dirty martini

old music for new people

loving the alien August 4, 2008

in the same way that i had trouble waiting for the sex and the city movie, i’m impatiently awaiting the second series of ashes to ashes. january 2009, i’m assuming…..aaaaargh!

now, opinion is divided on whether there should be a 90s version. i’m going to weigh in on that particular debate – HELL YES. gene hunt grappling with loved up cheesy quavers on the early 90s rave scene? genius. if it has to be named after a david bowie song…loving the alien? i have never heard it by the way, i just had a look at a list of his singles.

the railway arms is a great place to discuss all things mars and ashes related. if i’m feeling brave i might post the following theory about a2a series 2…

alex didn’t return to 1981 to save her parents, she returned to find her brother/sister who was the child of caroline price and evan. or even gene, there was definitely some tension there…her brother/sister , will be grown up, but stuck in the past, like she is.

the reason it is so important, aside from the fact that she has a sibling she was unaware of as she grew up – the sibling was responsible for the death of molly’s father, in 1995. if alex can change his/her fate then she can save him.

there.

and here’s a soundtrack for that third series, set in 1990…

download here

adventures of stevie v – dirty cash

bassomatic- fascinating rhythm

deee-lite – power of love

electronic – getting away with it

en vogue – you don’t have to worry

family stand – ghetto heaven

happy mondays – step on

ll cool j – around the way girl

m&m and rachael wallace – i feel this way

maxi priest – close to you

neneh cherry-  heart

propaganda – heaven give me words

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around the way girls May 17, 2008

female rappers are still seen as a bit of a novelty sometimes – but they’ve been in the game almost as long as the men.

the principle change since the 80s has been that female rappers no longer are required to dress like rottweilers in order to be taken seriously. like the new jill swingers of the early 90s, who were forced to rock the then unlikely pairing of lumberjack shirts and doc martens with visible underwear and heavy matt makeup. this was way before all saints made boyswear cute.

if they have anything in common at all with the female rappers of the 90s and 00s, it would be with jean grae and missy rather than foxy brown and lil kim. this was resolutely not about sex – it was about competing with men on a level playing field, rather than resorting to stereotypes.

roxanne vs roxanne was thankfully, not as intense as east vs west coast but at the time it was every bit as sincere. i don’t think girls are as bothered about which coast they’re from…this is why we run things.

download here

b-beat girls – for the same man

carmen – throw down

finesse and synquis – soul sisters

jamaica girls – rock the beat

jj fad – supersonic

le tigre – we like the cars that go boom

neneh cherry – buffalo stance

the real roxanne – bang zoom

roxanne shante – roxanne’s revenge

salt-n-pepa – i like it like that

two sisters –  b-boys beware

wee papa girl rappers – wee rule

 

you always take the weather with you April 5, 2008

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in the uk we’re probably more obsessed with the weather than is healthy. because our weather is SO CRAP.

evidence:

  • weeks where the temperature ranges from 4c to 18c so you don’t know what the bleep to wear
  • summers which are hot, but humid rather than sunny
  • summers which are sunny and then way too hot
  • rain – last summer we even tried to blame rihanna

download here

alexander o’neal – sunshine

nice 80s mellow track from mad mr neal. was ‘interpolated’ in the 90s by jay-z and foxy brown. how does a camel always manage to get a female compadre? foxy, mary, beyonce…

cloud one – don’t let this rainbow pass me by

quality 70s/80s soul.

level 42 – sun goes down

cod-reggae from a band that only ever would have sold in the 80s. you could get away with anything back then.

love unlimited – walking in the rain with the one that i love

these girls were part of barry white’s love unlimited orchestra until he allowed them to sing. hence their catalogue is an odd mix of vocal 70s soul and instrumentals. this was sampled by letoya luckett for ‘you got what i need’.

madame x – cherries in the snow

vanity-esque mid-late 80s artist. so, sounds a bit like prince, a genre close to my heart. cherries in the snow is also the name of a revlon lipstick and a book by emma forrest.

miss thang – thunder and lightning

answer records did exist in the 80s – this was a reply to oran juice jones. the genre wasn’t invented by sporty thievz.

