September 15, 1979: Michael Jackson, Edwin Starr, Van McCoy, Discotheque, Tamiko Jones

Odds ‘N Bods

‘Sexy Cream’ by Slick has effectively been banned from radio play by the IBA, and probably BBC too . . . Derek Harriot ‘Born To Love You’, reviewed as a 7in last week, is now on 12in (Laser LAS 15T), while to complete the Lonnie Liston Smith import LP review, ‘Nightlife’ is a nice 120-122bpm gently jogging keyboard burbler but the 126-128bpm ‘Fruit Music’ works less well than the 126-124-126bpm ‘A Song For The Children’ title track (US Columbia JC 36141) . . . Miroslav Vitous ‘New York City’ (Warner Bros. 12in) turns out to be an accelerating 130-133-134-135-137-0bpm, now that I’ve checked my unwarped old LP version . . . Chic ‘My Forbidden Lover’ and Joe Sample ‘Carmel’ are due on 12in . . . I‘m pushing MCA for a UK 12in of Joe Sample’s old ‘There Are Many Stops Along The Way’, at 115bpm a great mate for ‘Street Life’, as at 112bpm is Deodato ‘Knights Of Fantasy’ – which could deserve UK issue now . . . Kool & The Gang’s jazz superstar-studded ‘Boogie Vibes’ promo did not end up on their new Deodato-produced LP after all – pity! . . . Heaven & Earth’s US Mercury LP is not set for UK release . . . British Discotheque Convention tickets are going so fast that the top jocks and disco pluggers this Frenchies-held bash is aimed at had better book now if they want to get in: contact Robin Nash (East Horsley 2531) and send your money! . . . Showstopper Promotions’ February Forum trip to Los Angeles (details last week) already has about 50 people booked and may end up with 150 – which could be a riot, the poor Americans not standing a chance! . . . Los Angeles-based expatriate Dick Sheppard is briefly back in Britain for BADEM’s Discotek 79 – over there he’s a top jock cos not only is he a good mixer, he can talk (something evidently gay Californian DJs are incapable of)! . . . Brighton funkateer Paul Clark (Brighton 698699) could do with a new Friday venue for his followers, while record companies interested in Papillon on Mondays for promotion nights should call him too . . . Strathclyde and other Scottish jocks seem to be reverting to rock ‘n pop in a big way, but are still the first to chart Donna Summer! . . . London’s Embassy Club opens an afternoon “Discoella” family show at Christmas – yes, that is indeed Cinderella goes Disco, a musical for kiddies (can you believe it?) . . . see you at BADEM (if I’m awake)!

UK Newies

MICHAEL JACKSON: ‘Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’ (Epic EPC 12-7763) (BNDA debut 8/18/79)
Heaven-sent 12in of the already huge and now speeded-up 121bpm rattling jittery jolter.

EDWIN STARR: ‘It’s Called The Rock’ (20th Century TCD 2420)
Infectiously bounding 125-128bpm 12in thumper that should hopefully establish the “rock” dance here – it’s the elbows and knees-bent sideways-swaying step that you must have seen by now.

VAN MCCOY: ‘The Hustle’ (H&L 9198436)
Yesteryear’s dance now on 116bpm remixed 6:25 12in with overlaid syndrums and added rhythm.  Continue reading “September 15, 1979: Michael Jackson, Edwin Starr, Van McCoy, Discotheque, Tamiko Jones”

September 8, 1979: Michael Jackson, Archie Bell & The Drells, Bill Summers, Disco Dick, Rose Royce

Disco News

BADEM’S Discotek 79 exhibition at London’s Bloomsbury Centre Hotel near Russell Square opens for trade visitors this coming Tuesday (11) from 1 to 8pm and Wednesday (12) from 10am to 5pm, at which time it’s then open to general visitors until 8pm, and likewise on Thursday (13) from 10am to 6pm . . . Record Mirror’s stand at the show will be out to shock you – be warned! . . . Showstopper Promotions’ round trip to the Billboard Disco Forum in Los Angeles is set for Sunday, February 10th-17th inclusive, at a cost (liable to currency fluctuation) of £350 to include air fare, top class accommodation and airport transfers, with a deposit of £100 being required now: if you have not yet done so, call 01-886 8141 for an application form . . . WEA’s Fred Dove has been able to create a new “super elite” list of sixty jocks to service while the main list’s suspended (or wasn’t I meant to tell you that?!) . . . Van McCoy ‘The Hustle’ remix 12in is due this week – much to the relief of “Ras Clot” Chapman? . . . Kleeer’s current 12in EP turns out of course to be in “kleeer” vinyl again, but what a pity it lacks ‘I Love To Dance’ . . . Jr Walker ‘Wishing On A Star’ (US Whitfield LP) surely deserves UK singles release? . . . Rus Phillips (01-590 2946) is talking another set of telephone numbers again – offering £35 in desperation for an old Fat Larry’s Band ‘Centre City’ 12in promo . . . Flying Lizards ‘Money’ was a three-times-nightly request at my mobile gigs back in July but still awaits any real attention from chart-contributing DJ’s (who seem keener on Cliff!) . . . Roy Gould (Streatham) infos that Spyro Gyra is a weed, commonly found in ponds!

