Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Back In The Day: January 1979 (Issue 268)

Back In The Day: January 1979 (Issue 268)
Back In The Day: January 1979 (Issue 268)

Mr Johnny Guitar Watson graced the front of the magazine, leaning on a globe of the world showing off his bling. Yes folks - the new year of 1979 had begun! So let’s TCB and kick off with some news items.

The Dramatics’ Ron Banks formed a programme in Detroit tagged Shoes For Children. It revolved around a celebrity basketball game with proceeds going towards buying shoes for children. Set to participate were The Spinners, Four Tops, the Pips, Floaters and maybe Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson

...With legend Jackie Wilson still in a semi-conscious state at the Medford Lea Nursing Home in New Jersey, a trust fund was set up by Ben Vereen to aid the ailing superstar……In a rare production excursion Georgio Moroder – the creative force behind Donna Summer - agreed to produce the next album by The Sylvers. Moroder had recently scored the movie Midnight Express for Casablanca Records

...Chic’s Le Freak- currently at no 1 on both the pop and soul charts in America – was awarded a platinum disc for sales exceeding two million units. The album of the same name passed gold status…..Formerly a back-up singer with Marvin Gaye, Guanda signed with Ember Records……Rumours were rife that Frank Wilson was producing the next Mighty Clouds of Joy album for Epic…..Chris Etienne, the percussionist with North London funk band Light Of the World, was killed and three other group members injured in a road accident at the beginning of December, as the band were returning from a gig in Scotland.

...The British Hustle, a 40-minute-long feature film made by Kenny and Curtis Clark, finally found a British release. The film – pure UK disco – was split between a Greg Edwards’ night at Clouds in Brixton, and Chris Hill performing at the Goldmine on Canvey Island…….Former Chi-Lite member, Danny Johnson, joined First American Records[b

…Top three singles were Chic’s Le Freak, followed by theIVillage People’s YMCA and Chaka Khan’s I’m Every Woman (Wow! Brilliant stuff), while the top trio of albums were the Commodores’ Greatest Hits, then Boney M’s Night Flight To Venus and Sylvester’s Step II (more wow, except maybe for Boney M!- sorry)...One of the most prominent of advertisements was for the February tour by The Jacksons, hailed as The First Family Of Soul. The first date was The Brighton Centre where the tickets were £5, £4 and £3, followed by dates in Preston, Glasgow, Halifax, Cardiff and London at the Rainbow Theatre (one beloved venue that!)

...Meantime, Sylvester had recently played two gigs at the Odeon Hammersmith when reviewer Gof Abbey glowed that he “emerged on stage to set about proving that he really does have talent”…..the magazine’s middle pages boasted the lovely Barry White in full colour, although there wasn’t an interview with him. Guess we just loved him….David Nathan interviewed Jean Carn to celebrate the release of her second album Happy To Be With You which immediately firmly lodged her in the winner’s circle with R&B and jazz fans everywhere.

...John Abbey meantime chinwagged with Al Green about his first album in a year which took him into the disco market. Titled Truth ‘N’ Time it included the tried and test song To Sir With Love…..Snuck away at the bottom of page 7 was a little section titled Trackin’ which gave the lowdown on who’s recording what, and included – Bernard Edwards and Niles Rodgers finishing up the new Sister Sledge album, Ohio Players working on mixes for their forthcoming album, Earl Klugh engrossed with his new album for United Artists, Randy Brown cutting new sides for Parachute, Chuck Berry recording for Capitol, MFSB finalising mixes for their new Philly set, and Switch and Cuba Gooding laying down tracks for Motown.

So there you have it, a quick insight into the start of 1979 but, stay with us, there’s plenty more to come. So ‘til next time….


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