September 20, 1975: Bob Marley, Jack Ashford, B.T. Express, Trammps, Gary Toms Empire

As I did last week, I’m reviewing everything that’s come out this week which has any bearing on the disco scene. And as last week, I’m still wondering whether that’s what DJ’s want, or whether you’d be happy to let me exercise my critical judgment. Please write and tell me what you think.


New Spins

BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS: ‘No Woman, No Cry’ (Island WIP 6244)
Recorded live at their Lyceum gig, Bob and the boys’ mournful slowie is almost Dylanesque – which may help explain its enormous appeal to Capital Radio’s listeners, who have voted it up to No. 1 in the Capital Hit Line. More rock than reggae, so those unfamiliar with reggae have nothing to fear. Pity it fades early (3:50), though doubtless the LP cut’ll be longer.

JACK ASHFORD & THE SOUND OF NEW DETROIT: ‘Do The Choo-Choo’ (Parts 1 & 2) (London HLA 10507) (Billboard chart debut 7/5/75)
Archetypal disco sounds of the Hamilton Bohannon type, just made to be danced to. Basically instrumental, nothing to do with Archie Bell (or Little Eva).

B.T. EXPRESS: ‘Give It What You Got’ (EMI INT 515) (mentioned in Billboard column 7/12/75, Billboard chart debut 8/2/75)
Repetitive funky chanter, the US hit from their ‘Non-Stop’ LP. Presumably the equally big ‘Peace Pipe’ has been taken off the flip so it can be our follow-up; instead we get the sparse but spry ‘Happiness’ as coupling.  Continue reading “September 20, 1975: Bob Marley, Jack Ashford, B.T. Express, Trammps, Gary Toms Empire”

September 13, 1975: Dooley Silverspoon, B.T. Express, Crown Heights Affair, Seventh Wave, Buddy Holly

For every Jack there’s a Jill, or so the saying goes, and it seems to me as though for every record (no matter how duff) there’s a DJ prepared to play it.

My principle, when reviewing records, has always been to try and weed out the ones my critical faculties told me were duff, and only mention the ones which were halfway decent – or, at least, of interest and usable.

Furthermore, when this page started, I set out only to mention the records that I considered were likely to cut through a crowded room and make dancers pay attention on the very first hearing.

Now I find myself getting paranoid about the way in which so many things that I never mentioned keep cropping up in our contributing DJs’ weekly chart returns. By no means are all the things I missed out in the duff category, but enough of them are to make me wonder whether perhaps I ought to mention absolutely everything that comes out, just in case I miss a future disco monster by personally thinking it the biggest load of cobblers.

Would you please write in and let me know whether you are happy to let me exercise my critical judgment? Or whether, like this week, I should give blanket coverage of just about everything issued that’s got any sort of beat? (But where would that have placed ‘Magic Roundabout’, huh?!)

I’ve always reckoned I have a pretty good set of ears when it comes to running my own discotheque so please don’t shatter my confidence now!


LP Trax

DOOLEY SILVERSPOON: ‘Dooley Silverspoon’ (Seville SEL 1) (‘Let Me Be The No. 1 (Love Of Your Life)’ mentioned in Billboard column 9/27/75, Billboard chart debut 10/18/75)
It’s not just the fact that I was the first person anywhere in the world to be given a copy of this that makes me enthusiastic. But also the fact that Dooley’s debut album is produced by Sonny Casella, the man who made Jane Burton’s incredible ‘Nobody Loves Me Like You Do’ and the fact that there’s much of the same great sound on many of these tracks . . . now do you understand? My fave is the one most like Jeanne, the ultra-long ‘Let Me Be The No. 1 (Love Of Your Life)’, although even better for dancing is the full, long version of Dooley’s new single, ‘As Long As You Know (Who You Are)’, and the combined parts 1 & 2 of ‘Bump Me Baby’. Strings, shrieking, pretty melodies and ever-hustling hi-hats are the main elements of this Miami-influenced New York Sound. That’s the way I like it, uh-huh!

B.T. EXPRESS: ‘Non-Stop’ (EMI International INA 1501) (mentioned in Billboard column 7/26/75, Billboard chart debut 8/2/75)
The BTE’s first LP thru EMI is, as the title says, non-stop all the way except for a truly awful slow attempt at ‘Close To You’ on Side 2. To tell the truth I find the result a bit monotonous and the tracks too similar to differentiate between them. However, my own fave is the last cut of all, ‘Whatcha Think About That’, while in the US the two most popular are the first two, ‘Peace Pipe’ and ‘Give It What You Got’. Funky fodder through and through, with more vocals than their hit singles might have led one to expect.  Continue reading “September 13, 1975: Dooley Silverspoon, B.T. Express, Crown Heights Affair, Seventh Wave, Buddy Holly”

September 6, 1975: Z.Z. Hill, Persuasions, Ray Charles, Ray Stevens, Jim Reeves

This page is a special service to the many readers of Record Mirror & Disc who are either full or part-time DJs. We hope it’ll also be interesting to the general disco-goer. If you have any queries, please write.

