August 18, 1979: Crusaders, FLB, Al Hudson & The Partners, Frantique, Johnny Mathis

Disco News

Fred Dove has suspended WEA’s mailing list and will concentrate on testing product around the clubs – where will the axe fall next? . . . Eddy Grant’s Ice label has signed with Virgin for distribution and not WEA as previously announced, his ‘Walking On Sunshine’ 12in being rush released and The Mexicano’s ‘Move Up Starsky’ blue vinyl 12in remix due soon . . . Chris Brown, currently sunning on the Riviera until the 24th, has mixed a four-track segued 12in jazz-funk EP for A&M, while similarly Steve Walsh has done one for Arista (the latter using old Breakwater and Mandrill material) . . . Kleeer and Herbie Mann each have a three-track 12in due next week, Miroslav Vitous ‘New York City’ finally being out next week, as is Alma Faye ‘Don’t Fall In Love’ . . . Gap Band ‘Baby Baba Boogie’ 12in has been postponed . . . Crusaders remix and David Bendeth import 12in are proving hard to find for many . . . Archie Bell ‘Strategy’, though less of a singalong, is being tipped by some as the next McFadden & Whitehead-type anthem, while the “wha-ohh-wah-ahh” chant from Isley Brothers ‘Shout’ oldie is already huge for Chris Hill and could just chart RCA’s imminent 12in version . . . Stan Barrett hosted a lavish party this last Sunday at his Canvey Island Goldmine to celebrate the notorious disco’s 7th birthday, attended by London’s “funk mafia” plus other select Thames Estuary jocks (and their ladies), Chris Hill then building the fancy-dressed punters up to the most amazing silly session party finale I’ve ever witnessed! Englishmen now abed will think themselves accursed they were not there, especially as Timmy Gover dolled up in white suit and complete rubber John Travolta head mask to fool the gawpers outside . . . August Bank Holiday starts on Sunday 26th at Brighton Papillon with Mick & Paul Clark’s funky beach party prior to the following day’s Great Brighton Beach Party with Chris Hill and the old Purley dodderers joining the same crew at the Top Rank: meanwhile, other Monday all-dayers include new boys Al “Purple Heart” Matthews, Steve Walsh and more at Purley Tiffanys; Colin Curtis, Mark Joenz, John Grant, Phil Kelly & Eric Hearn at Liverpool’s Romeo & Juliets; Robbie Stewart, Dave Middleton, Tony Charles & more at Bletchley Peaches; and indeed just about every pub with a back room seems to be getting in on the act . . . EMI disco plugger Pete Dyos is quitting on September 3rd to open a Brentwood-based studio, agency and freelance promotion service (0277-225110), applicants for his EMI job being invited to contact Jeff Atherton at Manchester Square . . . Phil Mitchell, compiling an all-time “Humberside Soul Poll” for local radio, wants the area’s funk fans to send in their fave soul Top Tens to him, c/o Paul Hunsley, Electric Wireless Show, Radio Humberside, 9 Chapel Street, Hull . . . Bob Jones soon starts a jazz-funk Tuesday at Southend’s Zero 6, where live jazz-fusion groups will also appear – and any groups interested in a gig should contact Colin at Record Man of Rayleigh (Rayleigh 779722) . . . Havering DJ Association have another Disco 79 dance at Barking’s Volunteer next Friday (24), the £1.50 tickets from HDJA Secretary (who potential DJ members should contact too), Brian Mead, at 18 Cowley Road, Romford . . . BBC local radio cutbacks, mainly achieved by an evening relay of Radio 2, must put many soul shows in danger – already Medway’s Tony “Shades” Valence has had his orders . . . TCOJ’s animated lead singer breaks bricks with his voice – beware! . . . EMI LRD are reportedly flirting with a major US soul label from a certain city of brotherly love . . . Groove Records in Soho’s Greek Street now stock a well up-front selection of hot import cassettes, worth checking . . . Nicki Peck (Chatham Scamps) writes a really rather good “Disco Pecking” section every Friday in the Medway area’s Evening Post . . . “Elvis – The Movie” is surprisingly excellent but because of its authenticity and quality is also frustrating to watch when you realise that another hour of it got edited out between US TV screening and UK cinema – what do we miss?! . . . James “Fish” Heron, who used to send charts regularly, is now Clyde Coast DJ Assn secretary as his predecessor resigned the post due to apathy . . . Martin Starr & Dennis Richards of Bristol’s Just 4U funk club have issued a challenge to meet Camberley Frenchies at any midway venue from September onwards – to do what, one wonders?

UK Newies

Next week there’ll be more New York report, but right now let’s get rid of some reviews . . . and there are so many goodies about!

CRUSADERS: ‘Street Life’ (MCA MCAT 513) (BNDA debut 9/29/79)
Terrific 12in remix, minus slow start and speeded up 3bpm so it’s now an ever-accelerating 108-116bpm. Try mixing into Joe Sample’s old ‘There Are Many Stops Along The Way’!

FLB: ‘Lookin’ For Love Tonight’ (Fantasy 12FTC 179) (BNDA debut 9/8/79)
GQ-style superb solid 123bpm 12in chugger, out here (as was Slick) ahead of the USA.

AL HUDSON & THE PARTNERS: ‘You Can Do It’ (MCA MCAT 511) (BNDA debut 6/16/79)
Powerfully strutting 116bpm 12in chugger with usefully abrupt chop intro.  Continue reading “August 18, 1979: Crusaders, FLB, Al Hudson & The Partners, Frantique, Johnny Mathis”

August 11, 1979: Studio 54, part 2 – “a lot less exciting than its publicity would have one believe.”

Last time the description of Studio 54 was incomplete. Housed in a converted theatre in the Ed Sullivan CBS TV building (where the Beatles taped a show), it still has the theatre balcony with the dancefloor being where front stalls and stage once were so that it is this great ceiling height that enables the previously mentioned mirrored light columns to drop down into the dancers from above. Other effects include a swinging illuminated heart on a pendulum scything above their heads and sudden artificial snowstorms billowing from the balcony, but it’s the backdrop area that houses the most spectacular – if rather limited – set of effects, which are raised and lowered with an interest-numbing regularity. These are mainly an Inca-type Sun God head and a crescent Man In The Moon who snorts coke from a spoon up his lightbulb-animated nostril – fun once, but dragsville the fourth time. In setting out to stun and then not maintaining the momentum, Studio 54 is a lot less exciting than its publicity would have one believe.