UK Newies

MICHAEL JACKSON: ‘Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’ (from LP ‘Off The Wall’, Epic EPC 83468) (BNDA debut 8/18/79)
Muttered 30/59bpm intro to a jolting moody 118/59bpm bumper that’s 6:02 on LP or 3:55 on 7in (EPC 7763) and already exploding. The Quincy Jones-produced set is sizzling hot all through, too, with the jittery 129bpm ‘Working Day And Night’ and bass-snapped rolling 123bpm ‘Get On The Floor’ “rockers”, Paul McCartney-penned 103bpm ‘Girlfriend’ jogger and Stevie Wonder-penned 50bpm ‘I Can’t Help It’ meanderer, while Rod Temperton penned the attractive 114bpm ‘Rock With You’ swayer, gentle 119bpm title-track loper and Heatwave-like 117½bpm ‘Burn This Disco Out’ lurcher. Wow!

ARCHIE BELL & THE DRELLS: ‘Strategy’ (Philadelphia Int’l PIR 7842)
Dynamite powerfully hypnotic, almost sinister, slinky 98bpm “sleaze” jogger – huge on US 12in but only a 3:28 7in here.

BILL SUMMERS: ‘Dancing Lady’ / ‘Feel The Heat’ (Prestige PRC 103)
Terrific 12in, reviewed on import last week, is an exciting 134-132bpm leaper, while here the possibly stronger 133pm flip now segues rather unnecessarily into the slow-starting thoroughly ethnic Latin ‘El Barrio’ bonus instrumental.  Continue reading “September 8, 1979: Michael Jackson, Archie Bell & The Drells, Bill Summers, Disco Dick, Rose Royce”

September 1, 1979: David Bendeth, Miroslav Vitous, Matumbi, Eddy Grant, Bobby Rush

Brass Construction were the big discovery of the very first Billboard Disco Forum back in early ’76, so (having got to know them in the meantime) I have had an extra kick from the fact that each of my last two visits were made all the better by the guys in the group taking me to their own favourite out-of-the-way night spots. Big famous discos are all very well, but for a night out with friends you can’t beat a neighborhood club.

In February they took me to Le Cocu, on East 55th Street, which while basically a French student and au-pair type of club becomes on Thursdays an almost exclusively black rendezvous when DJ Emile Sanon spins a mixture of Latin and funkier disco. The place most reminded me of Mayfair Gullivers. It’s not a particularly large room but nevertheless the dance floor boasts a dazzling array of twirling helicopter lights, pencil beams and a mirror ball. Friendly and fun, with great music – the Latin element prompting Dexter, Costa Rican pal of the group’s Mickey Grudge, to promise me he’d send me tapes of a six hour Latin programme that’s evidently a must on radio every Sunday. I’m still waiting!

This July visit, Mickey along with Randy Muller and their respective ladies took myself, Radio One’s Tony Hale and EMI LRD’s Ray Edwards to Tribeca on North Moore Street down near the Holland Tunnel. Built on several layers, the spacious ground floor bar looks down two levels to the dance floor at the back, with two fat columns rising from the dance floor with greenery growing from the top at ground floor height. However, down on the dance floor, these columns tower upwards more like the rocket ships in ‘Moonraker’, while the intermediate floor forms a gallery – all this being on quite a small, cramped scale. None of which concerned us, for while the jock played Village People to keep the kids amused (it was a refreshingly young hetero audience), the menfolk of the party retired to the games room to be beaten (embarrassingly consistently!) by yours truly at pinball. Maybe the hours spent on the old machine in Capital Radio’s canteen weren’t wasted after all!

The Sunday of this visit, Brass Construction’s Joe Wong sacrificed six hours of driving time to ferry a crowd of us in his vast Cadillac Eldorado to and from a barbecue Mickey Grudge threw for us at his home out on the South Shore of Long Island. Not far from the perimeter of Kennedy Airport, his flat in a tower block condominium cluster is an amazing 1½ hour drive from central Mahattan, yet still in New York. The route goes under the Verrazano Bridge of Travolta film fame, while on the way we decided against calling in for a snack at Joe & Mary’s Italian-American Restaurant in nearby Brooklyn – Joe and his guest Carmine Galante had not made a good ad for the food, splashed bloodily across the front pages two days earlier. The food at Mickey’s was terrific, sweet succulent ham and exotic sausages served hero-style in French loaves, but hardly a barbecue as cooked in the kitchen and eaten on a balcony fourteen stories up, and shrouded in deep fog. Many thanks though, Mickey (and Joe), it was really great. Later I looked in at a Brass Construction recording session in producer Jeff Lane’s studio above Studio 54.