States Picks

Z. Z. HILL: ‘I Created A Monster’ / ‘Steppin’ In The Shoes Of A Fool’ (UA UA-XW631-X)
Penned/produced by none other than Lamont Dozier, Zee Zee’s new R&B hit couples a heavily thumping, slow funker with an incredibly subtle bright jogger. The hit side is extremely powerful sounding and has some great stereo effects, but the flip is artistically in a far superior league, starting with very few elements meshing to do a lot and finishing with a lot doing something that sounds very simple. Maybe if UA get hip they’ll put this out here in a hurry, then you can hear what I mean.

PERSUASIONS: ‘One Thing On My Mind’ / ‘Darlin’’ (A&M 1698-8)
No longer singing acapella, the soulful Persuasions harmonize and emote to a Tymes-type backbeat and slick 1975 arrangement which doesn’t detract from their superb vocal interplay even if it does depersonalize them somewhat. Surprisingly, they manage to make the flip less soulful than the Beach Boys’ original, though.

RAY CHARLES: ‘Living For The City’ (Crossover 981)
It’s come full circle when Ray Charles feels he has to sing Stevie Wonder to gain credibility, as Little Stevie began his career by recording a tribute album to Ray. The result, an R&B hit, presents us with the interesting experience of hearing Ray duetting with himself in stereo, and delivering a raspingly breathed sermon-style rap about the roaches in the city. It’s kinda good, but why couldn’t he have written something comparable himself?  Continue reading “September 6, 1975: Z.Z. Hill, Persuasions, Ray Charles, Ray Stevens, Jim Reeves”

August 23, 1975: Hamilton Bohannon, Ralph Carter, Jimmy Bo Horne, Howeefeel, Andy Mackay

CUDDLY KEN TO OPEN DISCO 75

CAPITAL RADIO’S zany ace DJ, Kenny Everett will now be officiating at the grand opening ceremony for Disco ’75.

Kenny, madcap hero of millions, will be cutting the tape an hour or so after the NADJ-run National DJ Convention and Exhibition opens its doors to the public at noon on Monday September 8 at London’s Bloomsbury Centre Hotel.

On the following day, as previously reported, Capital will be broadcasting live their lunchtime Cash On Delivery show, starring Kenny’s erstwhile partner in fun, Dave Cash. Other Capital stars expected to visit Disco ’75 during the two days include Roger Scott, Nicky Horne, Tommy Vance, Graham Dene, Kerry Juby, Tony Myatt, Peter Young, Greg Edwards, Mike Allen and Ian Davidson.

The free flimsy disc containing Capital jingles, exclusively revealed to RM readers last week, will also be introduced by Kenny Everett. This disc will be given to all visitors to Disco ’75, and is designed with disco and hospital jocks in mind. As now finalised, the disc begins with some foolishness from Kenny, and there then follow a great many of Capital’s jingles of various lengths, all separated by several seconds of silence.

Apart from all this, the main attraction at Disco ’75 will be the exhibition stands of virtually every major disco equipment manufacturer and of many record companies. Full details may be obtained from organiser Ben Cree, of the NADJ, at PO Box 23, Hitchin, Herts SG4 9JT (telephone 0462 50918).


HOT TIP

FROM Theo Loyla (Banana Power Discos, Bridge, Kent): “Just before the end of Barbados I cut in with the old JOE GIBBS Hijacked (Amalgamated AMG 865, which is probably deleted). It’s good danceable Reggae which makes a topical and amusing foil to Typically.


A multitude of Misty’s

RAY STEVENS Misty (Janus) and now THE NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND All I Have To Do Is Dream (UA) have been so useful at MOR type gigs that I reckon a look at some other Country-fied Pop oldies could be timely. The following recent US releases are only obtainable on import at the moment, but they do deserve issue here.

RONNIE DOVE: Things (Melodyland ME 6011F).
Bobby Darin’s perky fave gets a pounding bass and strident steel along with Ronnie’s frantic rhythm hopping. Not up to the original, but a fresh approach.

BUDDY ALAN: Another Saturday Night (Capitol 4075)
Bouncily thumping Country beat improves immeasurably on Cat Stevens’s version of the Sam Cooke lilter. Definitely useable.

