dirty martini

old music for new people

i love 1982: boogie nights February 7, 2008

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after disco, what was left for the clubs?

in 1982, the musical landscape was split pretty much between the last hangers on of disco, ska heads, fizzling out punk and the mainstream. hiphop was emerging but it would be ten years before the soul boys and girls hooked up with the rappers.

reluctant to let go of disco, but needing a new direction, boogie was born to fill the glitterball shaped void. it was so seamless most people didn’t even realise anything had changed. out went the strings, in came the bass. we also had bouncy blue eyed soul, and baby boy bands.

check out the start of the decade, 1980, and 1981, the last days of disco.

download 1982 here

amuzement park – make up your mind

this band exemplified the boogie soul movement.

barbara lynn – you make me so hot

saucepot barb was already a bit of a veteran by the time this was released. of course these days, a 25 year can be called  a veteran… 

carly simon – why

carly is quite annoying. but everyone loves this and it has been sampled and covered – by a tribe called quest for ‘bonita applebum’, a garage/dancehall cover by glamma kid and shola ama. written by chic, a rare demo by the group apparently does the rounds in ibiza. interesting.

damaris carbaugh – what about my love

sampled more than 20 years later for shapeshifters’ massive ‘lola’s theme’.

jocelyn brown – i wish you would

anyone with even a passing interest in 80s soul should already have ‘somebody else’s guy’. jocelyn and her big voice has gone on to work with incognito and todd terry, amongst others. 

klymaxx – all turned out

these sassy 80s girls ruled the early 80s dancefloors , way before the seminal ‘meeting in the ladies room’.

maze – before i let go

the 70s funk instrumentalists plus frankie beverly had two of the biggest boogie hits – this, and ‘joy and pain’ later covered by donna allen. quite badly.

musical youth – never gonna give you up

the uk’s answer to new edition. well not really, their music was completely different. but the uk wasn’t exactly able to tell the difference in 1982.

patrice rushen – where there is love

patrice dominated boogie (forget me nots, haven’t you heard, remind me) but she also did downtempo. this track was later sampled by smooth aka juanita stokes, who is by now probably 45 but is probably promoting herself as ’21’ if her track record is anything to go by.

prince  -1999

to omit this song from a 1982 list of any kind would be to totally underestimate its impact then, since, and now. no longer a gimmick now that the millenium has passed, it can be enjoyed for what it is. god it make you feel bloody old though.

real to reel – can you treat me like she does

not to be confused with reel 2 reel as in – i like to move it move it – as parodied by big breakfast puppets zig and zag.

skyy – call me

enduring 70s/80s band who peaked during the boogie period. later this track was interpolated by nicole ray on ‘seventeen’.or is it nicole wray? or just plain nicole?

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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?

download here

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.

 

le freak c’est chic October 22, 2007

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freaks were once something odd or unusual, like someone with six toes on one foot.

in time honoured ‘bad meaning good’ tradition, a freak has subverted its unpolitically correct beginnings to describe someone totally up for it. so, a slapper in other words.

that’s progress, then.

download here

aaron hall – get a little freaky

all of new jack bad boy aaron’s output had something a bit seedy about it.

bar-kays – freaky behaviour

controversy-era prince-lite. so if the man himself can’t satisfy you with his vast back catalogue, look no further. 

doug e.fresh – freaks

its a long way from ‘the show’ to this, and i can barely hear doug in here, but…whatever. 

egyptian lover – freakaholic

god i love this. i wish i hadn’t discovered it 20 years too late.

jodeci – freak’n’you

as if the original wasn’t filthy enough, this is the ginuwine blended bootleg.  jodeci really don’t need any help in the sleaze department.

leon haywood – freaky

soul creeper from 80s soul boy leon.

o’bryan – i’m freaky

more prince-lite, well he was the first to make freaks socially acceptable. 

r.kelly – freak dat body

clearly all of r.pissy’s songs are about freaks in one form or another. this was the b side to the much tamer ‘she’s got that vibe’.

rick james – superfreak

ok so you’ll never hear this without thinking of mc hammer, but its still quality. 

royalle delite – i’ll be a freak for you

what happened to this group? if anyone out there knows, drop me a line. i wish i could find more from them.

sexual harrassment – i need a freak

minimal funk a la vanity 6, but male. love it. 

sweet stuff – freaky

clearly the origins of freaks in soul go way back to the late 60s. bet this wouldn’t have got played on totp.

