February 17, 1979: Players Association, Herbie Hancock, Caroline Crawford, Rick James, Mike Mandel

Disco News

Bournemouth Maison Royale’s Roadshow Of The Year finalists, fighting it out this Thursday (15), are John DeSade (Maidstone) v Steve Maxted (Swanley) v Paul’s Sound Mobile (Salisbury) v Tony Holden (Reading) — and with that line-up it should be a fight indeed! . . . Eddie Henderson ‘Cyclops’ is now on 12in (Capitol 12CL 16034), and the 9:48 “eye-cued” 118bpm remix 12in of T-Connection ‘At Midnight’ is also out (TK TKR 12-7517) . . . Miracle’s remixed Love Symphony Orchestra will NOT have the Penthouse Pet sleeve but is out early March, when they’ll also have Blair ‘Night Life’ on 12in, and Capitol will do a Tavares 12in with instrumental flip . . . Peter Tosh ‘Don’t Look Back’ has resurfaced on remixed dub white-label 12in which could be an ethnic monster if issued properly . . . Island have a one-sided promo 12in of remixed Hi-Tension ‘Power & Lightning’ (130bpm) and ‘Unspoken’ (132bpm) . . . Real Thing’s 12in and 7in turned out not red vinyl but a nasty translucent yellow-green piss colour! . . . Discolonga Max? – really, it could happen! . . . Gill Watkins of Leapfrog Promotions, Priory House, Kingsgate Place, London NW6 (01-328 7251), would like to add both club and mobile jocks to their mailing list . . . Trevor John Hughes has finally found a funk venue, every Fri/Saturday at Oakengates Jubilee ‘77 Club, while Graham Gold’s new Sunday funk gig starting March 11th will be at the Greenford Hotel Barbarellas in Uxbridge Road, Southall, running till 11:30 under the Champers name again . . . Steve Martell, ex-Leicester Fusion and Chesterfield Jingles, is now resident at the soon to be refitted Preston Clouds . . . Chris Lee’s Carvey Bardots funk gig has closed so he’s mobile on Hornchurch 50448 while waiting for another residency – any offers? . . . Bob Jones has had to tone down the Jazz-funk at Chelmsford Dee-Jays (the kids were dancing and not drinking) but still spins hip sounds at Hornchurch Kingswood: however, he’s after funky guest spots (even mobile work with someone else’s gear) on Chelmsford 2924 . . . Essex-based too, Craig Royale is well-known locally for jocking but also runs CR’s Import Records from 8 Elderberry Gardens, Witham, Essex CM8 2PT (Witham 46186) specializing in jazz/funk/soul/latin, so send for a catalogue . . . Carl Anthony Henry (Blackpool), you’re hip in spirit but “B” in fact!

New Spins

PLAYERS ASSOCIATION: ‘Turn The Music Up!’ LP (Vanguard VSD 79421) (BNDA debut 4/7/79)
Quite simply – it’s here! Hottest import LP for ages, every cut’s a killer, from the dynamite 115-118bpm title track through the smoochy 88bpm instrumental ‘The Closer I Get To You’, 132bpm ‘Everybody Dance’, 107bpm ‘I Wish’, 47/95bpm ‘More Than A Little Bit’ and 120bpm ‘Ride The Groove’, it’s jazz-funk disco perfection.

HERBIE HANCOCK: ‘Tell Everybody’ (from LP ‘Feets Don’t Fail Me Now’, CBS 83491) (BNDA debut 7/14/79)
Forget ‘You Bet Your Love’ (included here of course), as this dynamite 7:12 storming 120bpm leaper is like it but even more so! Already exploding for hip jocks, it chop mixes nicely on into Damon Harris (minus the latter’s intro). Other hot cuts are the 118bpm ‘Ready Or Not’ freaker and wistful ‘Trust Me’ smoocher.

WEA LV SERIES: With several titles in this “Long Version” 12in set already climbing the chart, and full catalogue details given last week, I must apologize for not reviewing them all in full now as promised . . . but it has been possibly the hottest week for disco releases in memory and there just isn’t room! You’ll find BPM info (sometimes slightly inaccurate) on most of the labels, and – apart from the terrific Bettye LaVette re-mix – the material is all well known. Reviews next week – but get ‘em now!

CAROLINE CRAWFORD: ‘Coming On Strong’ / ‘A Nice Feeling’ (Mercury 9198055)
Hamilton Bohannon-powered 132bpm frantically flying excitement with rawly wailing vocal yells from his ‘Let’s Start The Dance’ singer, on 4:57 12in, while the equally strong 5:11 flip’s a beautiful jazzy 115bpm instrumental stamper, big for many especially in the North-West. Hot on import for months, these are absolute musts.  Continue reading “February 17, 1979: Players Association, Herbie Hancock, Caroline Crawford, Rick James, Mike Mandel”

February 10, 1979: “Jazz-Funk Over-Kill”