Disco News

Discotek 79, BADEM’s big equipment exhibition at London’s Bloomsbury Centre Hotel near Russell Square, is running from Tuesday 11th to Thursday 13th and switches from trade-only to public admission at 5pm on Wednesday 12th. Look out for Record Mirror’s stand at Discotek 79, it’ll give you a buzz! . . . John Lewis (Brighton Metro) reports local DJ opinion as favouring a boycott of WEA product in retaliation against the mailing list suspension – but surely WEA’s reason is that the mailing list’s DJ’s don’t create hits anyway? . . . Pye’s Dave McAleer has seen the light and renamed the Disco Dept as the R&B Division to embrace jazz-funk, sophistisoul, Latin & reggae as well – which to many minds always have been Disco here . . . CBS’s Greg Lynn is the latest disco plugger to hint at cuts to come . . . US record companies now are gearing product that they hope will break in roller-discos, of which there are evidently thousands – though we’d probably call ‘em roller-rinks (and I seem to remember enthusing three years ago about DJ Paul Nice’s NY-style mixing for the rollerskating sessions at Edmonton’s Picketts Lock Leisure Centre!) . . . Dave Towry-Coker now features the ready-mixed US Disconet subscription-only 12in medleys (and other gay NY fodder) at the Monday roller-disco in London’s Covent Garden Jubilee Hall . . . David Bendeth of ‘Feel The Real’ import fame, though now working in Canada, is really from the Essex end of East London and used to gig regularly at the Speakeasy – shock, horror, gasp! . . . Cliff Richard ‘We Don’t Talk Anymore’ is 111 bpm, if you’re interested . . . Archie Bell ‘Strategy’ is due soon, but the Jones Girls’ follow-up will be ‘You Made Me Love You’ and not the already proven ‘Life Goes On’ LP track . . . Sarsie (01-980 2517) is looking for a new East London funk venue (emphasis on FUNK) following trouble with the kids at his last one – why can’t they behave? . . . Clive Southwell, who now adds weekends from Fri-thru-Monday at Angel Islington’s Blue Coat Boy to his gigs, reports the two far and away most popular requests at the recent Teen-Ex ‘79 teenagers’ exhibition were Slick ‘Space Bass’ and Jacksons ‘Shake Your Body’ . . . Decca’s Robert Blenman, fresh from accompanying Radio Luxembourg’s Roadshow, reports that South-Western DJs find disco product hard to get in local shops and have to contend with Wally requests – so what else is new? . . . Gary Oldis (Newton Aycliffe Gretna Green) is disgusted at the power of the (local) press following a recent visit to his club by a reporter who observed healthy disco activity through the bottom of a glass and went away to write lurid headlines about lechery and sex amongst the teenage set . . . Teesvalley Roadshow’s recently mentioned smart printed leather keyrings, handed out in place of business cards, have already brought in six extra bookings . . . David Emery (Newcastle) sez my plug for his promotion organizing service brought an immediate first day result, with Central Line’s agent ringing him to arrange local gigs – so you see it really does make sense to appear on this page! . . . Dave Else (Guildford Bridge) suggests funky silliness with Brother Bones ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ – the Harlem Globetrotters’ old training song – which gets ‘em skipping all over the joint: only trouble is, ya gotta find it, as it’s on 1952 Oriole . . . Iain Borg & Trevor “Rasta” Chapman (Croydon Foxy) are briefly funking Malta at St Paul’s Bay Regals and The Villa Rossa – and their anticipation of Wally fodder being needed too is only half-confirmed by the just-returned Rus Phillips (Manor Park Ere For Music), who says it’s very “disco” but with some cool clubs there as well . . . Rus also kicks off a sorta Jox Yockettes finale: “I approached a Maltese DJ and asked ‘have you got Spyro Gyra?’ – he replied ‘why, does it show?’!” . . . Gary Allan (Liverpool McMillen’s): “A recent disco chart in the Daily Star made me realize I’d been introducing Diana Ross’s newie wrongly – they listed it as ‘The Boff’ (which is US slang for…)” (Enough! -Ed.) . . . Neil Fincham (Dunbar Goldenstones – and Monday late-niters at Gullane Old Clubhouse): “best request of the week – punter appears on stage, ‘can I have a request?’ ‘Sure, what?’ ‘Will you stop the music suddenly for about ten seconds so I can watch everybody looking silly?’ Answer unprintable.” (Thank God! -Ed.) . . . Sterling Vann (Bethnal Green Tipples): “Wally import newsflash – ‘Saturday Night Fever’ for imminent UK release! Latest Wally hit – ‘Polly Wolly Doodle’!” . . . Tom Wilson (Edinburgh Rutland): “Did you hear about the Irishman who had an artificial leg fitted? – his Wellie rejected it!”

UK Newies

DAVID BENDETH: ‘Feel The Real’ (Sidewalk 12SID 113)
Currently the disco chart’s biggest import, this gradually building 122-125 bpm 12in jazz-funk jiggler humps along with laid-back vocals suddenly spurting into a catchy staccato hook over the Canadian-based English guitarist’s chunky rhythm drive.

MIROSLAV VITOUS: ‘New York City’ (Warner Bros. K 17448T)
Much sought jazz-funk collectors’ item from ‘76 finally on 12in, the freaky 133 bpm bass burbler will have specialist appeal only but should go like hot cakes! Pity my copy’s warped.

MATUMBI: ‘Point Of View’ (MR 12RIC 101)
Madly catchy 120-124/62 bpm jaunty reggae 12in with an almost Dr Buzzard-like fascinating harmony echo effect and strange brass, likely to be huge.  Continue reading “September 1, 1979: David Bendeth, Miroslav Vitous, Matumbi, Eddy Grant, Bobby Rush”

August 25, 1979: “Record executives are muttering about disco being the goose that laid a leaden egg, and the big backlash seems to be under way.”

Record executives are muttering about disco being the goose that laid a leaden egg, and the big backlash seems to be under way. Typically they only ever saw disco as a bandwagon on which to jump, and are to be blamed if the expected sales didn’t materialise.

In the USA, disco – or, as it ought to be, “Disco” – became the great white hope after radio stations found that by playing nothing but dance music their audience ratings improved dramatically. This is not so surprising in view of the appallingly dull state of normal US radio output – “disco” by virtue of being lively became the new rock ‘n roll.

In this country, thankfully, radio is more varied and jumbles in enough exciting records not to need disco as anything more than another lively link in its normal programming. However, thanks to the buzz caused Stateside by the “disco” radio ratings, the US record industry got geared up to flood the market with what it presumed was wanted . . . and this oversupply of “disco” product swept over into Britain too.

