During my teen years, transitioning from being a casual volunteer on Student Radio, to taking my first full-time job at a Commercial Radio Station was cause for some (brief) reflection of my musical moral high-ground.
Alternative/Independent = Good.
Commercial/Mainstream = Bad.
Still, some of my favourite “alternative’ bands had record deals and they were still an “underground” commercial success, plus I had fond memories of music enjoyed while listening to the radio and purchased on ‘Greatest Hits’ compilation LPs from my childhood. So what was the big deal? What would my peers think? Was I cool? But in reality – who gives a f*ck? Once you get past that internal dialogue and just enjoy the music you like for whatever justification you (think) you require – music is fun again!
Fast forward (or should that be rewind?) to the early/mid-90s. DJing at a nightclub and working at a Student Radio, before heading off on a “Working Holiday” to the U.K. for just under 2 years. The Brits (Scottish, Irish & English) love and celebrate their music. The Brit Awards are always good. Many an early evening were spent at a friends’ flat, sitting around, drinking/eating and enjoying the current musical releases that were popular during that time. Probably a few underground artists – but mainly mainstream pop (as it’s called in the U.K.) and that was fine. It was perfect. Playing these tracks (and others) was a shared early evening tradition that became the soundtrack to our pre-party evenings. One of our friends actually made a mix-tape of all the CD tracks we enjoyed so much and gave it to us as an audio souvenir, just before we left Edinburgh. I did go on to discover a “harder” format of dance music, often referred to as; hiNRG, Rave, Hardcore, Gabber, Trance, etc. … but that’s another story.
So, music from the good times in Edinburgh and a few from the days prior to arriving in the U.K. I recently re-discovered these while perusing a Discogs account located in London, U.K. and just said “What the hell!” jumped in and went a little crazy. Here they are. They may be “uncool” but that’s OK.
Lesson: Embrace the music you love and enjoy it!
Living Joy – “Don’t Stop Moving” Pure Pop fun – the hooks in this track still give me goosebumps.
Happy Clappers – “I Believe” This could almost be added to the “Rave/House” category.
Everything But The Girl (ebtg) – “Missing” To be honest I really liked the Todd Terry remix, but bought the Chris & James mixes because it was there – and helped reduce the shipping cost/EP. This was released in ’94 so not sure where I was when I first heard it. A classic.
Utah Saints – “Something Good” Full disclosure: first introduced to this song by my mate, Pat while DJ’ing in New Zealand during 1992-93. Obviously a Kate Bush sample and trancey as hell!
Felix – “Don’t You Want Me” & U.S.U.R.A. – “Open Your Mind” First heard both of these tracks on a compilation CD “A Year In The Life”- de:construction (label) while working at Student Radio. Played these while DJing too. Solid dance tracks!
London Beat – “A Better Love” Probably not a classic dance song, but I bought the LP “In The Blood” (back in 1990) and this was a stand-out track for me. Saw the EP on Discogs and had to nab it!
Londonbeat – A Better Love
Living Joy – “Dreamer” Classic U.K. dance. This was a staple prior to heading out on the town in Edinburgh.
Sunscream – “Pressure” Again, a track I was introduced to at Student Radio. Soon started playing this while DJing – always a floor filler and it just kicks ass! Bought an EP a few years back, but not the mix I’d previously enjoyed – had to grab this 12″ version even with a Generic Cover (ugh).
Sunscreem – Pressure (Official Video)
Soul II Soul – “Joy” Played this working nights at a commercial radio station in Taupo, New Zealand. One of those jobs you take, tell yourself you’re enjoying it and it’s good experience, but finally, realise you hate it and it’s killing you. But, had some great times, made a life-long friend, and this track was a highlight to play during my shift. Had to have it on 12″ vinyl!
Mo Money – “Motion Picture Soundtrack” To be honest, the movie was just O.K. Really got into this soundtrack, however. Luther Vandross & Janet Jackson, Caron Wheeler, Public Enemy, MC Lyte, Big Daddy Kane, Johnny Gill, Jam and Lewis. Played the CD to death. Bought the vinyl on Discogs, but as with a few re-releases, it’s a 2 album set, which means only a few tracks per side and lots of flipping records. Makes the transition from CD back to vinyl a little more painful than I anticipated.