merely shows those records which frighten US radio programmers the least . . . Soho’s Groove Records has bought up all remaining stocks of the Leo’s Sunshipp LP (but then Groove found it originally) while owner Chris Palmer confirms that the gays who come into his shop rarely know the names of the records they’ve heard at their discos and have to hum the hooks! . . . Slim Tom Holland wants no more buns – he’s lost 1½ stone . . . GQ-like Liverpudlian 5-piece Natural High were an excellent disco dance band at Gullivers last week . . . Finchley Roads Les Elites has had a lavish and good-looking refit . . . Stone City Band ‘Little Runaway’ into Funkadelic ‘One Nation’ into Narada ‘Tonight’, clapping break into ditto of Chicago ‘Street Player’ into Mass Production ‘Shante’ is one of my current fave mixes – Stone City is an unjustly ignored monster! . . . Arbie (Retford MAYC) writes “Disco is NOT dead, only wally ‘dance music’ is – as the sales chart shows. How long since Boney M, Amii Stewart and Co had big hits?” Maybe so Arbie, but Liquid Gold are doing their best to keep the ‘Seaside Special’ tradition alive . . . MAKE IT FUNKY!

No UK Newies this week.


MASS PRODUCTION: ‘Shante’ (from LP ‘Massterpiece’, US Cotillion SD 5218)
Last week’s lead review as should have been (the lack was not of my doing) has indeed leapt straight into the chart and is an amazingly War-like jazzy instrumental that builds with shifting solos in ‘Ghetto’ style from an expectant quiet 124bpm intro through 126-124-127-128bpm. The Whitehaven Whitehouse kids actually applauded when Chris Hill played it there on Sunday.

THE HEATH BROTHERS: ‘For The Public’ (from LP ‘Live At The Public Theater’, US Columbia FC 36374)
Madly catchy superb easily jogging relaxed saxy 91-90-91bpm instrumental jazz swayer with slight Alpert influence and useful applause intro/outro, this week’s lead review. Motoring back from Cumbria on Monday I heard BBC Radio Merseyside’s Terry Lennaine quote last week’s Liquid Gold comment from this page – he hates ‘em! – and an unidentified Piccadilly soul DJ doing some nice mixes.

ROBERTA FLACK: ‘Back Together Again’ (from LP ‘Featuring Donny Hathaway’, US Atlantic S 15013) (BNDA debut 4/5/80)
Terrific long languidly smacking 110(intro)-112bpm “rock” jogger largely sung by Donny piles on the tension as it progresses through simple repetition and will obviously be huge.  Continue reading “March 29, 1980: Mass Production, Heath Brothers, Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway, Jermaine Jackson, Community People”

March 22, 1980: Sharon Paige, Dr Hook, Little Eva, Viola Wills, Stevie Wonder

Odds ‘N Bods

Atmosfear ‘Motivation’ has now also been picked up by MCA (MCAT 580) . . . Arista’s secret jazz-funk plan to promote their GRP Product involves disco DJ’s selling direct to their punters a special 4-track 12in EP featuring an uninspired selection by Jay Hoggard, Tom Browne, Dave Valentin & Angela Bofill – couldn’t it feature something fresher? . . . Casablanca’s next 4-track commercial 12in stars Loose Change & Parliament . . . Polydor have had to postpone their Blondie ‘Call Me’-featuring ‘American Gigolo’ soundtrack LP . . . SEDA 80 is the South Eastern Disco Assn’s annual equipment exhibition this Sunday (23) at the Great Danes Hotel, Hollingbourne (just off the southern end of the Maidstone bypass, M20), open from noon till 8pm . . . April 12/13 sees another exhibition in Aberdeen put on by Keith Main’s Atmosphere disco store at the Treetops Hotel, details on (0224) 572923 . . . Coral King, Radio Luxembourg “ladies only” DJ competition winner (she broadcasted on Tuesday evening), wants a good London residency – anyone interested contact me . . . Bob Jones, the mafia’s caretaker (he deps whenever the likes of Hill have to miss a gig), wants his own Fri/Saturday residency anywhere around London/Essex, call him on Chelmsford 62924 . . . Record Man of Rayleigh are amazingly selling Herbie Hancock’s ‘Directstep’ LP at £11.25 to the public, only £10 to bona fide jox . . . Malcolm Jones is delighted the policy has changed at Brentwood Elliotts (on the A127) enabling him to funk Fri/Saturdays for reasonably smart over-18s . . . Record Mirror sells out fast in North Wales, where I was holidaying last week – sorry Al Taylor I didn’t get to St Asaph Stables, but Bangor wasn’t worth the day trip! . . . Gavin Breck presumably now knows who the Brothers Johnson are, having been caught out when they visited his Sunday night at Mayfair Playboy! . . . Brum jock Sammy DeHavilland and wife Pamela’s new baby is called James – did they really name him after me? . . . Funkadelic ‘Knee Deep’ is a big numero uno in Ipswich for both the Utopia and Shaggy’s mobiles – why wasn’t it bigger elsewhere? . . . Liquid Gold prove, if proof was ever needed, that there are indeed a lot of wallys out there somewhere! . . . Craig Dawson (Edinburgh) says: “Disco is most definitely NOT dead – on the mobile scene disco records have if anything become more popular than ever, especially among older age groups, with Tony Rallo going down a storm at weddings” . . . Be-di-be-dibbadibbadah – MAKE IT FUNKY!!

