I Like That, Turn It Up

Yargo have appeared in my social media timelines a couple of times recently so it’s time to revisit them here. I’ve written about them before, a band barely known outside Manchester but who really should have been bigger. There’s a dearth of decent pictures on the internet too and while searching for an image for this post I found the one above, a ticket for a 1990 gig at Manchester International 1 where they were supported by Rig (who I wrote about at the start of this year here and who had my mate Darren on guitar).

Yargo were a four piece who defied pigeonholing mixing blues, soul, funk and reggae, and a singer (Basil Clarke) with the voice of an angel. Several of them had previously been in Biting Tongues, another unsung Manchester band. This song, from the album Bodybeat, has brushed drums and jazzy guitar licks before moving into a sort of dub/film soundtrack area.

Another Moss Side Night

In 1988 they put out a single with singer Zoe Griffin called The Love Revolution (Manchester, 1988- ‘ten thousand people committing no crime… we’re dancing away’). Basil’s voice floats over an ACR style house groove on this very nice Justin Robertson remix.

The Love Revolution (Justin Robertson’s Scream Team Remix)

They received their most widespread coverage in 1989 when their song The Other Side Of Midnight was used as the theme tune to Tony Wilson’s late night Granada music TV show of the same name. As well as some legendary appearances by some definitive Manchester guitar bands OSM enabled Tony to broadcast a party from Victoria Baths soundtracked by A Guy Called Gerald (starting at 6.15 with Voodoo Ray).

And from the end of the series in July 89 a stunning show from the old Granada Studios building, a live rave with Gerald again, T-Coy (Mike Pickering and ex-ACR man Simon Topping) and the Happy Mondays at their chaotic peak. But you know,  it’s 1989, the crowd are the real stars.

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Dream Slumber

Dream Slumber is a remix of Annette by T-Coy. In other words Mike Pickering and Simon Topping remixing themselves. It’s a fantastic piece of 1988 Mancunian acid house that could fit in with both Drew’s Friday series and by Pickering’s association with Factory my 2015 Factory Friday series. The sequenced bassline is a dream and the record glides towards it’s stuttering sample conclusion… ‘that’s a baaaaaad record’.

Dream Slumber (T-Coy Mix)

Midnight

I found this twenty four minute time capsule while looking for this morning’s Yargo clip- a special edition of Tony Wilson’s The Other Side Of Midnight TV show from the summer of 1989. Mike Pickering’s T-Coy, A Guy Called Gerald and Happy Mondays playing live down at Granada Studios. A party, as Wilson says, with the emphasis on part-E. As ever, the crowd (their clothes, hairstyles and dancing) are the real stars.

Annette

It’s Friday, so as Drew would have it, let’s dance.

One of the many dance records Factory passed up on in the late 80s that Mike Pickering then put out on DeConstruction was his own T-Coy track Carino (posted yesterday). They also passed up Voodoo Ray and Ride On Time. Another was Dream 17 by Annette, mentioned by Drew himself in the comments yesterday. Dream 17 is a massive, forward thinking house record with a superb melodic bassline, the 303 in full effect and a vocal giving it soul. It was actually made by Pickering and Simon Topping plus two others using the Annette alias. Carino, Dream 17 and Voodoo Ray were all compiled on the seminal (oops, I used the seminal word) compilation North- The Sound Of The Dance Underground, which had an equally memorable cover (from Manchester’s Central Station Design)- goodbye to the grey and the indie, welcome to technicolour house.

Dream 17

There was also a Derrick May remix. Nearly as good as the original.

Carino

Mike Pickering is one of the key people in the Manchester/Factory/Hacienda story- a mate of Rob Gretton’s via Man City away games he started putting on club nights in abandoned buildings in Rotterdam and formed Quando Quango. He was the man who shaped the music policy of the Hacienda from its early days. He ripped the microphone out of the dj booth so they couldn’t talk over the records and began to create the vibe he’d been so impressed by at New York’s dance music clubs. He was the bookings manager for the Hacienda. He played house music at the Nude and Hot nights which in no small part invented the house scene of the late 80s. He signed the Happy Mondays to Factory. He told Factory he wanted to set up a dance offshoot label and when knocked back set up DeConstruction, one of the 90s key dance music labels. In 1987 he formed T-Coy to make house music (along with ex-ACR man Simon Topping) and they made this classic record.

Carino

He still djs today. This set from a night at Manchester’s Albert Halls from earlier this month shows him in fine ravey house form, albeit with less hair than he had in the photo above.

Genius

Genius might be overplaying it but it isn’t too far off. Before M-People, before T Coy, Mike Pickering formed Quando Quango with Gonnie Rietveld and her drumming brother Reinier Rietveld. ACR’s drummer Donald Johnson helped out too. They made dance music before such a thing really existed, combining the energy of New York’s early 80s music scene with northern European tastes. Gonnie described it as ‘Fela Kuti meets Kraftwerk somewhere between Manchester and Rotterdam’ This song has manipulated voices, slow and fast, intoning the groups’s name, spiraling piano parts, a Latin vibe and synths. It should have had them bouncing all over the Hacienda’s dancefloor, except this was 1985- The Smiths held sway. And although this song is now thirty years old it still sounds really fresh. I like it so much I think we’ll have two period piece pictures to go with it.

Genius