Airport – The Motors (1978)

Virgin Records VS 219

Back in the day this single was always being played. One of my go to tracks that has me both singing (very badly) and wanting to hit the dance floor. A commercial pop song from what was a new group with band members more associated with new wave/rock. This managed to get a Silver disc in the UK for its sales which in the summer of 1978 were more than 250,000 copies. It raced up the charts taking 4 weeks to reach the top ten, finally peaking at #4 in a 13 week run.

The single also charted in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and in Sweden where it also reached #4 in an 18 week run. At the time Sweden produced their chart fortnightly.

The Motors were active from 1977 until 1982. They performed for John Peel on his National Radio One nighttime show “The John Peel Sessions” in March 1977. He was well known for giving many bands their big break, mainly those that wouldn’t normally get played on the radio. They signed for Richard Branson’s Virgin Record label and did another session for John Peel in September 1977 and released a single called “Dancing The Night Away”. It was a modest beginning peaking at #42 in the UK chart.

Original plain white paper sleeve was replaced with a cardboard one.

At the time of this recording the band members were: Nick Garvey (b. 1951 Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England) – Vocals/Guitar. Andy McMaster  (b.1947 Glasgow, Scotland)  Bass/Vocals/Keyboards.
Ricky Slaughter (real name Richard Wernham) – Drums. Bram Tchaikovsky (b. 1950 Lincolnshire, England real name Peter Bramell – Guitar and vocals.

Cold love the B-side is a live recording lasting 5mins and 5 secs. 

B-Side live recording of Cold Love


A track driven by various guitar sounds which is rough around the edges and different from the polished pop of the A- side, and probably more of a sense of what sort of band they were. It was recorded at The Marquee Club a famous live jazz and rock venue in London in the 60’s and 70’s.

The single is in good condition and in the top ten of most played on my iPod.

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You Can Do Magic – Limmie & Family Cookin’ (1972)

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AVCO Records 6105 019

This classic UK single was picked up for 50p in 2015 at a pop-up event at a Craft Beer Pub in the centre of Birmingham, combining my two favourite things, music and beer. The event although a one-off was bought to my attention by a friend. Lots of singles and albums to choose from, and the dozen or so purchases I made, all of them were in very good condition.

You Can Do Magic was recorded in 1972 by Limmie Snell and his twin sisters Jimmie and Martha Snell. Born in Alabama the family moved to Canton, Ohio. When he was eleven he began recording solo material for various record company’s. Having signed to AVCO Embassy Records the family recorded together and had 3 UK hits two of them reaching the top ten. It took until the summer of 1973 for this record to peak at #3 in a 13 week run on the UK chart. It was their only US hit reaching the dizzy heights of #84 on the Billboard Pop Chart. In the pre-disco era this has a Motown – Northern Soul quality to it which isn’t surprising as it was written by Sandy Linzer known for Breakin Down The Walls Of Heartbreak and writing for the soul group Odyssey in late 1970’s early 1980’s. 

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B-Side “Spider”

The following year their second top ten hit “A Walkin’ Miracle” reached #6 with a 10 week run on the chart.

The group parted ways in the mid 1970’s but Limmie carried on recording and writing, and settled for a time in the UK, however he passed away aged 41 in 1986 of renal failure and is buried in Ohio. His Son Limmie Jr records music today in Europe. The unusual named track “Spider” is the B-side a fast piece of funk / pop.

Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe – Barry White (1974)

In 2015, during a trip to London, a rack of vinyl outside a store called Flashback caught my eye. Inside it was a haven for any lover of old records. I came away with several singles.

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PYE International Records 7N 25661

I don’t see myself as a collector as such, but the odd occasion over the last 3 years I’ve picked up a few bargains, mainly based on finding songs that have stood the test of time and I’d wished I’d been able to purchase at the time of release.

Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe was a 1974 release, right at the beginning of me being able buy my own records with pocket-money I had saved up. When you are 12/13 years old and from a poorer background than most, being able to purchase even one or two records a month was a dream. So finding this record made my day.

Barry White was born in 1944, Galveston, Texas, USA. Mr Soul, Mr Smooth however you want to describe him, had a career based around a distinctive bass-baritone voice and romantic image. Although he was releasing music from the early 1960’s, his break through year was 1973.

