Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Basement Crates: Discoveries 15 & 16

Willie Hutch: I Can Sho' Give You Love (originally Motown, 1977, this issue, Big Cheese, 1994)

I distinctly remember sticking this Big Cheese compilation in my bag at the record shop back in the spring of 1994. Soul was never really my thing - hip hop, jazz, dub, jungle, breakbeat, funk, afro-beat, even hi-life, yes, but soul no - so I was a little suspicious of this, but it only took me one listen to fall for it. I also had some friends who recorded for and did some work for the label, so that helped. Am I correct in remembering some sort of Big Cheese magazine too? It were all nights at t'Jazz Cafe and funny little beards in them days, I tells yer.

Anyway, 1977 is not a year I hold a lot of affection for as a rule, but this is fantastic, nicely samplable intro too. Not that anyone should take any notice of that, naturally.

The Lilac Time: The Darkness Of Her Eyes (Creation, 1991)

Ecstasy. One of the most sensible things Creation boss Alan McGee boss ever said was how he always used to enjoy taking ecstasy on his own and going to Richmond Park to listen to Nick Drake rather than losing "it" in some grotty basement club. Very prescient, Mr McGee. And an emotion that leads easily to Lilac Time, Stephen Duffy's folk-pop outfit that's been signed to every other label in Britain and never made anyone a penny.

This is, in classic Duffy style, a devastatingly beautiful song. Taken from an album - Astronauts - that was written while the early 90s whirl of pills and powders and booze washed around the smart west London flats he lived in (North Kensington is another great track from the record), lines like, "There may be less between us than we thought," are just thrown in, left floating for the rest of us to imagine what happened next.

I once saw Duffy - in about 1994 - swilling champagne with Alex James at the aftershow of some Blur gig in the basement bar of a posh central London venue. I remember thinking he had a very enviable life.

I hope he still has.



Anonymous said...

oh lardi da with extra lard

Silvana said...

Oh, that was rather sour wasn't it, 'anonymous'

Rob said...

i should say that I was drinking warm lager and had to get the bus home from said "posh central London venue"!

The Mammary Gland said...

I think the Big Cheese comps were basically French bootlegs which is a shame. They had some great tracks on them though, never could get into the Lilac Time: I just don't like his voice.

Rob said...

Hey Steve - nice to see you here... But how can you not love the Duff?