Hello, everyone following the Guardian mention/online link about to become quite confused. You want the next post down.
Ruby Flipper update! Now there's a factual concept that hasn't been exerted in thirty five and a half years. A newspaper clipping of their rejection has been unearthed dated 19th August 1976, the date of broadcast of their face-making meisterwork Let 'Em In and also, adding mystery to that previous side issue, the last week of Cherry's still unexplained break. Three and a half months it seems to have taken for the BBC to decide they were wrong. The BBC spokesman - offical quotes! - claimed viewers were missing the all-girl nature of the dancing, which maybe gives away quite something about their actual purpose by this stage.
And as we've brought up Signora Gillespie, something else I've stumbled across since we all last met in this place is her perhaps sole piece of choreography work, Enya's Caribbean Blue video from 1991. This is known because there's an lengthy making of the video feature (part two) to which she contributes, still with the Rapunzel-esque tresses of her heyday but with the crucial addition of a bumbag. Also, though it's not mentioned, one of the nymph-like figures in the video is a young Martine McCutcheon.
"Don't panic, you've got the right channel" asserts Paul Burnett. Not one of Radio 1's great and legendary figures, Burnett, despite being in charge of the Tuesday afternoon chart reveal and being DLT's sideman on Convoy UK. It's this intro that was used at the start of the Big Hits 1977 compilation, odd given it's his only appearance of the year - he seemed to be doing one Pops a year at this stage - and he's not a figure any casual viewer would ever connect with the programme's storied past.
Is that another new angle of the Rose Royce Cortina?
Suzi Quatro – Tear Me Apart
We're seeing a lot at the moment of what the glam stars did next once Chinn and Chapman had stepped aside - Slade, the Rubettes, Gary Glitter, Mud last year. Suzi of course was pretty much doing this stuff from the off (and this actually is a late period Chinnichap), but her swapping of leather for fringed jacket-cum-catsuit - the angles never make it entirely clear - while the rest of her band donned the black biker accroutement of her heyday perhaps just to tease us, demonstrated how she'd now willingly let her country side eke out. Yeah, another one. Having started with an alarmingly wayward note she never quite finds her new range but can still play a bass the size size as her, and her showmanship credentials are renewed quite apart from her looks deep into the lens and vigorous upper body shaking - that is when she's on camera at all, the director fascinated by closeups of the guitar - as she spends most of the break with her foot up on the piano. It's a wonder she isn't trying to play it with the heel. If it's a muted instrument, perhaps she was. Less than lucidly, Paul calls it "a new chart contender". Yeah, we'd assumed that already.
The Moments – Jack In The Box
Just because, Paul refers to this as "a Tony Blackburn record of the week... and it made the charts". No, surely it's Noel's selections that tend to stiff. It's matching powder blue suits all round it transpires as well as doing virtually all the singing Harry Ray is the only one into the art of movement to. At one point he nearly goes for a spin on the spot and gets halfway before thinking better of it. At another there's some impromptu knee bending. The director, confused, zooms in on the back of his head. Bunched up uncomfortably in the middle of the stage, Ray's bandmates strive to look interested.
The Brothers – Sing Me
There's a very awkward moment when the camera lingers on Paul while pulling away towards the stage as he gathers up the mike cord, looks downwards while grinning and looking mildly embarrassed as if in realisation that, given a national telly platform on the nation's pop conversation hotspot, "it's always exciting to see a new band in the charts" really was the best he could come up with on the hoof. Brown suits and very wide open lapels on yellow shirts are the dresscode this time. There's now a hand gesture developed for 'paper kite' and a tug on the cord for 'pull my string', so the time in the spotlight is teaching them tricks of stagecraft alright. At the back of the audience a woman wears a red hat with a remarkably broad brim. You know that 'Barry Manilow from above' cartoon gag? It must be like that.
Boz Scaggs – What Can I Say
"A fabulous thing" Paul labels it. Doesn't bother with the title, though. It's the overmanned video clip again. And they left it in the edit ahead of a song that isn't on again.
Thelma Houston – Don’t Leave Me This Way
Again Paul doesn't name the song, but he does stress that "we're very fortunate" to have her here as she has to go back to the US straight afterwards. Judging by her outfit - scarf around neck, functional white dress, notable lack of item (YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN) - she'd done most of the packing before arriving at the studio. The orchestra for their part sound like they're merely on holiday, leaving the little regarded on record Hammond organ player to do the heavy lifting. The funky bassline is apparently being played by osmosis. At least Thelma's giving it plenty, staring out the front row, shimmying, adlibbing and a huge note to near enough close. People are clearly impressed. Well, some are, a good swathe of the crowd not even waiting for the full fade out before racing across for the earthier delights of...
The Rubettes – Baby I Know
With Tony Thorpe singing, not Alan Williams, you're right. Chiefly of interest this time is bassist Mick Clarke, who is giving it one last go on his own in resuscitating the white flat cloth cap from their heyday. Is he intending to stand out further? Given how unrepossessing his colleagues look it doesn't take much.
Mr Big – Romeo
The mildly disturbing wild card from the last show has a video every bit as quixotic. One of the singers is only wearing an open leather jacket on his top half, which given they're serious minded AOR makes it all the more alarming he's liberally slathered himself in baby oil. The other one has a camera angle that exclusively films right up his nose. Loads of dry ice and backlighting and no small amount of visual tricks, one a kaleidoscopic Bohemian Rhapsody nod, Mr Big having toured with Queen.
Tavares – The Mighty Power Of Love
Legs & Co are in the studio with an audience, which seems rare these days. It's a 'see what's around' week, everyone in a different coloured leotard, a differently wrapped beige scarf and, for flavour, a tambourine, shaken and tapped against the other wrist vigorously throughout to reflect the instrument's position high in the mix on the record. Wouldn't that make a hell of a noise in the studio? Can you get tambourine deadeners? (Don't answer that) Maybe that's why the crowd aren't all that enthusiastic compared to earlier, though something clearly happens to Patti up front as she puts her right leg out in accordance with the choreography, makes a surprised face and glances down at where her foot was. "A beautiful performance", apparently.
Leo Sayer – When I Need You
Very hesitant, Paul. And this man read out the chart rundown. Not a man always given to dynamism, Leo, as he stands stock still at the mike in what appears to be an ice hockey jersey, hands actually in his pockets for a good two and a half minutes. Look lively, Leo, much as the song may not demand it and all the director can come up with is multiple panning shots. Perhaps knowing we need something for the big finish, the Earth Wind & Fire outro seems to be focusing on the audience without telling them. Some leave, some stand around chatting, a large camera is dragged into shot for no good reason and with only a couple of exceptions everywhere is a tableau of awkwardness and knitwear.
EDIT NEWS: A song we'll see again but not in this version, Manhattan Transfer's Chanson D’Amour given the Legs & Co treatment, worth a look not for Burnett's comedy French accent but the leg work and the country thematic costumes with a hint of Where's Wally - on the occasions Ruby Flipper had two routines a show one would almost always be lost, but they decided the other was superior? - and a song we won't see again, Les Gray's unbecoming solo cover of Groovy Kind Of Love in a white jacket producing a rose out of seeming thin air at the end. He makes about as convincing a loving balladeer as Danny Dyer would.