This was Barry’s third UK chart success and the first of five top ten hits reaching #8, however it became a huge hit in the US hitting the top spot on the Billboard hot 100 pop chart and R&B chart. The follow-up single You’re the First, the Last, My Everythingbecame his only UK #1.

This track has so many elements, spoken introduction, orchestral backing overlayed with a dance rhythm and a smooth soul delivery. The B-side Just Not Enough is primarily an instrumental version of the A side which highlights the percussion and strings.

A total of 7 singles and 7 albums reached #1 on the US R&B charts. He was also a 3 time Grammy award winner.

Sadly due to ill-health often due to being overweight and having high blood pressure, whilst waiting for a kidney transplant in 2003 Barry passed away due to a stroke in Los Angeles, USA. His rich voice lives on through his recordings.

I was out with friends recently and in the background this song was played, a reminder of the quality of Mr White’s work.

Midnight Love Affair – Carol Douglas (1976)

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Midland International Records MID 2

I took a chance on this single. A blind buy in The Diskery, Birmingham in 2014. I choose it just from the artist name. I’d been watching a TV documentary on BBC4 about 70’s disco and her name came up. Success came in the US disco charts with tracks that were hits by other artists from Europe or the US.

When I played it for the first time the track sounded very familiar, akin to some of the music in the disco movie “Thank God Its Friday”.

I looked on the internet to find out more and was surprised by what I found out. Midnight Love Affair became a massive dance floor filler in late summer of 1976 and reached #1 in the US Billboard Dance charts. It was written by E. Levitt, P. Groscolas and M. Jourdan, Arranged and Conducted by John Davis, Produced by Ed O’Loughlin.

Two years earlier in November 1974 Carol released a cover version of the pop crossover track “Doctors Orders” which became an US Pop #11 Dance #2 hit with top ten success throughout Europe and #1 in Canada. Doctors Orders was originally released by British female vocalist Sunny who had a UK #7 hit in spring of 1974.

Carol Douglas was born in New York, USA in 1948 and her mother was a Jazz performer. Her cousin was legendary soul singer Sam Cooke. As a teenager she sang in a trio cutting a single for the RCA Victor label. She married in mid 1960’s and even had a small stint on broadway. In the early 1970’s she started touring/singing again and eventually got a contract at Midland International Records which launched her chart career. She covered several well-known songs of the time including Abba’s “Dancing Queen” and her only UK top 75 entry (#66) the Bee Gees’ “Night Fever”.

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B-side Crime Don’t Pay

 

She lived for a time in Paris, France after her record company became defunct, recorded for Next Plateau in the US and Carrere Records in Europe. 

The B-side to this is  “Crime Don’t Pay” which moves at a fast pace. Backed with a strong string orchestra with lots of guitar and drums.

 

Prime Time – The Tubes (1979)

A & M Records AMS 7423

A small amount of my collection during the late 70’s contains some coloured vinyl singles. One such single is Prime Time by The Tubes. This is taken from their fourth album “Remote Control” described as a concept album exploring the influence of television. This track peaked at #34 on UK chart in its sixth week of a 10 week run. In their native USA this single did not chart.

Band Members of The Tubes at the time of recording;

  • Fee Waybill – vocals
  • Bill Spooner – guitar, vocals
  • Michael Cotten – synthesizer
  • Prairie Prince – drums
  • Roger Steen – guitar, vocals
  • Re Styles – vocals
  • Vince Welnick – keyboards
  • Rick Anderson – bass
Picture sleeve for “Prime Time” A parody of the 70’s TV show “Celebrity Squares” which was hosted by the king of game show hosts Bob Monkhouse in the UK

Produced and Engineered by Todd Rundgren a Pennsylvania, USA, multi instrumental musician, writer and vocalist. He worked on albums for such artists as Daryl Hall and John Oates, Meatloaf, Badfinger and the New York Dolls.

Originally they were formed from two bands in Pheonix and Scotsdale Arizona, USA who then moved to San Francisco, California in 1969.

Their break through was in 1975 with a self titled album having signed to Herb Alpert’s record label A & M records. 1979 when this single was released they were coming to the end of their time at A&M and went onto to record for Capitol Records.      

