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

 

garage city: do you want it right now May 14, 2008

in 1992, some enduring garage classics arrived – the robin s, degrees of motion and shawn christopher classics in this mix are still played out in garage sets today, 16 years on.

1992 was my favourite year, there was just something about it. i just about passed my gcse’s after ‘studying’ on the beach during revision leave. spent the summer alternating between downing bottles of 20/20 wine on the sea front to flashing my fake id at lazy bouncers and most of the time, getting away with it.

then i started college and within the space of a year everything had changed. my college was full of grungey indie kids and goths, but we managed to co-exist.

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

aly-us – follow me

was not was – shake your head

ce ce peniston – we got a love thang

rapination and kym mazelle – love me the right way

funky green dogs – reach for me

degrees of motion – do you want it right now

shawn christopher – don’t lose the magic

reese project – colour of love

ann consuelo – see the day

cajmere and dajae – brighter days

inner city – pennies from heaven

robin s – show me love

mk and alana – always

c&c music factory – a deeper love

degrees of motion – shine on

juliet roberts – i want you

 

sex and the city: the soundtrack season one November 3, 2007

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 i’m not sure i’ve looked forward to a movie this much since the rumour that ‘dirty dancing 2’ would be made a few years after the original. that took about 15 years to materialise (and i still haven’t bothered to watch it) but with movies still commercially viable i have a feeling this one will run to schedule.

when the show first aired in 1998, i was living in an absolute hellhole. i’d just graduated and was sharing with a friend in london. we had a bed in the living room, in order to have something to sit on and so watching older, successful women with real apartments was slightly removed from our reality.

what i couldn’t relate to then but i can understand now is the feeling of being in your 30s and single. i now have many single friends, mostly older, who are slightly panicked at the thought that they might not find ‘the one’ i can understand that feeling from looking for a new job and in the end, maybe they’re quite similar as the longer you hold out the better the end result.

the distinct personalities of the girls are perhaps a little too exaggerated here as the series aims to establish the characters. its a fun series as the girls are mostly single and having fun but the warmth and complexity of their friendship doesn’t always shine through as in later episodes.

the music in the first series was mostly jazz, new and standard. with a few disco numbers thrown in for certain scenes. ‘under paris skies’ is currently being used in a ford s-max advert.

you can check out the soundtrack for season two here.

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amber – flying above the clouds

aretha franklin – respect

big bad voodoo daddy – you and me and the bottle makes 3 tonight

edith piaf – no regrets

etta james – something’s got a hold on me

evelyn champagne king – shame

joe ‘fingers’ carr – under paris skies

kc and the sunshine band – that’s the way i like it

morphine – honey white

patrick hernandez – born to be alive

sheryl crow – a change would do you good

squirrel nut zippers – meant to be

 

soul power couples: the classics October 23, 2007

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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.

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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.

 

90s girl bands – all credit to the spice girls. no really… July 26, 2007

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 so, a while back i did a post on the premier r&b girl bands of the 90s, and this is the b list. the ones who now work in telesales, stay at home with their kids or ‘went back to college to study fashion’.

its funny that the spice girls are still credited with opening up the market for girl acts, in a decade widely remembered for the proliferation of drippy irish boy bands. in the same way that nkotb didn’t invent boy bands, the spice girls were far from an influence on ooh, about 50 or so r&b girl groups that came before them. i laughed when i read an early US review that claimed the spice girls sounded ‘a bit like tlc’. yeah and mya sounds a bit like aretha.

so, being the same age as baby spice i was far too old to get caught in the spice trap and managed to navigate the irritation of my then new boyfriend fancying geri halliwell. we’re still together, and he denies everything.

these groups didn’t go on to conquer the world (destiny’s child) and don’t enjoy regular royalty payments by being featured on countless classic r&b compilations (jade, swv). they probably only had one good album each, that wasn’t quite successful enough to guarantee a follow up.

such groups don’t really exist today as it’s not commercially viable to put any money into new acts that will have limited success. at least this lot managed to shift a few units, if not a platinum amount. so, if they think they’re skint now, they should thank their lucky stars they weren’t born ten years later…check out the 90s girl band premier league and the even more unfortunate one-hit wonders. and the no-hit wonders.

90s also-ran girl bands – download here

zhane – sending my love

zhane’s early work was club friendly but little substance…so they did a reverse nelly furtado and wrote some nice material for their second album. also check out ‘crush’.

assorted phlavors – make up your mind

this group, with their typical mid 90s sound, suffered somewhat from arriving on the cusp of timbaland and missy‘s late 90s r&b revolution. along with…

allure – head over heels

…mariah’s girl group, who are still together but have suffered from delays and non-starters with their second and third albums.

braxtons – slow flow

yes, as in, toni‘s sisters. the group thing didn’t last long but tamar has had minimal solo success. did a fairly pointless cover of diana ross’ ‘the boss’.

for real – like i do

identikit 90s r&b group with no distinguishing features. briefly attempted to differentiate themselves with the original version of this track and its accompanying motown-style video.

nuttin nyce – in my nature

nastier than jade and more vocally challenged than swv, their main competition at the time. most of their tunes now sound very dated.

kut klose – surrender

slinky slow jam specialists, in my opinion they did grind’n’b much better than the slightly desparate sounding changing faces.

mokenstef – he’s mine

popular track from another faceless r&b group that doubtless prompted a thousand catfights in the (then very few) r&b clubs across the country.

sista – i wanna be with you

sista‘s album was shelved but has since leaked, and you can hear proto-missy all over it.

good girls – just call me

perennial old skool half-hour favourite, in the hard to find remix version. despite this, the good girls found chart success elusive, perhaps due in part to their odd penchant for acid wash denim, which was seriously passe by 1992.