dirty martini

old music for new people

tv heaven November 9, 2008

zammojackie

tv and music were once an unholy alliance. you didn’t get leona lewis, you got bonnie langford. actors who thought they could sing and songs used in adverts and tv themes populated the charts.

old skool tv tracks

babylon zoo – spaceman

once used in a levi’s ad, forever lodged in a nation’s consciousness. you’d forgotten it? well in 1995, people had forgotten about the jeans. each new ad was notable for the soundtrack and model, with jeans rapidly disappearing off the radar until flat eric and destiny’s child revived them complete with sequins and glitter a few years later.

five star – stay out of my life

a rework of this five star track moonlighted as the theme tune to citv game show ‘how dare you’, variously presented by playschool’s floella benjamin and bucks fizz alumni cheryl baker. it’s a hazy memory but i do remember a lot of gunge being thrown around.

brown sauce – i wanna be a winner

cheggers and soon-to-be but now ex-wife maggie philbin wrongly assumed that their presenting roles on saturday morning tv show the multicoloured swap shop implied any kind of musical talent. so, those of you who thought his career low point was baring his arse on ‘naked jungle’ were wrong. thank god for ‘cheggers plays pop’. i loved that, always wanted the yellows to win and they never did.

marlena shaw – california soul

kfc as soul food? genius. it’s not quite momma cherri’s but as close as a lot of people are going to get. soul food, like mexican and swiss cuisine, is way underrepresented in the UK.

dennis waterman – i could be so good for you

forget little dennis waterman in the little britain sketch, funny though it is. in the 80s, in ‘minder’, dennis was cool. this fell apart roughly around the same time as we found out that minger laura from eastenders was his daughter. you remember, the one who was married to ian beale, and in her 40s, played by someone in their 20s. yep, that minging.

dexy’s midnight runners – because of you

became the theme tune to popular 80s sitcom ‘brush strokes’ featuring the actor who has appeared in mr muscle adverts for the last ten years or so, as jacko. elmo putney and his pink wine bar…what happened to wine bars? in my not very legal drinking years the last few were dying out. this, and the one in ‘only fools and horses’ that del fell over in, are places I would have liked to frequent…for the kitsch value, naturally…

grange hill – just say no

yes, just a few years later on ‘the word’ the cast collided with the early 90s rave scene and undid all that good work…one of my favourite things about watching old grange hill episodes, apart from jackie and zammo, is the accents. no one speaks like that now! i’m not even sure they did then. they’re supposed to be cockneys!

v capri – haunting me

thought angry anderson was bad? this song featured in an episode, i think, where scott and charlene had split, but he raced to a bus station (always a bus station) to stop her moving to brisbane. cue lots of flashbacks of them playing on swings, slides, roundabouts..in other words the cheesiest bit of tv you’re ever likely to see. look it up on youtube.

cathy dennis – irresistable

used in a 1992 sky campaign. pretty sure the only reason it’s embedded in my memory is the fact that i – literally – watched cable for 20 hours a day back then. studs and full house on sky one, on the air with clive pearse on super channel, most wanted with ray cokes…good times.

joey scarbury – believe it or not

possibly the most 80s theme tune ever, from ‘the greatest american hero’. inspired later efforts for ‘cheers’, ‘the golden girls’ and ‘my two dads’.

robin beck – first time

everyone in coke ads was cool. even if they were in the middle of falling over, their first kiss, being hit by a tidal wave, whatever, because they were a) in slow motion and b) had a coke in their hand, the object of their desire still fancied them and they were unflappable. no wonder 80s kids are all in therapy now…

savage garden – truly madly deeply

ah yes, melted chocolate voiced savage garden, were a perfect fit with wet blanket dawson and the other improbably sensitive and articulate river kids. can’t remember if the song actually featured in the series or was just a channel 4 hookup.

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nite flite…the first sunset May 2, 2008

last week i was working from home (…) and an advert for ‘nite flyte’, a ‘new’ cd, came on tv, and i was momentarily disoriented and didn’t know what year it was. seriously!

back in the 80s, nite flyte compilations were for the discerning yuppie soul boys and girls – yes those who hung out drinking wine spritzers by night, and pretended to be upwardly mobile by day in their now slightly tragic accountancy/estate agent/banking careers.

the cover art is the same – there were three nite flyte compilations back in the day, but you wouldn’t have guessed unless you saw the tracklisting. the new cd is a summary of the three but it’s not promoted as ‘best of nite flite’ or the ‘anniversary edition’. it’s just there, it’s like we’ve slipped back 20 years

this is weird – the compilations surely weren’t that successful back when more people actually used to buy music? why bother?

download here

alexander o’neal – do you wanna like i do

anita baker – caught up in the rapture

bobby womack – i wish you didn’t trust me so much

chaka khan – through the fire

controllers – stay

eugene wilde – gotta get you home

el debarge – stay with me

force md’s – love is a house

freddie jackson – hey lover

george benson – kisses in the moonlight

glenn jones – show me

gregory abbott – shake you down

 

garage city: the beginning April 26, 2008

the bacardi club chart was the closest i really ever got to garage in 1991. i was still at school, after all.

on the occasions my borrowed/faked ID got my 15 year old self in to a club or bar (and this is 91 so we are talking wine bar not the current club/bar/chill incarnation), it was either playing music ten years out of date, or simply red. and i had to be home by 12 unless we were puling the old ‘say you’re staying at mine and i’ll say i’m staying at yours’ trick. becuase if you’re sleeping over at a friend’s…you would need a sheer chiffon shirt with hotpants. good job my mum had stopped trying to pack overnight bags for me by then.

