RECORD MIRROR James Hamilton's Disco Page, 15th September 1979

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As requested, I'm polling one of James Hamilton's disco pages. The whole page has been transcribed at https://jameshamiltonsdiscopage.com/1979/09/15/september-15-1979-michael-jackson-edwin-starr-van-mccoy-discotheque-tamiko-jones/ with embedded YouTube links for all tracks, and the original scanned image is at https://i.imgur.com/zhpyJqy.jpeg

Although the disco backlash had begun in the US, the UK remained largely unaffected; there are still plenty of disco records in the pop chart, if fewer in the higher reaches at present (there would be a significant sales resurgence in 1980). While the zingier, gayer end of the genre was receding, the so-called "rock" tempo was beginning to make its presence felt as disco's newest mutation - although to some, perhaps the "rock" tempo tunes barely count as "disco" at all.

Poll Results

OptionVotes
MICHAEL JACKSON: ‘Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’ 11
TAMIKO JONES: ‘Can’t Live Without Your Love’ 5
FRANCE JOLI: ‘Come To Me’ 3
ERROL DUNKLEY: ‘O.K. Fred’ 2
PAULINHO DA COSTA: ‘Deja Vu/Love Till The End Of Time’ 2
SHALAMAR: ‘Right In The Socket’ 1
KOOL & THE GANG: ‘Ladies’ Night’ 1
ISAAC HAYES: ‘Don’t Let Go’ 1
EDDIE HENDERSON: ‘Runnin’ To Your Love’ 1
ELIJAH JOHN GROUP: ‘Keep A Little Love For Yourself’ 0
DELORES HALL: ‘Snapshot’ 0
ZACK FERGUSON: ‘Monkey Fever’ 0
NOEL POINTER: ‘Feel It’ 0
SHOBIZZ: ‘Do It In The Dark’ 0
SUZI LANE: ‘Ooh, La La’ 0
CAROLINE CRAWFORD: ‘The Strut’ 0
FLB: ‘Hey Pancho It’s Disco!’ 0
AFRO CUBAN BAND: ‘Have A Real Good Time’ 0
NEEDA: ‘Come On And Rock’ 0
HELEN REDDY: ‘Make Love To Me’ 0
KATHI BAKER: ‘Fa La La (Feel The Heat)’ 0
MICHELLE FREEMAN: ‘Tumble Heat’ 0
GEORGE MCCRAE: ‘Don’t You Feel My Love’ 0
CHAMELEON: ‘Get Up’ 0
ORS: ‘Body To Body Boogie’ 0
DAZZLE: ‘You Dazzle Me’ 0
VAN MCCOY: ‘The Hustle (Disco Mix)’ 0
DISCOTHEQUE: ‘Intro Disco’ 0
AQUARIAN DREAM: ‘Phoenix’ 0
HERB ALPERT: ‘Rise’ 0
RANDY CRAWFORD: ‘Endlessly’ 0
BILLY OCEAN: ‘American Hearts’ 0
FOXY: ‘Headhunter’ 0
THE MARVELS: ‘Sh-Boom’ 0
GIBSON BROTHERS: ‘West Indies’ 0
BRYAN ADAMS: ‘Let Me Take You Dancing’ 0
HI-TENSION: ‘There’s A Reason’ 0
CHARANGA 79: ‘Good Times (Como Vamos A Gozar)’ 0
PAUL LEWIS: ‘Inner City Blues’ 0
WAYNE HENDERSON: ‘Dancin’ Love Affair’ 0
DESTINATION: ‘Move On Up/Up Up Up’ 0
EDWIN STARR: ‘It’s Called The Rock’ 0


mike t-diva, Wednesday, 8 September 2021 11:51 (one week ago) link

Peak positions on the Record Mirror disco chart:

1 (6 weeks) Michael Jackson
1 (4 weeks) Kool & The Gang
4 Herb Alpert
5 Paulinho Da Costa
13 Shalamar, Tamiko Jones
16 Errol Dunkley
20 Van McCoy remix
31 Eddie Henderson
36 Wayne Henderson
49 France Joli, Gibson Brothers
50 Destination
51 Isaac Hayes
63 Billy Ocean, Discotheque
77 Hi-Tension
82 The Marvels
84 Edwin Starr

mike t-diva, Wednesday, 8 September 2021 11:53 (one week ago) link

OK, finally a totally impossible one.

