I Am Sitting In the Morning

There are songs from the late 80s and early 90s which I didn’t buy at the time, songs I have never owned until getting mp3s of them in recent years, but which I know inside out. This is because-
a) you can’t buy everything
b) limited budget
and c) record buying priorities.

It’s probably also the case that there was some stuff I dismissed a bit at the time but which really sank in to my musical memories and in retrospect (or actually at the time) liked.

Tom’s Diner, the 1990 DNA remix of Suzanne Vega’s 1981 written but 1987 released song, is one of those songs. Everything is utterly familiar and known inside out, from the da-da-da-duh intro to the chugging Soul II Soul beat, every line of the lyrics, the grinding bassline and then the cathedral bells as the whole thing seems to slow down.

Tom’s Diner (DNA Remix)

DNA remixed it without permission and distributed limited quantities on white label. The record label, A&M, heard about it, liked it and rather than sue DNA, sought Suzanne’s approval and bought it to release officially. Which was wise as it was a massive hit in the UK (number 2) and USA (number 5). In one of those typical chart battle stories it was kept off the UK number 1 spot by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

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Work It Out For Yourself

There will always be room in my life for at least two Soul II Soul records. Back To Life is where British soul met house music and went to the top of the charts. It sounds as much like 1989 as anything else from that year. The video is seductive too, the lighting on the steps, the richness of the colours, the roof top party, the sense of inclusiveness.

The other is Get A Life from 1990, which I love as much now as I did then. It has a slightly tougher, reggae feel, plus those superb strings. Jazzie B’s vocals combined with the kids chanting ‘What’s the meaning, what’s the meaning of life?’ work brilliantly and you cannot beat the drop at 2.13, followed by Jazzie’s conclusion- ‘so there it is, work it out for yourself… be selective, be objective, be an asset to the collective…’. Good advice in general I think.

Get A Life (12″ Mix)