November 8, 1975: compilation LPs, Rod Stewart, KC & The Sunshine Band, Billy Butler, Hot Chocolate

What with Christmas and party time coming, there suddenly seem to be a lot of hits-crammed compilation albums being released. This should be good news, especially to newer jocks who may be short of material.

Atlantic Black Gold Volume 2’ (Atlantic K 50164) has recent disco hits by the Average White Band, Jimmy Castor, Ben E. King, Herbie Mann, Eddie Harris and Gene Page amongst its many goodies.

Golden Hour Of Stax Hits’ (Golden Hour GH 841) ranges from the full LP version of Isaac Hayes’s ‘Walk On By’ and ‘Theme From Shaft’ via the Dramatics’ ‘In The Rain’ and ‘Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get’ to Johnnie Taylor’s ‘Who’s Making Love’ and William Bell & Judy Clay’s ‘Private Number’. Some snip at Golden Hour prices, when you consider that also included are big ‘uns by Jean Knight, Booker T & The MGs, Frederick Knight and Mel & Tim!

Get Down With Spring – 14 Hunks Of Funk’ (Polydor 2482271) is a collection of material from the US Spring label, which may not have as strong an identity as the others – until maybe I mention some of the artists, that is? How’s about the Fatback Band (‘Yum Yum’, ‘Wicki Wacky’, ‘Keep On Steppin’’ included), Joe Simon, Garland Green and Millie Jackson? Less consistent in content, but that little lot deliver the goods.

The killer set for most will of course be the incredible ‘Motown Gold’ (Tamla Motown STML 12003), which ought to make big bread for the ailing company, even if it does only contain about half of the subtitled 18 greatest hits. With hits included like Marvin Gaye’s ‘Grapevine’, Four Tops’ ‘Reach Out’, Supremes’ ‘Baby Love’, Miracles’ ‘Tears Of A Clown’, Temptations’ ‘Just My Imagination’ and Stevie’s ‘Yester-Me’, who’s to quibble about Syreeta’s ‘Your Kiss Is Sweet’, Commodores’ ‘Machine Gun’ and Ross/Gaye’s ‘You Are Everything’ being less than the greatest? They’re about the only modern things, bar Mr. Wonder, that they’ve broken here in ages! Oh, and there’s more by such as Gladys Knight, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Jimmy Ruffin, Jr. Walker and Martha Reeves! Too much!

Add to these the superbly annotated and chronologically compiled double-LP of all the Stones’ Decca hits, ‘Rolled Gold – The Very Best Of The Rolling Stones’ (Decca ROST 1/2, out next week), and groaning ‘Barry White’s Greatest Hits’ (20th Century BTH 8000), then you should have enough to make DJ’s jump for joy!

New Spins

ROD STEWART: ‘This Old Heart Of Mine’ (Riva 1)
Slowed to an Al Green tempo and then huskily sung, the Isleys’ oldie makes a much better bet for discos than ‘Sailing’.  Good for most audiences, too.

KC & THE SUNSHINE BAND: ‘I’m So Crazy (‘Bout You)’ (Jay Boy BOY 101) (mentioned in Billboard column 7/26/75)
A lot less catchy than “uh-huh uh-huh”, this fast knocker could be good up North, while the slower stomp of ‘Boogie Shoes’ on the flip sounds more like a national hit.  Continue reading “November 8, 1975: compilation LPs, Rod Stewart, KC & The Sunshine Band, Billy Butler, Hot Chocolate”

November 1, 1975: Andy Fairweather-Low, Juan Carlos Calderon, J.A.L.N. Band, Python Lee Jackson, Fleetwood Mac

New Spins

ANDY FAIRWEATHER LOW: ‘Wide Eyed And Legless’ (A&M AMS 7202)
Beautifully subtle swaying sophisticated semi-slowie, my own fave of the week, and hopefully ideal for those more romantic moments!