The trouble was, here we are less enamoured of US style “disco” and still like our dance music to have a root in good old US style “soul”. Further, the UK disco market is still only really capable of buying a hit into the 40s on the pop chart – the big chart disco hits are in fact often tainted with the dreaded “disco” zinginess but rely on Wally rather than club-goer sales. The British club-goer does exactly that, goes to clubs, dresses up and spends money on these activities probably in far greater proportion than on actually buying records.

Let’s face it, today’s disco records sound great at a club, but as so many of them are structured primarily for DJ’s to play and mix into others just like them, the average club-goer can not be blamed for preferring to hear them in their correct context rather than in all their naked thump-thump-thump isolation at home.

But when the shocking truth comes out, that a legitimate Top 10 hit in all the disco charts can’t even sell 4,000 copies (which was the recent case with one particular record), the blame must surely be directed at the nation’s disc-jockeys. When a record is evidently that popular, what the hell are all you 30, 60, or however many thousand DJ’s doing? Not buying it and catering to your dancers’ needs, it seems, and certainly not helping improve relations with the record companies.

No wonder that mailing lists are being suspended, pruned and chopped. It would be no bad thing if every company stopped sending out promos in one fell swoop. That would soon sort out the men from the boys, put up running costs, and force DJ’s to go out (as of course the vast majority do) to – horror of horrors! – actually BUY their records.

This could have two effects: it might finally raise the money earned by most DJ’s, and it might make them even more aware of imports. If you’re in an import-stocking record shop, the difference in price between a hot import 12in and its less-fresh UK version is not so great, especially when the UK version comes out weeks later.

Disco is not dead, whatever the record companies may think, but if in thinking that they reduce the number of their disco releases it should help everyone. Those who want a record badly enough can always get it on import, those who don’t want to spend their money can always get out of the disc-jockeying business and work for Leyland. If it means a rationalization and re-think, then I for one say, DISCO IS DEAD, LONG LIVE DISCO!

More clubs next week, but right now seems an appropriate point to talk about disco radio in New York City. You have to realise that there is a ludicrous number of radio stations beaming all sorts of programme formats at the population of New York (all US radio is local), with the result that if a station gets just 4 per cent of the available audience it’s probably the market leader. This is the sort of percentage that WKTU-FM gained when it switched formats to become WKTU (“Disco 92”) – it being at 92 on the dial – playing nothing but disco (and lots and lots of “disco”!). Also on FM, the more soul-orientated WBLS had been programming in a disco style for several years already, but with a blacker sound (it still remains by far the more listenable of the two!); however, it was the more blatantly white-orientated “disco” crud that won the ratings war for WKTU.

Although both stations’ jocks do a certain amount of mixing, they are by no means up to club DJ standards, and the overall presentation is surprisingly slip-shod. The buzz for a British visitor is immense, though, as just by turning on the radio you can hear pretty well all the soul and disco material denied us on the airwaves here! 24 hours a day, in unending rotation! Yes, it actually wears off after a time, and by tuning along the FM band you then find WRVR playing nothing but jazz and jazz-funk, or some indecipherable Latin station (as well as all the rock, pop, MoR, religious, news, country, classical and minority interest stuff), while over on the heavily compressed and sizzling AM band are the sadly fallen from grace WWRL soul station (my fave in the ‘60s) and the great reggae/calypso/funk/jazz/disco of WLIB, aimed at New York’s large enough Caribbean population. Drool, drool?!?

UK Newies

ASHFORD & SIMPSON: ‘Found A Cure’ (Warner Bros. K 17422T) (BNDA debut 7/14/79)
Superb thumping strutting 124bpm 12in with searing soul wailing in bursts between intense instrumental sections.

IAN DURY & THE BLOCKHEADS: ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful, Pt. 3’ (Stiff 12BUY 50) (BNDA debut 10/20/79)
Foiled at every attempt to include this review, it’s less late than it looks! Thought you ought to know the funkily jittering 12in thudder is 122-123bpm, with sorta Instant Funk influence!

STANLEY CLARKE: ‘Just A Feeling’ (from LP ‘I Wanna Play For You’, Nemperor/Epic EPC 88331)
Dynamite happily jiggling jittery 110bpm vocoder and chix-chanted jazz-funk strutter, hopefully for singles release as this is a double LP (with plenty of good listening).  Continue reading “August 25, 1979: “Record executives are muttering about disco being the goose that laid a leaden egg, and the big backlash seems to be under way.””

August 18, 1979: Crusaders, FLB, Al Hudson & The Partners, Frantique, Johnny Mathis

