Cosmogonic Myth

Larry Heard as Mr Fingers invented house music. Can You Feel It? and Washing Machine are two of the core parts of house music’s DNA. In 1996 under his own name he released an album of science fiction instrumentals called Alien, inspired by Ridley Scott’s 1979 film. Using minimal kit, just three pieces of equipment (Korg O1/W workstation keyboard, a Roland d550 and Oberheim Matrix 1000 for those that are technology fans) he created nine tracks of synth led, space age musings. At times it skims the edges of 80s jazz fusion and occasionally it shows some of his proggy influences but it’s an album that has some real moments of beauty, melody and clarity. On the whole, it doesn’t sound dated either. This one is especially good, gliding in from deep space and through the outer edges of the atmosphere.

Cosmogonic Myth

The roll-call of death keeps getting longer, depressing and yet somehow completely fitting with the times we live in: R.I.P. Dave Greenfield of The Stranglers. Golden Brown was the first 7″ single I bought with my own money, a giant hit in 1981 and a song largely written by keyboards player Dave, his distinctive harpsichord and the odd time signature making it stand out on the radio.

Millie Small, the voice and spirit of My Boy Lollipop died last week too. The 1964 single was the first massive ska hit in the UK and around the world, so much of what followed that came from Jamaica came in Millie’s footsteps and as a direct result of her. R.I.P. Millie.

Funk and soul singer Betty Wright passed away from cancer at the weekend. R.I.P. Betty.

And last but definitely not least, one of the absolute pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll Little Richard died on Saturday, a gay, black, cross dressing star whose influence is immeasurable. R.I.P Little Richard.

 

You Make My Heart Go Giddy Up

I was watching a documentary on Youtube recently called Windrush about the experiences of immigrants from the Caribbean into Britain, from the Empire Windrush docking in 1948 up to the mid 90s. In one section it made a point about Millie’s Number 1 single My Boy Lollipop- after the Notting Hill riots of 1958, when Oswald Mosley stirred up six weeks of white on black violence in London, many black residents felt they got no protection from the police and formed themselves into self-protection groups. The press reaction was generally one of ‘race riots- this sort of thing doesn’t happen here’. In 1964 Millie’s utterly infectious song sold by the bucketload and some talking heads argued that this single helped heal the wounds of Notting Hill, helped Black Britons be seen more positively and gave them something to sing about. One now elderly Jamaican gentleman said the My Boy Lollipop was also the start of the swinging sixties, just as much as any record by lovable moptops, that clubland in London was really swinging to Jamaican influenced sounds. Which is a nice piece of perspective.

My Boy Lollipop

And here is Minnie performing for TV in Helsinki of all places.