lundi 27 décembre 2010

Loleatta Holloway - Mama Don’t, Papa Won’t (1992)

Salsoul may have been an excellent disco label, but as soon as the genre’s incredible popularity died out, Salsoul suffered accordingly. The remix collections brought out in the early nineties were an obvious late attempt to milk the catalogue to the max (work subsequently continued by Suss'd), but luckily the material was rich - often with great orchestration and live percussion - and the choice of remixers was inspired. People like Masters At Work, Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley, Clivilles & Cole and David Morales did exceptional work on tracks that they very obviously loved. Some mixes arguably outdid the originals.

Inexplicably named Tabasko for the UK market (it was 'Synergy' in the US), the remix album started off with Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley’s terrific mix of Loleatta Holloway’s “Mama Don’t, Papa Won’t”, a radically different take that nevertheless made great use of the original strings section and fit the song perfectly, giving it a whole new lease of life.

As well as being included on the compilation CDs, some tracks were released on CD-single, albeit in a rather roughshod manner; there was no front sleeve, artwork was uniformly terrible, tracklistings were often absent or didn’t reflect the actual contents of the CD…

Although I already had the Salsoul CD singles of some other tracks, I didn’t know that “MD,PW” had also been released as a single until I came across it on eBay. Apparently, despite these CDs being pretty hard to find when they were released, nobody else cares, as I was the only person to bid, and got the CD for next to nothing.

Anyway, the CD-single contained a Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley dub that I hadn’t heard before, and although it’s not radically different (as was often the case with his work), there were some sections that strayed from the vocal version, and I’d always wanted his mix to be longer, so… I decided to make my own version! The result gives the track more emphasis on the less vocal side and makes for a welcome surprise for anyone - like me - who knows it by heart now. I think of it as a slight extension, and the new splices sound natural, so I’m quite pleased with it. Have a listen below, and download it if you like…

I’d love to be able to direct you to a legal download site that allows you to get your hands on the Hurley remix and support the artist, but once again it’s unavailable on all the usual sites (unless you know otherwise). Sad.

It's also amusing to note that more time has now passed between the remix release and the present day than between the original disco release and the remix!

BONUS! I combined two of the MAW mixes of “Ten Percent” together to make an extra long mix too. Not rocket science, but I like the way it works. You can download that here.

vendredi 3 décembre 2010

The Be1ievers - Wh0 Dar3s To Be1ieve 1n Me (Roach Motel mix) (1994)

If you've read other parts of this blog, you may know that 1994 was THE year for house music (for me). It changed me forever, and I never quite got over it.

The original of this Roy Davis Jr. track was on Strictly Rhythm. You can buy the original versions here and the 2009 remixes (surprisingly uncheesy, but hardly subtle either) here. However, this vinyl release, licensed for the first ever release on the Sound of Ministry label, contained a classic mix from Farley & Heller (under their Roach Motel moniker) that has never been available digitally.

It's always been a favourite of mine, and although I'd tried to rip it once with my old plastic turntable, the results were not great. Now that I have a proper turntable and sound card, it sounds a great deal better. It may even be the best Farley & Heller remix ever made, together with A Feelin' by Jasper Street Company, although there are plenty of other potential candidates.

I'm guessing that these mixes aren't available because Strictly licensed the track to Ministry, who paid to have the track to be remixed for the UK, and now neither of them knows who owns the rights or where the masters are. I'd love for them to be brought out digitally sometime, but while we're waiting (it has been 16 years after all), I thought you might like to listen and download my rip. I've tweaked the sound a bit and de-clicked the vinyl, and I think it sounds pretty good. Tell me if you agree!


This track was removed from Soundcloud upon the request of Strictly Rhythm, the owners of the original track. The remix posted here however was never released by Strictly Rhythm, has not been released by them since, has not been made available digitally by them ever and hasn't been licensed by them for any other project or use since it was released by Ministry in 1994.

Soundcloud allowed me a 'right of reply', in which I explained this. My point was essentially, that posting about a song that is impossible to buy legally doesn't infringe anyone's copyright. Furthermore, I suggested that even Strictly Rhythm don't really know if it's theirs or not, otherwise it would have been released by them by now.

I also suggested a more intelligent approach than a simple takedown, such as putting a link on the track that would lead people to a legal download site (for the original). I also said that I would love them to release this mix, and that - unlike many tracks - I would never make a track available for download if it were available for legal purchase elsewhere. I think it's essential to encourage labels to re-release old tracks, and that the artists get their share.

Also, ironically, the track has been available on Youtube for two years now, and no-one at Strictly seems very bothered about that. They haven't even put a link on those videos so people can go and download the track.

Anyway, Soundcloud gave me two days to refute the takedown by Strictly. I replied immediately with the above, and asked for proof from Strictly that this mix was their property. After all, you can't just remove content without proof of ownnership, can you? Well apparently, you can; after a week, no-one replied, the track remained banned, so I just uploaded it again with figures in the title instead of some letters, and my guess is that they won't find or bother me again.

What's the lesson of this story? That labels prefer to keep music orphaned rather than try to make it available, that they have the clout 'n' shout to shut some things down, but not the motivation to keep the music alive, that this sort of blinkered attitude is doing nothing to encourage people to turn to legal download sites, and that much music that is still unavailable may stay that way for a very long time to come.