dirty martini

old music for new people

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.

download here

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

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sugar and spice: 80s boybands May 9, 2008

new edition started something – in the 80s, r&b boybands sang about sugar, candy and flowers and we lapped it up.

well, let’s compare it to what we had to endure from our infant and junior school counterparts:

  • hair pulling
  • lifting up skirts
  • making you pretend to be princess leia/a bond girl/stacy from tj hooker every breaktime
  • snapping your bra straps
  • throwing insects at you
  • transformers…zzzz….

download here

by all means – slow jam

entouch – all nite

force md’s – will you be my girlfriend

full force – all in my mind

guy – i like

levert – casanova

new edition – candy girl

mac band – roses are red

pasadenas – enchanted lady

ready for the world – tonight

the reddings – i know you got another

skool boyz – burning up

 

i love 1984: electric dreams April 14, 2008

computers ruled 1984. even i had one. my parents bought me an acorn electron for educational purposes and i spent the next four years playing bbc versions of arcade games. pac-man became ‘snapper’, donkey kong was ‘boxer’ and frogger was ‘hopper’.

my personal favourites were chuckie egg and burgertime. you couldn’t get burgertime for the acorn electron so i had to play it in arcades. chuckie egg was available for the electron but it didn’t work. you’d sit through about five minutes of alphanumeric screeching and then, no chuckie, no egg.

then there were the fabulously basic text adventure games. ‘sphinx adventure’. literally –

you cross the bridge. there’s a carrot.

>eat carrot.

you can see in the dark!

yes, really. and if you were a little brat like me…

you cross the bridge. there’s a carrot.

>shit

what is ‘shit’?

download here

apollonia 6 – blue limousine

autumn – computer touch

billy ocean – syncopation

confection – put me on your playlist

duran duran – the reflex

klymaxx – video kid

midnight star – body snatchers

new edition – cool it now

phil oakey – together in electric dreams

pointer sisters – automatic

shannon – sweet somebody

wham – credit card baby

 

jack your body June 1, 2007


for the under 25s, new jack swing is a hazy childhood recollection. it’s a young will smith running on the spot as the fresh prince of bel air, dwayne wayne after a few too many alize’s at the campus club in a different world.
new jack swing was the natural progression from slick yet laidback jheri soul, thrown into the 90s by adopting faster beats for crowds getting used to the more hectic pace of the house and garage scene.
of all the retro revivals, its difficult to see the flat top, loud clashing hammer pants and two tone shirts making a comeback to the fashion world. although it would be a laugh to see desperately trendy 16 year olds looking so ridiculous in the pursuit of fashion. i would definitely invoke the ‘if you remember it the first time round…’ rule and leave the girls’ lycra minidress and bubble perm well alone.
the music however, was the most futuristic that r&b had sounded until timbaland turned the entire genre on its head in the late 90s. it was criticised at the time, like jheri soul, for being over-produced, and strangely, sounds about right listened to now. anyone who’s anyone tried their hand at the sound though, and there’s nothing that date’s a genre so effectively as joey lawrence, nkotb, debbie gibson and those damn turtles.
for the real deal, check for those reruns of house party, in living color and new jack city.
twelve hi top fade anthemsdownload here
al b sure – if i’m not your lover
fondly remembered, mostly for this track and the dreamy/bouncy late 80s track ‘night and day’. about to launch a radio show called ‘the secret garden’, full of slow jams and celebrity insights. sounds unintentionally hilarious, i can’t wait!
basic black – she’s mine
almost one-hit wonders, this is the remix club version. also check out ‘special kind of fool’, a popular ballad.
bel biv devoe – do me
now the new edition veterans were all grown up, and claimed their rightful place alongside bobby brown as new jack swing pioneers, with this, their second single after the hugely successful debut, ‘poison’.
father mclisa baby
popular track, in its remixed form, from the band known mostly for ’69’. yes that masterpiece of subtlety. father dropped the ‘mc‘, like hammer before him, and went on to duet with a young mary j blige.
guy – i wanna get with you
so many guy tracks, so little time. the band were established by the time this was released, having practucally invented new jack swing a few years earlier.
keisha jackson – mama told me
one of the few girls on the new jack scene, before swv, tlc and jade came along and were labelled as the new jill swing invasion. i actually wasn’t sure that keisha was a girl, until recently….oops! in fact i’m pretty sure i used to confuse her with tevin campbell.
mantronix and jade trini – don’t go messin‘ with my heart
hiphop and electro were kurtis mantroniks comfort zones but even he got in on the action in 1991. this track, more obviously than keisha‘s somewhat masculine effort, gave a much needed injection of girlieness to the proceedings.
mariah carey – someday remix
mariah was new to the scene in 1990 and whilst she was gaining a reputation for her soaring vocals and that whistle register, she already had one eye on the club scene and drafted in shep pettibone, 80s remixer extraordinaire.
ready for the world – yo that’s a lot of body
a brash yet bubbling bassline and jacking beats give way to vocals that creep and you can just imagine rotfw bogling next to you in the club…still, can’t imagine a njs set without it.
rythm syndicate – p.a.s.s.i.o.n
had two hits then disappeared. used to get regular play on mtv and like so many others before and since, labelled as ‘that group who sound a bit like prince‘.
samuelle – so you like what you see
originally part of club nouveaux, samuelle released one solo new jack album in 1990.
today – him or me
had actually been recording as ‘the gents’ during the 80s, but a chance meeting with new jack supremo teddy riley proved fortuitous after years of flops.
 