Its close rival down near Times Square on West 43rd Street, the notorious Xenon is almost as hard to get into . . . and, following a fracas when a bunch of us weren’t even allowed in on our February visit although there were tickets for us inside, I didn’t try too hard this time. However, enthusiastic reports from money-flourishing Fatman suggest that DJ Tony Smith spins a superior range of varied and quite funky music, while the sound approaches Paradise Garage quality – and the effects include a near naked lady suddenly riding through on a real live white horse! Lasers evidently provide much of the lighting, used rather dangerously if you consider that, after three stark naked girls had jumped on top of some speaker stacks and started dancing, all the lights went out and the lasers zeroed in on three furry pussies!

Just as Paradise Garage has won awards for its sound system, so has The Ice Palace for its lighting. Situated on the salubrious corner of West 57th Street and Avenue of the Americas, the Palace is dead easy to get into . . . and full of young white guys dancing mainly with each other, to the most appalling variety of Euro and New York disco dreck, which (on the night I was there) wasn’t even mixed excitingly. And this is Ian Levine’s favourite disco in the whole world! As for the lighting, with a name like Ice Palace not surprisingly the whole place is walled with mirrors, giving a cold harsh atmosphere as flashing neon, strobes and helicopters reflect off every surface. At least with mid-week admission of £2.65 including two stiff drinks, it’s not expensive – but then drinks in all New York’s discos are surprisingly cheap.

More next week, but please note that the next Billboard Forum (not essential in itself) will be in Los Angeles during February, and Chris Hill is taking over a team of London funk mafia to play in a chain of LA clubs for ‘British Week’ to show the hopeless West Coast jocks how it’s done . . . and Adrian Webb of Showstopper Promotions (01-886 4112) really IS organising a cheap rate package trip, but needs to hear from you within the next fortnight if you’re planning to go (for whatever reason). It’ll be a ball, so y’all come, hear?

Disco News

Come hell, high water, and public holidays, when all about me falter, this Disco page is always in Record Mirror – right? – but last week my two final mobile gigs of the summer proved too much: I simply had to sleep. So, sorry if you missed it, but even you have a holiday sometimes . . . Camberley’s Frenchies is running an invitation-only British Disco Convention for selected top jocks on Tuesday, October 2nd, with a forum panel including Chris Hill, Froggy, promoter Adrian Webb, CBS’s Greg Lynn, a solicitor and myself, followed by buffet and cabaret, the emphasis being on entertainment and a chance to meet informally . . . Frenchies’s DJ team is now Chris Brown, Robin Nash, Jeff Young and Nick Halliday, alternating every Sunday at Camberley Cambridge Hotel and Cardiff Lloyds . . . Showstopper Productions’ Caister overflow funk weekender at Perrin Sands in Cornwall on 26/27/28 October (the earlier Weymouth venue now being scrapped) will feature all the Caister jocks except Greg Edwards and has a Mardi Gras fancy dress theme – as does Southgate Royalty’s 1st anniversary Chris Hill night next Friday (31) – while Showstopper and the Brighton Soul Society combine on August 27th Bank Holiday Monday for a Great Brighton Beach Party at Brighton Top Rank with all the old Purley jocks like Chris Hill, Robbie Vincent, Chris Brown, Sean French, Froggy and more . . . Ashford & Simpson ‘Found A Cure’, Con Funk Shun ‘Chase Me’, Raydio ‘Rock On’, Bryan Adams ‘Let Me Take You Dancing’ are due on 12in now, with Bonnie Boyer ‘Got To Give In To Love’, Bobby Rush ‘I Wanna Do The Do’, Isley Bros ‘Shout’, Van McCoy ‘The Hustle’, Bill Summers ‘Dancing Lady’, Slick ‘Sexy Cream’ out later this month . . . David Bendeth ‘Feel The Real’ is rumoured to be EMI’s for UK, while further hot poop has a segued three-track Heatwave promo 12in in circulation . . . Magnet’s Joanna Kochen retires next week for a pre-nuptial rest . . . London’s LODJ Assn jocks are providing music for a week from Saturday (11) at the National Teen-Ex 79 exhibition in Westminster Horticultural Halls . . . Norman Scott now jocks at London’s Sundown every Fri/Saturday, Bang on Mondays, and at Leicester Square Empire’s roller disco every Sunday afternoon . . . Iain Borg & Trevor Chapman with guests like Mick Clark funk Croydon’s Foxy in Lower Addiscombe Road every Fri/Sat/Sunday, and plan a soul weekend near Windsor Castle (not the Great Park, I hope!) . . . Dennis Brynner, Dave Van Seiger, Kim Perritt & Neville Tan, DJ team at Southampton’s new plus Barbarellas on the old Centre site, have to contend with an elevating DJ console that goes up and down the wall! . . . Clem Curtis, ex-Foundations, proved he’s been a soul singer all this time when he really wailed while singing over his ‘Unchained Melody/Need Your Love’ at Mayfair’s Gullivers – where, contrary to rumour, the “rock” dancing crowd are evidently too young to remember King Floyd’s 1970 original of Fern Kinney’s ‘Groove Me’ . . . David Emery (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 813797) invites enquiries from record companies and other youth-market firms interested in running promotions on Tyneside . . . Capital Radio, with Mike Smith sounding like Graham Dene and now John Sachs sounding like Mike Allen, risks going the Radio One route where so many jocks (to these ears) sound like Tony Blackburn . . . Peter Sedgebeer (Tonbridge Hilden Manor/Rugby Club) points out rightly that with the pound so strong against the dollar, why the hell are imports still so expensive? . . . UK record companies could well be following their US counterparts in cutting back on disco promotion . . . Teesvalley Roadshow (Redcar 475854) have had some smart goldprinted leather key-rings run up at only £9.50 per 100, which works out at the same price as an ad in the local paper but by being handy permanent reminders could prove 100 times more effective when given to satisfied punters instead of a business card . . . Larry Foster (Canonbury Mildmay Tavern) suggests as a good mix to bridge from disco when rock is requested, Donna Summer ‘Bad Girls’ into ELO ‘Shine A Little Love’ into Rolling Stones ‘Miss You’ . . . Chris Hill fans beware: he’s currently inflicting Tiny Tim ‘The Happy Wanderer’ on his silly sessions! . . . Neil Fincham (Dunbar Goldenstones) asks, what’s green and turns red at the flick of a switch? – A frog in a liquidiser (is it Froggy’s eyes after a hard night?)! Either way, we don’t wish to know that – goodnight!