Live performances have been the main drive of the band and are known for very creative full production numbers which include other performers and artists. Often they allude to Mainstream and B-Movies, television and pop culture and therefore very costly gigs to put on. Much of the music covers an array of genres.

Germ Free Adolescents – X-Ray Spex (1978)

EMI International INT 573

I would never consider myself to have been a punk rocker or even into heavy rock, however going through my collection around 1977, 1978 several singles I did buy were of either an alternate or punk rock nature.

I’ve never noticed before, but this X-Ray Spex single is entitled on the label as Germ Free Adolescence, however the picture sleeve reads as “Adolescents”.

Picture sleeve says the title is “Germ Free Adolescents”

The track is from their only album “Germ Free Adolescents” which also had the single, which shamefully I don’t have, but should, which was called “Identity”. My job at the time meant when serving customers to benefits I had to ask for some form of identity, thus in my head I would mimic the phrasing of the song’s delivery. Back to this single, which in my mind is a perfect mix of clever words and delivery, written by the wonderfully named punk rock vocalist Poly Styrene who was born Marianne Elliott-Said in 1957 and died in 2011 from cancer.

She formed X-Ray Spex in 1976 with Jack Stafford (Jak Airport), Paul Dean, (Paul) BP Hurding and Susan Whitby (Lora Logic) who played the saxophone for the group whilst aged 15 for one early song. The band had additional musicians play on tours and on the album.

The lyrics mention two teenagers obsession with cleanliness and two dentistry products – S.R., a toothpaste which has the tag line in the song of “She cleans her teeth ten times a day, scrub away the S.R. way” and Listerine a mouth wash. Although a punk band this offering is much more commercially palatable than say other British bands such as The Sex Pistols, Bow Wow Wow, The Damned and The Clash who were at the forefront of punk rock at the time. It was produced by Falcon Stuart and the band.

Reached #19 in UK Charts

The single was their third and highest placing track on the British top 75 entering the chart in November 1978 at #63 reaching its peak at #19 in an 11 week run on the chart.

B-Side – Age

The B-side is a much more traditional sound called “Age” and is a non album track timed at 2 minutes and 32 seconds.

September – Earth, Wind and Fire (1978)

CBS Records S CBS 6922

The fusion of Funk, Soul, Disco and Jazz has always been a favourite sound of mine. Earth, Wind and Fire are the top exponents of these genres. The great thing about this group is the amount of members and the types of instruments they play. It’s almost like a full orchestra rather than a group/band. Formed 1969 in Chicago, Illinois, USA, they have in a career of over 45 years picked up 6 Grammy awards out of 20 nominations and 4 American Music Awards (as of 2015). They have a star on the Hollywood walk of Fame and have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame amongst an array of other music business institutions.

The main stays of the group include its founder Maurice White, Vocalist Philip Bailey, Verdine Bailey and Ralph Johnson. Over the years well over 60 musicians have been attributed as part of the group.

During the period 1975 until 1981, Earth, Wind and Fire were at the height of their popularity regarding chart hits, reaching the top ten in both the US and UK including two number one albums and one number one single in the US. During this time they were signed to CBS Records (known as Columbia in the US). ARC set up by Maurice White also co-released their productions. 

Originally this had a generic white paper sleeve which I replaced with a cardboard sleeve

“September” with its high falsetto vocals within the chorus, full brass, guitars and drums this was a brand new composition released as part of a Greatest Hits package in 1978, and the prelude to their ninth studio album “I Am” in 1979 which included several hit singles including duet with fellow label stable mates “The Emotions” with “Boogie Wonderland”.

The lyrics describe the first moments of a relationship, of knowing that a day in September defined their love, souls were singing, and stars stole the night as they danced……..true love shared today…..

B-Side – Can’t Hide Love

Considering the beautiful art work on all of their albums its disappointing to me that my copy of the single didn’t have a picture sleeve. A 16 week run on the UK chart created their biggest hit, peaking at #3. In the US it reached #8 on billboard pop charts but #1 on the R&B chart. In Europe it reached the top twenty in several places and also had a good run on the chart in New Zealand.

The B-side however is very much a change of pace but still the famous brass section is in evidence throughout, but the vocals are silky smooth for this ballad. “Can’t Hide Love” as the title suggests is the story of someone not openly admitting to being in love.