dirty martini

old music for new people

the britszzzzzz….. February 21, 2008

brits.jpg

 so, despite some precarious moments thanks to the autocue dodging osborne family, last night’s brit awards went off without any major hitches. everyone in attendance was absolutely ratted but it was just as well as it provided mild entertainment against the musical banality.

the highlight was probably kanye west getting cut off again but the full clip will probably soon surface on youtube so we won’t miss out on the latest instalment of kanye’s soapbox.

is anyone really surprised we have an alcohol crisis in this country? i wasn’t averse to a malibu at the age 14 myself but its just everywhere now. we didn’t see pissed people on tv unless oliver reed was on.

fab macca thumbs aloft made an excruciatingly well timed appearance to receive an achievement award that, oh yes, the spice girls nabbed about ten years ago. then he sang some beatles tracks to remind us that he’s entitled to keep his cash. i was really late for work on the day of the gmtv heather mills interview…

but who did you really want to win? has allowing ‘urban’ nominations in the standard categories made much of a difference if nauseatingly quirky indie bands win everything anyway? hardly representative of britain’s current musical taste across all classes is it? students and estate agents, maybe.

anyway, these are my brit awards. stuff the arctic monkeys and their sub-liam gallagher, sub-brandon block, sub-jarvis cocker act right up….

british male solo artist
actual winner: james morrison
my winner: lemar

british female solo artist
actual winner: amy winehouse
my winner: yeah I’ll go with that

british album
actual winner: arctic monkeys – some shit indie music
my winner: probably amy again

british group
actual winners: arctic monkeys
my winners: sugababes

british breakthrough act
actual winners: the fratellis
my winner: leona lewis

international breakthrough act
actual winner: orson
my winner:  van hunt

british live act
actual winners: muse
my winner: beverley knight

british single
actual winner: take that – patience
my winner: leona should have got this, surely

international male solo artist
actual winner: justin timberlake
my winner: not disagreeing with that

international female solo artist
actual winner: nelly furtado
my winner: it’s been rihanna’s year

international group
actual winners: the killers
my winner: i don’t know…2007 wasn’t been a great year for groups

international album
actual winners: the killers – sam’s town
my winner: ryan leslie – used to be

outstanding contribution to music: prince

 

love it when you call February 19, 2008

busby.jpg

if you are under 25 then you have no idea how far phones have come since, say, 1983. or if you watch any old skool tv then maybe you do?

i can barely imagine myself using the antiquated phone we had in my early childhood. but i did – it was one of those heavy plastic things BT used to give out in standard issue red, cream or dark olive green. it had the letters of the alphabet printed on the piece of cardboard behind the clear plastic dial, next to the numbers. this hinted at the availability of a US style phone system where you could easily memorise commercial numbers, but as far as I remember this didn’t happen in the UK, where we like to make everything as difficult as possible. put it this way, you couldn’t dial 0800-TESCO.

we even managed to memorise numbers, it is possible. at a push, i can still remember the numbers for all of my friends and family up to about the age of 12 but probably couldn’t more than three of the numbers in my blackberry today under pain of death. perhaps the most famous number of all was the number for swap shop – 01 811 8055. ironically then, it was easier to contact the bbc in 1982 armed with that knowledge, than it is to find their number on a website designed to discourage calls.

phones then, were integral to relationships. an iconic image of the 80s is that of a girl on the phone with a suprised expression on her face…i couldn’t find one though! she was probably surprised she was allowed to use it…phone bill battles were so commonplace that neighbouring friends often succumbed to old tin cans on a string trick. i have no idea if that even worked….

download here

blackstreet – booti call

bootsy collins – what’s a telephone bill

cheyne – call me mr telephone

good girls – just call me

junior brown – long time me call

in the mix – dial me baby

loose ends – dial 999

new edition – mr telephone man

portrait – i can call you

prince – how come you don’t call me anymore

ryan leslie – promise not to call

sheena easton – telephone

sherrick – just call

teairra mari – phone booth

tony jay – telephone line

 

eat me February 13, 2008

1916190979_bd7403fcd7_o.jpg 

food is love and love is food.

valentine’s day restaurant rant alert: why do you have to have a set menu? full of the blandest and cheapest crap on the menu? it’s valentine’s day and i want to choose!

download here

all saints – black coffee

very chilled coffee house track from the girls, which was an image departure after nic and nat’s early days of falling in and out of the met bar.

anthony hamilton – cornbread fish and collard greens

well anthony does like his women to eat.

d’angelo – devil’s pie

from ‘voodoo’ – yes the album with that cover.

hil st soul – bag of chips

can’t quite understand why this track wasn’t a bigger success.

labelle – lady marmalade

labelle actually weren’t the first group to record this enduringly popular song about hookers – it was a disco group called eleventh hour.