BUCK OWENS & SUSAN RAYE: Love Is Strange (Capitol 4100)
Mickey & Sylvia’s Rock-A-Cha adapts well to Buck & Susan’s similar simple style. Solid bass and all the original catchiness.  Continue reading “August 23, 1975: Hamilton Bohannon, Ralph Carter, Jimmy Bo Horne, Howeefeel, Andy Mackay”

August 16, 1975: Sparrow, Russ Regent & His Rhythmaires, Banzai, Peoples Choice, Calhoon

Flimsy jingle freebie!

DISCO ’75 visitors will not only get the chance to see Capital Radio in action but also be given free copies of Capital jingles to use on their own shows.

The NADJ – run National DJ Convention and Exhibition, Disco ’75 is to be held on September 8th/9th at London’s Bloomsbury Centre Hotel, from which on the second day, Tuesday, Capital’s lunchtime Cash On Delivery Show will be broadcast live. Radio freaks (as most DJs must surely be) will see how a studio works when famous Dave Cash gets behind the decks, aided by glamorous gal producer Annie Challis and an army of hard drinking engineers. There may even he an in-person appearance by the station’s lofty record librarian (hullo). Seriously though, throughout the day there will be a steady trickle of Capital’s celebrated DJs – stars like Kenny Everett, Roger Scott, Nicky Horne, Graham Dene, Peter Young, Greg Edwards, Tony Myatt, maybe even Mike Aspel and Gerald Harper – all behaving themselves and shaking hands with the visitors.

Better even than this though for most will be the news that every DJ visiting Disco ’75 will be given a free flimsy disc containing a set of Capital jingles. The flimsies will be designed so that the jingles and linking Capital DJ greetings can be dubbed separately onto tape and used as a set of individual stabs and voice-overs to make disco presentations sound even more impressive. How long before every pub, club and disco DJ is conning that they broadcast on 194?!


HOT TIP

From the Bindle Stiff mobile disco, Hullbridge, near Southend, Essex: “Great idea I just came across – during singalongs at such as weddings, you can have slides of the words made up, so that the people who don’t know the words to things like Run Rabbit Run or Only Girl In The World can join in. It’s most effective.” Nice one, JR!


New Spins

Bop shoo wubbuddy Booby doo wup, doc

SPARROW: Oh Doctor (CBS 3527)
What’s the cure when all your girl can say is “Bop shoo wubbuddy dooby doo wup”? In best doo-wop style the creamy-singing guys in Sparrow ask the doctor (played by Humphrey Bogart), and their ’50s-type slowie picks up where Mud leave off. Great.

RUSS REGENT AND HIS RHYTHMAIRES: The Happy Organ (20th Century BTC 1004)
Atmospheric subdued auditorium FX intro and then Russ romps through the old Dave “Baby” Cortez instrumental with a rapid clapping rhythm that (although not aimed that way) will probably break up North before sweeping the nation.

BANZAI: Chinese Kung Fu (Contempo CS 2068)
Excruciatingly dull unless you’re out on the floor, the Disco Version flip is nothing like as direct as the plug side of this disco stomping instrumental that’s already selling big as an import. Catchy Chinoiserie melody and lotsa Hoo! Ha! Could even hit.  Continue reading “August 16, 1975: Sparrow, Russ Regent & His Rhythmaires, Banzai, Peoples Choice, Calhoon”

August 30, 1975: Natalie Cole, Innervision, Fatback Band, Chocolate Milk, Esther Phillips

LEGEND OF THE WOLF

WOLFMAN JACK, America’s most famous disc-jockey, is now probably even better known over here for his pivotal role in “American Graffiti” than for his shows on AFN. When he came to London last week to appear on Capital Radio it was my privilege to work closely with him (that’s us clowning for the cameras, right), and thus I was able to find out about a lot of his tricks.

When recording his syndicated shows, carried by hundreds of radio stations worldwide, the Wolf merely sits down with a running order list and puts his voice links on tape, without any music, leaving three second gaps between each link. An engineer then records the master tape. playing the records, running in the pre-recorded links, and slotting in other relevant “bits” that are already on cart, like the famous wolf howls (actually, a coyote). This explains why on the two “American Graffiti” albums the Wolf often crashes the vocals – he had no control!

Possibly the greatest surprise when watching the Wolfman at work is to see that all his incredible raps are in fact read from books. Wherever they go, he and his manager, Don Kelley, note down anything that inspires them. Don is then able to flip through piles of thick notebooks until he finds something apt for the music and mood of the moment. which the Wolf then transforms into a rap that sounds totally spontaneous. He also uses the notebooks to whap in time with the beat when rockin’ to Little Richard!