Top 5:
MICHAEL JACKSON: ‘Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’
TAMIKO JONES: ‘Can’t Live Without Your Love’
DESTINATION: ‘Move On Up/Up Up Up’
DAZZLE: ‘You Dazzle Me’
FRANCE JOLI: ‘Come To Me’

i carry the torch for disco inauthenticity (Eric H.), Wednesday, 8 September 2021 11:55 (one week ago) link

My initial front runners are Tamiko Jones and Paulhino Da Costa, closely followed by Shalamar, all of which I've played out on vinyl many times.

mike t-diva, Wednesday, 8 September 2021 12:08 (one week ago) link

"Deja Vu" is great too. Like a hidden bonus EW&F disco song.

i carry the torch for disco inauthenticity (Eric H.), Wednesday, 8 September 2021 12:16 (one week ago) link

Is the Bryan Adams that Bryan Adams?

Dan Worsley, Wednesday, 8 September 2021 12:28 (one week ago) link

Anyway can’t see past MJ, but there’s a lot there I’m not familiar with so will do some YouTube digging.

Dan Worsley, Wednesday, 8 September 2021 12:28 (one week ago) link

That review of France Joli!

Dan Worsley, Wednesday, 8 September 2021 12:31 (one week ago) link

Yes, it's the debut solo single from THAT Bryan Adams, who has since disowned his shameful disco past. The track keeps getting taken down from YouTube, and this particular upload is only a few days old, so grab it while you can.

mike t-diva, Wednesday, 8 September 2021 12:31 (one week ago) link

xp they were WOWED I tells you

i carry the torch for disco inauthenticity (Eric H.), Wednesday, 8 September 2021 12:38 (one week ago) link

Didn’t expect to enjoy it, but the Bryan Adams track has me grinning from ear to ear. Scissor Sisters sounds like they took a lot of their shtick from it. More fool him for trying to block it.

Dan Worsley, Wednesday, 8 September 2021 12:41 (one week ago) link

'Rise' for me. Herb's follow up "Rotation" is perhaps even better.

I love James Hamilton's blurb Haunting 100bpm clonking and bonking trumpet jogger, huge in US and now on see-through UK 12in – presumably at 45rpm already, to foil speed-spinners

'OK Fred" felt like a novelty record at the time but doesn't wuth the hindsight of time.

stirmonster, Wednesday, 8 September 2021 12:50 (one week ago) link

James Hamilton used "Rise" as a rhythmic touchstone in countless subsequent reviews, over many years - quite possibly more so than any other specific tune.

mike t-diva, Wednesday, 8 September 2021 12:58 (one week ago) link

Didn’t expect to enjoy it, but the Bryan Adams track has me grinning from ear to ear. Scissor Sisters sounds like they took a lot of their shtick from it. More fool him for trying to block it.

I was thinking his voice on it sounded a bit like Nick Gilder, then realized he had replaced Gilder in Sweeney Todd. I like the footage of the guitarist shredding inaudibly over a synth loop. Lol that he wants to block this.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Wednesday, 8 September 2021 13:54 (one week ago) link

Web Sheriff, which Bryan Adams is a client of, actively blocks any attempts to upload this song digitally, especially on YouTube.

Kim Kimberly, Wednesday, 8 September 2021 15:31 (one week ago) link

Tbc, I wasn't doubting that he blocks uploads of the video. I just thought it was funny that Mel C duet partner Bryan Adams, of all people, would be concerned that people might know he recorded a pop song.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Wednesday, 8 September 2021 16:19 (one week ago) link

This is Tamiko Jones. Honourable mention to Herp Albert

ignore the blue line (or something), Wednesday, 8 September 2021 16:32 (one week ago) link

Sorry, wasn't responding to you Sund4r... Just adding that specific detail spotted on Wikipedia.

