Una Certa Proporzione

A couple of lesser known tunes from A Certain Ratio’s back catalogue for you today, both real favourites of mine. In 1986 ACR were moving away from the clipped, army shorts, punk-funk of their early years. Force, released in 1986, found them edging towards a more commercial sound. And Then She Smiles is northern jazz/funk/pop but much better than that sounds. Martin Moscrop’s clarinet keeps it all slightly discordant (and isn’t a million miles from 808 State’s Pacific). It’s parent album Force was re-issued by LTM back in 2009 and worth tracking down. I have a cassette copy in one of those cloth-bound boxes Factory went with for a while (Fact 166 fact fans).

And Then She Smiles

In 1987 they signed to A&M and put out several career highs which failed to sell (Good Together, acr:mcr, The Big E, Won’t Stop Loving You) and migrated their way back to independence in the early 90s on Rob’s Records (Rob Gretton’s label). They then released a series of cracking dance/house inspired records including Mello in 1992. Mello came in a variety of versions, including M-People remixes and dubs.Part 1 was the radio friendly one. The 303 Dub is great too.

Mello (Part 1)

Mello (303 Dub)

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This Time I’m Not Wrong

I’ve posted this before but thought it might be worth looking at again. Bernard Sumner’s got a very distinctive voice, not a great voice maybe, but it’s very recognisable. He’s popped up on guest vocals in various places, with 808 State and The Chemical Brothers most famously. In 1997 he sang on a song with Sub Sub, not long before they mutated into Doves. The song- This Time I’m Not Wrong- came out on 12″, the last release ever on Rob’s Records (Rob Gretton’s label, New Order manager). It sounds much more like Doves than Sub Sub and when their studio/rehearsal room burned down the Williams bros and Jimi Goodwin took it as a sign to move on. Listening to this, it’s pretty clearly where early Doves song Catch The Sun came from.

This Time I’m Not Wrong

The 12″ also has an early version of Firesuite.

Firesuite

Beat Club And Bernard

In a similar vein to yesterday’s post but actually a much better record is this, Security by Beat Club. When New Order called it a day in 1991 (for the first time) manager Rob Gretton set up a label, Rob’s Records, partly to put out ACR records and partly to release tracks by local bands. Beat Club were neither local nor ACR but actually from Miami, the studio project of Ony Rodriguez and his girlfriend Mireya Valls. This song is remixed by Bernard Sumner and is a fairly accurate summary of what dance music could sound like in 1991, certainly in the northwest of England. Stuff like this still has the power to get the Swiss household skipping round the frontroom and standing on the furniture.

Security (Bernard Sumner remix)

Rob’s Records folded in 1999 following the death of Rob Gretton. In the 90s they had a big hit with Sub Sub’s Ain’t No Love (Ain’t No Use), put out several decent ACR songs (personal favourite 27 Forever among them) and tracks by several other bands including Mr Scruff and Strange Brew, one half of which lived down our road when we were kids (Jake Purdy, if you’re reading this, sorry about the tooth)