dirty martini

old music for new people

crush on you September 21, 2008

 this nkotb reunion is making me feel 14 again – without actually having to be 14 again.

reasons to be thankful for not being 14:

  • that aching feeling you had all year
  • fancying totally unattainable men
  • being mortified by your parents
  • having to choose cool friends over friends you actually liked
  • having to wear the same outfit outside of school, for most of the year
  • hating your skin, hair, everything about yourself
  • having no cash

download nkotb

2 in the morning

call it what you want

don’t give up on me

girls

i wanna be loved by you

if you go away

i’ll be missing you come christmas

my favourite girl

never let you go

single

valentine girl

whatcha gonna do about it

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madonna should have retired in the 80s July 23, 2008

i’m updating this post as the download link expired.

i’m not even going to pretend or aspire to a real appreciation of anything that madonna did after 1989.

at the start of her career, madonna represented a backlash against society. it was punk for people who didn’t like punk music. madonna swore, acted stupid and girly, married a bad boy and wore what the hell she liked.

for me, things started to go downhill when she tried to morph into marilyn monroe for her true blue album in 1986. by the end of the decade she was making good music but the controversy she incited was planned, not accidental. the religion baiting ‘like a prayer’ was pepsi endorsed , ‘justify my love’ had a full length video by jean baptiste-mondino. there was none of the grit left of a girl who worked in dunkin’ donuts to support herself while she recorded a demo.

we loved the electric, synthesised beats, raw vocals and a unique style. we don’t need to see madonna in jean paul gaultier or d&g, anyone with money can wear those labels. messy dirty blonde hair, stretch lace, ripped tshirts and leggings – all of these were her signature style but after desperately seeking susan she seemed to distance herself from the very image that made her.

if madonna had retired almost twenty years ago in 1989, and lets face it she could afford to have done, would her legacy be greater? the erotica phase was an embarrassment, the little girls who had idolised her were rapidly growing into young adults and didn’t need to see their childhood inspiration acting like a depraved teenager. the whole kabbalah thing is a joke, and the marriage to guy ritche makes her seem more likeable, which was never the point of madonna.

the only songs i have really liked from madonna post-dick tracy have been ‘deeper and deeper’, ‘take a bow’ and ‘don’t tell me’. but i could have lived without them. and then – i contradicted myself by listing ten songs by madonna post-gambler that i don’t hate

download madonna originals here

get up

very early 80s pop, almost post-disco soul with a blondie inspired copycat rap at the end. possibly penned as an ode to her time in new york pre-fame. its a long way from this to abba-sampling on ‘hung up’. now that was something i never expected…

crimes of passion

could have fitted easily into ‘like a virgin’ but wasn’t really dancey enough for her debut i suppose. if this had been leaked in 1985 we’d have been in raptures.

don’t you know

this song, recorded in 1981 along with ‘stay’ amongst others, was eventually incorporated into the version of ‘stay’ on the ‘like a virgin’ album. i like this demo, it’s bouncier and has nice zaps and bleeps.

ain’t no big deal

recorded to be madonna’s first single, but left off the album entirely due to a dispute with ex-boyfriend stephen bray, but later rerecorded and used as a b-side.

lucky star – original 12″ mix

posted in its full glory as you can’t have too much ‘lucky star’. one of my favourites and deceptively child friendly which is probably why my parents let me buy it. i wasn’t allowed to dress like she did in the video though. 

spotlight

we didn’t hear this until the ‘you can dance’ remix album in 1987, but it was recorded for the ‘true blue’ album. of course these days it would leak along with the album. makes you wonder what else exists. back then we literally only heard what artists wanted us to.

burning up – original uk version

when i bought ‘the first album’ on cd i was confused. i thought i remembered ‘burning up’ being better, and dancier, than this. it seems in the US and rest of the world, they used a guitar driven mix that I’d never heard. on the UK tape version, we had what was apparently used on only early vinyl copies. its so much better. but the demo version, which i recently discovered, is nice and sparkly, rather than grungey, as well.

physical attraction

i love the bleepy almost aquatic sound to this track. or maybe its because i got back from swimming on the day i was bought ‘the first album’ as an early birthday present and that’s just the association i’m making…this is the full album version cos i love the spoken bit in the middle. i was too young to understand or appreciate the sentiment.

borderline – first album version

again, the version those of us in the UK will be most familiar with as it was on our version of ‘the first album’. i really love this song, more so now.

gambler – dance remix

many people seem to forget about this track as unless you were going to buy the ‘vision quest’ soundtrack, and let’s face it no one was, you could only get this on vinyl. but it’s madonna at her best, the exact reason why we loved her and parents didn’t. at the point this was released, madonna could have sneezed and gone top 10.