Kim Kimberly, Wednesday, 8 September 2021 16:44 (one week ago) link

Digging around for info on the Bryan Adams, it sounds that it wasn't so much the original recording that he objects to, more the John Luongo remix that broke the track in US clubs. That's because Luongo sped up the track without any pitch correction on the vocals (probably near-impossible to do then?), leaving Adams sounding kinda ridiculous. Luongo's studio also chewed up a section towards the start of the original master tape, so they had to splice in a later similar sounding section to make good on the loss. Anyhow, Adams was taken to Studio 54 to hear the record played, and reportedly enjoyed himself there...

mike t-diva, Wednesday, 8 September 2021 16:48 (one week ago) link

A week later, when it was a new entry on the UK pop chart at #29, "Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough" became the first record I ever danced to at a disco (a no-alcohol teenage night at the Cambridge YMCA, also memorable as it was the first and only time that two girls, competing for my attention, got into a physical scrap on the dancefloor, which I manfully broke up). I recall being surprised that the place reacted so enthusiastically to what was, at that stage, still a minor hit by a singer who hadn't had a solo UK hit since 1972. It was tricky to find a James Hamilton column without an obviously vote-sucking clear front runner, and I thought that this tune's over-familiarity might work against it, but playing it again, it's going to be hard to vote for anything else.

JH tagged a very large number of late 1979 records as having the "rock" tempo, but I'm not sure that the term was ever used elsewhere as a genre signifier, and I remain confused as to what it means; it certainly can't be identified by its BPM range, which was wide open. This Edwin Starr track doesn't sound like a significant stylistic progression from his two earlier 1979 hits, "Contact" and "H.A.P.P.Y. Radio", save for some proto-Hi-NRG cowbell, and it ended his chart career.

Slapping some syndrums on top of "The Hustle" was a thin attempt to revive a still dated tune, although the start of the break does briefly highlight some quite Nile Rodgers-ish guitar. One for the port-and-lemon set, as John Peel sneeringly dubbed them.

Recorded in New York by two Dutch producers, "Intro Disco" points the way towards the (also Dutch) Stars on 45, particularly in its use of "Venus" and a Beatles song.

Tamiko Jones had been recording since the early 1960s, with little major success beyond "Touch Me Baby (Reaching Out for Your Love)", a US R&B hit in 1975. This superb collaboration with Brass Construction's Randy Muller is now seen as a canonical undergound Loft classic, but it didn't make huge waves at the time.

"Phoenix", a Norman Connors/Reggie Lucas production from 1976, was reissued in the UK three years later, presumably in the wake of the jazz-funk boom that was starting to peak in popularity. The 1976 release had been popular at Blackpool Mecca, during Ian Levine's controversial shift away from Northern Soul, but Southern dancers would now be ready for it too.

Patrice Rushen hadn't yet had any UK disco success in her own right - that began with "Haven't You Heard" in two months' time - but she's all over "Runnin' To Your Love", which she wrote, arranged and sang, as well as playing keyboards.

Herb Alpert hadn't been the UK charts since 1969, so "Rise" was quite the reboot - and a Billboard #1, replacing Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop". It topped the Billboard chart again in 1997, when it provided the musical bedrock for The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Hypnotize". The Alpert-free break from 3:23 is where the track peaks for me, and its success (soon to be followed by Lowrell's "Mellow Mellow (Right On)") paved the way for a slowing of tempos that became ever more popular through to the mid-1980s, and again in the late 80s/early 90s "street soul" era.

Randy Crawford, here covering Brook Benton's 1959 US hit, was then at #1 on the UK disco chart with The Crusaders on "Street Life", and solo pop success would follow in 1980 with "One Day I'll Fly Away".

Billy Ocean is once again endearingly out of step with his times, and "American Hearts" is a thoroughly pleasant blend of familiar influences, most notably "Young Hearts Run Free". Everyone in my town loves a bit of Billy Ocean ("Red Light Spells Danger" is practically an anthem here), and so do I.

