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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70s rainbow funk children August 18, 2007

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apparently everything in the 70s was rainbow hued. maybe in a backlash against the sixties monochrome, minimalist ideal or in a reaction to the unsettlement of the era – as much fun as the 70s look to those of us who didn’t experience them, people who did assure us that their abiding memories of the decade are rioting, powercuts and strikes, and that the colourful music was a brief escape.

its easy to forget that things were very different only 30 years ago, in terms of multiculturalism, values and wealth. there were the same problems of high inflation and unemployment as today, but it was less concentrated on the younger population as property was still affordable and people got jobs based on merit, not to satisfy government directives or for fear of legal action.

so the 70s are often remembered as the last days of political incorrectness, unrest and dodgy food but they were also the inception of many things we have today – microwaves, colour tv, video games, the internet. but this isn’t supposed to be a dreary post.  

there are lots of insights into the experiences of living in the 70s that can be found online. who knew that strawberry and lime aeros existed? i did say for years that there was a ‘red aero’ but no one believed me. despite the boil in the bag curries and deep fat fried food, many people reminisce over their 70s childhood cuisine – my mum has driven me crazy for years over fry’s five centres and cabana bars.

and sometimes i could kill for a glass of that transparent ‘orange’ squash we used to get in glass bottles – more sugar than orange but more fun than cloudy, 72% real fruit juice squash…at least 70s orange squash was defiantly nothing to do with actual oranges. was that the infamous kia-ora?

twelve technicolour grooves – download here

bar-kays – hit and run

the second incarnation of this group, saw them tread similar territory to george clinton and co. band member james alexander is jazze pha’s dad.

brick – dazz

enduring tune often confused with output from the dazz band and the commdores (brick house). the merging of a disco and a jazzfunk group to from brick, coined the term ‘dazz’ meaning ‘disco-jazz’

earth wind and fire – star

everyone knows ‘shining star’, but this is much better. ewf were what you might call prolific so there’s always more to discover.

ebonys – hook up and get down

one girl and four boys who formed part of the early 70s ‘fro and flares revolution.

jackson sisters -rockin’ on my porch

not letoya, janet and…the other one. the jackson sisters weren’t related to those jacksons. despite modest 70s success they were better appreciated after their time, during the rare groove revival of the 80s.

kool and the gang – hollywood swinging

kool and the gang’s 70s output is more funk-oriented than their slicker 80s sound. this track was sampled by mase for his debut ‘ feels so good’.

labelle – what can i do for you

patti labelle and co are infamous for ‘lady marmalade’ but they actually did make other songs, like this one.

ohio players – love rollercoaster

i first heard the red hot chilli peppers version of this song. this is the danger with cover versions.

parliament – flashlight

does anyone get the whole parliament-funkadelic thing? my understanding is that they are one and the same, but recorded for two different labels.

sly and the family stone – i want to take you higher

no rainbow funk playlist would be complete without a contribution from sly and the family.

soul children – hearsay

i only recently discovered this group but i love them.

tom browne – funkin’ for jamaica

features chaka khan. i didn’t realise that for a long time…