dirty martini

old music for new people

mtv europe 1992 April 11, 2009

mtv1 

i could really do with another summer of 1992. gcse exams finished early, by june i had three months in which to do exactly nothing.

so, i sunbathed, wandered around with my friends and watched mtv. a lot. having cable was still a novelty, and watching a channel broadcast from another continent was fun. the vjs spoke in broken english, the adverts were a long way from aquafresh and hovis.

i hold mtv europe squarely responsible for the success of acts such as culture beat and ace of base. there were other, weirder acts that didn’t quite penetrate the uk but existed for those of us hooked on this european wide window.

i loved how i could come in at midnight and stare at trippy ambient videos like x-mix the likes of which i had never seen before. i loved ray cokes

once mtv uk set up in camden, everything went sharply downhill.

download summer 1992

bobby brown – good enough

chic – chic mystique

del tha funkee homosapien – mistadobolina

dr alban – one love

en vogue – my lovin’

hi-five  – she’s playing hard to get

joe public – live and learn

joe secada – just another day

luther vandross and janet jackson – best things in life are free

mariah carey – i’ll be there

marky mark – you gotta believe

tlc – baby baby baby

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on the radio April 6, 2009

mayo

before chris moyles, there was the big breakfast. before that, there was simon mayo. a national breakfast experience.

in 1991, i actually liked getting up early to listen to the radio. we always listened to simon mayo, rod mckenzie and sybil ruscoe.

the thing that was interesting about the breakfast show was that they didn’t just play the current top 40. they tried to break new music, albeit fairly commercial music, but new jack swing and r&b wasn’t huge in mainstream uk at the time and they did a decent job of representing what was happening over the pond. remember, we didn’t have access to things like the billboard or casey kasem back then.

needless to say none of these tracks became huge hits over here but i might not even know them if it weren’t for simon mayo. of course he also had a penchant for right said fred, but we’ll let that one go…

download simon mayo’s forgotten classics

hi-five – i like the way

sadly, singer tony thompson died a few years back. he was only 15 when he released this. it pretty much epitomises the era. i love this sound.

jazzy jeff and fresh prince – ring my bell

how do you follow ‘summertime’? well, that used a little known kool and the gang hook but this used a more obvious anita ward one, and suffered for it.

jody watley – i’m the one you need

very typical of the house/r&b hybrid sound of the time. it’s quite difficult to listen to now, but this one stands the test of time.

karyn white – romantic

karyn white has moderate success here, but nowhere near as much as in the states. i remember this being promoted to death, too. well, for those days – by that i mean i saw the promo for this song at least twice on national tv!

keedy – save some love

part of the miami freestyle scene, which didn’t really penetrate over here…this was her only big hit on the billboard charts.

mantronix – don’t go messing with my heart

despite the massive success of ‘got to have your love’ and ‘take your time’, this didn’t really go anywhere.  featured artist jade trini.

natural selection – do anything

playing this after practically every newsbreak didn’t help it break the top 40. now that i listen back, it’s very prince…

nona gaye – love sign

…who coincidentally featured on this nona gaye track. but his purple magic didn;t quite rub off.

paula abdul – promise of a new day

now, paula struggles to articulate entire sentences in one go on american idol, but back in 1991 she was still trying to keep her music career going with that incredibly thin voice and limited range. good job she could dance, eh?

rythm syndicate – p.a.s.s.i.o.n

another prince soundalike band. i thought the slightly noveltychorus would have made this a hit over here, but nope. bob the builder and mr blobby, yes. i despair of this country.

 

vote jls December 1, 2008

jls2

i want jls to win the x factor. i also love alex but think she’ll do well whatever happens now. i can’t stand diana or eoghan! even though i’m not a fan of rock music, I liked ruth and loved her purple rain performance.

but i just love jls, there are so many reasons why it would be good for them to win. they’re talented, seem to be really nice people and just work really well together. they should have sung ‘born to make you happy’ on saturday night, by the way.

god i would be such a better mentor than louis although several million other could claim the same thing. loving james corden slating britney – the idea that she has a back catalogue worthy of a theme is pathetic. given that she’s in cahoots with brian friedman it wasn’t that difficult to negotiate her appearance, surely?

ruth is now urging her fans to support jls and alex – good for her, and this speaks volumes about the brattish behaviour of diana and eoghan. diana appears to believe her own hype and eoghan clearly believes simon’s relentless ‘you’re the one to beat’ mantra. simon – you can keep saying it but it won’t become true.

interesting that in a week where diana was told to tone down her quirkiness, she took it to new levels by actually snarling into the mic during ‘everybody hurts’. the judges, even cheryl, clearly have time for her after the fake laryngitis hissy fit, alleged diva strop when she wasn’t given a song she liked last week and now possibly bringing the show into disrepute if the rumours that she is pregnant with eggnog’s child are true.

eggnog…i mean, who the fuck is voting for this talentless irksome brat? be ashamed of yourselves.