Having recently played as Abba's backing band on "Voulez-Vous", Foxy were following up their Billboard Soul #1 "Get Off" (whose extraordinary video positively screams RAGING COKE BENDER). Singer/songwriter Ish Ledesma was also responsible for Company B's glorious "Fascinated", which is perhaps all the Ish Ledesma you need.

British reggae group The Marvels had been recording since 1962, and this cover of the 1954 doo-wop standard works very nicely thank you.

Having despised 99% of disco throughout 1977 and 1978 as a matter of principle ("mindless fodder for the brainwashed masses" etc), I was starting to come round to it in 1979 (which by some remarkable coincidence was also the year I started dancing, drinking and having sex), although I hadn't yet formed much of an evolved aesthetic for it. Anyhow, I liked The Gibson Brothers, and I loved their November 1979 hit, "Que Sera Mi Vida", which JH mentions in his review of the much less distinguished "West Indies", which (along with Ottawan's "D.I.S.C.O") was co-written by Thomas Bangalter's dad.

It would be good to hear the original unremixed version of Bryan Adams song, but since the artist has disowned it, and since the assistant engineer at the remix session accidentally mangled the original master tape, that's not going to be possible any time soon. I like the upthread Scissor Sisters comparison.

mike t-diva, Monday, 13 September 2021 13:41 (five days ago) link

That's really interesting that Foxy played on ABBA's "Voulez-Vous," I'd never heard that. Or that it's the only ABBA studio track recorded outside of Sweden (in Miami).

Josefa, Monday, 13 September 2021 14:17 (five days ago) link

That Foxy video is quite something, if they weren't doing a line and fucking a bunch of models immediately after I'd be disappointed. If Bryan Adams channels the Scissor Sisters then Foxy has an Electric Six vibe.

Dan Worsley, Monday, 13 September 2021 14:55 (five days ago) link

BTW loving the biographical touches Mike.

Dan Worsley, Monday, 13 September 2021 14:55 (five days ago) link

Yeah, was just about to say, these Sounds/Record Mirror review polls, along with mike t-diva's memories of the era (and vast disco knowledge) are currently one of my favorite things on ilm. Kudos.

Three Rings for the Elven Bishop (Dan Peterson), Monday, 13 September 2021 15:01 (five days ago) link

Thanks both, I'm getting a lot of pleasure from doing them.

mike t-diva, Monday, 13 September 2021 15:12 (five days ago) link

Yeah these threads have been great... thanks to all contributing. Lots of really good tracks in this poll... though I expect MJ won't need my vote.

visiting, Monday, 13 September 2021 17:26 (five days ago) link

tamiko! which i have another ilx thread to thank for introducing me to and i've been in love since.

andrew m., Tuesday, 14 September 2021 13:40 (four days ago) link

A week later, when it was a new entry on the UK pop chart at #29, "Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough" became the first record I ever danced to at a disco (a no-alcohol teenage night at the Cambridge YMCA, also memorable as it was the first and only time that two girls, competing for my attention, got into a physical scrap on the dancefloor, which I manfully broke up). I recall being surprised that the place reacted so enthusiastically to what was, at that stage, still a minor hit by a singer who hadn't had a solo UK hit since 1972. It was tricky to find a James Hamilton column without an obviously vote-sucking clear front runner, and I thought that this tune's over-familiarity might work against it, but playing it again, it's going to be hard to vote for anything else.

JH tagged a very large number of late 1979 records as having the "rock" tempo, but I'm not sure that the term was ever used elsewhere as a genre signifier, and I remain confused as to what it means; it certainly can't be identified by its BPM range, which was wide open. This Edwin Starr track doesn't sound like a significant stylistic progression from his two earlier 1979 hits, "Contact" and "H.A.P.P.Y. Radio", save for some proto-Hi-NRG cowbell, and it ended his chart career.

Slapping some syndrums on top of "The Hustle" was a thin attempt to revive a still dated tune, although the start of the break does briefly highlight some quite Nile Rodgers-ish guitar. One for the port-and-lemon set, as John Peel sneeringly dubbed them.

