April 1, 1978: “Saturday Night Fever is in danger of being over-sold to a public who won’t enjoy it.”

America’s blockbusting ‘Saturday Night Fever’ movie is in danger of being over-sold here to a public who won’t enjoy it.  A slice of life in the raw (with the language and actions to match), it’ll obviously appeal to the disco crowd here, but the ballyhoo surrounding its premiere might make mums and dads think it’s for them too.  It’s not!

Reviewed elsewhere, the less than sensational movie centres on a rather ordinary neighborhood disco in Brooklyn (rather like a Birdsnest here), and in fact the lavish £50,000 party after the premiere at a specially tarted-up Sundown was a lot more glamorous, New York disco-like – and fun!

However, the fever’s already spreading here (the Bee Gees’ ‘Night Fever’ LP track is unaccountably huge in southern Wales this week), with newspapers and TV shows all looking frantically for an English equivalent to the disco scene in the film.

ITV viewers at lunchtime this Sunday (2) can see the London Weekend Show’s investigation of the British funky “underground”, with Janet Street-Porter talking to disco personalities and Chris Hill (filmed at Camberley Frenchies) proving to all the moaners just why he deserves all the attention he gets on this page.  Catch it if you can!

As for ‘Saturday Night Fever’, don’t bother if you’ve already seen ‘Mean Streets’!  Strange, actually, that nobody from the disco world here was invited to the premiere – don’t RSO want to reach the grassroots level?

New Spins

CAMEO: ‘It’s Serious’ (Casablanca CANL 121) (BNDA debut 2/18/78)
Here it is, the smash Brass Construction-ish funky flier on limited 12in!

WAR: ‘Galaxy’ / ‘Hey Senorita’ (MCA 12MCA 359) (‘Galaxy’ BNDA debut 1/14/78)
Full length disco remixed 12in, flipped by the dull slow Latin-type follow-up.

STARGARD: ‘Which Way Is Up’ / ‘Love Is So Easy’ (MCA 12MCA 354) (‘Which Way Is Up’ BNDA debut 1/7/78)
Ditto, the follow-up flip being a dreary soul smoocher.  Continue reading “April 1, 1978: “Saturday Night Fever is in danger of being over-sold to a public who won’t enjoy it.””

March 25, 1978: “Peter Tong of Dartford won the London regional final of the Tea Council’s Young DJ competition.”

Disco News

Peter Tong of Dartford won the London regional final of the Tea Council’s Young DJ competition at Southgate’s Royalty last Friday, establishing a good rapport with the audience and playing some funky goodies in the three minutes allowed him. The first annual general meeting of BADEM (British Assn of Disco Equipment Manufacturers) will be held on Thursday next, March 30th, at 6 pm in Luton’s Crest Motel.

Stage & Catwalk Hire Ltd (01-485 7707) supply incredibly clever staging, rostrum or catwalk structures made in collapsible box-shaped units which clip together, leaving cut-outs for power cables to snake through them, the whole very rigid stage then being covered in smooth looking heavy duty vinyl – a luxury job, as used by ABBA: The Party.

New Spins

FRANCINE MCGEE: ‘Feelin’ Good’ / ‘Delirium’ (RCA PC 9216)
Sizzling hot import scorcher now out here on 12in, a super fast flier with Donna Summer-ish vocal A-side, instrumental flip. Watch it hit!

BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS: ‘Kaya’ LP (Island ILPS 9517)
The impossible dream, an album with 100 per cent useable tracks . . . all of which will be used by fans of the man.


BILLY PRESTON: ‘Wide Stride’ (A&M AMS 7344)
Dynamite funky Stevie Wonder-ish synthesiser instrumental, on 45 here at last!  Continue reading “March 25, 1978: “Peter Tong of Dartford won the London regional final of the Tea Council’s Young DJ competition.””