Disco News

Fred Dove has suspended WEA’s mailing list and will concentrate on testing product around the clubs – where will the axe fall next? . . . Eddy Grant’s Ice label has signed with Virgin for distribution and not WEA as previously announced, his ‘Walking On Sunshine’ 12in being rush released and The Mexicano’s ‘Move Up Starsky’ blue vinyl 12in remix due soon . . . Chris Brown, currently sunning on the Riviera until the 24th, has mixed a four-track segued 12in jazz-funk EP for A&M, while similarly Steve Walsh has done one for Arista (the latter using old Breakwater and Mandrill material) . . . Kleeer and Herbie Mann each have a three-track 12in due next week, Miroslav Vitous ‘New York City’ finally being out next week, as is Alma Faye ‘Don’t Fall In Love’ . . . Gap Band ‘Baby Baba Boogie’ 12in has been postponed . . . Crusaders remix and David Bendeth import 12in are proving hard to find for many . . . Archie Bell ‘Strategy’, though less of a singalong, is being tipped by some as the next McFadden & Whitehead-type anthem, while the “wha-ohh-wah-ahh” chant from Isley Brothers ‘Shout’ oldie is already huge for Chris Hill and could just chart RCA’s imminent 12in version . . . Stan Barrett hosted a lavish party this last Sunday at his Canvey Island Goldmine to celebrate the notorious disco’s 7th birthday, attended by London’s “funk mafia” plus other select Thames Estuary jocks (and their ladies), Chris Hill then building the fancy-dressed punters up to the most amazing silly session party finale I’ve ever witnessed! Englishmen now abed will think themselves accursed they were not there, especially as Timmy Gover dolled up in white suit and complete rubber John Travolta head mask to fool the gawpers outside . . . August Bank Holiday starts on Sunday 26th at Brighton Papillon with Mick & Paul Clark’s funky beach party prior to the following day’s Great Brighton Beach Party with Chris Hill and the old Purley dodderers joining the same crew at the Top Rank: meanwhile, other Monday all-dayers include new boys Al “Purple Heart” Matthews, Steve Walsh and more at Purley Tiffanys; Colin Curtis, Mark Joenz, John Grant, Phil Kelly & Eric Hearn at Liverpool’s Romeo & Juliets; Robbie Stewart, Dave Middleton, Tony Charles & more at Bletchley Peaches; and indeed just about every pub with a back room seems to be getting in on the act . . . EMI disco plugger Pete Dyos is quitting on September 3rd to open a Brentwood-based studio, agency and freelance promotion service (0277-225110), applicants for his EMI job being invited to contact Jeff Atherton at Manchester Square . . . Phil Mitchell, compiling an all-time “Humberside Soul Poll” for local radio, wants the area’s funk fans to send in their fave soul Top Tens to him, c/o Paul Hunsley, Electric Wireless Show, Radio Humberside, 9 Chapel Street, Hull . . . Bob Jones soon starts a jazz-funk Tuesday at Southend’s Zero 6, where live jazz-fusion groups will also appear – and any groups interested in a gig should contact Colin at Record Man of Rayleigh (Rayleigh 779722) . . . Havering DJ Association have another Disco 79 dance at Barking’s Volunteer next Friday (24), the £1.50 tickets from HDJA Secretary (who potential DJ members should contact too), Brian Mead, at 18 Cowley Road, Romford . . . BBC local radio cutbacks, mainly achieved by an evening relay of Radio 2, must put many soul shows in danger – already Medway’s Tony “Shades” Valence has had his orders . . . TCOJ’s animated lead singer breaks bricks with his voice – beware! . . . EMI LRD are reportedly flirting with a major US soul label from a certain city of brotherly love . . . Groove Records in Soho’s Greek Street now stock a well up-front selection of hot import cassettes, worth checking . . . Nicki Peck (Chatham Scamps) writes a really rather good “Disco Pecking” section every Friday in the Medway area’s Evening Post . . . “Elvis – The Movie” is surprisingly excellent but because of its authenticity and quality is also frustrating to watch when you realise that another hour of it got edited out between US TV screening and UK cinema – what do we miss?! . . . James “Fish” Heron, who used to send charts regularly, is now Clyde Coast DJ Assn secretary as his predecessor resigned the post due to apathy . . . Martin Starr & Dennis Richards of Bristol’s Just 4U funk club have issued a challenge to meet Camberley Frenchies at any midway venue from September onwards – to do what, one wonders?

UK Newies

Next week there’ll be more New York report, but right now let’s get rid of some reviews . . . and there are so many goodies about!

CRUSADERS: ‘Street Life’ (MCA MCAT 513) (BNDA debut 9/29/79)
Terrific 12in remix, minus slow start and speeded up 3bpm so it’s now an ever-accelerating 108-116bpm. Try mixing into Joe Sample’s old ‘There Are Many Stops Along The Way’!

FLB: ‘Lookin’ For Love Tonight’ (Fantasy 12FTC 179) (BNDA debut 9/8/79)
GQ-style superb solid 123bpm 12in chugger, out here (as was Slick) ahead of the USA.

AL HUDSON & THE PARTNERS: ‘You Can Do It’ (MCA MCAT 511) (BNDA debut 6/16/79)
Powerfully strutting 116bpm 12in chugger with usefully abrupt chop intro.  Continue reading “August 18, 1979: Crusaders, FLB, Al Hudson & The Partners, Frantique, Johnny Mathis”

August 11, 1979: Studio 54, part 2 – “a lot less exciting than its publicity would have one believe.”

Last time the description of Studio 54 was incomplete. Housed in a converted theatre in the Ed Sullivan CBS TV building (where the Beatles taped a show), it still has the theatre balcony with the dancefloor being where front stalls and stage once were so that it is this great ceiling height that enables the previously mentioned mirrored light columns to drop down into the dancers from above. Other effects include a swinging illuminated heart on a pendulum scything above their heads and sudden artificial snowstorms billowing from the balcony, but it’s the backdrop area that houses the most spectacular – if rather limited – set of effects, which are raised and lowered with an interest-numbing regularity. These are mainly an Inca-type Sun God head and a crescent Man In The Moon who snorts coke from a spoon up his lightbulb-animated nostril – fun once, but dragsville the fourth time. In setting out to stun and then not maintaining the momentum, Studio 54 is a lot less exciting than its publicity would have one believe.