Recorded in New York by two Dutch producers, "Intro Disco" points the way towards the (also Dutch) Stars on 45, particularly in its use of "Venus" and a Beatles song.

Tamiko Jones had been recording since the early 1960s, with little major success beyond "Touch Me Baby (Reaching Out for Your Love)", a US R&B hit in 1975. This superb collaboration with Brass Construction's Randy Muller is now seen as a canonical undergound Loft classic, but it didn't make huge waves at the time.

"Phoenix", a Norman Connors/Reggie Lucas production from 1976, was reissued in the UK three years later, presumably in the wake of the jazz-funk boom that was starting to peak in popularity. The 1976 release had been popular at Blackpool Mecca, during Ian Levine's controversial shift away from Northern Soul, but Southern dancers would now be ready for it too.

Patrice Rushen hadn't yet had any UK disco success in her own right - that began with "Haven't You Heard" in two months' time - but she's all over "Runnin' To Your Love", which she wrote, arranged and sang, as well as playing keyboards.

Herb Alpert hadn't been the UK charts since 1969, so "Rise" was quite the reboot - and a Billboard #1, replacing Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop". It topped the Billboard chart again in 1997, when it provided the musical bedrock for The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Hypnotize". The Alpert-free break from 3:23 is where the track peaks for me, and its success (soon to be followed by Lowrell's "Mellow Mellow (Right On)") paved the way for a slowing of tempos that became ever more popular through to the mid-1980s, and again in the late 80s/early 90s "street soul" era.

Randy Crawford, here covering Brook Benton's 1959 US hit, was then at #1 on the UK disco chart with The Crusaders on "Street Life", and solo pop success would follow in 1980 with "One Day I'll Fly Away".

Billy Ocean is once again endearingly out of step with his times, and "American Hearts" is a thoroughly pleasant blend of familiar influences, most notably "Young Hearts Run Free". Everyone in my town loves a bit of Billy Ocean ("Red Light Spells Danger" is practically an anthem here), and so do I.

Having recently played as Abba's backing band on "Voulez-Vous", Foxy were following up their Billboard Soul #1 "Get Off" (whose extraordinary video positively screams RAGING COKE BENDER). Singer/songwriter Ish Ledesma was also responsible for Company B's glorious "Fascinated", which is perhaps all the Ish Ledesma you need.

British reggae group The Marvels had been recording since 1962, and this cover of the 1954 doo-wop standard works very nicely thank you.

Having despised 99% of disco throughout 1977 and 1978 as a matter of principle ("mindless fodder for the brainwashed masses" etc), I was starting to come round to it in 1979 (which by some remarkable coincidence was also the year I started dancing, drinking and having sex), although I hadn't yet formed much of an evolved aesthetic for it. Anyhow, I liked The Gibson Brothers, and I loved their November 1979 hit, "Que Sera Mi Vida", which JH mentions in his review of the much less distinguished "West Indies", which (along with Ottawan's "D.I.S.C.O") was co-written by Thomas Bangalter's dad.

It would be good to hear the original unremixed version of Bryan Adams song, but since the artist has disowned it, and since the assistant engineer at the remix session accidentally mangled the original master tape, that's not going to be possible any time soon. I like the upthread Scissor Sisters comparison.

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*** Errol Dunkley to Noel Pointer ***

I'm another one who had Errol Dunkley's "O.K. Fred" down as a novelty song; if you don't know what he's singing about, it just sounds silly, and his funny little bottom-out waddle on TOTP made it sillier still. (Also, was Lenny Henry doing his "ooookaaay" Algernon thing on Tiswas yet? I can't recall.) That said, it remains a light-hearted song about chilling out to get the girl, as the titular Fred sets an example for Errol to follow.

As influential as they had been in 1978 with the success of "Hi-Tension" and "British Hustle", Hi-Tension's EWF pastiche didn't exactly advance the cause of Britfunk any further, and getting Biddu, erstwhile don of the port-and-lemon set, in to produce it might not have been the best move.

