December 10, 1977: El Coco, Brass Construction, Odyssey, Sweet Sensation, Donna Summer

New Spins

EL COCO: ‘Cocomotion’ (Pye 7N 25761) (BNDA debut 8/20/77)
Already a disco smash on import alone, the smooth ‘n slick instrumental clapper makes a great gradual mix out of Chic.

BRASS CONSTRUCTION: ‘III’ LP (UA UAS 30124) (LP BNDA debut 12/3/77)
All tracks are good, being either funky fliers or soulful smoochers, with ‘We’, ‘Celebrate’ and ‘Get It Together’ the hotsies so far.  Nothing new, but what they do they do well!

ODYSSEY: ‘Native New Yorker’ (RCA PC 1129) (BNDA debut 8/27/77)
The prettily swaying sophisticated Dr. Buzzard-type hustler’s been 12-inched to help the growing buzz about it.  Continue reading “December 10, 1977: El Coco, Brass Construction, Odyssey, Sweet Sensation, Donna Summer”

December 3, 1977: more on “Eastern Soul”, Coachouse Rhythm Section, Showdown, Four Tops, John Otway & Wild Willy Barrett

East On Soul

Jim Higginson, one of the funky jocks at Spennymoor’s Top Hat in Co. Durham, explains a certain amount about the Eastern Soul phenomenon in the North East.

He notes that there is little demand for the old type of Northern Soul in the area’s established clubs, probably because its fans are too young to get in – although, he adds, the hardcore are obviously over 16.

What has happened, however, is that the modern New York disco sounds which Ian Levine spins over in Blackpool – and which are so controversial among Northern fans – are equally popular with funk in the Top Hat at least.

While of course funky records can be big elsewhere in Britain too, it remains strange that the ones which get reported as hits in the South East, East Anglia and East Midlands only seem to catch on in the North East and never further west.

Anyway, now that the Brighouse And Rastrick Brass Band are so big in the charts, the latest trend seems to be for clog dancing!  Let me know when that catches on with you!

Tea Break! Round Two

Ron Greenfield suggests we start asking jocks for their funny experiences; I suggest jocks should send in their favourite one-liner jokes, suitable for disco use.

Either way, Ron’s own amusing antic was during a gig in an old church hall with only one mains socket, where the vicar pulled the plug so he could boil a kettle… halfway through the evening!  Talk about a tea-break!

New Spins

COACHOUSE RHYTHM SECTION: ‘Nobody’s Got Time Pts. 1/2’ (Ice 3, via Anchor)
Already hot for some, Eddy Grant’s funkily jumping chanter is like an updated Equals, with synthetic backing.

SHOWDOWN: ‘Keep Doin’ It’ (State STAT 63)
Full – length 12” version of the happy bumper – Pity it’s so late.

FOUR TOPS: ‘For Your Love’ (ABC 4199)
UK recorded hustle revamp of The Yardbirds oldie, on 12” but not on their ‘The Show Must Go On’ LP (ABCL 5223), whose much better 7:04 title track has funky support.  Continue reading “December 3, 1977: more on “Eastern Soul”, Coachouse Rhythm Section, Showdown, Four Tops, John Otway & Wild Willy Barrett”

November 26, 1977: Patti Labelle, Long Tall Ernie & The Shakers, Pointer Sisters, The Droids, Meco

New Spins

PATTI LABELLE: ‘Dan Swit Me’ (Epic EPC 5805) (BNDA debut 9/24/77)
Exciting fast funky leaper, the best track off her LP.

LONG TALL ERNIE AND THE SHAKERS: ‘Do You Remember’ (Polydor 2121341)
Fantastic rock ‘n roll medley, great for rave-ups and parties!

