dirty martini

old music for new people

the other side August 3, 2008

 

you know all those bonus tracks that surface once an album is released? we used to get them as b-sides. occasionally an instrumental would be bunged on there, or a remix, but in the 80s, you were pretty much guaranteed at least an album track if not something which didn’t make the cut.

for kids with only a few 7 inches to entertain them throughout the summer, this could mean that you were as familiar with an artist’s rarities as you were their hits.

some b-sides i miss:

karyn white – language of love (superwoman)

sister sledge – hold out poppy (frankie)

download here

five star – love gamesb-side to rsvp

janet jackson – he doesn’t know i’m aliveb-side to what have you done for me lately

madonna – pretenderb-side to material girl

mai tai – rules of love – b-side to body and soul

mel and kim – systemb-side to showing out

michael jackson – can’t get outta the rainb-side to billie jean

new edition – jealous girlb-side to popcorn love

nkotb – valentine girl – b-side to step by step

pepsi and shirlie – dreamingb-side to heartache

prince – 17 daysb-side to when doves cry

whitney houston – moment of truthb-side to i wanna dance with somebody

wham – where did your heart gob-side to edge of heaven

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sugar and spice: 80s boybands May 9, 2008

new edition started something – in the 80s, r&b boybands sang about sugar, candy and flowers and we lapped it up.

well, let’s compare it to what we had to endure from our infant and junior school counterparts:

  • hair pulling
  • lifting up skirts
  • making you pretend to be princess leia/a bond girl/stacy from tj hooker every breaktime
  • snapping your bra straps
  • throwing insects at you
  • transformers…zzzz….

download here

by all means – slow jam

entouch – all nite

force md’s – will you be my girlfriend

full force – all in my mind

guy – i like

levert – casanova

new edition – candy girl

mac band – roses are red

pasadenas – enchanted lady

ready for the world – tonight

the reddings – i know you got another

skool boyz – burning up

 

i love 1984: electric dreams April 14, 2008

computers ruled 1984. even i had one. my parents bought me an acorn electron for educational purposes and i spent the next four years playing bbc versions of arcade games. pac-man became ‘snapper’, donkey kong was ‘boxer’ and frogger was ‘hopper’.

my personal favourites were chuckie egg and burgertime. you couldn’t get burgertime for the acorn electron so i had to play it in arcades. chuckie egg was available for the electron but it didn’t work. you’d sit through about five minutes of alphanumeric screeching and then, no chuckie, no egg.

then there were the fabulously basic text adventure games. ‘sphinx adventure’. literally –

you cross the bridge. there’s a carrot.

>eat carrot.

you can see in the dark!

yes, really. and if you were a little brat like me…

you cross the bridge. there’s a carrot.

>shit

what is ‘shit’?

download here

apollonia 6 – blue limousine

autumn – computer touch

billy ocean – syncopation

confection – put me on your playlist

duran duran – the reflex

klymaxx – video kid

midnight star – body snatchers

new edition – cool it now

phil oakey – together in electric dreams

pointer sisters – automatic

shannon – sweet somebody

wham – credit card baby

 

love it when you call February 19, 2008

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if you are under 25 then you have no idea how far phones have come since, say, 1983. or if you watch any old skool tv then maybe you do?

i can barely imagine myself using the antiquated phone we had in my early childhood. but i did – it was one of those heavy plastic things BT used to give out in standard issue red, cream or dark olive green. it had the letters of the alphabet printed on the piece of cardboard behind the clear plastic dial, next to the numbers. this hinted at the availability of a US style phone system where you could easily memorise commercial numbers, but as far as I remember this didn’t happen in the UK, where we like to make everything as difficult as possible. put it this way, you couldn’t dial 0800-TESCO.

we even managed to memorise numbers, it is possible. at a push, i can still remember the numbers for all of my friends and family up to about the age of 12 but probably couldn’t more than three of the numbers in my blackberry today under pain of death. perhaps the most famous number of all was the number for swap shop – 01 811 8055. ironically then, it was easier to contact the bbc in 1982 armed with that knowledge, than it is to find their number on a website designed to discourage calls.

phones then, were integral to relationships. an iconic image of the 80s is that of a girl on the phone with a suprised expression on her face…i couldn’t find one though! she was probably surprised she was allowed to use it…phone bill battles were so commonplace that neighbouring friends often succumbed to old tin cans on a string trick. i have no idea if that even worked….

download here

blackstreet – booti call

bootsy collins – what’s a telephone bill

cheyne – call me mr telephone

good girls – just call me

junior brown – long time me call

in the mix – dial me baby

loose ends – dial 999

new edition – mr telephone man

portrait – i can call you

prince – how come you don’t call me anymore

ryan leslie – promise not to call

sheena easton – telephone

sherrick – just call

teairra mari – phone booth

tony jay – telephone line

 

boys don’t cry – new edition go solo April 25, 2007

if there was ever a gender stereotype that was true, its that girls can’t get along. so when female band mates part ways, the media holds their breath for the name calling, backbiting and never has to wait for too long. a lot of women would rather eat nothing but salad for the rest of their lives than see a former female friend do their thing.witness beyonce and kelly‘s unceremonious dumping of destiny’s child cohorts letoya, latavia and farrah at the first sign they wouldn’t toe the line. and now, not content with daddy hampering kelly and michelle‘s solo ambitions since the dc3 finale, beyonce is now rumoured to be sabotaging newly famous solo star letoya‘s efforts. recently she allegedly demanded letoya be removed from a soundtrack project before she would participate and made herself look like a petulant child when she flew into london for last year’s mobo awards only to boycott it when the organisers refused to strike letoya from the lineup.

