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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a roller skating jam named saturdays April 7, 2008

one of my first (of many) instore tantrums was over a pair of starlight express rollerboots.

skating, indeed many forms of exercise, were popular pastimes in the 70s and 80s in a way that they’re just not now. computers were basic, tv was limited to three channels, so you got off your arse and went outside. girls skated and french skipped, boys played football or hit things with sticks.

roller discos, therefore, were good places for boys to meet girls, once they got over that whole ‘girls are stupid’ phase. skating though, had potential for embarrassment. and boys didn’t look that cool skating.

so, most venues were built around the twin concepts of roller rinks for the girls and skateboard ramps for the boys. and a wall’s ice cream stand in the middle for hook-ups…with the retro yellow branding not the rubbish continental style brand they have now.

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bb biz r – sucker for your love

bobby demo – bugs-b-skate-rap

cameo – rollerskates

doug e fresh and slick rick – the show

indeep – last night a dj saved my life

kurtis blow – don’t stop the body rock

newcleus-  jam on it

rocksteady crew – hey you, the rocksteady crew

salt-n-pepa – push it

shannon – let the music play

soul sonic force – electric kingdom

white shadow – boogie freak

 

everybody loves chris February 9, 2008

chris.jpg 

i love this show. it does for people today what the wonder years did for us in the early 90s.

ten things i miss from the 80s that kids don’t do or have now:

  1. rotary dial phones
  2. smash hits
  3. vinyl records
  4. walking to school
  5. sugar puff stickers
  6. smelly erasers
  7. grange hill
  8. freedom
  9. bags of sweets from jars
  10. rollerskates

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al b sure – night and day

billy ocean – caribbean queen

cameo – candy

kurtis blow – if i ruled the world

lisa lisa and cult jam – i wonder if i take you home

ll cool j – my radio

mary jane girls – in my house

newcleus – jam on it

run dmc – it’s like that

teena marie – square biz

whodini – friends

zapp and roger –  i wanna be your man

 

i taste just like candy August 27, 2007

love-hearts-3.jpg

everyone loves sweets, so what better way to demonstrate your love than by likening the object of your affection to your favourite candy?

i remember throwing an almighty strop because my infant school boyfriend got a love heart saying ‘sugar lips’ from my so-called best friend. similarly, you had to be careful not to encourage anyone desperate so would make sure they got a suitably neutral message ‘hi there’ or ‘whats up?’ usually did the trick.

a well-timed love heart could get you the plum role of princess leia or princess from battle of the planets, whilst the other girls got stuck playing hopscotch. playground politics at its best. 

sweet associations in music are sometimes innocent, sometimes obvious and sometimes….ll cool j (see below).

food and love are inextricably linked…

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aaron skyy – chocolate

long lost neo soul artist aaron sounds a bit identikit on this track, but it could just be the now dated early 00s sound.

anthony hamilton – icing on the cake

anthony likes to sing about food and girls who like their grub.

cameo – candy

much sampled 80s classic from codpiece and co.

city high – caramel

mellow club track from 2002.

edwin birdsong – cola bottle baby

used recently by daft punk and now resampled by kanye west for his new track ‘stronger’.

juicy – sugar free

slinky mid 80s jheri curl soul cut.

kelis – milkshake

the first and only song i ever heard about milkshake…

ll cool j – pink cookies in a plastic bag

what? pink cookies? don’t even try to decipher this one…

new edition – popcorn love

continuing where candy girl left off. so cute.

r.kelly and public announcement – honey love

overlooked single from r.kelly and PA’s debut in 1991.

shabba ranks and patra – ice cream love

remake of old reggae track. somehow shabba and ice cream seem wrong together.

sylvers – cotton candy

typically sweet 70s boy band soul.

