Don't miss the update to the GINA GO-GO post, as we hear her story in her own words, as Miss Go-Go herself graces us with a visit!

My sister blog, Lost Pop Treasures, is back in action! Check it out!!

If you wish to download an album off of this blog and the link is dead, please request it either in the comments or the Chat Box and I will reupload it as soon as possible. :)

And don't forget to follow the Isle on Facebook and Twitter!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Smart E's - Sesame's Treet (1992)

Surprise!!  Finally, a new post after forever.  Luckily I have a spare moment, and thought you all deserved a little Valentine's Day "treet".  While most of you likely remember the theme to the children's show Sesame Street, how many of you remember the rave remix by Smart E's? In 1992 their song "Sesame's Treet" hit #2 on the UK charts and managed to hit #60 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying in the charts for 16 weeks. The group was formed by DJs Christopher Howell (aka Luna-C) and Tom Orton (aka Mr. Tom) and producer Nick Arnold.  The three were heavily into breakbeat hardcore music, the music of choice at raves, which were huge at the time.  The boys decided to take samples from the film Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and put them over a breakbeat track, releasing "Bogus Adventure," backed with "Fuck The Law", which took samples from the film Nightbreed.  "Bogus Adventure" caught the attention of local DJs and this encouraged the trio to record another sampled novelty track, this time using the theme from Sesame Street.  This was one of the first "happy hardcore" tunes, which focused on upbeat and childlike themes and samples, which appealed to the drug fueled rave crowds.  The song quickly caught fire and ended up debuting at #2 on the British charts, which was a first at that time.  The boys were snatched up by Big Beat Records and quickly put together an album.  Most of the album maintained a similar vibe to their previous tracks, using fast techno beats and many samples.  They also enlisted vocalist Jayde to add diva vocals on some tracks, including the next single "Loo's Control". The album failed to capitalize on "Sesame's Treet"'s success, however, and it was largely panned by critics as garbage.  It also led to many copycat acts who used samples from various child-centric sources, and the influx of similar tracks is said to have hurt the rave scene as a whole.  They did release one other song from the album, "Love Is Blind," though this was released under the moniker Echora, likely to distance themselves from the Smart E's name.  Also, the track was quite different from the rest of the album, as it was a straight-forward house number featuring the soulful vocals of Jayde.  It was also given many R&B remixes to appeal to urban market.  It didn't do well on the charts, however.  The group split after this and all went their separate ways, though they all continued to release their own spin on dance music.  Howell probably had the most success, both with his solo music as well as numerous releases under different aliases, and also ran his own record labels.  Arnold released music under several aliases as well, the most successful likely being the happy hardcore group Bang!, who released two albums.  Initially Orton assisted with Bang! and then also went on to release tracks under different aliases and as part of various groups.  But they will all likely best be remembered for "Sesame's Treet," for better or for worse.

Video for Sesame's Treet

Video for Loo's Control

Download Sesame's Treet

1 Apollo (Lunar Mix)
2 Magnificent
3 Make It Happen
4 Sesame's Treet
5 Love Is Blind
6 The Law
7 Charlie
8 Loo's Control
9 A Most Excellent Choon
10 Intruder Alert
11 Bizzarely Odd
12 Time Out
13 Beautiful Noises

Friday, July 10, 2015

Nu Civilization - Nu Civilization (1993)

Emerging from a very modest upbringing in Brooklyn, Glenn Toby began his career in music in the burgeoning genre of hip hop. Known as Mr. Sweety "G", in the early 1980's he released a couple of underground rap hits, "At The Place To Be" and "We Want To Get Down". By the mid-80's he'd moved on to house music, most notably doing featured vocals for producer Winston Jones, recording under the name Cultural Vibe. Though he had dabbled in hip hop production, Toby's first notable foray into house music production was on the 1987 song "I Can Tell" by MSG, for which he also performed lead vocals.  Over the next few years he released more house tracks under aliases like Private House, The Klub and Kustom Made.  But it was the 1990 release of "Wake Up (Shay-Ama)" under the moniker Nu Civilization that got the attention of the world.  Released on Toby's own label Permanent Records, it started as a local club hit but blew up over the next couple of years, especially here in Canada.  UK label Vinyl Solution signed Toby to an album deal, and the album was released in the UK three years later (and on SPG Music Productions in Canada).  The album featured Toby on vocals on most songs, though he also included several other vocalists, most notably club divas Tafuri, Channelle and Chandra Simmons. While "Wake Up" was a huge club hit in Canada, the follow up singles, "When Will I Be Free," "You Are" and "Destiny", met with less success in Canada and elsewhere.  Over the next couple of years Toby deserted the Nu Civilization name but produced and recorded a few more songs, and he also co-wrote songs with Sybil, including her minor 1993 hit "You're The Love Of My Life".  In 1998 he put music aside when he founded the Book Bank Foundation, which provides tutoring and education in order to encourage literacy in inner city youth.  He then formed Glenn Toby Enterprises, a marketing, management and business development company with a focus on the entertainment industry, which he still runs to this day. Now, instead of making music himself, he's helping others get their music out there.