download jls song choices

112 – only you

after 7 – can’t stop

alexander o’neal – criticize

another level – be alone no more

bell biv devoe – poison

bobby brown – don’t be cruel

hi-five – i like the way

lemar – if there’s any justice

new edition – mr telephone man 

new kids on the block – if you go away

take that – pray

troop – sweet november

 

just a booty call September 20, 2008

famous one night stands:

emma bunton and justin timberlake…what is it with trouser and older women anyway?

jay-z and mya…ok, mya and most of the men active in the late 90s and early 00s r&b scene.

nicole appleton and leonardo dicaprio…in late 90s celeb fave the met bar, supposedly.

p diddy and sienna miller…these two showboat for attention like heat seeking missiles.

lindsay lohan and one of mcfly…hilarious. acted like someone who had a bad case of beer goggles at office xmas do and flatly denied it by the new year.

download a booty call

basic black – baby can we talk

bell biv devoe – i do need you

big bub – 24/7

bobby brown – lovin’ you down

gina thompson – strung out

hi-five – quality time

karyn white – one heart

kut klose – do me baby

lsg – door #1

mona lisa – crazy

tha truth – if i show you

z’looke – come on baby

 

90s r&b boybands – one hit wonders November 4, 2007

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 these boybands had their fans out there – somewhere. occasionally, one of these fans will recognise them when they sell them car insurance. maybe that’s enough to keep them going?

slightly more likely to get recognised are the b list and the a list are still gong strong. and now with added z list!

download here

3t – anything

sons of tito jackson who are probably around 30 now. apparently in 1996 their record sales in the UK were second only to the spice girls. who knew? tried to make a comeback but in boyband terms are a bit long in the tooth now although that hasn’t stopped take that…

911 – in a magazine

no not the geordie shortarses who had a way with the ladies. this was a teddy riley project fronted by basic black singer dezo adams. folded with their label after releasing this and ‘cutie’.

az yet – last night

az yet are still going, in two incarnations. disuptes over who owned the name led to two simultaneous groups and to be honest…i’m not going to unravel it all cos all you really need to know is that they had this hit and did a couple of chicago covers. sorted.

basic black – special kind of fool

the precursor to the above mentioned 911, with more of a new jack swing flavour. had a big hit with ‘she’s mine’.

f.s effect – i wanna be your lover

could win the coveted crap 90s album title award for ‘so deep it’s bottomless’. no other info.

kreuz – do you right

uk group who actually got signed to motown but something went wrong. not sure what exactly but, it did all sound a bit too good to be true didn’t it?

h-town – part time lover

better known for their collaboration with jodeci on ‘knockin’ the boots’, which must have made for a confusing recording session as to my mind, they are exactly the same group.

men of vizion – do thangz

had two hits that i can remember, this and ‘break me off’. little bit cheesy in a montell jordan kind of way.

motif and positive k – you told me

positive k at least, had that crazy video ‘i got a man’ that was always on the box music channel back in the day. this lot fell under the radar, big time.

p.o.v – anutha luv

probably best known for their collaboration with girl group jade ‘ all thru the nite’. wore dkny baseball shirts and bounced up and down a lot.

portrait – honey dip

perhaps the only group on this list to release three consecutive 90s albums. you could call them a poor man’s hi-five but that would be cruel…

smoove – all about her

another comedy 90s album title ‘smoove with a ruffness’ which perhaps is directly attributable to its lack of sales as in those pre-amazon days the man at the record counter would look at what you were buying and smirk..

 

barbecue soul and an underage drinking session July 27, 2007

summer-night.jpg

ok, i don’t want this post to be premature, especially as its raining right now….but, we had a good weekend before last. sunny, reasonably hot and a red sky at night which enhanced our all day in the garden pimms drinking experience.

now i’m waiting on the next one. how sad that we’re reduced to hoping for one more summer’s day in this total washout. more importantly, there are thousands of people who have been evacuated from their homes due to flooding. whilst the uk crisis can’t be compared by scale to what happened in new orleans, for those affected its every bit as devastating. for once i’m lucky to live in a flat, miles from any water. like many natural disasters, those far removed from the flooding are carrying on with business as usual, transport permitting.

oh for reliable summers, not too hot like last year, and not hot and humid like 2003, just warm and sunny with the occasional scorcher. the summer of 1991 was significant for many reasons, and one particular barbecue party stands out.

i don’t actually remember there being any food, although there must have been, what i do remember is the drinks table. piled high with super strongbow, budweiser and k cider. various lurid hip flask bottles of 20/20 fruit wine. my favorite was the coconut one for the ridiculous blue colour. the most drinkable were the orange and green – kiwi? numerous spirits from which we mixed lethal concoctions.

long forgotten drinks of the 80s/90s – taboo and mirage. low % spirits for girls, basically. taboo survives but i haven’t seen mirage since about 1993. pernod and black – why did anyone drink this? that peach wine they used to sell in clubs. snakebite premixed in a bottle. thunderbird – people used to debate whether the red or the blue label was best; they were both horrible

test tube cocktails anyone? i had a particularly eventful 17th birthday thanks to 9 or 10 of these deceptively small treasures. the forerunner or vodka bars and trays of sweet inspired shots.

anyway, copious amounts of alcohol made for a messy night. it was a warm summer night and the dangerous combination of 30 or so 15 year old girls competing over half as many slightly older boys/men (never quite sure what to call them at that age) could have caused carnage. but it was a peaceful night. these days someone would probably get shot. 

somehow we were all out into the early hours – must have used the age old trick of everyone staying at someone else’s house and for once no one’s mum called and unraveled the decepeton. so we sat under stars, on blankets, just having a laugh and chilling out all night.

