To Fly Free You Must Fly Alone

Back to 1990 today and a hands in the air piano rave moment from N-Joi. The vocal track on the original version of the song was made up of samples from 3 different sources- Gwen Guthrie, Soul II Soul and Darlene Davis- which singer Saffron mimed for TV and sang live for performances, as seen here on Top Of The Pops…

Anthem

Saffron went on to find fame as the singer of Republica, a group that included a former member of Flowered Up (Tim Dorney on keyboards) and a former member of Soul Family Sensation (Jonathan Male on guitar). Back in the late 90s I wrote some reviews and articles for a Manchester based magazine and got to interview Saffron (on the phone not face to face). I don’t think the Saffron interview was published (probably because my interviewing skills were limited and the whole thing was a bit uncomfortable). Later on I co-interviewed Bez in a bar called The Temple Of Convenience. He was promoting his book Freaky Dancing. This interview went much better. Bez offered to take us out for the night with, and I quote, ‘some classical music fella and the King of Cumbia squeezing fuck out of a massive squeezebox’. His opening gambit when we all sat down was to tell me that I looked like ‘I smoked loads of smack’ (which I didn’t I hasten to add). Good fun and highly entertaining. Happy days.

Cities In The Park

Just over twenty five years ago Factory Records put on a two day festival in Heaton Park, Manchester, in memory of Martin Hannett who had died earlier that year. Day One, Saturday August 3rd, included Buzzcocks, Paris Angels, Ruthless Rap Assassins, The Railway Children, OMD and The Wonderstuff. Day Two, Sunday, was almost entirely Factory acts- Happy Mondays, Electronic, ACR, Revenge, Durutti Column, The Wendys and Cath Carroll plus De La Soul, 808 State and New fast Automatic Daffodils. There were two day camping tickets- but who would want to camp in Heaton Park?

We went on the Sunday. It was hot. I met my brother there, who came in when some of the crowd outside pushed the fence down. He had a ticket but just fancied coming in through the fence. From memory Durutti were good but a bit lost in a giant field, Revenge were a bit iffy (Hooky playing bass, singing and whacking the syndrums repeatedly, probably trying to overcompensate for the bad blood between him and Bernard Sumner, New Order’s split and their relative positions on the bill). ACR were good, 808 State really moved the crowd, De La Soul were shouty. Electronic were imperious, especially when the Pet Shop Boys turned up on stage and you scanned left to right and saw key members of New Order, The Smiths and PSBs all together for one song. It’s shame they played live so rarely.

The whole event was filmed and a video released which I bought but no longer have. Here’s a scene setter…

And here an enthusiastic Tony Wilson interviews Johnny Marr, Rowetta, Shaun Ryder and Bez…

This Youtube uploader has labelled this as Electronic live in London ┬ábut it’s definitely Heaton Park.

Happy Mondays were by 1991 a stunningly effective if very unlikely stadium band. Kinky Afro rocks. No, it doesn’t, it grooves.

Bass Can You Hear Me?

I’d been meaning to post this for a few days and hadn’t got around to it, and then Ctel shared it via This Is My Jam which has prompted me to sort it out. A classic Andrew Weatherall remix from 1991 of Finitribe’s 101, stomping, crunchy and good enough to eat. Bez in full flight on top of a hotel in Spain just seemed to fit.

101 (Sonic Shuffle)