boys don’t cry – new edition go solo April 25, 2007

if there was ever a gender stereotype that was true, its that girls can’t get along. so when female band mates part ways, the media holds their breath for the name calling, backbiting and never has to wait for too long. a lot of women would rather eat nothing but salad for the rest of their lives than see a former female friend do their thing.witness beyonce and kelly‘s unceremonious dumping of destiny’s child cohorts letoya, latavia and farrah at the first sign they wouldn’t toe the line. and now, not content with daddy hampering kelly and michelle‘s solo ambitions since the dc3 finale, beyonce is now rumoured to be sabotaging newly famous solo star letoya‘s efforts. recently she allegedly demanded letoya be removed from a soundtrack project before she would participate and made herself look like a petulant child when she flew into london for last year’s mobo awards only to boycott it when the organisers refused to strike letoya from the lineup.

boy bands just never seem to have all these problems. seemingly, they’re happy just to be there having a laugh with their friends. and if one leaves, they wish them well and even make guest appearances on their new solo material. which may well be the clue to why every member of new edition found solo fame – karma.

ten reasons i can’t decide if i prefer new edition together, or apartdownload herebobby brownevery little step, don’t be cruel, roni, rock witcha
bobby wasn’t always the village idiot. before reality tv uncovered the madness that led him to yell at plastic fruit, bobby was the most successful of all the former new edition boys. although the erratic behaviour that led to his eviction from the group would resurface in later years, he pretty much held it together from 1988 to 1994. in 1988, at the age of 19 he hit pay dirt with ‘my perogative‘ and never looked back.

bell biv devoe – poison, do me, in the crib
hot on the heels of new edition’s ‘heart break’ tour, ronnie devoe, michael bivins and ricky bell formed bell biv devoe and has instant success with new jack swing classics ‘poison’ and ‘do me’. in 2002 they returned with a new album, and ‘in my crib’. all are still active as part of new edition and ronnie devoe is married to shamari fears of blaque, who is probably not old enough to remember the boys in their early days…

johnny gill – rub you the right way, there you go
unlike the others, johnny had been successful prior to joining the group, with three albums already under his belt. after, he had one of the biggest hits of the new jack era, ‘rub you the right way’ and went on to record five more albums and joined forces with gerald levert and keith sweat to form lsg in the late 90s. ‘there you go’ was one of the highlights of the popular 1992 soundtrack to the eddie murphy film ‘boomerang’.

ralph tresvant – sensitivity
wacko soundalike ralph was slightly more cautious about striking out on his own. ‘sensitivity’ is his biggest hit although his collab with bobby brown on ‘stone cold gentleman’ comes close. like johnny, he is still part of new edition but has had consistent solo success and is still recording today.

 

new edition – the beginning April 24, 2007

you only have to say their name and ladies of a certain age melt. as noted by kanye west in ‘slow jamz‘, girl needs to hear some new edition if you’re planning to get lucky tonight.bobby brown, ralph tresvant, michael bivins, ronnie devoe, rickey bell, and later johnny gill, gave an entire generation of girls a standard of boyfriend to aspire to. before they wound up with broke ass players ten years later. how big were they? madonna was their support act on tour in 1983. they appeared in ‘knightrider‘ with the hoff.

their first single, ‘candy girl’ was my first ever record in 1983. a shout out to seven year old girls everywhere, we rejoiced as finally there seemed to exist boys who understood how we wanted to be treated.

whilst our infant school nemeses pulled up our skirts, yanked our hair and made us pretend to be princess leia, minus gold bikini, new edition made it clear they were up for playing kiss chase.

sadly boys grow up more quickly than you think. After two great albums, bobby brown left due to behavioural issues (cough) and started his solo career in 1986. johnny gill replaced him and the next two albums were lacklustre.

then, they found their groove at the turn of the 80s on the burgeoning new jack scene with ‘heart break’. due to contractual obligations leaving them an album short of their agreement with mca, they reunited in 1996 as grown men, and their 2008 regroup as thirtysomethings is imminent. not so much a comeback as a ten year reunion.

no matter how old they or I get – I’ll always be their candy girl.

ten sugary sweet new edition classicsdownload here

candy girl
the one that started it all complete with sonic whooshes, bleeps and tambourines.

popcorn love
the follow-up, not nearly as successful, but classic. get the feeling the boys liked their junk food?

cool it now
their only real low point as a band has been letting amish casualwear sweatshop gap use this 1984 hit in one of their insufferably smug adverts.

mr telephone man
smooth 80s boy soul at its best. nice use of late 70s wah wah sound. there are no words to describe how much i loved this song.

my secret
1985 hit from their second and best album ‘new edition’. ‘ooh! sparks begin to fly, lightning in the sky…’

leaving you again
recently sampled for ciara and bow wow‘s ‘like you’….took me ages to recognise where it came from.

delicious
surprisingly mature effort from 1985 ‘new edition’ album. was covered in the 90s by british soulsters don-e and deni hines.

can you stand the rain
lush ballad from ‘heart break’ with johnny gill on lead vocals.

crucial
uptempo hit from ‘heart break’ that showcased the boys transition into new jack swing dons.

hit me off
the lead single from the 1996 comeback. slotted effortlessly into the mid 90s bumpy r&b scene.