UK Pirate Radio

  • If it moves, Funk it - The Radio Catchphrase from the Uk Legendary Dj/Radio Broadcaster - Robbie Vincent

    He is catch phrase was and will always be - “If it moves Funk it”.

    The Legendary Robbie Vincent = 2015 

    For a number of us over here in the Uk. As soon as we hear this catchphrase It means only one person and one thing; and that person is Robbie Vincent.

    Robbie is originally from the county of Suffolk, here in England where I am based actually.

    In fact he was born on the 9thJune, 1947 within the town of Felixstowe, Suffolk, here in England; which is about 11 miles from my home town which Ipswich Town, the county of town of Suffolk, England.

    Within the Usa however; and especially around the New York Area of the Usa (late 1970’s and early 1980's). We know that you had a Dj/Radio personality of around the same time that had the same special pull and or special relationship with music lovers of Soul, Funk and Jazz .

    That persons name was Frankie Crocker; and his nickname that he was known by was as “The Chief Rocker” or “Hollywood”.

    He was so influential within the Music industry (within the Usa) as a Radio dj/personality and as a music selector; especially around the time that these legendary clubs were running as well. Studio 54 and the Paradise Garage.

    That both Dj and the clubs mentioned above became national news items to the nation around the country of the USA.

    Probably the only other Dj at the time that could match him at that time would have been Larry Levan (the main club dj for the world famous Paradise Garage club, in New York, Usa).

    Probably the greatest ever club DJ that ever did it - Larry Levan 

    Larry Levanwas a club Dj, and Frankie Crocker was a Radio/DJ (WBLS-FM – New York, Usa). Both had tremendous pull within the world of Soul, Disco and Funk music scenes.

    It has been well reported that Frankie Crokerduring the height of the Disco boom  - when Studio 54 nightclubwas at the height of its popularity. Crocker rode in through the front entrance of the nightclub on a White Stallion.

    In the studio, before he left for the day, Crocker would light a candle and invite female listeners to enjoy a candlelight bath with him.

    He signed off the air each night to the tune "Moodys Mood for love" by vocalese crooner King Pleasure. Crocker, a native of Buffalo, coined the phrase "URBAN CONTEMPORARY" in the 1970s, a label for the eclecticmix of songs that he played.

    Frankie is credited with introducing as many as 30 new artists to the mainstream, including Manu Dibango's - "Soul Makossa" to American audiences.

    While both Gary Bryd  and Herb Hamlett were influenced by Crocker, it is only Hamlett who always attributes his success to his mentor in Buffalo, Frankie Crocker.

    In October 2000, Crocker went into a Miami area hospital for several weeks. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and kept the illness a secret from his friends and even from his mother. He died on Saturday, October 21, 2000.

    For us within the Uk. Well, within the southern part of the Uk that is. Robbie Vincent’s (“If it moves Funk it” catchphrase)  meant we were NOW going to hear quality radio that would feature the latest Funk, Soul and Jazz/Funk releases from the Usa, Brazil and Japan.

    If it moves funk it  - THE FAMOUS CATCHPHRASE FOR - ROBBIE VINCENT

    No Robbie he didn’t ride into the nightclubs on any White horse such as “Flicks” in Dartford and the Goldmine' in Essex. But his music influence was just as legendary.

    Being born, bred (Dj Mistri) and situated myself within the town of Ipswich, here in England. Getting hold of the numerous London Pirate radio stations that were in abundance at the time (1980’s) in London was a no go for me and many others that lived my part of the world at that time.

    Robbie Vincent via his Radio show on Radio London, offered many of us Soul, Jazz and funk fans the ability to hear the latest releases before them came out on vinyl. It may not mean anything today generation in regards to being able to hear tracks like what was mentioned above on your Mobile Phone as standard.

    However, for many of us this show was a god send at that time. It really was. Pen at the ready, you made sure that the Radio had a good supply of batteries. You put the Radio to the Window, or the best place in the house so that you can get the best Radio reception.

    Robbie Vincent was so upfront with his tunes and album releases which he sourced  from the Usa, Brazil and Japan in regards to Soul, Jazz, Funk and Brazilian Jazz Funk; that you had to make sure that you got those music titles down – quickly and precisely.

