vendredi 23 avril 2010

Utah Saints - What Can You Do For Me (1993)

One of things I loved about CD singles in the nineties was the difference between UK and US releases, the promise of more track, the surprise of new mixes.

In 1991, Utah Saints were having success in the UK with What Can you Do For Me. Based around three cheeky samples (There Must Be An Angel the Eurythmics, Gwen Guthrie's Ain't Nothin' Goin' On But The Rent and Don't Stop Me Now from Queen which didn't clear for the final official version) it was a bit cheap but insanely catchy, plumbing into a scene that major companies were having problems exploiting. A subsequent album release kept the momentum going, and it was obvious that release abroad was also necessary.

But what do you do if you're a product manager in New York with a rave product to sell, and no-one in America knows what rave is? No problem, just have remixed into New York garage!

So far, pretty standard stuff. Remixing has always been partly about catering the sound of a release to suit your market, or several markets, and in this case David Morales was brought in to make What Can you Do For Me palatable to the club kids, an essential tactic to get some buzz going. The Eurythmics sample stayed, the Queen sample was re-sung (by a woman! with an exaggerated English accent!), but why make do with just a sample of Gwen Guthrie when you can have... Gwen Guthrie herself!

And it is here that marketing cynicism met artistic genius. Guthrie came in and recorded expanded new vocals especially for the remixes. Re-booted and boosted with a garage house sound, this was no longer a track: it was a proper song. And it worked wonderfully. Morales had made things more melodic, peppered the soft vocals with some hard percussion, judiciously used the samples, and the whole thing gelled. Two years after the UK single release, what was a crusty bandwagon-jumper had become a NY club monster!

The U.S. single contained three Morales mixes (there were a couple more on the promo 12") as well as a so-called trancey mix by someone else, but I've always had a soft spot for the latter, so I decided to put it together with Morales' 10-minute Klub mix and make a fifteen-minute marathon! It was fairly tricky, as the two mixes aren't exactly at the same speed, nor do they use the same elements. In the end I extended the end of the Morales mix in order to help it blend in better, and the result isn't half bad. You can have a listen here...



Utah Saints are still going, although their sample-based novelty singles got very boring very quickly. If you have a look at YouTube, you'll be able to see them making twats of themselves back in the day on Top of The Pops (pretending to play instruments. Hilarious), and flogging their dead horse at festivals even now. It's strange to think that after recording new vocals in 1993, Gwen Guthrie was to die from uterine cancer just six years later, age 48. Shame.

You can download Utah Saints -What Can You Do For Me (Klub mix / A Trance for the Saints fist fusion) by clicking the button on the player above. Enjoy!

(P.S. Needless to say, these remixes are now imposisble to buy except second hand, another example of wasted back catalogue lingering in limbo...)

1 commentaire:

NorthernSoul a dit…

You kinda slag the Utah's there, 'less I'm reading wrong..? They were a top little group round Leeds in their day, and Tim Sheridan, in his own right is a shit hot DJ. Well, least he was then, not to sure 'bout the crap he plays these days. Best thing I have on tape is a show he did on Kiss, a non-house night, as I said best thing I've got on tape...Good blog by the way, had a quick scout around your few...Keep the faith my man, keep the fuckibg faith.