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”

February 9, 1980: Tony Rallo & The Midnite Band, Narada Michael Walden, Jocko, Leon Haywood, Bobby Thurston

Odds ‘N Bods

Michael Jackson ‘Rock With You’ is amazingly on 3:20 7in-length 12in (Epic EPC 13-8206) with the long 128 bpm ‘You Can’t Win’ added to ‘Get On The Floor’ to make a 12:00 flip . . . Zkiffz ‘(I Wanna) Boogie With You’ is now on 12in (UA 12BP 332) with a sexy “hit me with your sticky dick” continuation, while the GQ ‘Standing Ovation’ 12in version does average 126 bpm but actually runs at 127-125-126-125-126 bpm . . . Stop ‘I Can Feel It’ will be Calibre CABL 101 from any day now . . . RCA have won UK rights to Salsoul, so it’s back to base for them again . . . Sunday sees a mass exodus of Funk Mafia to Los Angeles for a week long treat, travelers including (along with various womenfolk) Chris Hill, Robbie Vincent, Froggy, Sean French, myself (looks like I’m sharing with Sean this time – hope he doesn’t snore like Fatman!), Stan Barrett of Canvey Goldmine, the Southgate Royalty mob, and even Capital Radio’s Roger Scott, the excuse for the trip being Billboard’s Disco (sorry – dance music – the chickens!) Forum but the actual objective being Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, Universal City, the Beach Boys and a darned good time! . . . Greg Davies’s Disco Forum ’80 will cost a lot less, £2 only in fact, tickets from him at 11 Hampton Close, Wilstead, Beds MK45 3DA, the 8pm event being on Tuesday, February 19th at Stevenage Bo Jangles Club . . . Soho’s Groove Records, who will be selling imports at Stevenage, have made a commercial for Capital Radio play using (with permission) Bobby Thurston’s ‘Check Out The Groove’ . . . Mark Clark (Wokingham King Of Clubs) suggests Merry Clayton’s lovely slow ‘When The World Turns Blue’ is merely her over Joe Sample’s ‘Melodies Of Love’, while Froggy points out that Sharon Paige ‘Tonight’s The Night’ is the same song as One Way ‘Tonight’, on the flip of ‘Music’ . . . US of A ‘Bodysnatching’ was evidently put out with the wrong mix, though the new one’s no better . . . Candido’s new album has caused widespread disappointment among DJs . . . Roger St Pierre’s promotion company has now lost Ian Titchener, who with brother Nick has joined Barry McCloud to form Rush Release (01-669 0327/659 2701) for promotion, PR, press – they all only want your mailing list, huh, Roger?! . . . London’s LODJ Assn meet at 3pm this Sunday (10) in the Model Railway Club, Keen House, Calshot Street, Kings Cross, discussing microphones and hospital radio . . . North West Mobile DJ Assn (Bolton 53677) could be the answer for many jocks from Lancaster to Merseyside, Manchester and mid-Cheshire – they’re two years old and affiliated to the DJF . . . Polydor/DJF’s Theo Loyla and journalist Jerry Gilbert are starting an invitation-only monthly drinking session – sorry, meeting – for disco decision-makers because, as Jerry says, “most of the people who matter I see only about four times a year – and three of those are in Gullivers at 2am” – yes folks, the notorious Mayfair club may sometimes be maligned but it is the most influential in the country, considering who meets there! . . . Ronnie Laws ‘OTBA Law’ synched out of the “come on” chick in Al Hudson ‘You Can Do It’ and Michael Jackson ‘Rock With You’ vari-synched out of Prince ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’ last half are the killer mixes this week! . . . Whispers are number 5 in London’s best sellers this week – remember now, it’s 1980 and DISCO IS DEAD!

UK Newies

TONY RALLO AND THE MIDNITE BAND: ‘Holdin’ On’ (Calibre CABL 501) (‘Burnin’ Alive’ BNDA debut 1/5/80)
Huge and hopefully hit-bound ultra-catchy “ba de ba da”-scatted jittery 118 bpm 12in jazz-funk jumper due imminently on Pye’s new Disco label. Although irritatingly speeded up from the LP’s 116 bpm, it does at least now equal La Pregunta! For added value, the more “commercial” catchily counting through rhythmically similar 125 bpm ‘Burnin’ Alive’ is flip.

NARADA MICHAEL WALDEN: ‘Tonight I’m Alright’ (from LP ‘The Dance Of Life’, Atlantic K 50678) (BNDA debut 12/22/79)
From the smash import Michael Jackson-ish set, this dynamite exciting “rock” smacker whaps through a deceptive 124(intro)-121-126(clapping)-123(instrumental)-122 bpm and is due on 12in, whilst out on US 7in for ages has been the bass-bumped hypnotic jiggly rolling 118-114-115-114 bpm ‘I Shoulda Loved Ya’ “rock” clapper. The other hot cuts are the chugging chanted 126-124-127-124-125 bpm ‘You’re Soo Good’ thudder with yowling guitar and disjointed 121-120 bpm ‘Lovin’ You Madly’ basher with long clapping breaks.

