dirty martini

old music for new people

you must be my lucky star February 3, 2008

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stars are everywhere this season. i love it when the star prints pop up in shops. not as cutesy as hearts and infinitely more interesting than polka dots.

my favourite childhood dress was a little white rara dress with blue, red and yellow pastel stars. i haven’t found anything for my grown up wardrobe that was quite right but i live in hope. in the meantime i do have an old ollie and nic bag in green velvet with purple stars, which i love.

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air – kelly watch the stars

i loved ‘moon safari’. if you can’t decide whether something sounds retro or futuristic, or both, that’s generally a good thing.

cheri – star struck

cheri were a moderately successful 80s girl band a la the mary jane girls and vanity 6.

china black – stars

like the lighthouse family, china black were always on the edge of sounding a bit worthy, a common affliction for brit soulsters.

con funk shun – she’s a star

very prolific but not a widely known as their peers such as kool and the gang and earth wind and fire…

earth wind and fire – star

…who had a penchant for singing about stars. this is lesser known than ‘shining star’ but i prefer it.

heatwave – star of the story

one word – royalties. ‘mind blowing decisions’, ‘boogie nights’ and ‘always and forever’ must have earned this lot a fair wad over the years.

index – starlight

early 80s boogie soul.

madonna – lucky star

perhaps the most starry sounding song about stars ever.

mariah carey – underneath the stars

think deep blue skies, wet green grass and twinkling yellow stars.

prince – baby i’m a star

golden era prince.

rah band – message from the stars

cute, slightly novelty band. you could get away with that kind of stuff in the 80s without being labelled completely shit.

simply red – stars

i loved this.

stevie wonder – another star

stevie didn’t venture into disco too often despite releasing quite a few albums in that era.  

terri walker – star

another underrated uk r&b artist…

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i love 1981: the last days of disco January 12, 2008

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legend has it that 1981 saw the very last days of disco, as documented in the 1998 film. of course, there is a huge flaw in this statement as costa-bound brits discoed until the late 80s. it was 1977 in spain until about 1991 everywhere else.

one of the very first bars i went to in the early 90s –  a wine bar, no less – played disco and boogie. at the time i thought it was a quirk of soundtrack similar to amusement parks, where law dictates that all music played must be at least 7 years old. it was actually because i was 15 and i wasn’t supposed to be there.

the music was for the older crowd – the disco crowd. the ones who had probably wished they could dance on illuminated dance floors a la saturday night fever but had to settle for that funny 70s slightly glittery flooring they used in shopping centres. but encrusted with disco dirt and littered with fag ends, at their local ritzy.

the last days of disco may be a pretty accurate account of those days, i don’t know. its quite bleak for a disco movie, i suppose no one quite knew what to expect after the excitement of a new decade died down. its not as depressing however, as the reality of the uk in 1981 which was majorly depressing according those who remember. as a five year old i was oblivous to the riots, strikes and nuclear warnings i have since viewed thanks to ‘i love 1981’.

the disco sucks movement, perpetrated by greasy rednecks in lumberjack shirts, finally won in 1981, and disco became boogie…

download here and visit 1980 here

aurra – nasty disposition

the duo started as aurra at the tail end of disco, and passed through the mid 80s jheri soul movement to become deja by the time new jack swing hit.

bb&q band – starlette

better known for their mid 80s tinkly jheri soul efforts.

class action –  weekend

this was reborn as a house anthem later in the decade and remixed in the 90s by todd terry.

coffee – casanova

ravers baby d made their cover version the follow up to the huge ‘let me be your fantasy’. there was a nice jungle remix.

earth wind and fire – lady sun

not as obvious as ‘let’s groove’…

evelyn champagne king – if you want my love

not as obvious as ‘shame’!

inner life – moment of my life

imagine this on the dancefloor at studio 54.

madagascar – rainbow

perfect late disco classic.

patrice rushen – haven’t you heard

patrice might just be the most sampled artist ever.

rose royce- magic touch

proving she, and disco, still had it in 1981.

sharon redd – can you handle it

the line between disco and boogie was thin, at best.

slave – watching you

slave spawned steve arrington, who summed up the mid 80s with ‘feel so real’.

 

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.

 

original sin November 17, 2007

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 how annoying was it when your parents pointed out that your new favourite mc hammer tune was in fact a total ripoff?

well, there are so many tracks that i thought were originals and found out later that they were in fact mere updates. some are terrible – notably any of liberty x’s many cover versions – and some are actually just different as per some of the list below.

i think i must be getting old as i get furious when i hear updates of 90s house music on kiss fm that doesn’t sound better than the original – what’s the point in that?