To change from his normal speaking voice into his maniacal radio style, the Wolf goes into a wheezing chuckle that gradually intensifies until it bursts out into his much copied growling rasp – which is full of amazing resonances. Even when wearing cans, at the mike he often puts a hand over one ear in traditional announcer’s fashion. A true AM jock, he likes lots of EQ, and sits well back while ranting and raving.

As well as radio shows, there are Wolfman Jack discos, syndicated on tape to locations that he and Don Kelley control. Because these are mainly in hotels, the music that they very carefully programme for each hour-long tape is angled to get bashful business men onto the floor, and each tape follows an almost scientifically proven formula. This includes a healthy quota of really big oldies, with one Latin cut per hour.

As well as all this the Wolf is the main presenter of America’s long-running “Midnight Special ‘ Rock show, plus he has his own lavish touring stage show that choreographs the history of Rock ‘n Roll radio, plus he’s had numerous songs written about him, plus . . . like I said, he’s the World’s most famous DJ.


HOT TIP

From Peter Dunn: Coppercoins Country Club, Nr Haverfordwest, Pemb’s): Useful as a nice happy party record, MEL BLANC I Taut I Taw A Puddy Tat (MfP Surprise Surprise FP 27) is especially good if just the main Tweety Pie verse is cut in, for unexpected shock effect. This and many more party goodies of a silly nature are available on cheap kiddies discs in places like W. H. Smith & Son – they’re worth trying.


New Spins

Swingalonganatalie

NATALIE COLE: This Will Be (Capitol CL 15834)
Nat “King” Cole’s daughter is a merry young soul on this happy stamper (reviewed last week as an import), which much like Barbara Acklin’s Love Makes A Woman really does move like the clappers! Hopefully modern dancers can cope with the fact that it actually swings . . . and how! My fave of the month, if not year.

INNERVISION: Honey Baby (Be Mine) (Private Stock PVT 17)
An instantly catchy bass line makes the purposeful yet gentle rhythmic drive that fronts some impassioned harmonies and should win friends in a hurry. In fact, I’ve a hunch this could hit.

THE FATBACK BAND: Yum, Yum (Gimme Some) / Trompin’ (Polydor 2066590).
A lip-smacking treat for funky folk, this bouncy thumper may seem monotonous to others as the bass predominates in a very repetitive way. Spirited flip.  Continue reading “August 30, 1975: Natalie Cole, Innervision, Fatback Band, Chocolate Milk, Esther Phillips”

August 9, 1975: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Jeanne Burton, Steely Dan, Al Wilson, Rod Stewart

NORWAY’S NORMAL?

LOTS OF jocks get gigs in Scandinavia, so here’s a bit of info from someone who’s over there now.

Peter Brown (Seasons Disco, Wembley, Middlesex) is spending some of the Summer working at the Hawk Club in Bergen, Norway, and from what he says it seems the Norwegians are fairly normal if just a wee bit behind the times. He writes: “My favourite music is soul . . . however, over here you have to play some really weird disco music. For instance, MAX BYGRAVES Tulips From Amsterdam (Decca) goes down tremendously, and GLENN MILLER always works a treat! You wouldn’t hear many other than mobile discos playing those in England, I’ll bet!” And more’s the pity, say I.

That’s not the only way in which Peter finds the Norwegians lagging behind the times. “Norway is slow in catching on to new records. The Norwegian Top Twenty still has GEORGE McCRAE’s Rock Your Baby in it, along with I Can Help by BILLY SWAN which if a vote was taken would probably be their new National Anthem!”


HOT TIP

FROM Peter Greig (Route 88 Discos, Plymouth, Devon): To make your own slip mats, get two coloured felt off-cuts (usually sold in one foot squares by remnant shops) and cut them to turntable size using a suitable plate as a pattern. Fold each in half and then quarter and nip the inner point with scissors. Stick them onto your turntables with some small dabs of glue and – presto! – you have a pair of perfect slip mats for professional cueing in.


New Spins

DWEAM DWEAM DWEAM!

THE NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND: (All I Have To Do is) Dream (WA UP 35875)
Yes, despite the brackets, the Everlys’ cocos commercial oldie . . . given a Misty-style updating full of twinkling banjos and mildly bouncy subdued jollity, Dreamy MoR, could be a smash.

JEANNE BURTON: Nobody Loves Me Like You Do (Seville SEV 1010) Incredibly exciting shrilly screaming gallop paced hustler by a chick who combines Gloria Gaynor and the Queen Of Clubs to produce a sound that’ll send shivers up your spine. Make it a hit!

STEELY DAN: Do it Again (ABC 4075)
and again and again and again. Maybe this time?  Continue reading “August 9, 1975: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Jeanne Burton, Steely Dan, Al Wilson, Rod Stewart”