Download Nu Civilization

1 When Will I Be Free?
2 I Need Someone
3 You Are (Featuring Tafuri)
4 Street Jazz (Featuring Dwayne D. Kerr)
5 New Breed (Featuring Disciples Of Sound)
6 Follow Me Now
7 The Way
8 Destiny (Featuring Chandra Simmons)
9 All Of Me
10 Life Still Goes On (Featuring Chanelle)
11 I Still Believe
12 Revelations
13 Wake Up (Shay-Ama)

Friday, June 5, 2015

Ruby Amanfu - So Now The Whole World Knows (1998) and Smoke & Honey (2003) DOUBLE POST!!

Here we have an artist who, like so many other lost pop stars, was a victim of record label turmoil and interference. Ruby Amanfu was born in Accra, Ghana, and as a small child moved to Tennessee, where she honed her songwriting and vocals and, while attending high school, recorded and released her debut album, So Now The Whole World Knows, on an indie label (Thanks Liz!). She then attended Berklee College Of Music in Boston, but soon moved back to Nashville to attend Belmont University and worked on promoting the album. Ruby was compared to artists like Tracy Chapman and Jewel due to her thoughtful lyrics and folk sound. She was soon snatched up by Polydor - but in the UK. It's actually not that surprising, as Ruby comes off as a cross between two once popular British singers, Gabrielle and Samantha Mumba. She was teamed up with a slew of popular Nordic producers, some who worked with artists like Britney, Dannii, Geri, and Sophie, and also on other albums featured here like Stella SolielJuliette, and Lene, who recorded Ruby's song "Surprise" for her solo album. The resulting album contained very soulful pop laced with rock. The first single "Sugah" became a huge hit in the UK and Europe. The second single, "Chocolate Pie", did not. But by this point Ruby was back in the US, tired of label pressure and strife. She asked to be dropped, and the album never made it over the pond. She then pursued an independent path, writing songs for others (one - The Duhks' version of "Heaven's My Home" - was even nominated for a Grammy in 2007) and also hooked up with longtime friend Sam Brooker for the folk duo Sam & Ruby in 2005. They have released one album on Rykodisc and two EPs since, and they also joined Nashville vocal group The Collective and appeared on Season 3 of The Sing Off, coming in eighth.  In 2011, Ruby toured with Jack White and did vocals for his album Blunderbuss, and she released her EP The Simple Sessions the following year. She also sang co-lead vocals on the single "Love Interruption" with White, which they performed on the Grammy's in 2013.  That year she also released the single "I Wonder" with Brittany Howard, the lead singer of Alabama Shakes, on Jack White's label. Most recently she appeared on Jack White's second album, Lazaretto, and has been touring with indie sensation Hozier and appeared with him on Saturday Night Live in 2014, so clearly she is still going strong and the best is likely yet to come...and it has!  Ruby released a new album at the end of August, 2015!  Check out Standing Still on iTunes!!

