dirty martini

old music for new people

how do you say…deee-lite? October 30, 2007

deelite-3.jpg 

not everyone gets deeelite.

deeelite were retro at a time when retro was not cool. in 1990 we looked to the future not the past and the 70s sound was a stark reminder of the recent past. we laughed at photos of our parents in flares, platforms and afros – deeelite defiantly wore all three and looked cool. we were dumbstruck, and fell in love with their barefaced cheek.

their sound and their image complemented each other perfectly. swirly, quirky and full of colour. as 60s babies, the trio had updated the 70s rainbow funk of their childhood and updated it for the new generation. they were so not cool in terms of the new age image of the time that clothed itself in crystals and white chiffon, but their positive vibes complemented the ethos perfectly.

when they broke up in the mid 90s, it was probably just in time. their skippy, flower fairy psychedelia was still working. bjork didn’t manage to maintain it beyond one album. look what could have happened…

download here

apple juice kissing

grass roots soul – like any of today’s screechy r&b divas on valium and forced to sit in a garden all day.

groove is in the heart

this is the sampladelic relics… version as i’m sure you all have the original by now.

how do you say…love?

early house/bleep with a human edge.

picnic in the summertime

i remember the cd single cover looked like a victoria plum pencil pot i had in infant school. actually i still have the pot somewhere – and this guru remix.

power of love

the second single from their debut album ‘world clique’ and long a bone of contention for me as the single remix is vastly superior to the album version. and yet you can’t find it anywhere – so, this is a ‘pitchy’ as paula abdul would say, youtube rip.

pussycat meow

anyone remember mtv europe in the good old days? well during fashion show ‘the pulse’ (with swatch) this was often the soundtrack of choice. god the early 90s were camp…

runaway

from second album ‘infinity within’ this was a clubbier direction.

say ahh

chilled jazz hop with a floral trim.

somebody

ravey, rumbling track that was a bit darker than anything else on ‘dewdrops’.

stay in bed…forget the rest

lady miss kier can get down with the best of them…its not all butterflies and eyeliner.

what is love

bouncy rave track wth breathy vocals.

who was that?

popcorn style electro.

 

saturday night divas October 28, 2007

bratz.jpg

so, apparently next saturday these acts will perform together as ‘divas’ on behalf of breast cancer awareness month. fair enough.

its clearly an odd mix of actual divas, those with an album to promote and those that are lucky to be asked. i’m surprised that local girls beverley knight, sugababes, shola ama and keisha white aren’t involved. i would have liked to see amerie, letoya and kelis make the trip, and kelly rowland is already here.

beyonce, mariah, mary and rihanna perhaps had more pressing engagements…saturday night divas is on itv1 next saturday.

download here

leona lewis – loving you

this is really a showcase for leona, she will certainly benefit from this event more than any of the other acts. it was funny watching her being forced to smash a bottle on loose women last week (gotta love that ‘working from home’). she clearly is so uncomfortable being anything less than nice to people and this is why she’ll prove that you don’t have to be a bitch to be recognised for your talent.

alicia keys – a woman’s worth

a proper role model and a diva who can actually play her own instruments. plus, there’s nothing more diva-like than making a man wait for you. you have to love someone who chooses to do an unplugged session in this era of miming and autotune.

chaka khan – i feel for you

i wish they’d got some more old skool divas to represent alongside chaka. some idiot news bimbo on another blog with a write up of this show was all like ‘omigod, chaka khan, like, who knew she was still going?’ words fail me.

celine dion – misled

this is the only celine dion song i could stand to put on here, from back in the day, before she perfected that weird, spaced out, ‘i’m above all this’ glare.

jennifer lopez – feelin’ so good

a true diva in every sense bar her voice. which would not have won her a recording contract if she hadn’t had the looks, rhythm and acting ability to pull off the performances. so fair play to her, and her voice does appear to be improving.

jamelia – stop

brummie bigmouth jamelia is talented but suffers from beverley knight syndrome, ie, much of her music is too MOR, in a vain attempt win over middle britain. she also has the most obnoxious PR ever, assuming they are the reason she is always desperately bitching about other artists to gain publicity.