little milton – grits ain’t groceries

for years i thought grits were like big crisps cos thats what they sold at butlins when i was a kid…now i’ve been to momma cherri’s soul food cafe i understand it a bit better…

ll cool j and mary j blige – favourite flavour

when i first heard this i couldn’t believe how similar it sounded to their previous collaboration a decade earlier on the remix of ‘mary jane’.

loose ends – a little spice

i’ve said it before – loose ends are the truth.

michael cooper – dinner for two

i discovered michael late. it looks like his careers has spanned three decades so far.

prince – martika’s kitchen

i think i prefer this version. i love how prince records demos for the artists he produces for. i suppose a lot of artists do – but his are often better versions.

prince – cream

prince understands the erotic power of food – peach, raspberry beret, chocolate…

scotty and lorna bennett – breakfast in bed

i never got the breakfast in bed thing – until recently. i was in a hotel with a nice room, and i ordered three kinds of egg with toast and mushrooms, and orange, apple and grapefruit juices. it really sorted out my hangover…which was just as well as i was there to work!

sunshine anderson – lunch or dinner

food is a play safe setting for a first date. i suppose there’s less awkward silence if you can’t speak anyway cos your mouth is full.

 

i’m not planning on going solo… February 11, 2008

lionelrichtea.jpg

liar!

in every successful group there is a beyonce. either the best vocalist or the best manipulator, or daddy’s little girl. but divas in training beware: for every beyonce, there is a nicole scherzinger.

download here

beyonce – suga mama

it’s a good job bee actually did have talent cos daddy would have pushed her to the front no matter what. its funny but i actually prefer her voice in the early dc days, and i definitely prefer dc4 harmonies.

bobby brown – i really love you girl

not so much a solo choice rather than being kicked out of new edition. still, he was so young it was a bit like when i was kicked out of the brownies, albeit on a, cough, more global scale. so what? except i was shown the red card for locking brown owl in a cupboard, not boozing and having an illegitimate child…

coko – sunshine

well, who can blame coko if the rumours of swv’s financial ruin were true. it’s a shame it didn’t work out…i think the swv harmonies played a bigger role than she thought.

diana ross – upside down

the original diva, hence ‘diana ross and the supremes’. funny how the weakest singer in a group can overcome that obstacle, to become the biggest star. all it took was a large amount of deluded self-belief and some willing lackeys.

george michael – too funky

the least likely to be accused of letting his ego push aside more talented group members – it was an accepted fact that andrew ridgeley did little more than shake a tambourine and look cute in hawaiian gear.

justin timberlake – last night

anyone who says they saw the star potential of curly headed justin in his n*sync days has selective memory. i was surprised such an ugly group got a deal and didn’t think any had longevity. imagine explaining britney’s dazzling influence to an alien in 2008 – ‘…and britney was this clean cut, wholesome, family loving christian whose star power catapulted him to solo fame…’

lionel richie – serves you right

love lionel richtea. i might have to do a whole post on him just so i can put up that picture. oh screw it, if anyone is wondering why at the top of this post there is a picture of lionel richie with a biscuit (cookie) in place of his ‘fro…this is why.

morris day – love addition

morris day really wanted to be prince. he did ok. he never really left the time.

raphael saadiq – get involved

the transition from tony toni tone was fairly seamless – i’m not always 100% which tracks belong to who. same sound, same voice…could have just kept the other on the payroll? that’s rarely the point though is it…

ray parker jr – a woman needs love

ray already had a touch of the dianas, changing the name of his group, already ‘raydio’, to ‘ray parker jr and raydio’. so no one should have been surprised when he became a fully fledged solo artist. i hope there was someone else called ray left in that group he named after himself…

t-boz – touch myself

tlc’s was a well documented financial struggle, which allegedly saw laface CEO pebbles tie the girls into a fruitless contract. t-boz seized an opportunity to capitalise on crazysexycool but the point was, none of tlc were vocally outstanding, but together they provided contrast – the gravelly voiced t-boz, angelic chilli and cute rapper left eye. individually…nothing special.

terry ellis – what did i do to you

if you blinked in 1995, you could have missed this solo foray from ms ellis. en vogue were back together faster than roadrunner once it became clear that their group appeal far ouweighed their solo potential. they attempted to drop troublemaker dawn robinson over the years, with varying degrees of success.