crazy for you – soundtrack version

the perennial end-of-the-disco favourite. this song, along with ‘into the groove’ and ‘holiday’ was in the top 10 for most of the summer in 1985 and i played them incessantly. i was in my first year at junior school and madonna was like nothing else we’d seen before. this version goes on a bit longer than the single version i had, i think that’s the only difference

into the groove – original version

it took a while for me to realise that the version on the ‘immaculate collection’ is not the original. its obviously different, and utter crap, but we weren’t so finely tuned to recognise remixes back then. anyway, once i realised, i got rid, and replaced it with this far superior original. shep pettibone should be ashamed of himself.

dress you up – formal mix

this is a very 80s 12″ – ie. a bit longer, some extra beats, a few sound effects. its appeal has been tarnished somewhat by featuring in a gap ad but don’t let that put you off.

angel – 12″ mix

another very 80s 12″, but this one provides some much needed oomph, much as i loved the original.

 

true school July 19, 2008

you went to junior school in the 80s if:

  • you had a jelly bag to match your jelly shoes – basically a bag full of holes. practical, no?
  • you wore scrunchies without irony
  • every time grease was on tv it restarted a major craze…
  • …until dirty dancing
  • you wore furry earmuffs for fashion reasons, not to please your mum
  • you spent your cash on smash hits stickers, not alcopops
  • you wanted to go to degrassi junior high, but didn’t understand the us school system
  • your parents thought madonna was a bad influence, and back then she actually was
  • you tried to get your mum to buy your clothes from chelsea girl, snob and tammy girl
  • you didn’t need to do retro, you did 80s

download here

air – high school lover

average white band – schoolboy crush

dazz band – straight out of school

funn – school daze

john david lewis – high school lady

maelstrom and napz – soul school

musical youth – schoolgirl

prince and 94 east – you can be my teacher

raydio – goin’ through school and love

rosie gaines – skool ology

sister nancy – gwan a school

sylvers – high school dance

 

you must be my lucky star February 3, 2008

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stars are everywhere this season. i love it when the star prints pop up in shops. not as cutesy as hearts and infinitely more interesting than polka dots.

my favourite childhood dress was a little white rara dress with blue, red and yellow pastel stars. i haven’t found anything for my grown up wardrobe that was quite right but i live in hope. in the meantime i do have an old ollie and nic bag in green velvet with purple stars, which i love.

download here

air – kelly watch the stars

i loved ‘moon safari’. if you can’t decide whether something sounds retro or futuristic, or both, that’s generally a good thing.

cheri – star struck

cheri were a moderately successful 80s girl band a la the mary jane girls and vanity 6.

china black – stars

like the lighthouse family, china black were always on the edge of sounding a bit worthy, a common affliction for brit soulsters.

con funk shun – she’s a star

very prolific but not a widely known as their peers such as kool and the gang and earth wind and fire…

earth wind and fire – star

…who had a penchant for singing about stars. this is lesser known than ‘shining star’ but i prefer it.

heatwave – star of the story

one word – royalties. ‘mind blowing decisions’, ‘boogie nights’ and ‘always and forever’ must have earned this lot a fair wad over the years.

index – starlight

early 80s boogie soul.

madonna – lucky star

perhaps the most starry sounding song about stars ever.

mariah carey – underneath the stars

think deep blue skies, wet green grass and twinkling yellow stars.

prince – baby i’m a star

golden era prince.

rah band – message from the stars

cute, slightly novelty band. you could get away with that kind of stuff in the 80s without being labelled completely shit.

simply red – stars

i loved this.

stevie wonder – another star

stevie didn’t venture into disco too often despite releasing quite a few albums in that era.  

terri walker – star

another underrated uk r&b artist…

 

i love 1980: the new decade January 1, 2008

rubik.jpg

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.

 

the house that dad built September 30, 2007

dadhouse.gif 

this is for the original house crew, you know who you are. you clubbed your way through the 90s and every now and then you get the urge to do it all again. but you’re pushing 35 and just haven’t got the energy. all of those lists entitled ‘you know you’re over 25 when…’ are scarily true.

so you frequent bars that play background house music and kid yourself that you’re not getting old…well, here is a mix of chilled out house from back in the day. dadhouse is not a new phenomenon, where did you think the shoom lot got to in the 90s?

download here     

cajmere – underground goodies part iii

petra and co- just let go

kerri chandler – atmospheric beats

francois k – hypnodelic

underground resistance – jupiter jazz

paperclip people – throw

norma jean bell – i like the things you do

wamdue project – higher

glenn underground – feelin’ love

cajmere – wet dream

underground resistance – hi tech jazz

backroom – definition of a track

nu yorican soul – that nervous track

delano smith – metropolis

black science orchestra – new jersey deep

k-hand – street knowledge

green velvet – answering machine

jt company – feel it

red nail – never

floppy sounds – ultrasong

muskmen – never thought i’d see the day

 

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.

download here

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.