girls aloud – the show

clearly only invited as they are the product of an itv reality show. not that i dislike the girls but divas, purlease…WAGs, yes. nadine is the only one who can really sing like a diva but ok, cheryl cole certainly has the deluded self belief.

natasha bedingfield – unwritten

why are the bedingfields so annoying? is it just the big teeth or the ‘i’m really wholesome and i know how marketable that is’ attitude. you can imagine the bedingfield family upbringing – member of every kids club going, meals at the table and constant affirmations as to their allround wonderfulness. but diva? not a hope in hell.

 

under the sea October 27, 2007

underwater-4.jpg

i love anything that sounds watery. as an aquarian, perhaps this is to be expected. my favourite fairytale was always the little mermaid and this is what i used to say i wanted to be when i grew up.

when i was very young, we had actual aquarium photo style wallpaper in our bathroom and i was so upset when my mum redecorated to some beige early 80s monstrosity but lacked the articulation to tell her so at the time.

i can stare at fishtanks all day and when i play ‘kitty goes fishing’ a dvd for cats, that i bought for my little fluffballs, i often end up mesmerised right along with them.

download here

air – sexy boy

like swimming with frogs, and no not because they’re french, i  just hear frog noises in there. so less of a sea on this one, more like a pond. with lily pads.

all saints – pure shores

purpose built wateryness as this was on the soundtrack for ‘the beach’. at the time this track was a huge departure for the girls –  a long way from the met bar and maharishi.

carnival of the animals – aquarium

this used to play as we filed into the hall for assembly at infant school. hearing it takes me right back to that huge wooden floor and the sun beaming in through the windows.

fish go deep – the cure and the cause

this act were aptly named as their track sounds like the theme to a deep sea adventure.

grid – flotation

so much better than their later efforts, especially the ghastly ‘swamp thing’. if only water had become a theme instead rednecks…

maxwell – submerge

like the aural equivalent of a jacuzzi. or, sticking your head underwater in the bath, for those on a budget.

prince – diamonds and pearls

no obvious watery theme here but thats what it sounds like to me. i suspect prince was actually going for ‘twinkly’.

sade – no ordinary love

i seem to remember that sade was a mermaid in this video, so it seems that the director agreed with me that it sounds aquatic.

smoke city – underwater love

obviously.

sos band –  weekend girl

something very tide in, tide out, about this one.

ten sharp – you

this sounds so aquatic to me that i once had a dream in which it was the soundtrack to big crashing waves.

 

you better work it girl

hello-kitty.gif 

for all the chilly nights in student houses, and a diet consisting mostly of bagels, my overriding memory of my student days in london is of the glitz and glamour of the handbag house scene.

every saturday night i transcended my student status to dress in fluffy boots, satin skirts and babydolls dresses in subzero temperatures. in those days, cabs were not an option, at least not on the way into town. no we braved the cold and the disapproving or amused stares of more sensibly dressed tube passengers. oh we had the figures for it then, we didn’t care…

we shopped in big apple in covent garden and hyper hyper on kensington high street, we wore love hearts jewellery and dressed like giant sweets. we sucked on lollipops and took feather boas out clubbing that we would drape over the nearest person who wasn’t dancing.

these were great clubs for girls who wanted a hassle free night out. most of the male clientele were gay, and fabulous. the whole scene was borne out of an appreciation of the supermodels, house music and er, rupaul. it was colourful, flamboyant and more than a little cliquey. 

perhaps the ultimate downfall of the scene was that the clubs – malibu stacey, puscha, miss moneypenny’s, love to be – were so focused on aesthetics that there simply weren’t enough good looking customers to meet their exacting standards.  or enough girls willing to dress up as hello kitty.

still, it was fun while it lasted and on the nights we were dressed ludicrously enough to gain entry. we posed on podiums, sashayed and pretended we were in a george michael video.

