Category: music

Back to the 80’s

So I’m just surfing around YouTube watching episodes of that brilliant Channel 4 comedy, The IT Crowd. The IT Crowd is a hit in my office, since we have a few Office fans and they always wanted to see on with an I.T. crew in it. We’ve now gotten our wish.

Anyhow, after I watched every episode of The IT Crowd, I found myself doing searches. Someone on another board posted a link to Cherelle’s “Didn’t Mean to Turn You On” which I much prefer to that vulgar version by Robert Palmer. And then that keyed the duet she did with Alexander O’Neal.

Oh yeah, I remember him. I remember sitting in a radio studio back in 1985, the lights dimmed, the headphones hanging off one ear, the monitor speakers at the right volume and the phone line ringing off the hook.

I seriously dug being on the radio. Fortunately I have the voice for it, and I had my fan club. It was shall we say dangerous because I realized the power of radio at the tender age of 21. And then by 23 it was all over but do I ever have some memories.

One of them is the time we got locked out of the studio by accident. The tape over the door latch had worn down so when I closed the door it locked. I still remember the record playing, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam’s “I Wonder if I Take You Home”.

And all you heard over the external monitors was the needle trying to play the label. We tried everything, unscrewing the frame around the studio window, until finally we called security. Took them about an hour to find the key thus saving the night.

Then of course one of the dangers was the chance that some ‘fans’ would show up. And you’d just lock the studio door, turn your back to the window and pray they’d leave before too long. Another danger was the fact that the phone patch didn’t have a gate on it. A gate is a device that delays the signal for 5-7 second so you can dump it if something bad goes down. We had no such luxury.

Our biggest audience was a captive audience of sorts. The boys at the adult correctional institution loved the show. Like I said, fans.

The 80’s were pretty big on synth now that I think about it. Here’s some clear evidence with Colonel Abrams singing “Trapped”

Hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane.

What is it about these groups?

I don’t know why but I like They Might Be Giants (TMBG) and Squirrel Nut Zippers.

Here’s TMBG with “Istanbul”

And Squirrel Nut Zippers “Put a Lid On It”

And after watching Woody Allen’s “The Curse of the Jade Scorpion” I think I know where TMBG and SNZ get some of their influence. Come to think of it, the generic music tracks sound an awful lot like SNZ.

So while my mainstream musical tastes are R&B/Soul/Neo-soul my tastes do wiggle out into other things. While I’m thinking about it here’s some more stuff I like:

The Cure

Dave Matthews Band

I think in the case of DMB I love the above track because it builds up layer by layer. And if you saw my iTunes library, you’d see that I love guitar and bass. Oh don’t get me wrong, brass is so cool, and I love synth too. But the main component of my library is guitar.

Whitney Houston attains divahood!

Wow – she can still sing. It’s a little different from when I first heard her in 1985. At the radio station I was doing my gig at, we wore a hole through her first album. That’s how much You Give Good Love was requested in 1986.

And here she is, 20 years and a lot of drugs later:

A discovery

So I’ve been keying everyone I like into TuneGlue and then expanding selections. I stumbled upon Leon Ware, very interesting stuff. I like that he lists his religion as sensualism which in essence feeds into hedonism, something I heartily endorse.

Why the hell not enjoy life? Once you discover that it’s mostly absurd it becomes much easier. Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and the world laughs at you.

Other new oldies I picked up include Patrice Rushen’s jazzier works. She’s a very talented musician. You might remember her best for “Forget Me Nots” but her body of work is expansive. Same with Philip Bailey, he has a nice solo career doing some jazz work and I particularly like the track “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy”. I also snagged The Gibson Brothers “Cuba” and Eric Sermon’s “Music”.

It’s funny – my last.fm recommendations are getting more and more interesting. Why? because I also like Dave Matthews Band, Squirrel Nut Zippers, 10,000 Maniacs, etc. So it tends to bring some stuff I like and some stuff I don’t like into my recommendations.

For example, my banned list includes Overise, Cake, Daft Punk, Chingy and E.S.G.
I think with Chingy its the damned ridiculous name.

my-tuneglue-map

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my-tuneglue-map, originally uploaded by kd1s.

So I happened upon this little online experimental site called TuneGlue. Key in an artist then click on the record and select the Expand option.

What you see in this image (1280×800 – sorry but it just had to be widescreen) is just my lower left quadrant based upon a search on “Change”.

So now you know how last.fm’s ‘tune by artist’ works. It connects relationships between artists. Oh and if you download and install iTunes and last.fm it’ll scrobble the tracks you play in your iTunes library. In essence, it looks and sees what might be related to what is in your library which explains how David Bowie ended up in my suggestions.