UK Newies

SHARON PAIGE: ‘Tonight’s The Night’ (Source 12SRC 103) (BNDA debut 2/16/80)
Harold Melvin & Blue Notes-prod/accompanied creamy clapping 118-119-120-121-122bpm 12in repetitive “rock” doodler with long instrumental intro, now evidently out here at last, is ultimately pretty insubstantial.

DR HOOK: ‘Sexy Eyes’ (Capitol CL 16127)
Excellent slinky 102-103bpm 7in jogger with Bee Gees/old Real Thing tempo and wide appeal.

LITTLE EVA: ‘The Loco Motion’ (London HL 9581)
Classic 131bpm 7in dance smash from 1962 (and 1972!) in her original LP’s picture sleeve.  Continue reading “March 22, 1980: Sharon Paige, Dr Hook, Little Eva, Viola Wills, Stevie Wonder”

March 15, 1980: Bobby Thurston, Players Association, Donald Byrd, Chico Hamilton, GQ

Pye Records rather misguidedly change names next month to Precision Records and Tapes, making black product plugger Morgan Khan “the brat from PRAT”! Anyway, as previously mentioned, Morgan has copied the US DJ-bootlegged mixer medley idea by creating the first ever officially released UK version, out next month (CABP 1) as ‘Calibre Cuts’ and containing 32 cleverly juxtaposed snippets from 24 different tracks. Running for 6:47 and building from 93bpm to a flutter echo 132bpm finish, the rhythmically flowing cut-up includes moments from Lowrell, Chanson, Sugarhill Gang, Positive Force, ‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now’, Players Assn ‘I Like It’, ‘We Are Family’, Tony Rallo, ‘Bad Girls’, Two Man Sound, Black Ivory ‘Big Apple Rock’, L.A.X., Osibisa, Jupiter Beyond, Seventh Avenue ‘Miami Heatwave’, Real Thing, ‘HAPPY Radio’, ‘Boogie Wonderland’, El Coco, Players Assn ‘Everybody Dance’, ‘We Got The Groove’, Aquarian Dream ‘Phoenix’, ‘East 6th Street’ and Norman Connors ‘Captain Connors’ – some of them contributing just one beat! Mailed to DJ’s in increasing waves, at the moment there are only eighteen copies of the white label 12in in circulation (and Morgan’s numbered them so he knows who the jock is who’s already sold his!), although advance orders from shops already total more than 8,000. Incidentally, starting with ‘Calibre Cuts’, all future PRAT 12in promos will be at 33 1/3 rpm with just the commercial copies at 45rpm. Pity about the PRAT initials (it’ll actually be printed PRT), as Pye are currently anything but that!

Los Angeles differs drastically from New York in that the buzz of hearing brand new releases is totally lacking on radio (and in the clubs) . . . making radio less than compulsive listening. The only newies to be heard last month were some slowies on the mellow soul KJLH and some jazz-funk on KACE. Considering there are 31 FM and 31 AM stations servicing the area (along with 11 TV stations), this was disappointing to say the least. The first thing I actually recorded on air was a breakfast show playing – it seemed appropriate for LA – the Beach Boys ‘Fun Fun Fun’, which the DJ unbelievably came out of paraphrasing “drugs drugs drugs, until her daddy took the teaspoon away”! This was the Kenny Everett-ish Fraser Smith on KLOS, a rock FM station paired with the AM all-talk KABC and sharing the same building – as I discovered when accompanying Robbie Vincent, Radio London’s morning phone-in and interview man – and funnily enough it’s an expatriate BBC veteran who grabs over a million listeners daily with the same format in LA, Michael Jackson (no, not that one). A South African residency having added a Paddy Byrne-like tinge to his voice, Michael left the Beeb in 1959 and now only puts on his exaggeratedly British accent when reading hamburger commercials and the like! Sitting in a tiny studio in the extremely compact glass-walled jigsaw puzzle of on-air facilities, he interviewed TV chat show host Phil Donahue (himself on the Johnny Carson TV show only the night before) and Joan Baez while we were there, as well as answering several carefully vetted telephone calls . . . the switchboard though was decidedly unlit-up in comparison with my experience of Capital Radio. As well as talk, soul, jazz and rock, LA radio covers the usual spectrum from Spanish to classical, country to gospel (lots and lots of gospel!), the main ‘‘disco’’ stations seemingly being devoted still to David Naughton’s ‘Makin’ It’. The best thing I managed to record was, luckily while delayed at the airport on the way home, the legendary Dr Demento on KMET, his Sunday evening show featuring a strongly idiosyncratic 1920s/30s flavour even when the material is new . . . in his way the Charlie Gillett of Los Angeles.