Disco News

Bournemouth Maison Royale’s UK Roadshow Of The Year final is next Thursday (15), with finalists so far being John DeSade (Maidstone), Steve Maxted (Swanley), Paul’s Sound Mobile (Salisbury), while this Thursday (8) the last semi-final is between Glen Ross (Birmingham) & Haze International (Portsmouth) . . . Motown’s Les Spaine is revising his club jock mailing list, so write him at Motown Records, Heron Place, 9 Thayer Street, London W1 . . . Arista have had such phenomenal phone-in reaction to GQ’s previously unheard-of import that it’s being rushed by them as soon as possible . . . RCA schedule Bill Summers next week, followed by Grey & Hanks, David Fathead Newman on remix 12in . . . WEA plan a promo-only Mick Jackson remix 12in, while Sister Sledge 12in is due in two weeks and evidently a 99p Rose Royce 12in has already snuck out . . . Boney M. ‘Dancing In The Streets’ is now on 6:00 remix US Sire 12in . . . Don Ray ‘Got To Have Loving’ is out again on Polydor 12in next week . . . West Midlands DJ Assn mount a “disco-show-exhibition-fun night”, West Midlands Discoscene ’79, next Sunday (18) at Birmingham’s Albany Hotel, Smallbrook Queensway, with member jocks and BRMB’s Dave Barnes, laser show, disco dancing display, various prizes and local dealers demonstrating disco equipment – all in aid of Cancer Research, and the hope that more local jocks will support the association . . . Robby Baron’s Red Bull in Peckham has been completely redecorated and will now feature Greg Edwards every Monday, King Enri on Thursdays, Victor Scott on Fridays and soul band Jabba on Sundays . . . Graham Gold’s successful Sunday funk night at Greenford Champers has had to close due to a brewery policy switch, but the same crowd will be able to groove from Feb 22 at Harrow-on-the-Hill’s Kings Head where Graham’s Tues/Thursday residency will include guest spots by Chris Hill, Graham Canter and Robbie Vincent . . . Erik-Jack, ex-Young Generation dancer and now boss of Bognor’s Life discos, is to choreograph steps for the cheerleaders of Arundel District’s ‘It’s A Knockout’ team – disco comes to that TV show now, too, huh?!

Jazz-Funk Over-Kill

Dave Else (Guildford Bridge) has some good points to make about the jazz-funk trend. “All the warnings flying around these days about using too much jazz-funk seem to make good sense to me. While the various Chrises attract a very hip crowd who will accept all that is thrown at them, I find down here (only 20 miles from central London) that the majority of punters are still not ready for the real heavy heavy jazz which is often listed by the “top” jocks in their Hot Vinyls, etc. We do have a very hip minority at the Bridge, but if I played to them all evening the door money would drop and I’d be out on me ear!”

“Anyway, if I chose to play to a minority then I’d play deep soul and 60’s sounds all night!” (Nice one – JH) “My solution to this problem of satisfying everyone (including Wallies – I deal with them on my mobile gigs)” (yes, Dave does weddings etc. on Godalming 23522 – JH) “is to let my warm-up DJ’s play their latest jazz-funk LP’s amongst more popular sounds during the early part of the evening and keep the minority happy, then I play all the top sounds together with whichever newies I think the majority will take to.”

“By this time the minority are also out for a good time and enjoy everything played. I also do include moody jazz in slow spots, and play out at the end with one. This doesn’t make me the hippest DJ around but I’m more interested in making people happy.”

All of which makes eminent good sense, and can be applied to just about any disco situation. No matter how hip the DJ’s taste or the crowd’s pose, it’s always worth remembering that the best times are had by those who can let their hair down and boogie . . . and to get that atmosphere you need something simple to boogie to. Deep down, which would you really rather boogie to, Sea Level ‘Fifty-Four’? Come in, Section Three!

WEA this week launch a set of 12 LV long version 12in specials, selling now for £1.79 each, under the campaign heading “Funk Fixers”. Full reviews and BPM will be in next week’s issue (when I’ve actually seen and checked them for differences from the originals), but their catalogue details are as follows: DENNIS COFFEY: ‘Gimmie That Funk’ / ‘Calling Planet Earth’ (Atlantic/Westbound LV 6), AQUARIAN DREAM: ‘You’re A Star’ / ‘Play It For Me’ (Elektra LV 7), KAREN YOUNG: ‘Hot Shot’ (Atlantic LV 8), BETTYE LAVETTE: ‘Doin’ The Best I Can’ (remix) (Atlantic LV 9), WILLIE HUTCH: ‘Come And Dance With Me’ (remix) / ‘Easy Does It’ (Whitfield LV 10), PHREEK: ‘Weekend’ (remix) / ‘Have A Good Day’ (Atlantic LV 11), SLAVE: ‘Stellar Fungk’ / ‘You And Me’ (Cotillion LV 12), NORMA JEAN: ‘Saturday’ / ‘This Is Love’ (Bearsville LV 13), FANTASTIC FOUR: ‘B.Y.O.F.’ / ‘Sexy Lady’ (remix) (Atlantic/Westbound LV 14), HOWARD KENNEY: ‘Save Some For The Children’ (Warner Bros. LV 15), CHIC: ‘I Want Your Love’ (remix) / ‘Chic Cheer’ / ‘Le Freak’ (Atlantic LV 16), LOVE DE-LUXE: ‘Here Comes That Sound Again’ (Atlantic LV 17).

