December 1, 1979: Positive Force, Roy Ayers, Kurtis Blow, Brass Construction, Narada Michael Walden

Odds ‘N Bods

Funk Mafia “family” members Chris Hill, Sean French, Chris Brown, Jeff Young, Tom Holland & Froggy head North on Sunday (2) to steal the bread out of local jocks’ mouths at an all-dayer in Oldham Romeo & Juliets – resentment seems to be running high amongst provincial DJs unable to make a national name for themselves! . . . Elton John ‘Johnny B. Goode’ (Rocket XPRES 2412) and Village People ‘Ready For The 80s’ (Mercury 9198505) are on 12in, the latter also on promo only 12in remix with overdubbed simple Xmas message from VP Ray Simpson . . . O’Jays ‘Sing A Happy Song’, Deniece Williams ‘I Found Love’ are now on US 12in . . . Pye’s R&B Division have done a promo only strawberry shaped and scented 7in of Rufus & Chaka . . . Mecca needs a dozen DJ’s for European work from February onwards using their own records – send demo tape and photo to Paul Casson, Mecca Agency, 14 Oxford Street, London W1N OHL . . . Honey Bee Benson awarded a six month £3,500 IDEA contract for Norwegian work to Jeff Slater (Chesham), who came third in the recent Gloucester Tiffanys mobile disco competition organized by Barry’s Disco Shop, which was won by lively newcomers Paul & Sam of Atmosphere II, Little Ian’s Creation Roadshow being 2nd . . . Billboard’s Disco International Forum in Monaco has been postponed until next autumn due to poor response . . . Radio London’s charity marathon in aid of Caribbean relief this Saturday will include a live link up with Mayfair Gullivers – I hope Fatman stays sober! . . . Greg Lynn has been promoted to product manager at CBS, prompting Mark Clark (Wokingham King Of Clubs) to comment “now that CBS is almost the same size as the Civil Service presumably they’re starting to copy their practice of pushing troublesome people upstairs!” . . . Lorraine Trent is now CBS Disco Pool chief, while at Phonogram with John Waller also promoted like Greg the disco plugger is Orin “Ladies Man” Cozier . . . Newcastle upon Tyne’s swank new Reflexions 2 in the Cloth Market (the old Inn Cognito site) is funkily import-orientated with regular jocks being Martin Urwin, Akin Oni, David Emery . . . Sunday next (9) Pete Tong, Tony Monson & Bob Jones funk the Thames with a riverboat all-niter leaving Westminster Bridge at 12:30am, £5 tickets from the jocks’ gigs or Disc Empire and Blues & Soul record shops . . . Chris Dinnis’s recent Perrin Sands Reunion at Sidmouth Winter Garden upped his funk nights’ normal prices, attracted fewer punters and thus lost the venue as a gig – which shows how much into the music South Devon fans are! . . . Ernie Priestman, partner/DJ at Whitehaven’s Whitehouse and a secret Genesis fan, restricts the club’s capacity to just 500 regardless of queues left outside so that there’s still a comfortable space to move and groove in – an enlightened policy surely? . . . Gary Allan (Liverpool McMillans) reports the amazing fact that Liverpool currently lacks an import-stocking record shop despite the local DJ demand for one . . . Lowrell, a top seller in London, is still evidently not suitable for Capital Radio’s playlist . . . Steve Wiggins (Barry Rugby Club), recovering from a “Welcome Back The Mini” party, wants my remedy for cold-suffering jocks – well, my own cure is to OD on Vitamin C and go to bed with some sleeping pills, which sometimes is enough to dry me up for the following night . . . Chris Hill, who taught ‘em how to “silly” (not Philly) has a nifty mix of One Way ‘Music’ into George Duke ‘I Want You For Myself’ into Detroit Spinners ‘Body Language’, as well as Dazzle ‘You Dazzle Me’ into Patrice Rushen ‘Haven’t You Heard’.

UK Newies

POSITIVE FORCE: ‘We Got The Funk’ (Sugarhill SHL 102) (BNDA debut 1/12/80)
Immensely catchy chick-sung jittery 112bpm 12in “rock” jiggler has mind-knawingly nagging guitar jangling away and has been completely restructured for UK release so that the chant part that originally came in near the end is now spliced in all over the place for added impact. Oh, it mixes superbly both into and out of Sugarhill Gang!

ROY AYERS: ‘Don’t Stop The Feeling’ (from LP ‘No Stranger To Love’, Polydor 2391438) (BNDA debut 12/22/79)
Far more UK-style disco than his last self-consciously “disco” effort, the set’s strongest cut so far (it’s also on US promo 12in) is this incredibly repetitive jiggling 114-115bpm “rock” thudder with chanting Roy and wailing chick, which actually build up power through its monotony, while the formula repeats with slightly more vocal variation on the similarly sparse 120-119bpm ‘Shack Up, Pack Up, It’s Up (When I’m Gone)’ jitterer. ‘Slyde’ is a great simple fast leaping 129-128-130bpm bounder, ‘No Stranger To Love / Want You’ a lovely gently jogging 42bpm vibes instrumental that becomes a huskily multi-tracked vocal smoocher, ‘Don’t Let Our Love Slip Away’ a pretty Sergio Mendes-type 119-123bpm easy listening duet, ‘What You Won’t Do For Love’ an emphasis-shifting gentle yet tensely tugging 114/57-116/58-117bpm tempo switcher, and just the zingy 130-132-133bpm ‘Don’t Hide Your Love’ as his sole concession this time to dreaded US-style “disco”.

KURTIS BLOW: ‘Christmas Rappin’’ (Mercury BLOW 12)
‘Rapper’s Delight – Part Two’, except the tune is original and the DJ rap gets more varied, bringing in some call-and-answer audience participation towards the end. Starting with a 14 beat acappella “it was the night before Christmas” intro, the 112-113bpm 12in (not even out in the US yet!) mixes perfectly with Sugarhill Gang, of course!  Continue reading “December 1, 1979: Positive Force, Roy Ayers, Kurtis Blow, Brass Construction, Narada Michael Walden”

November 24, 1979: Robin Beck, Rose Royce, Sylvester, Slave, Native Son

Caister came to Whitehaven in Cumbria when Chris Hill showed the great crowd at the Whitehouse how to Philli on Sunday. The fancy dressers, including a large percentage of extremely pretty girls, were initiated into the “let me tell you a story” part of Chris’s act, where they all sat on the floor to hear about some Scouts and guides camping, only to keep leaping up again to be afraid of the big bad wolf or go around the mulberry bush. Of course, they loved it but the first time Chris visited the club they were undoubtedly not ready for such a radical departure from what is supposedly expected of a top funk jock. Brand new funk they got aplenty too, plus a rare ‘Brother Jack McDuff’ track for the jazz freaks, but the atmosphere really came alive with Doctor Hill’s fun through funk therapy session.

