Island Earth Is A Happening Place

In the early 90s Sandals, a four piece from South London, signed to Acid Jazz and put out a series of 12″ singles and an album called Rite To Silence. They came up in conversation in a social media post a few days ago and I thought it was time to put some of their music back up here (the last time they featured was back in 2012).

Sandals came together from the club scene and various record stalls and clothes shops, eventually rehearsing in the storage room of a book/record/clothing shop they ran in London’s Trocadero. They mashed together a heady stew of beatnik spoken word poetry, soul, funk and jazz, lots of percussion and bongos, some heavy grooves and early 90s clubland sounds.

Debut single Nothing, from 1992, was produced by Leftfield and predates the trip hop sound by a year or two. Samples of voices, boom- boom- bap drums and whispered/stoned street poetry.

Nothing (Extended Version)

In the same year they put out a second 12″ single, produced this time by Gary Burns and Jagz Kooner of Sabres Of Paradise, with a more progressive house sound. It was remixed by DSS (David Holmes and Ashley Beedle). It opens with Country Joe’s Woodstock crowd participation exercise, ‘Give me an F! Give me a U! Give me a C! Give me a K! What’s that spell? What;s that spell?’ The techno drums come in and Derek Delves begins singing/chanting about the mess we’re in, war, the environment, general madness and bad times. It couldn’t be more relevant today, the best part of three decades later, if it tried. This being a 1992 progressive house remix it goes on for twelve minutes, never really letting up. Exhilarating stuff.

We Wanna Live (DSS Remix)

Also from 1992 was this one, A Profound Gas, which I played loads at the time and still sounds great today. Flutes, guitars, pan pipes, chunky drums, production from Leftfield and more beatnik poetry with some memorable lines and imagery.

A Profound Gas (Vocal Mix)

The group disbanded in 1996 having had a second album rejected by London Records. It was eventually released in 2009 in Japan. A copy came my way recently and when I’ve fully had a chance to listen to it, more Sandals will be coming this way.

Out Of Our Brains On The 5.15

Passing one of Sale’s many charity shops on Saturday I wandered in to peruse the box of vinyl. I left a few minutes later having rescued Secret Knowledge’s Sugar Daddy 12″ for the princely sum of £1.99. Yes, I’ve already got the original release but this one was in a different sleeve and had a different version (the Sugar Caned Mix) and another remix on it too (by Paul van Dyke, trancey). Secret Knowledge were Kris Needs (journalist, friend of The Clash and Primal Scream, legendary caner and crow’s nest hairdo owner) and Wonder (vocals, big voice). Sugar Daddy came out in 1993 on Sabres Of Paradise and is a long, thumping house track, a big club tune of the time. Also on this charity shop classic is an equally good remix by The Disco Evangelists (David Holmes and Ashley Beedle), with a nod of the head to Quadrophenia. It is a banger.

Sugar Daddy (Out Of Our Brains On the 5.15 Mix)


Our dear friend Sarah Howson was diagnosed with cancer a little over a year ago. She died on Friday August 2nd, aged only 42. We had just arrived at our campsite in the French Alps when we got a message saying that she had gone. Today is her funeral- I am reading the eulogy (which I hope to make it through without crying and can’t guarantee). She was a wonderful, warm, funny person who has provided no end of friendship to us. She leaves behind a husband and three girls, a huge number of friends and a lot of memories.

Sleep On The Left Side (Ashley Beedle’s Right Hand Extended Remix)

This is a link to a Justgiving page, if you feel like donating. Fucking cancer.