Download So Now The Whole World Knows

1 Crybaby
2 Sleeper And The Gong
3 Hide Away
4 Aaron
5 Mr. Cunningham
6 Empty
7 Because Of Love
8 Simplicity
9 Release
10 True Love

Video for Sugah

Download Smoke And Honey

Chocolate Pie
Just Until
Know You Better
Different Is Good
Work It Out
For Life
I Will Pray
Whether You Fall
You Can't Use Me
Bless You
Ying To The Yang

Friday, May 29, 2015

Goddess Of Destruction - Goddess Of Love (2005)

Pretty much all I need to say about Goddess Of Destruction was already said in my Darling Nikkie post, since the woman behind both is the one and only Nikkie Van Lierop. I made my adoration for her and her work known there, and Goddess Of Destruction is no exception.  I must again thank Konstantin for sharing this with me awhile back. Goddess Of Destruction was marketed as a band, but Nikkie is clearly the star of the show here, though she uses the moniker Max RedStone to downplay her past and make the project seem fresh and new.  After testing the waters of light, alterna-pop-rock as Darling Nikkie - to minimal success - Nikkie went back to her roots of techno, but this time pushing it harder, adding many industrial elements to the mix, a sound she explored as part of Lords Of Acid.  Goddess Of Destruction is even more rock-based, and Nikkie goes into it full throttle.  From what I gather, the album was only released in Belgium, and no official singles were released, though a video for "To The Limit" was made, which is great as it's my fave song from the album.  If you're like me and have a taste for hard music, this rarity is for you.

Video for To The Limit

Download Goddess Of Destruction

1 I Am
2 Goddess Of Love
3 Addicted To Sin
4 Warrior
5 The Wrongers
6 Goddess Of Sexxx
7 Howling To The Moon
8 Soulmate
9 Goddess Of Insanity
10 Desperation
11 To The Limit
12 That's How I Play
13 Love Or Leave
14 Behind Smiles

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Zummos - Modern Marriage (1985)

Oh dear, are we already 5 months into 2015 and I haven't posted anything?  I must say I don't have the time or desire that I used to, but I figure I should add a little something to keep you all interested. Isle fan Raymond generously sent me this awhile back, as it was on my wishlist after I heard about them when researching for my David Morales post (their single was his first major remix).  It is definitely fit for the Isle.  New York native Vinnie Zummo grew up in a musical family and taught himself how to play guitar. He got his big break when he met established British new wave/power pop artist Joe Jackson in 1983.  Joe asked him to play on his 1984 album Body And Soul and he ended up playing with Joe for the next five years. With Joe's help, Vinnie managed to get an album deal with Joe's label A&M, after enlisting his wife, singer Janice, to form the pop duo The Zummos. Their album was produced by the Zummos along with Joe Jackson, and it was similar to Joe's pop/new wave sound, though perhaps a little more bubblegum, thanks mainly to Janice's perky vocals.  "An Obsession (Over You)" was the first and only single, likely chosen for it's very upbeat dance-pop groove. The rest of the album is varied, from straight up new wave to retro '60s.  Overall it is a happy, fun listen.  "An Obsession (Over You)" was not a hit, though it did have some dance club attention thanks to the aforementioned David Morales remix, which really didn't alter the song too much. (You can download the remix on Lost Pop Treasures.) The duo was soon dropped, though Vinnie continued to record with Joe Jackson until 1989, and then went on to play with other artists.  He hooked up with Joe again in 2012 for his album The Duke.  That same year he and Janice released their second album together, Jazz Album, which obviously delved into their love of jazz music.  They still perform together to this day, and Vinnie has released several retro guitar-based albums which explore many genres, with Janice doing vocal duties, the most recent being A Retro Cool Mixed Bag Christmas in 2014.

Download Modern Marriage

1 'Scusa Mi Please
2 An Obsession (Over You)
3 Do It Again
4 Nightmare
5 Please Stop Dancing
6 Fool For You
7 Leopards In Love
8 Modern Marriage
9 Jaguar
10 No More Goodbyes

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Isle Of Deserted Pop Stars' Top 20 Albums Of 2014!

So, now that the dust has settled and 2014 is history, it is time to share my top 20 albums from last year.  Though this blog is about the old school, one day these albums will be too and they should not be forgotten.  There were many amazing albums released last year, too many to list them all, but these were the ones I found myself repeatedly drawn back to. Like this blog, they encompass all styles of music from house to rock to electro to soul - but all with a POP heart.  Hopefully some of you will find and explore these albums.  They are all deserving of repeated listens, and gave me a great deal of pleasure over the last year.