 

everybody loves chris February 9, 2008

chris.jpg 

i love this show. it does for people today what the wonder years did for us in the early 90s.

ten things i miss from the 80s that kids don’t do or have now:

  1. rotary dial phones
  2. smash hits
  3. vinyl records
  4. walking to school
  5. sugar puff stickers
  6. smelly erasers
  7. grange hill
  8. freedom
  9. bags of sweets from jars
  10. rollerskates

download here

al b sure – night and day

billy ocean – caribbean queen

cameo – candy

kurtis blow – if i ruled the world

lisa lisa and cult jam – i wonder if i take you home

ll cool j – my radio

mary jane girls – in my house

newcleus – jam on it

run dmc – it’s like that

teena marie – square biz

whodini – friends

zapp and roger –  i wanna be your man

 

i love 1982: boogie nights February 7, 2008

vinyl-3.jpg

after disco, what was left for the clubs?

in 1982, the musical landscape was split pretty much between the last hangers on of disco, ska heads, fizzling out punk and the mainstream. hiphop was emerging but it would be ten years before the soul boys and girls hooked up with the rappers.

reluctant to let go of disco, but needing a new direction, boogie was born to fill the glitterball shaped void. it was so seamless most people didn’t even realise anything had changed. out went the strings, in came the bass. we also had bouncy blue eyed soul, and baby boy bands.

check out the start of the decade, 1980, and 1981, the last days of disco.

download 1982 here

amuzement park – make up your mind

this band exemplified the boogie soul movement.

barbara lynn – you make me so hot

saucepot barb was already a bit of a veteran by the time this was released. of course these days, a 25 year can be called  a veteran… 

carly simon – why

carly is quite annoying. but everyone loves this and it has been sampled and covered – by a tribe called quest for ‘bonita applebum’, a garage/dancehall cover by glamma kid and shola ama. written by chic, a rare demo by the group apparently does the rounds in ibiza. interesting.

damaris carbaugh – what about my love

sampled more than 20 years later for shapeshifters’ massive ‘lola’s theme’.

jocelyn brown – i wish you would

anyone with even a passing interest in 80s soul should already have ‘somebody else’s guy’. jocelyn and her big voice has gone on to work with incognito and todd terry, amongst others. 

klymaxx – all turned out

these sassy 80s girls ruled the early 80s dancefloors , way before the seminal ‘meeting in the ladies room’.

maze – before i let go

the 70s funk instrumentalists plus frankie beverly had two of the biggest boogie hits – this, and ‘joy and pain’ later covered by donna allen. quite badly.

musical youth – never gonna give you up

the uk’s answer to new edition. well not really, their music was completely different. but the uk wasn’t exactly able to tell the difference in 1982.

patrice rushen – where there is love

patrice dominated boogie (forget me nots, haven’t you heard, remind me) but she also did downtempo. this track was later sampled by smooth aka juanita stokes, who is by now probably 45 but is probably promoting herself as ’21’ if her track record is anything to go by.

prince  -1999

to omit this song from a 1982 list of any kind would be to totally underestimate its impact then, since, and now. no longer a gimmick now that the millenium has passed, it can be enjoyed for what it is. god it make you feel bloody old though.

real to reel – can you treat me like she does

not to be confused with reel 2 reel as in – i like to move it move it – as parodied by big breakfast puppets zig and zag.

skyy – call me

enduring 70s/80s band who peaked during the boogie period. later this track was interpolated by nicole ray on ‘seventeen’.or is it nicole wray? or just plain nicole?

 

you must be my lucky star February 3, 2008

green-stars.jpg

stars are everywhere this season. i love it when the star prints pop up in shops. not as cutesy as hearts and infinitely more interesting than polka dots.

my favourite childhood dress was a little white rara dress with blue, red and yellow pastel stars. i haven’t found anything for my grown up wardrobe that was quite right but i live in hope. in the meantime i do have an old ollie and nic bag in green velvet with purple stars, which i love.

download here

air – kelly watch the stars

i loved ‘moon safari’. if you can’t decide whether something sounds retro or futuristic, or both, that’s generally a good thing.

cheri – star struck

cheri were a moderately successful 80s girl band a la the mary jane girls and vanity 6.

china black – stars

like the lighthouse family, china black were always on the edge of sounding a bit worthy, a common affliction for brit soulsters.

con funk shun – she’s a star

very prolific but not a widely known as their peers such as kool and the gang and earth wind and fire…

earth wind and fire – star

…who had a penchant for singing about stars. this is lesser known than ‘shining star’ but i prefer it.

heatwave – star of the story

one word – royalties. ‘mind blowing decisions’, ‘boogie nights’ and ‘always and forever’ must have earned this lot a fair wad over the years.

index – starlight

early 80s boogie soul.

madonna – lucky star

perhaps the most starry sounding song about stars ever.

mariah carey – underneath the stars

think deep blue skies, wet green grass and twinkling yellow stars.

prince – baby i’m a star

golden era prince.

rah band – message from the stars

cute, slightly novelty band. you could get away with that kind of stuff in the 80s without being labelled completely shit.

simply red – stars

i loved this.

stevie wonder – another star

stevie didn’t venture into disco too often despite releasing quite a few albums in that era.  

terri walker – star

another underrated uk r&b artist…