March 18, 1978: The Regal Dewy, Raydio, Ashford & Simpson, Burundi Stephenson Black, Stargard

Chart contributors, please note that gremlins made a mess of last week’s piece about the new chart system! For those of you who’d like more room than just a Top 10 and three Breakers, the new idea is to expand the 10 into a Top 20, but because of the point-awarding system by which the finished national disco chart is compiled, the “Bottom Ten” should be given either 3, 2 or 1 points by you, according to dancer reaction. If you can’t cope with 20 places, stick to the old Top 10 and three Breakers. If you’re only playing established disco hits, why not increase your chance of a namecheck by sending in a Jox Yox, Mix Master, Disco Date, or other info. Now that there’s a Disco Top 60, the DJ Hotline has been narrowed down to non-hit titles . . . but this does not mean that the hit-only charts are not needed too, as they’re vital!

Steve Allen, regularly at Peterborough Annabelles and USAF Altonbury (and mobile with entertainment agency on 0733-69589), expands on the Eastern Soul topic by explaining the East Anglia Connection.

“The funky influence in the East Anglla area at least can be tied closely to all the USAF air bases which stretch from Ipswich to Huntingdon. Although not strictly open to the public, being intended for the American servicemen’s entertainment, the bases’ clubs get a large percentage of British audiences – particularly females!

“It’s essential that the mobile jocks who play these venues are up to date with US imports and solid funk, and these sounds do filter through to the outside world, via both the jocks and the audiences. Quite a few of the funky kids around here also go down to catch Chris Hill and the Camberly Frenchies jocks, so they get exposed to all kinds of funk.”

It’s interesting to note, too, that a lot of previously “Northern Soul” DJ’s are now switching to funk and New York sounds, with the emergence of a completely new scene up north.

Disco News

Record Mirror are looking for a keen, committed soul and disco-orientated journalist who can write well – if that’s you, contact Alf Martin! Also, Harrow-based Neil James (01-427 2257 evenings) needs a new gig as Greenford Panels is no longer a funk venue.

Hospital DJ John Clancy’s home-made broadcasting studio in Gillingham is available for very low rates to Medway jocks looking for high quality though non-professional practice facilities and tuition – call him on Medway 53992 (evenings).

Jersey-based Paradise Island Discotheques and Mainstream Productions have moved to 2-6 Belmont Road in St. Helier, where their new DJ studio will make jingles and commercials. Their disco agency books jocks for work in Jersey (call 0534 71715), while their disco record promotion department covers the Channel Islands.

Flashback Records of 3 Marlborough Road, Wroughton, Wiltshire (0793-812327) who supply many West Country and mail order jocks with all UK and US issues, start a series of promotion nights at Newbury Hamiltons Club this Tuesday (21) giving away free records – DJ’s can get free tickets by sending a card/letter heading and sae to Flashback, who are open to offers of other promotion night venues.

New Spins

THE REGAL DEWY: ‘Love Music’ (RCA XB 1032)
Here at long last is that superb soul slowie with the Dells like doo-wop sound, hot on import since last autumn. Definitely my own fave of ‘77, and a must!

RAYDIO: ‘Is This A Love Thing’ (from LP ‘Raydio’, Arista SPART 1041)
Already hitting, the dynamite jaunty funker joins ‘Jack And Jill’ and ‘Get Down’ on an extremely strong LP.

ASHFORD & SIMPSON: ‘Don’t Cost You Nothing’ (Warner Bros. K 17096) (BNDA debut 1/28/78)
Great jittery sparse funk import smash, finally out on 6:49 12in with an added rhythm break, or on edited 3:39 7in.  Continue reading “March 18, 1978: The Regal Dewy, Raydio, Ashford & Simpson, Burundi Stephenson Black, Stargard”

March 11, 1978: O’Jays, Cameo, Hi-Tension, George Duke, Cerrone

Chart contributors, can you please try to get your charts in to me by Tuesday this coming week, as I have a gig on Wednesday (my chart compiling night normally). Also, it might be a good way of spreading out the range of records available for the disco chart if, instead of the three Breakers as at present, your Top Ten was followed by up to ten more titles according to that reaction. So, that’s a Top Ten plus ten more, marked from 3 to 1, if you feel you can cope with the extra load, sent as usual to James Hamilton, Record Mirror, 40 Long Acre, London WC2E 9JT . . . and please, try to he consistent with the “bottom ten”. Only add titles that are likely to last a few weeks.