1) Music Go Music - Impressions
2) My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult -  Spooky Tricks
3) Leisure Cruise - Leisure Cruise
4) White Sea - In Cold Blood
5) Alpines - Oasis
6) Larkin Poe - Kin
7) The Pierces - Creation
8) Kiesza - Sound Of A Woman
9) The Asteroids Galaxy Tour - Bring Us Together
10) Glass Animals - Zaba
11) Basement Jaxx - Junto
12) Adore Delano - Till Death Do Us Party
13) Jungle - Jungle
14) La Roux - Trouble In Paradise
15) Blondfire - Young Heart
16) Gorgon City -  Sirens
17) Queen Of Hearts - Cocoon
18) The Acid - Liminal
19 ) Ali Love - P.U.M.P.
20) Meshell Ndegocello - Comet, Come To Me

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Mishka And The Urban Groove - Legalize Love (1998)

Here is another little known Canadian artist for your listening pleasure. And another artist whom I know virtually nothing about. I can tell you that lead singer, Mishka Meunier, is French Canadian and apparently still lives in Quebec. And the Urban Groove consisted of fellow Canadian musicians Andy Stewart, Dan Godro, Eric Brass, and Harry B.. Their sound was very diverse, with some tracks having a strong reggae vibe - like their only single, a remake of James Brown's "Try Me" - while some veer into folk, and others are very funky soul. Altogether it is a great earthy sound, with powerful, soulful vocals from Mishka. The whole album is reminiscent of the work of fellow Canadians The Parachute Club, IMO.  The album was released locally and independently and didn't get much attention.  It also didn't help that soon after the album's release, singer Heather Nova's brother released his own folk and reggae-inflected music under the name Mishka, which could only add to the confusion.  Should you dig this album and wish to connect with Mishka, she has her own Facebook page, and perhaps she can fill you in on the full story of Mishka And The Urban Groove, and what she's been up to since.

Video for Try Me

Download Legalize Love

1 Legal Love
2 Love War
3 Your Touch
4 Save The Children
5 Try Me
6 Could It Be
7 Happiness Runaway
8 Feel The Change
9 What If?
10 Too Young

Friday, November 7, 2014

Mayomi - Mayomi (1995)

A couple of days ago a delightful friend of the Isle, Konstantin, sent me several albums off of my wantlist.  Thanks a TON for that, K! One I was looking most forward to was the only album by Japanese-Swedish rapper Mayomi.  And it does not disappoint. It was impossible to find anywhere when I first looked for it, but while researching Mayomi I saw that it was re-released in 2010 and several copies are now available on Amazon and eBay, and it's even on iTunes. Ah well, now you know where to go if you want high quality versions of your own.  I didn't find out much else about Mayomi, unfortunately.  I'm not even sure where I first heard about her, though it was likely due to her involvement on eurohouse act Melodie MC's track "Bomba Deng" from 1995.  Three years prior she and a friend appeared on the The World Rap Contest as Sista's Of Soul.  They didn't win, but ended up meeting Statikk, the producer behind Melodie MC and several other Swedish pop acts. He produced a track for them, "Make It Your Way", which was their only single before they broke up in 1993.  Mayomi went solo and released "Whatever I" the following year. Apparently it had moderate success, and with the track's producers, Collén & Webb, who were collaborators of Statikk's, she recorded her debut album for Virgin.  Three singles were released from the album in 1995 - "The Best A Man Can Get", "How Can I Get By" and the title track - and they met with some success as well.  But she only released one other single, "So In Love" in 2006, and hasn't been heard from since.  But if you enjoy other Europop rappers like Leila K, Leki, or Isle postee Daisy Dee, then you should get to know Mayomi.

Live performance of How Can I Get By

Live performance of I'm There

Download Mayomi

1 Commin' At Ya
2 I Am
3 Is This A Dream
4 How Can I Get By
5 I'm There
6 The Best A Man Can Get
7 Steppin' Out
8 Women Cry
9 Time Changes
10 Lullaby
11 Whatever I (Remix)

Friday, October 3, 2014

David Morales & The Bad Yard Club - The Program (1993)

