dirty martini

old music for new people

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’.

 

crazy is as crazy does December 23, 2007

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 artists like to sing about being crazy -and over the christmas period their claims to insanity may be more valid. families can send you nuts.

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chaka demus and pliers – love you like crazy

became a bit of a comedy reggae act in the 90s after a pointless cover of ‘twist and shout’.

corina – loving you like crazy

freestyle artist corina is still going strong – this track is from 1990.

dream – crazy

teenage girls do not make for a harmonious group – lineup changes led to their second album, ‘reality’, being shelved. a shame, as this, and some of the other tracks sounded a lot better than their debut.

five star – crazy

i loved this video, which followed the group as they rampaged through an empty fairground. very low budget ie classic 80s.

mark morrison – crazy

actually mark’s first single before ‘return of the mack’. is he in jail again? not heard from him for a while.

missy elliott and beyonce – crazy feelings

a restrained effort from beyonce here, thankfully. missy’s midtempo tracks are actually very good.

mj cole – crazy love

lushly produced uk garage, bound for the lounge rather than the club. vocals are by uk urban mainstay elisabeth troy.

musiq – halfcrazy

nice slow jam from the soulchild.

occasions – crazy world

gospel meets 90s r&b and the results are impressive.

paul davis – i go crazy

downtempo weepy later covered by jazz vocalist will downing.

trellini – crazy about you

90s girl trellini wasn’t hugely successful but her one and only album (i think) was nice.

yvette michele – crazy

yvette started off singing about being crazy about a dj, then just decided to be crazy. then decided to sing about a dj again…she only had one album.

 

it’s not just a london thing… September 2, 2007

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 in the early 90s, clubbers fell into two camps – the hiphop/r&b crowd and the house/garage/techno crowd. the latter was far more dominant and you would find that most clubs had a main floor playing cheesy house and a smaller room with a cooler crowd playing funkier beats. you had to go to a proper club to hear real house music.

i liked both, and often wondered what an amalgamation of the two would sound like. but it made my brain hurt. several years later it became evident that others had been thinking the same thing, and new sounds started to emerge.

there were two distinct types of speed garage, as it was called then. two step was slower and used an entirely new beat, and four-four garage, bassline house, speed garage, raggage, whatever you want to call it, was basically US garage speeded up. speed garage adopted the jungle attitude, was strictly a london thing, and jacked many of its sound effects, but it was more danceable for the rhythmically challenged.

incidentally, the londoncentricity that prevailed can, i believe, claim the demise of jungle, speed garage and uk garage as directly attributable. the rest of the UK fights a constant, and sometimes imaginary, battle against the capital’s dominance. interestingly, southerners didn’t reject the madchester scene for being too northern.

new scenes don’t just take over the saturday night dancefloor. they have to work their way up. so, in 1995, speed garage became known as ‘the sunday scene’ at clubs such as spread love, deja vu, twice as nice and cookies and cream. the pirates, most notably freek fm, magic fm and erotic fm, had been playing garage for years, but in the mid 90s, they all but ditched us garage and drum’n’bass to promote the new uk sound.

this is a mix of the early speed/four-four garage tracks, including some that were ahead of their time and subsequently got played out years later as they fitted into the current mix. this is the sound of poky rooms in shared houses, pirate stations blaring out of clapped out cars racing around wood green. out clubbing for the third night in a row and no signs of stopping. good times.

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bizzi – bizzi’s party – booker t mix

kristine blond – loveshy – club mix

jodeci – freek you up – mk dub

187 lockdown vs natural born chillers – rock the funky beats – beatdown mix

gant – sound bwoy burial – 187 lockdown mix

sound of one – as i am – todd edwards mix

scott garcia – a london thing

sneaker pimps – spin spin sugar – armand van helden mix

same people – dangerous

double 99 vs another level – be alone no more

x-presidents – diamond rings

all saints – never ever – booker t vocal mix

juliet roberts – so good – booker t mix

n’n’g – right before my eyes – grant nelson mix

nightcrawlers – push the feeling on – the dub of doom

robin s – show me love – stonebridge mix

kim english – nite life – retail mix