New Spins

GARY’S GANG: ‘Keep On Dancin’’ / ‘Do It At The Disco’ (CBS 12-7109) (BNDA debut 1/6/79)
Here at last, and on 12in too, is the next Dan Hartman-like sensation from CBS. Already a smash on import, the dynamite “dance dance dance” 126bpm chanter explodes through several breaks and some amazing synthesizer sounds on the full 7:15 12in, but amazingly all these best bits are edited out for the bland radio-aimed 3:40 7in. You’ve GOT to get the 12in! Also big for many, the 127bpm 5:45 B-side’s got squeaky, Mickey Mouse-type vocal harmonies and rattling Latin percussion edited to 3:30 for 7in.

INNER CIRCLE: ‘Everything Is Great’ (Island 12WIP 6472)
In the Third World/Hi-Tension bag but even more funk than fusion, this bottom-heavy chanting 122bpm groover is a bit messy as a song but chugs towards a climax with great freaky stereo effects amongst the percussion. Issued on very limited 12in, even those shops that ordered early are finding it scarcer than hens’ teeth, so do your best to get it!

PARADISE EXPRESS: ‘Dance’ / ‘Poinciana’ (Fantasy 12 XFTC 167) (BNDA debut 12/9/78)
Sadly dropping out of the chart just as it’s finally released, this frantic 131bpm remake of the Paul Jabara number is easily confused with Sylvester . . . mainly because it’s by his backing group! On 8:16 12in, it’s flipped with a 130bpm disco version of the recent Gato Barbieri hit, but this starts with slow seashore effects before the rhythm builds gently to smoothly singing girls and a very pretty vocal, with a syndrum and percussion break.  Continue reading “February 10, 1979: “Jazz-Funk Over-Kill””

February 3, 1979: Real Thing, Cheryl Lynn, Winners, James Brown, Donna Summer

Chris Browne (Elephant & Castle, Charlie Chaplins) thinks Beats Per Minute mixing is a fine idea with many possibilities, BUT . . . “in the wrong hands it could bore the arse off every discotheque patron in the land!” Chris continues, “I’ve always mixed by ear and by gut feel, which – I think – is the best method. BPM should be used more as a guide line than a strict rule. What happens, for instance, if a punter requests something that rates 130bpm and you’re playing at around 120bpm? ‘Sorry mate, I’m not playing that tempo at the moment . . .’ (broken nose, etc)! Let’s just hope that BPM doesn’t create a lot of ‘instant DJ’s’ with robotic formats.” Pretty much the message I’ve been trying to get across, Chris. Anyway, the result is that jocks have been practising their mixing whether the BPM’s or not, and here are some of their segue suggestions. First-time mixer Dave Middleton (Bletchley Peaches) tried ‘Instant Replay’ into ‘In The Bush’ into ‘I’m A Man’ into ‘Que Tal America’, and found it worked – look ma, no voice! More adventurous but also a beginner, Tony Green (Ainsdale Tiffanys) found percussion mixes easy regardless of different BPM speeds, and suggests mixing into and out of the percussion break of Lonnie Liston Smith, Gene Chandler, Lakeside, Village People (US 12in remix). Phil Mitchell (Hull University Soul Club) takes the tempo up in steps with Weather Report ‘River People’, Marvin Gaye ‘Funky Space Reincarnation’, Instant Funk, Olympic Runners ‘Sir Dancealot’, which builds you up nicely to any freak tempo disc. Veteran mixer Simon Greenwood (Esher & Bristol Le Village Discos) gets sophisticated with Caroline Crawford ‘Coming On Strong’, mixing Paradise Express ‘Dance’ (minus the first 20 secs) under Caroline’s accapella vocal break, which he whips out when she’s said her bit, then near the end of ‘Dance’ either chopping into Sylvester ‘Dance (Disco Heat)’ or mixing into Peaches & Herb ‘Groove Thing’ 12in. Finally, jazz-funker Chris Lee (Canvey Bardots) creates excitement with the crowd effects of Instant Funk ‘Wide World Of Sports’, mixing outro into Willie Bobo ‘Always There’, Rainbow ‘I Like It’, Sea Level ‘54’, Ayers & Henderson ‘Lovers Should Always Be Together’ (LP track at 45 rpm), all straightforward mixes at appropriate points towards the end of each.

Disco News

Orville Sweeney switches his disco promotion desk from Anchor to RCA this week . . . Gary’s Gang is out on 12in next week! . . . Players Association and T-Connection LPs are due then too, with Bell & James, Joe Simon ‘Love Vibration’ and Krypton ‘Can You Read My Mind’ 12ins to follow mid-month . . . T-Connection indeed is, but Deborah Washington is however not on commercial 12in, and Bob Marley ‘Stir It Up’ isn’t even on 7in now as another is being chosen . . . Ariola launch special limited edition gold vinyl extended 7in versions this week of 3 Degrees, Chanson, Deborah Washington, Winners, John Paul Young, Sugar Cane ‘Valhevala’ and Linda Fletcher ‘Hush’, 10,000 of each . . . Love Symphony Orchestra is coming on Miracle, but will it be the Penthouse Pets sleeve?! . . . Gregg Diamond ‘Starcruiser’ is on 7:17 US 12in with 10:06 ‘This Side Of Midnight’ flip (thanx for info, Adrian Sykes, Tottenham) . . . WEA’s big 12in plans include simultaneous release in shoppers’ browser pack of twelve LV’s with an upped price of £1.79 – cheaper than imports still – to include such as Aquarian Dream, Howard Kenney and other recent biggies . . . Dave Rawlings (Basingstoke Maxwells) speed-spins Grover Washington Jr ‘Do Dat’ at about 130bpm by varying the 7in speed to halfway between 45 and 78rpm (funny decks you’ve got Dave!), at which it’s then a good jazz-funk flier . . . Dartford Flicks is gaining Studio 54-type queues and now not only have you got to look funky and freaky to get in but this Saturday DJ Cohn Hudd will be allowing in any funksters clutching copies of Record Mirror – but you gotta get there early to get in at all!