After I posted the Arthur Baker & The Backbeat Disciples post, I was reminded of another album from around the same era that was fronted by a legendary producer and featured several vocalists.  It was David Morales & The Bad Yard Club, but I only had it on cassette and hadn't listened to it in decades.  I immediately found the CD online, and here it is! David Morales was born and bred in a rough section of Brooklyn and frequented the New York club scene as a teen, becoming a DJ in the late 70s, most notably at Paradise Garage. His success as a DJ led to his being asked to remix several singles, his first being married synth-pop duo The Zummos' "An Obsession (Over You)" in 1985.  From there he was in demand as a remixer, remixing an endless stream of pop and R&B singles (including remixes for several Isle postees like Pam Russo, Sequel, Adventures Of Stevie V, Nerissa, Nayobe, Alison Limerick, Jamie J. Morgan, Slam Slam, Ana, Blue Pearl, Temper Temper, Ya Kid K, Malaika, Eve Gallagher, India, and, yes, even Arthur Baker & The Backbeat Disciples), with his first remix for a major artist being Whitney Houston's "Love Will Save The Day" in 1988. In 1987 he also began making his own music, joining up with other future remix and production legends Chep Nunez, Robert Clivilles and David Cole to form 2 Puerto Ricans, A Black Man And A Dominican, whose single "Do It Properly" was a huge underground club hit. But it wasn't until 1993 that he decided to use his own name to release original music.  Like Arthur Baker, he chose to add a group name after his name, branding his supporting players, producers and vocalists The Bad Yard Club. He signed to Mercury and released the single "Gimme Luv (Eenie Meenie Miny Mo)" featuring Jamaican ragga vocalist Papa San.  The song became a huge club hit, eventually hitting #1 on the Billboard Dance chart.  The album soon followed, and it maintained the ragga house sound introduced in the first single.  The title track, also featuring Papa San, was released next and hit the #1 spot on the Billboard Dance chart as well.  While the next single, "Sunshine", failed to chart, its follow-up, "In De Ghetto", hit #3 on the Billboard Dance chart in 1994 and is probably the best remembered single from the album.  (It was re-released in 1996 featuring the original vocalist, Delta Bennett, as well as house diva Crystal Waters.) It would be the last single from the album and from David Morales & The Bad Yard Club.  (Of particular interest to pop fans, the track "Forever Luv" is the first song to feature the vocals of future pop superstar (in Europe, at least) Anastacia.) Morales went on to even huger, superstar success in the following years as a producer, remixer and artist.  He was nominated for Grammys three years in a row - as a producer on Mariah Carey's Daydream in 1996, and for Remixer Of The Year in 1997 and 1998, the latter year for which he won.  This was helped by the success that same year of "Needin' U", a mostly instrumental house track that he released as David Morales Presents The Face, which hit #1 on the Billboard Dance chart and #8 on the UK Pop chart. He released it again in 2001, as "Needin' U II", this time featuring vocals by Isle postee Juliet Roberts, and it again hit #1 on the Billboard Dance chart and #11 on the UK Pop chart.  He has since released many successful singles using his own name and as part of various groups, the biggest being "Higher" by Moca in 2000, and also released two albums using just his own name, 2 Worlds Collide in 2004 and Changes in 2012.  He has produced, remixed and released a lot less since then, as he dedicates most of his time touring the world as a highly sought after DJ, thus returning to his first love.

Video for Gimme Luv (Eenie Meenie Miny Mo)

Download The Program

1 The Program (Reprise)
2 The Program (Featuring Papa San)
3 Sunshine (Featuring Stanryck)
4 In De Ghetto (Featuring Delta)
5 Games (Featuring Ce Ce Rogers)
6 Jazzy Mo
7 Gimme Luv (Eenie Meenie Miny Mo) (Featuring Papa San)
8 Beautiful Thing (Featuring Stanryck)
9 Forever Luv (Featuring Anastacia)
10 Work That Body (Featuring Natural E)
11 Gimme Luv (Eenie Meenie Miny Mo) (The Jackie 60 LP Experience) (Featuring Papa San)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Rainy Davis - Sweetheart (1987) & Ouch (1988) DOUBLE POST!!

