June 18, 1977: Grapevine label, Slave, Steve Gibbons Band, Tavares, John O’Hara & The Playboys

Grapevine is a Northern-aimed new label set up by Kings Lynn importer John Anderson with RCA, and its first three releases are now out.

RICHARD “POPCORN” WYLIE ‘Rosemary What Happened’ (GRP 100) is an interesting near-muddle which keeps on driving through the clutter, and SOUL TWINS ‘Quick Change Artist’ (GRP 101) is a traditional Fred Smith/’Duck’-type stomper. Both are from ’67 and the Karen label, while STANLEY WOODRUFF & THE U.S. TRIO ‘What Took You So Long’ (GRP 102) is an attractive oddly-arranged churner of recent vintage. Cheers!


New Spins

SLAVE: ‘You And Me’ / ‘Son Of Slide’ (Cotillion K 10967)
Cleverly edited funky faves, like Brass Construction with added acid-rock guitar, both sides are big already.

STEVE GIBBONS BAND: ‘Tulane’ (Polydor 2058889)
Great energy-packed rocker, usually mixed by me into MC5’s ‘Back In The USA‘ (Atlantic LP).  Continue reading “June 18, 1977: Grapevine label, Slave, Steve Gibbons Band, Tavares, John O’Hara & The Playboys”

June 11, 1977: C.J. & Co, T-Connection, Boney M, Celi B & The Buzzy Bunch, Joe Tex

New Spins

C.J. & CO.: ‘Devil’s Gun’ (Atlantic K 10956) (mentioned in Billboard column 10/23/76, Billboard chart debut 4/23/77)
Incredibly powerful catchy fast jumper (originally by Great Expectations), an obvious disco smash and already the biggest in America. Some lucky jocks will get a longer 12-inch.

T-CONNECTION: ‘Do What You Wanna Do’ (TK XC 9109) (mentioned in Billboard column 2/19/77, Billboard chart debut 2/26/77)
Out at last, this first British TK Disco 12-incher (15,000 pressed, 99p each) is a classic rhythm rattler that’s been enormous on import. Try mixing into Karma’s ‘Funk De Mambo‘ (A&M)!

BONEY M: ‘Ma Baker’ (Atlantic K 10965) (Billboard chart debut 8/6/77)
Mummy Cool’s as jauntily commercial as you’d expect.  Continue reading “June 11, 1977: C.J. & Co, T-Connection, Boney M, Celi B & The Buzzy Bunch, Joe Tex”

June 4, 1977: “Insular Midlands jocks”

The Midlands have a large enough population to influence record sales, and the local disco DJ’s have in turn realised their own influence over the population.

Many of them are members of a record pool, undertaking to promote certain singles in a co-ordinated “power-play” push in return for free records from the companies involved. However, their influence remains local, and not national. Why, you may ask?

Well, for a start, you might have noticed the relative absence of Midlands contributors to this page’s DJ Hotline — and, consequently, to our Disco Chart. Unimportant though these may seem to insular Midlands jocks, think of the influence that these features could have if every week their “power-play” pick was made public.

Other DJ’s, not to mention record stores and radio stations, would then be encouraged to try the disc too.

Already many record companies recognise our importance by asking DJ mailing list applicants if they contribute to our chart, and the importance of the information gathered in this way is soon to increase.

The Midlands jocks purport to help record companies, but how whole-hearted is that help? Only by looking outside their own cosy circle can they make their influence known on the scale where it matters — nationally!


New Spins

JOHN MILES: ‘Slow Down’ (Decca F 13709) (Billboard chart debut 3/12/77)
Originally a blue-eyed soulster before he made ‘Music’, John’s now huge in US discos with this frantic ultra-fast funky galloper – 12-inched commercially here.

GARNET MIMMS & TRUCKIN’ COMPANY: ‘What It Is’ (Arista 12 ARISTA 109) (Billboard chart debut 3/26/77)
The Brass Construction-backed smash has been delayed so that now this commercial 12-inch can launch it hitwards!

