Monday, 5 November 2012

Some timeless cuts ... and ... That's The Way Love Is ... the love from of and for Ten City

On the one hand, I wax lyrically. I find myself indulging in rambling about personal, deep loves, real core tickles that light up sunspots with simultaneously occuring Close Encounters chimes. Or, with increasing softness of the brain, memories invade and take over as I lose grasp over the concepts of relevance and present. No, stop that now, though. Memories are so important, ken.

I happened to be in a remote bar last night, perhaps reward after abstaining from drinking for most of a week, last when my mother brought me out for a birthday dinner (weeks after my birthday) and I had some nice wine then, last week. Last night, the remote bar, a hotel bar, kept serving until after 4 a.m. on a Thursday night. A tiny bar with locals and myself, a stranger who is not a local, it was a lock-in I suppose or something like it. Usual enough around there, I think. One of the men drinking was staff there usually but not at that time. He was asking the few people staying on what their music requests were as he found them from what was available in online services and played whatever he could. What a nice soul he was.

So, I'm just posting to, firstly, mention some music which last night, OK in a surprisingly and unplanned gone state. It all sounded great to me when offshore, better than on the mainland and in the norms of life. Secondly there's a chance to celebrate one particular group of musicians of blinding (and not blingding as I first typed, it was before that era), timeless brilliance. When last night it came across to me how utterly, undilutedly great these tracks they made from up to 25 years ago were and are, as the bar played one request of mine by Ten City. You know, a real legendary group I saw live early this month for the first time in many years.

Briefly, though, the first part, a chance to mention some other songs I think great, separate to the hotel bar requests. It was a doting night of memories in pop music. Before the hotel bar I was in another bar across the way, at the end of the night, two other persons, myself and the bar lady were left. I went to the jukebox, not expecting much, wondering if this was not to place the bar out of character of itself, but I was bored and couldn't care. I was really pleased to find some unexpected great songs again. It left me happy about really great tracks that have either been overplayed, half forgotten, or, in at different times over the years, both.

4 great pieces of music found rather quickly on a jukebox last night:
  1. Dream On Dreamer, The Brand New Heavies.
  2. Together Again, Janet Jackson. Maybe it was the version, not standard, maybe it was the standard version sounding different, but it sounded so lovely last night, and like the great classic I knew it was when it first came out.
  3. The Real Thing, Tony Di Bart. At the same club night I'm mentioning after, early this month, old time favourite Soul DJ Iain 'Boney' Clark (think soul weekenders 20 to 25 years ago) played this track, which I'd been playing myself sometimes this year. And it was nice to see people my age, a bit younger, and older, who knew all of the words - club fanatics, they knew the words to all of the tracks, classic soul house from 1987 or so to the mid 1990s. It's not often I see a place like that anymore. Last night, the mix, or the version was not the usual, it was sultry and cool with slight big band jazz elements, and it was amazing. And I do remember the version, but it was so long ago. From the jukebox card, you'd think it was the original version, but it was not the chart version which was a number one hit in the UK - maybe the American verson at a guess. I can't find this version, hunting online, including in the versions shared in Youtube.
  4. You're The Best Thing, DReam. Things Can Only... was a piece of pop that people went wild for, but grated and smothered your head soon enough. You're The Best Thing though is perfect pop-house-soul and will always be a classic club track of its time. This few minutes of pop club music is so infused in optimism, positivity and a kind of euphoria that can seem to fit into the everyday while being most spiritual - something that would only make every day so special, lifted, always ascending, naturally.
Then, across at the hotel bar, a few tracks that have been "my favourite ever" in times gone by, the bar requests.
  1. Wild Wood, Paul Weller. I so loved this, for a long time, it was so deep in me.
  2. Big Love, Fleetwood Mac. What a classic slice! In fact, I remember, I had to freshly make two different favourite ever track lists at the time, just to have the album and single version of Big Love at the top of one, the more normal one. And to have the Arthur Baker remix of Big Love at the top of the other. Baker's cut was made the top of a new, totally transcendental favourites ever list, that suddenly was light years beyond the normal (and eternally brilliant anyway) favourites ever chart, in sheer radiance and, I dunno, sheer, actual essence of sun. Anyway, last night and tonight I'm thinking of the original version.
  3. Room's on Fire, Stevie Nicks. Aw, it was great when it came along, and what a grower, it just licked you all over after a couple of months with the biggest tongue ever.
4. That's The Way Love Is, Ten City.
"Ah, what can I say", radio DJs of a certain age now used to seem to say of some songs blandly, time and again, but perhaps in truth letting the unsubstantial, perhaps lacklustre cliché hopefully carry the weight they feel personally. Ah, what can I say?


At the club night from early this month which I mentioned above, where Iain 'Boney' Clark Djed, Ten City featuring Byron Stingily were one of the headliners. This was the 23rd birthday party of the old school club Streetrave in Glasgow at The Arches. This annual night has over time brought back legends such as Inner City and a top ambassador of earlier popular house music, C.J. Mackintosh, foundational underground DJs such Graeme Park and John Digweed to Shades of Rhythm and, this year also, FPI Project.
So, unfortunately I have to mention the awful sound. A convention of not saying regarding The Arches might be so entrenched it may even be a partially forgotten convention of the UK's constitution. (I guess, I don't know Arches goers, really. But I can't remember in my life ever hearing anyone echo the baffled concern I had.) A complex or double constitution of not saying this might be, the secondary convention being never to speak of this convention itself as a convention.
I dunno, maybe people talk about the awful noise in The Arches, but does it never get back to the organisers? Is there no see-through foam or soft, clear, thick plastic film available to cover those bare brick arches with? I had the same thoughts 23 years ago in The Arches and probably every time I have poked my head in since, which is only a few times.
Anway to see a legend, like from Greek legends after all this time, is so amazingly restorative - the world still is. Byron Stingily was still singing like a Greek angel (strange I've thought this before on seeing Byron live, then and now not really knowing what a Greek angel, particularly, might be). Even if we only got a few actual Ten City classics (there are numerous), and the band moved on to really boring covers. Poor choices for a night celebrating old school house music, and not the 10 years since Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder and Village People etc. before those times (poor choices any time, to me).
We got Sylvester's "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)", and another, similar very overplayed disco classic number known for both high camp associations and being played in every single Friday night hall in every land for years and years. I can't remember which one, now, perhaps it was a Gaynor track. Anyway, it was the reality of seeing Ten City with Byron, and knowing he was singing as well as ever that mattered. Just the knowing really, for the aural experience so sharply resounding in those torturous, brick railway caves was not pleasant in itself, thanks only to the space itself and poor volume control. I know I wasn't well at all that night, and was close to not going, and my experience is in part that, but the sound was killer shrill. It really was.
Also, I have to mention the loveliness of FPI Project, so cool on stage, after all that time. So fresh. So stylish. Like the vespa only just taken out of its 1960s box again, opened a few times, and stored for posterity.
As for the DJs, the sound in the caverns were not good enough to really comment. I know they were playing great tracks, in both caves, and the atmosphere was good. But I couldn't really have enjoyed it, the sound was not good, and for me hard to bear long. (This is not typical for me when I'm well enough to go to a club as a migraine sufferer. I usually find the loud house music helps.)
Buy "That's The Way Love Is", by Ten City:

No comments:

Post a Comment