POINTER SISTERS: ‘Having A Party’ (from LP ‘Having A Party’, ABC ABCL 5163)
Superb happy fast swinger (Sam Cooke’s oldie) segues like a dream out of ‘Shoo Doo Fu Fu Ooh’ – try it!  Continue reading “November 26, 1977: Patti Labelle, Long Tall Ernie & The Shakers, Pointer Sisters, The Droids, Meco”

November 19, 1977: “How many have noticed there may also be Eastern Soul?”

Everyone knows about Northern Soul and some say that there’s such a thing as Southern Soul – but how many have noticed there may also be Eastern Soul?  Since I started compiling the expanded Disco Charts for Record Mirror and Music Week, I’ve noticed a very definite trend for certain funky-type sounds to happen especially in London and the Southeast and up in the Northeast.  Many of them also get action between these areas, in East Anglia and up through the East Midlands.  Is this merely a coincidence?  Several record company promotion people have confirmed that they too have noticed this pattern of response to certain of their releases.  While the rest of the country’s discos tend to feature the more obvious pop material the jocks up the eastern side of the country certainly seem to be a lot funkier in their tastes.  There are of course many exceptions elsewhere, in Liverpool especially, but of those who contribute charts the funkiest DJ’s would appear to be from the east!

Current sounds that could be called Eastern Soul include Roy Ayers Ubiquity ‘Running Away’ (Polydor), Le Pamplemousse ‘Get Your Boom Boom Around The Room’ (Barclay), Village People ‘San Francisco’ (DJM), Fantastic Four ‘I Got To Have Your Love’ (Atlantic), Earth, Wind & Fire ‘Serpentine Fire’ (CBS), Lenny Williams ‘Choosing You’ (ABC LP), Diana Ross ‘Your Love Is So Good For Me’ (Motown LP) and even Rose Royce ‘It Makes You Feel Like Dancing’ (Whitfield LP).  Another whose high disco chart placing has been almost entirely due to the south and north east is Eddie Henderson ‘Say You Will’ (Capitol) which never had a single mention from any DJ west of Nottingham!

All this is not to malign DJ’s from elsewhere; rather, it questions why tastes up the eastern side of Britain should be so similar and so different.  North versus South is a geographical division that can be explained by sheer distance, but this is a less logical frontier.  Well, what do you make of it?  Whether DJ or disco dancer, let me know what you think.  And if you’re an outraged funky DJ from the west, you’ve only yourself to blame for the imbalance caused by your not sending in your weekly chart!

New Spins

LA BELLE EPOQUE: ‘Disco Sound’ (from LP ‘Miss Broadway’, Harvest SHSP 4074) (LP BNDA debut 6/18/77)
Even better than the 12in version, this side long continuous medley cuts up ‘Black Is Black’ between several other tunes, all with the same sound, so that the song as a separate track just doesn’t exist!

BOB MARLEY AND THE WAILERS: ‘Jamming’ (Island WIP 6410)
Superbly sensuous reggae, proved with the passage of time to be the ‘Exodus’ LP’s best track.

NITE SCHOOL: ‘Do You Speak French?’ (Ensign ENY 10)
Infectiously silly French lesson with a fast hustle beat, already un grand . . . comment s’appelle “hit”?  Continue reading “November 19, 1977: “How many have noticed there may also be Eastern Soul?””

November 12, 1977: Village People, Emotions, Mike Theodore Orchestra, Love And Kisses, Chic

New Spins

VILLAGE PEOPLE: ‘San Francisco’ / ‘In Hollywood’ (from LP ‘Village People’, DJM DJF 20524) (BNDA debut 7/30/77)
Already a disco hit here on import alone, it’s a hoarsely soulful side-long segue of pounding perfection. The edited single (DJS 10817) flips ‘San Francisco’ with the equally good ‘Fire Island’.

EMOTIONS: ‘I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love’ (CBS 5819) (BNDA debut 8/28/76)
Laid-back funky chugger, a US biggie last year.