New Spins

REAL THING: ‘Can You Feel The Force?’ (Pye 7NL 46147)
Long a fave on LP and now huge due to some timely 12in promos, this dynamite brassily leaping 132bpm “whup-whup-whoo-hoo” rhythm rattler has been remixed with added applause and a terrifically freaky ‘Star Wars’-style 53 second intro that’s great running through, say, ‘Que Tal America’ or the ‘Countdown/This Is It’ rhythm break. It’s all on 7:33 red vinyl 12in, and is a disco smash!

CHERYL LYNN: ‘Got To Be Real’ (CBS 12-6967) (BNDA debut 11/25/78)
Subtly powerful wailing 116bpm Emotions/Chaka Khan-style strutter is on full 5:10 12in complete with long but languid instrumental break – but, amazingly, though the US 7in is the same generous length, here the 7in is just the original LP version’s break-lacking 3:48. Bah!

WINNERS: ‘Get Ready For The Future’ (Ariola ARO 144)
Brass Construction-type 120bpm chugger, huge on import last summer, has a great freaky synthesizer break near the end – ideal for mixing – and is on longer promo 12in or gold vinyl 7in (AROE 144).  Continue reading “February 3, 1979: Real Thing, Cheryl Lynn, Winners, James Brown, Donna Summer”

January 27, 1979: “Disco jocks are now thinking more than ever before about mixing their records.”

Where once there were few disco charts, now weekly it seems more and more publications are jumping on the disco bandwagon and printing their own charts . . . with an inevitable workload increase for those DJ’s who kindly contribute returns and make them all possible. Just so that you know it’s worthwhile in case you’re one of these and are having to make a choice, Record Mirror’s long-established national disco airplay chart is considered accurate enough for the PRS to use in future as the basis for royalty payments to composers whose work appears in it! It may not be the most exciting chart, but it’s hopefully (with your help) the most authoritative – and longest? This week’s is the first to be compiled, not without teething problems, on RB Research Ltd’s computer, from nearly 200 DJ returns. We’re not exactly short of contributors, but more “hip”-type ones are still needed. John “No Jeans” Lewis (Brighton Metro) actually counters my last plea for contributors with the thought that “MoR merchants” are surely more typical of the disco scene: this may be true, but most seem so unadventurous in their programming that they might just as well send in the BMRB top thirty (which is not to knock the job they’re doing). The truest remark comes from Terry Emm (Dunstable): “the hip jocks are laziest because they’re always in record shops searching for new hip product.” On the nail, Terry! These are the jocks who, now that most major DJ’s are spoon-fed with free UK product, actually still go out and pay money for imports which, depending on the reaction they then get, may eventually get issued here – and sent out for free – months later. Don’t knock ‘em, they’re doing all the work.

Record Mirror may not have been the first to feature Beats Per Minute, but it’s certainly created the biggest stir.

Record companies are now starting to list BPM’s on their releases (in fact I seem to be doing the timing for a lot of them!), radio jocks have suddenly taken to doing BPM-locked running mixes on air, and – most important and my main intention – disco jocks are now thinking more than ever before about mixing their records.

Even jocks who understood the principle and had been happily mixing by ear for years have found the BPM info invaluable if only because it reminded them of mixes they might otherwise not have thought of. Graham Gold (Southgate Royalty / Greenlord Champers) reports for instance, “thanks to your BPM chart, that was the most together set I’ve ever done!”

Other DJ comments include Doctor John (Telford & Stafford Disco-Tech) “your BPM info has been masterful”; David Emery (Newcastle upon Tyne Scamps) “congratulations – your BPM has finally sealed the gap and put Record Mirror right into the number one spot, making it the only paper of any genuine use to decent DJ’s”; Alan Donald (Rothesay) “give yourself an award for being the most helpful columnist in the business”; John Lewis (Brighton Metro) “congratulations on promoting a stupid fad which helps to gloss over microphone inadequacies usually displayed by these so-called “hip” DJ’s – God help you if you need to tell customers that the venue is burning down!”

Yer what?!? Well, why shouldn’t someone who hasn’t got a good voice DJ too . . . I’ve been managing without using a mike except for important announcements ever since (gulp!) 1963, so I’d hardly call mixing a stupid fad!

There has been a revolution in the last year that you may or may not have noticed, but as mobile jock Grahame Goodyer (New Milton) rightly reports, “I’ve been operating for nearly five years now, playing for every taste, and have noticed recently that pure disco music is now much more accepted by the older generations – you should see them boogie to ‘YMCA’, Dan Hartman and the like”.