CHUCK BERRY: ‘Sweet Little 16’ / ‘Guitar Boogie‘ (Chess 6078707)
Classic ’58 rockers.  Continue reading “June 4, 1977: “Insular Midlands jocks””

May 28, 1977: Paul Nicholas, Nils Lofgren, Archie Bell & The Drells, Jimmy Bo Horne, Ronnie Jones

Last week’s list continued – these are other British 12-inchers that have been issued commercially:

ULTRAFUNK: ‘Gotham City Boogie’ (Contempo) (Billboard chart debut 1/22/77)
J.J. BARNES: ‘The Errol Flynn’ (Contempo)
BANZAII: ‘Chinese Kung Fu’ (Contempo) (mentioned in Billboard column 6/28/75, Billboard chart debut 7/5/75)
TELEVISION: ‘Marquee Moon’ (Elektra)
JACKSONS: ‘Enjoy Yourself’ (Epic) (Billboard chart debut 10/30/76)
WILTON PLACE STREET BAND: ‘Disco Lucy’ (Island) (Billboard chart debut 12/18/76)
GEORGIE FAME: ‘Daylight’ (Island)
EDDIE QUANSAH: ‘Che Che Kule’ (Island)
STEVE WINWOOD: ‘Time Is Running Out’ (Island)
ARCHIE BELL & THE DRELLS: ‘Everybody Have A Good Time’ (Philadelphia Int’l)
WHO: ‘Substitute’ (Polydor)
RAMONES: ‘Sheena Is A Punk Rocker’ (Sire)
BARBARA PENNINGTON: ‘You Are The Music Within Me’ (UA) (Billboard chart debut 8/13/77)
GEORGE BENSON: ‘Nature Boy’ (Warner Bros.)
UNDISPUTED TRUTH: ‘You + Me = Love’ (Whitfield) (Billboard chart debut 7/24/76)


New Spins

PAUL NICHOLAS: ‘Heaven On The Seventh Floor’ (RSO 2090249)
Sensational Tavares-type happy bubbler, amazingly black sounding.

NILS LOFGREN: ‘I Came To Dance’ (from LP ‘I Came To Dance’, A&M AMLH 64628)
Great recitation climax to the chunky disco-rocker that’s not on the 45 (AMS 7288).

ARCHIE BELL & THE DRELLS: ‘Everybody Have A Good Time’ (Philadelphia Int’l PIR 5179)
Fabulous frantic fast galloper, LP-tipped months ago and now 12-inched commercially.  Continue reading “May 28, 1977: Paul Nicholas, Nils Lofgren, Archie Bell & The Drells, Jimmy Bo Horne, Ronnie Jones”

May 21, 1977: “You should enjoy your disco sounds while you can”

Punk rock and new wave haven’t taken over totally yet, but there are now signs that they’re beginning to get a hold. The situation reminds me very much of the time in ’63 when the Stones were emerging. Then, the disco sounds came from America, and were dominated by finely honed black R&B (in its true sense) and ‘mechanical’ dance tunes – just like now. Funnily enough, the new wave was then applied to music by Curtis Mayfield, whose sophisticated style was growing alongside the birth of raw soul and early Motown. The mechanical dancers were inspired by the white-manipulated Philly scene of the time — the Cameo/Parkway labels, still riding high in the wake of the Twist.

This was the music that I, as a brand new disco DJ, loved – and just as the jocks of today hate the threat of punk rock, so I hated the way in which the Stones were ruining my favourite records as models for their roughened-up cover versions. (Here the parallel veers away, as today’s new wave are still copying early sixties R&B and not the modern stuff.)

What happened was that the rougher copies became more popular with the mass audience, who had to invent a non-dance — the Shake — as the Mersey era groups did not have a good dance beat. Today we have the Pogo, I believe.

