It’s that time of the year again, and yes you had it coming.
The Top Rank Suite was known to everyone in Brighton during the seventies. Locals joined the waiting line with thrilled-to-death exhange students who once back home could not stop raving about it: you can’t believe this place we went to!
Top Rank was a chain of clubs owned by the Rank Organization who were big shots in the film distribution business in GB. The Brighton branch was designed by Russell Diplock to resemble a set from a James Bond film, inside and out. The huge entertainment complex housing bars, a massive dance hall, a bowling alley and a cinema was a sight to see in the middle of the properly British buildings among the seafront. It’s still there to annoy Prince Charles every time his highness comes to town.
The place opened originally in 1965 as a major concert venue for popular, even massive bands. During the early 70s it hosted acts like Genesis, Rod Stewart and James Brown. Discothéque nights were equally popular, though the mods had to wait for their Motown until the aunts and uncles had finished walzing and foxtrotting the early evening away.
From 1975 onwards when disco gained popularity Saturdays were often reserved for deejays. These would – horrors! – grab the mike and introduce the records, crack the usual lame jokes or appear in drag, as the Brits often feel compelled to do. Tracks danced to at the club as an exhange student late in 75 included Juggy Jones: Inside America, Biddu Orchestra: I Could Have Danced All Night and Eddie Drennon’s Let’s Do The Latin Hustle (which nobody there knew how to do).
The hall was refurbished in 1990 and re-opened as the Event. The tacky grandeur of the interior was lost. Of course in a few years time, there’ll no more be any horny exhange students in the town either or anywhere else on the island.
The music: a British library tune from 1979.
This vinyl collection of previously unrealesed electronic tracks from 1981 till 2015 has been available on Discom label for a few months now. As it’s a strictly limited realese do yourself a favour and get a copy right away. You will definitely not want to miss the two Miha Kralj masterpieces that open the album. Take a listen for proof. The rest of the material is less disco but interesting nevertheless, and that sleeve! Your all-white neo-minimalist flat-cum-gallery living space demands you frame it.
Did you know this certified Slut Classic was also realesed on 12″, with a longer instrumental section and more vocals from the unidentified but no doubt experienced main character? It’s also interesting to note that the 1979 British record was produced by Biddu and Mike Batt.
Irresistible psychic beach sounds to keep up the hope there will be next summer despite all this darkness. In the picture once again my favourite beach at cape Kolka in Latvija.
Progressive Soviet Disco Music. Because the Artist knows how to make men mad with desire she begins the first sequence slowly. Then the disco beat begins and the Diva commands you to dance! Maybe you also like a young girl who sings in an innocent but sexy style? Or perhaps a whole row of rough Russian soldiers all at once? It’s all here.
The classic of the month by the legendary Charo. Sixteen years after being born as María del Rosario Mercedes Pilar Martínez Molina Baeza in Murcia in Spain, the girl started learning to play flamenco guitar at a prestigious music academy Madrid. Her first actual claim to fame was to get married in 1966 at the age of 20 to famous latin bandleader Xavier Cugat, then aged 66. The couple then moved to America where Charo became a hit on the talk show circuit, thanks to her bubbly personality and her bizarre pronunciation of the English language.
In 1976 Charo recorded her first disco single La Salsa (see separate post). The big breakthrough arrived a year later with the Vince Montana-produced album Cuchi-Cuchi which included this fab version of the 1971 holiday hit Porriquito, originally sung by Peret. The Diva is still alive.
Okinawa is a tropical chain of islands at the southern end of of Japan. Naha, the biggest city of the region, has a cool laidback vibe, a vibrant club and bar scene and about the best restaurants in the universe. The Ibiza of the East. Surfers head for the smaller islands not too far from the town for endless beaches and spectacular waves.
The record is Japanese of course and made in 1979.