It may have been the Bee Gees that did it, but – whatever – the world does seem to be beating time to a new sub-conscious tempo, and that tempo is disco. All of a sudden those old rock and pop proven standards so loved by MoR jocks sound, sadly, very tired and out of date – and worse, often now don’t work. The record business, far from deserting disco for punk as I once predicted, has discovered that these two musical forms make a twin-pronged attack on the sales charts without needing radio support, and the disco side of the business is busier and more sophisticated than could previously ever have been imagined.

As someone on television might have put it, “we have the technology – now let’s use it”, disco records, especially 12-inchers, tend to feature steady rhythm intros and breaks (some now eyen have “eye-cue” scrolling bands pressed in the vinyl to show each break point), all of which is meant to make mixing easier. A long version 12in is not intended to be played right through from beginning to end, the extra length is to allow you more choice in where to mix out of it . . . or, indeed, into it. You can play the bit out of it . . . or, indeed, into it. You can play the bit that suits your mix best. This is the music that is being purpose-built for DJ’s to use, it’s the beat that the public wants, it’s the tool of our trade. All I’ve been trying to do is make sure that you know how to use your tool in the way that the maker intended!

Next week I’ll feature several mixes sent in blocks, but in the meantime I suggest that you arm yourself with the last few back-issues of RM and transfer the applicable BPM’s to your own records (write ‘em on sleeve or label – I find the latter most useful), then arrange the records in order of BPM speed and start looking for the best segue sequences.

Remember that the BPM only indicates the number of beats per minute and cannot account for the actual rhythm, which of course can vary greatly despite a similar seeming BPM rating. Practice makes perfect, so experiment – bearing in mind that you’ll be playing the expertly blended result to a hard-dancing public, who will expect a punchy hit-packed programme without too many tricky flights of fancy. If you’re among the majority of jocks still using fixed-speed turntables, this BPM style of mixing should make life a lot easier, but should not be followed mechanically, like I’ve said before. Use your ears, and have fun!

Disco News

Deborah Washington is evidently on 12in, but Bob Marley is now not on 12in after all . . . Andy Gibb ‘Shadow Dancing’ is of course 102bpm and not 120 as misprinted last week . . . Lorraine Lewis, much missed, has left EMI LRD disco promotion . . . Barbara Randolph ‘I Got A Feeling’ maxi 7in is out next week with original old Tamla Motown label and olive-coloured sleeve! . . . James Brown, Isaac Hayes, Cheryl Lynn are also due then on 12in, Gold Bullion Band on 7in, while Caroline Crawford 12in is out soon too . . . Jersey jock Alex Anders – real surname Szedmaky Glendinning! – (St Peters Mermaid) and mate Michael Lee Musgrove (St Helier Skyline) spent the night at Mayfair Gullivers before jetting to Bermuda for their Record Business Disco Forum prize holiday at the Bermudian Hotel . . . Panache Music Publishers have tested an unplaced white label 12in of their Classical Mechanics ‘Woman Of Ice’ by mailing it to all DJF (GB) member jocks . . . pooh-poohed in some quarters, but is Gary’s Gang really the return of Mr Glitter?

New Spins

GENE CHANDLER: ‘Get Down’ (20th Century BTCL 1040) (BNDA debut 11/18/78)
Already enormous on import, the terrific bouncily burbling 117bpm funky bumper is now on 8:14 pink vinyl 12in with plenty of thudding rhythm breaks – all visually cued with scrolled bands (except the pink vinyl doesn’t exactly help!) – which mix beautifully in front of Herbie Hancock!

DONALD BYRD: ‘Loving You’ (Elektra K 12381)
Dynamite official 12in B-side, this 111bpm girlie group-sung bumpy 7:20 swayer slots perfectly over Instant Funk’s instrumental break – it’s even got the same chord progression for the first 38 secs! – and has consequently exploded with hip jocks, eclipsing the remixed ‘Thank You For Funking Up My Life’ A-side.

SEA LEVEL: ‘(Sneakers) Fifty Four’ (Capricorn POSPX 28)
Steadily thumping subtle cool 120bpm guitar jazz-funk instrumental jitterer, huge on import LP, is now due here on 6:40 12in . . . and is another that mixes perfectly out of Instant Funk’s instrumental break!  Continue reading “January 27, 1979: “Disco jocks are now thinking more than ever before about mixing their records.””

January 20, 1979: Herbie Hancock, Edwin Starr, Mick Jackson, Peaches & Herb, Zulema

Last week’s exhaustive Beats Per Minute listing was so long that unfortunately part of it had to be cut out – and the bit chosen just happened to be half the 132bpm section, one of the currently hottest! So, together with some new additions, here is that complete section again.