Too many records and too little space means that to keep you fairly up to date on what at least is out, this week I am reduced to listing everything that by now it would have been nice to have reviewed. You will see the problem, I think! Maybe next week there’ll be more room?  Continue reading “August 11, 1979: Studio 54, part 2 – “a lot less exciting than its publicity would have one believe.””

August 4, 1979: chart only this week, no column

UK Disco Top 90 – August 4, 1979

01 04 Slick – Space Bass – Fantasy 12″
02 06 Chic – Good Times – Atlantic 12″
03 01 Anita Ward – Ring My Bell – TK 12″
04 03 Earth, Wind & Fire & The Emotions – Boogie Wonderland – CBS 12″
05 02 McFadden & Whitehead – Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now – Philadelphia Int’l 12″
06 07 Chantal Curtis – Get Another Love – Pye 12″
07 05 Sister Sledge – We Are Family – Atlantic 12″
08 09 Donna Summer – Bad Girls / One Love – Casablanca 12″/LP
09 08 Teena Marie – I’m A Sucker For Your Love – Motown 12″
10 12 Patrick Hernandez – Born To Be Alive – Gem 12″
11 11 Edwin Starr – H.A.P.P.Y. Radio – 20th Century 12″
12 10 Eddy Grant – Living On The Frontline – Ensign 12″
13 15 Janet Kay – Silly Games – Scope 12″
14 16 Earth, Wind & Fire – Star / Let Your Feelings Show / After The Love Is Gone / In The Stone / Rock That / I Can’t Let Go – CBS LP
15 14 Deniece Williams – I’ve Got The Next Dance – CBS 12″
16 24 Diana Ross – The Boss / No One Gets The Prize / It’s My House – Motown 12″/LP
17 18 Amii Stewart – Light My Fire – Atlantic 12″
18 13 Carrie Lucas – Dance With You – Solar 12″
19 19 Billy Paul – Bring The Family Back – Philadelphia Int’l 12″
20 25 Crusaders – Street Life / Carnival Of The Night – MCA LP
21 38 Gibson Brothers – Oooh! What A Life / Better Do It Salsa – Island 12″/LP
22 17 Joe Thomas – Make Your Move / Sugar Smack – TK 12″
23 22 Donna Summer – Hot Stuff – Casablanca 12″
24 20 V/A – Turn On The Tap (all cuts) – Tappan Zee 12″ EP
25 21 Tata Vega – Get It Up For Love – Motown 12″
26 30 Frantique – Strut Your Funky Stuff – Philadelphia Int’l 12″
27 28 Harvey Mason – Groovin’ You – Arista 12″
28 32 Jones Girls – You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else – Philadelphia Int’l 12″
29 27 Light Of The World – Midnight Groovin’ – Ensign 12″/LP
30 41 Spyro Gyra – Morning Dance / Starburst – Infinity 7″/LP
31 39 David Bendeth – Feel The Real – Canadian IGM 12″
32 26 Five Special – Why Leave Us Alone – Elektra 12″
33 44 Jackie McLean – Dr. Jackyll And Mr. Funk – RCA 12″
34 23 Candi Staton – When You Wake Up Tomorrow – Warner Bros. 12″
35 29 Peter Brown – Crank It Up – TK 12″
36 40 L.A.X. – Dancin’ At The Disco – Pye 12″
37 37 Village People – Go West – Mercury 12″
38 45 Candido – Dancin’ & Prancin’ / Jingo / Thousand Finger Man / Rock & Shuffle – Salsoul LP/US 12″
39 85 Real Thing – Boogie Down (Get Funky Now) – Pye 12″
40 86 Al Wilson – Earthquake – RCA 12″
41 68 Me And You – You Never Know What You’ve Got – Laser/Deb Music 12″
42 43 George Benson – Unchained Melody / Before You Go – Warner Bros. 12″
43 47 Hudson People – Trip To Your Mind – Ensign 12″
44 70 Olympic Runners – The Bitch – Polydor 12″
45 46 Taka Boom – Night Dancin’ – Ariola 12″
46 31 Roxy Music – Dance Away – Polydor 7″
47 34 GQ – Make My Dream A Reality – Arista 12″
48 35 Gary’s Gang – Showtime / Let’s Lovedance Tonight – CBS 12″
49 33 War – Good Good Feelin’ – MCA 12″
50 51 Smokey Robinson – Get Ready – US Motown LP
51 52 Jackie Moore – This Time Baby – CBS 12″
52 74 Skyy – First Time Around – Salsoul 12″
53 57 Patrick Juvet – Swiss Kiss / Lady Night – Casablanca 12″/LP
54 63 Antonia Rodriguez – La Bamba – Magnet 12″
55 36 Melba Moore – Pick Me Up, I’ll Dance – Epic 12″
56 56 Sylvester – Stars / Body Strong – Fantasy 12″/US 12″ remix
57 59 Bonnie Pointer – Heaven Must Have Sent You – Motown 12″ remix
58 60 Direct Current – Everybody Here Must Party – Sidewalk 12″
59 49 Switch – Best Beat In Town – Motown 12″
60 42 Gino Soccio – Dancer / Dance To Dance – Warner Bros. 12″
61 76 David Naughton – Makin’ It – RSO 12″
62 64 James Brown – It’s Too Funky In Here – Polydor 12″
63 55 Ralph MacDonald – I Need Someone / East Dry River / Discolypso / You Are In Love – US Marlin LP
64 53 Herbie Hancock – Tell Everybody – CBS 12″/US 12″ remix
65 50 Heatwave – Razzle Dazzle / Eyeballin’ / Raise A Blaze / Therm Warfare / One Night Tan – GTO 12″/LP
66 65 Lenny Williams – If You’re In Need / Doin’ The Loop De Loop / When I’m Dancin’ – US MCA LP
67 NE Ashford & Simpson – Found A Cure – US Warner Bros. 12″
68 77 Stephanie Mills – Put Your Body In It / Whatcha Gonna Do With My Lovin’ / Don’t Stop Dancin’ – 20th Century LP/US 12″
69 62 Uncle Louie – Full Tilt Boogie – US TK 12″
70 54 Lalo Schifrin – Chile Caliente – US Warner Bros. LP
71 89 Isley Brothers – It’s A Disco Night / Life In The City / I Wanna Be With You / Let’s Fall In Love / Liquid Love – Epic LP
72 NE Kandidate – Girls Girls Girls – Rak 7″
73 NE Savoy – Sunny Side Of The Street – EMI 12″
74 90 Kleeer – It’s Magic / I Love To Dance / Tonight’s The Night – US Atlantic LP
75 61 Herb Alpert – Rise – US A&M 12″
76 75 Mass Production – Welcome To Our World / Cosmic Lust / Strollin’ – Atlantic 12″
77 82 Breakwater – Work It Out – Arista 12″
78 NE Atlantic Starr – (Let’s) Rock ‘N Roll – A&M 12″
79 71 Poussez – Come On And Do It / Boogie With Me / Never Gonna Say Goodbye – Vanguard 12″/LP
80 78 Tom Browne – What’s Going On / Throw Down / The Closer I Get To You – US Arista/GRP LP
81 66 Dexter Wansel – I’ll Never Forget (My Favourite Disco) / It’s Been Cool – US Philadelphia Int’l 12″
82 NE Ronnie Foster – Argentina / Feet / Let Me Into Your Life – US Columbia LP
83 NE Ritz – Locomotion – Epic 12″
84 79 Chain Reaction – Sweet Lady (Dance With Me) – US Jam Sessions 12″
85 84 Brainstorm – Hot For You – Tabu 12″
86 88 Nuggets – New York / Proud Mary – Mercury 12″
87 NE Philly Cream – Motown Review – Fantasy 12″
88 83 Terry Callier – Sign Of The Times – Elektra LP/US 12″
89 73 Central Line – Wot We Got – Phonogram 12″ promo
90 NE Deodato – Shazam / Space Dust / Knights Of Fantasy / Whistle Bump / Sherlock – US Warner Bros. LP
NE = new entry; RE = re-entry