Odds ‘N Bods

Fern Kinney (originally on US 7in in 1977) and Detroit Spinners are due on belated 12in, while Donna Summer and Niteflyte are now on 12in, with Kleeer ‘Close To You’ and a 4-track Randy Brown 12in to follow . . . 1968’s classic ‘This Is Soul’ sampler LP (as it was then) is out again on Atlantic . . . PRAT could be picking up which famous Philadelphia-based label? . . . Caroline Roadshow need two heavy metal DJs, apply in writing with full details and photo to them at BCM, Box 1962, London WC1 . . . Havering DJ Assn and potential members meet at Harold Hill Community Centre on Monday (17) at 7:45pm . . . Chris Britton (High Wycombe Tuesdays) actually said “yes” to a leap year proposal on Feb 29th – congrats! . . . Michael Jackson on TV recently came out of the closet, locked the door behind him and threw away the key – did anyone catch it? . . . USofA’s Reggie, David & Chris are all Viola Wills’s kids . . . Brian Sinclair, probably paranoid about Steve Walsh’s Wednesday publicity, confirms that he himself spins the very best in soul at Catford J. Arthur’s on Thurs/Fri/Saturdays . . . Dennis Brynner is delighted that conditions are funkier again at Southampton Barbarellas . . . London DJ Ian Brolin wants to know where to find Johnny Hammond’s old ‘Shifting Gears’ LP – Hill, what have you started?! . . . Paul Macey, at Kingston-On-Thames South Western Tavern on Fri/Sundays, followed up my mention of Erik Jack’s Life Entertainment Services and landed a summer season at Ladbrokes Nodes Point holiday camp . . . Bristol mafiosi Martin Starr & Dennis Richards (Just 4U/Turntable/Manhattans) are now attracting funksters from London, a crowd of 20 or so spending a week in Bristol going to all their venues . . . Alan Hughes reports that pubs in the Worcester area are cutting right back on discos – what, even the Wally ones? . . . Martin Sanders (Blackburn) may care to note that I paid with my own money to go to LA for a holiday, and not specifically for the forum which past experience had shown would be exactly as it indeed was . . . CBS & Polydor are mailing some strange material to DJ’s these days . . . Capital Radio must be helping London’s discotheques by making them the only place you can be sure of hearing so many established hits . . . Liquid Gold presumably fill a void for many people somewhere, so maybe “disco” isn’t dead at all? . . . US disco chart placings however have been largely discredited now it’s known they relate merely to those records that bring down drugged gays the least . . . Chris Jones (Cardiff) says “Disco isn’t dead, it’s just had a shot in the arm – a little variety does you good, as punters at large South Wales gigs prove by loving 2-Tone/Pretenders/Ska and booing the Nolans, the overriding aim surely being everybody has a good time” – hmm, it may be danceable but is it disco? . . . MAKE IT FUNKY!

New Spins

BOBBY THURSTON: ‘Check Out The Groove’ (Epic EPC 13-8348) (BNDA debut 3/1/80)
Import LP smash now on UK 12in, this happily jumping Brass Construction-ish chugger built around a series of 16 bar progressions goes through 121-119-121-120-122-120(instr)-122-123 bpm to reach a 125-126 bpm rhythm break and outro. ‘Shakit’ chops perfectly out of the first half.

PLAYERS ASSOCIATION: ‘The Get-Down Mellow Sound’ (Vanguard VSL 5017) (BNDA debut 3/22/80)
Still temporarily printed as ‘Mellow Mellow’ (PRAT were confused by Lowrell) this is indeed the correct US title, and the steadily thumping and bumping brassy jogger is now on 115 bpm 12in which should mix even better with the Whispers.