31 – BILL SUMMERS: ‘All I Want’ (US Prestige LP)
40 – THREE DEGREES: ‘Woman In Love’ (Ariola 7”)
42 – ODYSSEY: ‘Quiet Star’ (42/84) (US RCA 12”)
59 – BOB JAMES: ‘Touchdown’ (59/118) (Tappan Zee LP); LONNIE LISTON SMITH: ‘Quiet Moments’ (59/119-61/121) (US Columbia 12”)
90 – BOBBY CALDWELL: ‘Down For The Third Time’ (TK 7”)
108 – JAMES BROWN: ‘Sex Machine’ (Polydor 12”)
109 – DOBIE GRAY: ‘You Can Do It’ (US Infinity 12”)
111 – BLACKBYRDS: ‘Rock Creek Park’ (111/55) (Fantasy LP); DONALD BYRD: ‘Loving You’ (US Elektra 12”)
114 – BROTHERS JOHNSON: ‘Ain’t We Funkin’ Now’ (to 116) (US A&M 12” remix)
115 – BLACKBYRDS: ‘Happy Music’ (115/57) (Fantasy LP)
116 – BILL SUMMERS: ‘Straight To The Bank’ (US Prestige 12”)
118 – EDDIE HORAN: ‘The Dancer’ (US HDM LP); BOB JAMES: ‘Touchdown’ (118/59) (Tappan Zee LP)
120 – STANLEY COWELL: ‘The Stoker’ (US Galaxy LP); JAMES WELLS: ‘My Claim To Fame’ (to 127) (Pye LP)
122 – GARCIA’S SUPER FUNK: ‘I Didn’t Know That You Could Dance’ (US TK 12”); GREY & HANKS: ‘Dancin’’ (US RCA LP)
124 – BLACKBYRDS: ‘Gut Level’ (Fantasy LP); LONNIE LISTON SMITH: ‘Space Princess’ (to 127) (US Columbia 12”); RON LOUIS SMITH: ‘Party Freaks Come On’ (US Sunshine Sound 12”)
126 – JAMES BROWN: ‘For Goodness Sakes Look At Those Cakes’ (Polydor 12”); NARADA MICHAEL WALDEN: ‘I Don’t Want Nobody Else’ (US Atlantic 12”)
127 – GARY’S GANG: ‘Do It At The Disco’ (US Columbia 12”); TRAMMPS: ‘Soul Bones’ (US Atlantic 12”)
129 – LEIF GARRETT: ‘I Was Made For Dancin’’ (Scotti Brothers 7”)
131 – ARPEGGIO: ‘Love And Desire’ (US Polydor LP)

132 – AMANT: ‘If There’s Love’ (US TK 12”); AQUARIAN DREAM: ‘Fantasy’ (Elektra LP); ROY AYERS & WAYNE HENDERSON: ‘Heat Of The Beat’ (Polydor 12”); BEAUTIFUL BEND: ‘Make That Feeling Come Again’ / ‘Ah Do It’ (US TK 12”); CLASS: ‘Get Your Chic Together’ (instrumental) (US TK 12”); CROWN HEIGHTS AFFAIR: ‘I’m Gonna Love You Forever’ (Mercury 12”); JOHN DAVIS & THE MONSTER ORCHESTRA: ‘Ain’t That Enough For You’ (Miracle 12”); JOE FARRELL: ‘Night Dancing’ (Warner Bros. 12”); FOXY: ‘Get Off’ (TK 12”); GANYMED: ‘It Takes Me Higher’ (Creole 12”); HI-TENSION: ‘Unspoken’ (Island WIP 7”); AL HUDSON: ‘Spread Love’ (ABC 12”); LORRAINE JOHNSON: ‘Learning To Dance All Over Again’ (to 134) (US Prelude LP); MANDRILL: ‘Having A Love Attack’ (US Arista LP); MANTUS: ‘Freestyle Rhythm’ (US SMI 12”); MUSIQUE: ‘Keep On Jumpin’’ (CBS LP); FREDA PAYNE: ‘Happy Days Are Here Again’ / ‘Happy Music’ (Tower 12”); QUARTZ: ‘Beyond The Clouds’ (Pye 12”); REAL THING: ‘Can You Feel The Force’ (Pye LP); KING SPORTY: ‘Fire Keep On Burning’ (US TK 12”); DONNA SUMMER: ‘MacArthur Park’ (Casablanca LP); THREE DEGREES: ‘Giving Up, Giving In’ (Ariola 12”); TWO MAN SOUND: ‘Que Tal America’ (Miracle 12”); ZULEMA: ‘Change’ (London 12”)

Disco News

Camberley Frenchies have a Wally Night with Bee Gees music and other ghastly fun on Sunday, Feb 4, while on Friday, Jan 26, Chris Hill has a St. Trinian’s Nite at Southgate Royalty – fancy dress desirable at both, of course! . . . Froggy starts a small over 18’s soul club this Thursday (18) at Ilford’s Cauliflower pub hall, members only, pub hours, 75p to get in . . . Rudy “Minimix” Gilpin now spins ‘em downstairs on the pop floor at Gulliver’s in Mayfair’s Down Street – supposedly a promotion for him! . . . WEA plan a total 12in blitz in coming months – my lips have to be sealed re details, sorry – but you’ll be amazed! . . . Donald Byrd’s US 12in will be out here next week, for starters, and Supermax’s ‘Lovemachine’ is due on 12in too . . . Boney M. ‘Dancing In The Streets’ will be on remixed US 12in soon . . . THP ‘Two Hot For Love’ LP, reviewed on import last week, is due here now on Rocket (TRAIN 2) . . . Ian Dury is out now on a same-length 12in, while Mankind ‘Dr. Who’ is available on black, blue, grey, green, brown or clear vinyl! . . . Brothers Johnson ‘Ain’t We Funkin’ Now’ has been remixed for 7:30 US 12in, and Leif Garrett is on 6:53 US 12in as well as picture-disc UK 7in . . . Sea Level is out next week, Paradise Express and Gaz on Feb 9, all as 12in – but we must wait until March for Gary’s Gang (which CBS are dangerously close to putting on Dan Hartman-sized 7in unless we all insist otherwise) . . . I hope all true soul fans managed to see Sunday’s South Bank Show film about the black South African music scene – much of the gospel-ish vocal group music and the setting in which it was performed was quite astonishingly like the American equivalent of say fifteen years ago.