    As when you visited your local record shop you would bombard the hell out the Shop assistant with list that you had in your hand.

    More often then not they didn’t have them. So a trip to London would have to be arranged. Such was the level of upfront tunes that he was playing that you your record bill could come to £100 pounds sterling, each visit (which was a lot of money to be spening on vinyl records at that time). And in those days single 12inch records come cost you £6 pounds, or albums up to £20 pounds!

    I managed to catch the show for the first time during the year of 1980 during the lunch time period. I could only get about 40 minutes of the show due to the Radio reception would fade and you would no longer be able to hear the show.

    Robbie Vincent's Saturday Show broadcast in the early 1980's on Radio London had a cult following. It must be said. Most people when you visited London in that period of time were listening to the show.

    Below is part of his show that he devote to Jazz and Jazz.Funk and Jazz/Fusion within the early 1980's - Please click the You tube Video below!!

    Something that I did myself and have now found out other fans of the show were doing the same. We were all making Pirate Radio cassettes of his show (Robbie Vincent) each and every week.

    However, for myself I have lost those tapes now. I just can’t find them. I still shake my head about this even today. As I know some of those tunes that he played will be lost for ever especially those obscure Brazilian Jazz Funk tracks and Japanese Jazz/ Funk albums details from the early 1980’s

    I have found out that many fans of the show made Pirate tape (c90) cassette recordings of the shows week after week, which was on aired from 11:30 amto 2 pm.

    Robbie show that included these promos and new releases would become club dance floor anthems that filled dance-floors from Flicks in Dartford to The Goldmine in Canvey Island.

    Robbie would play a selection of UK and US Imports, thus strengthening the sales and reach of the sales both in London and further afield.

    Such was the show's cult listening habit that many fans would travel to locations within the Uk where even the weakest signal of BBC Radio London could be received – these locations included High Wycombe, Marlow, Luton, Dunstable and even just east of Guildford.

    His Saturday show in 1983 progressed to include a Fusion Jazz 40 (which often would mirror the Fusion Few Chart in Blues and Soul magazine).  I loved this part of the show so much, however it used to drive me crazy, as the Radio frequency always started to fade out. This resulted in me try to extend the aerial or running up and down the house to try and get a better reception for the show.

    Robbie Vincent's  importance to the scene of Soul, Funk and Jazz music scene within the Uk was that several import 12" singles and albums would not have been officially released in the UK without HIS influence.

    Some of albums or tracks from these artists included Maze feat Frankie Beverley, Brass Construction, Tania Marie, Earl Klugh, and Alfie Silas.

    Below is the 1st Uk Radio Interview for Maze - done by Robbie Vincent (1982) - Part 1

    For instance the first official playing of Lionel Richie's All night Longwas by Robbie Vincent on his Saturday Show in Autumn 1983 as a promo, well ahead of the Richie's album - Can't slow Down.

    Occasionally, the Saturday Show standard format would be held over for Robbie's popular "All Winners Show" where the fans would choose the tracks to be played.

    On this occasion during the 12th October 1982, one such All Winners Show unearthed a long lost jazz funk band called Prnce Charles and the City Beat Bandand within weeks, their song 'In The Streets' was re-released in the UK. The band went on to have a renewed career in the next few years and UK hits.

    On the same show, The Tramps'Soul Bones' was played resulting in a scurry to find deleted copies of this forgotten soul classic. On the same show, a composite of Merry Clayton's 'When The World Turns Blue', John Klemmers 'Adventures in Paradise' and Teena Marie's 'Portuguese Love' was a sequence which has remained as a memorable highlight.

    Other notable successes down to Robbie Vincent's work include Gilberto Giland Sadao Watanbe. Robbie was also first to play Teena Marie's comeback recording in 1983 called 'Fix It' following her signing from Motown Records to Epic.

    Careers previously restricted to the US and Latin America were given prime exposure on Robbie Vincent's Saturday Show notably, Phyllis Hyman, Angela Bofill and Brenda Russell.

    Below is the 1st Uk Radio Interview for Maze - done by Robbie Vincent (1982) - Part 2

    Robbie supported Uk acts such as Second Image, I-Level, and early 12" Singles from Loose Ends.

    In fact during 1981, Robbie became manager of UK Soul Funk band, Second image, securing record deals with Polydor record label and then in 1984, with MCA Records. He acted as their sole personal manager until the band split in 1986.