When I began this blog, you would be hard-pressed to find one iota of info about Rainy Davis.  Luckily the internet has grown over the years and lesser known and under-appreciated artists have gotten their due (I'd like to think this blog had something to do with that in some small way. ;) )  So, finding info now on Rainy is much easier, and makes this post easier to put together as well.  Born Denise Lorraine Davis in Brooklyn, Rainy's first major singing gig was as part of a band called Jamilah, which also included her sister Charisse and R&B crooner Keith Sweat. Soon after she joined disco trio Musique for their live shows, and her association with its founder Patrick Adams led to writing and arranging for other acts.  Her first major success was in 1979 as co-writer of disco group Inner Life's "I Want To Give You Me".  During this time she also connected with singer/songwriter/producer Pete Warner, who was also working with Adams. Together they wrote for and produced a few artists over the next few years, most notably Canadian disco singer Chatelaine's second album in 1980. They also wrote the song "Sweetheart" together in 1986.  According to Rainy, her Nana overheard them playing the song and told her she would give them her next social security cheque to record it.  Once the demo was recorded, they were planning on submitting it to Janet Jackson for her career altering Control album, but luckily they missed the deadline.  So Rainy released her version on a local indie label and it got immediate attention on urban radio, which led to rotation on pop radio.  The song hit both the Dance and Black Singles charts on Billboard, reaching #24 on the latter.  Columbia Records then noticed her potential and signed Rainy to an album deal. Her debut album, which was produced by Rainy and Warner, hit the R&B album chart and included similar sexy electro-funk tracks. The next single, "Lowdown So & So", reached #9 on Billboard's Dance chart and #14 on the Black Singles chart.  Her third single was a remake of Prince's 1980 release "Still Waiting", and it almost made the top 40 on the Black Singles chart. The final single, "4-Ever", failed to chart. Rainy and Warner quickly went to work on her next album, Ouch, which was released the following year. Unfortunately it did not have the same success.  The first single, "Indian Giver" (which was the first track I ever heard by Rainy, and I fell in love instantly), hit #16 on the Billboard Dance chart and, like "Still Waiting", #41 on the Black Singles chart. The song, as well as much of the album, used more straight-forward freestyle elements that were only hinted at on Sweetheart, and maybe that threw fans off.  I, for one, loved it!  The next single was the title track, and after it didn't chart, Rainy was no longer with Columbia Records.  She and Warner kept busy writing and producing others, with their biggest success likely being The Cover Girls' "Spring Love".  Rainy also released the single "Storybook Romance", a sort of reworking of "Sweetheart", in 1993 (and again in 2008). Then, in 1998, Jermaine Dupri remade "Sweetheart" for his Life in 1472 album, thanks to a suggestion by Mariah Carey, who loved the track as a girl and sang the chorus. Though Mariah and Jermaine's "Sweetheart" wasn't a huge hit (thanks to the label pulling the commercial single right before its release, and the Billboard chart eligibility rules changing), Mariah included it on her hugely successful hits album #1's the same year, and the song was introduced to a whole new generation and was even nominated for a Grammy award. Mariah also included the song on her Greatest Hits in 2001, The Remixes in 2003, and The Essential Mariah Carey in 2011, further rejuvenating Rainy's career (and bank account!). In 2005 Rainy ended up founding her own full service digital distribution company, Rainysongs Entertainment, for which she is president, and it has continued to successfully support new music artists.  

Live performance of Sweetheart

Download Sweetheart

1 Sweetheart
2 4-Ever
3 Love-At-Last
4 Still Waiting
5 Lowdown So & So
6 Kiss & Make Up
7 Come Back
8 Do-U-Remember?
9 Sweetheart (Reprise)
Download Ouch

1 Indian Giver
2 Ouch
3 Be My Man
4 Choosey Beggar
5 Save It
6 Lets Make Up
7 Tell Me
8 Danger

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Arthur Baker And The Backbeat Disciples - Merge (1989) & Give In To The Rhythm (1991) DOUBLE POST!!