JUAN CARLOS CALDERON: ‘Bandolero’ (CBS 2726) (Billboard chart debut 6/21/75)
From last year like ‘El Bimbo’ and now re-issued after European and US success, this semi-hustling instrumental has a catchy melody and paradoxically fashionable sound – plus some Spanish guitar to snare the oldsters.  Useful, and could click.

J.A.L.N. BAND: ‘Street Dance’ (Magnet MAG 44)
Already extremely popular, this UK recreation of the unavailable Fatback Band instrumental is full of pounding bouncy funk beat and John Kongos-type party noises.  Continue reading “November 1, 1975: Andy Fairweather-Low, Juan Carlos Calderon, J.A.L.N. Band, Python Lee Jackson, Fleetwood Mac”

October 25, 1975: John Asher, Bing Crosby, Biddu Orchestra, Nat King Cole, Arthur Brown

New Spins

JOHN ASHER: ‘Let’s Twist Again’ (Creole CR 112)
Well!  As a direct result of this page’s speculation about a Twist revival, here’s the star of ATV Birmingham’s Tiswas show doing a perfectly acceptable revival of Chubby Checker’s original smash (which now belongs to Allan Klein’s Abko label in America).  Can a Twist craze really be on the way?  Stay tuned to ‘Record Mirror & Disc’!

BING CROSBY: ‘I Love To Dance Like They Used To Dance’ (UA UP 36025)
A gift for MOR DJ’s, this happy lilter has to be the best easy listening dancer since ‘Dance In The Old Fashioned Way’.  Thanx for making life a little easier, Bing!

BIDDU ORCHESTRA: ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’ / ‘Jump For Joy’ (Epic EPC 3708) (Billboard chart debut 11/22/75)
Just made for the discos, with solidly thumping beat for kids and famous melody for oldsters – this could be bigger than ’42.  Afro-type rhythms on even more exciting flip, which many will prefer.  Continue reading “October 25, 1975: John Asher, Bing Crosby, Biddu Orchestra, Nat King Cole, Arthur Brown”

October 18, 1975: The Everly Brothers, The Tornados, The Goons, Harvey Smith, Van McCoy

New Spins

EVERLY BROTHERS: ‘Walk Right Back’ (Warner Bros. K 16613)
The original strutting 1961 smash, in stereo, now comes across as ideal MOR.

TORNADOES: ‘Telstar’ (Decca F 11494)
The original 1962 smash, freaky intro and all. Probably best for older crowds now, but try mixing it with such as ‘Silver Machine’ for effect!

GOONS: ‘Bloodnok’s Rock ‘N Roll Call’ (Decca F 13609)
The ‘Ying Tong Song”s original flip in 1956, this craziness doesn’t sustain its dance beat, but played near the end of a gig can be lots of fun nevertheless.  Goons freaks will even mime to it!

HARVEY SMITH: ‘True Love’ (Handkerchief HANKY 3)
Slush, of obvious interest to horsey crowds, it needs pre-announcing for best effect. A sensation at my last gig, when I followed it with Bing singing ‘Take Me Back To My Boots And Saddle’!

VAN MCCOY: ‘Good Night, Baby’ (Avco 6105042)
A natural for the last smooch of the evening, this pretty slowie finds Van in fine voice. Why it isn’t the A-side instead of the awfully ordinary ‘Change With The Times’ I’ll never know.  Continue reading “October 18, 1975: The Everly Brothers, The Tornados, The Goons, Harvey Smith, Van McCoy”

October 11, 1975: George McCrae, Stretch, Bud Flanagan, Paul Melba, Maxine Nightingale

New Spins

GEORGE MCCRAE: ‘I Ain’t Lyin’’ / ‘You Treat Me Good’ (Jay Boy BOY 105)
The rhythm section that rules the world does its thing as George soars and cut-price brass battles through the dominating drumkit. So simple, so effective. Cooled-out though still busy beat on the flip.

STRETCH: ‘Why Did You Do It’ (Anchor ANC 1021)
Heartily-compressed drum beats and Doobie-type guitar jiggling back gruff Elmer Cantry on a superbly-produced semi-slow thudder that’s kinda like Bad Company meeting the Ides of March. Sounds like a smash.