Although about as far as anywhere you can get in England, the Whitehouse attracts kids from Carlisle, Kendal, Keswick as well as the locals, many of whom were into jazz funk before as the owners were involved in other venues prior to transforming this stale cabaret club into a disco that amazingly is well equipped as any in New York – except the turntables lack slipmats, making my preliminary short mixing set a trick! Although attracting queues right down the road at the weekend, the music played on normal disco nights actually varies little from the specialist jazz/funk on Thursdays and Sundays.

Odds ‘N Bods

Diana Ross ‘It’s My House’ WILL be on 12in, with remixed ‘The Boss’ & ‘No One Gets The Prize’ as segued flip, according to Motown’s Les Spaine (responsible for the bum steer last time!) . . . Dan-I is now evidently on 12in as (on US Columbia) is Janis Ian’s great ‘Fly Too High’ which nobody apart from radio seems to be playing . . . Booker T’s original ‘Green Onions’ is due on Atlantic 7in . . . Donna Summer’s special segued 12in sampler is delayed until the New Year (OK, Arbie?) . . . Sugarhill Gang’s Henry Jackson is nicknamed “Big Hank”, and NOT “Big Tank” (though it could have been worse!) . . . Kenny Everett on his Saturday Capital Radio show demonstrated a new machine that speeds or slows recorded sound without the original pitch altering – what a gas for vari-speed spinners! . . . Greg Davies (Stevenage Bo Jangles/Watford New Penny) got the year’s first Christmas card to me, and is planning a big (but only £2 a head) DJ forum for mid February . . . Ashley Woods (Sleaford 303531), busy enough locally, wants hipper gigs in the East Midlands where his import-orientated sounds might be more fully appreciated . . . Dave Rawlings (Basingstoke Maxwells) swapped jobs for one night to try working behind the bar, and his advice for others is not to try likewise! . . . Chris Browne (High Wycombe Tuesdays) is back in partnership with Stuart Genslan of Coard Promotions (01-586 0204) organising drink and record company promotions, with reasonable rates and package deals . . . Larry Foster has returned to Ilford Room At The Top on Thursdays as well as Fridays . . . Brighton Papillon starts another funk night on Wednesday imminently, with Laurie Page & Paul Clark jocking . . . Ken Mitchell (Cardiff Club Ty-Mawr) recommends the reasonable prices and good sounds supplied by Julian at Buffalo Records in Cardiff – how about a sales chart then? . . . Steve Walsh (London Lyceum/etc) obviously doesn’t want any more mentions – he sent me that bloody “Brill Building” chain letter from which I see Rod Stewart’s name has finally been deleted although Eric Clapton, Herb Alpert etc are still listed . . . Diana Ross’s ‘Love Hangover’ seems to be reviving on 12in, but ¡s it new? Any details, Les? . . . Scottish jocks, calm down – Stargard is bigger in Edinburgh than anywhere else! . . . Pop ten titles outside the UK Disco 90: 1 (2) Village People, 2 (82 on the main chart) Dusty Springfield, 3 (10) Specials, 4 (3) Buggles, 5 (6) Dooleys, 6 (8) Sparks, 7 (9) Umberto Tozzi, 8 (7) Police, 9 (-) Madness, 10 (-) Quick ‘Sharks Are Cool’ (Epic 12in).

UK Newies

ROBIN BECK: ‘Sweet Talk’ (Mercury BECK 12) (BNDA debut 9/29/79)
Winsomely sung pleasant Chic-type 116(intro)-115bpm 12in jogger rolls and thuds precisely along.

ROSE ROYCE: ‘Is It Love You’re After’ (Whitfield K 17456T)
Full length 12in version has a much longer moodily pulsating and stabbing 118bpm intro before flowing through 121-122-123-118-122-123bpm.

SYLVESTER: ‘Can’t Stop Dancing’ (Fantasy 12FTC 183) (BNDA debut 11/17/79)
Strongly structured and powerfully galloping 132-130-132bpm 12in finally finds the fat boy back on form but may now be too frantic for today’s tastes.  Continue reading “November 24, 1979: Robin Beck, Rose Royce, Sylvester, Slave, Native Son”

November 17, 1979: Sugarhill Gang, Stix Hooper, Shalamar, Phyllis Hyman, Chuck Cissel

Odds ‘N Bods

Lake District look out – Chris Hill plus a carload including myself will be at Whitehaven’s Whitehouse in Strand Street this Sunday for a “Cartoon Characters & Monsters” fancydress funkathon! . . . Rose Royce is due on 12in after all, Fern Kinney is now on UK-issued German import 12in (K 79101T), Ritchie Family 12in is out next week, Stargard will only be on 7in . . . Village People ‘Sleazy’ is deleted as of this weekend to be replaced by ‘Ready For The 80s’ . . . Nature’s Divine ‘Nature Divine’ / ‘I Just Can’t Control Myself’ is due on 12in . . . Positive Force has been delayed until early December . . . Brick and the Bang label evidently are no longer Phonogram’s . . . Sunday’s Disco Forum at the Victoria Venue in London saw all the usual faces plus some new ones but fewer in total than last year, and while some of the panel discussions spluttered into controversial life the main value as usual was in being able to meet people – for instance, London’s Steve Walsh discovered he was born a few doors down from Paul Anthony’s RGS Records shop in Lichfield Street, Walsall, while I established that Gloucester’s Honey Bee Benson looks even better than her photos! . . . Fatman Graham Canter fills the 3 to 4:30 mid-afternoon MoR slot on BBC Radio London this week . . . Chris Browne (High Wycombe Tuesdays) says that Wednesdays & Saturdays have finally become funky with big crowds, Thursdays being decidedly Wally night, and that despite misleading advertising he has no dates at Maidenhead Alexandras (nor does Chris Browne) . . . Teesvalley Roadshow of 7 Crossbeck Way, Ormesby, Middlesbrough, Cleveland (Redcar 475854) would like info about good hotels to stay at while touring Germany next Whitsun . . . Manor Park’s ‘Ere For Music at 826 Romford Road, London E12 5AD, have some nifty “Jazz-Funk” T-shirts for sale, cream/brown or sky/navy, at £3 by post (state size, colour and inside leg measurement) . . . £275 could buy you a D-registration Mini Traveller, ideal for compact mobile gear, which runs beautifully but needs body repairs and new locks – I can recommend it as I’m currently driving it while my Transit’s at Mini owner Sparrow’s garage (01-589 6800) . . . Pop Ten (titles outside UK Disco 90): 1 (1) Dr. Hook, 2 (3) Village People, 3 (2) Buggles, 4 (7) Selecter, 5 (8) Freda Payne ‘Band Of Gold’, 6 (4) Dooleys, 7 (6) Police, 8 (-) Sparks, 9 (-) Umberto Tozzi ‘Gloria’ (CBS 12”), 10 (-) Specials . . . Chart contributors, please do your utmost to get ‘em here by Wednesday each week – some South Coast, North Wales, North West, Northern Scottish and even London jocks are consistently late (though they’re gratefully received of course!).

