July 5, 1975: Dance to the lyrics!

Dance to the lyrics!

LAST WEEK I began a discussion about the many differences between dee-jaying in clubs and at mobile gigs. Until you’ve had time to join in – as I hope some of you other D-Js will – I’ll just continue with a few more of my own observations.

The primary aim of a discotheque is to entertain its audience, whether in a club or at a party. Obviously it’s a great buzz to turn people on to as yet unknown sounds, but unfortunately most people want to dance to tunes that they know. One of the very first things that I worked out when I started was that – amazing though it may seem – your average audience doesn’t dance to the music, it dances to the words. People dance to their memory of a song!

In clubs it’s much easier to play something that’s not well known – the speakers are likely to be mounted up higher and to have better penetration than at a mobile do. At many parties, people want to talk while they dance and are less likely to concentrate on the music. Consequently, unless you’ve got a super-hip crowd, at a mobile gig it’s always best to keep it obvious and simple with lots of hits to begin with – then later, when the talk has quietened down and you have felt out the crowd’s prevalent taste, get more adventurous. There can be no hard and fast rule of course other than to keep ’em happy and keep ’em dancing, but if you can entertain them AND yourself at the same time you should be really cookin’!


HOT TIP

A perennial fave since its release in ’71, Burundi Black, Part Two – that’s the un – mucked – about – with African drums B -side of the BURUNDI STEIPHENSON BLACK single (Barclay BAR 3) – has just started to get much requested again, presumably as a result of its recent re-issue. Skip the chanting intro and segue (or dramatically cut directly into it) from another suitable raver. You shouldn’t be disappointed, although following it can be a trick!


New Spins

Lynsey’s whimsey wins

LYNSEY DE PAUL: Rhythm And Blue Jean Baby (Jet 755)
One reaction report coming up: It works! Lynsey’s bit of thumpalong candyfloss whimsey may be lightweight but in a mixed age group setting it has just the right happy beat and straight Pop gaiety. That doesn’t mean you must rush out and buy it today . . . just wait until it hits which it will!

GRIMMS: Backbreaker (DJM DJS 393)
Silliness from the Scaffold / Bonzos refugees, this Mud / Showaddywaddy / Rubettes send-up about a wrestling girlfriend is not only very funny but also great doo-wop singing that’s worthy of the Marcels / Rivingtons / Excellents. My fave of the week, except the next two are kinda nice too.

AL MATTHEWS: Fool (CBS 3429)
For a UK production (by writer Pierre Tubbs), this bouncily clomping Four Seasons / Philly vocal group gem is remarkable. Not to be missed – In fact do your darndest to make it the smash it deserves to be! Compulsive play it again quality.  Continue reading “July 5, 1975: Dance to the lyrics!”

James Hamilton’s first Disco column: June 28, 1975

Gee, but it’s great to be back home! Has it really been ten months?

Welcome, anyway, to this, the first of a regular weekly page devoted to fax & info for regular disco DJs, dancers and super sharp record freaks in general.

Just to give it all some credibility, I’d better explain where I’m coming from. I’ve been a discotheque DJ myself for over 13 years, having started out as a club jock in London and New York. During the mid-60s my main interest was soul music – and, in fact, when I was doing the weekend allniters at Soho’s The Scene in ‘65/’66 I played nothing but Northern Soul . . . on its first time around!

When I went mobile in 1968 I soon saw that an all-soul policy was too restricting, and also that as most other mobile discotheques were aimed at the kids it would make sense if I set out to win over an older age group. Older audiences, incidentally, are usually richer and more appreciative of the trouble you take. Consequently I now tend to play to very mixed age groups, for which I carry a vast range of music. There are even occasions when I don’t play a single current chart record – mainly because modern music really does sound so dull in comparison with the sort of crazy “party” music I’ve made my specialty.

This is an aspect of disco dee-jaying that I hope this page, with your participation, will bring out into the open. There are – or ought to be – huge differences of approach to dee-jaying in a club and on a mobile date. In a club you know that the audience has paid to be entertained by the musical specialty of that club, whereas at most private parties the audience is totally uncommitted. Thus in a club it would be suicide but at a mixed age probably a sensation if you managed to work in a knees-up or Scottish reel, for instance.

Let’s hear from you, the dee-jays, about some of the more lunatic records that you to liven up your presentation. Every week we’ll run a hot tip with a suggestion about record sequences or other tricks that work for you. To kick it off, try this!

When you’ve misjudged and the disc you’re playing isn’t going over well, turn it to your advantage. Don’t just fade the record out: switch off the deck and let the disc grind to a halt as you start the next one. You’ll get a laugh!

Together with the first weekly Disco Page, here is the Record Mirror’s very first National Disco Chart, compiled from the returns of all the disco dee-jays who recently registered as contributors to it.

It was obvious from the very first glance at all the completed chart forms that Van McCoy’s ‘The Hustle’ would come out on top . . . but then that could have been predicted anyway, right? What is really interesting is that amongst all the more usual current chart names, some of the contributing DJs have placed really quite obscure or unlikely records. All the submitted charts make interesting reading, so let’s see what some of the less likely records are.

Dougall DJ of Twechar, Kilsyth in Scotland earns my respect for including Pete Wingfield’s great doo-wop cum sweet soul parody, ‘Eighteen With A Bullet’ (Island WIP 6231), which if it isn’t a hit here will certainly be one in America, where the music trade jargon will mean more to the radio-listening public. Dougall DJ also includes A Raincoat’s ‘I Love You For Your Mind Not Your Body’ (EMI 2289), which is almost as witty although in a totally different musical style, this being kinda Roxy/Sparks/Harley-type staccato and modern . . . and good.

Pete Brown of Seasons Discotheque from Wembley, Middlesex, is right on the spot in my estimation – he’s got ‘El Bimbo’ at number one already (as an import)! As he’s evidently well into the soul sound – listing such as the Brothers, Joe Bataan, Earth, Wind & Fire and Miami – I wonder if he realised at the time that Bimbo Jet are Spanish?  Continue reading “James Hamilton’s first Disco column: June 28, 1975”