1991 summer party groovesdownload here

hi-five – i like the way

after 7 – after 7

r.kelly – she’s got that vibe

janet jackson – alright

st etienne – only love can break your heart

jazzy jeff – summertime

color me badd – i wanna sex you up

prince – gett off

natural selection – do anything

ll cool j – around the way girl

de la soul – ring ring ring

heavy d – now that we found love

 

90s male r&b groups – don’t call them boybands May 13, 2007

male soul groups in the 90s were destined never to replicate the success of their pop counterparts. pop requires a manufactured yet individual, who’s-your-favourite type image. soul groups are usually quite similar. only fans can tell the difference. there’s no cute one, sporty one, fat one, funny one – and if there is, it’s real not a product of an over-zealous marketing department.

what also set these groups apart was their ability – robbie williams and jordan knight couldn’t hold a candle to these vocalists. the mass market, for the most part, seemed slightly threatened by this fact. they succumbed to some of the music, boyz ii men’s ‘end of the road’ a notable example, but swept the rest under the carpet where it couldn’t draw unflattering comparisons with their pin up popstars.

check out the b list and the c list too. and now, the z list.

ten boybands who could actually singdownload here



guy – do me right
kings of the new jack swing era, comprising teddy riley, aaron hall and his bro. pioneers of the sound in the late 80s they deservedly held the crown as the scene took off. aaron went to moderate solo success a few years later, and teddy



blackstreetbooti call
…from the ashes of new jack swing, teddy riley created blackstreet. possibly the biggest true male r&b act of the 90s, they had huge success with their first two albums and collaborated twice with swv ,who were somewhat their female counterparts. started to fall off after a tinny duet with weak-voiced mya for the rugrats movie. dave hollister has become a credible yet underappreciated solo artist.

boyz ii men – please don’t go
clean cut boys who met at performing arts school in philadelphia. first achieved worldwide recognition with ‘end of the road’ in the video for which they sang earnestly whilst wearing knee length shorts. the group sold itself on heartfelt ballads and released few uptempo numbers. their wholesomeness possibly allowed member wanya to get away with a relationship with then-underage brandy in the mid-90s.



jodeci – come and talk to me
jodeci were the bad boys of r&b from 1991 to 1996 and provided a sleazier alternative to boyz ii men. kci hailey has long been tarred by his troubled relationship with mary j blige. despite the group being a sorry shadow of their former selves today, their swing mob collective did launch the careers of missy, timbaland and ginuwine amongst others.

tony toni tone – my exgirlfriend
raphael saadiq and co were always the slightly less sleazy and more conscious act of this genre. several successful albums in the early to mid 90s then raphael went solo, and the other two…anyone’s guess. raphael has since discovered a penchant for very young girls and is rumoured to be dating joss stone, 23 years his junior. which goes to show its always the quiet ones you have to watch….
hi-five – i like the way
sweet new jack swing for the ladies, this hit the top of the billboard on release in 1991. the group split in 1994 and never really strayed from this tried and tested formula. now back together and releasing an album – how old must they be now???


mint condition – so fine
along with tony toni tone, revered as one of the more talented and credible groups from the 90s. originally tried to appeal to the new jack crowd but their harmonies were more suited to classic soul and they had many hits in this genre. still recording today, minus keri lewis who left the group to produce, most notably for his wife, toni braxton.
112 – only you
bad boy creation that went global thanks to a remix featuring then hot rappers mase and notorious big, shortly before his death. they have since made a living as members of the bad boy family despite possessing not much vocal talent and zero individuality. but their willing participation on infinite tribute songs keeps them on the payroll and in the recording studio, intermittently.

another level – be alone no more
uk lads who cheekily, like all good authentic cockneys, nabbed their name from a recent blackstreet album. bobak kianoush, dane bowers and the other two were fairly hot uk property in the late 90s. bobak mumbled alongside dane‘s surprising vocals and er, the other two who no one can remember. dane then disgraced himself by following victoria beckham around like a puppy dog for several years after a one-off uk garage collaboration.

jagged edge – let’s get married
twins brian and brandon are often credited for distracting letoya and latavia from the destiny’s child duties whilst touring together in the late 90s. the group have had reasonable success ever since but have the odd knack of making their songs impossible to pinpoint by year. i often hear a track of their and think its old, only to discover its new. hmm.