BUD FLANAGAN: ‘Who Do You Think You’re Kidding Mr. Hitler?’ (Pye 7N 45530)
I goofed by playing this (the Dad’s Army theme) once at a gig where evidently the German ambassador was a guest! Oh well, the point being that I use it all the time, especially as part of a routine where it leads into Glen Miller’s ‘In The Mood’. Great jolly MOR.

PAUL MELBA: ‘You’re The Cream In My Coffee’ (Pye 7N 45537)
Silliness, ideal for certain MOR gigs, hidden on the flip of an unsuccessful ‘Misty’-fication of ‘Tenderly’.

MAXINE NIGHTINGALE: ‘Right Back Where We Started From’ (UA UP 36015) (Billboard chart debut 4/3/76)
Here comes Pierre “Fool” Tubbs again, giving Al Matthews’s back-up singer an amazingly infectious clapalong bouncy beat and a dead simple catchy tune. She looks great, too! Continue reading “October 11, 1975: George McCrae, Stretch, Bud Flanagan, Paul Melba, Maxine Nightingale”

October 4, 1975: The Joneses, George Benson, Black Rock, Roxy Music, T. Rex Disco Party

New Spins

JONESES: ‘Sugar Pie Guy’ (Mercury 6167223) (Billboard chart debut 10/26/74)
Remixed and re-issued, this goodie by the guys with the amazing “spudadoo spudadoo” bass man now has a disco flip that features an instrumental build-up to the “spudadoo”s and a long wukkawuk passage, broken into by some gruff joviality and repartee with a chick. If it worked before you’d better play it some more!

GEORGE BENSON: ‘Supership’ (CTI CT SP 002) (Billboard chart debut 5/17/75)
1975’s jumping bumpy rhythm re-write of ‘Sea Cruise’ (ship’s hooter and all) shows off George more on vocals than guitar, and should be a disco smash with ship’s bells on. Already breaking out as an import, it’s gotta be good.

BLACK ROCK: ‘New York City Bump’ (Seville SEV 1011) (mentioned in Billboard column 5/17/75, Billboard chart debut 9/20/75)
SONNY – the Sound Of New New York strikes again as Sonny Casella follows Jeanne Burton and Dooley Silverspoon with his most ambitious production yet. On the special effects B-side the entire chix-led Temptations-type relaxed bumper is backed by a montage of New York City street sounds as it takes us on a bus ride uptown . . . like ‘Living For The City’ gone mad! Heard in stereo it’s a mind-messer of awesome proportions.  Continue reading “October 4, 1975: The Joneses, George Benson, Black Rock, Roxy Music, T. Rex Disco Party”

September 27, 1975: Elton John, Sparks, MFSB, John Schroeder Orchestra, Bimbo Jet

Following my pleas for DJ reaction to the number of singles I reviewed each week, I am again cutting back to just those I personally would consider using – not only in my own mobile DJ but also as a club DJ.

To quote from contributing DJ Mark Rymann (Porthcawl), “I have to play records which I reckon can be easily accepted or else there’s an empty floor.”

New Spins

ELTON JOHN: ‘Island Girl’ (DJM DJS 610)
At last, another good fast dancer from Elt, who may be extremely popular but does tend to do too many dead slowies. Now maybe ‘Crocodile Rock’ can take a rest!

SPARKS: ‘Looks, Looks, Looks’ (Island WIP 6249)
Unlikely source for the new Hurricane Smith, but that’s what this brassy big-band swinger could easily be! Reminiscent of Manhattan Transfer, whose slower ‘Tuxedo Junction’ is even more MoR.

MFSB: ‘Let’s Go Disco’ (Philadelphia Int’l PIR 3635) (mentioned in Billboard column 5/3/75)
Simple stomp beat chanter, a certified smash!  Continue reading “September 27, 1975: Elton John, Sparks, MFSB, John Schroeder Orchestra, Bimbo Jet”