Arthur Baker is a legendary producer and remixer.  He was born in Boston and began his career in music as a DJ, but soon tired of it and chose to pursue music production.  He produced several unsuccessful soul and electro tracks in the late 70s and early 80s, and thought a move to New York might help to elevate his career, which happened when he got a job with Tommy Boy Records.  As part of Northend, he had his first major success in 1981 with their second disco single "Happy Days". (The song would be heavily sampled in P.J. aka Paul Jacob's "Happy Days", which was a dance hit in both 1997 and 1999.) The following year he had even bigger success with the number one dance hit "Walkin' On Sunshine" by Rockers Revenge, which also featured his future wife and Isle postee Tina B..  That same year he became a hip hop and freestyle pioneer by producing Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force's seminal "Planet Rock".  From there his career exploded, and he was in demand as a producer and remixer, working on future hits with huge and diverse acts like New Edition, Diana Ross, Bruce Springsteen, Jennifer Holliday, Carly Simon, Bob Dylan, Suzanne Vega, New Order, Hall & Oates (with whom he'd have a close production relationship), and even Billy Crystal, as well as several Isle postees. He was also part of acts like Wally Jump Jr & The Criminal Element and Criminal Element Orchestra. But aside from the 1984 club hit "Breaker's Revenge", he didn't release anything under his own name. Until 1989, that is, when A&M Records gave him an album deal.  He recruited a band and dubbed them "The Backbeat Disciples", which consisted of John Warren, Tiny Valentine, Mac Quayle, Bobby Khozouri, Philip Damien and Cevin Fisher (Quayle, Fisher and Damien would go on to become huge producers and remixers themselves). The album consisted mostly of dance pop, with some more adult contemporary and hi-NRG tracks thrown in. Along with Warren and Valentine, he recruited several other vocalists, including legendary soul singer Al Green, ABC frontman Martin Fry, half of OMD, Andy McClusky, Jimmy Sommerville of Bronski Beat and The Communards, popular French singer Etienne Daho, future house legend Robert Owens, and Isle postee Shirley Lewis.  He released seven singles from the album, the biggest hit being "The Message Is Love" featuring Green, which made the UK top 40 and top 10 in several other countries.  "It's Your Time", featuring Lewis, made the UK top 100, but "Talk It Over," "2 x 1," "Mythical Girl," "Silly Games," and "Last Thing On My Mind" were far less successful, and his deal with A&M ended.  But he was soon snapped up by RCA, and his second album appeared two years later.  Though he kept the name, the Backbeat Disciples were no longer with him, and some releases of the album appeared under his name only.  Again he recruited a bevy of amazing singers, including Leee John of Imagination, diva Tata Vega, newcomers Nikeeta and Wanda Nash, Kate Ceberano, lead singer of Isle postees I'm Talking, fellow Isle postee Adele Bertei, and Green once again.  This time Baker explored the more club-ready genres of house and trance.  He also had greater success in the US, with "Let There Be Love" reaching the top 20 on the Billboard dance chart, "Kiss The Ground (You Walk On)" also hitting that chart, "Leave The Guns At Home" a minor Billboard R&B hit, and "I O U", a remake of the dance smash he wrote and produced for pop group Freeez in 1983, just squeaking into the Billboard Hot 100.  Since then, Baker has continued to release singles under his own name and also continues to produce and remix, and he is deservedly considered a legend by most of the new breed of producers and remixers, his influence obvious in their work.

Video for The Message Is Love

Video for It's Your Time

Download Merge

1 Talk It Over (Featuring John Warren)
2 Willin' To Be Chillin' (Featuring Tiny Valentine)
3 Last Thing On My Mind (Featuring John Warren)
4 Mythical Girl (Featuring Martin Fry)
5 I Believe In Love (Featuring Jimmy Sommerville)
6 The Message Is Love (Featuring Al Green)
7 Walk Away (Featuring Andy McCluskey)
8 It's Your Time (Featuring Shirley Lewis)
9 Count To Ten (Featuring John Warren)
10 2 x 1 (Featuring Tiny Valentine)
11 All I Ever Wanted (Featuring Mac Quayle)
12 Silly Games (Featuring Robert Owens)
13 Paris Sens Interdit (Featuring Ettienne Daho)

Video for Let There Be Love

Video for Leave The Guns At Home

Download Give In To The Rhythm

1 Let There Be Love (Featuring Leee John & Tata Vega)
2 Leave The Guns At Home (Featuring Al Green)
3 I.O.U. (Featuring Nikeeta)
4 (Rock Me) In The House Of Love (Featuring Wanda Nash)
5 Feels Like The First Time (Featuring Nikeeta)
6 Inspiration (Featuring Leee John & Tata Vega)
7 C'mon C'mon (Featuring Leee John)
8 If Love Had A Heart (Featuring Leee John)
9 2 Can Play This Game (Featuring Wanda Nash)
10 Let's Start From Scratch (Featuring Nikeeta)
11 Surrender (Trance Like Us) (Featuring Adele Bertei)
12 Kiss The Ground (You Walk On) (Featuring Adele Bertei)
13 Meaning Of Life (Featuring Kate Ceberano)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Alison Limerick - And Still I Rise (1992), With A Twist (1994) & Spirit Rising (1998) TRIPLE POST!!!