Chris Hill has left Ilford’s Lacy Lady, as it’s due to close soon!  However, he’s appearing every Thursday at Harlow Tiffany’s, opens a new Friday residency next week (17) at Maidenhead’s Romans in the Bell Hotel, and this Saturday is at Southgate Royalty.  More important than that, though, he’s being filmed next Tuesday (14) at Camberley Frenchies in the Cambridge Hotel, London Road, for a London Weekend TV programme about Britain’s new disco “underground” . . . and he needs all the best funky dancers there to make the show go!  Get there as early as possible in the evening if you want to get in on the act.  Incidentally, Chris recently did a gig in Manchester, where his echo machine effects, compulsive groove, and some mooners from Leeds fairly freaked ‘em!

Disco News

Stargard and War’s current hits are being coupled with their follow-ups’ A-sides for special full-length 12in limited editions (15,000) on March 31st, for just 99p! South-Eastern jocks shouldn’t miss SEDA’s Disco South East 78 Exhibition this coming Wednesday (15) at the Hilden Manor Hotel, London Road, just outside Tunbridge, Kent. Open from noon to nine, the show will have about a dozen different equipment exhibitors and various record reps – sadly, I can’t make it this year.

Roger Squire’s disco jingle service is being expanded by the pioneering Alan Bowley, who hopes to bring a fresh integrity to the business. Using all exclusive material, new cartridge and cassette ranges being launched under the “Format 78” tag include a “Star Disco Set” with outer space noises incorporated, and a regular three-monthly series of sound effects in eight minute packages. Further, Rowley has restructured the Roger Squire’s Studios’ radio tuition service into three different “Programme and Production” courses, to cover all aspects of radio technique, a beginner’s three hour course for £32.40, a more advanced standard four and a half hour course including programming, interviewing and commercial production for £48.60, and a completely comprehensive eight hour course including an audition tape featuring news, a two-way interview and a self-created commercial, for £81.00.

New Spins

O’JAYS: ‘I Love Music’ / ‘Love Train’ (Philadelphia Int’l PIR 6093)
Sizzling hot 12in with the ‘Philly Classic’-culled 9:39 remix which became the Reading All-Dayer’s anthem, and a 6:14 flip!

CAMEO: ‘It’s Serious’ (from LP ‘We All Know Who We Are’, Casablanca CAL 2026) (BNDA debut 2/18/78)
Rumoured also on 12in, this Brass Construction-ish driver is the hip funky import sensation of the day!

HI-TENSION: ‘Hi-Tension’ (Island IPR 2007)
Phew – here it is, the exciting Brass Construction-ish hit of BBC2’s ‘Blackcurrent’, out on 5:20 limited 12in.  Continue reading “March 11, 1978: O’Jays, Cameo, Hi-Tension, George Duke, Cerrone”

March 4, 1978: Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, Players Association, Michele, Slade, Leif Garrett

New Spins

SOUNDTRACK: ‘Saturday Night Fever’ LP (RSO 2658123)
US chart-topping compilation double LP, with lots of recent Bee Gees hits, other goodies by KC & The Sunshine Band, Trammps, Kool & The Gang, Ralph McDonald, Walter Murphy, MFSB and Tavares, and more – all from the upcoming disco movie smash.

PLAYERS ASSOCIATION: ‘Disco Inferno’ / ‘I Like It’ (Vanguard VS 5006)
At last, here’s their great funkily churning rhythm-rattling thump treatment of the Trammps hit, plus an equally good grooving Brass Construction-ish flip.

MICHELE: ‘Magic Love, Pts. 1 & 2’ (Pye 7N 25770) (BNDA debut 11/5/77)
Donna Summer/Boney M-type pounder, out here instead of her hot ‘Can’t You Feel It’ import.  Continue reading “March 4, 1978: Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, Players Association, Michele, Slade, Leif Garrett”

February 25, 1978: “20 minutes playing time for 13 hours of humping gear and hanging about… oh well!”

After ABBA: The Album came ABBA: The Movie, and after ABBA: The Movie last Thursday night at London’s Cafe Royal there was ABBA: The Party. At this post-premiere celebration ABBA: The Group were awarded their latest batch of platinum albums, and a star-studded host of guests were entertained by the Pasadena Roof Orchestra and, at the very end, by yours truly. Aye, there’s the rub – I’d just come on at 1:15 am when I was told that the party was to end at 1:35! 20 minutes playing time for 13 hours of humping gear and hanging about . . . oh well!

