Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Back In The Day: April 1979 (Issue 275)

Back in The Day with Sharon Davis: April 1979 (Issue 275)
Back in The Day with Sharon Davis: April 1979 (Issue 275) Edwin Starr Sylvester Freda Payne

An extremely dapper Mr Edwin Starr graced the front cover. A regular visitor to the magazine, and a most welcomed one too, he was promoting his current album Clean, produced by Lamont Dozier. So let’s hit the news items of April 1979 –

Arista Records announced that it had signed the Ohio Players to an exclusive long term recording contract with Everybody Up their debut album. At the same time, Phonogram Inc filed a suit against Arista in New York’s Supreme Court to prevent Arista from releasing any product by the group, claiming the band was still contracted to Phonogram……

CBS songstress Phoebe Snow planned to make her British debut at London’s Theatre Royal this month. She had recently scored with her version of Paul McCartney’s Every Night taken from her current album “Against The Grain”, from which her new single In My Life was also lifted…....

Gold US albums to Sylvester for Step II, to the Pointer Sisters for Energy and to The Jacksons for Destiny…..Casablanca executives were worried about obtaining US Navy clearance to shoot a promotional film for the Village People’s In The Navy single. They needn’t have been because the Pentagon gave the okay and filming took place on the USS Reasoner. It then appeared that Navy officials liked the song so much that they planned to use it on their tv recruitment commercials. This again caused Casablanca executives to worry, as one noted at the time – “I hope the Navy doesn’t find out what they’re really into, it might be embarrassing.” Hey ho!……

Le Joint Recordswere talking to Marvin Gaye about possible production chores.….Following a brief spell with Motown, saxophonist Grover Washington Jr pacted with Elektra/Asylum Records where his debut was the Paradise album…..Ariola’s New Birth group were putting finishing touches to their debut album for the label…..Quincy Jones was producing Michael Jackson for Epic….RCA had mixed a special disco version of songs from the Hair movie with recruitments that included Evelyn “Champagne” King and Vicki Sue Robinson…...

Top three UK Soul Singles: Players Association’s Turn The Music Up, followed by Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive and Chic’s I Want Your Love. Top trio of UK Soul Albums: Chic’s C’Est Chic, with George Benson’s Livin’ Inside Your Love and Players Association’s Turn The Music Up following.

In Edwin Starr’s interview with John Abbey he said that when the Clean album was finished – “I felt that the disco element was missing. So, I used my own money and went into a small studio and cut Contact. I couldn’t afford the lavishness of a twenty-four track studio….but I knew ‘Contact’ was a hit song.”…….Gof Abbey reviewed Tina Turner’s performance at London’s Hammersmith Odeon. A glowing report that included – Tina is an undisputed rock ‘n’ roller. Back in London after a year’s absence…her act is rock but because of her R&B roots she still appeals to the soul/disco fans. In fact the audience is so diverse it is almost impossible to categorise….All in all a show of almost two hours superbly performed…What a pity a few more people don’t purchase her records and put her back in the charts where she belongs.”

Having made it the first time out, Bonnie Pointer looked set for two in a row as Motown culled the Heaven Must Have Sent You track from her debut album. Overall, it was a curious mixture of modern disco and the age-old Motown sound – and the song was always a winner…..Frederick Knight produced one of the year’s more unusual records – James Bradley’s I’m In Too Deep with its pulsating rhythm topped off with some Star Wars noise effects and a catchy string phrase…..Freda Payne was back with I’ll Do Anything For You taken from her Supernatural High album. Although it was melodic, catchy and bouncy, it lacked the necessary flair and excitement to bring her back in style….

Almost hidden away in the advertisements towards the close of the magazine (which offered Super Soul Badges at only 75p each, Karate & Kung Fu equipment, Neale Shoes, Spencer Soul Bags and Hot Disco Releases from the Soul Bowl in Norfolk), there was this – “Pete Tong gave me a funkin’ good time” at the Woodville Halls, Gravesend. Hah, will say no more!

There’s plenty more where this came from, so stay with us. Til next time then.

[i]Keep the faith,[i]

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