New Spins

HERBIE HANCOCK: ‘You Bet Your Love’ (CBS 12-7010)
Worth the wait and already exploding, it’s dynamite steady 118bpm stamper with wailing Stevie Wonder-ish vocoder vocal, catchy chix chorus (the big pop hook) and a terrifically happy rhythm-shifting instrumental drive. Fight for the 8:06 12in, as the 3:56 7in hardly gets going.

EDWIN STARR: ‘Contact’ (20th Century BTCL 2896) (BNDA debut 11/18/78)
Already huge and totally compulsive easily rolling 130bpm rhythm rattler with catchy clapping, synthesizer spurts and good old Edwin gruffly extolling eye-to-eye . . . CONTACT! – on hit-bound 7:21 pink vinyl 12in.

MICK JACKSON: ‘Weekend’ (Atlantic K 11224)
Infectiously romping 116-119bpm thumper has his Stevie Wonder-type vocal sound and bags of bouncy pop appeal. Should smash.  Continue reading “January 20, 1979: Herbie Hancock, Edwin Starr, Mick Jackson, Peaches & Herb, Zulema”

January 13, 1979: “All the currently played disco material arranged by number of Beats Per Minute”

This week the full UK Disco Top 90 now joins other charts in the expanded chart section on page 30, where it will in future always appear . . . leaving more room for reviews ‘n’ stuff on this page!  In its place for this issue only, you see alongside a rating of just about all the currently played disco material arranged by number of Beats Per Minute (a few imports I don’t have bpm info for, but they’re all that’s missing).  Cut out and treasure this piece of paper, as for just 18p you have purchased a reference work that in its closest American counterpart would cost you something like £120!  The American system of monthly up-dated computer printouts on all their bpms, Disco Beats, really only relates to the very different US market.  This listing, which took me many days to complete, duplicates very few of those US bpm ratings that are common to both countries – as many of the US bpms I found not to tally with my own computations.  Some will be the same, of course, but then an accurate bpm will be the same whoever computes it.  Remember, when mixing and using bpms as a guide, that you must use your ears as well!  The other major change which is about to happen is that from next week the Disco Chart will be computed using RB Research Ltd’s special computer, so all the resulting chart positions will be arrived at automatically.  It is vital that the hipper, import-orientated funk-jazz jocks keep me supplied regularly with charts . . . as otherwise we’ll be swamped by the Middle of the Road merchants!  All types of disco DJs are invited to contribute, but the so-called “hip” ones do seem to be laziest!

Listing in order of Beats Per Minute (bpm) of all disco product currently in use by chart-contributing DJs:  Continue reading “January 13, 1979: “All the currently played disco material arranged by number of Beats Per Minute””

January 6, 1979: To BPM Or Not To BPM

To BPM Or Not To BPM

Starting this issue as we intend to go through 1979, all significant record reviews will in future feature the Beats Per Minute (bpm) as an aid to the ever-increasing number of jocks who mix between records with similar rhythms. This week also, although not a regular feature, the entire Disco Top 90 and its various “breakers” sections indicate each title’s bpm rating . . . so I suggest that you keep this issue handy if you can’t transpose the bpm info onto your record sleeves immediately.

Next week there will be a listing of all currently in-use product grouped together in order of bpm speed, so that all the titles at 130 bpm will be noted, followed by those at 131 bpm, etc. Really useful, huh? I hope so!

To work out your own bpm timing for any type of record, all you need is a stopwatch (of the type with a sweep second hand is best) and – making sure your deck is at the spot-on correct speed – tap your foot in time with the record’s main bass beat. When you’ve got the feel of the rhythm, hit the stopwatch start button on a beat/tap and start counting “nought, one, two, three – etc” for either 10, 15, 20 or 30 seconds, depending on which length of time it takes for a beat to fall as closely as possible onto one of those time divisions. Say you got 20 beats in 10 seconds, multiply 20 by 6 (to bring the 10 secs up to a minute) and you find you’ve got 120 Beats Per Minute. Likewise, multiply your 15 secs total by 4, the 20 secs total by 3 or the 30 secs one by 2. It sometimes helps to have several tries at different timing lengths to get a really accurate result (and don’t forget that not all drummers use a metronome or tape loop yet!), while it’s a good idea to check the bpm discrepancy between different sections of the same record, as some get faster or slower.