DONALD BYRD: ‘Dominoes’ (Blue Note 12-UP 622)
Attractive atmospheric lazily jiggling 106-104-105-104-103-102 bpm 12in jazz swayer from 1976 with tootling trumpet and chanting chaps is sadly not the even hotter ‘Live At The Roxy’ versionContinue reading “March 15, 1980: Bobby Thurston, Players Association, Donald Byrd, Chico Hamilton, GQ”

March 8, 1980: Eugene Record, Brass Construction, Ronnie Laws, Wilbert Longmire, Mystic Merlin

Odds ‘N Bods

Reissued oldies include Locomotive ‘Rudi’s In Love’ (EMI 5033), Millie ‘My Boy Lollipop’ (Island WIP 6574), Desmond Dekker ‘Israelites’ (Creole CR 199), Pioneers ‘Long Shot Kick De Bucket’ / Harry J ‘Liquidator’ (Trojan TROT 9063), Michael Jackson ‘Ben’ (Motown TMG 1165), Billy Paul ‘Me & Mrs Jones’ (Philadelphia Int’l PIR 8202), Booker T & The MGs ‘Time Is Tight’ (Stax 2001), Johnny Johnson & The Bandwagon ‘Breaking Down The Walls Of Heartache’ (Epic EPC 8315) . . . Fern Kinney is 111bpm . . . Shalamar ‘Socket’ is also on a strange disjointed 7in-only remix . . . Motown plan a segued six hit Supremes 12in medley (hopefully they’ll not use the awful US version here) flipped by ‘Love Hangover’ . . . Roy Ayers ‘Running Away’ / ‘Can’t You See Me’ should be a UK 12in soon (and at last!) . . . Capitol are repromoting Domenic Troiano ‘We All Need Love’ 12in as they think the tempo is now right for today . . . Twennynine’s old 120bpm ‘Peanut Butter’ (now a US 7in hit) goes great with ‘Stomp’! . . . Eddy Grant’s upcoming newie is in the Bobby Thurston / Bros Johnson groove . . . Tom “Buns” Holland recommends the direct-cut re-recording of Lee Ritenour ‘Sugarland Express’ (JVC LP) . . . Sugarhill Gang’s visit seems to have been less than a success, what with their stage act being forcibly curtailed at certain venues, and temper tantrums a recurring feature . . . Greg Davies’s Disco Forum ‘80 is now set for Sunday, June 1 in an expanded form but still for £2 – and the emphasis on mailing lists seems to have increased (yawn) . . . Thames Valley DJA hold a Tenpin Bowling Tournament this Sunday afternoon (9) at Wokingham King of Clubs . . . Paul Anthony is running a coach to the Slough allniter on March 21 from Walsall and Birmingham, details on Walsall 28447 . . . Chris Hill mischievously having created a new Northern-type oldies demand, but this time for jazz, we can expect the likes of Donald Byrd and Lonnie Smith to be joined in the chart by other classic rarities . . . Martin Platts (Blackburn) has observed an increase in kids ballroom dancing to old big bands, which could tie in with a revival of tails as a male fashion . . . Chris Brown says thanks for the photos and he doesn’t need any more as the “Family Album” is now being printed to be ready in time for Knebworth . . . Peel’s latest Sponsor-Disc precedes the “get into Orbit – sugar free gum” jingle with Apollo 11’s moonshot countdown, but the featured music’s really naff this time – why not just do the jingles on their own? . . . Juliannas jockettes Nicky MacKenzie (Kensington Tingles) and Sally Wardle (Marylebone Cinecitta Roma) had a few of us home for pina coladas on Friday, whereupon Chris Brown lost his cigarettes (he said), Steve Walsh shrugged off his concrete overcoat to touch up his eye makeup, and Fatman snored off to sleep – still, their music choice was good! . . . Ken Norton starts spinning pop downstairs at Mayfair Gullivers this week . . . Phil Black funks Tonyrefall Meadow Vale Country Club in Glamorgan Wednesday thru Saturday now . . . Arbie sez Azymuth was never THAT popular in North Notts, and is now selling in Retford Woolies for 20p – where indeed was it truthfully THAT popular anyway? . . . G. Paul Sharpe (Elland George & Dragon) tried three record shops for Alton & Johnny and they all got a “no such number as yet” reply from Polygram’s computer . . . Tim Lott’s excellent article on Solar was worth reading last week . . . Carl Sutton says funk lives at Swansea Cinderellas on Fri/Saturdays, and he’s never mixed better since he put his records in BPM order last year following this page’s BPM advice . . . FUNK IS ALIVE!