neneh cherry – kisses on the wind

first woman not to hide her pregnancy on totp in 1989…and became a grandmother in 2004 at the age of 40.

new edition –  can you stand the rain

post-bobby and once their voices had broken, this was a great turn of the decade slow jam.

oran’ juice jones – the rain

synth soul classic with actual rain noise in case the point about rain wasn’t quite clear…gotta love the 80s…

rah band – clouds across the moon

quirky semi novelty soul. about someone whose man has flown to the moon. yes, the moon.

rotary connection –  i am the black gold of the sun

one of the best chillout soul classics ever featuring minnie ripperton. shameful admission – i thought nu yorican soul’s 90s cover was the original at the time. well i wasn’t born in 1971…

tony toni tone – it never rains in southern california

ok, again…i thought this was an original. tony toni tone are another group who can pull off cover versions.

 

peace love and the daisy age August 20, 2007

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i’ve spoken about this before. unbelievable as it may sound now, seventeen years ago people were on a mission to be nicer to each other and connect more. sound alien? well that’s because it didn’t quite work out.

after the summer of love (1988), when people took lots of drugs and decided that everyone wasn’t so bad after all. we bought into the idea of a caring, sharing nineties. we all rushed out and bought a crystal – well, i wasn’t allowed one so I sulked. clearly i had this new age thing on lock….

the fashion…hmm. well i’m getting to that sorry age where certain fashions have started to come back to haunt me. leggings, pixie boots, batwing jumpers and jelly shoes all formed part of my childhood. i can always say that i didn’t exactly choose to wear them the first time round, since no one but my mum was there to witness umpteen tantrums over not being allowed a puffball skirt. i don’t envisage needing to explain away the fact that i chose to wear paisley shirts, pasties and global hypercolour t-shirts in 1990. they ain’t coming back, there will be no second round.

so suddenly, after 80s excess, came social conscience. other good buzzwords for 1990 – unity, collective, family. the soul music of 1990 was so far away from the flash and swagger of today’s r&b its actually surprising its not more than 17 years. the daisy age was really a de la soul movement, but their influence and the new age influence of the time filtered through everything and sat alongside rave, new jack swing and indie.

twelve huggy classicsdownload here

bassomatic – fascinating rhythm

is it rave? is it soul? is it house? i miss music of indeterminate genre such as this. it was good, you liked it, you danced to it – it didn’t matter.

beats international – won’t talk about it

much was made of the fact that vocalist lindy layton was once in grange hill. now, every british celebrity has been in grange hill or eastenders, usually both, then they either make it big or end up in the bill.

chimes – still haven’t found what i’m looking for

this is a rare example of the cover version being so much better than the original. plodding guitar dirge from pious irish rockers or tinkly, shifting grooves from cool acid jazz band? no contest.

de la soul – the magic number

sesame street inspired rap from the original hip hop hippies. as cute and colourful as the boys themselves.

dream warriors – my definition of a boombastic jazz style

jazz hiphop. what a fantastic concept. it sounds as fresh and as alien now as it did back then.

family stand – ghetto heaven

unique, moody soul. about a hooker, no less. i can’t track down any of their other material but if memory serves it was nothing like this track.

innocence – a matter of fact

great soul group that sat between r&b and ambient. the aural equivalent of sitting in a spring garden surrounded by dewy flowers.

jt and the big family – moments in soul

sampled art of noise’s ‘moments in love’ to great effect. another one of indeterminate genre.

movement 98 – joy and heartbreak

chillout soul at its best, but another casualty of the 90s trend for faceless one hit wonders.

neneh cherry – kisses on the wind

immensely likeable in a jordin sparks kind of way, but a lot more street. neneh was the first woman to go on tv and perform whilst heavily, and therefore obviously, pregnant.

seal  – crazy

probably the most commerical of the conscious soul contingent, but success was a sitting duck after ‘killer’ with adamski.

soul ii soul – back to life

i post this track in its 12 inch glory for my friend who dragged me round countless record stores looking for it, just after it became unavailable.