SILVER CONVENTION: ‘Discotheque Volume 2’ LP (Magnet MAG 5011) (LP mentioned in Billboard column 3/27/76, Billboard chart debut 4/17/76)
A predictable but effective disco formula makes ‘No No Joe’, ‘San Francisco Hustle‘ and ‘You’ve Got What It Takes‘ into dancefloor rivals for lead track ‘Get Up And Boogie’ in the States, while here the catchy clapping rhythm pattern of ‘Play Me Like A Yoyo’ could be bigger.
AC/DC: ‘It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N Roll)’ / ‘Can I Sit Next To You Girl’ (Atlantic K 10745)
Not to be missed by rock jocks, these Aussie youngsters boogie Stones/Elton John-style, with bagpipe noises yet! Yeah, they get it on — and possibly even more on the punkier flip.
DONNA SUMMER: ‘Love Trilogy’ LP (GTO GTLP 010) (LP mentioned in Billboard column 3/6/76, Billboard chart debut 3/20/76)
Side one flows without a gap through ‘Try Me’, ‘I Know’, ‘We Can Make It’ and ‘Try Me I Know We Can Make It’. . . clever, huh? This time it’s all quite funky, fast and bouncy, with the energy level picking up at each shift in emphasis until the very last section, which is the only weak link. Continue reading “April 24, 1976: Silver Convention, AC/DC, Donna Summer, The Moments, Alan White”
BABE RUTH: ‘Elusive’ (Capitol CL 15869) (Billboard chart debut 11/29/75)
A funky disco hit since last year, this joyfully leaping album cut is finally out on 45, though edited in half.
MANDRILL: ‘Panama’ / ‘Disco-lypso’ (UA UP 36103) (Billboard chart debut 1/24/76)
Happy calypso-ish A-side should be good MoR while the funkier flip (a US hit) is much stronger disco fare.
THE CORRIES: ‘Wha Wadna ‘Fecht For Charlie’ (EMI 2447)
‘Jungle Rock’ cum ‘Burundi Black’ drumming sound makes this jig-type folk song a left-fielder that could reward adventurous jocks. Continue reading “April 17, 1976: Babe Ruth, Mandrill, The Corries, Jonathan King, Teagarden Revival”
KOOL AND THE GANG: ‘Love And Understanding’ (Polydor 2001645)
This perturbing funky hustler has a long instrumental build-up to some KC-type chanting which oozes in through the rhythmic crescendo, only to end in a strange mid-air anti-climax.
JEFF PERRY: ‘Love Don’t Come No Stronger’ (Arista 51)
Slow intro to a happily romping Pop-Soul hand-clapper of wide appeal.
SUZANNE STEVENS: ‘Make Me Your Baby’ (Capitol CL 15861).
Maddeningly nagging melody sung by a cool Anne Murray/Helen Reddy voice over lightly hustling backing. Continue reading “April 10, 1976: Kool And The Gang, Jeff Perry, Suzanne Stevens, Glenn Miller, Easy Street”
KEITH EMERSON: ‘Honky Tonk Train Blues’ (Manticore K 13513)
ELP’s Keith turns to his “other” piano as he knocks out a great swinging version of Meade Lux Lewis’s 1930s boogie-woogie raver. Authentic in every way, Benny Goodman-type backing and all!
ATLANTA DISCO BAND: ‘Bad Luck’ (AriolaAmerica AA 102) (Billboard chart debut 10/4/75)
A disco smash since last year on import, this ultra-rhythmic bumpy bass and jiggly guitar instrumental is an established classic already. Drummer Earl Young was never busier!
MEL BLANC: ‘I Taut I Taw A Puddy-Tat’ (Capitol CL 15866)
Probably best if used only in part, as a surprise insert, this vintage silliness is indeed Tweetie-Pie and friend of cartoon fame. Lotsa laffs, while the flip’s ‘That’s All Folks’. Continue reading “April 3, 1976: Keith Emerson, Atlanta Disco Band, Mel Blanc, Chubby Checker, Mutter Slater”
SPARKS: ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ (Island WP 6282)
Treated as a quaveringly sung full-blown emotional ballad, the Beatles’ old bubble-gummer is now worthy of Shirley Bassey and screamingly funny. Alternatively, it’s like Smokey Robinson with a head cold! Good short-term MoR.
PETER FRAMPTON: ‘Show Me The Way’ (A&M AMS 7218)
Out here already, here’s the Face of ’76 bending his guitar via a Talkbox connected with his mouth, thus producing an immediately grabbing sound that makes this happy toe-tapper a pure delight.
BAD COMPANY: ‘Run With The Pack’ (Island WIP 6263)
Title track of their album, it’s a medium paced thunker that drags through some slow bits which prevent it from being a total disco delight. Continue reading “March 27, 1976: Sparks, Peter Frampton, Bad Company, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Brass Construction”
BIDDU ORCHESTRA: ‘Rain Forest’ (Epic EPC 4084) (mentioned in Billboard column 4/17/76, Billboard chart debut 4/24/76)
Lushly arranged with sweeping strings and prodding brass, this beautiful almost Santana-ish rhythm throbber is an ever-evolving delight. I’ve been having great fun making it even longer by mixing two copies together. The flip will please many too, as its the much-demanded ‘Exodus’, an archetypal “disco” sound.
MICHAEL ZAGER & THE MOON BAND: ‘Do It With Feeling’ (London HLM 10521) (mentioned in Billboard column 11/22/75, Billboard chart debut 11/29/75)
Ex-Ten Wheel Drive, Zager gets a great funky chant thing going with a big bouncy beat.
GEORGE & GWEN MCCRAE: ‘Let’s Dance, Dance, Dance’ (President PR 451)
Standout cut from their album, this exuberant fast happy dancer is a stone gas that ends up by quoting from other disco hits. Continue reading “March 20, 1976: Biddu Orchestra, Michael Zager, George & Gwen McCrae, Andrea True Connection, Ted Heath”
Something ultimately harmful seems to be happening – something that needs a warning before it gets totally out of control.
Over the last month or so, the disco market has become saturated with product. The type of music released on singles in this country has dramatically changed, so that material appealing to disco audiences now dominates. “Heavy” groups have practically vanished. MoR has become beatier, teenybopper acts and straight pop purveyors are less in evidence.
In America, which is in the throes of an enormous “disco” boom, this trend could be expected. In fact, it is amazing to see how few of the really big disco hits actually go on to make a sizeable impression on the national Top 100 there. Which is the point of my message here . . .
A hell of a lot of good disco records are coming out here – far too many! Very few of them are going on to the sort of success that they deserve. Disco DJs, radio programmers and even record reviewers are so swamped with potentially useful singles that they haven’t a chance of being able to break more than just a few.
OK, so record producers have discovered that a market exists which they can aim for when concocting their creations (and a surprisingly large number of the disco singles come from Britain and Europe). But, please fellows, ease up before you kill the goose that lays those golden eggs! A look at the British Top 50 shows that disco reaction can definitely make Pop hits, but another look also shows that there is only so much room for disco records.
Ease up before there’s a backlash, as is beginning to be the case in the States. In fact, ease up before it’s too late. Continue reading “March 13, 1976: “Ease up before there’s a backlash”.”