Boy’s Own Stuff

Compilation albums are ace- I don’t mean a single band’s Greatest Hits or Best Of (although they can be ace too) but compilations of a theme, time period, genre or record label- and cd suits this type of compilation perfectly. You get one disc of 80 minutes worth of music pulling together a range of releases that together make some kind of thematic sense and that soundtrack a time, place, mood, whatever.  Recently I’ve been listening to the pair of Junior Boy’s Own Collection comps- the first one mainly, the one with the mock cigarette cards cover, the second one less so (the one done to look like The Eagle comic). I’ve had the first one on vinyl for years but found both on cd in a charity shop last week for a pound each and couldn’t help myself. The first one has eleven early 90s dance tracks all of which have merit. Some are bona fide classics- Lemon Interrupt’s harmonica-house epic Bigmouth, X Press 2 (appearing twice), Underworld’s definitive pairing of Dirty Guitar and Rez (their best song? I think so), The Dust Brothers’ Song To The Siren. The others have aged well, much better than I’d expected- Farley and Heller’s Fire Island project (two songs including Paradise Factory anthem There But For The Grace Of God), Roach Motel’s Movin’ On, 3rd Eye and Outrage. This JBO compilation is a document of a time and place, or several places, and of ephemeral music, made quickly to be played in clubs to make people dance, but has actually stood the test of time. So, picking one at random, let’s have X-Press 2 (Rocky, Diesel and Ashley Beedle) with some four to the floor action.

London X-Press

Electronic Rudie

I don’t usually post mixes but I’ll make an exception for this one- Ashley Beedle’s Electronic Rudie, a dub mix done for the ever excellent internet radio station Beats In Space back in 2009. This is very, very good and finds dub in some pretty unusual places. Give an hour or so over to this and you’ll feel a whole lot better afterwards.

Generations Walking – Midnight Bustling (Francois Kevorkian Dub)
Basement 5 – Immigrant Dub
The Pop Group – 3:38 –
Dub Pistols feat . Rodney P – You’ll Never Find (Dub)
Stiff Little Fingers – Bloody Dub
Generation X – Wild Dub
Flesh For Lulu – I’m Not Like Everybody Else (Dub Version)
The Pogues – Young Ned Of The Hill (Dub Version)
The Clash – One More Dub
Bauhaus – Here’s The Dub (She’s In Parties)
Leftfield – Dub Gussett
Air – How Does It Make You Feel? (Adrian Sherwood Mix)
Massive Attack vs Mad Professor – Radiation Ruling The Nation (Protection)
Reverend And The Makers – Sundown On The Empire (Adrian Sherwood On U Sound Disneydubland)
The Clash – Robber Dub
The Specials/Rico Rodriguez – Ghost Town (Extended Mix)

Electronic Rudie!

One Night Stand

Can’t believe I’ve not posted anything by The Aloof before. This remix is a stunner- Ashley Beedle’s thirteen minute take on their One Night Stand from 1996. The instrumentation (dramatic and sweeping strings, tabla, the kitchen sink) is good enough on it’s own but taken with singer Ricky Barrow’s extraordinary voice (and self loathing of the one night stand) it’s almost too much for one record to contain. The Aloof contained two Sabres Of Paradise and one Red Snapper (which sounds a bit like an alternative, clubby version of the twelve days of Christmas).

One Night Stand (The Long Night and The Samba)

Going Ballistic

The Ballistic Brothers made a handful of laid back, jazzy, electronic, street albums in the 1990s. I sometimes wish they’d toughen up at bit, dig deeper into Ashley Beedle’s reggae and Rocky and Diesel’s house backgrounds, but there’s some good stuff in the back catalogue. London Hooligan Soul from 1995 has the very ace ska tribute song Peckings, which appeared here well over a year ago. The album also has highly entertaining sleeve notes romantically detailing ‘London hooligan soul’ life- bunking school, casual clothing (Fila, Lacoste, Lois, Tachini), Blair Peach, soul weekenders, Studio One, the Tory government, The Jam, Phuture, East Grinsted, Bognor, poll tax riots- ‘a thousand stories of promised lands and meccas’. This song closed the album.

Railway Crossing

We’ve been camping near Carnforth, Lancashire this weekend for a friend’s 40th (cold nights, no rain, sunny days, drunken evenings, very good all told). We were waiting at a level crossing with this Underworld song pumping away on the car stereo, complete with ringing bells and the sound of trains whooshing past.