Lost Gem Alert!!
PLAY: General Public – Hot You’re Cool
One of the great cuts off General Public’s 1984 album All The Rage.
Next to “Never You Done That”, this is my favorite track from that record and I really can’t understand why it didn’t get the plug I think it deserves. I mean it’s a catchy tune, even with it’s rather tongue-twister chorus.. but it’ll have you singing along, and it might just even stick in your head throughout the day.
You’ve got some varying layers going on here, it’s quite an interesting mix of sounds if you really dive into the mix. Also the awesome horns in here, reminiscent of their English Beat days. Such a great tune and I’m sure this is new to a lot of you out there so give it a whirl.
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PLAY: Pet Shop Boys – Domino Dancing (Club Mix)
I think the interesting aspect of some of the Pet Shop Boys music is that it’s a real melting pot of sounds. You’ve got a diverse array of tones just intermingling, and surprisingly it all plays out appealing to the ears.
“Doming Dancing” is an interesting track in that it’s based in that typical late 80′s electronic sound, the upbeat techno thing with the use of those synths, sequencers, and beats. Then we’ve got this Latin thing going on with these cool dancy piano bars, and Spanish guitar lines. The lyrical melody is quite strong in it’s structure, delicately delivered in both verse and chorus, and that’s what makes it pop!
Presented here is the “Club Mix” which is a little bit busy at times verses the single edit, but I’m sure you’ll all enjoy as I do.
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PLAY: Stephen Bishop – Somewhere In Between
OK so I’m really pushing it with this cheat (1979) but you know what, I don’t care, I haven’t done one in awhile and I’ve been grooving a lot on this one lately therefore I’m passionate enough to write about it so I’m gonna do it :)
Featured as the theme song to the frightening prospect of nuclear explosion flick The China Syndrome starring Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas, and Jack Lemmon among others.. Stephen Bishop’s “Somewhere In Between” is an awesome uptempo jam. First we start off with this jangling guitar which is rather raunchy before we dive into sullen yet steady pace of the verses. The hinge or otherwise “hook” of the song for me is this great keyboard sound on those few bars. That fantastic keyboard sound of the late 70′s and early 80′s, chime-like if that makes sense. What really soups up the track is the snotty guitar solo that takes the tune to a whole other level!
I’d go so far as to say this is also a Lost Gem. It would never get heard unless you were watching that movie. So I hope this post sheds some like on a cool little cut!
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PLAY: Burt Bacharach – Street Talk
I’ve always been incredibly fond of this particular piece of music. Once again pulled from one of my favorite films and soundtracks from the 80′s, Night Shift.
Burt Bacharach, along with Carole Bayer Sager, were fresh off the soundtrack and score to Arthur when they took on the Night Shift project. It’s the very early 80′s and there’s a unique thing happening in the approach to modern day music, where it seemed all the hits were infused with this jazz sensibility. They were sophisticated and polished, they were cool and laid back, but still ballsy enough at times to not be cornered into any one “sound”.
The instrumental “Street Talk” was featured only briefly in the film during the intro, but it was on the soundtrack LP where we really get to see how great this tune is. There’s so much going on here instrumentally, but it’s all perfectly balanced with this moody pace. I’m unaware of exactly who all the fantastic musicians are on this track, but they certainly built a fantastic framework! If you play this on a big system you’ll feel how sharp the horn section is, how elegant the synths are, how grand the treble is, how funky the bass gets towards the end. It’s all tied together in this score for night time street life.
Chances are you may have never heard this before. Play it 3 or 4 times and you’ll fall in love with it. It will be your groove for the day, and night :)
Key Album Cut Alert!!
PLAY: Wham! – A Ray Of Sunshine (Custom Mix)
So the Wham! debut album, 1983′s Fantastic is slightly different from the more polished, more mainstream success of the following years Make It Big release. The whole white rap thing on some songs, and by contrast certain tones that remind me of say bubblegum disco. It’s definitely different vocally, where George really hasn’t come into his own as the caliber of a great singer just yet, but it’s not bad for a first record.
This first offering had more impact in the UK than it did here in the States, particularly for it’s poppy, almost comical rebellious tone with songs like “Wham! Rap”, “Bad Boys” and “Young Guns”.
For me though, I much prefer “Club Tropicana” or the key album cuts like “Nothing Looks The Same In The Light” and this number, “A Ray Of Sunshine” which is completely bubbly in a humorous way, yet it’s got a great groove to it that one could turn on when they wake up to get themselves going. I mean “Sometimes you wake up in the morning with a bass line, a ray of sunshine..Sometimes you know today you’re gonna have a good time, and you’re ready to go!” Optimistic poetry perhaps :)
I have to give a shout-out to one of our fellow 80′s kids who provided me with this “custom mix” (you know who you are :) … for years I wanted to have a nice blend of the instrumental remix and the album track and never quite got around to it. Thankfully this fan hooked me up and it is their fine mix that I share with you here.
New Wave Weekend!!
PLAY: Toni Basil – Mickey (Long Version)
One of the more cheesy tunes of the 80′s. At least to me anyway. But you got to admit it’s fun every now and then, but no not always.
“Mickey” for most will always be a snapshot of Toni and a bunch of cheerleaders doing their thing in that low-budget early era music video with the polarizing white back round. Cheap but memorable, so I guess it served it’s purpose.
While it’s easy to box Toni Basil in as a one hit wonder with this track, her credits as a dancer/choreographer and actress far surpass her Billboard standing. Noted works such as involvement in The Monkees movie Head, as well Easy Rider and Five Easy Pieces (All Bob Rafelson projects for you movie buffs!) And she was also the choreographer behind Paula Abdul’s moves during the height of her popularity at the end of the 80′s.
Here we have the “long version” or “special club mix” of the song from the 12” single. I know, I know.. why would you even want a longer version of this? Hey I do this for you. You want alternate mixes you got ‘em :)
New Wave Weekend!!!
PLAY: Blondie – The Tide Is High
Blondie I think had a real knack for playing in different musical styles. They could be disco, punkish rock, and even perfect pop with some tunes.
How about “The Tide Is High” for example. Taking full advantage of the any-thing-goes era of new wave, they basically took an old tropical island song from the 60′s and revamped it for the 80′s. Yup, that’s right, this song was first written and recorded by the Jamaican reggae band The Paragons in 1967, who’s version I have to say is pretty fun.. very organic, very pure, old style!
Blondie on the other hand glossed it over in a very subtle way, resulting in something that didn’t sound like anything they had released previously, and scored themselves yet another hit in their catalog. Definitely a great summer song.. I can even smell the coconut oil and the sea breeze with this one :)