Friday, 12 September 2008

Three of a Kind #57

HIT AFTER HIT AFTER HIT. So boasts the front cover of 1986 dance compilation Night Beat II. And does it deliver? Well, for the most part, yes. You can't argue with the 'hit' credentials of Billy Ocean's When The Going Gets Tough, Colonel Abrams's Trapped, Princess's Say I'm Your Number One or Paul Hardcastle's Just For Money - even if the first one's a pile of old pants and the last one only got to number 19. (ironic, really, given that it was the follow-up to Nineteen.)

But on the other side of the coin, who remembers Debbie Sharp's Zapped By Love, Precious Wilson's I'll Be Your Friend, The Team's We Are The Team or Dynasty And Mimi's Dynasty Rap (The Story Of The Carrington Crew)? Nobody, that's who. Well, save for the artists, their families, friends, me and the fifteen other people who bought this album.

Incidentally, Dynasty Rap is every bit as terrible as it sounds. The rappers even get into character as Blake and Alexis (and possibly some others - I can't bear to listen to it all the way through so don't know for sure). Utterly cringeworthy!

All in all, though, and speaking typing as a long-time fan of eighties dance music, this double vinyl LP is really good, evocative stuff, and one of my favourite compilations. Picking just three songs from it to feature here is going to be tough, but I've opted for the following trio.

Full Force - Alice, I Want You Just For Me mp3

Full Force get busy one time! This musclebound lot originally came to the fore (or background) as one third of the cumbersomely-monikered Lisa Lisa And Cult Jam With Full Force on the superb I Wonder If I Take You Home, which made the UK top 20 several months earlier. Alice was comfortably their biggest solo hit, reaching the giddy heights of #9 in January 1986.

Regina - Baby Love mp3

OK, so this is basically a straightforward rip-off of mid-eighties period Madonna - but the song's seriously redeeming feature is that it's an absolute belter of a tune in its own right. Entirely derivative, but a belter! Baby Love only made #50 in the UK, but climbed all the way to the top ten in her native USA, and deservedly so.

Hugh Masekela featuring Jonathan Butler - African Breeze mp3

Ooph, that Hugh Masekela's been playing with his trumpet again! For this jazztastic number he's ably supported, on guitar, by fellow South African Jonathan "Lies" Butler. African Breeze failed to trouble the scorers in the UK, but it's a lovely, mellow tune which deserved to fare much better. Actually, it's easy to imagine it serving as the backing music on a Judith Chalmers holiday report from Lanzarote or somewhere similar on an old edition of Wish You Were Here. But don't let that put you off - it's fab, really!

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Any major dude with half a heart said...

Ah, Hugh Masakela and Jonathan Butler. Lovely. Jonathan Butler comes from a huge musical family in the Cape Town suburb of Athlone. At some point, they all toured together, and looked a lot like the Jackson 5, with afros and the works.

What I like about Butler is that even while he made his career "in oversea" (as his childhood mates might say), he always returned to Cape Town to record with local artists, such as local jazz legend Tony Schilder, who is obscure even outside the city's "Coloured" (i.e. mixed-race) community. And didn't insist on top or co-billing, but quietly helped out where he could. A classy guy who deserves to be remembered for more than "Lies".

Kippers said...

Blimey, you certainly know your Butler onions! I'd used up all my facts about him (apart from his also having featured on Ruby Turner's Come Go With Me) in the post. Cheers for the info, dude!