Saturday, 11 April 2009
Guitars, We Don't Need No Stinkin' Guitars
I have decreed that it is 80's weekend, well in my little world anyway.
By the 80's I don't mean the usual take on it, the nonsense that was New Romantic, Duran Duran and all that pish. Nor do I mean the alternative 80's of The Smiths, C86, The Jesus and Mary Chain and the like, all of which I love. No I mean the dance music of the late 80's, House music. Those of you who either never got it or just plain couldn't stand the lack of guitars, I apologize and maybe you should come back next week, as the next few days ain't for you. I know that it wasn't everybody's cup of tea and it took some innovative remixers and the funky drummer drum beat for a lot of the people I knew to stick their toe in the murky waters of "dance music" and only then if it were preceded with the word indie.
For the next few days this site will resound with the sounds of 303s, samples, scratches and drum machines.
In 1987, I was getting kind of bored with the music I was listening to, it had been 2 years since Psychocandy and I felt that indie music was in a kind of a rut. I know that there will be people out there horrified by that statement and will be able to cite dozens of great innovative singles that came out that year but it just wasn't doing it for me. Apart from at Scooter Club dances where you would hear soul music, going for a dance was nigh on impossible. With the exception of New Order I can't think of anything contemporary that could get me onto the dance floor.
Then I went to Aberdeen and found what I was looking for. As I have mentioned before I embraced whole heartedly the electronic revolution that was going on in music, the use of samples etc. I had heard and liked the early House and Hip-Hop tunes that had been kicking about the previous year or so but it took the move up north and frequenting the early days of the Pelican Club to get me totally immersed in the music, much to the dismay of my friends at home when I tried, unsuccessfully, mostly, to get them just to listen to never mind get in to it. I really could not understand the hostility to what I saw as a natural progression from soul and disco.
1987 saw House hit these shores in a big way and irrevocably change the way in which music was made. No need for guitars and drums, all you needed was a Korg or a Roland and you could make your own music. For the next few years kids didn't want or need guitars all they needed were a set of decks or a keyboard.
Here are a couple of my favourites from the year, that if 1977 were year zero, then this would be 1917.
First up is It's Alright by Sterling Void, a completely uplifting, classic house tune which came out on the DJ International label and was co-produced by Marshall Jefferson. The Pet Shop Boys had a number 2 hit with a not too shabby cover of this a couple of years later.
Sterling Void & Paris Brightledge - It's Alright
Joe Smooth's Promised Land is another uplifting House tune with the message that everything is going to be alright, there must have been something in the water around this time which put everybody into such an optimistic mood, not only did the music have these positive lyrics but every where you looked people were grinning and hugging each other. Paul Weller loved this song so much that he attempted to cover it, Council House, if you will.
Joe Smooth feat Anthony Thomas- Promised Land