dirty martini

old music for new people

original sin November 17, 2007

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 how annoying was it when your parents pointed out that your new favourite mc hammer tune was in fact a total ripoff?

well, there are so many tracks that i thought were originals and found out later that they were in fact mere updates. some are terrible – notably any of liberty x’s many cover versions – and some are actually just different as per some of the list below.

i think i must be getting old as i get furious when i hear updates of 90s house music on kiss fm that doesn’t sound better than the original – what’s the point in that?

download here

bootsy collins – i’d rather be with you

hands up who thought beyonce’s ‘be with you’ was a welcome respite from the screechy ballads that populated the rest of ‘dangerously in love’? how many spotted that she’d totally ripped off this track? that girl just does not learn.

cool notes – i should have loved ya

popularised by narada michael walden, this was actually a demo by brit lovers rockers turned jheri curled soulsters, the cool notes.  i prefer this version.

george benson and al jarreau – nothing’s gonna change my love for you

this is a ballad, a slushy one at that. but what mr benson and mr jarreau must have been thinking when they saw bouffant hawaiian glenn medeiros strolling alongside crashing waves crooning their song all the way into the top ten cheesiest records of all time, is anyone’s guess.

gloria jones – tainted love

it was easy to assume the all conquering soft cell version was the original. but with many of the early 80s classics, there was a reggae, or in this case, a northern soul classic lurking in the shadows. i bet that writer got paid.

otis clay – the only way is up

thank god for this northern soul classic. the horrific acid-pop-rave of yazz is now put into perspective as the irritating and unnecessary cover version it really was.

patti labelle – if you asked me to

patti’s belting vocals are relatively calm on this track, and a million miles and some light years better than frozen featured freak celine dion’s.

ready for the world – tonight

as appropriated by twista for girl tonight. i stumbled upon this by chance.

side effect – always there

well, i love the david morales remix of the incognito version and i had no idea there was a disco era original, but it makes sense. i have both on my ipod – i usually plump for originals but the incognito version is amazing. i’d even go so far as to say that i prefer their cover of stevie wonder’s ‘don’t you worry ’bout a thing’ and i LOVE stevie.

siedah garrett – do you want it right now

this really is the track that won’t die. right now we have a remix of the degrees of motion version, which at the time of release in 1992 i thought was the original. in the mid 90s there was a bootleg-gone-legit version blending it with get decor’s passion’. then i discovered a taylor dayne version from the late 80s and now this which i think predates it. degrees of motion provided the soundtrack to a happy summer for me – 1992 – and had the balls to record the video for ‘shine on’ at the same shoot at this one.

silk – freak me

you would have had to really watch a lot of mtv europe in the early 90s to spot this one as r&b did not feature heavily in the mainstream video playlists. when another level released this in 1998 many people thought it was their song. those that knew thought ‘ damn, fat little dane bowers sounds just like that guy from silk.’

sos band – just be good to me

to be fair, many of you are probably thinking i’ve gone mad with this one. but, in the uk, the main target audience of beats international’s ‘dub be good to me’ had no idea that this existed. so different, and both are cool. although this version is severely lacking a ‘tank fly boss walk jam nitty gritty, you’re listening to the boy from the big bad city, this is jaaam hot.’

valentine brothers – money’s too tight to mention

not too far from the simply red classic we all know and, if not love, well, it wasn’t bad. it’s just that after hearing this original you wonder what the point was. but you can’t fault the flame haired one for trying to bring soul music to the masses.

 

le freak c’est chic October 22, 2007

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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.

 

this must be computer love August 14, 2007

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back in the 80s, computers were just about reaching the massmarket. games like donkey kong and pacman saw heroic characters rescuing damsels in distress (rarely the other way round until lara croft) by overcoming such everyday objects as ghosts, flying barrels and fireballs.

this theme carried through to the music industry, where computers had provided a snazzy (80s word) way to keep up with the new mtv-ready requirement for singles to be accompanied by a video, by incorporating graphics and other such wizardry to demonstrate cutting edge mentality of artist in question.

another way to display your futuristic sensibilities was to actually sing about computers. and act quite robotic and devoid of emotion. the computers were pulling the strings you see…and yet, according to this playlist, they apparently became a conduit for romantic relationships. i think in fact, that didn’t really start to happen until the mid 90s, but 80s people were optimistic. we didn’t personally have email and the ability to connect to other computers via the internet, but we knew it was happening and could see the possibilities.

so, most 80s groups have a homage to the computer, or electricity (like that was a new phenomenon!), in their back catalogue, much like the phone. of course its now all painfully out of date, and so a nice reminder of a simpler time when computers were cool, and people, not cyberspace, were still in charge.

twelve once futuristic, now totally retro groovesdownload here

trans-x – living on video

about as good as it gets for this post. built on a similar premise to the long-held view that we would be scooting around in our own little space bubbles, jetson style, by the year 2000. 

one way – mr groove

vocoder work par excellence. in 1984 it was perfectly normal to be sung to by a robot, not a person.

kraftwerk – computer love

kraftwerk, as pioneers of electronic music, could have made up well over half of this playlist with their output. but this one was the most obviously titled.

gary numan – are friends electric?

more recently bootlegged and sampled for the sugababe’s ‘freak like me’. again, most of gary numan’s output was future focused, so it was a toss up between this and ‘cars’.

midnight star – electricity

another vocoder led funk jam, about electricity, and energy, another favourite 80s theme.

buggles – video killed the radio star

difficult to see how this could have sounded groundbreaking even in 1979. bet it was popular with the over 40s.

human league – together in electric dreams

archetypal mid 80s teen movie fare. human league of course, were a natural choice to record the title soundtrack, with their synth pop credentials. 

oingo boingo – weird science

title song from the soundtrack to the definitive 80s computer geek movie. doesn’t sound particularly futuristic now but surely create-a-girlfriend is still the ultimate geek fantasy?

visage – fade to grey

the then-pioneering electronic music and faux francais created an eerie soundscape, second only in the weirdness stakes to its own video.

harold faltermeyer – axel f

beverly hills cop theme which became the single most emulated tune on millions of casio and yamaha keyboards. to ease parent and teacher frustration perhaps manufacturers should have made this the demo tune instead of wake me up before you gogo.

five star – system addict

this song may or may not have been about being addicted to sticking your fingers in a plug socket. the state of five star’s hair in the accompanying video certainly supports this theory. don’t try it at home kids.

prince – computer blue

prince, as usual, managed to make music that was both futuristic and would hold up in years to come. prince has a love interest, computer says no.