 

the tarantino soundtrack that never was September 5, 2007

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as clever as tarantino’s movies are, the best thing about them are definitely the soundtracks. i had the pulp fiction and reservoir dogs soundtracks before i’d even seen the films. i wish i could say the same about kill bill – I spent the entire movie trying not to look at the screen.

he clearly loves the blaxploitation genre and attempts to recreate these films for a more mainstream audience. a difficult task – the 70s were cool, much cooler than the 90s. you could be forgiven for thinking that everyone was cool in the 70s, but you would be wrong. but the music, the artwork, the fashion all suggest a time when people had confidence, took care over their appearance and knew they looked good.

quentin tarantino himself is enjoyably nuts. i loved him on american idol, he is to that show what ricky gervais is to the x factor. you just don’t expect them to be such huge fans – surely they have better things to do – but they clearly love it. my newfound likihng for quentin was in jeopardy though, with that whole shar jackson affair – one degree of separation from kevin federline is definitely five too few. 

its hard not to visualise a potential tarantino scene when you hear most 70s soul and funk now, they’ve become so synonymous. but here are some tunes that for me conjure up images of samuel l jackson, ‘fro and gun intact, and make me want to go buy a clapped out orange ford capri.

download here

archie bell and the drells – soul city walk

the musical representation of an afro.

bill withers – the same love that made me laugh

bill is a soundtrack favourite, but i can’t remember this one being used yet. can imagine this in a scene where someone is tied up in the boot of the car.

bobby bland – ain’t no love in the heart of the city

intro credits theme?

bobby byrd – hot pants

for the obligatory dance scene set in smoky underground drinking den with pool tables.

james brown – the boss

i think this has already been used in a cockney gangster movie, but guy ritchie is no tarantino, as enjoyable as lock, stock and two smoking barrels may have been.

jerry butler – don’t rip me off

ideal for the scene where everyone is too stoned to realise their gun/cash/car is beiong lifted by somene they thought was on their side…

lyn collins – put it on the line

much sampled and a departure from lyn’s usual northern soul thumpers.

o’jays – 992 arguments

‘backstabbers’ would have been an obvious choice. too obvious. if you have even a passing interest in 70s soul then you should have it already.

philip mitchell – i’ll see you in hell first

no not that phil mitchell. although wouldn’t steve mcfadden would be great in a tarantino movie? with a touch of green corrective foundation perhaps. i suppose the whole ‘who shot phil?’ thing was an attempt at tarantino style. i really wanted one of those ‘i shot phil mitchell’ t-shirts.

rasputin’s stash – middle man

any one of rasputin stash’s tunes could fit a tarantino soundtrack, but middle men play a vital role in most of his plots, so…

swamp dogg – that ain’t my wife

more soulful than the artist name and title suggests.

willie hutch – pimps players and private eyes

willie actually contributed to a lot of blaxpolitation soundracks, including foxy brown, which is where this track comes from. but not many people will remember that so maybe its time it was recycled!

 

chaka khan let me rock you, let me rock you chaka khan August 13, 2007

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i always think is a shame that most people only recognise chaka khan for ‘ain’t nobody’. its a breakdance classic and girls to the floor anthem but there is a lot more where that came from.

chaka started in the industry at 16 with a group called lyfe, and five years later in 1973 formed the group rufus, which would prove her first successful outing. she went solo in 1978 but continued to work with rufus well into the 80s.

twelve chaka tracks that aren’t ‘ain’t nobody’ – download here

clouds

sampled by dj sneak, this amazing disco tune has one of those memorable hooks you know instinctively.

do you love what you feel

quality 70s vocal funk as part of rufus. nice vocals from other group members.

stay

moody chilled soul. a mel c lookalike butchered this on american idol last season with some of the scariest vocals and facial expressions i’ve ever seen.

this is my night

quintessential mid-80s synth soul, this was actually one of the first chaka songs i heard.

sweet thing

a rare decent cover version from mary j blige doesn’t quite overshadow the original.

i’m every woman

again, the whitney version from the bodyguard soundtrack now sounds dated in comparison to this disco monster.

fate

another funk/soul classic. sampled for stardust’s ‘music sounds better with you’, if it sounds familiar.

i know you, i live you

dramatic, atmospheric soul would overpower many voices. chaka pulls it off.

i feel for you

actually her biggest hit. this was a remake of an obscure prince song, featuring stevie wonder on harmonica and a rap from melle mel.

once you get started

disco track, also featuring some nice 80s keyboards.

tell me something good

departure from their usual frenetic workout. slow and funky with pioneering vocoder. not like that awful cher track that made you feel queasy.

papillon

midtempo disco tune about butterflies.

whatcha gonna do for me

one of my favourites, perfect example of early 80s soul.