Appeared in Billboard:
#2 (BNDA debut 6/23/79) / #3 (BNDA debut 4/14/79) / #4 (BNDA debut 6/2/79)
#5 (BNDA debut 4/7/79) / #6 (BNDA debut 6/23/79) / #7 (BNDA debut 2/10/79)
#8 (BNDA debut 4/21/79) / #10 (BNDA debut 5/19/79) / #11 (BNDA debut 6/9/79)
#15 (BNDA debut 6/16/79) / #16 (BNDA debut 6/23/79) / #18 (BNDA debut 3/10/79)
#20 (BNDA debut 9/29/79) / #21 (BNDA debut 9/8/79) / #23 (BNDA debut 4/21/79)
#25 (BNDA debut 4/14/79) / #27 (BNDA debut 6/16/79) / #28 (BNDA debut 5/12/79)
#32 (BNDA debut 7/7/79) / #34 (BNDA debut 5/26/79) / #35 (BNDA debut 6/9/79)
#36 (BNDA debut 6/2/79) / #37 (BNDA debut 4/7/79) / #38 (BNDA debut 6/30/79)
#44 (BNDA debut 9/29/79) / #49 (BNDA debut 4/14/79) / #51 (BNDA debut 6/23/79)
#53 (BNDA debut 6/9/79) / #54 (BNDA debut 4/7/79) / #55 (BNDA debut 4/7/79)
#56 (BNDA debut 3/24/79) / #57 (BNDA debut 5/5/79) / #58 (BNDA debut 4/7/79)
#59 (BNDA debut 7/7/79) / #60 (BNDA debut 2/24/79) / #61 (BNDA debut 3/10/79)
#62 (BNDA debut 6/16/79) / #64 (BNDA debut 7/14/79) / #67 (BNDA debut 7/14/79)
#68 (BNDA debut 6/2/79) / #71 (BNDA debut 8/25/79) / #75 (BNDA debut 7/28/79)
#76 (BNDA debut 11/6/76) / #79 (BNDA debut 4/14/79) / #85 (BNDA debut 4/7/79)
#86 (BNDA debut 6/30/79) / #90 (BNDA debut 12/1/79)

July 28, 1979: “Studio 54 certainly know how to manipulate publicity – the place is nothing very special.”

Ten days and usual dose of jet lag later, your Record Mirror reporter is back from the New York Hilton-held Billboard Disco Forum VI with more news than there’s room to print.

Where to start? Well, name checks first. The UK contingent included DJ’s Froggy and Fatman Graham Canter, Phonogram’s John Waller, EMI LRD’s Ray Edwards, Polydor’s John Perou and Theo Loyla (the latter not arriving till the Saturday’s first Laker flight), Pye’s Dave McAleer and Alan McLachlan, Bocu Music’s Howard Huntridge and Ian Titchener (both known for other DJ roles too), BBC Radio One producer Tony Hale, US born but Leeds Warehouse-owning Mike Wiand – these in various combinations being the crowd I personally moved with while also in evidence were DJ Simon Pollock, producer Ian Levine and Island’s Erskine Thompson (who was supervising a Manu Dibango recording session in NY). In our different groupings we ate, drank and clubbed together.

Yup, clubs! The opening night of the Forum’s evening entertainment at the Roseland Ballroom, set up as a special disco for the occasion, we were unimpressed by Sister Sledge and then moved up a few blocks to 54th Street and the world-famous Studio 54. They certainly know how to manipulate publicity – the place is nothing very special.