More than any other track of the time, "Ladies Night" - a future #1 on the RM disco chart, which restored their fortunes in the US, gave them their first UK hit, and marked the start of their successful association with producer Eumir Deodato - felt like the key driver of disco's post-backlash mutation into something different: mid-tempo, less zingy, more restrained, chugging rather than soaring (although it does somewhat elevate towards the end), aimed at the soul/funk crowd rather than the pop crowd or the gay crowd. If you want to be a strict purist about it, you could argue that this marks the point where disco stopped being disco, although no one in the UK at the time would have agreed with you.

Jobbing Brazilian percussionist Paulhino Da Costa pops up on classic after classic during this era. Along with Greg Phillinganes, who plays on "Deja Vu", he's on Off The Wall, and he's also on I Am by EWF, whose singer Philip Bailey provides lead vocals here. I've discovered, and subsequently bought, a lot of hitherto unheard gems during the course of publishing the James Hamilton blog over the past four years, and this mighty track is one of them. My UK 12-inch copy doesn't segue into "Love Till The End Of Time", but it makes for a pleasant coda.

Isaac Hayes didn't fare too well during the disco era, and I'm not a fan of "Disco Connection", his UK hit from 1976, but "Don't Let Go" did comparatively well for him: it was his highest charting US hit (#18) after "Theme From Shaft" (#1) and its parent album put him back in the US top 40 after four years. That said, it was also his final US hit single, and he would have another UK hit until "Chocolate Salty Balls" topped the chart in 1998. It's OK (and I wonder if Prince was taking notes), but the Isley Brothers' "It's A Disco Night" is the only fast "rock" track from this autumn that I truly go for, and like JH, I prefer his cover of "Fever".

Although the big Shalamar hits from Friends don't work with my crowd at all, I still have time for their earlier work, and although "Take That To The Bank" is a stronger song, "Right In The Socket" tends to works best of all as a dance track.

I sometimes think of Chic's "Good Times" as the grand finale of the disco era, as well as providing the bridge from disco to hip hop - but in the intervening period, the torch briefly passes to Charanga 76, renamed Charanga 79 on some but not all the US pressings of this inessential cover. Nice breaks though, I've give them that.

Paul Lewis's cover of "Girl, You Need A Change Of Mind" was listed as the A-side on all but one of the pressings of "Inner City Blues", but that's the (promo) pressing which reached JH, so here it is. Again, inessential. Again, a nice break. And of the two sides, it's the better track.

As the band he co-founded in 1961 (as The Jazz Crusaders) top the RM disco chart without him, Wayne Henderson's "Dancin' Love Affair" flounders in the shadow of "Street Life", meaning little outside diehard jazz-funk circles. It's nice enough, but a tad sickly, and with such a glut of jazz-funk masterpieces to choose from at the time, it's hard to see why you'd pull this one out of your boxes.

Now, here's a cover that I can get with. Destination's "Move On Up" didn't do much in the UK, but it replaced France Joli's "Come To Me" (of which more later) at the top of the Billboard disco chart, and stayed there for four weeks. Respectful of, but not overawed by, Curtis Mayfield's original, it does indeed (as JH points out) have a fantastic percussion break, before the next break introduces a second brief "Up Up Up" section for which producer Elton Ahi can grab co-writer royalies, in "Light My Fire/137 Disco Heaven" fashion.

One of the first tunes to feature a John "Jellybean" Benitez credit (he does the "disco editing"), "You Dazzle Me" is the lead cut from the only LP release by Dazzle, a veritable underground disco supergroup led by Patrick Adams and Leroy Burgess, with Jocelyn Brown (here credited as Jocelyn Shaw) providing lead female vocals. Lovely stuff: the song may be slight, but the many deft musicianly touches lift it above the pack.

From his frequent trips to New York - including the Paradise Garage, his favourite club of all - JH had picked up on the concept of "sleaze", aka "morning music", and ORS' "Body To Body Boogie" is a solid example, its Bee Gees-aping vocals notwithstanding. It would be nice to have an instrumental version, but that was only given to Tom Moulton's remix of "Moon Boots" on the flip. The band are German, but both sides were remixed in New York, pioneering DJ Bobby Guttadaro being responsible for this side.

