Archive for the ‘The Slits’ Category

Basement 5

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Listen: Last White Christmas / Basement 5

My holiday contribution, but really just an excuse to post this, having weeded through the B’s this past weekend making room for a new bunch of James Brown UK presses, thereby stumbling on some neighboring singles. Been years since I’d played this, and unfortunately I never ever hear the record name checked nor credited. Almost like it never existed.

Although a pretty happening seasonal single in 1980 this one, complete with original Christmas wrapping paper sleeve. And what a marvel when cranked loud. ‘Last White Christmas’ may be one of the best holiday singles of all time, if I do say so myself.

Roger and I played this on the radio a lot that December. We particularly loved the “Ayatollah this and Ayatolla that” lyric. The whole affair unthreateningly meshed nicely with The Slits and Killing Joke. I guess no one informed Basement 5 they needed a non-stop drip of solid material. Given their encouraging beginnings, it was a surprise when the guys remained cold as soon as the snow melted.

Nonetheless, original intended punk/dub sonic onslaught generally accomplished.

The Slits

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

SlitsTypicalUKA, The Slits, Island, Antilles, Dennis Bovell, CBS, Howard Thompson

SlitsTypicalUS,  The Slits, Island, Antilles, Dennis Bovell, CBS, Howard Thompson

SlitsTypicalPS, The Slits, Island, Antilles, Dennis Bovell, CBS, Howard Thompson

Listen: Typical Girls / The Slits SlitsTypical.mp3

Did testing one’s musical tolerance begin in the 60′s via prog rock, or was it an on going process starting with jazz in the 50′s? It certainly hit full swing by the late 70′s. When art met punk, the first requirement seemed to be an inability to play. But the resulting cringe factor was admittedly addicting. There were a bunch of labels that bent over backwards to like the unlikeable, and then it started to spill to the majors.

I ended up being sucked into The Slits despite my intensions otherwise. A strong image, great sense of reggae/dub, spot-on producer choice (Dennis Bovell) and top packaging helped launch their Island period (about a year in length) during ’79. After all, they were the new GTO’s in my book, but to others, it all hid behind No Wave or some such genre.

Most of the plays I give ‘Typical Girls’ still result in a second spin, or lead me on to a couple of other tracks.

SlitsManNextPS, The Slits, Y, John Holt

Listen: Man Next Door / The Slits SlitsManNextDoor.mp3

How does anyone resist a cover of John Holt’s classic ‘Man Next Door’. I love the original. I love Massive Attack’s and I love this.

SlitsEarthbeatUKA,  The Slits, Island, Antilles, Dennis Bovell, CBS, Howard Thompson

Listen: Earthbeat / The Slits SlitsEarthbeat.mp3

Then there’s always ‘Earthbeat’, their fourth single. Have to say, I basically preferred this one. By now they’d absorbed the studio tricks Dennis Bovell had passed along, and working with Nick Launay and Dick O’Dell as producers, seemed to have replicated themselves successfully. It was a time when they were almost mainstream, and could’ve had a hit. After all, John Peel favorites like Killing Joke and The Fall were finding their way into the UK singles charts. Howard Thompson signed this to CBS, if corporate proof is needed of that possibility.

SlitsEarthbeatPS,  The Slits, Island, Antilles, Dennis Bovell, CBS, Howard Thompson

Listen: Earthdub / The Slits SlitsEarthdub.mp3

Definitely search out the 12″, as the B side, dub version, ‘Earthdub’, is worth owning.

Betty Davis

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

bettydavistalkinusa, Betty Davis, Miles Davis, Island

bettydavistalkinus, Betty Davis, Miles Davis, Island

Listen: Talkin’ Trash / Betty Davis BettyDavisTalkin.mp3

It wasn’t exactly her voice that attracted me – a mixture of Genya Ravan, Lydia Pence from Cold Blood and any one of The Slits. But some of the tracks were amongst the best of the day. Her NASTY GAL album didn’t seem to fit in anywhere, didn’t sell and for years became expensively sought after. The singles were even more obscure and they are must-haves.

bettydavisfreak, Betty Davis, Miles Davis, Island

BettyWrightPS, Betty Davis, Island, Miles Davis

Listen: He Was A Big Freak / Betty Davis BettyDavisFreak.mp3

Most surprising of all her work with Island, ‘He Was A Big Freak’, the non-LP 7″ b side, somehow didn’t make the album. Other than ‘Talkin’ Trash’ and the title track ‘Nasty Gal’, it’s probably her best song. Being the wife of Miles Davis conjures up many a potential person as to who this one may have been based on.