    It was a very exciting time for music much of it underground and unique to Caister all-weekenders and all-dayers.

    In spring 1983, Robbie Vincent played a 7" Single by unknown funk band here in the UK called - Mtume – the song 'Juicy Fruit' became a massive UK hit being released as an extended 12" single largely as a result of Robbie's pushing.

    It should not be underestimated the contribution to the UK Jazz Funk and Soul scene made by Robbie Vincent between 1979 – 1989, but in particular in the early 1980s.

    With Greg Edwards, Jeff Young, and other DJs, Robbie Vincent was part of both a soul revival as well as a massive move for commercial acceptance of Jazz-Funk.

    In addition, the mainstream Jazz movement, so often missed in the story, received an incredible boost thanks to unknown and new artists being given a media platform.

    Robbie Vincent and Roy Ayers

    More recent news of Robbie is that he is still doing what he does best which is his radio show along the same format.  However, during 29th November 2013, Robbie Vincent announced his decision to leave Jazz FM (UK)and was denied a final farewell show on the station following his announcement.

    This caused a stir within the Uk Radio world. As many though it cruel of Jazz Fm (Uk) to prevent him from saying goodbye to his listeners to his show.

    Like I mentioned that Robbie  is still going and can be found here - Robbie Vincent

    Well that all folks for me now anyway.

    Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. me here. If you want to discuss anything mentioned here in this article.

    Dj Mistri and the Electric Soul Show © www.electricsoulshow.com

     

  • Lord of the dance?

    Lord of the Dance?

    One of the greatest ever Club Djs in History. Larry Levan, New  York, Usa

    If a Dj reaches the top of this profession. He can date a supermodel. He can become a millionaire.

    He will visit and play at some of the most astonishing events and stadiums on the planet; and reach them via private jet, or by helicopter.

    And yet most Dj’s would do this for free; or at least for a nominal fee if only they just can get a venue to play at.

    You don’t believe me? Well check out the hundreds of thousands of people around the world that are employed within the nightclub and night venues environment. Even more then that the millions of clubbers and ravers whom will pay accordingly just to see and hear these same Dj’s performing at the top of their abilities will also add weight to the argument.

    Clubbers or Ravers appreciating a Dj set.

    But you may heard of these statements before in your life time wherever you are in the world?

    And to be honest this is just one of the reasons why I have decided to write an article like this for you.Have a read of the statements below which just gets my blood temperture rising.

    “Anybody can be a Dj? You’re playing other people’s music for godsake.

    One record after the another. You’re not actually making the music yourself”

    Have you heard of these statement/s or similar statements mentioned above before?

    But Is it really easy to become a Dj? What is it that a Dj’s does?

    A very simple synopsis of what a Dj is that he is both a Presenter and a Promoter at the same time. Presenting a series of records in order for an audience, for their pleasure. He is also at the same time promoting records for us to buy. That’s one simple explanation.

    Well breaking it down even further that’s closer to what todays modern Radio Djs does. Isn’t it?

    Well let’s break it down. A modern day Radio station Dj plays a series of records to the general public for their pleasure. But in-between the playing of the records, they will also introducing the records that they are to play with either witty or educational chat of the record that they are about to play.

    However the Club Djs has lost that art, or being more honestly about it. Abandoned it more to the point. And by doing so they have made the art form of Djing much more creative.

    The practice of Introducing records to the public was abandoned by Club styled Djs, whereas as the act of using records as a “Performance” of Djing has now taken credence instead.

    Club Djs use records to bring an audience up to the highest heights, and then use certain records in  taking down the same audience reminds me of an enjoyable roller coaster ride. Most club Dj calls this journey or performance a “Dj Set”. 

    Some Djs have stated that they are using certain records within a “Dj set” to bring a audience to such a captive high, and then almost immediately taking them down again with other records within the “Dj Set” is what they are trying to achieve.

    Club Djs often consider this as them resembling a great Rock/Blues guitarist, who is constructing a mammoth lead solo to a captive audience. Some of the notes played within this Solo can bring the audience to ecstasy; some of the notes being selected can bring back to reality.

    Eddie Van Halen. One of the Worlds great Rock guitarist. Putting together another great Rock/blues guitar solo.