You want obscure? We got obscure. The only release from the Elijah John Group, "Keep A Little Love For Yourself" features on a couple of Al Kent compilations and a Leon Vynehall XLR8R podcast, but it hasn't been anthologised since 2013 and is certainly worthy of further excavation. Strong vocals, solid song, and something of a latter-day crossover/northern Blackpool Mecca feel that has me considering its future inclusion in a set.

Here's another obscure one. Featuring The Jones Girls on vocals and Richard Tee on clavinet, "Feel It" was produced and co-written by classical-turned-jazz violinist Noel Pointer. None of his tunes ever made the UK disco chart, and "Feel It" has never been anthologised, which it really should have been by now; it would work wonderfully well within a mix, or even as a nu-disco remix.

mike t-diva, Wednesday, 15 September 2021 14:50 (three days ago) link

Ah bollox, didn't mean to repeat-post the first half of these recaps - jump to Errol Dunkley for the new stuff.

mike t-diva, Wednesday, 15 September 2021 14:51 (three days ago) link

“Let Me Take You Dancing” is a really good song! NEVER LISTEN TO THE ARTISTS.

Mr. Snrub, Thursday, 16 September 2021 19:49 (two days ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Friday, 17 September 2021 00:01 (yesterday) link

I had no idea Eumir Deodato produced Kool & the Gang.

aegis philbin (crüt), Friday, 17 September 2021 00:08 (yesterday) link

but now I can't unhear it!

aegis philbin (crüt), Friday, 17 September 2021 00:11 (yesterday) link

Here's the third and final set of notes. As predicted, the Bryan Adams track has been taken down, but there's still an extended "Glenn Rivera ReStructure Mix" on YouTube which doesn't fuck around with it too much. When the vocals finally appear at 5:02, it sounds as if the remixer has pitched them back down to a more natural level.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2VbPwUgtLk

Shobizz was a one-off disco project (one album, one single) from Rupert "Pina Colada" Holmes. JH had a low tolerance of "disco" chix (there were always slightly sneery quote marks around "disco"), but I don't mind them so much - this has a bit of a Voyage feel, and it's pretty if lightweight. The unusually early break could have been a bit more fleshed out, though.

Delores Hall's "Snapshot" marks the first credited appearance by Mark Kamins (co-producer), well ahead of his 1980s hot streak, kicked off by Madonna's "Everybody" in 1982; it's his only 1979 credit, after which he re-appears just once in 1981, before getting going properly the following year. Hall was more of an actress than a singer, most notably in the original cast of Hair, and she didn't release any more records after 1979. "Snapshot" was included in one of the Disco Discharge comps, but otherwise remains unremembered. There's some nice organ work in the break, some tight brass, she belts the song out in proper diva style, and the "automatic camera noises making some of the beat" are an effective novelty, but this kind of zingy fare was retreating back into the gay clubs, and it was about a year too late to have stood a chance of making a wider impact.

"Monkey Fever" isn't Zack Ferguson's best known track - he did a little better with two cornier dittys ("Skate Board Dancin'" (1978) and "Aa Aa Uu Aa Ee" on the flip of this release) - and although it lacks their overt cringiness, it's still too blandly Euro (Italian in origin) for my tastes. I'm slightly reminded of Chemise's infinitely better "She Can't Love You", and the backing track does have some promise, but the Chic-esque backing singers ("you must be joking!") easily outclass Ferguson's weedy vocals.

France Joli "wowed the gays on Fire Island" when she stood in for an unavailable Donna Summer in July, performing to an audience of around 5000 (YT has some very rough footage of the show). According to someone on YT who was there, she arrived by helicopter and descended from it while performing "Come To Me", but that could have been an "enhanced" projection on their part; such were the times. Joli's biggest hit by far, the song plays with the Donna Summer formula very adeptly - the slow start, the yearning melody, the epic feel - but I can't find any info on the mystery singer who voices the "lonely man".