we did have the occasional illegal night put on in some dodgy warehouse but i only remember ever going to one. and of course, 1991 was mostly about rave anyway.

download here

brand new heavies – stay this way – morales’ eclipse mix

mariah carey – someday – new 12 inch house mix

incognito and jocelyn brown – always there – morales mix

fortran 5 – look to the future – joey negro future reality mix

reese project – direct me – joey negro disco blend mix

alison limerick – where love lives – classic mix

dionne – if u want my love

deep sleep – love me

korda – move your body

mass order – lift every voice – classic boot mix

jomanda – got a love for you – hurley’s house mix

mk and alana – burning – mk mix

those guys – tonite

djaimin – give you – syndromad mix

mariah carey – emotions – 12″ club mix

ce ce peniston – finally – classic mix

m people – how can i love you more

 

 

80s boys: softly does it October 13, 2007

steff.jpg 

the 80s were a time of smooth sophistication – or at least, that was the aspiration. it wasn’t supposed to look as effortless as the impossibly slick culture we have today where even boho takes hours to perfect. in the 80s, looking as if you had spent time and money on your style was a badge of honour.

everything was designed to flatter this image and music was no exception – the music was polished and the vocals didin’t interrupt the flow. male pop/soul vocalists were often soft and understated, with an overtone of smugness. which is why i’ve chosen a picture of steff, james spader’s character in pretty in pink. the baddie you hate to love.

all of these bands feature cooing vocals, so much of a rarity these days that anything remotely understated evokes the 80s. it wasn’t particularly manly but the new romantics pretty much put paid to any notions that the 80s would be a macho decade.

download here 

breathe – how can i fall

not breathe’s biggest hit, but since they only had one other…close.

howard jones – like to get to know you well

classic synth pop soul which few did better than howard. good use of a mullet too. howard’s sound was slicker than his look. he looked like a tramp with a vidal sassoon haircut and bleach job.

stephen tin tin duffy – icing on the cake

original member of duran duran and has had more success in production than with his own music.

climie fisher – love changes everything

sweet late 80s boy pop that can still be found on heart fm to this day. they had one other notable song, ‘rise to the occasion’.

curiosity killed the cat – down to earth

smash hits favourite ben volauvent parrot and co were minor challengers to bros and wet wet wet in the late 80s. i used to fancy migi.

wet wet wet – sweet little mystery

cheeky scot marti pellow looked so much better with the caught-in-a-dodgem spiky haircut than his later curtain style look when they caught their financial break with ‘love is all around’.

scritti politti – absolute

i love the sound of green’s voice, its like candyfloss. all of scritti  politti’s music sounds the same across albums spanning the entire decade. i like that in a group.

johnny hates jazz – i don’t want to be a hero

oddly sincere sounding group taking into account the jazz were rich pretty boys. proving rich boys don’t need to go indie to compensate for their roots. all of jhj’s music has that late 80s wine bar sound on lock.

omd – if you leave

i don’t care for much of omd’s music but of all the 80s teen movies, this was the most fitting soundtrack to the obligatory high school dance scene. i think we all wanted andie to get with duckie, but its not so bad for him as he’s ended up in two and a half men with charlie sheen…

brother beyond – how many times

god nathan moore really wasn’t any better a singer than he is an agent. and don’t get me wrong, i loved bb way more than bros. no wonder lisa scott-lee’s career haas gone down the pan…oh wait, no, that’s because she’s shit.

blow monkeys – it doesn’t have to be this way

i’m sure i heard carol mcgiffin say that she slept with monkeys frontman dr robert. maybe if you were a bit older – and i mean of an age when you should be fancying people, not 11 like i was – then he was the 80s version of russell brand. who i don’t get either.

hipsway – the honeythief

don’t know much about this group but they typified the smooth sound of the time.

 

yuppie soul…for wannabes and estate agents alike July 13, 2007

del-wine-bar.png

yuppies were everywhere in the late 80s. inspired by wall street and dressed by armani. or more likely, next, in fact i think the blame for the continuing success of next and its unflattering, boxy clothes can be laid squarely at the feet of the yuppie movement.

think del boy falling over in an underground wine bar trying to impress snooty trophy wives while hapless trigger looks on in his blue suit. being the average man on the street, never mind the underdog, was not a celebrated thing in the late 80s. my parents knew someone who aspired to be a yuppie. if he held a barbecue, it was a ‘dinner party’ by virtue of the fact that he would provide a musical backdrop of ‘now thats what i call classical music’. the fact that he worked at asda didn’t hold him back – he assumed the look, the lifestyle and the self delusion.

it’s sad to watch the ex-yuppies now, especially those that were young at the time. they cling desperately to their trench coats and briefcases, and we don’t invite them out for after work drinks. unless we want them to pay.

dodgy, drab fashion and buck teeth aside, the most hilarious part of the yuppie image was the mobile phone. or the brick, as its now commonly known. not dissimilar to lugging around your own portable phone box, and requiring an antenna that would spear anyone within fifty feet.

it’s no surprise that some of the soul artists that broke through at this time were white, and very middle of the road. they were reflective of the audience. the music was criticised as manufactured and lacking in grit, but its a hell of a lot better than most of the crap we’re forced to endure today. ‘pop’ does mean ‘popular’ after all…

smooth wine bar grooves for the upwardly mobile – download here

al jarreau – we’re in this love together

alexander o’neal – hearsay

sade – hang on to your love

mica paris and will downing – where is the love

luther vandross – give me the reason

whitney houston – you give good love 

lisa stansfield – live together

simply red – a new flame

wet wet wet – angel eyes

tracy chapman –  fast car

terence trent d’arby – if you let me stay

michael bolton – soul provider