As it's been awhile since my last post, I'm hitting you with yet another triple post!  This time I'm featuring house diva Alison Limerick.  Alison was born in London and at first set out to be a dancer, even attending the London Contemporary School of Dance.  But her strong, soulful voice couldn't be denied and soon she was an in demand backing singer.  Her first major gig was backing vocals on Style Council's "Shout To The Top" in 1984.  Through the rest of the 80s and early 90s she made vocal appearances on songs by an eclectic array of alternative artists such as Peter Murphy, The Icicle Works, Ultravox and This Mortal Coil, on whose albums she took lead on several tracks like "Nature's Way" and "Drugs".  During this time she also began working with producer and songwriter Lati Kronlund.  Kronlund had written a house song that he thought Alison's voice would be perfect for, and "Where Love Lives" was born.  Released in 1990 on Arista, the song became a huge club hit, thanks in large part to the remix by Frankie Knuckles and David Morales.  In 1991, it reached #3 on the Billboard dance chart and #27 on the UK singles chart.  This led to an album deal with Arista, but the second single, "Come Back (For Real Love)", was less successful, only reaching #53 on the UK pop chart. She did almost make the top 40 again that year with a collaboration with Malcolm McLaren, "Magic's Back". And the next single from her album, "Make It On My Own", was another chart hit, reaching #6 on the Billboard dance chart and #16 on the UK chart.  But the album was not released in the US, and the follow-up singles "Hear My Call" and "Gettin' It Right" were only minor chart hits in the UK. Undaunted, Alison began to work on new music.  While her next single, "Time Of Our Lives", failed to chart, her remake of Evelyn "Champagne" King's "Love Come Down" managed to hit the UK top 40 at #36, and her second album was released in 1994, with Frankie Knuckles behind the production of most of it.  It wasn't successful enough for the label to keep her, alas. She kept busy over the following few years by contributing vocals and lyrics to acid jazz group Vibraphonic, and had another minor UK hit with the James Taylor Quartet, "Love Will Keep Us Together". Then, in 1996, "Where Love Lives" was re-released with new mixes, and became an even bigger hit, reaching #4 on the Billboard dance chart and #9 on the UK pop chart.  Then "Make It On My Own" was re-released and reached #30 on the UK chart.  This led to another album with an indie label in 1998, and the preceding single. "Put Your Faith In Me", just missed the top 40 in the UK.  None of the follow up singles - "Never Knew", "Let's Hold On (To Love)" and "Spirit Rising", managed to chart, however.  And though she has not released a proper album since, Alison has kept very busy with music, collaborating on singles with, among others, X-Press 2, And If, Ringleader and Ikon, as well as extensive touring.  And in 2003, "Where Love Lives" appeared on the charts yet again thanks to new remixes, reaching #16 on the Billboard dance charts and #44 on the UK pop chart, proving you can't keep a good song down.  Expect it to 'live' again on the charts in the near future.  You can keep up with Alison via her Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Video for Where Love Lives

Video for Make It On My Own

Video for Gettin' It Right

Video for Come Back (For Real Love)

Download And Still I Rise

1 Make It On My Own
2 Gettin' It Right
3 Where Love Lives (Come On In)
4 Hear My Call
5 Trouble
6 Come Back (For Real Love)
7 Tell Me What You Mean
8 Let's Make A Memory
9 You And I
10 The Difference Is You

Video for Time Of Our Lives

Video for Love Come Down

Download With A Twist

1 Time Of Our Lives
2 Love Come Down
3 Twisted
4 No Way Out
5 Crime To Be That Cool
6 So Long
7 Sentimental
8 Buck The System
9 Take It Back
10 Let's Just Pretend
11 Build Your Love
12 Unique
13 Come Home

Video for Put Your Faith In Me

Video for Let's Hold On (To Love)

Download Spirit Rising

1 Spirit Rising
2 Never Knew
3 Let's Hold On (To Love)
4 Put Your Faith In Me
5 How Happy
6 Stronger Love
7 So Far So Good
8 Dangerous Game
9 Take It Easy
10 It's Getting Better (This Could Be Good)

Bonus Tracks
11 Never Knew (Joe T. Vanelli Classic Mix)
12 Put Your Faith In Me (Peppermint Jam Faith Club Mix)
13 Let's Hold On To Love (Metro Mix)
14 Where Love Lives (Ruff Driverz Full Vocal Mix)