JH was good at arranging his reviews in decreasing order of importance, and I do sense a drop-off in quality after France Joli. "Ooh La La" is the title track from Suzi Lane's only LP, produced by Giorgio Moroder, but she's better remembered for its other, much stronger single, "Harmony". Harold Faltermeyer co-wrote the former with Moroder, while Pete Bellotte co-wrote the latter, and all three had worked together on Donna Summer's Bad Girls, but maybe they'd already used up most of their best material and ideas. "Harmony" still bangs, though.

Chameleon are another one-off project, produced by Fred Wesley. "Get Up" is the nearest we've had to straight-up P'funk, but - shock confession - my appetite for P'funk is quite small, and this doesn't connect with me at all.

Like the Paul Lewis single, George McCrae's "Don’t You Feel My Love" is another Howie "KC" Casey/Richard Finch production, but they co-wrote this one as well, and it's got that whole Sunshine Band sound. McCrae, Casey and Finch had been working together ever since "Rock Your Baby" five years earlier, but to diminishing returns, and this formulaic one-off single was their final collaboration.

The bassline from Michele Freeman's "Tumble Heat" re-appears, whether by accident or design, on Harlow's fantastic "Take Off" in 1980, and it propels this cut very effectively. She's yet another one-album-only act - the disco era wasn't kind to artist development - who once again emerged just too late.

And here's another one: Germany's Kathi Baker, whose album was recorded in Berlin. This 12-inch changes hands for decent money (around £33 for the German release), perhaps because - unlike the LP version that's embedded on the blog - "Fa La La" abruptly segues into "Dance To The Music", a non-album track (not the Sly Stone song), at 4:07. I'm not blown away by either song, or either performance, although the dubby final 30 seconds briefly lift it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KADJeIHsadY

Helen Reddy's puny confection is disco bandwagon-jumping at its most ill-fitting and desperate, so let's move on.

Having appeared on a few compilations in recent years, as well as some bootleg re-releases, Needa's only release, "Come On And Rock", is now highly collectable and sells for around £100 in its original 1979 format. The groove is solid, the bass is (ahem) "nimble", the intermittent rock guitar gives it edge, and the lead vocal is more commanding than the trite lyrics deserves, making this the strongest of the post-Joli bunch.

Opening with a "Psycho Killer" bassline and a "Last Night A DJ Saved My Life" guitar, "Have A Real Good Time" shows early promise before dissolving into bog standard corny zinginess (albeit with a brief spoken section from the "disco" chix that just about counts as proto-rap). Michael Zager co-wrote and produced; it's a pity he didn't do an instrumental dub, as there are some elements here that could have worked in a different context.

FLB were more usually known as Fat Larry's Band, and the appalling "Hey Pancho It's Disco" is no "Act Like You Know", or "Boogie Town", or indeed "Zoom". It's not even camp, it's just dire. Fucking hell, we're scraping the barrel now.

JH ends his import reviews with Bohannon's creation for Caroline Crawford, who had regular work as his lead singer (she's on "Let's Start The Dance", for instance. It's a typical Bohannon funky chug, which once again gets a better vocal performance than it deserves.

mike t-diva, Friday, 17 September 2021 15:11 (yesterday) link

France Joli's "lonely man" is songwriter/producer Tony Green.

Kim Kimberly, Friday, 17 September 2021 15:43 (yesterday) link

Aha, thank you.

mike t-diva, Friday, 17 September 2021 16:13 (yesterday) link

So... Denis LePage from the dance duo Lime worked on the France Joli record as the horns & strings arranger. I wonder if LePage was inspired by the male/female vocal interplay on "Come To Me" to create the similar dynamic in Lime's recordings later on. Incidentally I just learned that Denis LePage is transgender now.

Josefa, Friday, 17 September 2021 23:16 (yesterday) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Saturday, 18 September 2021 00:01 (two hours ago) link

i forgot to vote.

it might have niche appeal but you should consider writing a book mike

stirmonster, Saturday, 18 September 2021 00:21 (two hours ago) link


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