Suspended mirrored and lightbulb-covered columns rise up and down over the dancefloor so that sometimes they drop in amongst the dancers, while horizontally-mounted prismatic mirrors spin overhead to reflect bright strobe-like lights.

Frankly I’m not too keen on naked torsos, freckled bony shoulders, cropped balding heads, unhealthy-looking women trying to look young, over-laboured freaks and middle-aged men who ought to know better – so I can’t be said to have found the place thrilling. The music was permanently fast until with a laboured creak it suddenly dropped down – to be greeted with widespread relief – into James Brown, but I did enjoy it when the DJ did my own segue out of Atlantic Starr into Harvey Mason.

Studio 54 has only become notorious by being hard to get into (they even refused late-arriving Billboard vice-president Bill Wardlow!), whereas Paradise Garage sets out to achieve less, yet achieves so much more.

On the seedier side of Greenwich Village on King Street, the Garage is literally that. Massive trucks are parked downstairs as you climb through a small door and head towards the carpark ramp that’s now the dimly-lit way up to the first-floor club.

Basically gay (though less noticeably so these days), the place is a juice bar serving no alcohol and limited (again not so noticeably) to over-25s. It is always packed, doesn’t close till mid-morning, and is the most exciting club in the city . . . thanks largely to its incredible sound and DJ Larry Levan’s superb mixing . . . it is possible to stand two inches away from the speakers’ massive ports and have an ordinary conversation, while your hair gets a blow-wave from the air pressure being pumped out! In fact the sound is loudest at the centre of the dancefloor, which used to be in almost permanent darkness except for some dazzling sweeps of the spinning, helicopter lights, but on this visit there were fewer helicopter effects in use and more regularly flashing vertical pencil beams.

In the juice bar a fountain spouts the juice for you to catch in a cup, while bowls of fresh fruit, nuts and sweets are all there for free too. Last time this room featured movies projected against the end wall – I saw ‘Fantasia’ and ‘Mahogany’ – but on this visit they weren’t in evidence. The music is a great mixture of the usual NY disco sounds but tempered by a more soulful element, the crowd being much more black than white. Well, that’s all the room for this week – more next.

Disco News

Hot Chocolate ‘Going Through The Motions’ is on 12in after all (12RAK 296), while David Naughton ‘Makin’ It’ is finally on commercial 12in (RSOX 32) and Me And You ‘You Never Know What You’ve Got’ switched to Laser 12in (LAS 8T) . . . David Naughton got his TV series after making some popular Dr Pepper soft drink commercials at the same time as appearing in ‘Hamlet’ on Broadway – versatile lad! . . . Pye launch a series of ‘Disco Duplex’ double albums, gatefold packaged in hinged die-cut sleeves showing the new Discovatin’ label comprising two four-track segued 45rpm 12in discs giving full LP length but 12in clarity all for the £4.80 cost of a normal LP, the ‘Get Down On The Floor’ debut set (DISC 01) featuring Real Thing ‘Can You Feel The Force’ / (remix), Gene Chandler ‘Get Down’ / Players Association ‘Turn The Music Up’, Two Man Sound ‘Que Tal America’ / Martin Circus ‘Disco Circus’, Daddy Dewdrop ‘Nanu Nanu’ / Edwin Starr ‘Contact’ – phew! . . . Van McCoy died three weeks ago after feeling unwell in the studio while Hugo & Luigi were extending and overdubbing his old ‘The Hustle’ for future 12in reissue . . . Stargard have made the logical label change to Whitfield . . . CBS’s Greg Lynn is taking a Disco Pool roadshow around the country to meet mailing list jocks by invitation only at central venues, starting this Friday at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Julie’s and including most major cities . . . Trojan invite bona-fide DJs to call Sharon on 01-969 6651 for a free copy of Symarip ‘Skinhead Moonstomp’ provided they promise to play the reggae oldie ten times a night! . . . Satril’s Greg Buccheri (of broken axle fame) says that the upcoming Dance People LP and single deserve DJ attention and so he needs extra influential for his jocks list – write Greg at Satril House, 444 Finchley Road, London NW2 2HY . . . Stephanie Mills caused a commotion at a record shop LP-signing session when an unanticipated crowd of 3,000 turned up, the police pushed them into line, and 30 were injured when the shop’s window shattered under the pressure . . . East Anglian DJ Assn recently voted not to re-affiliate with the DJ Federation (GB) for a number of fairly footling reasons which seem to boil down to a dissatisfaction with overworked DJF secretary Tony Holden’s preference for making phone calls instead of writing time-consuming letters . . . Honey Bee Benson, representing Copenhagen’s IDEA agency, will be offering three months’ work at a top Oslo disco to worthwhile competitors in a mobile DJ contest being held at Gloucester’s Leisure Centre and Tiffanys, the winner getting £500 worth of equipment from organiser Barry Brown of Barry’s Disco Centre (Gloucester 421126) . . . Bob Jones, as well as Chelmsford Dee Jays every Wednesday, now funks Braintree’s Barn on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, while Dave Else reports that since he and some friends undertook to promote their own Wednesday and Friday funk nights at Guildford’s Bridge (in the Wooden Bridge on Woodbridge Hill) the crowd has grown dramatically . . . Chris Browne (spinning funk) and Gavin Breck (MoR) each jocked for 25 hours non-stop at Victor Lownes’s lavish 25th Anniversary Playboy party, which included a 25-hour outdoor roller disco too, the whole evidently being like a kind of upper-class Caister! . . . Steve Walsh, having vanquished his Peterborough-based namesake, now will represent the South of England against the North’s Colin Curtis (or maybe Bill Swift) at another battle of the giants in Peterborough’s Fleet Leisure Centre on August 24th . . . Robbie Collins (Robert Allwork, phone 01-520 7547) still needs gigs or residencies . . . Radio Medway soul jock Tony “Shades” Valence was revealed on Monday’s BBC 1 ‘Nationwide’ as a secret collector of rock ‘n roll stars’ discarded socks! . . . Radio 1 ‘Discovatin’’ producer Tony Hale is practising his pinball technique following a marathon match at New York’s Tribeca disco with Brass Construction’s Mickey Grudge, Randy Muller and myself! . . . Leeds Warehouse owner Michael Wiand managed to get a seat next to David Frost on his Concorde flight back from New York – can we expect a Frost Report on discos soon? . . . Preston Clouds celebrated their £150,000 reopening by issuing special Hangover Packs containing eye-mask, Alka-Seltzer, Anadin, Band-Aids and an Eau-de-Cologne brow-cooler! . . . Chelmsford’s YMCA in Victoria Road re-opened last Saturday after a £70,000 refit with Roger Carr running the disco as before . . . Paul Gough (Hartlepool Gemini) says he finds our disco chart a great help when selecting album tracks – which is good to hear, as we take great trouble to list them in order of popularity, and would like all chart contributors to do likewise instead of just jotting down “EWF LP” or similar . . . David Steinberg, US TV funny man, has the final word (and Forum catchphrase): “Get OFF!!!”

