dirty martini

old music for new people

i’m not planning on going solo… February 11, 2008

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liar!

in every successful group there is a beyonce. either the best vocalist or the best manipulator, or daddy’s little girl. but divas in training beware: for every beyonce, there is a nicole scherzinger.

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beyonce – suga mama

it’s a good job bee actually did have talent cos daddy would have pushed her to the front no matter what. its funny but i actually prefer her voice in the early dc days, and i definitely prefer dc4 harmonies.

bobby brown – i really love you girl

not so much a solo choice rather than being kicked out of new edition. still, he was so young it was a bit like when i was kicked out of the brownies, albeit on a, cough, more global scale. so what? except i was shown the red card for locking brown owl in a cupboard, not boozing and having an illegitimate child…

coko – sunshine

well, who can blame coko if the rumours of swv’s financial ruin were true. it’s a shame it didn’t work out…i think the swv harmonies played a bigger role than she thought.

diana ross – upside down

the original diva, hence ‘diana ross and the supremes’. funny how the weakest singer in a group can overcome that obstacle, to become the biggest star. all it took was a large amount of deluded self-belief and some willing lackeys.

george michael – too funky

the least likely to be accused of letting his ego push aside more talented group members – it was an accepted fact that andrew ridgeley did little more than shake a tambourine and look cute in hawaiian gear.

justin timberlake – last night

anyone who says they saw the star potential of curly headed justin in his n*sync days has selective memory. i was surprised such an ugly group got a deal and didn’t think any had longevity. imagine explaining britney’s dazzling influence to an alien in 2008 – ‘…and britney was this clean cut, wholesome, family loving christian whose star power catapulted him to solo fame…’

lionel richie – serves you right

love lionel richtea. i might have to do a whole post on him just so i can put up that picture. oh screw it, if anyone is wondering why at the top of this post there is a picture of lionel richie with a biscuit (cookie) in place of his ‘fro…this is why.

morris day – love addition

morris day really wanted to be prince. he did ok. he never really left the time.

raphael saadiq – get involved

the transition from tony toni tone was fairly seamless – i’m not always 100% which tracks belong to who. same sound, same voice…could have just kept the other on the payroll? that’s rarely the point though is it…

ray parker jr – a woman needs love

ray already had a touch of the dianas, changing the name of his group, already ‘raydio’, to ‘ray parker jr and raydio’. so no one should have been surprised when he became a fully fledged solo artist. i hope there was someone else called ray left in that group he named after himself…

t-boz – touch myself

tlc’s was a well documented financial struggle, which allegedly saw laface CEO pebbles tie the girls into a fruitless contract. t-boz seized an opportunity to capitalise on crazysexycool but the point was, none of tlc were vocally outstanding, but together they provided contrast – the gravelly voiced t-boz, angelic chilli and cute rapper left eye. individually…nothing special.

terry ellis – what did i do to you

if you blinked in 1995, you could have missed this solo foray from ms ellis. en vogue were back together faster than roadrunner once it became clear that their group appeal far ouweighed their solo potential. they attempted to drop troublemaker dawn robinson over the years, with varying degrees of success.

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i love 1980: the new decade January 1, 2008

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happy new year!

this is the first of a series of posts showcasing some classics and hidden gems from back in the day.

fast forward to 1981 and the last days of disco

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busta jones – keep on making me hot

nothing like busta rhymes : )

carl carlton – she’s a bad mama jama

carl wasn’t fond of clothes, as evidenced by a google image search…this song was later sampled by foxy brown and blackstreet.

chaka khan – clouds

one of my favourite chaka joints.

diana ross – i’m coming out

unknowingly became a gay anthem. for screamingly obvious reasons.

dynasty – adventures in the land of music

dynasty the group arrived at the same time as dynasty the tv show.

eighties ladies – turned on to you

their name gave them a rigid best before date – and as it turned out they just about lasted 1980.

george benson – give me the night

heart fm classic.

hi gloss – you’ll never know

uk soul band who had a few minor hits.

inner life – moment of my life

i bet this burned up the dying days of studio 54. makes me want to watch ‘the last days of disco’.

jammers – what have you got to lose

one of those hidden gems.

jermaine jackson – let’s get serious

its a long way from this to celebrity big brother…

michael mcdonald –  i keep forgetting

blue eyed soul that paved the way for warren g and nate dogg’s ‘regulate’.

odyssey – inside out

more subtle than their bigger disco numbers.

prince – dirty mind

defined a new sound for the new decade. and er, this decade too.

young and company – i like it

a classic from the crossover days between disco and boogie.

