July 16, 1977: Floaters, Shalamar, C.J. & Co, Grace Jones, Detroit Emeralds

Anchor Records’ set of 12-inch EPs on their ABC label – known as “+Fours” – feature 4 tracks each artist and cost 99p (normal price in 7-inch form though). The acts chosen are not very disco orientated, but useable tracks are JOE WALSH ‘Rocky Mountain Way’ / ‘Walk Away (Live)’ (ABE 12002), MAMAS & PAPAS ‘Dedicated To The One I Love’ / ‘California Dreamin’’ / ‘Monday Monday’ (ABE 12006), ALICE COOPER ‘Department Of Youth’ (ABE 12001).

Island Records have three reggae 12-inchers in their “Limited Edition” series – the freaky fast JUNIOR MURVIN ‘Tedious’ (IPR 2001), throbbing slow CONGOES ‘Congo Man’ (Black Swan BS 1) and cool bassy GEORGE FAITH ‘To Be A Lover’ c/w UPSETTERS ‘Rastaman Shuffle’ (BS 2).

New Spins

FLOATERS: ‘Float On’ (ABC 4187)
Much imported dreamy smoocher, 12-inched with elongated 11:49 and edited 4:13 sides. The last half of the long side is much stronger than the short singles version, which stupidly misses the catchy slow “Aquarius, Libra, Leo, Cancer” intro. A summertime smash!

SHALAMAR: ‘Uptown Festival’ LP (Soul Train FL 12289) (LP mentioned in Billboard column 4/23/77, LP Billboard chart debut 5/14/77)
For those without the 12-inch, here’s the full 8:52 version – plus a copy of the Jacksons’ great ’75 leaper, ‘Forever Came Today‘.

C.J. & CO.: ‘Devil’s Gun’ LP (Atlantic K 50380) (LP mentioned in Billboard column 4/16/77, LP Billboard chart debut 4/23/77)
The full 7:14 title track, similar 9:30 ‘We Got Our Own Thing‘ and 7:30 ‘Sure Can’t Go To The Moon‘ are hotter than a pistol!  Continue reading “July 16, 1977: Floaters, Shalamar, C.J. & Co, Grace Jones, Detroit Emeralds”

July 9, 1977: Lovers, NCCU, James Brown, Carrie Lucas, Isley Bros.

“Big deal” 12-inch EP mania seems to be sweeping the record biz, with Pye’s set of 4-track 12-inchers being followed by Anchor and Capitol – the latter of whom in fact started it off with their hit Tavares effort a few months back. Capitol’s new “Soul Special” promotion sees two more EPs, available on 7-inch at 70p or 12-inch at 99p – BUT, if you buy both at the same time and in the more expensive form, you also get for free a ten-track “Capitol Soul Special” sampler LP! This features such as Maze, Sun, Caldera, Inner Circle, Rance Allen and Freda Payne, while the EPs are by the Sylvers and Natalie Cole.

The Sylvers’ (CLX 102) has their current frantic Northern clapper, ‘High School Dance’, the mellower ‘Lovin’ You Is Like Lovin’ The Wind’, and the fast US smash and its Tavares-type follow-up from last year, ‘Boogie Fever’ and ‘Hot Line’.

Natalie Cole’s (CLX 101) also has a frantic newie, ‘Party Lights’, but the big attractions will be her jazzily clapping ‘This Will Be’, smoochy ‘Inseparable’ and funky ‘Sophisticated Lady’, all US hits.

New Spins

LOVERS: ‘Discomania’ (Epic EPC 5212) (mentioned in Billboard column 5/7/77, Billboard chart debut 5/14/77)
Here it is, the latest and possibly greatest disco medley! 12-inched, it combines tunes by Thelma Houston, Trammps. Ritchie Family, KC & The Sunshine Band, Vicki Sue Robinson and more (Boney M being substituted for Andrea True on the UK 7-inch edit). Cert smash!  Continue reading “July 9, 1977: Lovers, NCCU, James Brown, Carrie Lucas, Isley Bros.”

July 2, 1977: Philadelphia All-Stars, Cameo, Dells, Kelly Marie, Jacksons

Robbie Vincent and other import fans are currently raving about a punchy little platter by an all-star cast of Philadelphia International artists.  Due for release here soon (and already played on Robbie’s Radio 1 show), the group is called literally the Philadelphia All-Stars and they sing a slab of social commentary by Gamble and Huff, ‘Let’s Clean Up The Ghetto’.  Lou Rawls starts it conversationally over an infectiously chugging rift from MFSB before being joined with vocal support, and solos, from Dee Dee Sharp, Billy Paul, Archie Bell, Teddy Pendergrass and the O’Jays.  Some stars, huh?!?

New Spins

CAMEO: ‘Rigor Mortis’ (Casablanca CAN 106) (Billboard chart debut 2/19/77)
Import monster for months, the Fatback-ish funker’s now flip to the more obviously thudding ‘Post Mortem‘. Double ‘A’ dynamite!

DELLS: ‘Our Love’ (Mercury 6167526) (mentioned in Billboard column 4/2/77, Billboard chart debut 4/30/77)
Terrific Tavares-type infectious romper from a strong US LP.  Continue reading “July 2, 1977: Philadelphia All-Stars, Cameo, Dells, Kelly Marie, Jacksons”

June 25, 1977: Donna Summer, Peter Brown, New York Port Authority, Bo Kirkland & Ruth Davis, Danny Williams

New Spins

DONNA SUMMER: ‘I Feel Love’ (GTO GT 100) (Billboard chart debut 5/28/77)
The disco sensation that’s sweeping the nation, this fantastic Kraftwerk-like synthetic burbler is now rushed out on single, ahead of schedule.

PETER BROWN: ‘Do Ya Wanna Get Funky With Me’ (TK XB 2183) (Billboard chart debut 4/9/77)
Spaced-out subtly thudding funky monster US disco smash – really different and good. Freaky long rhythm flip too!

NEW YORK PORT AUTHORITY: ‘I Got It, Pts. 1 & 2’ (Invictus INV 5312) (mentioned in Billboard column 5/7/77)
Excitingly energetic funky rave, huge on imports already.  Continue reading “June 25, 1977: Donna Summer, Peter Brown, New York Port Authority, Bo Kirkland & Ruth Davis, Danny Williams”

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””