UK Newies

LOVE DE-LUXE: ‘Here Comes That Sound Again’ (from LP ‘Again and Again’, Atlantic K 50585) (BNDA debut 6/30/79)
The new Gino Soccio of this New York trip, the British-made girlie group 115bpm plodder seemed awfully ordinary in its UK 12in form earlier this year but as a remixed (and already deleted) US 12in or this longer LP side it cuts through with a chillingly monotonous effectiveness when mixed and played through New York quality disco equipment – it was certainly hard to avoid! Could be the time is right to try it again here, too.

ROSEBUD: ‘Have A Cigar’ (Atlantic K 11185) (BNDA debut 4/14/79)
Remixed for 12in from their ‘Discoballs / A Tribute To Pink Floyd’ 1977 LP (which I tipped at the time as having specialist appeal), this jumping 138bpm Europop girlie group racer is now huge in the States, and could be catchy enough for Amii Stewart fans here finally too.

A TASTE OF HONEY: ‘Do It Good’ (Capitol CL 16085) (BNDA debut 8/18/79)
Great slinkily grooving low 104bpm “sleaze” thumper on 7in here but hot in NY and much better on US promo 12in – which I couldn’t get, curses!  Continue reading “July 28, 1979: “Studio 54 certainly know how to manipulate publicity – the place is nothing very special.””

July 21, 1979: Al Wilson, Candido, Diana Ross, Switch, Peter Brown

Billboard’s Sixth Disco Forum proved once again to be no more than a good excuse for visiting the Big Apple to have a great time and meet interesting people on the periphery of the main event.

Old hands have by now learnt that the actual forum sessions are not worth attending and indeed people stayed away from them in droves, while even the only potentially interesting session about disco mixing (held in the Hilton Hotel’s “Sybil’s” Night Club) was a failure as the majority of jocks featured were so ill at ease with the Juliana’s-installed equipment that their mixing demonstrations suffered.

However, one comes to expect the forum to have its difficulties. The exhibition part of the event though was as well planned as usual. The noisy speaker, amplifier and total environment exhibitors had two floors of hotel suite to themselves while the main hall featured smaller stands for individual bits of equipment, disco fashion accessories and other items of supposed disco interest.

But with this forum falling less than five months after the last one, the number of visitors was noticeably down and the feeling among exhibitors was that this short gap was to blame. The next forum in February will be in Los Angeles, which should make good sense as the mid-summer New York show will then come as a completely separate event. And with LA only an extra £24 at current standby air fare rates, I for one will be heading there.

Next week there will be full news and scandal about the British delegation (smaller than expected), who did what to whom (hello Kerri), the fun we had, clubs we visited, sounds we heard, food we ate and all the dirt that’s fit to print.

Disco News

The Commodores’ new ‘Midnight Magic’ album (Motown STMA 8032) is due for rush release this week . . . Real Thing ‘Boogie Down (Get Funky Now)’ turns out to be on that nasty translucent piss-coloured vinyl again . . . Frantique ‘Strut Your Funky Stuff’, Jackie Moore ‘This Time Baby’ (both 12in) and Teddy Pendergrass ‘Turn Off The Lights’ (7in) are due next week, while Candido ‘Dancin’ & Prancin’’ / ‘Jingo’ and Lou Rawls ‘Let Me Be Good To You’ are on 12in early August . . . TCOJ debut on Utopia with ‘(I Found) Love On The Disco Floor’ next week, with a massive club tour lined up to promote it . . . Mark Hambley (Torquay Grange Court holiday camp, Goodrington) complains that though he’s playing to about 900 people six nights a week, all his mailing list applications have been met with “sorry – full up at the moment” replies from record companies: well, with umpteen thousands of jocks all trying to get on, its hardly surprising that the major companies (whose research tells them the best areas and clubs to service) do indeed have their lists full, and have to turf out one probably quite satisfactory jock to add another . . . Graeme Bilton (Croydon/Thames riverboats) suggests jocks into audience participation should find a local carnival supplies shop, as cheap “trumpet” squeakers and football whistles thrown out into the crowd can have a great effect!

UK Newies

AL WILSON: ‘Earthquake’ (RCA FC 9399)
Almost Brass Construction-like unhurried walking bass-pushed 117bpm tripper with soulful vocal, backup chix and powerful rattling-then-strings break, likely to be huge now that it’s out here on green vinyl 12in.

CANDIDO: ‘Dancin’ & Prancin’’ LP (Salsoul SSLP 1517) (BNDA debut 6/30/79)
Big with jazz-funk jocks, the LP’s four tracks all feature up-front rhythm, Latin flavour and varying intensities of instrumentation and/or girlie group vocal, the just about equally popular titles being the 8:02 ‘Dancin’ & Prancin’’ (110bpm), 10:52 ‘Jingo’ (121bpm), 8:55 ‘Thousand Finger Man’ (122bpm) and 8:51 ‘Rock & Shuffle (Ah-Ha)’ (125bpm).