UK Newies

SUGARHILL GANG: ‘Rapper’s Delight’ (Sugarhill SHL 101) (BNDA debut 10/13/79)
Try riding the rhythm of a 15 minute 112bpm 12in instrumental version of ‘Good Times’ by rapping “I said a hip-hop, the hibbit, the hippidibby hip hip hoppa you don’t stop the rock and do the bad man boogie say up jumped the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie da beat”.

STIX HOOPER: ‘Cordon Bleu’ (MCA MCAT 536)
Madly jaunty accordion jitterer by the Crusaders’ drummer still accelerates through 109-111-113-114-115bpm on “remixed” 12in.

SHALAMAR: ‘The Second Time Around’ (Solar FC 1709) (BNDA debut 3/22/80)
Shuffling “rock” chugger with syndrums and real grow-on-you appeal is sadly only 115bpm on UK 12in, as the US version synchs perfectly between Al Hudson ‘You Can Do It’ and Deborah Washington ‘Rock It’.  Continue reading “November 17, 1979: Sugarhill Gang, Stix Hooper, Shalamar, Phyllis Hyman, Chuck Cissel”

November 10, 1979: Lowrell, Rose Royce, Ramsey Lewis, Spoonin’ Gee, George Duke

Caister Concluded [Again?]

At the recent Caister weekender, Sean French & Chris Brown’s Children’s Party featured such funk hits as ‘Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush’, ‘Robin Hood’, ‘Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?’ and a Sooty show to amuse the kiddywinks. Chris Hill’s opening night fairy story, with everyone sitting on the floor doing sillies linked in with the narrative, was about the triumph of music over evil oppression, while the ‘Shout’ call-and-response chant was accompanied by an arms up-stretched, wrist-twisting cupped hands salute (like unscrewing an imaginary lightbulb). But what has all this got to do with soul music, some sour-faced stick in the muds are asking? Not a lot, but does it matter? The music was there too, as a rallying point and reason for everyone to identify with each other. The current material being played has already worked its way up the disco chart now, but other oldies apart from Brass Construction that were heavily featured included Grover Washington ‘Sausalito’, Roy Ayers ‘Running Away’, Crown Heights Affair ‘Far Out’, Charles Earland ‘Let The Music Play’, Deodato ‘Whistle Bump’, El Coco ‘Let’s Get It Together’, Joe Sample ‘There Are Many Stops’, Miroslav Vitous ‘New York City’ and of course the O’Jays ‘I Love Music’. Of the newies, Positive Force proved to be too late an arrival on import in sufficient numbers, but has more than made up for it since! Anyway, by Caister’s end everyone was singing over Al Hudson the revised lyrics “you know you have done it”, and once again the tribes were able to feel as if they’d achieved something significant, the final Finale on Sunday evening with Billy Paul’s ‘Bring The Family Back’ and huge ‘Auld Lang Syne’ circles.

Odds ‘N Bods

Sugarhill Gang and Positive Force have been snapped up for rush release by Pye . . . Storm ‘It’s My House’ is now on Scope 12in too (SC 10T), and it seems Viola Wills is also on 12in (where’s mine?) . . . Robin Beck ‘Sweet Talk’ 12in and Wayne Henderson ‘Dancing Love Affair’ 7in are due this week . . . Kool’s ‘Too Hot’ has been pulled off the B-side for use as a follow-up, while Phonogram’s John Waller intimates that jocks unable to break ‘Ladies’ Night’ (and there are some!) have been chopped from his mailing list . . . Patrick Juvet ‘Swiss Kiss’ is hitting almost exclusively just Scotland and the South Coast . . . Hudson People ‘Boogie On Downtown’ heavily features Light Of The World . . . Cory Daye (pictured last week) was indeed the leading lady in Dr Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band, but has yet to pick up DJ interest here for her current US disco smash . . . Island, with the imminent redundancy of plugger Eon, seem to be reducing their disco output . . . Allen & Blewitt, disco-cabaret duo from Hinckley Bubbles, were planning to blow up Broadcasting House on Guy Fawkes Day as a sponsored stunt in aid of the Variety Club of Great Britain – anyone hear the bang? . . . Capital Radio’s Mike Allen actually warmed up for me at Erith 2001, while at the Daily Star’s 1st birthday party last week I proved that the (jolly nice) people who like Streisand/Summer and similar fast tempos are indeed those who can’t dance – in other words, the majority of the population! . . . Streisand/Summer’s tempo-less intro actually mixes nicely through Herb Alpert and Kat Mandu . . . DJF (GB) Secretary Tony Holden and Press/PRO Mike McLean have both resigned due to other commitments, acting officers elected in their place being LODJ’s Bill Forrester and Clyde Coast DJA’s James “Fish” Heron . . . North Midlands DJ Assn’s next monthly meetings will be at Kirk Sandall Glassmakers Hotel (Doncaster), details from Chris Watts or Derek Dane on Sheffield 686414 or 874280 . . . Ilford Room At The Top jubilantly won their court case, there now being no police objection to their new licence . . . Greg Davies is looking for the “worst singer in the world” at Watford New Penny every Wednesday until Xmas! . . . Steve Dee (High Wycombe) says local band Match agreed with my constructively critical review of their current ‘Mister Dee Jay’ . . . Scott Wilson (Edinburgh) is delighted his local Asylum record shop at last is getting US 12in imports . . . Gary Allen (Liverpool McMillans) sent me the necessary quid with which to celebrate his 21st, so cheers (hic)! . . . Phil Black (Cardiff) sez thanx to Sammy Southall, Gin (a bird) and Oxo for giving him a good time in Jersey . . . Elton John must wonder what happened – his ‘Victim Of Love’ didn’t even hit Scotland! . . . Pop Ten this week (titles outside UK Disco 90) are: 1(4) Dr Hook, 2(1) Buggles, 3 (-) Village People ‘Sleazy’, 4 (6) Dooleys, 5 (2) Blondie, 6 (9) Police, 7 (-) Selecter, 8 (-) Freda Payne ‘Band Of Gold’, 9 (-) Madness ‘The Prince’, 10 (-) Suzi Quatro.