JOCKO: ‘Rhythm Talk’ (Philadelphia Int’l PIR 13-8222)
Veteran rock ‘n roll radio DJ does a real rapper’s delight over a remade 114 bpm backing track to ‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now’ – and thankfully the useful instrumental version is still on the flip. Up slightly in speed from the US pressing, it should now synch with the early part of McFadden & Whitehead’s original and will be big on its own in any case.  Continue reading “February 9, 1980: Tony Rallo & The Midnite Band, Narada Michael Walden, Jocko, Leon Haywood, Bobby Thurston”

February 2, 1980: Michael Jackson, GQ, Bunny Mack, Ronnie Laws, Cheryl Lynn

Odds ‘N Bods

‘Center City’ remains a collector’s item 12in as, after all that, it’s only the Fat Larry B-side on promo copies (at 2bpm slower than reviewed, ‘Here Comes The Sun’ being 1bpm faster) . . . Pye’s brand new black product label Calibre launches soon with Tony Rallo ‘Holdin’ On’ and has picked up Stop ‘I Can Feel It’ from Elite . . . Whispers hit last week’s London sales chart (non-disco) at a massive number 15! . . . Patrice Rushen’s 12in checks in at 130-129-130-129-128 (piano on)-127bpm, Roy Ayers at 113½-114bpm, Brass Construction ‘Shakit’ going down 1bpm . . . Mercury retain De-Lite for two more years and have a new Crown Heights Affair LP at the end of Feb . . . Light Of The World, Jocko, Narada Michael Walden are due on UK 12in next week, Slave and a Gap Band 3-tracker (‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ / ‘Steppin’ Out’ / ‘Oops!’) the week after . . . Shalamar ‘Right In The Socket’ is on 12in only, the 7in edit being just for radio . . . Grey & Hanks ‘Now I’m Fine’ is set for UK 12in in March, but no LP plans yet . . . I’m sworn to secrecy, but Arista have interesting plans for promoting GRP jazz product, about which certain select DJ’s will doubtless be hearing shortly – and it’s good to see Phyllis Hyman on Radio One’s main playlist, too . . . Merry Clayton ‘Emotion’, reviewed last week, is of course Webster Lewis’s ‘Give Me Some Emotion’ which Fatman loves so . . . Glenn J Simpson, having built up a largely mobile/youth club DJ mailing list, is now in a lather as his Sponsor-Disc idea is attracting cigarette and alcohol advertisers who require airplay outlets in licensed clubs and pubs: jox from these are all invited to apply for inclusions on his list now, at Public Eye Enterprises Ltd, Penthouse Suite, Town Centre House, Merrion Centre, Leeds LS2 8LY . . . Rusty Egan, well known sessions gorilla with various power pop combos, has been offered a thousand bucks a week to jock at New York’s Mudd Club, but doesn’t think it’s enough . . . Darryl Hayden (01-898 1127) will set fire to himself in aid of Cambodian refugees at any London area club for a £30 donation, following his blazing Lambeth Bridge leap . . . Paul Clark (Brighton 698699) is after Sussex area funky gigs prepared to take him plus a coach-load of lunatic followers . . . Blackpool’s Pete Haigh & Frenchie have teamed up to form the solidly funky Stateside Connection, bookable on Cleveleys 824156 . . . Norman Scott is cock-a-hoop over gay club Bang’s continued success in face of stiff opposition down Charing Cross way, while Tony Jenkins could be taking his Anthony’s soul club to Heaven on Sundays soon . . . Southampton University’s Bootsies soul club (Union Ballroom every Friday) made more money than any other social activity on campus last year . . . Chris Britton reports the Saturday crowds at High Wycombe Tuesdays come mainly from London as the locals only like his pop nights . . . Dave Hipperson’s Maximum Axis (01-207 0179) supplied an impressive array of disco gear for Record Mirror’s 25th Anniversary party, an event that made me nostalgicize about RM’s old Mod style-setter, Norman Jopling, without whom so much would not be as it is now: first to write about the Stones, instigator of the “Great Unknowns” soul star feature and much more, his “America Awakes” US reviews column was taken over by myself exactly eleven years ago . . . Garrell Redfearn has now completely closed his MIF production company . . . Loraine Trent’s remarkable CBS newsletter, in which she was quite staggeringly indiscreet about a DJ’s drinking problem, proved a big talking point last weekend and won her the Bitch Of The Year award eleven months early . . . 1980, remember at all times (and tell ‘em at Pye, RCA, Mercury & WEA!), is meant to be the year that disco died – if disco is dead, I hadn’t noticed!

UK Newies

MICHAEL JACKSON: ‘Rock With You’ (Epic EPC 8208)
Great insidious lazy 115 bpm 7in “rock” swayer, already huge on import and LP, usefully flipped by the jerky hiccupping strangulated 124 bpm ‘Get On The Floor’.

GQ: ‘Standing Ovation’ (Arista ARIST 12328) (BNDA debut 3/1/80)
Michael Jackson-like urgent 126 bpm backbeat canterer with an interesting “diddle de da” rhythm arrangement, due on 12in, is catchier than one thinks at first.

BUNNY MACK: ‘Let Me Love You’ (Rokel SD-RK 09)
Absolutely dynamite 125-126 bpm afro-reggae throbber like a cross between ‘Jingo’ and ‘Frontline Symphony’, the 124-125 bpm ‘Love You Forever’ instrumental B-side version possibly being even better.  Continue reading “February 2, 1980: Michael Jackson, GQ, Bunny Mack, Ronnie Laws, Cheryl Lynn”