21/09/2020: “She’s My Baby” by The Mojo Men

Raucous. 60s raucous, but undeniably, unquestionably, unshakably raucous.

That fuzz bassline is a centrepiece of the track. Probably why Kanye West chose to sample it for his 2010, ‘Hell Of A Life’. The musician behind this gem of a bassline is none other than Sly Stone. Of course.

The rest of song is played with… well, if not exactly elegance, then passion, at least!

And you can’t deny it’s catchy, from the iconic chorus to the bluesy harmonica.

Would you want a world where nobody ever lets loose? I wouldn’t, and neither would The Mojo Men.

The song was first released in 1965, with the second, more polished version released in 1966. It was the B-side to ‘Do The Hanky Panky’.

20/09/2020: “Man Next Door” by John Holt

This is one of the classic reggae riddims. It’s heavy, sticks in your ear like gorilla glue, and has been covered by acts such as Massive Attack, Dennis Brown, The Slits and Joe Ariwa.

There’s also a version by Dr Alimantado called ‘Poison Flour’, which has one of the heaviest cuts going.

The original was released in 1968, by John Holt and the Paragons. I considered choosing ‘Indiana James’, the original Paragons dub version.

But you should listen to the John Holt vocal before hand to get a fuller appreciation of the song.

Remember to turn it up loud!

19/09/2020: “Rainfall In Dub” by Versa

This one’s going for 100 quid on Discogs. It was only released in 2015 – but it makes sense, because it’s a very desirable plate!

Versa has been one of the most consistently brilliant dubstep producers on the ‘dubby’ side of the genre. This track encapsulates the potential of that sound. The space in between notes, in between frequencies. Everything has room to breathe. And breathe deeply.

The warm, earth shattering bassline is a melody in its own right. A smattering of swampy rhodes piano stabs echo throughout, gilding the weight with a light finesse.

The beat pulses along doggedly, scattering hi-hats and washed out snares in its wake.

A violin, vaguely oriental in nature, floats above the calm meditation in the latter half of the track. I think this song is a testament to the power of dubstep to move dancefloors and souls.

‘Rainfall In Dub’ was released in 2015 on the now legendary System records, backed with ‘Road To Righteousness’.

18/09/2020: “A Andorinha Da Primavera” by Madredeus

Madredeus could loosely be said to be a Portuguese folk band. They come from a tradition of fado music, which is a distinctive style of mixed guitar/stringed instruments, and depressing/beautiful female vocals. Take your pick.

The style is incredibly old, soaked through with centuries worth of tear-soaked tradition.

This one has a xylophone or marimba of some kind, adding further notes of pleasant but haunting contemplation.

The song has a soothing quality that is reminiscent of Muzak, or elevator music. Which isn’t to say that this song is bland – quite the contrary. It’s a very rich, full and deep song.

The piece was released in 1997 on O Paraiso.

17/09/2020: “The Chase (Smooth Mix)” by Juan Atkins

Juan Atkins is one of the three legendary ‘originators’ of Detroit Techno. You could say, without too much hyperbole, that techno wouldn’t exist without him.

Model 500 is one of Juan’s alias. Although the other mixes of this song are fine – this mix does it for me. It does what it says on the tin. Smoooth…

In all seriousness though, this is a classic piece of Detroit history. Even though this was released in 1989, it still sounds ahead of its time today, in my opinion.

16/09/2020: “Valerie (1987 Mix)” by Steve Winwood

The original ’82 mix of this is okay. But this blog is not in the business of okay. It’s all about the bangers here!

This version is peak 80s – so if you like 80s music, you’ll no doubt love this. And quite possibly have done some dubious karaoke to it.

As themes for 80s pop songs go, ‘Valerie’ is fairly standard. Guy meets girl, guy loses girl, guy misses girl. However, the song was written, apparently, with a certain singer called Valerie Carter in mind, whose star was fading due to drug abuse.

The ’87 version did a lot better than the original, because it’s a lot better. It reached number 9 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

15/09/2020: “Man On The Corner” by Genesis

I would argue that this represents a zenith of the Genesis musical history. A lot of people would disagree…

However, that’s in great part because Genesis has a fragmented fanbase as a result of their development over the years.

As I’ve touched on previously, 1981’s classic Abacab was a big change for Genesis. It marks the real start of the Banks/Rutherford/Collins act held by many to be the band’s golden age.

A big part of that change was driven by Phil Collins. You can really hear his trademarks on this one – the familiar vocals, the stadium filling drums, the dark lyrics.

Abacab was written specifically to avoid the band becoming to stale, and drove at a more pop oriented direction. Certainly, this isn’t the most complex song musically, but it packs a punch!

The track is about a troubled homeless man who harasses passersby. I think it’s an effective take on the terrible loneliness of many homeless people – a side to living on the streets which is often forgotten about.

‘Man On The Corner’ featured first on Acacab, and was released a year later as a single, in ’82.

14/09/2020: “Tonka (Menta Remix)” by Jammin’

Menta are a fairly obscure duo, making garage at the time (and place) which it morphed into dubstep. But actually, one half of Menta was in famous speed garage group 187 Lockdown, whereas the other?

Now goes by DJ Artwork. Pretty famous amongst the youth, you might say.

This banger encapsulates the kind of sound which was around in Croydon in the early noughties. It doesn’t take a professional musicologist to see how this sort of track helped to kickstart dubstep!

The bassline is massive, an unwieldy warper which switches into a filthy wobbler. If you don’t know what that means, please have a listen…

The drums are frenetic, a broken two-step beat with hi-hats and snares popping off like bullets.

That’s basically it, aside from some very tasteful samples which add colour and interest throughout. As I say: Banger!

The song was released on DJ Zinc’s label, Bingo Beats, in 2003.

13/09/2020: “Day Of The Lords” by Joy Division

Joy Division are generally acknowledged to be years ahead of their time. As with many of the transitional bands of the late 70s and early 80s, they often get lumped with the amorphous ‘post-punk’ label.

But, in fairness, I’m not sure what else you could call this.

It’s dark. Moody. Slightly unnerving. More than a little sludgy?

If getting stuck in a bog late at night had a soundtrack, it could conceivably sound like this.

I love it!

The thunderous bass, the satanic vocals, the off key guitars, the manic drums: this song is fantastic!

You can find the track on their 1979 debut effort, the iconic Unknown Pleasures. 

12/09/2020: “Love Rollercoaster” by Ohio Players

Having posted a disco hit from 1975 yesterday, it seems only fair to include another. This is technically funk, but it makes me want to wear some flares and strut my stuff – not that I could ever pull that off!

I’m not sure if there are many songs catchier than this. This is very catchy indeed…

So catchy, in fact, that this track reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100.