UK Newies

LOWRELL: ‘Mellow Mellow Right On’ (AVI AVISL 108)
Dynamite hit-bound import smash gently thudding 88bpm 12in swayer like a huskier Marvin Gaye singing ‘Float On’, with for some reason a fractionally faster 91bpm version as flip.

ROSE ROYCE: ‘Is It Love You’re After’ (Whitfield K 17456)
Dramatic synthesizer, brass and syndrums intro to a happily romping 119-121bpm 7in with wide appeal.

RAMSEY LEWIS: ‘Spring High’ (CBS 12-8007)
Immensely catchy synthesiser (by Stevie Wonder) and piano 115bpm jazz-funk skipper leads off a 4-track £1.59 12in oldies EP, also including the 41/82bpm ‘That’s The Way Of The World’ slowie, excitingly complex 110-107bpm ‘Tequila Mockingbird’ rhythm chatterer and tootling, tinkling and buzzing 121-122bpm ‘All The Way Live’ loper – all his recent classics!  Continue reading “November 10, 1979: Lowrell, Rose Royce, Ramsey Lewis, Spoonin’ Gee, George Duke”

November 3, 1979: Jupiter Beyond, Shalamar, Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer, Prince, Sonny Rollins

Caister Concluded

Last week’s piece continued . . . The party atmosphere was everywhere, especially at the children’s party hosted by Sean (Rasta jacket) French and Chris (“anyone got a fag?”) Brown. Chris Hill on the opening night had set the tone with his Max Bygraves “let me tell you a story” routine, where everyone sits on the floor between doing sillies listening to a particularly moving fairy story. Then there were the anthems, ‘There’ll Always Be A Caister’ and a ‘Dad’s Army’ – like “Who do you think you’re kidding, John Travolta, if you think soul music’s dead?” – plus the now obligatory ‘Shout’ chant. After it was all over, a show of hands produced a Caister playlist, topped by Michael Jackson’s ‘Off The Wall’, Kool’s ‘Ladies’ Night’ and Brass Construction’s ‘Movin’’.

By Caister’s end everyone felt as if they’d achieved something significant. Till next time, “rock” on! PS: Southgate Royalty this Friday (2) have a Weekender Awards fancydress party when prize-winners from both Caister and Cornwall will get their goodies, while next Saturday (10) Sidmouth Winter Garden stars Chris Brown & Sean French for the first Perranporth Reunion fancydress party!

Odds ‘N Bods

MCA Records have acquired Atmosfear ‘Dancing In Outer Space’ for imminent 12in reissue (MCAT 543), to be followed by Stix Hooper ‘Cordon Bleu’ (MCAT 536) . . . Shalamar ‘The Second Time Around’ 12in has risen in my estimation since discovering it synchs perfectly with Al Hudson! . . . Robert Zohn last week was misprinted as Robert John in Imports . . . Chris Hill made a cameo appearance in Sunday’s ‘It’ll Be Alright On The Night’ TV show, followed on Monday by his ‘Roadshow Disco’ spot . . . Southampton University’s Friday night Bootsies soul disco now pulls more than the Saturday rock night and is claimed to shatter the stereotyped image of university students only liking one thing . . . Dave Middleton, ex-Peaches, has teamed up with the Bletchley Soul Club to run import-orientated funk nights, the first at Bletchley Sycamore Club on Nov 19 . . . Paul Anthony’s RGS Records at 37 Lichfield Street, Walsall, seems to be attracting all the jocks who are anyone within the Brum area . . . Pop 10 this week (titles outside the UK Disco 90) features: 1(1) Buggles, 2 (2) Blondie, 3 (-) ABBA, 4 (10) Dr Hook, 5 (-) Dusty Springfield, 6 (-) Dooleys, 7 (-) Barbra Streisand ‘Main Event’, 8 (-) Sparks, 9 (7) Police, 10 (3) Specials ‘Gangsters’ . . . Chart contributors: please include slowies too if they’re popular.

UK Newies

JUPITER BEYOND: ‘The River Drive’ (Pye 12P 5012)
Terrifically exciting rattling 126bpm rhythm intro gives way to more smoothly zapping 125bpm melodic chix ‘n strings before the import smash 12in builds back through synthesizer to a rattling 126bpm finale.

SHALAMAR: ‘Right In The Socket’ (from LP ‘Big Fun’, Solar FL 13479) (BNDA debut 3/22/80)
Monster happily rattling and skittering 123bpm “rock” sizzler goes beautifully out of so many other disco hits of the moment (and chops perfectly into Stargard!), while ‘The Right Time For Us’ is a more smoothly “rocking” 125bpm, ‘The Second Time Around’ is the un-remixed 113bpm original version of the now very different 12in, ‘I Owe You One’ is an attractive 112bpm jogger, and ‘Girl’ is almost ‘Shame’-like at 131-130bpm.