boy bands just never seem to have all these problems. seemingly, they’re happy just to be there having a laugh with their friends. and if one leaves, they wish them well and even make guest appearances on their new solo material. which may well be the clue to why every member of new edition found solo fame – karma.

ten reasons i can’t decide if i prefer new edition together, or apartdownload herebobby brownevery little step, don’t be cruel, roni, rock witcha
bobby wasn’t always the village idiot. before reality tv uncovered the madness that led him to yell at plastic fruit, bobby was the most successful of all the former new edition boys. although the erratic behaviour that led to his eviction from the group would resurface in later years, he pretty much held it together from 1988 to 1994. in 1988, at the age of 19 he hit pay dirt with ‘my perogative‘ and never looked back.

bell biv devoe – poison, do me, in the crib
hot on the heels of new edition’s ‘heart break’ tour, ronnie devoe, michael bivins and ricky bell formed bell biv devoe and has instant success with new jack swing classics ‘poison’ and ‘do me’. in 2002 they returned with a new album, and ‘in my crib’. all are still active as part of new edition and ronnie devoe is married to shamari fears of blaque, who is probably not old enough to remember the boys in their early days…

johnny gill – rub you the right way, there you go
unlike the others, johnny had been successful prior to joining the group, with three albums already under his belt. after, he had one of the biggest hits of the new jack era, ‘rub you the right way’ and went on to record five more albums and joined forces with gerald levert and keith sweat to form lsg in the late 90s. ‘there you go’ was one of the highlights of the popular 1992 soundtrack to the eddie murphy film ‘boomerang’.

ralph tresvant – sensitivity
wacko soundalike ralph was slightly more cautious about striking out on his own. ‘sensitivity’ is his biggest hit although his collab with bobby brown on ‘stone cold gentleman’ comes close. like johnny, he is still part of new edition but has had consistent solo success and is still recording today.

 

new edition – the beginning April 24, 2007

you only have to say their name and ladies of a certain age melt. as noted by kanye west in ‘slow jamz‘, girl needs to hear some new edition if you’re planning to get lucky tonight.bobby brown, ralph tresvant, michael bivins, ronnie devoe, rickey bell, and later johnny gill, gave an entire generation of girls a standard of boyfriend to aspire to. before they wound up with broke ass players ten years later. how big were they? madonna was their support act on tour in 1983. they appeared in ‘knightrider‘ with the hoff.

their first single, ‘candy girl’ was my first ever record in 1983. a shout out to seven year old girls everywhere, we rejoiced as finally there seemed to exist boys who understood how we wanted to be treated.

whilst our infant school nemeses pulled up our skirts, yanked our hair and made us pretend to be princess leia, minus gold bikini, new edition made it clear they were up for playing kiss chase.

sadly boys grow up more quickly than you think. After two great albums, bobby brown left due to behavioural issues (cough) and started his solo career in 1986. johnny gill replaced him and the next two albums were lacklustre.

then, they found their groove at the turn of the 80s on the burgeoning new jack scene with ‘heart break’. due to contractual obligations leaving them an album short of their agreement with mca, they reunited in 1996 as grown men, and their 2008 regroup as thirtysomethings is imminent. not so much a comeback as a ten year reunion.

no matter how old they or I get – I’ll always be their candy girl.

ten sugary sweet new edition classicsdownload here

candy girl
the one that started it all complete with sonic whooshes, bleeps and tambourines.

popcorn love
the follow-up, not nearly as successful, but classic. get the feeling the boys liked their junk food?

cool it now
their only real low point as a band has been letting amish casualwear sweatshop gap use this 1984 hit in one of their insufferably smug adverts.

mr telephone man
smooth 80s boy soul at its best. nice use of late 70s wah wah sound. there are no words to describe how much i loved this song.

my secret
1985 hit from their second and best album ‘new edition’. ‘ooh! sparks begin to fly, lightning in the sky…’

leaving you again
recently sampled for ciara and bow wow‘s ‘like you’….took me ages to recognise where it came from.

delicious
surprisingly mature effort from 1985 ‘new edition’ album. was covered in the 90s by british soulsters don-e and deni hines.

can you stand the rain
lush ballad from ‘heart break’ with johnny gill on lead vocals.

crucial
uptempo hit from ‘heart break’ that showcased the boys transition into new jack swing dons.

hit me off
the lead single from the 1996 comeback. slotted effortlessly into the mid 90s bumpy r&b scene.