dirty martini

old music for new people

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.

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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 truth about boy bands: the 70s August 25, 2007

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after the hysteria surrounding the beatles and stones in the 60s, one thing was clear. cute boys were a one way ticket to an early retirement. motown and stax were huge, but in a global sense, british pop had ruled the 60s.

calling some of these acts boybands is stretching it a bit – not all of them were successful in a commercial sense and would consider themselves male singing groups. however, if they sang songs that sent teenage girls crazy, they are boybands for the purposes of this post!

70s boyband essentials:

1. afro – natural or fake, the bigger the better. use an old skool microphone for inspiration.

2. flares – again, anything less than a 20 inch flare is just a mere wide trouser

3. falsetto – sprinkle liberally

4. family connections – if you’re not related, at least dress identically

also check out those they inspired in my 80s and 90s/00s boyband posts.

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jackson five – sugar daddy

the most famous 70s boyband, who started as backup to megalomaniac diana ross. why does that woman always get to force more talented people into the background? no clue back then as to how things would turn out with wacko or that jermaine would end up on big brother.

osmonds – one bad apple

more soulful than ‘love me for a reason’ and nowhere near as weird as ‘crazy horses’. many fortysomething women still swoon over donny osmond. which is easy to do if you’re uk based as he is the default chat show guest. he’s a nice bloke though

bloodstone – oh honey

usually a credible funk band that worked with marvin gaye and curtis mayfield, to name but two, but this track is pure 70s boy soul.

delfonics – trying to make a fool of me

revered 70s philly band who specialised in sweet ballads and falsetto. which makes this one of their more uptempo offerings.

sylvers – misdemeanor

sweet sounding ten piece family band who sang about girls, despite several sisters being in the band at one time or another. easy now to see where maurice starr got the inspiration for new edition.

chi-lites – oh girl

is it my imagination or did 80s mullet paul young cover this at one point? they also had the indiginity of seeing ‘have you seen her’ butchered by mc hammer. did they really need the cash??

detroit emeralds – you want it, you got it

another family group, who often dressed in green to labour the point about their name. in case you didn’t get it.

embers – little red book

very little is known about this group, but most people know this track.

five stairsteps – i love you stop

actually the original 70s brother band, predating the jackson five by a year or two. tried to yank back the crown with this track which sounds very much like ‘i want you back’.

o’jays – used to be my girl

hugely successful and adaptable band who rode the philly soul wave then settled into the disco era effortlessly. actually way too good to be called a boyband.

moments and whatnauts – girls

this collaboration between these two groups is probably their most well known work.

temptations – ain’t too proud to beg

enduring motown group, with a penchant for matching outfits. this song is actually from the 60s but…i like it, and i remember the temptatons being called the original boyband at some point.

 

songs you turn down on your ipod… August 12, 2007

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..in case the person next to you hears and it shatters your illusion of cool. you know what i’m talking about.

past a certain age, these things are retro, but if ipods had been invented when i was 20, i wouldn’t have even dared to have these mp3s on mine. once you hit 25, crap music from your childhood is acceptable, and of course the girl/boybands you cried over are wheeled out again once they run out of cash and need to make a comeback.

those 100 worst songs ever shows they have on vh1 are always required viewing. one man’s trash another man’s treasure and all that. i’ll take these cheesy masterpieces over a radiohead gloomfest anyday.

don’t play these out louddownload here

kid creole and the coconuts – i’m a wonderful thing baby

kid creole and his coconuts were a tropical, clashing inclassifiable group who made comedy records with some credibility. i did say some, they were funky novelty records at the end of the day. post benny hill political incorrectness, but positively chaste compared to today’s r&b bootyvideos.

mark morrison – crazy

he needn’t have made this list but for the fact that he’s an absolute tosser, and for that reason alone you feel slightly dirty listening to his music. when he’s not banged up for the usual drugs/gbh/theft, mark likes to parade around london nightclubs with two ‘bitches’ on his arm. classy.

mc hammer – u can’t touch this

in 1990, everyone loved mc hammer despite the fact that each and every one of his songs was a blatant ripoff. once we caught on, after our indignant parents played us the originals to demonstrate how crap he was, his career sunk faster than his dancing. everyone ignored his attempt to drop the ‘mc’, and soon his trousers were out of fashion and so was he.

michael bolton – how am i supposed to live without you

michael bolton looked like an ageing chippendale and sang power ballads that were oddly compelling. for a 14 year old girl, the curly mulleted one shouldn’t have resonated, but did, because it sounded like he had loved and lost a few paperboys in his time as well. i was over it in a week.

vanilla ice – ice ice baby

where to start. well forget the proto eminem, pretty-fly-for-a-white guy persona, and the fact that he looked like he’d been brought up on crisps. and gloss over the fact that every other song he ever put out was shit. this tune still rocks a yates wine bar on a friday night, for those of a certain age, and you know it.

milli vanilli – girl you know its true

that miming incident and the ensuing revelation that milli vanilli didn’t sing their own songs was puzzling to me. from the outset, there was clearly a woman singing in the background and rob’n’fab were german not american. the idea that the braided ones couldn’t sing was slightly less shocking to me than their shoulder pads and odd wooden puppet style dancing.

mn8 – i’ve got a little something for you

a boyband song i liked when i was just about too old to like boybands, ie of legal drinking age. i think one of my university flatmates pulled the lead singer one night. she didn’t sell the story – we had grants in those days. plus we were only just realising the phenomenom of being able to carve a whole career from a one night stand or by being a celebrity girlfriend who wears a dress fashioned from safety pins.

spice girls – say you’ll be there

i hated the spice girls. every boy i knew was obsessed with them, and baby spice was my age and had millions in the bank, while i was a student. an anti-student who shopped in harvey nicks, nonetheless. i liked this song and hated myself for it. now i really couldn’t give a shit. i promise many of you will feel the same way about girls aloud in a decade’s time.

vanessa paradis – joe le taxi

again, vanessa was dislikable for the very fact that boys liked her so much. still, you could sing along to joe le taxi without being expected to know the correct lyrics, which was a bonus. ‘ampoule day ash’ anyone? apparently she was singing ’embouteillage’. she needs some elocution lessons. perhaps johnny can buy her some *hisssssssssssssssssss*

nkotb – i wanna be loved by you

this track, from their debut album, way before they were famous, sounds like an old creme egg advert. but instead of listing what they liked to do with creme eggs, they boys introduced themselves, their starsigns and somewhat unnecessarily pitched themselves as possible boyfriends to millions of teenage girls. red flag, bull. has to be heard to be believed.

wham – young guns

george michael encouraging people to be unemployed and play the field? imagine such a thing from such an upstanding citizen. more criminal was possibly the worst (best) rapping ever. if you haven’t seen the george michael episode of star stories, you need to. now. ‘we’re wham boys, and we’re on the dole. ooh yeah!’ classic.

will smith – getting jiggy with it

we’ve since established that jazzy jeff was the talented musician, but will had the charm and the character. this tune was a favourite for women in white stretch lace in branches of time and envy up and down the UK. i defy you not to sing, dance, or both.