MIKE THEODORE ORCHESTRA: ‘The Bull’ (Atlantic K 11035) (BNDA debut 9/3/77)
Big already, the funky Spanish-flavoured thumper mixes well with Santa Esmeralda.  Continue reading “November 12, 1977: Village People, Emotions, Mike Theodore Orchestra, Love And Kisses, Chic”

November 5, 1977: Amanda Lear, Saar Band, Diana Ross, Montreal Sound, Grateful Dead

New Spins

AMANDA LEAR: ‘Blood And Honey’ (Ariola ARO 103)
Watch it, here’s the next Euro-monster to follow Baccara! It even comes in three different lengths, spread between the 7in and a limited 12in (ARO 103-12). You’ve been warned!

SAAR BAND: ‘Magic Mandrake’ (Calendar DAY 111)
Powerfully chugging simple stomper, strong enough to smash and sure to be big.

DIANA ROSS: ‘Gettin’ Ready For Love’ (Motown TMG 1090)
Gorgeous zingy swinger with an old Supremes lilt.  Continue reading “November 5, 1977: Amanda Lear, Saar Band, Diana Ross, Montreal Sound, Grateful Dead”

October 29, 1977: Chris Hill’s revival night at Canvey Island Gold Mine

Chris Hill, now DJ’ing at Ilford’s Lacy Lady, moved back to his old haunt of Canvey Island’s Gold Mine on Sunday for a special one-off revival night . . . and what a beautifully heavy little number the joint was for a few hours again!

Kids had come in cars and coaches from all over the Home Counties to revisit the scene of 1975’s “Swing Thing” and to hear the best of fast Southern funk.

The ambience was like steam heat as the unself-conscious and spontaneously natural dancers liberated their healthy randiness and forgot the Nazi-revivalist times in which we live.

Frank sexuality was expressed in the healthy eroticism of their fancy dress, lit by flickering electric bulbs of multi-coloured hues.

The fancy dress winners included a (male and hairy!) mother and infant, overgrown boy scout, sexy schoolgirl, Diddyman, Spiderman and a couple of Fred Astaires, while a “mooning” contest between the lads of Stevenage and Romford saw the former letting it all hang out, over and over again! Oh yes, it was all healthy fun, the mood being moulded by Chris’s choice of music.

Naturally he played funky faves old and new, but things really took off when he progressed through thirties and forties swing tunes to the bootleg R&B of the early fifties before suddenly switching to organised country dancing. Yes, ‘Strip The Willow’ no less!

Then it was the ‘Hokey Cokey’, ‘Gay Gordons’, ‘Boomps-A-Daisy’ and ‘Conga’ going straight into Jackie Wilson’s ‘By The Light Of The Silvery Moon’, Mandy Miller’s ‘Nellie The Elephant’ and Tiny Tim’s ‘There’ll Always Be An England’ medley.

Master of the echo unit and mike, Chris fills out the records by adding harmonica, swanee music and vocal accompaniment, hardly ever letting anything sound the way it was intended.

He really does have to be seen to be believed and is a lesson for all beginning DJ’s who can learn a lot about pacing, verve and vitality by catching the likes of Chris and his peers.

Anyway, there’s likely to be another Gold Mine revival night near Christmas when the joint’ll be jumpin’ again!

And apologies to Dave Godin for some borrowed phraseology – nothing nasty meant!

New Spins

GONZALEZ: ‘I Haven’t Stopped Dancin’ Yet’ (EMI 2706) (BNDA debut 12/12/78)
The long established live act’s best bet yet, a creamily churning happy romper with infectious Tavares-type appeal – a real grower!

PATSY GALLANT: ‘Are You Ready For Love’ (EMI 2714)
Rather good, pleasant, light lopper, surprisingly soulful.

SPACE: ‘Tango In Space’ / ‘Carry On, Turn Me On’ (Pye 7N 25756) (BNDA debut 6/4/77)
Double-sided disco smash, already charted as LP tracks and import 12in.  Continue reading “October 29, 1977: Chris Hill’s revival night at Canvey Island Gold Mine”