DIANA ROSS: ‘No One Gets The Prize’ (from LP ‘The Boss’, Motown STML 12118) (BNDA debut 6/23/79)
Noticeably Nick & Valerie-penned 116bpm jogger winds up into even more of a ‘Love Hangover’ successor than the title track hit, while other action cuts include the lovely slow 99bpm ‘It’s My House’ tripper and more urgent 98bpm ‘I Ain’t Been Licked’ jolter.  Continue reading “July 21, 1979: Al Wilson, Candido, Diana Ross, Switch, Peter Brown”

July 14, 1979: Chain Reaction, Freddie James, Francie Simone, Bunny Sigler, Curtis Mayfield

As you read this, Fatman, Froggy and myself will be settling into our private suite at New York’s Hilton Hotel. Yes, it’s Billboard Disco Forum time again, and next week hopefully you can read my account of what went on. The Forum rather inconsiderately is over the weekend this time, but I am assured that various couriers can get my copy to you before I get back myself. It looks as if an even bigger contingent of British will be there for this the sixth forum, so it should be really great fun though sadly not many ordinary DJ’s seem to be going, despite the cost being within the reach of most professionals. For anyone getting this before flying over, Ferne’s phone number is 201-945 (continued on page 52).

Disco News

Olympic Runners ‘The Bitch’ (Polydor POSPX 63) is finally out this week, while Me And You ‘You Never Know What You’ve Got’ will be on Laser and not Scope . . . Spyro Gyra’s first US LP featuring ‘Shaker Song’ could be out here on Infinity soon . . . Double Exposure ‘Ten Per Cent’ belatedly reaches UK 12in next week (Salsoul SSOL 120), and WEA are readying Miroslav Vitous ‘New York City’ and Deodato ‘Whistle Bump’ for jazz-funk oldies fans . . . Gap Band ‘Baby Baba Boogie’ now looks set for Mercury 12in issue here at last, but Pye are probably too late with Poussez ‘Come On And Do It’ which always should have been the 12in . . . East Anglian DJ Assn meets this Sunday (15) at 2pm in Breckland Sports Centre, Crockston Road, Thetford (just off A134) to vote on withdrawing from the DJ Federation for reasons that will be outlined at the meeting – cor! . . . Dave Thomas (Shrewsbury 68985), who funks Shrewsbury’s Oak Hotel at Shelton every Thursday, is using that venue for a meeting on Monday, July 23rd, at 8:30pm, to hopefully form a Shropshire and Mid-Wales DJ association . . . Gonzalez, Hi-Tension and US of A join jocks Sean French, George Power, Steve Walsh ‘n more for an open air soul festival (and barbeque!) at Bracknell’s, South Hill Park on Sunday, July 29th (details on Reading 57561) . . . Ilford Room At The Top is the latest club to start a soft drinks-only teenage night, theirs being every Sunday . . . Creole Records report lots of hot product coming soon and want to revamp their DJ mailing list, so either call Cathy on 01-98 9223 or send full work details to Creole at 91-93 High Street, Harlesden, London NW10 . . . Sally Ormsby has settled at Handle Artists, 1 Derby Street, London W1Y 7HD (01-493 9637) where her Sally O service is currently plugging Kandidate, while veteran soul freak Nicky Sands takes on the Funk Function at St. Pierre Publicity in Greenwich . . . Decca’s Robert Blenman offers some spare Neil Ardley 12in copies to any jazz-funk jocks not already serviced, so write him at Decca Records, 18 Gt Marlborough Street, London W1V 2BL . . . Motown’s Les Spaine, formerly Liverpool’s Godfather of C&W, is currently in hospital (don’t bust the stitches laughing, Les!) . . . The Knack ‘My Sharona’ segues nicely with Wings and also Skids, if that’s your bag (guess what gigs I’ve been doing – right, well-paying ones!) . . . London’s Evening Standard social diary page actually referred last week to a record having 120 beats-per-minute – wherever did they learn such an expression? . . . Alan Jones features regional disco charts for Scotland and the South-East in his Chart File column this issue, but then he’s currently helping compile the UK Disco listing and does most of the back-busting work that used to be mine alone . . . Honey Bee Benson (Gloucester Tiffanys) reveals her statistics are a perfect 90-60-90 – no, hang on, that’s the metric equivalent! . . . Nell Fincham (Dunbar Goldenstones) would like advice about anyone prepared to print and supply promotional clothing like jackets and boilersuits but in small quantities; let me know, or call Neil on 0368-62356 . . . Dan Rafferty (Bristol Raquels) asks, is Anita Ward a tidy hospital? (He must be a Tony Blackburn fan!) . . . Hello to you, Dennis Lilley! . . . Mike Dallenger (Wimborne), there’s nothing Wally about your chart so don’t worry, and anyway: THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK – to someone, somewhere, everyone is a Wally.

UK Newies

Full reviews next week for these and more:

CANDIDO: ‘Dancin’ & Prancin’’ LP (Salsoul SSLP 1517) (BNDA debut 6/30/79)

SKYY: ‘First Time Around’ (Salsoul 12SSOL 119)

DIANA ROSS: ‘The Boss’ LP (Motown STML 12118) (BNDA debut 6/23/79)

ISLEY BROTHERS: ‘Winner Takes All’ LP (Epic EPC 88460) (BNDA debut 8/25/79)

PETER BROWN: ‘Crank It Up’ (TK 13-7545) (BNDA debut 6/9/79)

SWITCH: ‘Best Beat In Town’ (Motown 12TMG 1148) (BNDA debut 7/7/79)

MASS PRODUCTION: ‘Welcome To Our World’ / ‘Strollin’’ / ‘Cosmic Lust’ (Atlantic LV 31) (BNDA debut 11/6/76)

AL WILSON: ‘Earthquake’ (RCA FC 9399)

DAVID BENOIT: ‘Life Is Like A Samba’ (AVI AVISL 103)

ERIC GALE: ‘Part Of You’ LP (CBS 83464)

CANDI STATON: ‘Chance’ LP (Warner Bros. K 56641)

JOE THOMAS: ‘Make Your Move’ LP (TK TKR 83374)

PAUL BRETT: ‘Nineteen Ninety-Nine’ (RCA PC 5167)

HEATWAVE: ‘Therm Warfare’ (GTO GT 12-253)