 

the summer of 1985 June 8, 2007

if there’s one summer from my childhood that i remember fondly, it’s the summer of 1985. not just because it was an actual summer, with sun and heat (not humidity – there’s a difference). before global warming screwed up the weather and i had to get on the year round sauna they call the london underground, summer was anticipated as an enjoyable season.

if the weather was like it is today – that’s torrential rain and dismal temperatures, for non-brits – the summer holidays were spent inside or shopping. but for most days, we had a beach hut, and every day I would get up early to watch tv-am with roland rat, and most importantly, the weather forecast, to see if we’d spend the day at home or go down to the beach.

i’d put on my jelly shoes, grab my jelly bag and we’d set off. not in a car, that would have been too easy. we had to walk for about 30 minutes to the right bus stop, then get a hot, sweaty bus to the seafront. back then children didn’t rule the world, so I’d probably have to stand or some miserable old bag would literally glare you out of your seat.

on arrival, we checked who else was there. the hut was only really big enough to house a kettle, a portable radio, some folding chairs, a windbreaker and a hula hoop. why we sacrificed valuable space for a kettle, in the height of summer, i’ll never know. why do parents panic at the thought of not being able to drink tea every five minutes? mine were always making excuses not to do something because they ‘hadn’t had a cup of tea yet.’ and still do.

so if no other kids were there, I would cut lonely figure, playing with my little ponies, hula hooping, and trying to catch butterflies in a fishing net. my mum would lie there in the blazing hot sun, with her cup of tea, listening to radio victory and tuning me out. me and my friends wandered pretty much wherever we wanted, across the road to the beach, to the lake, the playground, the fair. you could do things like that, back then.

i suppose these days most kids would get bored going to same place about four or five times a week. in the 80s there really wasn’t much point staying at home unless you wanted to watch why don’t you… all summer.

so this is the soundtrack to those hot sunny days at the beach. yes, there are dance routines to all of these songs which i am often tempted to break into when i hear them. it was probably the same dance routine for nine year old girls all over the UK.

now that’s what i call the summer of 1985…download here

amazulu – excitable

the 7″ single was a cool transparent blue vinyl, which looked a frisbee. amazulu were a pop/reggae band who had a string of hits in the mid 80s, their biggest was a cover of ‘too good to be forgotten’ originally by the chi-lites (although I was completely unaware of this at the time).


cameo – single life

cameo, before they became infamous for ‘word up’ and that red codpiece, made quality 70s and 80s funk. cameo always did have some humour, it just wasn’t as outlandish earlier on. i can’t believe this hasn’t been sampled yet?


cool notes – in your car

the cool notes had already been lovers’ rock legends and post-disco soul stars by the time the mid 80s arrived but this incarnation as jheri curled poseurs proved their most successful yet. i remember hearing this song on the top 40 and deciding it would be the next single i bought. five star – love take over

god i loved five star…i saw past the dodgy matching catsuits, crispy fried hair and scary eyeliner. and that was just the boys. in this video they danced poolside before piling into a jeep, no storyline. didn’t need one.


madonna – into the groove

this was the moment, for me, when madonna became the biggest star of the 80s. this song gave me a clue as to what the older kids were doing. drinking and dancing in smoky underground clubs. the dance she did in this video, with her hands clasped above her head, was immediately imitated by millions of precocious pre-teen girls. mai tai – history

mai tai were a german soul trio who sang all together and so had a fairly unique sound. bananarama did the same, for a different reason. they sounded like a cat scratching a tin individually. this track, like many uk tracks, doesn’t feature in many round ups of 80s soul classics as it’s not by a us artist. travesty.

prince – raspberry beret

possibly my most favourite prince song ever, but definitely the one i’ve loved for the longest. i like how the lyrics aren’t trying to be clever, they just tell the story. there’s no hidden meaning and unlike a lot of other 80s songs, I don’t understand it differently now that I’m older.

princess – say i’m your no.1 to this day I don’t know how a cheese factory like stock aitken and waterman managed to produce this classic. it’s a shame they didn’t focus on making more music like this, alongside the hugely successful pop conveyor belt.

sister sledge – frankie
this song was just made for little girls. how old was frankie though? we hoped he was 15, and sister sledge were 12, as per the lyrics, but there was a strange old man in the video….and the sisters were pushing 30.

steve arrington – feel so real

steve arrington was the lead singer of slave but i didn’t know of them at the time. this song just sums up that summer as far as, it was just everywhere. it wasn’t necessarily my favourite song but i always think of the beach when i hear it.

tears for fears – everybody wants to rule the world

you couldn’t move for this song in 1985. safari suits and mullets, hmmm…

whitney houston – how will i know

pastel knitwear and pixie boots whitney, while stylistically challenged, was a lot more fun and made better music than crack addict whitney in her velour tracksuit. i remember arguing about the lyrics to this song with an unbearable kid called sally who thought she knew everything. I was right.