dirty martini

old music for new people

girls dem sugar July 5, 2008

in contrast to what looks like a male dominated roots reggae scene, in the uk, the lover’s rock movement was exemplified by young girl bands. lovers rock merged reggae with smoother soul sounds in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience.

way before brandy, monica and aaliyah became notable for launching careers barely into their teens, groups of south london schoolgirls were rocking sound systems and making some of the best reggae music of the late 70s.

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15-16-17 – funny feeling

althea and donna – uptown top ranking

brown sugar – hello stranger

cool notes – i’ve got to let him

the gaylets – lonely feeling

revelation – with you boy

the sadonians – goodbye my love

sister love – goodbye little man

the tonettes – i’ll give it to you

winsome – am i the same girl

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going back to my roots June 29, 2008

sometimes, a good reggae cover can rescue a tired song, and similarly, many reggae originals have been covered by pop-reggae artists.

this is a collection of originals, covers and versions.

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15-16-17 – just my imagination

barbara jones – first cut is the deepest

cool notes -it’s not unusual

jimmy cliff – many rivers to cross

jimmy riley – sweets for my sweet

ken boothe – everything i own

maxi priest – some guys have all the luck

the melodians – rivers of babylon

scotty and lorna bennett – breakfast in bed

steel pulse – brown eyed girl

steel pulse – can’t stand losing you

winston reedy – she’s the one

 

say my name: a to c March 19, 2008

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popular songs using a particular name can spark a baby trend like nothing else…

 brandy norwood was named after the o’jays classic. prince is a repeat offender – anna stesia, darling nikki, countless others – and he also wrote and recorded a song for supermodel cindy crawford. well i know some women go for short men but it didn’t pay off this time.

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anthony hamilton – charlene

fonzi thornton – beverly

four tops – bernadette

full force – alice

full force – low blow brenda

lone catalysts – ayanna monet

michael jackson – billie jean

o’jays – brandy

prince – chelsea rodgers / cindy c

rockwell – carme

tony toni tone – annie may

ub40 – cherry oh baby

 

love it when you call February 19, 2008

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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….

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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

 

crazy is as crazy does December 23, 2007

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 artists like to sing about being crazy -and over the christmas period their claims to insanity may be more valid. families can send you nuts.

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chaka demus and pliers – love you like crazy

became a bit of a comedy reggae act in the 90s after a pointless cover of ‘twist and shout’.

corina – loving you like crazy

freestyle artist corina is still going strong – this track is from 1990.

dream – crazy

teenage girls do not make for a harmonious group – lineup changes led to their second album, ‘reality’, being shelved. a shame, as this, and some of the other tracks sounded a lot better than their debut.

five star – crazy

i loved this video, which followed the group as they rampaged through an empty fairground. very low budget ie classic 80s.

mark morrison – crazy

actually mark’s first single before ‘return of the mack’. is he in jail again? not heard from him for a while.

missy elliott and beyonce – crazy feelings

a restrained effort from beyonce here, thankfully. missy’s midtempo tracks are actually very good.

mj cole – crazy love

lushly produced uk garage, bound for the lounge rather than the club. vocals are by uk urban mainstay elisabeth troy.

musiq – halfcrazy

nice slow jam from the soulchild.

occasions – crazy world

gospel meets 90s r&b and the results are impressive.

paul davis – i go crazy

downtempo weepy later covered by jazz vocalist will downing.

trellini – crazy about you

90s girl trellini wasn’t hugely successful but her one and only album (i think) was nice.

yvette michele – crazy

yvette started off singing about being crazy about a dj, then just decided to be crazy. then decided to sing about a dj again…she only had one album.

 

babies making babies December 20, 2007

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so, jamie lynn spears is pregnant. big surprise, that one. her family have been so busy watching britney self-destruct they took their eye off the hormonal teenager. textbook.

to be honest, she looks so much older its not that shocking. not like when sarah in corrie had a baby at 12. jamie lynn looks at least 23 to me.

er…congrats? good luck might be more appropriate.

as for the music – opinion is divided. as in life.

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aaliyah – age ain’t nothin’ but a number

now, aaliyah didn’t have any babies, but she did allegedly marry r.kelly at the age of 15. which was equally inadvisable. age is nothin’ but a number…and the law ain’t nothin’ but a judge in a wig.

alfonso ribeiro – not too young

yes, as in carlton banks from fresh prince. in the 80s he was apparently influenced heavily by new edition and this track has ‘candy girl’ all over it…no matter, all i can visualise is that dancing.

collie buddz – young girl 2 rude

don’t be fooled – collie may look like a trousersnake wannabe but he’s a reggae artist. and he’s not reggae’s answer to eminem either. he’s much better than that.

cool notes – you’re never too young

band members steve and lorraine’s baby is bradley mcintosh of s club fame. his musical heritage was not something that was mentioned during s club’s moment in the spotlight. probably thought it was too embarrassing – for the parents.

guru – young ladies

guru with added patra, kool keith and big shug.

janet jackson – young love

janet, of course, lives under the suspicion of having been a teen mum herself. the increasingly desperate debarges ‘leaked’ details of janet’s supposed daughter from her marriage to james debarge. the jury’s still out…

john david lewis – high school lady

quite who this person was and why he was singing about high school girls is anyone’s guess…

khadejia – here we go

wyclef jean affiliate khadejia didn’t do anything else, as far as I know.

musiq – 17

this song is about a girl who lies about her age in order to hook up with someone older…hey we all did it.

nicole ray – seventeen

i don’t quite get if ‘nicole’, ‘nicole ray’ and ‘nicole wray’ are all one and the same artist. did one of them do the song that was sampled for ‘nicole’s groove’?

prince – lolita

new skool prince that sounds satisfyingly old.

solange knowles – naive

b advises solo to act her age, slow it down, and….she ignored it. this was more of an embarrassment than matthew knowles was prepared to admit. when will people learn that the easiest way to get a kid to do something is to tell them not to do it?

 

sunshine reggae: winter warmers December 16, 2007

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 yes it’s christmas…and it’s freezing here in london. today i needed warming up on a long car journey and i found my summer playlist worked a treat.

i also like to select ‘summertime’ by jazzy jeff and the fresh prince on pub jukeboxes at this time of year.

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althia and donna – uptown top ranking

late 70s duo who always looked fairly surprised that the totp audience liked their song so much.

amazulu – things the lonely do

colourful 80s pop reggae at its best.

aswad – don’t turn around

possibly the best 80s pop reggae song of the entire decade.

eddy grant – do you feel my love

best known for ‘i don’t wanna dance’ and ‘electric avenue’.

john mclean – if i gave my heart to you

sweet island tune.

maxi priest – close to you

ah 1990…hot summer, world cup…

musical youth – sixteen

there was more to the boys than ‘pass the dutchie’.

nisha k – secret lover

one of those songs you’ve heard before, the first time you hear it.

rihanna – if it’s lovin’ that you want

much prefer popreggae rihanna to pvcrock rihanna.

sophia george – girlie girlie

one of my first ever records, which i ill-advisedly attempted to sing along to.

sugar minott – good thing going

as covered by sid owen…

ub40 – red red wine

this version, with the rap in the middle, was a late 80s remix.