EL COCO: ‘Dance Man’ (AVI AVISL 104) (BNDA debut 6/9/79)

CINDY & ROY: ‘Can You Feel It’ (WEA K 18053T) (BNDA debut 8/4/79)

FINISHED TOUCH: ‘The Down Sound’ (Motown 12TMG 1151)

WHISPERS: ‘Can’t Do Without Love’ (Solar FC 1590)

RICK JAMES: ‘Bustin’ Out’ (Motown 12TMG 1147)

OHIO PLAYERS: ‘Everybody Up’ (Arista ARIST 12268)

JOHN DAVIS & THE MONSTER ORCHESTRA: ‘Love Magic’ (CBS 13-7479) (BNDA debut 5/26/79)

TASHA THOMAS: ‘Midnight Rendezvous’ LP (Atlantic K 50572) (BNDA debut 4/14/79)

PETER TOSH: ‘Mystic Man’ LP (Rolling Stones CUN 39110)

WEATHER REPORT: ‘Birdland’ / ‘River People’ / ‘A Remark You Made’ (CBS 12-7701)


CHAIN REACTION: ‘Sweet Lady (Dance With Me)’ (US Jam Sessions JAM-L-101)
What a monster! The 128bpm syndrums intro has obviously been made especially to mix with Anita Ward – even a tone-deaf idiot should synchronize ‘em successfully! – before an imperceptible drop to 122bpm for a great happily jumping chunky funker that slides up again on 7:20 12in to a 125bpm break and 124bpm cold finish.

FREDDIE JAMES: ‘Get Up And Boogie’ (US Warner Bros. DWBS 8857) (BNDA debut 7/7/79)
Bass-bumped rattling 131bpm thudder on 7:02 12in is powerful and infectious enough to cut through the “slam bam wham jam” – chanting chix and what presumably is a juvenile chap singing the plaintive lead.

FRANCIE SIMONE: ‘Let Your Body Run’ (US BC BC-4001) (BNDA debut 8/4/79)
Exciting bright and breezy 130bpm romper from Brooklyn with Bombers-type pop appeal on 6:30 12in features lots of rattling percussion and almost Oriental effects (though the title is probably not to do with Chinese restaurant food!).  Continue reading “July 14, 1979: Chain Reaction, Freddie James, Francie Simone, Bunny Sigler, Curtis Mayfield”

July 7, 1979: Harvey Mason, Kandidate, Me And You, Real Thing, Gibson Brothers

Disco News

Patti Boulaye ‘Disco Dancer’ appears now to be on 12in (certainly on promo 12in), Amii Stewart ‘Light My Fire’ is not only on 12in but “kleeer” vinyl too, while Gonzalez ‘Move It To The Music’ has evidently been withdrawn (despite being our lead review two weeks ago!) . . . Gap Band ‘Baby Baba Boogie’ / ‘Shake’ are back to back in 7:32 and 5:58 versions on import 12in (US Mercury MDS-4006) . . . Olympic Runners ‘Energy Beam’ (Polydor B-side) is of course 115bpm and not 155bpm, as printed, but – discovered totally by chance when playing a white label at the wrong speed – David Benoit ‘Life Is Like A Samba’ (AVI 12in, due soon) is dynamite when the 128bpm 45rpm 12in is spun at 33 1/3rpm, coming out at a much easier 96bpm without too much distortion even to the vocal bits! . . . Quantum Jump ‘Lone Ranger’ chop-mixes without missing a beat into Redbone ‘Witch Queen Of New Orleans’, should that be your punters’ bag, while Chic’s ‘Good Times’ instrumental section vari-speeds up to synch nicely with Richard Tee ‘First Love’ . . . Edinburgh and environs finally have their own Lothian & Fife DJ Association, with 40 members so far, full details from the Assn Secretary, Alistair Kay, c/o Setters Disco Centre, Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh (031-229 6662) . . . “Disco” magazine has sadly been unable to find further finance so will not be reappearing, but you can expect Record Mirror to fill the gap with extended disco coverage soon . . . PVK Records are inviting DJ’s to send full work details for mailing list consideration to Phil Cooper, PVK Records, Hillbottom Road, High Wycombe, Bucks . . . Roger St Pierre’s various PR and associated companies are now based at 17 Nelson Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9JB (01-858 8892), but as already stated Sally Ormsby is no longer involved and is looking for central premises for her Sally “O” firm . . . David ‘Boogie Vibes’ Emery (Newcastle-Upon-Tyne) info’s that Newcastle’s famous Callers Record Store are currently flogging recent import LP’s for only £3-£3.50 in their summer sale . . . Southgate Royalty hit it lucky (they hope) next Friday 13th, when Chris Hill & Sean French celebrate a ‘Halfway to Caister’ party, it being 13 weeks since the last and 13 weeks until the next Caister Funk Weekender . . . Tony James (Southern Counties National Roadshow, Dorchester) moans about the price of records now, and says that at this rate we will soon have the £100 a night mobile – and why the hell not, say I? It appalls me how much disco operators undervalue their services, the majority seemingly going out for much the same money as one could get ten years ago. If you’re any good, charge what you’re worth! Remember, for twice the price you only need work half as much – and if you’re worried about “cowboys” getting your gigs if you jack your prices up, don’t forget to take your spurs off before going to bed.

UK Newies

HARVEY MASON: ‘Groovin’ You’ (Arista ARIST 12270) (BNDA debut 6/16/79)
Finally out here on 6:15 12in, this dynamite 121-122bpm Olympic Runners-type variety-filled “bom bom” bomber still sounds like a UK smash to me!

KANDIDATE: ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ (Rak RAK 295)
Gorgeous harmony chanter, sadly only on 7in, lopes along at a bright and breezily clapping 116bpm with more than a trace of the Moments’ old ‘Girls’.

ME AND YOU: ‘You Never Know What You’ve Got’ (Deb MUSIC DEB 031)
Due soon also on Scope, this tremendously catchy 92bpm reggae reading of the Bell & James song will have you singing along before the 12in ends.  Continue reading “July 7, 1979: Harvey Mason, Kandidate, Me And You, Real Thing, Gibson Brothers”