    In fact many Club Dj’s believe that this musical synopsis which Dj’s are using records when creating their “DJ sets” is similar to a musician using musical notes to create a piece of music.

    A club Dj job is quite daunting really.

    Their job is the playing of a series of records in the hope of creating a joyous, meaningful performance to the audience takes some doing.

    For instance club Djs will have know their records that they have collected over the years. Inside and out in. You will also need to know when, or in what order you are going to play these records; even have a sixth sense on what records will sound great on the dance floor and to keep your audience there.

     As a Dj you will need to have a good understating of the turntables, speakers, mixers, amplifiers and any other equipment which you are in control of. That goes without saying.

    Also to become a good Dj. You need to be obsessive about collecting records. This could be to such an extent that you can’t go by a 2nd hand charity store that you know that has got vinyl within there.

    But you just have go through the countless, movie themed soundtrack albums and others that are stacked there; on the hope that you might just to come across just one “Rare” and yet “Danceable” record.

    "Another sign of a good dj is one that is always looking up and trying to read the audience which he is playing for. A bad one is one, is one that is often found looking down at his Dj equipment, controls and equipment most of the time in order to achieve the prefect beat or the prefect mix" - Norman Cook (AKA FAT BOY SLIM - from the book called - "Last Night a Dj saved my Life" - 2001)

    Another factor to throw into the mix is for the Dj is:

    “Is the Dj up for it tonight? He doesn't seem to be moving the crowd at the moment".

    “He dropped a particular record at least two records before. And no one moved a muscle. Can he play a similar style of record right now, as the crowd do seem more free, loose, more jovial now”.

    These are just a certain amount of thoughts that Djs have to also consider when constructing Dj sets.

    Another way of looking at Club Djs is with this thinking.

    Modern day Dj acts as a filterers.

     Yes Filters ….

    Put it this way there is so much music released each day within the world. The Dj takes this worry out of our hands.

    Our modern day favourite Djs listens to a huge number of track/s that would see us, quite honesty, binning these tracks within the first 30 seconds of listening.

    This same thinking is applied with Djs. This is a plus for us.Club or Radio Djs will only play tracks that are popular, or good. So we do not have to filter out rubbish ourselves.

    Djs or Music vinyl buyers searching for their music

    We as music lovers are buying fewer and fewer music singles and albums ourselves as against previous generations (Not unless you are a music fanatic or a Dj yourself.

    We are more than ever, are allowing our favourite Djs in general; and various streaming services to find quality music’s for us. These same Djs and various music steaming services are now creating Dj Mix tapes and album themselves for us to buy because of it.

    Music critics or music historians over the years have largely ignored the Dj. Almost any historical music change has involved his input.

    The Dj has been allowed to reach this influential input due to the fact that he is not subservient to the music industry. His freelance, freedom status has allowed him for the general public to experience new musical sounds that the music industry would not allowed to hear and happen as quickly.

    The Djs influence has not always resulted in him, or her having an easy life. Far from it. It has meant occasionally he, or she has come into conflict with music authorities; even governments.

    With this in mind, the thinking of Music authorities, or even Governments has now tended to try work with Dj’s; and their innovations that they bring to the industry overall. Instead of working against them. It does seem to work if they do.

    This comes to mind more so within the Uk Radio scene/culture during the 1960’s and beyond. The BBC organisation over the years has drawn much of its Dj talent from the hugely influential Pirate Radio scene makeup here.

    With the rise of the super club, and super events that have risen around the world. The music industry are now allowing these Super star Dj’s to have the same benefits as Rock, HipHop or Rnb music stars.Don't take my word for it.

    Have a listen to Dj Jazzy Jeff, and his thoughts on the matter below.

    From the Dj origins to the now. The Dj has always been the person who will always takes risks,and will always be looking to take the music that we love even further.

    So when you hear these types of comments again.

    “Anybody can be a Dj? You’re playing other people’s music for godsake.

    One record after the another. You’re not actually making the music yourself”.

    Refer them back to this article so that they can look at the Dj via another perspective.

    Well thats all folks for me now anyway.

    Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. me here. If you want to discuss anything mentioned here in this article.

    Dj Mistri and the Electric Soul Show © www.electricsoulshow.com