The SOS Band were one of the acts (along with Alexander O’Neal) that Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis honed their production chops on before hitting the really big time with Janet Jackson. This was their first hit and you can already hear that signature drum machine sound (a Roland TR-808) which pretty much defined 80s dance music.
An absolute classic record, and extra marks for the guy playing a Keytar. Don’t see enough of those these days.
Though this was a medium-sized hit in the UK in 1979 it became better known 10 years later when that great brass riff was sampled by S-Express which got to #1. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that the original is the best.
I love how the guy is playing bongos for what is obviously a synth-drum sound.
This was the first House record to make the charts in the UK but little did I know when I bought the 12″ back in 1986 that it would turn out to be as influential and game-changing as ‘Anarchy In The UK’. I knew it was a bloody great record though, with a beat and a vocal that leapt out of the speakers at you.
This performance by Darryl Pandy on Top of The Pops must have helped it make a splash too.
I was doing a bit of crate-digging at home the other day and pulled out the 1985 compilation album Go Go Crankin’ which dates from that brief moment in the mid-80s when Go-Go music from Washington DC was the hottest thing around – at least on the London club scene and in trendy style magazines.
Go-Go was heavily percussive funk with an emphasis on extended live jams that had been a local scene in DC for years before it came to the attention of taste-makers and trendies on the other side of the pond. It was given a big push by Island Records, hyped by a big feature in The Face, and was very popular at London warehouse clubs like The Dirtbox where it shared turntable space with Rockabilly, Reggae, and Electro (clubs were a lot more eclectic in the days before House devoured the entire scene).
But despite the big push it never broke through to a mass audience the way Hip-Hop did, probably because Go-Go was more dependent on funky jams than snappy tunes — not surprisingly then that it’s high point in the UK was probably Trouble Funk’s famous gig at London’s Town & Country Club in 1986.
It’s brief moment in the English sun did bring us some great records though, of which Go Go Crankin’ was probably the most essential collection. I hadn’t played it in years and it’s still prime booty-shaking music.
Recorded from vinyl so forgive any sound imperfections.
One of those songs that always reminds me of soul boys in Farah trousers and slow dances in disco pubs. Spent many a Saturday night dancing with a girl to this one — or trying to. This is a really fabulous performance of it.
The group’s organ player mentioned in the clip is a young man from Cleethorpes who went on to write Rock With You, Off The Wall, and Thriller amongst others.
Back (sadly) from our holidays in Rhode Island. Had a great time, though as you can see from the above photo, the wife had to go catch our dinner every night.
Seized by a bout of nostalgia for late-90s club music I took on the trip the CD Beach House, one of the many, many Hed Kandi compilations I bought back then — just looking at the distinctive sleeves they had sends me back in time.
The first track on the album is “Music and Wine” by Blue 6 which originally came out on Naked Music, another label I bought a lot of back then with equally distinctive sleeves. Naked specialized in smooth and soulful dance music and “Music and Wine” is one of the most sublime, summery House records you’ll ever hear. It was my favourite single of 1999 and still sounds wonderful.
Grace Jones’ classic 1981 album Nightclubbing has been given a well-deserved reissue with the usual deluxe treatment of unreleased tracks, remastering, remixes and all that lovely stuff.
There are two extended mixes of “Pull Up To The Bumper” on the reissue but not this one for some reason. I can’t remember where I got this from and there seems to be some confusion over its origin and availability. But wherever it came from it’s still brilliant, really bringing out the rubbery funkiness of the great Sly and Robbie rhythm section.
I danced to this on many nights back when it was a new record — Lord, what an amazing time for new music that was — and even though I knew it wasn’t really about parallel parking I’d never listened to the words close enough to realize just how filthy it really is.
I had already planned to post this record in the next week or so as part of my I Have Twelve Inches series, but now, sadly, it will have to do as a tribute to the great Frankie Knuckles.
Of all the genres, subgenres, and microgenres of dance music over the years the classic Chicago House sound has been my favourite from the moment I first heard the massive pounding beat of “Love Can’t Turn Around” in 1986. Give me a big piano riff and drum machines over a 4/4 beat with soulful vocals and I’m in Dance Music Heaven. Frankie Knuckles practically invented that sound which not only revolutionized the club scene — giving us superstar DJs and Raves — but was also a huge influence on mainstream pop music.
Club music was changing and evolving so quickly back in the late 80s-early 90s that it could he hard keeping up with who was doing what or even know the names of records you’d been dancing to, but if I saw Frankie Knuckles name on a label, either as producer or remixer, I’d buy it.
“Tears” from 1989 is my pick for his best record. A slow-burning, hypnotic number, with a gliding sensual beat and an intensely soulful vocal by Robert Owens. Just sublime, and a contender for greatest House record ever made IMHO.