dirty martini

old music for new people

fire up the quattro April 12, 2008

 

i didn’t watch ‘life on mars’. it was set in 1973 and well, i wasn’t born then and i’d heard, after the first few episodes, that the nostalgia played a big part in the experience. (I’ve since watched it and LOVE it, and john simm is amazing).

so when i heard about ‘ashes to ashes’ the 80s sequel, i decided that i would watch this time. now it’s set in 1981, and my memories of that year are mostly confined to button moon and hazy royal wedding memories, but it’s interesting to see how people actually lived like that in my lifetime.

the scenes in the new romantic hangout, the blitz club were an eyeopener. i thought the 90s club scene was so different that bar studio 54, clubland had previously been about carpeted walls, disco lights and mirrors. no edge, nothing extraordinary,no innovation. i was SO wrong. the music makes more sense now – i used to wonder how people ever danced to new wave but i get it now. 1981 looks bleak, but it was also real, and probably felt like being on a rollercoaster. I think the blitz eventually became the gardening club, in covent garden.

i would have liked to hear these tracks from 1981 in the show. plus the roxy music track which was the outro to episode one – it took me until last week to figure out what it was.

so what for the next series? can’t believe we have to wait till 2009…

download here

abc – poison arrow

chaka khan – i know you, i live you

grace jones – pull up to the bumper

haircut 100 – love plus one

hall and oates – rich girl

human league – don’t you want me

kraftwerk – the model

level 42 – love games

police – every little thing she does is magic

odyssey – inside out

roxy music – same old scene

scritti politti – sweetest girl

 

 

i love 1980: the new decade January 1, 2008

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happy new year!

this is the first of a series of posts showcasing some classics and hidden gems from back in the day.

fast forward to 1981 and the last days of disco

download here

busta jones – keep on making me hot

nothing like busta rhymes : )

carl carlton – she’s a bad mama jama

carl wasn’t fond of clothes, as evidenced by a google image search…this song was later sampled by foxy brown and blackstreet.

chaka khan – clouds

one of my favourite chaka joints.

diana ross – i’m coming out

unknowingly became a gay anthem. for screamingly obvious reasons.

dynasty – adventures in the land of music

dynasty the group arrived at the same time as dynasty the tv show.

eighties ladies – turned on to you

their name gave them a rigid best before date – and as it turned out they just about lasted 1980.

george benson – give me the night

heart fm classic.

hi gloss – you’ll never know

uk soul band who had a few minor hits.

inner life – moment of my life

i bet this burned up the dying days of studio 54. makes me want to watch ‘the last days of disco’.

jammers – what have you got to lose

one of those hidden gems.

jermaine jackson – let’s get serious

its a long way from this to celebrity big brother…

michael mcdonald –  i keep forgetting

blue eyed soul that paved the way for warren g and nate dogg’s ‘regulate’.

odyssey – inside out

more subtle than their bigger disco numbers.

prince – dirty mind

defined a new sound for the new decade. and er, this decade too.

young and company – i like it

a classic from the crossover days between disco and boogie.

 

70s baby 80s child… July 9, 2007

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i’m proud to be a disco era baby, born the same time as saturday night fever.obviously this means i don’t have very clear recollections of disco, but there is evidence that it had an influence on my infant years.  a photo exists of me at about 18 months old, looking terrified as my dad, a bee gees lookalike in obligatory tight shirt, sporting shoulder length flicked hair, beams.  my mum, in my christening photos, looks like a member of hot gossip.

I also don’t remember saturday night fever first time round, but an eight track cartridge of the soundtrack became one of the first albums I played, along with abba and the wombles, whenever I could get near the stereo – a big wooden Baird monstrosity, like the tv. eight tracks were fairly childproof, which perhaps explains why my parents had one, since they weren’t exactly early adopters…they only got into cds about 5 years ago.

my recollection of the novelty disco that followed – ymca, ottawan, boney m – is sadly slightly sharper. I can clearly recall stomping around our majorca hotel singing ‘hands up, baby, hands up…’ and forcing my very straight and very unenlightened dad to march up and down with me in a camp fashion to ‘in the navy’ by the village people. if asked what activity I wanted to take part in, apparently the answer was always the same – I wanted to go to the disco.

still, the first time I really heard chic was probably as an underage clubber in one of those great cheesy late 80s/early 90s clubs that are slowly becoming extinct. you know, carpet on the walls, lots of mirrors, peach wine (this was before alcopops) and a fat dj. during their retro half hour, a pointless exercise since no one in the club was over 18, they would play some disco before the obligatory birdie song and god awful jive bunny style 50s rock and roll.  if you weren’t around then, you have no idea how much clubs have improved over the last 15 years. unless you’ve been to a chicago rock café, in which case, you know.

disco was a nice introduction to music, let’s face it, punk was around at the same time so I had a narrow escape. to me, as to many others, it is a soundtrack to hazy flashbacks of high chairs and swirly 70s brown and orange wallpaper that prepped us for the clubbing mayhem of the 90s. it paved the way for dance music in all its forms and its appreciation belies the frankly pathetic ‘disco sucks’ movement perpetrated by US rednecks. get back in your caravan and turn up your insipid MOR rock – the glitterball is here to stay.

12 dazzling disco gemsdownload here

average white band – let’s go round again

 

 

black ivory – mainline

chic – my forbidden lover

dan hartman – instant replay

delegation – heartache no9

diana ross – the boss

jean carn – was that all it was

loleatta holloway – runaway

melba moore – this is it

odyssey – native new yorker

rose royce – is it love you’re after

sheila and b devotion – spacer