 

sex and the city: season two soundtrack November 5, 2007

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do you remember the frenzy for diamante horseshoe necklaces during season 2? i got mine from fenwick – which saved me about £170 as i was fully prepared to go pay £200 for the liberty version, i was that desperate. i don’t even wanna know how much the real thing cost…it wasn’t an option at the time but later i did fork out for the adina circle necklace as worn by jennifer aniston and eva longoria.

this is one of my favourite series. sorry, seasons.

i even like the twentysomething women episode – let’s get one thing straight though. natasha was most definitely sleeping with someone at ralph lauren. no 26 year old is as far up the career ladder as she was portrayed to be. but, there was a little irony in skinny, self-obsessed carrie calling her the ‘idiot stick figure with no soul’.

the soundtrack for season one is here

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diana krall – devil may care

diana ross – love hangover

fatboy slim – praise you

fatboy slim – rockafeller skank

four piece suit – bombasteroid

frank sinatra – it was a very good year

jesse cook – tempest

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ozomatli – como ves

right said fred – i’m too sexy

tchaikovsky – dance of the sugar plum fairy

voo doo phunk – point of view

 

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.

 

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.

 

70s baby 80s child… July 9, 2007

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i’m proud to be a disco era baby, born the same time as saturday night fever.obviously this means i don’t have very clear recollections of disco, but there is evidence that it had an influence on my infant years.  a photo exists of me at about 18 months old, looking terrified as my dad, a bee gees lookalike in obligatory tight shirt, sporting shoulder length flicked hair, beams.  my mum, in my christening photos, looks like a member of hot gossip.

I also don’t remember saturday night fever first time round, but an eight track cartridge of the soundtrack became one of the first albums I played, along with abba and the wombles, whenever I could get near the stereo – a big wooden Baird monstrosity, like the tv. eight tracks were fairly childproof, which perhaps explains why my parents had one, since they weren’t exactly early adopters…they only got into cds about 5 years ago.

my recollection of the novelty disco that followed – ymca, ottawan, boney m – is sadly slightly sharper. I can clearly recall stomping around our majorca hotel singing ‘hands up, baby, hands up…’ and forcing my very straight and very unenlightened dad to march up and down with me in a camp fashion to ‘in the navy’ by the village people. if asked what activity I wanted to take part in, apparently the answer was always the same – I wanted to go to the disco.

still, the first time I really heard chic was probably as an underage clubber in one of those great cheesy late 80s/early 90s clubs that are slowly becoming extinct. you know, carpet on the walls, lots of mirrors, peach wine (this was before alcopops) and a fat dj. during their retro half hour, a pointless exercise since no one in the club was over 18, they would play some disco before the obligatory birdie song and god awful jive bunny style 50s rock and roll.  if you weren’t around then, you have no idea how much clubs have improved over the last 15 years. unless you’ve been to a chicago rock café, in which case, you know.

disco was a nice introduction to music, let’s face it, punk was around at the same time so I had a narrow escape. to me, as to many others, it is a soundtrack to hazy flashbacks of high chairs and swirly 70s brown and orange wallpaper that prepped us for the clubbing mayhem of the 90s. it paved the way for dance music in all its forms and its appreciation belies the frankly pathetic ‘disco sucks’ movement perpetrated by US rednecks. get back in your caravan and turn up your insipid MOR rock – the glitterball is here to stay.

12 dazzling disco gemsdownload here

average white band – let’s go round again

 

 

black ivory – mainline

chic – my forbidden lover

dan hartman – instant replay

delegation – heartache no9

diana ross – the boss

jean carn – was that all it was

loleatta holloway – runaway

melba moore – this is it

odyssey – native new yorker

rose royce – is it love you’re after

sheila and b devotion – spacer