dirty martini

old music for new people

love it when you call February 19, 2008

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if you are under 25 then you have no idea how far phones have come since, say, 1983. or if you watch any old skool tv then maybe you do?

i can barely imagine myself using the antiquated phone we had in my early childhood. but i did – it was one of those heavy plastic things BT used to give out in standard issue red, cream or dark olive green. it had the letters of the alphabet printed on the piece of cardboard behind the clear plastic dial, next to the numbers. this hinted at the availability of a US style phone system where you could easily memorise commercial numbers, but as far as I remember this didn’t happen in the UK, where we like to make everything as difficult as possible. put it this way, you couldn’t dial 0800-TESCO.

we even managed to memorise numbers, it is possible. at a push, i can still remember the numbers for all of my friends and family up to about the age of 12 but probably couldn’t more than three of the numbers in my blackberry today under pain of death. perhaps the most famous number of all was the number for swap shop – 01 811 8055. ironically then, it was easier to contact the bbc in 1982 armed with that knowledge, than it is to find their number on a website designed to discourage calls.

phones then, were integral to relationships. an iconic image of the 80s is that of a girl on the phone with a suprised expression on her face…i couldn’t find one though! she was probably surprised she was allowed to use it…phone bill battles were so commonplace that neighbouring friends often succumbed to old tin cans on a string trick. i have no idea if that even worked….

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blackstreet – booti call

bootsy collins – what’s a telephone bill

cheyne – call me mr telephone

good girls – just call me

junior brown – long time me call

in the mix – dial me baby

loose ends – dial 999

new edition – mr telephone man

portrait – i can call you

prince – how come you don’t call me anymore

ryan leslie – promise not to call

sheena easton – telephone

sherrick – just call

teairra mari – phone booth

tony jay – telephone line

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90s r&b boybands: the wannabes November 9, 2007

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somewhere online, on websites dedicated to mp3s from long forgotten artists, somebody somewhere might be requesting a track by one of these no-hit wonders. and i don’t mean that as an insult. when the music industry was booming, labels clamoured to replicate the latest success story, and after boyz ii men and blackstreet hit the big time, there was no shortage of pretenders to their crowns.

only the strong survive. these boys will be remembered fondly for one or two songs, by three or four people. well hopefully a few more than that. i wonder where they are now?

also check out the a list, b list and happy to be on any list.

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1-900 – oh

love this, bumpy. no idea who they are/were.

art and soul – dog in me

an al green sample and sub-blackstreet lyrics gave this group a club hit in 1996.

bubba – i like your style

very little info about this band online – assuming it was a band and not a solo effort with backing vocals?

coming of age – my side story

well tq was part of this band so we know at least one of the members is still in the industry – just about.

imajin – shorty

if a live website is evidence that the group is still going, then…they are. but it was last updated in 1999.

in essence – you’ll never find

again, has website, will travel. in essence performed with fellow canadian keshia chante two years ago…since then, who knows?

in the mix – dial me baby

no idea. this mp3 is all over the internet though.

lo-key – i got a thing for you

nice slow jam from 1993, and a minor hit.

riff – judy got a boyfriend

part of the new jack swing movement and i’m not aware of any other releases from this group.

rude boys – written all over your face

possibly too successful for this list, they had several club hits and even made an unprecedented third album.

 zhype – used to be your lover

new jack stomper a la johnny gill. no album.

z’looke – can you read my lips

actually started in the late 80s. held on till 91 but still no album.