UK Newies

EUGENE RECORD: ‘Fan The Fire’ (from LP ‘Welcome To My Fantasy’, Warner Bros. K 56639)
Long overdue UK release actually couldn’t be more timely as this dynamite 118-115-113-114-116-117 bpm backbeat smacker is bang in the Whispers/Walden/Prince-type bag and is now exploding anew so how about a 12in, then? Also useful are the slower smacking c. 104 bpm ‘Your Love (Ain’t Nothin’ Like It)’, fast 0-126-130-132 bpm ‘Where Are You’, accelerating 104-108 bpm ‘Pain For Pleasure’ and squeaky 122-125 bpm title track.

Epoch-making monster from four years ago now for the first time on 12in, the 119-121-123-124-123 bpm groover (mixers should note the quiet 5 bar intro picks up the rhythm on the “3” beat) is flipped by the jerkier 108(intro)-111-112 bpm ‘Changin’’.

RONNIE LAWS: ‘Young Child’ (UA 12-UP 619)
The LP version turns out to have been edited together a few times to make this 8:51 12in of the now 0-134-132-130-134-132-130-134-130 bpm Isleys-type sax squawker.  Continue reading “March 8, 1980: Eugene Record, Brass Construction, Ronnie Laws, Wilbert Longmire, Mystic Merlin”

March 1, 1980: “The gay jocks of America have successfully brought about the death of disco”

As mentioned last week, the gay jocks of America have successfully brought about the death of disco as the media know it, although the jocks themselves of course refute this. At the Billboard Dance Music Forum session which dealt with ‘Programming Today In The Club’, the British contingent were appalled to hear the moderator, supposedly respected New York DJ and famed disco remixer Jim Burgess, say without any note of irony that he was playing to “drugged gays” and if he varied the music it would bring them down, thus restricting him to an inflexible programme of fast tempo music for the whole night. This nugget was greeted with approval and understanding by the majority present, and another panellist – apropos of a discussion about using microphones – shrieked out the admission, “when I get really drugged I open the mike and scream!”

Obviously what’s right for some is not right for others, so these guys know what they’re doing in relation to their own audiences, but their ears seemed to be totally closed to any suggestions from outsiders whose own experience is surely just as valid.

The point that we rather heatedly were making is that their audience, in its drugged state and without any verbal (or even visual) contact with the DJ, was quite obviously not a likely market in which to sell enough records to influence the Hot 100 pop sales chart. A comparison between the US Disco and US Singles charts at the back of Record Mirror will bear this out – yet Billboard in compiling their Disco chart heavily weight their returns from the gay discos. In Atlanta, for instance, Billboard take charts from five clubs, of which four are gay – but fewer than half the clubs in the city are in fact gay.

In our fury with the way in which mechanical gay “disco” music was still being foisted onto the media as the real disco sound, the British contingent (Chris Hill, Froggy, Barmy Steve Haines, Stan Barrett and myself being the main spokesmen) were even being hissed . . . although afterwards a lot of people came up to say how much sense we were speaking, and that the situation was totally different outside the overly-influential gay clubs. Our point that we were playing funk, soul and jazz in Britain even seemed to be missed by many bunkered bigots in the audience, label owning Ray Caviano even saying that obviously what we were into was rock music!

In point of fact there seemed to be a lot of discussion about rock, in the form of the Flying Lizards and the B-52s, who appear to be getting played by some disco DJ’s almost out of a sense of duty as if they knew that a change was in order. But when the expression “DOR” was explained to me as meaning “Dance Orientated Rock” I knew it was pointless trying to talk to these idiots. Live and let live, to each his own . . . but don’t blame us when people say that disco is dead!