When the British invasion happened in America, the white pop world there crumbled, with the resultant death of the mechanical dance records as all the white producers were trying to come up with British-sounding records. Submerged beneath all this, in fact soul music as we now know it was establishing its roots and Motown was able to become the sound of young America — but that’s another story!

The moral of the story is that you should enjoy your disco sounds while you can — it may not be long before the bottom drops out of the more mechanical end of the market today, as producers drop one moneymaker in favour of another. I don’t say that it will happen, but the possibility is there. Real soul music, however, will go on and on!


Paul Saville of Adrian’s Records in Wickford Shopping Hall, Essex, has sent in another list of 12-inchers, but this one is of British big ‘uns that have been made commercially available.  There is some confusion, as many have only been put out promotionally, not for sale.  These you can (or could) buy:

BONEY M: ‘Daddy Cool’ (Atlantic) (mentioned in Billboard column 9/25/76, Billboard chart debut 11/20/76)
CERRONE: ‘Love In C Minor’ (Atlantic) (Billboard chart debut 1/15/77)
TRAMMPS: ‘Disco Inferno’ (Atlantic) (mentioned in Billboard column 12/25/76, Billboard chart debut 1/15/77)
DETROIT SPINNERS: ‘Hits’ EP (Atlantic)
TAVARES: ‘Mighty Power Of Love’ EP (Capitol) (mentioned in Billboard column 6/5/76, Billboard chart debut 7/10/76)
RONI HILL: ‘You Keep Me Hanging On / Stop! In The Name Of Love’ (Creole) (Billboard chart debut 12/11/76)
HONKY: ‘Join The Party’ (Creole)
LITTLE RICHARD: ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’ EP (Creole)
JOHNNY GUITAR WATSON: ‘A Real Mother For Ya’ (DJM)
OZO: ‘Anambra’ (DJM)  Continue reading “May 21, 1977: “You should enjoy your disco sounds while you can””

May 14, 1977: Alessi, Parliament, Hunter, Plaid Pops Orchestra, John Wesley Ryles

New Spins

ALESSI: ‘Oh Lori’ (A&M AMS 7289)
Delicious feathery swinger with ethereal harmonies and smash potential.

PARLIAMENT: ‘Tear The Roof Off The Sucker (Give Up The Funk)’ (Casablanca CAN 103) (Billboard chart debut 9/18/76)
Last year’s funky classic, maxi-ed with the freaky slow ‘Dr. Funkenstein‘ and ‘P-Funk‘.

HUNTER: ‘Rock On’ (Penny Farthing PEN 935)
Thin Lizzy sound mixed with jig-like fiddles for lively fun.  Continue reading “May 14, 1977: Alessi, Parliament, Hunter, Plaid Pops Orchestra, John Wesley Ryles”

May 7, 1977: Graham Central Station, Shalamar, Garnet Mimms, John Davis & The Monster Orchestra, Trammps

New Spins

GRAHAM CENTRAL STATION: ‘Now Do U Wanta Dance’ LP (Warner Bros. K 56359)
Great “happy to see you again” intro segues into terrific title track happy funker with distinctive electronic voice-box sound.  The similar ‘Last Train‘ follows, while another goodie is the gaily swinging ‘Stomped Beat-Up And Whooped‘.  Ace album!

SHALAMAR: ‘Uptown Festival, Parts 1 & 2’ (Soul Train FB 0885) (Billboard chart debut 1/29/77)
Already a sensation, this marathon Motown medley is sadly cut in two for commercial release, only DJs getting the full-length 12-incher.

GARNET MIMMS & TRUCKIN’ COMPANY: ‘What It Is’ (Arista 109) (Billboard chart debut 3/26/77)
The old ‘Cry Baby’ guy gets Brass Construction backing for a high-powered groove and instrumental flip that’s huge on import.  Continue reading “May 7, 1977: Graham Central Station, Shalamar, Garnet Mimms, John Davis & The Monster Orchestra, Trammps”