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bootsy collins – i’d rather be with you

hands up who thought beyonce’s ‘be with you’ was a welcome respite from the screechy ballads that populated the rest of ‘dangerously in love’? how many spotted that she’d totally ripped off this track? that girl just does not learn.

cool notes – i should have loved ya

popularised by narada michael walden, this was actually a demo by brit lovers rockers turned jheri curled soulsters, the cool notes.  i prefer this version.

george benson and al jarreau – nothing’s gonna change my love for you

this is a ballad, a slushy one at that. but what mr benson and mr jarreau must have been thinking when they saw bouffant hawaiian glenn medeiros strolling alongside crashing waves crooning their song all the way into the top ten cheesiest records of all time, is anyone’s guess.

gloria jones – tainted love

it was easy to assume the all conquering soft cell version was the original. but with many of the early 80s classics, there was a reggae, or in this case, a northern soul classic lurking in the shadows. i bet that writer got paid.

otis clay – the only way is up

thank god for this northern soul classic. the horrific acid-pop-rave of yazz is now put into perspective as the irritating and unnecessary cover version it really was.

patti labelle – if you asked me to

patti’s belting vocals are relatively calm on this track, and a million miles and some light years better than frozen featured freak celine dion’s.

ready for the world – tonight

as appropriated by twista for girl tonight. i stumbled upon this by chance.

side effect – always there

well, i love the david morales remix of the incognito version and i had no idea there was a disco era original, but it makes sense. i have both on my ipod – i usually plump for originals but the incognito version is amazing. i’d even go so far as to say that i prefer their cover of stevie wonder’s ‘don’t you worry ’bout a thing’ and i LOVE stevie.

siedah garrett – do you want it right now

this really is the track that won’t die. right now we have a remix of the degrees of motion version, which at the time of release in 1992 i thought was the original. in the mid 90s there was a bootleg-gone-legit version blending it with get decor’s passion’. then i discovered a taylor dayne version from the late 80s and now this which i think predates it. degrees of motion provided the soundtrack to a happy summer for me – 1992 – and had the balls to record the video for ‘shine on’ at the same shoot at this one.

silk – freak me

you would have had to really watch a lot of mtv europe in the early 90s to spot this one as r&b did not feature heavily in the mainstream video playlists. when another level released this in 1998 many people thought it was their song. those that knew thought ‘ damn, fat little dane bowers sounds just like that guy from silk.’

sos band – just be good to me

to be fair, many of you are probably thinking i’ve gone mad with this one. but, in the uk, the main target audience of beats international’s ‘dub be good to me’ had no idea that this existed. so different, and both are cool. although this version is severely lacking a ‘tank fly boss walk jam nitty gritty, you’re listening to the boy from the big bad city, this is jaaam hot.’

valentine brothers – money’s too tight to mention

not too far from the simply red classic we all know and, if not love, well, it wasn’t bad. it’s just that after hearing this original you wonder what the point was. but you can’t fault the flame haired one for trying to bring soul music to the masses.

 

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

montefiori cocktail -gne gne

ozomatli – como ves

right said fred – i’m too sexy

tchaikovsky – dance of the sugar plum fairy

voo doo phunk – point of view

 

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

 

the soundtrack to any spanish holiday between 1977 and 1983 September 30, 2007

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if you went on a family holiday to benidorm, torremolinos, majorca or anywhere on the costa brava between the late 70s and mid 80s then this post is for you.

disco produced some enduring classics, yet most of the tunes that endured once the initial fad died down were the novelty tunes. these formed a staple musical diet for spanish hotels, wedding receptions and church hall discos until about 1990.

we used to go to the same hotel in majorca every year until i was about 8. it was the hotel flamingo in c’an pastilla, an area now overrun with germans. it was at this very hotel that i was introduced to the german-towel conundrum. my dad used to just chuck them in the pool. i loved sitting by the pool with my feet dangling whilst drinking chocolate milkshake with lots of ice.

i loved the hotel. it had shiny marble floors and the decor was brown and orange, well into the 80s. i used to gaze at the spanish kids tv – they looked like the muppets, but i couldn’t understand a word they were saying. i used to play donkey kong in the bar until we went out at night, where i would sit drawing until my parents were pissed.

when we would get back to the hotel, the disco would usually have started. and this was the inevitable playlist. i would jump around in my rara skirt, and wish i was allowed to wear makeup.

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baccara – yes sir i can boogie

bee gees – night fever

cliff richard – we don’t talk anymore

earth wind and fire – let’s groove

gonzales – i haven’t stopped dancing yet

ian dury and the blockheads – hit me with your rhythm stick

liquid gold – dance yourself dizzy

kelly marie – feels like i’m in love

ottawan – hands up

rod stewart – do ya think i’m sexy

taste of honey – boogie oogie oogie

tina charles – i love to love