Its close rival down near Times Square on West 43rd Street, the notorious Xenon is almost as hard to get into . . . and, following a fracas when a bunch of us weren’t even allowed in on our February visit although there were tickets for us inside, I didn’t try too hard this time. However, enthusiastic reports from money-flourishing Fatman suggest that DJ Tony Smith spins a superior range of varied and quite funky music, while the sound approaches Paradise Garage quality – and the effects include a near naked lady suddenly riding through on a real live white horse! Lasers evidently provide much of the lighting, used rather dangerously if you consider that, after three stark naked girls had jumped on top of some speaker stacks and started dancing, all the lights went out and the lasers zeroed in on three furry pussies!

Just as Paradise Garage has won awards for its sound system, so has The Ice Palace for its lighting. Situated on the salubrious corner of West 57th Street and Avenue of the Americas, the Palace is dead easy to get into . . . and full of young white guys dancing mainly with each other, to the most appalling variety of Euro and New York disco dreck, which (on the night I was there) wasn’t even mixed excitingly. And this is Ian Levine’s favourite disco in the whole world! As for the lighting, with a name like Ice Palace not surprisingly the whole place is walled with mirrors, giving a cold harsh atmosphere as flashing neon, strobes and helicopters reflect off every surface. At least with mid-week admission of £2.65 including two stiff drinks, it’s not expensive – but then drinks in all New York’s discos are surprisingly cheap.

More next week, but please note that the next Billboard Forum (not essential in itself) will be in Los Angeles during February, and Chris Hill is taking over a team of London funk mafia to play in a chain of LA clubs for ‘British Week’ to show the hopeless West Coast jocks how it’s done . . . and Adrian Webb of Showstopper Promotions (01-886 4112) really IS organising a cheap rate package trip, but needs to hear from you within the next fortnight if you’re planning to go (for whatever reason). It’ll be a ball, so y’all come, hear?

Disco News

Come hell, high water, and public holidays, when all about me falter, this Disco page is always in Record Mirror – right? – but last week my two final mobile gigs of the summer proved too much: I simply had to sleep. So, sorry if you missed it, but even you have a holiday sometimes . . . Camberley’s Frenchies is running an invitation-only British Disco Convention for selected top jocks on Tuesday, October 2nd, with a forum panel including Chris Hill, Froggy, promoter Adrian Webb, CBS’s Greg Lynn, a solicitor and myself, followed by buffet and cabaret, the emphasis being on entertainment and a chance to meet informally . . . Frenchies’s DJ team is now Chris Brown, Robin Nash, Jeff Young and Nick Halliday, alternating every Sunday at Camberley Cambridge Hotel and Cardiff Lloyds . . . Showstopper Productions’ Caister overflow funk weekender at Perrin Sands in Cornwall on 26/27/28 October (the earlier Weymouth venue now being scrapped) will feature all the Caister jocks except Greg Edwards and has a Mardi Gras fancy dress theme – as does Southgate Royalty’s 1st anniversary Chris Hill night next Friday (31) – while Showstopper and the Brighton Soul Society combine on August 27th Bank Holiday Monday for a Great Brighton Beach Party at Brighton Top Rank with all the old Purley jocks like Chris Hill, Robbie Vincent, Chris Brown, Sean French, Froggy and more . . . Ashford & Simpson ‘Found A Cure’, Con Funk Shun ‘Chase Me’, Raydio ‘Rock On’, Bryan Adams ‘Let Me Take You Dancing’ are due on 12in now, with Bonnie Boyer ‘Got To Give In To Love’, Bobby Rush ‘I Wanna Do The Do’, Isley Bros ‘Shout’, Van McCoy ‘The Hustle’, Bill Summers ‘Dancing Lady’, Slick ‘Sexy Cream’ out later this month . . . David Bendeth ‘Feel The Real’ is rumoured to be EMI’s for UK, while further hot poop has a segued three-track Heatwave promo 12in in circulation . . . Magnet’s Joanna Kochen retires next week for a pre-nuptial rest . . . London’s LODJ Assn jocks are providing music for a week from Saturday (11) at the National Teen-Ex 79 exhibition in Westminster Horticultural Halls . . . Norman Scott now jocks at London’s Sundown every Fri/Saturday, Bang on Mondays, and at Leicester Square Empire’s roller disco every Sunday afternoon . . . Iain Borg & Trevor Chapman with guests like Mick Clark funk Croydon’s Foxy in Lower Addiscombe Road every Fri/Sat/Sunday, and plan a soul weekend near Windsor Castle (not the Great Park, I hope!) . . . Dennis Brynner, Dave Van Seiger, Kim Perritt & Neville Tan, DJ team at Southampton’s new plus Barbarellas on the old Centre site, have to contend with an elevating DJ console that goes up and down the wall! . . . Clem Curtis, ex-Foundations, proved he’s been a soul singer all this time when he really wailed while singing over his ‘Unchained Melody/Need Your Love’ at Mayfair’s Gullivers – where, contrary to rumour, the “rock” dancing crowd are evidently too young to remember King Floyd’s 1970 original of Fern Kinney’s ‘Groove Me’ . . . David Emery (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 813797) invites enquiries from record companies and other youth-market firms interested in running promotions on Tyneside . . . Capital Radio, with Mike Smith sounding like Graham Dene and now John Sachs sounding like Mike Allen, risks going the Radio One route where so many jocks (to these ears) sound like Tony Blackburn . . . Peter Sedgebeer (Tonbridge Hilden Manor/Rugby Club) points out rightly that with the pound so strong against the dollar, why the hell are imports still so expensive? . . . UK record companies could well be following their US counterparts in cutting back on disco promotion . . . Teesvalley Roadshow (Redcar 475854) have had some smart goldprinted leather key-rings run up at only £9.50 per 100, which works out at the same price as an ad in the local paper but by being handy permanent reminders could prove 100 times more effective when given to satisfied punters instead of a business card . . . Larry Foster (Canonbury Mildmay Tavern) suggests as a good mix to bridge from disco when rock is requested, Donna Summer ‘Bad Girls’ into ELO ‘Shine A Little Love’ into Rolling Stones ‘Miss You’ . . . Chris Hill fans beware: he’s currently inflicting Tiny Tim ‘The Happy Wanderer’ on his silly sessions! . . . Neil Fincham (Dunbar Goldenstones) asks, what’s green and turns red at the flick of a switch? – A frog in a liquidiser (is it Froggy’s eyes after a hard night?)! Either way, we don’t wish to know that – goodnight!

