dirty martini

old music for new people

girls dem sugar July 5, 2008

in contrast to what looks like a male dominated roots reggae scene, in the uk, the lover’s rock movement was exemplified by young girl bands. lovers rock merged reggae with smoother soul sounds in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience.

way before brandy, monica and aaliyah became notable for launching careers barely into their teens, groups of south london schoolgirls were rocking sound systems and making some of the best reggae music of the late 70s.

download here

15-16-17 – funny feeling

althea and donna – uptown top ranking

brown sugar – hello stranger

cool notes – i’ve got to let him

the gaylets – lonely feeling

revelation – with you boy

the sadonians – goodbye my love

sister love – goodbye little man

the tonettes – i’ll give it to you

winsome – am i the same girl

 

cool britannia January 5, 2008

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watching ruby turner on jools holland the other day was further proof of the abundance of underappreciated talent we have in the uk.

this is a selection of new and old uk talent, worth investigating.

download here 

terri walker -flirtin’

sadly, terri will at best be underrated in the beverly knight tradition for the rest of her career. her three albums are ten times better than anything mya has ever put out…

soul ii soul – love enuff

new age funksters who retained their peace and love vibe well into the mid 90s when everyone else had given up.

loose ends – choose me

those that know revere loose ends as the 80s soul band to end them all.

five star – rsvp

family group who turned out to have more in common with jacksons than we thought possible – a veritable mountain of plastic surgery. this song is from their first album, when they had their own noses and steadman didn’t look like a circus freak.

light of the world – no1 girl

named themselves after a kool and the gang album, and had several hits. after splitting in 1981 some members went on to form beggar&co, who also had some success.

heatwave – super soul sister

ok only the keyboardist was british, the band was in fact, international. heatwave were responsible for standard ‘always and forever’ and countless 70s funk gems.

cool notes – i forgot

originally part of the young south london lovers’ rock scene, then a jheri soul success, by uk standards, with several top ten hit.

central line – you’ve said enough

another success, and singer camelle hinds is still active.

leona lewis – suga sweet

a pre-fame remake of juicy’s 1985 jheri soul hit ‘ sugar free’. some more midtempos like this would have sat well on ‘spirit’…i hope she gets back to this style for her second album. leona had the biggest selling uk album of 2007 so even in this uncertain era for the music industry, this hopefully means a sophomore effort is a dead cert!

celetia – special

the uk’s answer to brandy and aaliyah in the 90s – sadly without the success but happily without the drama. this was from her second album, ‘runaway skies’.

shola ama – who’s loving my baby

still waiting on that comeback, shola. and sister sadie’s debut for that matter….what’s going on ladies? shola had the biggest selling r&b album in the uk, of all time.

lemar – fresh

things have also gone a bit quiet on the lemar front, after three successful albums. apparently a radio DJ in barbados mistakenly announced his name was ‘lemar bedingfield’  and now the population, or at least those listening, now believe he is related to those tiresome, delusional big-toothed horrors….as if!

 

ibiza: a post about chilling December 23, 2007

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at the turn of the 80s, there was a largely forgotten exercise in building a more caring and sharing society. new age arrived with ethereal, mystic promise, based on spirituality rather than actions. this wasn’t a rehash of 60s free love by modern day hippies. 

for many this was a stark contrast to to the overriding ethos of the 80s – you can believe in what you can see in front of you. those who disagreed with that mercenary philosophy had sought refuge away from the capitalism and excess and discovered likeminded souls by seeking out the new and the strange. 

this didn’t just mean jetting off to ibiza, or turning up to shoom and warehouse raves as a means of differentiating from mainstream society. this wasn’t a friday and saturday night revolution. some pranksters – revealed to be the klf  -got up in the early hours each day to carve crop circles into fields, leading bemused and excitable farmers to proclaim that the aliens were coming. those who have no recollection can’t imagine how alien ‘1990’ sounded at the time, when it had seemed like the 80s would never end. i remember seeing decimated fields on the news and inwardly laughing at how the adult nation were taken in by this joke. it was harmless fun, a subtle yet memorable message that things needed to change before we descended into weirdness.

