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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how do you solve a problem like mariah? August 19, 2007

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crazy is as crazy does. watching some of the footage of leona lewis on youtube has inspired this post. she was clearly influenced by early mariah – the shy girl with the big voice who dressed mostly in black and had curly hair to die for.

the fact that she became infinitely more successful in a global sense once she lost the plot and started squeezing herself into clothes three sizes too small is a worry. early mariah blows mad mariah out of the water as far as i’m concerned. she was real and had humility. 

she has bounced back remarkably well from her 2001 nervous breakdown and even seems to be relearning the fine art of putting on clothes that fit. whatever you thought of glitter, i found it to be her most honest work to date. clearly mariah loves the old skool and this shone through the soundtrack.

in the uk, we have been fans of her remixes but less so of her ballads. we’re less tolerant of oversinging and melisma than the US. so when she brought out a collection of remixes it was something i had expected for a while. its never really been cool to own a mariah cd since music box but her remixes are undeniable.

here are some rare tracks and some that newer fans might not be familiar with.

twelve mariah tracks under the radardownload here

weakness of the body

a mid 80s demo that sounds like something taylor dayne might have recorded. i actually like her early vocals, and she doesn’t really sound that young.

someday

always my favourite track from her debut and i loved this new jack swing mix.

sent from up above

amazing midtempo track that i appreciate better now i’m older. apparently there is another album’s worth of unreleased material from her debut recording sessions.

prisoner

mariah rapping? nothing new. this sounded pretty bad at the time but is now pleasingly retro.

to be around you

one of the best tracks on ’emotions’ that often gets overlooked as it sounds so 1991.

now that i know

another housey uptempo that gets glossed over. this, and the track before, were not quite enough for the dancefloor and too bouncy to chill to.

do you think of me

this was a music box era b-side and again it does sound very early 90s. crashing instruments and general moodiness.

always be my baby

for some reason i didn’t pay much attention to this when it was first released but now i love it. there is a youtube clip of leona lewis singing this in a karaoke competition back in 2004. i don’t see the huge problem with leona ‘copying’ early mariah. we need more artists like that, rather than more beyonce clones.

underneath the stars

as i didn’t have the daydream album, i didn’t hear this track until later. its very relaxed vocal for mariah

long ago

moody hiphop track.

slipping away

well, i didn’t originally realise that this wasn’t on daydream…i wonder why not? i definitely prefer her midtempo to ballads.

breakdown

funny that destiny’s child are thought to have invented speedsinging about a year after mariah released this track…hmm.

 

club tropicana drinks are free August 5, 2007

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a scene from almost any 80s edition of totp in the summer. the palm trees and pineapples used to get dusted off in the bbc props department and plonked onstage for mulleted dancers in hawaiian shirts to dance around. in preparation for their holiday in benidorm.

summer anthems used to sound sunny, they weren’t about rain. of course rihanna isn’t old enough to remember the 80s. and many people won’t remember when we had actual seasons instead of increasingly bizarre and extreme weather.  when we were flying back from majorca in 1983 it snowed, in may, on the back of two weeks of sun. now, that wouldn’t be quite so surreal.

so here is my 80s summer countdown, one for each year. i’m winging it a bit on the early to mid 80s as i don’t remember much, and songs have different meanings to different people anyway.  i didn’t want to venture into agadoo territory…but while we’re on the subject, i miss those holidays where you could rely on a playlist of black lace, the tweets, bucks fizz and shaddap your face. novelty records should have stayed in the 80s though some british people still love them. last week at work, the finance team (admittedly only two people) were playing the chicken song by spitting image full blast.

i remember a particular year at butlins – thats an 80s holiday destination, kids – dancing to true blue by madonna, when the going gets tough by billy ocean and we don’t have to take our clothes off by jermaine stewart. to this day, me and my mum smirk when we hear these songs.

these are the sounds played in the garden that little girls made dances up to. on ghettoblasters powered by up to 8 huge batteries. that soon ran out so they sounded too slooooow.

80s summer anthems, by year – download here

1980 – lakeside – fantastic voyage

1981 – cool notes – i should’ve loved ya

1982 – teena marie – square biz

1983 – kc and the sunshine band – give it up

1984 – debarge – rhythm of the night

1985 – mai tai – body and soul

1986 – janet jackson – when i think of you

1987 – jets – crush on you 

1988 – taylor dayne – tell it to my heart

1989 – bobby brown – every little step