Archive for the ‘The Belle Stars’ Category

The Belle Stars

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Listen: Hiawatha / The Belle Stars
Hiawatha / The Belle Stars

I guess Two Tone spawned The Belle Stars. Never in all my years, until tonight, did it hit me that ‘Hiawatha’ is based on a ska beat. Having formed off the back of The Bodysnatchers demise, it’s with fondness I recall seeing them for the first time at Dingwalls, with Madness and The Selecter and God knows who ruling the Camden Town in crowd roost. The lineage becomes pretty clear. Only took thirty years to dawn on me.

And if memory serves me well, it was Naomi on WNYU’s New Afternoon Show, who played the grooves off ‘Hiawatha’ around Christmas of ’81. This weather brings that all right back.

Paul Young & The Family

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Listen: Love Of The Common People / Paul Young & The Family PaulYoungCommon.mp3

Howard posted this off with a batch of new releases back in ’82. He worked at Columbia then, having transferred from CBS London to New York. Old habits die hard: he still looked after the UK roster Stateside. I think this was one of the British acts he picked up via an inter-company option, thereby releasing Paul Young & The Family in the US.

As in their homeland, this first version of ‘Love Of The Common People’ didn’t make much noise, and remained a non-chart single. It was of some interest due to Rico finding a seemingly new home as the group’s trombonist. Anything Rico touches just works perfectly. His first solo album, ’76′s MAN FROM WAREIKA is a must have.

Questionable pictures can be harmful. Despite the contemporary ska image of the band, Paul Young’s shirt on the single sleeve really put me off. He looked like a bad stylist’s mistake. I did like the record, but felt a little unhip admitting so.

Listen: Love Of The Common People / Paul Young PaulYoungCommonRemix.mp3

Bottom line is a great voice and equally great song are hard to keep down, despite all the sonic tricks of the moment being applied. That’s how I’d describe the remix, which revived the original single and thankfully kicked it into the charts. Well deserved.

Sounding a bit too glossy in hindsight, it’s down to The Belle Stars African background vocal style and ever dependable Rico saving the day. And of course, Paul Young’s (now sans The Family in typical major label Columbia Records ruthless style) voice.

The Selecter / The Bodysnatchers

Monday, October 13th, 2008

On My Radio / The Selecter

Listen: On My Radio / The Selecter SelectorOnMyRadio.mp3

The Ska Revival, that was it, the thing that followed punk. (see The Psychedelic Furs post below). Now I remember what we did on New Year’s Eve that Christmas holiday in London ’79. Went to Dingwalls to see The Selecter and The Bodysnatchers. What a scene. Everyone was way into making sure they looked the part. Oh yes, punk was very yesterday and the ska crowd was here to let you know it.

There was nothing not to love, yes it was a blast. The two bands just leveled the place. It was a dance party plus. Dingwalls was heaving, and it’s probably the thrill of it all that I recall to be honest. But I definitely remember The Selecter being tight and sharp.

Let's Do Rock Steady / The Selecter

Listen: Let’s Do Rock Steady / The Bodysnatchers BodysnatchersRockSteady.mp3

The Bodysnatchers were a mostly female band, I think a few of them went on to form The Belle Stars. And they looked super snazzed with really crazy thrift store rags proudly sewn into riches. Great singles.