Too many records and too little space means that to keep you fairly up to date on what at least is out, this week I am reduced to listing everything that by now it would have been nice to have reviewed. You will see the problem, I think! Maybe next week there’ll be more room?  Continue reading “August 11, 1979: Studio 54, part 2 – “a lot less exciting than its publicity would have one believe.””

August 4, 1979: chart only this week, no column

UK Disco Top 90 – August 4, 1979

01 04 Slick – Space Bass – Fantasy 12″
02 06 Chic – Good Times – Atlantic 12″
03 01 Anita Ward – Ring My Bell – TK 12″
04 03 Earth, Wind & Fire & The Emotions – Boogie Wonderland – CBS 12″
05 02 McFadden & Whitehead – Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now – Philadelphia Int’l 12″
06 07 Chantal Curtis – Get Another Love – Pye 12″
07 05 Sister Sledge – We Are Family – Atlantic 12″
08 09 Donna Summer – Bad Girls / One Love – Casablanca 12″/LP
09 08 Teena Marie – I’m A Sucker For Your Love – Motown 12″
10 12 Patrick Hernandez – Born To Be Alive – Gem 12″
11 11 Edwin Starr – H.A.P.P.Y. Radio – 20th Century 12″
12 10 Eddy Grant – Living On The Frontline – Ensign 12″
13 15 Janet Kay – Silly Games – Scope 12″
14 16 Earth, Wind & Fire – Star / Let Your Feelings Show / After The Love Is Gone / In The Stone / Rock That / I Can’t Let Go – CBS LP
15 14 Deniece Williams – I’ve Got The Next Dance – CBS 12″
16 24 Diana Ross – The Boss / No One Gets The Prize / It’s My House – Motown 12″/LP
17 18 Amii Stewart – Light My Fire – Atlantic 12″
18 13 Carrie Lucas – Dance With You – Solar 12″
19 19 Billy Paul – Bring The Family Back – Philadelphia Int’l 12″
20 25 Crusaders – Street Life / Carnival Of The Night – MCA LP
21 38 Gibson Brothers – Oooh! What A Life / Better Do It Salsa – Island 12″/LP
22 17 Joe Thomas – Make Your Move / Sugar Smack – TK 12″
23 22 Donna Summer – Hot Stuff – Casablanca 12″
24 20 V/A – Turn On The Tap (all cuts) – Tappan Zee 12″ EP
25 21 Tata Vega – Get It Up For Love – Motown 12″
26 30 Frantique – Strut Your Funky Stuff – Philadelphia Int’l 12″
27 28 Harvey Mason – Groovin’ You – Arista 12″
28 32 Jones Girls – You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else – Philadelphia Int’l 12″
29 27 Light Of The World – Midnight Groovin’ – Ensign 12″/LP
30 41 Spyro Gyra – Morning Dance / Starburst – Infinity 7″/LP
31 39 David Bendeth – Feel The Real – Canadian IGM 12″
32 26 Five Special – Why Leave Us Alone – Elektra 12″
33 44 Jackie McLean – Dr. Jackyll And Mr. Funk – RCA 12″
34 23 Candi Staton – When You Wake Up Tomorrow – Warner Bros. 12″
35 29 Peter Brown – Crank It Up – TK 12″
36 40 L.A.X. – Dancin’ At The Disco – Pye 12″
37 37 Village People – Go West – Mercury 12″
38 45 Candido – Dancin’ & Prancin’ / Jingo / Thousand Finger Man / Rock & Shuffle – Salsoul LP/US 12″
39 85 Real Thing – Boogie Down (Get Funky Now) – Pye 12″
40 86 Al Wilson – Earthquake – RCA 12″
41 68 Me And You – You Never Know What You’ve Got – Laser/Deb Music 12″
42 43 George Benson – Unchained Melody / Before You Go – Warner Bros. 12″
43 47 Hudson People – Trip To Your Mind – Ensign 12″
44 70 Olympic Runners – The Bitch – Polydor 12″
45 46 Taka Boom – Night Dancin’ – Ariola 12″
46 31 Roxy Music – Dance Away – Polydor 7″
47 34 GQ – Make My Dream A Reality – Arista 12″
48 35 Gary’s Gang – Showtime / Let’s Lovedance Tonight – CBS 12″
49 33 War – Good Good Feelin’ – MCA 12″
50 51 Smokey Robinson – Get Ready – US Motown LP
51 52 Jackie Moore – This Time Baby – CBS 12″
52 74 Skyy – First Time Around – Salsoul 12″
53 57 Patrick Juvet – Swiss Kiss / Lady Night – Casablanca 12″/LP
54 63 Antonia Rodriguez – La Bamba – Magnet 12″
55 36 Melba Moore – Pick Me Up, I’ll Dance – Epic 12″
56 56 Sylvester – Stars / Body Strong – Fantasy 12″/US 12″ remix
57 59 Bonnie Pointer – Heaven Must Have Sent You – Motown 12″ remix
58 60 Direct Current – Everybody Here Must Party – Sidewalk 12″
59 49 Switch – Best Beat In Town – Motown 12″
60 42 Gino Soccio – Dancer / Dance To Dance – Warner Bros. 12″
61 76 David Naughton – Makin’ It – RSO 12″
62 64 James Brown – It’s Too Funky In Here – Polydor 12″
63 55 Ralph MacDonald – I Need Someone / East Dry River / Discolypso / You Are In Love – US Marlin LP
64 53 Herbie Hancock – Tell Everybody – CBS 12″/US 12″ remix
65 50 Heatwave – Razzle Dazzle / Eyeballin’ / Raise A Blaze / Therm Warfare / One Night Tan – GTO 12″/LP
66 65 Lenny Williams – If You’re In Need / Doin’ The Loop De Loop / When I’m Dancin’ – US MCA LP
67 NE Ashford & Simpson – Found A Cure – US Warner Bros. 12″
68 77 Stephanie Mills – Put Your Body In It / Whatcha Gonna Do With My Lovin’ / Don’t Stop Dancin’ – 20th Century LP/US 12″
69 62 Uncle Louie – Full Tilt Boogie – US TK 12″
70 54 Lalo Schifrin – Chile Caliente – US Warner Bros. LP
71 89 Isley Brothers – It’s A Disco Night / Life In The City / I Wanna Be With You / Let’s Fall In Love / Liquid Love – Epic LP
72 NE Kandidate – Girls Girls Girls – Rak 7″
73 NE Savoy – Sunny Side Of The Street – EMI 12″
74 90 Kleeer – It’s Magic / I Love To Dance / Tonight’s The Night – US Atlantic LP
75 61 Herb Alpert – Rise – US A&M 12″
76 75 Mass Production – Welcome To Our World / Cosmic Lust / Strollin’ – Atlantic 12″
77 82 Breakwater – Work It Out – Arista 12″
78 NE Atlantic Starr – (Let’s) Rock ‘N Roll – A&M 12″
79 71 Poussez – Come On And Do It / Boogie With Me / Never Gonna Say Goodbye – Vanguard 12″/LP
80 78 Tom Browne – What’s Going On / Throw Down / The Closer I Get To You – US Arista/GRP LP
81 66 Dexter Wansel – I’ll Never Forget (My Favourite Disco) / It’s Been Cool – US Philadelphia Int’l 12″
82 NE Ronnie Foster – Argentina / Feet / Let Me Into Your Life – US Columbia LP
83 NE Ritz – Locomotion – Epic 12″
84 79 Chain Reaction – Sweet Lady (Dance With Me) – US Jam Sessions 12″
85 84 Brainstorm – Hot For You – Tabu 12″
86 88 Nuggets – New York / Proud Mary – Mercury 12″
87 NE Philly Cream – Motown Review – Fantasy 12″
88 83 Terry Callier – Sign Of The Times – Elektra LP/US 12″
89 73 Central Line – Wot We Got – Phonogram 12″ promo
90 NE Deodato – Shazam / Space Dust / Knights Of Fantasy / Whistle Bump / Sherlock – US Warner Bros. LP
NE = new entry; RE = re-entry