the new decade was an opportunity to sweep everyone else up in this movement. i once heard a tv commentator on one of those nostalgia shows, i love 1989, probably, make the insightful statement that the 90s actually started in the summer of 1989 when soul ii soul hit number one. there was no such landmark a decade later, the new millenium was just an excuse for inflated club entry fees. capitalism had returned in 1995.

if peace and love had lasted, i’d have called that summer of 1989 the true turn of the millenium. as it went, it was the start of five years of freedom, soundtracked by emerging house, techno and drum and bass sounds. don’t be fooled into thinking that cream, ministry of sound and renaissance played any part in this – as much fun as they were, i now realise they eventually killed the scene and brought us back to where we are today. there’s nothing new age about paying £30 to get into a club in ibiza – we already live in the UK, things are supposed to be cheaper abroad that’s half the point of going on holiday.

the new age movement grabbed me – well, i liked crystals. at one point in 1990, absolutely everyone wore white jeans, trainers and a lilac tshirt, the new age uniform. we failed to grasp the fact that our levis, reebok classics and topshop tshirt were in direct contradiction to the movement we thought we were representing. like most fads, new ageism became something you could pick up and appropriate without a speck of understanding as to its roots and philosophy, as long as you liked the music.

still, those older and wiser are lucky enough to have experienced the scene for what it should have been before the superclubs took over. they sat outside the cafe del mar before the sunset ritual became a patented experience. they danced in clubs where dj’s played music and were rewarded with genuine appreciation – not a £3000 booking fee. i visited ibiza in 1994, when the tide was turning. it was underground, but the marketability of the island was slowly being realised. when i returned two years later, it was fun but inauthentic.

all the choice we have now started in 1990, but then it was genuine choice, rather than marketing making the decision for you. it was like a trial – many of the the things we did then you can get arrested for now.  bubbling resentment hadn’t boiled over into terrorism – new age ethics reasoned that 80s consumerism and power was naive and should be allowed to correct itself, not be punished.

1990 was an exciting and emotional time. it wasn’t just the music and the philosophy. there was the world cup. anyone who can sit through nessun dorma without at least the urge to cry is, well, under 25. 

most chillout tracks for me sound like they were recorded in the early 90s. those produced later tried to emulate the sounds and mood and many did so successfully, which is why they’re in the mix. to manage any expectation, i am not a dj. this is a long, inexpertly mixed set that is a blatant attempt to squeeze as many tracks as possible onto my mp3 player, but it sorts me out when i’m drunk or hungover, stressed, can’t sleep or feel like floating away in the sun (rain).

back then we knew we were on the verge of something exciting, and we were, it just didn’t last that long or turn out the way we thought it might. i miss those days, i doubt 14 year olds now feel the way i did then.

check out my posts on the 1994 and 1996 ibiza club scenes.

90s chillout mixdownload here

leftfield – melt

sisterlove – the hypnotist

ibizarre – lazy living

nightmares on wax – les nuits

sofa surfers – sofa rockers

st etienne – only love can break your heart – andrew weatherall mix

the grid – floatation – subsonic grid mix

innocence – natural thing

bentley rhythm ace – bentley’s gonna sort you out

sheer taft- cascades – hypnotone mix

the orb – little fluffy clouds

sun electric – sundance

the beloved – the sun rising – gentle night

aphex twin – xtal

sub sub – past

orbital – belfast

klf – what time is love – original mix

fsol – papua new guinea

altern8 – self hypnosis

moby – slight return

lemon interupt – dirty

sabres of paradise – smokebelch ii – beatless mix

bbe – seven days and one week – sindaar mix

energy 52 – cafe del mar – michael woods mix

moby – go – jam and spoon mix

groove armada – at the river

fc kahuna – hayling

808 state – pacific 202

bbg – snappiness