dirty martini

old music for new people

70s love groove June 27, 2008

i love that sound they used in the 70s. i can hardly articulate it but the theme tune to ‘robin’s nest’ is a perfect example. apparently it’s called mini-moog.

no matter what decade is currently being revived, the 70s remain cool. check out the tarantino soundtrack that never was, those 70s boy bands and the rainbow funk children.

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aretha franklin – until you come back to me

brothers johnson – tomorrow

cameo – sparkle

chaka khan – stay

earth wind and fire – devotion

heatwave – all you do is dial

isley brothers – at your best

kool and the gang – jones vs jones

maze and frankie beverly – southern girl

ramp – daylight

raydio – jack and jill

stevie wonder – you’ve got it bad girl

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just let your soul glo: the groups November 11, 2007

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i did a post on jheri curl soul, as i like to call it, way back when i started this blog. it’s proved a popular post and really, one post summing up the predominant 80s soul sound isn’t enough.

so, i’m attempting to redress the balance by updating the post and turning it into a series.soul glo wasn’t just about the hair, although that played a big part and if it wasn’t jheri curled, backcombed and implausibly long, then forget it. and that’s just the men.an array of silk, satin and sparkly fabrics came on the market and soul glo artists used these abundantly. and don’t forget those shoulder pads. essential for the moody yet inviting, hands on hips pose favoured by many of said bands.

allude to yet more glamour and excitement in your lyrics. recommended themes are – gold and silver, notoriety, electricity, being the finest, a freak, turning someone on, having secret affairs, taking your clothes off .sprinkle liberally with tinkly sounds, synths, squelchy basslines and schizophrenic drum patterns.

et voila! (the soul glo fraternity loved them some faux francais, but more on that later…)

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52nd street – tell me how it feels

this band are not to be confused with the manchester group that later became joy division after their lead singer committed suicide. nope, these were shiny, happy jheri soul people…

con funk shun – electric lady

70s funksters who succumbed to the lure of reflective clothing and glistening curls. to be fair, a glance at the song titles of their previous material sounds like ‘now that’s what i call shoulderpads’ so it was a natural progression.

fatback band – i found lovin’

another 70s funk outfit who made the transition. and then some. this was one of the biggest hits of the genre and has been covered/ripped off by the likes of cashflow, ashanti and all saints.

five star – all fall down

pioneers of the brassy blonde, crispy fried jheri curl – that ddn’t really catch on. still, musically there was little between these teen brits and their older US counterparts. there’s a whole post on five star here

jets – love umbrella

polynesian siblings – at least 8 of them. despite the strict upbringing and familyness, the music wasn’t too preachy or safe, if a little bubblegum since the lead singer, mona, was about 14.

krystol – after the dance is through

like the 80s precursor to destiny’s child, although fit was for sad rather than petty reasons that the group went through so many lineup changes. a shame as they could have been big time.

mai tai – 1 touch 2 much

dutch soul trio who had a string of hits in the mid 80s, aptly named after the cocktail, they were energetic and fun, rather than moody, like many jheri soul acts.

royalle delite – spend a little time with me

lo-tech curl soul classic ‘i’ll be a freak for you’ wasn’t the only release from these elusive girls, and thanks to the wonder of itunes i’ve finally tracked this one down.

satin silk and lace – your love

i wanted this track for ages. its perfect mid 80s soul, written by leroy burgess. who were satin, silk and lace? i imagine a vanity 6 style trio.

st paul – intimacy

part of the extended paisley camp after a stint with morris day and the time. very athentic white boy soul – i was fooled until i googled.

system – you’re in my system

they call it ’emotio-electro’. i call it superior jheri curl soul. a bit like hall and oates with synthesisers.

starpoint – object of my desire

there’s plenty in the starpoint back catalogue. eleven albums in ten years. this track is so 1987. two of the members are now passed.

 

the tarantino soundtrack that never was September 5, 2007

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as clever as tarantino’s movies are, the best thing about them are definitely the soundtracks. i had the pulp fiction and reservoir dogs soundtracks before i’d even seen the films. i wish i could say the same about kill bill – I spent the entire movie trying not to look at the screen.

he clearly loves the blaxploitation genre and attempts to recreate these films for a more mainstream audience. a difficult task – the 70s were cool, much cooler than the 90s. you could be forgiven for thinking that everyone was cool in the 70s, but you would be wrong. but the music, the artwork, the fashion all suggest a time when people had confidence, took care over their appearance and knew they looked good.

quentin tarantino himself is enjoyably nuts. i loved him on american idol, he is to that show what ricky gervais is to the x factor. you just don’t expect them to be such huge fans – surely they have better things to do – but they clearly love it. my newfound likihng for quentin was in jeopardy though, with that whole shar jackson affair – one degree of separation from kevin federline is definitely five too few. 

its hard not to visualise a potential tarantino scene when you hear most 70s soul and funk now, they’ve become so synonymous. but here are some tunes that for me conjure up images of samuel l jackson, ‘fro and gun intact, and make me want to go buy a clapped out orange ford capri.