However, having worked out the bpm ratings for all your records, don’t think that just because two have the same surface tempo similarity they will make a perfect mix from one to the other – you must use your ears as well! Beats are one thing, but rhythm and attack are dictated by the rest of the instrumentation, by the key and vocal sound. Also, don’t be afraid to jump up or down the tempo scale, as a smoothly blending sequence of all the same speed gets dull without some dynamics being injected into it – we’re not all New York hustlers here!

To do a synchronized mix, running in one beat on top of another, or to do a chop mix, cutting from one to another on the beat, you also need to have a feel for the musical progression: it’s useful to tap your foot in time with the rhythm and count off to yourself the beats in each bar of music – “one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four” – so that the new record will slot neatly into the one being played. Best of all, though, is to have a set of variable speed decks, with which you can then alter the record’s speed to suit the mix – taking, say, something from 124 bpm up to 131 bpm (not that with variable speed decks you’re particularly aware of the bpm rating, as you’re mixing purely by ear). If, with variable speeds, you do want to check the bpm at which something is playing, then you can quickly get a rough idea by checking it against your wristwatch’s second hand in the same way as when doing a proper bpm.

Finally, the reason why so many of today’s disco records – especially on 12in – have a thumping instrumental intro and rattling rhythm break about two thirds of the way through should be obvious . . . they’re making it easy to mix! (Gah, penny’s dropped!)

Also, in this issue, we start again a review section for disco imports. The chart has become increasingly import-orientated in recent months, proving that many jocks can’t be bothered with what the UK companies may or may not decide to release. To quote Capital Radio’s Mike Allen, who runs 1979’s answer to the old Rosko road show, “you have to buy imports because the days of using UK issues are over – by the time something is out here, it’s ancient history!”

Disco News

Dave McAleer, known to many for Pye’s old Northern soul series, is now Black Product and Disco Manager at RCA . . . Caroline Crawford ‘Coming On Strong’ / ‘A Nice Feeling’ is due on Mercury 12in this month while Decca are coupling Hamilton Bohannon’s old ‘Foot Stomping Music’ / ‘Have A Good Day’ on full-length 12in soon . . . General Johnson, Mandrill, Afro-Cuban Band and Raydio are the next Arista 12in batch in about four weeks . . . Gonzalez ‘Haven’t Stopped Dancin’ Yet’ is belatedly hitting in US on Capitol 12in remix . . . Phil Salter (Manchester) and Roger Harold (Tunbridge Wells) both info that the Funkadelic 12in that they bought on UK issue has an 11:13 Part 1 and 5:35 instrumental Pt 2 – so, sorry if my earlier info was misleading, but I did get it at WEA’s own Xmas party! . . . Fatman Graham Canter and Froggy’s Roadshow funk Southgate Royalty this Saturday (6), when Bournemouth Village sees the return of previous residents Andy (Radio One) Peebles and Clive B Dearsley . . . Richard “Tricky Dicky” Scanes had 2000 records ripped off in South London a week before Xmas, but as some WEA 12in promos were numbered it may be possible to trace where the villain unloaded them: have you recently obtained any of these on 12in with the following rubber-stamped numbers – Rod Stewart (0009), Ashford and Simpson (00013), Funkadellc (00056), Goody Goody (00013), Chaka Khan (00092), Curtis Mayfield (00088), Chic (00099)? If so, please tip off Dicky at 01-551 1987 . . . London’s LODJ Assn meets this Sunday (7) at 4pm in the Blue Coat Boy pub near Angel tube to learn about technical matters from Brian Davies . . . Tony Holden of the DJF(GB) (0734-882794) is running a master diary to prevent any clashes in the dates for planned DJ events, so contact him early on if you’re organising anything like an exhibition or DJ meeting . . . Colin Hudd now funks Dartford Flicks in Kent Road every Fri/Saturday, while Danny Wilde is newly resident at Bristol Vadims in Clifton’s Queens Road, and Greg Davies info’s that Stevenage Bo Jangles has a new sound and laser lighting system . . . Dave Middleton (0908-76079) needs a hall in Milton Keynes for his projected Monday night soul disco but can’t block-book council property: can anyone help?

New Spins

DAN HARTMAN: ‘This Is It’ / ‘Countdown’ (Blue Sky CBS 12-6999)
Far better in its continuous 14:12 LP and promo 12in form, the ‘Countdown / This Is It’ track has been cut in two with the blinder 6:45 latter part made plug side and more exciting 7:05 first part put on the flip of both 12in and edited 7in (SKY 6999). Similar to ‘Instant Replay’, the 133 bpm stormer’s a great mixer (try it out of Edwin Starr) and deserves to be heard in full: why don’t CBS do right by Dan (and us) this time at least?  Think how many they’d sell if this and the full ‘Replay’ were on 12in back-to-back!

BLONDIE: ‘Heart Of Glass’ (Chrysalis CHS 12-2275) (BNDA debut 4/14/79)
Dynamite 5:50 117bpm disco remix 12in powers along like a heavier slowed-up Donna ‘I Feel Love’ crossed with Rod’s ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy’, and is sure to smash pop.

LAKESIDE: ‘It’s All The Way Live’ (RCA FO 1382)
Stolidly thumping 7:17 funky 12in chanter shifts up from 118 to 120bpm and chop mixes nicely in front of Shalamar (skipping very start).  Continue reading “January 6, 1979: To BPM Or Not To BPM”