Odds ‘N Bods

After all that, Greg Davies’s disco forum was cancelled at the last minute for a variety of unconvincing excuses – maybe nobody is interested in yet another thrash about DJ mailing lists?! . . . Brothers Johnson ‘Stomp!’ turns out to be on 12in (AMSP 7509) at 120 bpm and chops nicely out of a suitable climax if you start at “everybody take it to the top”, the flip being a bumpy 126 bpm ‘Let s Swing’ instrumental . . . Toots & The Maytals ‘Chatty Chatty’ (12WIP 6544) and Don Armando ‘Deputy Of Love’ (12WIP 6557) are now on 12in, while up-coming are Brass Construction ‘Movin’’ / ‘Changin’’ (UA 12UP 617), Herb Alpert ‘Street Life’ (A&M AMSP 7511), One Way ‘Now That I Found You’ / ‘Rock’ (MCA MCAT 553) and Sharon Paige’s ‘Tonight’s The Night’ (Source) . . . Pye’s Morgan Khan, inspired by my US bootleg ‘Dedley Medley’ DJ cut-ups, has masterminded an official ‘Calibre Cuts’ due soon with white labels of the hit snippets-filled 12in out even earlier . . . Players Association’s US LP sleeve is much less MfP-like than ours, while the hot cut is there titled ‘The Get-Down Mellow Sound’ and all the printed BPM’s are wildly inaccurate! . . . Ensign could be issuing some very interesting oldies culled from other labels soon . . . ‘You Are My Friend’ will be Sylvester’s soulful slow next single . . . DJF Governing Council Meeting is up in the land of the wally jock at Stranraer Buck’s Head Hotel on Tuesday (4) at 10 am . . . Jerry Gilbert & Theo Loyla may find Friday lunchtime a good time of day to meet the “disco leaders”, though I and others still prefer 2am at Gullivers! . . . Eargasm ‘This Is Lovers Rock’, which seems to have ended up at Island, in fact features D. Tyrone, Snoopy & Denis Pinnock . . . Russell “Arbie” Burtonshaw (whose Mum I finally met the other day) has some ex-chart hits (pop not disco) to get rid of, so send an SAE to 53 Galway Crescent, Retford DN22 7XU . . . LA’s Record Depot of 1604 N. Highland Avenue (at Hawthorn) in Hollywood sells ridiculous disco bargains, my own snips being 10 cent 12in versions of Luther Rabb ‘Make A Little Move’, La Pregunta ‘Shangri La’ and – to annoy Robbie Vincent! – ‘Disco Bouzouki’ . . . Pete Tong is currently turning on the Mafia with Leo’s Sunshipp ‘We Need Each Other’ (US Lyons LP) from 1978, featuring some Finished Touch members in an earlier grouping, while Chris Hill’s hotsie is a direct-cut US Columbia re-recording of Herbie Hancock’s ‘I Thought It Was You’ on the ‘Direct Step’ LP . . . Bunny Mack ‘Love You Forever’ mixes on superbly into Stop ‘I Can Feel It’, while Kool ‘Too Hot’ into Jan Akkerman ‘She’s So Divine’ (LP version) into Slave ‘Just A Touch Of Love’ is another goodie . . . Whispers ‘And The Beat Goes On’ obviously can’t be disco – nor can 17 other chart entries – because after all, disco is dead!

UK Newies

LEON HAYWOOD: ‘Don’t Push It Don’t Force It’ (20th Century TCD 2443) (BNDA debut 2/23/80)
Dynamite chart-leaping 114bpm 12in “rock” smacker that crosses ‘Ladies Night’ with Kellee Patterson to come out Al Hudson flavoured, with brassy bits borrowed from Blood, Sweat & Tears.

RONNIE LAWS: ‘OTBA Law (Outta Be A Law)’ (from LP ‘Every Generation’, UA UAG/TCK 30289)
Bass-snapped steadily pushing 115-113-114-113bpm instrumental jazz jiggler is currently hotter than the Isleys-like decelerating 134-129bpm ‘Young Child’ sax squawker, though the latter is now on slightly faster 12in (12-UP 619), while the title track at 35bpm and the 36bpm ‘Love’s Victory’ are gentle vocal slowies, ‘Tomorrow’ is a spurting 117(intro)-118bpm jiggler with chix, and ‘As One’ a 90bpm ‘Rise’-type jitterer.

SLAVE: ‘Just A Touch Of Love’ (Atlantic K 11442T) (BNDA debut 1/12/80)
Terrific solidly chugging monotonous thudder is finally on 112-110-111-110bpm 12in, so should now break nationally out of the South-East (where it’s been el monstro!).  Continue reading “March 1, 1980: “The gay jocks of America have successfully brought about the death of disco””

February 23, 1980: “Disco in Los Angeles is awful”

