mercredi 16 juin 2010

Pride 'n Politix - Hold On (1991)

Pride 'n Politix were one of many bands of the time that looked like they had potential but were very quickly to sink without a trace. With the requisite number of white/not white band members, some reasonable singer/songwriter talent and a knack for aping the soul/acid jazz sound that was big at the time, they seemed poised for success in the 'States, but actually just released one single, one album and then broke up.

So what went wrong?

1. Uninspiring band name. What did "politix" have to do with their brand of slightly limp R&B? Was it something to do with the attention that apartheid was getting at the time? And "pride"? Presumable not gay pride. In any case, it was a terrible, terrible, awful name.

2. Image. OK, it was nearly twenty years ago, but Robin Smith - the guy on the right - looks like he's more likely to ask you to serve afternoon tea and dismiss the nanny than deliver a decent song.

3. The lyrics. Good grief. House/garage almost always has ridiculous lyrics, but Hold On was particularly nonsense. It's about love - obviously - and "the chains that bind us", with singer Nick Romillie telling his girl "Your touch is warm and exciting" ... "I want you so much / I can feel your spirit move me", which is probably the most convoluted euphemism for getting an erection I've ever heard in a song. Actually, the line "We've got to hold on to my love" could also be misinterpreted by someone with a filthy mind. Like me.

4. Brilliant club mixes... that sounded nothing like the album. Whoever got Morales to work on this track was a visionary. It's one of his earlier solo efforts, and there's a bit of dodgy editing and mixing in there, but you can tell he's destined for great things, with subtle live percussion and a great feel. Unfortunately, anyone digging the single was going to be disappointed by the album, which was very much more sedate, sultry, syrupy, sloppy (etc.)

Anyway, I had completely forgotten about the track, and it was only whilst going through my old vinyl that I was inspired to look on eBay to see if it was available on CD. To my surprise, I found a promo CD in Turkey (!) with the extended Morales mix that was on the CD-single, as well as the Bonus mix that was never released digitally (rare!). So I snapped it up, and did my own fusion of the two mixes, making an 11-minute track whose length feels completely natural. It's one of the edits that I'm the most proud of, especially as it required quite a lot of work. Have a listen...

Even with its bonkers bad lyrics, you have to admit the track is rather catchy, devilishly catchy in fact. Now that I've put the extended almost Red Zone-style dub section into the middle, it's pretty palatable stuff. Result!

And where are they now? Well, Nick Romillie is still in the business, having quite a bit of success having reinvented himself as broken beat singer Colonel Red. And Robin Smith's website humbly says that he is "one of the most versatile and successful musicians in the world", which even if it were true would be hugely pretentious as an introduction. No doubt he would rather forget the crash 'n burn of Pride 'n Politix now that he's doing string arrangements for Enrique Iglesias. In fact he's so versatile and successful that he hasn't had time to update his site in the last five years, poor thing. Success is a cruel mistress indeed.

You can download my edit of
Pride 'n' Politix - Hold On
(Extended / Bonus mix Fist fusion)
(11'28" - 26MB)
by clicking here. Enjoy!

P.S. Do you think the label EastWest has the track available for legal download? Or the album? Once again, no. Pfff.

jeudi 3 juin 2010

Wop Bop Torledo - Jungle Fever (1989)

UPDATED! (rip quality upped to 254kbps AAC)

1989! This track is over 20 years old, which - I suppose - is like living in the era of the Beach Boys and listening to the Charleston. Whatever.

Wop Bop Torledo were Maryanne Morgan and Gary Stoner and they didn't last very long (a couple of singles and one failure of an album apparently). However, the mixes of Jungle Fever were from Morales & Knuckles, back in the day when they did all their mixes together. With John Poppo et Peter "Ski" Schwartz helping out, it's one of their lesser known classics, so props to the visionary (but cursed) project manager who shelled out his budget for the mixes.

The lyrics are absolute nonsense, and there's a rubbish sultry rap part way through, but for such an early production it's got a hell of a lot of class, and still sound fresh today. A big shout out to the Finest Def Mix blog (now a little dormant) for bringing it to my attention.

As the vocal version was a little short (just over 5 minutes) and a dub followed, I obviously couldn't resist putting them together to make a 12-minute mash-up. Can't say it was very difficult, but I like the result. The track has a great ambience to it, replete with jungle animal noises! Have a listen below, and click the download button if you want to keep it.

And where are Maryanne Morgan and Gary Stoner today? Well, Morgan seems to be doing occasional backing vocals and has written a few songs for, er, Liberty X and Stoner may or may not be an actor now, recently seen playing "Haggis" in Emmerdale Farm. Oh dear. Update: it's not him. Lord knows where he is now.

And needless to say, none of their catalogue (none of the singles, not even the album) is available for legal download. Thanks to Virgin Records. Again.