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archie bell and the drells – soul city walk

the musical representation of an afro.

bill withers – the same love that made me laugh

bill is a soundtrack favourite, but i can’t remember this one being used yet. can imagine this in a scene where someone is tied up in the boot of the car.

bobby bland – ain’t no love in the heart of the city

intro credits theme?

bobby byrd – hot pants

for the obligatory dance scene set in smoky underground drinking den with pool tables.

james brown – the boss

i think this has already been used in a cockney gangster movie, but guy ritchie is no tarantino, as enjoyable as lock, stock and two smoking barrels may have been.

jerry butler – don’t rip me off

ideal for the scene where everyone is too stoned to realise their gun/cash/car is beiong lifted by somene they thought was on their side…

lyn collins – put it on the line

much sampled and a departure from lyn’s usual northern soul thumpers.

o’jays – 992 arguments

‘backstabbers’ would have been an obvious choice. too obvious. if you have even a passing interest in 70s soul then you should have it already.

philip mitchell – i’ll see you in hell first

no not that phil mitchell. although wouldn’t steve mcfadden would be great in a tarantino movie? with a touch of green corrective foundation perhaps. i suppose the whole ‘who shot phil?’ thing was an attempt at tarantino style. i really wanted one of those ‘i shot phil mitchell’ t-shirts.

rasputin’s stash – middle man

any one of rasputin stash’s tunes could fit a tarantino soundtrack, but middle men play a vital role in most of his plots, so…

swamp dogg – that ain’t my wife

more soulful than the artist name and title suggests.

willie hutch – pimps players and private eyes

willie actually contributed to a lot of blaxpolitation soundracks, including foxy brown, which is where this track comes from. but not many people will remember that so maybe its time it was recycled!

 

the truth about boy bands: the 70s August 25, 2007

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after the hysteria surrounding the beatles and stones in the 60s, one thing was clear. cute boys were a one way ticket to an early retirement. motown and stax were huge, but in a global sense, british pop had ruled the 60s.

calling some of these acts boybands is stretching it a bit – not all of them were successful in a commercial sense and would consider themselves male singing groups. however, if they sang songs that sent teenage girls crazy, they are boybands for the purposes of this post!

70s boyband essentials:

1. afro – natural or fake, the bigger the better. use an old skool microphone for inspiration.

2. flares – again, anything less than a 20 inch flare is just a mere wide trouser

3. falsetto – sprinkle liberally

4. family connections – if you’re not related, at least dress identically

also check out those they inspired in my 80s and 90s/00s boyband posts.

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jackson five – sugar daddy

the most famous 70s boyband, who started as backup to megalomaniac diana ross. why does that woman always get to force more talented people into the background? no clue back then as to how things would turn out with wacko or that jermaine would end up on big brother.

osmonds – one bad apple

more soulful than ‘love me for a reason’ and nowhere near as weird as ‘crazy horses’. many fortysomething women still swoon over donny osmond. which is easy to do if you’re uk based as he is the default chat show guest. he’s a nice bloke though

bloodstone – oh honey

usually a credible funk band that worked with marvin gaye and curtis mayfield, to name but two, but this track is pure 70s boy soul.

delfonics – trying to make a fool of me

revered 70s philly band who specialised in sweet ballads and falsetto. which makes this one of their more uptempo offerings.

sylvers – misdemeanor

sweet sounding ten piece family band who sang about girls, despite several sisters being in the band at one time or another. easy now to see where maurice starr got the inspiration for new edition.

chi-lites – oh girl

is it my imagination or did 80s mullet paul young cover this at one point? they also had the indiginity of seeing ‘have you seen her’ butchered by mc hammer. did they really need the cash??

detroit emeralds – you want it, you got it

another family group, who often dressed in green to labour the point about their name. in case you didn’t get it.

embers – little red book

very little is known about this group, but most people know this track.

five stairsteps – i love you stop

actually the original 70s brother band, predating the jackson five by a year or two. tried to yank back the crown with this track which sounds very much like ‘i want you back’.

o’jays – used to be my girl

hugely successful and adaptable band who rode the philly soul wave then settled into the disco era effortlessly. actually way too good to be called a boyband.

moments and whatnauts – girls

this collaboration between these two groups is probably their most well known work.

temptations – ain’t too proud to beg

enduring motown group, with a penchant for matching outfits. this song is actually from the 60s but…i like it, and i remember the temptatons being called the original boyband at some point.