Odds ‘N Bods

Greg Davies’s Disco Forum has yet to happen as this was written, but panelist Fred Dove has already gone on record saying that WEA’s disco promotion is no less successful since he cut his list from 360 DJ’s to just the elite few whose audiences are open to new material . . . Chris Hill was chuffed to find a 25 cent copy of the Rhythm Makers’ (early GQ) ‘Zone’ 12in at LA’s Record Depot . . . Sean French neither snored nor nodded to sleep, but the good buddy could be heard to mutter “breaker breaker one nine”! . . . Dartford Flicks holds a dance contest on Fridays through March for ordinary kids into their own funky steps and not the choreographed acrobatics that so often get called disco dancing – although Colin Hudd will have the appalling Ian Moore on hand to show how the pros don’t do it! . . . Motown are rightly re-promoting Smokey Robinson ‘Cruising’, currently huge in the US pop chart . . . Chris Britton has encouraged High Wycombe’s Venus Records shop in the Octagon to stock imports selected from his Tuesday playlist, with immediate results, while Mark Clark infos that every Wednesday at Abingdon Charters the Newbury Disco Centre sells all the latest jazz-funk from a record bar . . . UK limited 12in editions so rarely find their way to specialist stockists that it’s little wonder imports are now so important to the real disco market, which record companies mistakenly suppose is to be found in chart return record shops . . . Dave Middleton reports that Bletchley’s Bear Jazz bunch are finding venues hard to come by, which may explain their coach trip to Slough this Friday (22), details for funk fans from Scott Evenden on 0908-72982 (day) / 75391 (night) . . . Erik Jack’s Life Entertainment Services (0243-863840) successfully placed Stuart Barton as the DJ on the QE2 for Caribbean and world cruises, and could have some summer season work for others in the near future (so note the number) . . . Teesvalley Roadshow (Redcar 475854) say the street strike is hitting discos hard in the North-East, but they themselves tour Germany at Whitsun and need a few more dates . . . Scott Wilson is back at Tony’s Cellar Bar Euro-disco in Edinburgh on Fri/Saturdays . . . Big Phil and the mob at Whitehaven’s Whitehouse are pleading with A&M to release Gato Barbieri’s original ‘Theme From Firepower’ . . . Steve Wiggins (Barry Rugby Club), despairing of ever getting on Sally Ormsby’s DJ list after seventeen reply-less letters, wants at least to see a pic of the lady in Cheesecake Corner – how about it then, Sal? . . . Adrian Webb of the Wonderful World of Webb’s Wonder Tours won a thousand bucks during a quick detour to Las Vegas from LA, and last year discovered a similar bundle of “hot” money stuffed under a chair in his New York hotel room – anyone would think he didn’t make enough owning Southgate Royalty! . . . Capital Radio’s Roger Scott, the world’s biggest Beach Boys fan, had the shock of his life when reclusive Brian Wilson stepped out of a lift right in front of him just over the road from our hotel! . . . Los Angeles is so behind musically that expatriate Dick Sheppard of the Towards 2000 mobile disco and store actually reads about US releases in Record Mirror before he hears them in LA – where so many oldies get played that you could almost believe that disco is dead.

It never rains in Southern California, but it pours, it really pours! Pan Am 121 landed at LAX, we were whisked away in a 9-door hatchback to the Avenue Of The Stars, and awoke next day (last Monday) to sweltering sunshine and the temperature in the 70s. Bright colourful flowers blanketed the ground, palm trees spouted everywhere and nearly everything was in leaf. February in Los Angeles. Wednesday was the day that the rains came down. And Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday too. Not that it was continuous on every day, for in fact we were able to do Disneyland half dry half wet and Knotts Berry Farm completely dry. As I drove our air-conditioned and completely power assisted Chevrolet Caprice down Sunset Strip on Saturday night, firemen were clearing the mud slides from the road that had tumbled off the overhanging escarpment of the Hollywood Hills, and on Sunday when we turned up the coast from Santa Monica the roads to Malibu were blocked. Even the unreal environment of the ridiculously pretty Beverly Hills was marred by burst embankments and ruptured fences. It had been wet, certainly, but to us it hadn’t seemed THAT wet. However in Southern California, the weather is good enough for long enough to encourage reckless architecture, and similarly hot enough to create cracks in concrete which then cannot contain water when it comes. If this was a disaster area, or even just the worst that the weather can do, then it’s no bad place to spend a week in winter. Continue reading “February 23, 1980: “Disco in Los Angeles is awful””

February 16, 1980: Brothers Johnson, Narada Michael Walden, Alton & Johnny, B.T. Express, Jimmy Messina