Appeared in Billboard:
#2 (BNDA debut 6/23/79) / #3 (BNDA debut 4/14/79) / #4 (BNDA debut 6/2/79)
#5 (BNDA debut 4/7/79) / #6 (BNDA debut 6/23/79) / #7 (BNDA debut 2/10/79)
#8 (BNDA debut 4/21/79) / #10 (BNDA debut 5/19/79) / #11 (BNDA debut 6/9/79)
#15 (BNDA debut 6/16/79) / #16 (BNDA debut 6/23/79) / #18 (BNDA debut 3/10/79)
#20 (BNDA debut 9/29/79) / #21 (BNDA debut 9/8/79) / #23 (BNDA debut 4/21/79)
#25 (BNDA debut 4/14/79) / #27 (BNDA debut 6/16/79) / #28 (BNDA debut 5/12/79)
#32 (BNDA debut 7/7/79) / #34 (BNDA debut 5/26/79) / #35 (BNDA debut 6/9/79)
#36 (BNDA debut 6/2/79) / #37 (BNDA debut 4/7/79) / #38 (BNDA debut 6/30/79)
#44 (BNDA debut 9/29/79) / #49 (BNDA debut 4/14/79) / #51 (BNDA debut 6/23/79)
#53 (BNDA debut 6/9/79) / #54 (BNDA debut 4/7/79) / #55 (BNDA debut 4/7/79)
#56 (BNDA debut 3/24/79) / #57 (BNDA debut 5/5/79) / #58 (BNDA debut 4/7/79)
#59 (BNDA debut 7/7/79) / #60 (BNDA debut 2/24/79) / #61 (BNDA debut 3/10/79)
#62 (BNDA debut 6/16/79) / #64 (BNDA debut 7/14/79) / #67 (BNDA debut 7/14/79)
#68 (BNDA debut 6/2/79) / #71 (BNDA debut 8/25/79) / #75 (BNDA debut 7/28/79)
#76 (BNDA debut 11/6/76) / #79 (BNDA debut 4/14/79) / #85 (BNDA debut 4/7/79)
#86 (BNDA debut 6/30/79) / #90 (BNDA debut 12/1/79)