BARBRA STREISAND & DONNA SUMMER: ‘No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)’ (CBS 13-8000) (BNDA debut 10/27/79)
Barbra’s snail-paced intro seems short now in comparison with the full 11:44 of this the 12in version, which Donna paces at a frantic pop-orientated 136bpm.  Continue reading “November 3, 1979: Jupiter Beyond, Shalamar, Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer, Prince, Sonny Rollins”

October 27, 1979: Dan Hartman, Lee Moore, Gonzalez, Vernon Burch, Love Unlimited

Caister Continued

Beefcake Corner this week shows debonair drag artistes Robbie Vincent and Chris Hill in matching colour co-ordinated cerise tracksuits while Showstopper Promotions’ John Morris points in alarm at approaching hordes of hooligans! The 2nd Caister Soul Weekender resulted in over £10,000-worth of damage at the Ladbrokes chalet camp (the caravans coming out practically unscathed), caused mainly during the high-jinks of the first few hours’ flush of excitement, with later malicious damage being the evident work of a small organised gang. However, far from this being a shock-horror-gasp story, the vast majority of holidaying funksters were completely unaware of any underlying tension. Next April’s Caister Weekender, though, will revert to a more manageable number of carefully vetted ticket holders. There really were too many people everywhere, queuing for everything . . . often in fancy dress. The best that I saw were two guys dressed up to appear as if they were each riding astride an Emu, with false legs dangling and reins controlling the long Emu neck (they went around nicking peoples’ chips – or attacking Greg Edwards – with their beaks!), while Canvey Goldmine-owning Stan and Jane Barrett looked glittery in completely “gold” miners gear.

Odds ‘N Bods

EMI merge both GRD and LRD Disco Departments under plugger Gof Abbey . . . Umberto Tozzi ‘Gloria’ is now on 12in (Epic PC 12-7415) with the original Italian version on 2-track flip . . . Donna Summer’s Casablanca ‘Greatest Hits’ double LP will be promoed with a specially segued 12in medley for jocks . . . Disco Dates was somehow missing last week so my Friday gig at Tony Valence’s Leysdown Island club was under-publicised –  though Nikki Peck plugged it in his Kent Evening Post column and who should be at the Island but Zoot Money, filming with bike stunter Eddie Kidd! . . . Megamix The Mighty Chopper (that’s me!) will Thursday (25) be opening Catford’s Checquers record shop at 4 pm and funking Erith 2001 club at 10:30 pm . . . Brass Construction ‘Movin’’ is of course 120-123bpm (not as printed last week), with a quiet 20 beat intro which can mix spectacularly through something else at 120bpm (like ‘Whistle Bump’!), while other oldies currently reviving include Dennis Coffey ‘Wings Of Fire’ (US Westbound 12in) at 123(intro)-121-120(break onwards)-121(final part)bpm, Crown Heights Affair ‘Far Out’ (‘Do It Your Way’ US De-Lite LP) at 123-126bpm, Roy Ayers ‘Running Away’ (US Polydor 12in) at 116bpm . . . Larry Foster (Ilford Room At The Top etc), being very droll, wants the BPM for ‘March Of The Mods’ (ho ho ho!) – it’s 144bpm if you use Joe Loss’s old 7in (HMV POP 1351) . . . Pye’s R&B Division are holding auditions in Britain’s six major centres starting at Manchester City Supporters Club Hall on November 7/8, prospective singers/groups being asked by radio jocks Mike Shaft and Terry Lennaine to send preliminary audition tapes to Pye first . . . Steve Walsh (London Lyceum etc) now manages new young black jazz-funkers Earthline Connection, with a record already cut (enquiries on 01-724-1559) . . . Chris Dinnis never stays still down in Devon, he’s now solo on Saturdays and Andy Pinney does Tuesdays at funky Sidmouth Winter Garden . . . Alf Campbell wishes his Thurs/Friday punters at Balloch Roundabout Inn, Loch Lomond, would wake up to the fact that the records he’s playing now are what they subsequently request in two months’ time after radio’s played ‘em . . . Mike O’Brien does Mon thru Thursday at Southampton Fridays, which seems contrary somehow! . . . Ashley Woods (Sleaford) wants details of his local Lincolnshire DJ association – can anyone help? . . . Herb Alpert’s ‘Rise’ was impossible to avoid on New York radio in mid-July yet it’s taken this long to hit US number 1 . . . Lonnie Liston Smith must appreciate RCA’s efforts on his behalf, but what about his current label, CBS? . . . Earth, Wind & Fire appeared on at least three LPs prior to the reissued ‘Last Days And Time’, their first eponymously-titled solo set being on Warner Bros. in 1971 . . . Memo to certain disco pluggers “Blacks, whores, pimps, pushers and Arabs” buy records too, and many of them probably have more money to spend than most!

UK Newies

DAN HARTMAN: ‘Hands Down’ (Blue Sky SKY 13-7896) (BNDA debut 8/18/79)
Gas of a happily romping, stomping and clapping 124bpm 12in reruns his past hit ideas with added Wonder-ful harmonica to make an incredibly exhilarating stormer that leaps along surprisingly at a slower lick than his oldies but should be just as big.

LEE MOORE: ‘Reachin’ Out (For Your Love)’ (Source 12SRC 100)
Past its peak on import though now finally out here through EMI, the great happily jiggling but smoothly stamping 125-126bpm brassy 12in sould smacker has a brief rhythm lull and wheezling synthesizer between bursts of buoyantly bubbling bass.

GONZALEZ: ‘Move It To The Music’ (Sidewalk 12SID 114)
Remorselessly pounding brassy fast 134bpm 12in flier now seems overly frantic for current dance steps, but the Dr Buzzard-influenced jittery 118(intro)-117bpm ‘Peoples Party’ B-side “rock” clapper is indeed just right!  Continue reading “October 27, 1979: Dan Hartman, Lee Moore, Gonzalez, Vernon Burch, Love Unlimited”

October 20, 1979: Hudson People, Isley Brothers, Anita Ward, One Way ft Al Hudson, Herbie Mann

Cheesecake Corner – or something! – kicks off the Caister report with a stunning action shot of Primrose Hill in action as one half of the Doris Vincent-partnered “Ladies’ Night” duo, who swished from ballroom to ballroom to lead the sweaty throngs in the 2nd National Soul Weekender’s official anthem, ‘There’ll Always Be A Caister’.