download here

corona – baby baby

yosh – it’s what upfront that counts

20 fingers – short dick man

livin’ joy – don’t stop movin’

e-motion – naughty north sexy south

happy clappers – i believe

loveland – don’t make me wait

outrage – tall and handsome

tin tin out and espiritu – always something there to remind me

new atlantic – sunshine after the rain

mozaic – sing hallelujah

nush – u girls

baby d – let me be your fantasy

alex party – don’t give me your life

strike – u sure do

 

neo soul pioneers October 25, 2007

afro-3.gif

 it would be easy to assume that neo-soul artists started to emerge in retaliation to the commercial and ostentatious r&b scene we’ve had since the late 90s.

 in fact, neo soul’s inception was much earlier, sometime in the early 90s. suddenly there were artists who weren’t new jack swing, they weren’t 8os, and they didn’t really complement the g funk scene. their closest contemporaries were the jazzhiphop and daisy age movement, but this sound was based on a classic soul sound updated for the new decade.

polished, note perfect vocals and overproduced instrumentals were replaced with more organic sounds and melancholy vocals. one of the things i really love about neo-soul is that whilst the lyrics are generally more intelligent and so better crafted than most r&b, there is an honesty and accessibility that speaks directly to you.

download here

d’angelo – brown sugar

one of the few comnmercially successful neo-soul artists. the naked image on his second album didn’t hurt.

des’ree – feel so high

default brit nominee des’ree started her career with this track in 1992, and has bubbled under ever since. last year she took on beyonce after she rerecorded ‘kissing you’ without permission. can’t wait to see how that one turns out…

jazzyfatnastees – unconventional ways

girl duo formed in 1992, originally with four member but now going strong as a duo supporting the likes of jill scott and alicia keys.

jhelisa – friendly pressure

didn’t receive that much attention on release but was revived a few laters with popular uk garage mixes by sunship.

lauryn hill – ex-factor

who knew the girl hailed as the saviour of soul would end up looking and acting like a circus freak? she had everything going for her, maybe the pressure to deliver another ‘miseducation’ was just too great?

lynden david hall – the jimmy lee story

sadly departed, and i’m glad he had that cameo in love actually or he might have been forgotten in a decade’s time. criminally underrated.

me’shell ndegeocello – if that’s your boyfriend

as difficult to categorise as pronounce, i heard of me’shell years ago but never quite got round to hearing her music until recently.

oleta adams – rhythm of life

best known for ‘get here’ but this was actually her first single in 1990.

omar – something real

a later track from omar lye-fook, who all but invented neo-soul with ‘there’s nothing like this’.

rahsaan patterson – crush on you

later reworked by lil kim and biggie. rahsaan has been a consistent figure since the early 90s.

seal – future love paradise

i never did get why seal rereleased ‘killer’ a year after adamski’s original version with him on vocals. i still think of ‘killer’ as an adamski track and cetainly this track and ‘crazy’ were a millions miles from the rave scene.

shara nelson – one goodbye in ten

not sure what happened to shara. after rising to fame with massive attack, she had commercial success with her first album in 1993, then promptly disappeared.

 

soul power couples: the classics October 23, 2007

lovebirds.jpg

duets don’t always work. i think simon cowell is about to find this out to his detriment – ‘same difference’ the icky brother and sister act on this year’s x factor are not going to resonate with a nation that just finds these things a bit, well…creepy.  what was that simon? you think they’ll capture the ‘high school musical’ market? make that ‘flowers in the attic’.

not as creepy as ‘two to go’ though, from x factor 2004. i haven’t got over that yet. psychopathic nursing home worker tries to carve career from exploitation of blind gareth gates-alike brother. ewwww.

if you bring together two equally talented, non-related singers however, the results can be spectacular. witness.

download here

bill medley and jennifer warnes – the time of my life

dirty dancing, like grease before it, will outlive us all. the soundtrack, and this song in particular, made the film the success it was. and made enough cash to get jennifer grey that ill-advised nose job…hope that ‘friends’ cameo paid well.