Disco News

Salsoul Records, recently with RCA, are being re-launched in the UK by EMI on March 10th with an exciting release schedule of Charo’s ‘Dance A Little Bit Closer’, Anthony White’s ‘I Can’t Turn You Loose’ / ‘Block Party’, First Choice’s ‘Dr Love’ and – on limited 12in – Bunny Sigler’s ‘Let Me Party With You’. Also, EMI’s Licensed Label Division has a new disco promotion head in Steve Turner.

Steve Orme, recently RM’s sub-editor, and Stevenage Mecca jock Pete Banks have opened Sound Power Studios at 15 Town Square Chambers in Stevenage especially for DJs, with radio presentation courses costing £7.50 an hour.

Stephen Jaye (Nuneaton 387424 or 61182) needs go-go girls for regular work with his roadshow.

Finally, all French-speaking jocks interested in the Continental scene should get the great, lavishly produced French disco monthly magazine ‘Discobox’ whose subscription details are available from Discobox Service Abonnement, 11 Rue de Provence, Paris, France. Ca va?

New Spins

MICHAEL ZAGER BAND: ‘Let’s All Chant’ (Private Stock PVDD 1) (BNDA debut 1/14/78)
Dynamite US disco smash 7:05 12in, also a possibly even stronger 3:07 7in (PVT 143), it’s got lotsa trendy “oop oop” and other chants, an odd classical type break – and a good flip too! Look out, the ex-Ten Wheel Drive guy (no relation to Zager and Evans) could be the next Chic.

OLYMPIC RUNNERS: ‘Keepin’ It Up’ LP (RCA PL 25124) (‘Keep It Up’ BNDA debut 11/12/77)
The great ‘Keep It Up’, terrific gently jazzy ‘Solar Heat’ and hunky funky ‘Down To The Bone’ stand out on a superbly consistent disco LP.

MAINSTREET: ‘No Appointment Necessary’ (State STAT 74)
Billy Ocean-style happy old-fashioned singalong pop-soul churner, horribly commercial.  Continue reading “February 25, 1978: “20 minutes playing time for 13 hours of humping gear and hanging about… oh well!””

February 18, 1978: Philadelphia Classics, Bob Marley, Donna Summer, Jimmy Lindsay, Commodores

Brixton’s Clouds club was invaded by television cameras last Tuesday to record what promises to be but the first of several TV shows in 1978 that will revolve around a disco setting. However, although the smash US ‘Saturday Night Fever’ disco-set movie has inspired the other planned shows, this particular BBC 2 programme (possibly the pilot for a series) is a straight musical showcase that could just as well have been shot in a studio. The only difference is that the black kids outnumber the white in the dancing audience, and all the performers are black, too.

Called ‘Blackcurrent’ (ho ho), it features Billy Paul, the Real Thing, Desmond Dekker, and an excitingly young Brass Construction-ish band called High Tension. Capital Radio’s Soul Spectrum jock, Greg Edwards, is the compere. Unseen by the cameras but incongruously obvious at the taping, jammed as they were between the bar and the dance floor, a 15 piece orchestra of session musicians began by being in danger of demolishing the Musicians’ Union agreement against discos with one stroke – but, it must be said, by the time they’d got into the rhythm break in Billy Paul’s ‘Only The Strong Survive’, they were really cookin’!

Somehow the kids kept on dancing, and doubtless it’ll all sound (and look) all right on the night – which, incidentally, is next Friday, February 24, on BBC 2.

Hot Vinyl

VARIOUS: ‘Philadelphia Classics’ LP (Phil Int’l PIR 88274) (BNDA debut 1/7/78)
Here at last, the double album of elongated and remixed oldies, of which ‘I Love Music’, ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ and ‘Love Train’ have had most import action.

BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS: ‘Is This Love’ (Island WIP 6420)
Typically good typical Marley, slinkier dub flip.

DONNA SUMMER: ‘Rumour Has It’ (Casablanca CAN 122) (BNDA debut 11/12/77)
Her newest LP’s most obvious – and already proven – disco hit, a fast sparse stomper.  Continue reading “February 18, 1978: Philadelphia Classics, Bob Marley, Donna Summer, Jimmy Lindsay, Commodores”