Yes, last Friday the funky hordes descended once again on Ladbrokes’ holiday camp on the Norfolk shore, except this time there were over 5,000 of them spread over not only the chalet camp but also the Silver Sands caravan camp next door . . . and although there were three music venues in the main camp it was the Silver Sands ballroom that came to be considered the best. All the main DJs – Chris Hill, Robbie Vincent, Greg Edwards, Sean French, Chris Brown, Jeff Young, Froggy, Tom Holland, Brother Louis, Les Knott – moved about between the different venues so that they all shared the load (none was big enough for everyone), but the final Finale of the day always ended up amongst the caravanners.

Even more than that before the accent was on anything goes, and with such a large crowd of hell-bent kids it was likely that something would give. Mainly it was chalet windows that did, though they weren’t necessarily broken on purpose. The fun went in waves: Friday night it was pillow fights, Saturday it was water attacks. Not just water pistols, but dustbins, with people lying in ambush to give others a soaking. Chris Hill, his assistant Snell, promoter Adrian Webb and others were charged at by a hundred egg and flour-hurling kids, who then emptied water through their fleeing Range Rover’s open sunroof! It wasn’t meant viciously, although they weren’t to know that the “stars” were staying in a hotel with only one bathroom between 12 people, so the clean-up would take time.

When everyone had gone and only the “stars” remained, there was an exclusive buffet on Sunday night when the Jocks (and their ladies) behaved in remarkably similar and silly fashion, with Greg Edwards pushing a chocolate cake into Snell’s face and Robbie’s wife getting Greg back in turn! At this event also it was tried to establish just what “THE” Caister record had been (in April it was McFadden & Whitehead), and although it seemed as ¡f Kool & The Gang had dominated the weekend the voting came out in favour of Michael Jackson’s ‘Off The Wall’.

Full details of the other contenders and a more complete account of the silliness next week, but don’t forget that all this is happening again at Showstopper Promotions’ other overflow weekender in Cornwall at Perrin Sands next weekend too, October 26-28. Reckon the Jocks’ll wear raincoats and sou’westers for that!

Odds ‘N Bods

Sugarhill Gang ‘Rapper’s Delight’ has already won a US gold disc for New York sales alone, DJ rapping being the new craze – and last Thursday at Mayfair Gullivers the members of FLB took turns to rap along over the record as if it was their own! . . . Shalamar ‘The Second Time Around’ has been remixed for 12in instead of ‘Right In The Socket’ (which remains much better) . . . Jupiter Beyond and Lowrell are on UK 12in early November, Millie & Ike’s ‘Feels Like The First Time’ 12in is due next week, and Dusty Springfield ‘Baby Blue’ will be on limited 12in after all . . . Sylvester’s next is ‘Can’t Stop Dancin’’, a shrieking 131-128bpm pounder, more coherent than of late . . . Brass Construction’s currently reviving ‘Movin’’ oldie is 120-131 bpm, with a 20 bpm soft intro from first noise to main rhythm (if you want to be clever!) . . . Caister jocks kept telling me how Atmosfear and ‘Expansions’ mix together perfectly, evidently forgetting who told them! . . . Sally Ormsby is back at RCA, filling in as disco plugger just one day a week . . . Bill Grainger has set up Fire Island Disco Promotions based at 29 Waterloo Street, Glasgow G2 6BZ (041-221 7282), to service Scottish jocks with all aspects of disco promotion, and is even mentioning a possible Scottish DJ convention (undeterred by his visit to Frenchies!) . . . Northern Soul is alive and well in London, the Southgate Rhythm & Soul Society start a new venue this Friday (19) at the old Klooks Kleek location, the West Hampstead Railway Hotel, free members – hip with an SAE from Randy Cozens, 273 Chase Road, London N14 . . . Frenchies open a new up-market over 21’s weekly Thursday venue next Thursday (25), The Apartment, at Farnborough Recreation Centre, with prizes including a Paris weekend for two . . . 15-year-old Jo Field, whose big sisters Sally and Jude were wearing nappies at Caister, is frustrated by being too young for most clubs but raves about the upfront funk of DJ Chris Green at the no age limit Oracle Club in Watford . . . Jon Taylor started an under 18’s night this last Monday at Norwich Cromwells . . . Graham Thornton, Tea Council Young DJ winner, has now landed the 2 to 6am early morning DJ slot daily on Birmingham’s BRMB commercial station, starting in December . . . Sonny Rollins, veteran avant garde Jazz saxist, is in line for a 12in soon, while his contemporary (now of ‘Dr Jackyll And Mr Funk’ fame), Jackie McLean plays Chalk Farm Round House next Friday (26) as part of the 9th Camden Jazz Week – but don’t go expecting disco!

UK Newies

HUDSON PEOPLE: ‘Boogie On Downtown’ (Virgin VS 30112)
Totally exhilarating brassy instrumental bounder (forget the awful chix on the vocal A-side) winds along in Brass Construction style through 126-131-127-130-127-130-133 bpm until the 12in practically takes off at the end! Easily the biggest newie at Caister, it has immediate impact and will obviously be huge.

ISLEY BROTHERS: ‘It’s A Disco Night (Rock Don’t Stop) (Parts 1 & 2)’ (Epic EPC 13-7911) (BNDA debut 8/25/79)
Emphatically clapping fast 133 bpm jittery funker, finally on UK 12in, really got ’em “rocking” at Caister!

ANITA WARD: ‘Don’t Drop My Love’ (TK TKR 13-7562) (BNDA debut 10/20/79)
Clonking 126 bpm cowbell intro becomes a bass and backbeat driven 125 bpm 12in pop churner with Anita’s shrill wailing cutting through the smoother support.  Continue reading “October 20, 1979: Hudson People, Isley Brothers, Anita Ward, One Way ft Al Hudson, Herbie Mann”

October 13, 1979: Kool & The Gang, Chic, Lonnie Liston Smith, Joe Sample, Winds Of Change

