Southend Boating Song
Gina Hall of Hornchurch writing on behalf of Fat Kev and Howie, founders of the Golden Lion Rowing Team, fills in some really interesting details about the birth of the now rapidly spreading “rowing” dance (which surely is a close cousin of Chris Hill’s Just One Cornetto silly?).
Gina says that the dance, which consists of sitting on the floor and rowing to the beat of the music (see photo), was originated exactly a year ago when Anita Ward’s Ring My Bell was new on import.
Some regulars at Romford’s Golden Lion pub came up with the idea while enjoying an evening’s drinking in the lounge bar of the Zero 6 disco in Southend, where they proceeded to try it out on the floor, much to everyone else’s amusement.
“Mainly because it’s great fun both to watch and do”, explains Gina. “Soon we had a flourishing Golden Lion Rowing Team with an ever-growing number of rowers, for whose sake Ring My Bell was endured until the record died the death by being smashed up.”
“Rowing continued through parties at Christmas and then in the New Year along came the Gap Band’s I Don’t Believe You Want To Get Up And Dance (Oops!)” – reissued on 12in this week as Oops Up Side Your Head (Mercury MERX 22) – “which proved to be a worthy beat substitute.”
“Once again rowing was a hit and now after a few more months the thing is really catching on. At the Zero 6 it is as much of an institution as Shout and the freeze or anti-freeze. The whole place is reduced to swarms of people sitting on the floor swaying back and forth to the music and adding to the already many variations and improvisations such as clapping, aeroplane and circular motions.”
“The Caister and Isle of Wight weekenders have been the most recent holders of rowing contests. You may find the situation rather amusing, but recognition is all I strive for – down here rowing is a serious business (although essentially a fun thing)! Now in fact the latest dance craze at Zero 6 is the jerky space invaders dance performed to BT Express’s Give Up The Funk.”
Hmm, thanks a lot Gina. Let’s hope it stays fine in Southend so they have “jolly good boating weather”!
Odds ‘N Bods
BT EXPRESS ‘Give Up The Funk’ / ‘Does It Feel Good’ will be on 4-track Calibre 12in with remixed versions as flip (CBS has ‘em only in the States) . . . Cameo ‘On The One’ / ‘Cameosis’ is on UK 12in next week but their LP is postponed, and Kool & The Gang ‘Hangin’ Out’ will be backed here by 1976’s ‘Open Sesame . . . I missed all the really hot vinyl and info last week due to early Bank Holiday deadlines – amongst the UK 12in versions now out are LA Boppers (MERX 12), Liquid Gold and Manhattan Transfer, while Raydio ‘For Those Who Like To Groove’ finally makes 12in as the second track on a B-side preceded by the almost seguing 117bpm ‘Until The Morning Comes’ (ARIST 12334) . . . Brothers Johnson (the remix being 124bpm) is on 3-track 12in with ‘Free Yourself Be Yourself’ the addition . . . Teena Marie turns out to have been 117bpm all this time (which just shows what voltage fluctuations can do) . . . Tom Browne ‘Funkin’ For Jamaica’, a dynamite 112bpm ultra heavy funker serviced to mafiosi on acetate, will be on UK 12in ahead of US release . . . Change ‘Searching’ seems to be heavily requested but not played so much as DJs find it tricky to slot in, the upcoming UK 12in in any case being ‘A Lover’s Holiday’ / ‘Glow Of Love’ . . . Roy Ayers & Wayne Henderson’s disappointing new ‘Prime Time’ LP is being rushed out here to combat US imports . . . Elaine & Ellen ‘Fill Me Up’ is on US 12in (Ovation OVD 5004) . . . Phyllis Hyman’s 12in is being repressed with a new extended disco version of ‘Kiss You All Over’ . . . London’s Oxford Street HMV Shop is evidently selling the import cut-out double ‘Blue Note Live At The Roxy’ album (featuring the live ‘Dominoes’) for under two quid . . . Martin Collins (Ware Beckets on Thursdays) started the buzz on Manfredo Fest ‘Jungle Kitten’ (US Tabu LP), playing the 137bpm samba to Sean French . . . John Handy ‘Hard Work’ (ABC/Impulse LP) at 131-130-131-132bpm, though slower seeming, and Dexter Wansel ‘Life On Mars’ (US Philadelphia Int’l LP) at 118bpm are the other big revivals for jazz-funkers . . . Knebworth’s outbreak of trouble by about twenty black hooligans once it got dark prompted DJ Pepe to say “today for the first time I’m ashamed to be black”, and was the subject of Greg Edwards’ ‘Bathroom Call’ on Capital last Saturday . . . Sho-Pro will have to improve the catering facilities next time as the queues were ridiculous . . . Colin Curtis and John Grant, whisked back North to another alldayer (hence defeating the point in including them at Knebworth) were evidently amazed by the scale and atmosphere, Curtis reportedly saying “the North have no idea what they’re missing” . . . Ernie Priestman brought his Whitehaven Whitehouse partners Phil Haslehurst & Wayne Nicholls (plus wives) down to Knebworth, then spent the day working on his tan . . . Robbie Vincent made sure the funky bugler (discovered at Caister) was one of the stars at Knebworth! . . . Southend Zero 6’s claim to be the home of “rowing” may be sound, but surely the craze really got started at an alldayer in Harlow around the end of ‘78? . . . Greg Davies’ Disco Forum 80 was well attended by record company pluggers and mobile DJs, achieved little, and started ludicrously late . . . Stevenage is no place to try and eat after 9:30 on a Sunday night! . . . Surface Noise’s Chris Palmer on bass and Capital Radio’s Mike Allen on guitar used to be in a group called the Moondogs, er – fifteen years ago (gulp!), and they hope to reunite if ‘The Scratch’ hits ‘Top Of The Pops’ . . . Froggy says it’s amazing what some people will do to make their roadshows look bigger – he’s even heard of someone sawing speaker cabinets in half! – and advises that buying a monster roadshow doesn’t guarantee more work; often it means less work for less money as the buyer goes power crazy (“never mind the quantity think about the quality” being the Froggy motto) . . . Mark Clark’s re-named Back Chat Roadshow, now sponsored by Electro-Voice and running Sentry IV’s with EV II’s loaded with the new EV M standard Driver (200w each) powered by 2x Crown DC 300 A Amps, whatever that means, backs Alvin Stardust at Hastings Pier Ballroom this Saturday (7) . . . Grant Brodie, tragically murdered last week, was a great kid well into his jazz-funk and a regular down at Gullivers – his death has saddened Fatman and myself immensely.
BOBBY THURSTON: ‘You Got What It Takes’ (Epic EPC 13-8594) (BNDA debut 3/1/80)
Terrific tapping and rattling polyrhythmic 120-121-122bpm 12in smacker (faster than the LP) with ultra-catchy title line chant builds to jazzy guitar and piano, and has been one of the big side-to-side one-two-three-kick swayers. Better than his last one it deserves to be bigger but may be too late for the funkateers to support again.
STACY LATTISAW: ‘Jump To The Beat’ (Atlantic K 11496T) (BNDA debut 5/17/80)
Narada Michael Walden-produced typical 120-118-119-118-119(bass)-120(“go ahead”)-118-120bpm 12in smacker is a simple if piercingly squeaky smash, flipped by the thudding 102-101-102-101-102bpm ‘You Don’t Love Me Anymore’.
ODYSSEY: ‘Use It Up And Wear It Out’ (RCA PC 1962) (BNDA debut 4/5/80)
Great happy throbbing 127-128bpm 12in Afro rattler with catchy “one two three shake your body down” chanting and party flavour mixes perfectly out of Osibisa’s ‘Pata Pata’ percussion, the ‘Don’t Tell Me, Tell Her’ alternative A-side being a good beefy 85bpm jogger. Continue reading “June 7, 1980: Birth of the rowing dance, Bobby Thurston, Stacy Lattisaw, Odyssey, Starship Orchestra, Johnny Guitar Watson”