I was playing a bunch of old records today, and wondering why I don’t hear so many new ones that really groove me. The thing that really got me going on this was the Steinski double CD retrospective What Does It All Mean? on the Illegal Art label. Back in the day I had a 12 inch white label of The Lessons, and I particularly love Lesson 3 coz of the way it’s build around Herman Kelly’s Let’s Dance To The Drummer’s Beat. These days The Lessons don’t sound quite as hot as they once did, possibly due to this near legitimate CD release – but they still shake the walls a lot harder than the recent radio mix on the second disk. Don’t get me wrong, Nothing To Fear the Steinski DJ set is a toe-tapping groove but it ain’t The Lessons.
From Steinski I moved on to Beat Dis by Bomb The Bass, which cranked up still sounds like a real mother for ya! I’ll be playing Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson latter. From Beat Dis I moved along to Rebel MC. I loved Street Tough when it came out, and Michael West just got better year after year. Since I’d got onto a London trip, I stuck on Walk & Skank by Jah Screechy, and next I couldn’t resist playing the greatest Slade cover of all time, Mama We’re All Crazee Now by Denzil Dennis, which led to Johnny Reggae by the Piglets.
I recently said by way of reply to a comment on my blog about the Stanley Long film(s) Screamtime: “And when is some clever record company gonna click onto the idea of doing a CD (maybe double CD) of Long soundtracks? Bread and Groupie Girl have plenty of good tunes, not to mention the theme songs from the Aventure series – mind you the one Adrienne Posta sings would work well on a best of compilation of her tunes, she’s brilliant on non-Long stuff like Johnny Reggae too!”
And from a Jonathan King production it was just a short step to playing Hot Butter by Popcorn, then I was spinning If You Could Read My Mind by Gordon Lightfoot, Cherry Cherry by Neil Diamond, The Pushbike Song by The Mixtures, and merrily singing along to Lobo’s Me & You & A Dog Named Boo. Next I put on the first Damned album and that sounded pretty good too…. I don’t have a copy of the follow up Music For Pleasure, and I don’t rate it very highly although Lol Coxhill appears on it. Which got me thinking about how I heard this free jazz saxophonist playing in The Foundry last week, just a few weeks after I’d booked him to play the South London Gallery, and that I first caught him live 32 years ago onstage with The Damned! And he still sounds great!
What I’m getting at here is that I don’t get as excited by new records as I do by old tunes. I still hear good new tracks but they don’t send me like the rhythms of yesteryear… The last ‘new’ musicians to really excite me were minimal techno acts like Plastikman and Panasonic, but for the past ten years there has been nothing that has really got me going in the same way. So is contemporary music losing its edge? I don’t mean indie wank, which was always rubbish, I mean chart records and dance tunes. Obviously part of the problem is the older you get the more you’ve heard, so nothing is gonna have the same effect on me as when I first heard You Can’t Sit Down by The Phil Upchurch Combo when I was 12 years-old (more than a decade after it was recorded) or Get It On by T. Rex when I was 9 (when it hit the charts).
Asked the other day what I’d like in terms of entertainment at an event to promote the Semina series of books I’m editing, I said The Flirtations – who these days are based in London and advertise themselves as for hire. Turns out they cost three thousand quid for an hour show, which is way beyond our budget, so as compensation I’ve got the b-side/album track How Can You Tell Me? blasting out right now. I was just reading back through this blog before posting and now I’m onto Once I Had A Love on the Sounds Like The Flirtations album, and that is just such a groove too! I still go nuts for music but the new stuff ain’t doing it for me no more… why?
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) sense!