Odds ‘N Bods

‘Motivation’ / ‘Extract’ is the double-A newie by Atmosfear due on Elite this week . . . Earth, Wind & Fire ‘In The Stone’ is due on 12in next week, followed by an extended UK-only 12in of Prince ‘Sexy Dancer’, while Slave and Trussel are both overdue now . . . MCA should have shortened War ‘The World Is A Ghetto’ by editing the intro as now without the ending it never reaches the best bits . . . Azymuth ‘Jazz Carnival’ is called just ‘Carnival’ in the US as radio is frightened of the full title – whereas without the ‘Jazz’ it probably wouldn’t have hit here! . . . Del Richardson’s naggingly familiar ‘Lady With The Red Dress On’ (Concept), recently reviewed reggae 7in, is awfully like ‘Perfidia’ . . . Bristol’s Just 4U move base to the Turntable Club this Friday (15), Martin Starr & Dennis Richards funking till 3am and then returning on Saturday at noon for their Just 4U 100 Club afternoon jazz-funk session, Dennis dancing with the recently mentioned Switch dance team (bookable on 0272-694156/771209) . . . Bristol’s many mentions on this page are not a joke, by the way, as some skeptics seem to think! . . . 10 year old Claire Bowman, clad in leopard leotard, danced to victory at Maidenhead Skindles’ recent Sunday afternoon kids’ disco talent contest . . . Bournemouth Soul Centre record shop will be promoting a couple of jazz-funk nights throughout the summer season, should that influence your holiday choice . . . I’m writing before the Funk Mafia trip to Los Angeles so I don’t know if Sean French does snore, but I bet that he NODS off to sleep (that was an “in” joke, understood by thousands in the South!) . . . David Bendeth of ‘Feel The Real’ fame, currently popping into various London clubs for PA’s, played on Musique’s ‘In The Bush’ amongst many others . . . La Pregunta means “the question” in Spanish, all you ‘Chameleon’ fans . . . DJF-affiliated and all other DJ Associations are invited to the DJ Federation’s governing council meeting on Tuesday 4th March at 10am in Buck’s Head Hotel, Stranraer, Scotland (now then – don’t all rush!), details on 01-341 2785 – and incidentally, the DJF seem to think that the worrying PRS mobile DJ licence (which you may recall I purposefully ignored) is indeed unnecessary in all but the rarest of freak occasions (question answered, Chris Bolus?) . . . Tim Taylor (Bishop Auckland) says ‘Nellie The Elephant’ supports his Purple Haze roadshow as it and snatches of “day-o” from ‘The Banana Boat Song’ or laughter from ‘The Laughing Policeman’ break up the monotony of unending Wally requests . . . Tom Wilson (Edinburgh Parrot Cage) wonders if nervous butterflies get people in their tummies! . . . Chris Dinnis (Exeter) raves about ATV’s ‘Tiswas’ and I have to agree – it’s fatal to watch if, like me, you’re in need of sleep on Saturday morning! . . . CBS’s Loraine Trent thinks it’s funny to joke so convincingly about someone’s drinking problem that half a dozen horror-struck DJ’s brought it to my attention . . . Minimixes this week include Patrice Rushen’s opening half synched into Players Assn 12in, or Bunny Mack mixed into Osibisa, synched into Miriam Makeba’s original ‘Pata Pata’ or Phyllis Hyman chopped at the rhythm break into the rhythm break halfway in McFadden & Whitehead ‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now’, both Phyllis or McF & W then chopping perfectly into Candi Staton ‘Young Hearts Run Free’ . . . Disco tied with Beautiful Music as the top format on New York radio for the last part of 1979, but paranoia about “disco” still reigns ¡n the States. Disco is dead, long live Soul, Funk & Jazz!

UK Newies

THE BROTHERS JOHNSON: ‘Stomp!’ (from LP ‘Light Up The Night’, A&M AMLK 63716) (BNDA debut 2/23/80)
Double dynamite produced by Quincy Jones and largely penned by Rod Temperton, both fresh from their Michael Jackson triumph – and this set is similarly strong! Also on 7in, the full 6:24 of ‘Stomp!’ “rocks” from a subtly laid-back intro to build powerfully into a whamping stamping 119½bpm piledriver that’s gonna stomp through our minds for the months to come.

NARADA MICHAEL WALDEN: ‘Tonight I’m Alright’ (Atlantic K 11437T) (BNDA debut 12/22/79)
Now indeed on 12in, this terrifically exciting “rock” smacker is still a deceptive 124(intro)-121-126(clapping)-123(instrumental)-122bpm.

ALTON & JOHNNY: ‘Hang On In There Baby’ (Polydor POSP 118)
Johnny Bristol’s original smash remixed for 97-98bpm 7in with Alton McClain added so that she duets with the old vocal, the instrumental version on the flip featuring lovely jazzy sax from George Young.  Continue reading “February 16, 1980: Brothers Johnson, Narada Michael Walden, Alton & Johnny, B.T. Express, Jimmy Messina”