Odds ‘N Bods

Al Hudson & The Partners now appear to be calling themselves One Way . . . Stargard ‘Wear It Out’ is due next week, with Freddie James to follow . . . Teena Marie ‘Don’t Look Back’ on finally received 12in (Motown 12TMG 1158) runs at 118 (intro)-117-119 (break)-118bpm, chopping nicely with Paulinho da Costa . . . Atmosfear ‘Dancing In Outer Space’ is evidently hard to find, so tell your dealer to contact All Ears, 3 Library Parade, Craven Park Road, London NW10 (01-965 6041) . . . Positive Force ‘We Got The Funk’ really is shaping as a likely contender to THE Caister anthem! . . . Debbie Jacobs ‘Undercover Lover’, supposedly on “limited 1,500 only” 12in, is even turning up in Woolworths . . . EMI have signed Source for the UK, so Lee Moore can’t now be long . . . Orville Sweeney and other pluggers have been made redundant at RCA . . . Andy Stinton, ex-DJM/Creole and currently visiting from Canada, is now in the restaurant business, having applied his old Sundown jocking technique to Toronto’s Harbor Hilton to make it that city’s top disco . . . Greg Edwards’s Soul Spectrum on Capital Radio moves forward an hour to run from 5-8 pm this Saturday, while Fatman Graham Canter sits in for Robbie Vincent on Radio London earlier that morning . . . Liverpool funk jocks George “Clinton” Spence (Babalou) and Eric Hearn (Timepiece) keep the local P-funk tradition going with Funkadelic, Faze-O and Cameo at the top of their charts . . . Leon Mitchell gets even Nottingham, Kettering and Luton crowds at funky Leicester Scamps . . . Sunday, November 18th is red letter day for Whitehaven Whitehouse, when Chris Hill and his cohorts (myself included) journey to the Mecca of the North . . . Lowrell (‘Mellow Mellow Right On’) is a former member of Lost Generation, of 1970’s ‘The Sly, Slick & The Wicked’ fame . . . Stix Hooper ‘Cordon Bleu’ features a musette, which I think you’ll find is indeed a type of French accordion . . . Joseph Johnstone (Worthing) thinks it’s a pity I concentrate on disco records on this, the Disco page; anyone else of a similar opinion? . . . Billboard add to their New York and Los Angeles locations with a Disco Internationale forum in Monte Carlo on December 4-7, but it’s unlikely to be of as much interest to UK jocks . . . US radio ratings show that disco formatted stations may have slipped elsewhere, but in New York City the “Disco” stations are still tops, with a whopping 15.4 per cent of all listeners, beating “Beautiful Music” (13.2), “Contemporary” (12.0), News (9.7), Talk (9.2), Spanish (4.9), AOR (4.9), MOR (4.8) and other format categories – which proves what should be obvious, that disco is an urban music style, and may explain why Radio Luxembourg has back-pedalled to reduce its own disco format (Luxembourg – and Radio One – surely now having largely rural listeners?).

UK Newies

KOOL & THE GANG: ‘Ladies’ Night’ (Mercury KOOL 12) (BNDA debut 9/8/79)
What can one say about the hottest import in months that you don’t already know? Like a slower Al Hudson until the faster end, the 110-112-117bpm funk smash is now on UK 12in whereas it was only on US promo 12in and you had to buy the album – which, now out here too (Mercury 6372763), includes the slightly KC-like 121bpm ‘Tonight’s The Night’, ‘‘rocking’’ 118-124bpm ‘Hangin’ Out’ and 120bpm ‘If You Feel Like Dancin’, and jogging 105/53bpm ‘Too Hot’. Sure is!

CHIC: ‘My Forbidden Lover’ (Atlantic K 11385T) (BNDA debut 9/1/79)
Sinuously winding ‘I Want Your Love’-like (but slower) 107bpm 12in jogger.

LONNIE LISTON SMITH: ‘Expansions’ (RCA PC 9450)
Jingling, bass burbling and percussion patting intro mixes, as I said last week, perfectly out of Atmosfear’s slow bit, the whole atmospherically ethereal 61-126-129bpm jazz 12in whipping up a subtle excitement.  Continue reading “October 13, 1979: Kool & The Gang, Chic, Lonnie Liston Smith, Joe Sample, Winds Of Change”

October 6, 1979: Gloria Gaynor, Gibson Brothers, Cameo, Hamilton Bohannon, Cognac

Odds ‘N Bods

Jupiter Beyond ‘The River Drive’ will be on the re-activated Pye International label in November, contracts now having been signed . . . Donna Summer & Barbra Streisand sing together on a disco duet due later this month, the 12in on CBS and 7in on Casablanca, while Donna’s ‘Dim All The Lights’ is now on 12in to make it sell better (CANL 162) . . . Kool & The Gang go back to next week . . . LPs on US Capitol but issued here in the over-stickered Tower series include the already reviewed Eddie Henderson (EST 11984) and Bobby Lyle (EST 11956) . . . Showstopper Promotions’ Adrian Webb announced at Frenchies Forum his plans for a “funk under canvas” National Soul Day to be held in 15,000 capacity interconnected gigantic circus bigtops at Knebworth next May Spring Bank Holiday, to follow on from the 2nd Caister weekender next Fri-Sun (12-14) and Perrin Sands overflow in Cornwall (Oct 26-28), a few tickets being left for the latter, incidentally . . . Erik-Jack of Life Entertainment Services (258 Chichester Road, Bognor Regis, Sussex PO21 5AX) invites experienced Southern-based pro (or prepared to go pro) jocks to contact his expanding agency, which amongst others recently placed local DJs on the QE II and in a 22 week Isle of Wight residency . . . Chris Dinnis’s jazz-funk import night at Sidmouth Winter Garden has moved from Tuesday to Saturday due to public demand . . . Chris Hill is raving about a brand new club in out-of-the-way Whitehaven (Lake District), the Whitehouse, filled by owners Ernie Priestman, Wayne Nicholls, Phil Haselhurst & Brian Brown with superb equipment, New York-style lighting and queues of hip kids, making it better than any club in London (sez Chris) – I can’t wait to visit it with him next month! . . . St Asaph’s Stables Disco in North Wales starts a weekly specialist jazz-funk night next Thursday (11), complimentary tickets for the first four weeks from DJ Alan Taylor, 26 Terrace Avenue, Rhyl. Clwyd LL18 10D . . . Nikki Peck, a regional runner-up in the recent DJ awards, has left Chatham Scamps for a series of gigs including Chatham Old Ash Tree (Mondays), Harrietsham Victorias (Thursdays) and various nights al Gillingham Joanna’s . . . John Lewis reports that as summer’s over it’s back to “no jeans” at Brighton Metro! . . . I may have been unused to the set-up at Southgate Royalty last Saturday but at least I didn’t take off a record while it was playing – unlike Froggy (whose superb equipment it was)! . . . Sadao Watanabe ‘Duo Creatics’ is on 7in next week, followed by Two Man Sound ‘Disco Samba’, a Mexican million-selling medley of South American hits . . . Blondie ‘Dreaming’ is 163bpm, and Chanson ‘Sing All Night’ 133-131bpm, not as printed last week . . . Leroy Hutson’s ‘Unforgettable’ import is dividing opinions, my own remaining that it’s too “disco” for my taste . . . Tricky Dicky of London’s gay Dicks Inn discos opines that pub jocks will sell more records at present as who really wants to pay for a fast dance-orientated “disco” 12in to play at home in the front room when the money could go towards an LP instead . . . Michele Freeman’s US LP sleeve makes it took as if she’s dreaming of being a disco star in her Maidenform bra while Aretha Franklin’s most definitely does NOT! . . . Trevor “Rasta” Chapman & Iain Borg (Croydon Foxy) confirm Rus Phillips’s view that Maltese discos are less Wally than they’d feared – and in fact Rus wants to hear from you guys, so give me an address next time, huh? . . . Brian Hutchinson (Broxbourne), poised to become one of his area’s top mobiles, will disappointed to learn that mobiles are not normally wanted by record company mailing lists (despite the good music they may play) as their promotional effect is hard to monitor – but he and partner Steve can be cheered up with Christmas bookings on Hoddesdon 65989/65135!