carla thomas and otis redding – tramp

much sampled classic – many female singers in the 60s paled in comparison to the commerical power of the supremes and undeniable talent of aretha. and otis is just otis and he died too young.

cherrelle and alexander o’neal – never knew love like this

whitney’s partner-in-crack cherrelle was once a respectable soul singer albeit only really famous for her collaborations with alex. who is slightly ‘eccentric’ himself as i recall from his bizarre participation in ‘just the two of us’ in which he duetted with a dumpy newsreader for the entertainment of the british public. someone really needs to stop the bbc making musical reality shows.

diana ross and lionel richie – endless love

i never got the whole diana ross thing. she is not a great singer. that dreamgirls storyline must have hit her where it hurts. i always wanted to see this film based on the song though.

janet jackson and luther vandross – best things in life are free

i may have forgotten the plot of the film ‘mo money’ to which this was the lead soundtrack, but i can remember this being played on a loop in the summer of 1992 at a very out of control house party.

judy clay and william bell – private number

another 60s duo who found themselves overshadowed. these two were on stax, not motown. which was way cooler.

mary j blige and kci hailey – i don’t want to do anything

mary’s problems didn’t start with her relationship with kci, but they did seem to begin to resolve themselves once she extricated herself. as ever, trying times can equal good music. people who say they wish mary would get messed up again so she can produce better music are wrong though.

roberta flack and donny hathaway – the closer i get to you

a whole album to choose from but the simplicity of this song is what makes it so special. that and donny hathaway, who could sing the bus timetable and stop me being pissed off that there’s only a bus ‘every 15-19 minutes’.

sheena easton and prince – u got the look

prince clearly saw a niche for scottish reality tv stars. especially those shorter than him – he doesn’t collaborate with just anyone. oh wait, he sort of does. carmen electra anyone?

the sos band and alexander o’neal – the finest

not sure how this came about? an early bootleg? i don’t remember him being on the original. he probably doesn’t either…cough…is he still wandering up and down kilburn high road looking confused?

syreeta and billy preston – with you i’m born again

this song is one of my earliest memories. it has that classic late 70s combination of plaintive harmonies,  and smooth vocals.

tammi terrell and marvin gaye – you’re all i need to get by

marvin and tammi were a much better match talentwise than marvin and insipid diana ross.

 

le freak c’est chic October 22, 2007

blurry-lights.jpg

freaks were once something odd or unusual, like someone with six toes on one foot.

in time honoured ‘bad meaning good’ tradition, a freak has subverted its unpolitically correct beginnings to describe someone totally up for it. so, a slapper in other words.

that’s progress, then.

download here

aaron hall – get a little freaky

all of new jack bad boy aaron’s output had something a bit seedy about it.

bar-kays – freaky behaviour

controversy-era prince-lite. so if the man himself can’t satisfy you with his vast back catalogue, look no further. 

doug e.fresh – freaks

its a long way from ‘the show’ to this, and i can barely hear doug in here, but…whatever. 

egyptian lover – freakaholic

god i love this. i wish i hadn’t discovered it 20 years too late.

jodeci – freak’n’you

as if the original wasn’t filthy enough, this is the ginuwine blended bootleg.  jodeci really don’t need any help in the sleaze department.

leon haywood – freaky

soul creeper from 80s soul boy leon.

o’bryan – i’m freaky

more prince-lite, well he was the first to make freaks socially acceptable. 

r.kelly – freak dat body

clearly all of r.pissy’s songs are about freaks in one form or another. this was the b side to the much tamer ‘she’s got that vibe’.

rick james – superfreak

ok so you’ll never hear this without thinking of mc hammer, but its still quality. 

royalle delite – i’ll be a freak for you

what happened to this group? if anyone out there knows, drop me a line. i wish i could find more from them.

sexual harrassment – i need a freak

minimal funk a la vanity 6, but male. love it. 

sweet stuff – freaky

clearly the origins of freaks in soul go way back to the late 60s. bet this wouldn’t have got played on totp.