Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

Welcome To B&S



Back In The Day - DECEMBER 1980: ISSUE 319

Back In The Day with Sharon Davis
Back In The Day with Sharon Davis

It had to be a Christmas edition didn’t it! And with (the late) Melvin Franklin from The Temptations gracing the magazine’s front cover, how could I resist. He’s dressed as Father Christmas (of course) and methinks the pose is taken from a Temptations’ album cover. Melvin was just the most charming of men, and I was extremely fortunate to be able to interview him several times over the years. Grab my hand and let’s go ….

News items included... Sylvester and the Two Tons O’ Fun officially parting company. Martha and Izora were already on a US tour with their own band that included two male support vocalists. Despite rumours of internal acrimony between the two acts, a US spokesperson for Fantasy claimed the split was amicable and that the parting was as a result of the record success attained by the Tons with their current album. Meanwhile, Sylvester hired two new background singers Jeanne Tracey and Debbie Lawson…….. It was some five years since Jackie Wilson had collapsed on stage at New Jersey’s Latin Casino, since when the singer had stayed in a comatose state……..Kenny Gamble, co-founder of the Philadelphia International Record label, was to be awarded the annual Humanitarian Award on behalf of the AMC Cancer Research Centre. He would be the first black recipient of the award………..

The Delfonics – super soul group of yesteryear – had regrouped and were looking for a new recording contract …… Marvin Gaye, who had been living here for five months, had completed re-recording the ill-fated “Love Man. The new album, entitled “In Our Lifetime” was scheduled for release in January…….Barry White sued the US Federal Government for $375,680 in taxes he paid between 1972-75 which he claimed the Feds weren’t entitled to. US observers stated that although there was little chance of White getting any compensation, it was, nonetheless, a very spirited thing to do!.......Handshake Records announced the signing of Johnny Bristol where his first single was “Love No Longer Has A Hold On Me”……..

Top British Soul Single was Stephanie Mills’ “I Never Knew Love Like This Before”, followed by Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration” and Young & Co’s “I Like (What You’re Doing To Me)”…..I penned the Hall Of Fame featuring The Temptations which could explain why Mr Franklin was on the cover. (Doh!) …..(Blues & Soul had teamed up with The Royalty Club, Southgate, to present super Friday night gigs – they were fabulous nights too) In the full page advertisement , it was announced that Jermaine Jackson would be the special guest on 12 December, and that following loads of hints, it did happen – Marvin Gaye performed, signed autographs and presented a gold disc to B&S reader Michael Sole, the previous week. B&S editor Bob Killbourn was pictured with Marvin……… Grover Washington Jnr’s “Winelight” was the top British Soul album. Stevie Wonder’s “Hotter Than July” was second, Wilton Felder’s “Inherit The Wind”, third…..

John Abbey’s interview with The Blackbyrds covered the centre pages. They were promoting their new album “Better Days” released by Fantasy Records ……..The Backstage Bitch column – which delighted in printing risqué news items and no, despite what most people believed at the time, it wasn’t me! - ran the heading “B&S’s answer to Esther Rantzen extends her talons and infiltrates the club scene”……Pete Tong met up with fellow public school funksters, Level 42, to chew the fat about this and that and trace their beginnings in the British funk movement…..

As the Christmas Season was pending, the magazine carried loads of advertisements for the club scene, like – “It’s Christmas Crackers at 203 Wardour Street, with George Power, Steve Walsh, Tony Hodges, Chris White and Andy Hunter”….Light Of The World and Shakatak were due to perform at the Triad Lesire Centre, Bishops Stortford, Herts…..Pete Tong (him again) was advertising his Monday Nights at The Hilltop, on the A20 West Kingsdown, Kent. On 15 December it was “Our First Ladies Night – Lady Members Admitted Free!”….Eamon Evans was hosting Christmas Eve fun at The Spring Tavern, Wrotham, Kent, while at Cassinelli’s in Standish, John Grant, Colin Curtis, Harry and Billy (I kid you not!) were in charge of the fun….And finally, in a full-page advertisement for the Goldmine, DJ Chris Hill was laying on top of his lady, Carol, who, if I remember correctly, was the backstage bitch. …….

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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