UK Newies

GLORIA GAYNOR: ‘Let Me Know (I Have A Right) (Polydor STEPX 5) (BNDA debut 10/6/79)
Melodically romping 127bpm 12in galloper, very much a faster ‘I Will Survive’ with similar cleverly crafted mass appeal.

GIBSON BROTHERS: ‘Que Sera Mi Vida (If You Should Go)’ (Island 12WIP 6525) (BNDA debut 7/12/80)
Excitingly whapping and zapping 130-129(break)-131bpm 12in galloper makes a Village People-ish change of pace.

CAMEO: ‘Find My Way’ (Casablanca CANL 166)
Exhilaratingly zipping and zinging 134bpm 12in remake of their ‘Thank God It’s Friday’-featured oldie (oddly, that original 126-123bpm version is the 7in now), with an exciting mix-in point at a rattling rhythm break if the first vocal third is too “disco” for some tastes. Double value flip features last year’s monster (but now dated) 122bpm ‘It’s Serious’.  Continue reading “October 6, 1979: Gloria Gaynor, Gibson Brothers, Cameo, Hamilton Bohannon, Cognac”

September 29, 1979: Sterling, Diana Ross, Fern Kinney, Positive Force, Sugarhill Gang

Odds ‘N Bods

Frenchies Forum, or the British Discotheque Convention as most people are not calling it, pulls top jocks and industry leaders to Camberley Cambridge Hotel on Tuesday (2) for an evening’s discussion and entertainment . . . Kool & The Gang ‘Ladies’ Night’ 12in is due next week, with Teddy Pendergrass ‘Do Me’, Melba Moore ‘Burn’, Risco Connection ‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now’ on 12in the following week and Isley Bros ‘It’s A Disco Night’, Force ‘Dirty Dog’ after that, Fat Larry’s Band ‘Center City’ 12in remix version, highly prized as you know, will finally be on FLB’s next LP . . . Herb Alpert’s ‘Rise’ does turn out to be on 33 1/3 rpm UK 12in, so speed-spins ARE possible still (though not necessarily recommended)! . . . Three Degrees ‘Jump The Gun’ (Ariola AROC 183), Barbra Streisand ‘The Main Event / Fight’ (CBS 12-7714), Inner Circle ‘We ‘A’ Rockers’ (Island 12XWIP 6498) are now on 12in . . . Jupiter Beyond ‘The River Drive’ is causing concern for record companies as not only Pye but also EMI LRD (and who else?) were confident they had the UK rights and were awaiting signed contracts! . . . Ronnie Milsap, the blind Country star, began the mid-‘60s as a totally convincing soul singer on Scepter, cutting the original ‘Let’s Go Get Stoned’ and many early Ashford & Simpson songs – and he’s now returned with a thudding slow funky 104bpm 12in bumper currently circulating on mystery white label promo . . . Blondie’s ABBA-esque ‘Dreaming’ clocks in at about 160bpm, if you’re interested . . . Ilford Room At The Top’s 9th Anniversary Fancy Dress Gala was won by Tony Smith who brilliantly dressed as an old man carrying a dustbin – except the old man was a dummy from the waist up, Tony’s upper half being hidden in the bin! . . . John Lewis says that if Joseph Johnstone could afford the petrol (or bus fare?) to get the 12 miles from Worthing to Brighton he’d find imports aplenty, and a lot more besides! . . . Russell Burtonshaw (Retford MAYC) reports the “rock” is already established in North Notts – accounting for his high chart placing of Gary Numan and Flying Lizards, who so far are preferred to Edwin Starr! . . . Britain’s provinces will capitulate in the end, the “rock” could be a new Twist! . . . Kev Hill (Brentwood) turns 21 on October 6th, and sent me a quid with which to drink his health (hic!), sho apart from shaying thanksh, I’m now open to similar bribes in return for birthday boy announcements (and 21 seems to be a popular age, huh, Paul & Steve?) . . . Ho ho ho!

UK Newies

STERLING: ‘Roll-Her, Skater’ (Motown 12TMG 1162)
Happily rattling and tootling Brian Holland-produced “rock” 12in with usefully choppable butch “one two three four DANCE, rock, freak – skate, dance, clap your hands” bits.

DIANA ROSS: ‘No One Gets The Prize’ (Motown 12TMG 1160) (BNDA debut 6/23/79)
‘Love Hangover’-style slow starting 117-119bpm 12in, better than ‘The Boss’.

FERN KINNEY: ‘Groove Me’ (WEA 79101) (BNDA debut 8/4/79)
US smash synthetically burbling 109bpm 7in revival of King Floyd’s 1970 funker, seen by some as a new ‘Ring My Bell’.  Continue reading “September 29, 1979: Sterling, Diana Ross, Fern Kinney, Positive Force, Sugarhill Gang”