When we heard that this mix is now scandalously “out of print”, having disappeared from the wonderful Claremont 56 website, the 500MH office immediately contacted Mr Cook’s office to rectify matters.
Anyone who has attended a Low Life party, or indeed simply been to a London pub or club, will know Michael Cook as a fearless DJ, agent provocateur and (I like to think) gentleman jewel thief.
Sun Haze Blues is a mix of his from 2008 which was enjoyed by many a bearded Internet-enthusiast at the time.
As Michael said back then “A dusty, bluesy, occasionally swampy and decidedly laid back mix, featuring bits from JJ Cale, Peter Green, The Bees, Map Of Africa, The Black Keys and others”. A full track list is available on receipt of a stamped-addressed envelope.
Italy’s Adriatic coast, 1978: where the jeans where white, the sunglasses mirrored and the scooters two-stroke.
Baia Degli Angeli: mythical, white-walled, pleasure-dome for the rich and beautiful; its DJ booth housed in a glass elevator so that the selectors could service all four floors at once, dance-floors that were among the first in Europe to hear New York-style, beat-matched mixing.
DJ Rubens: The “third man” of Italy’s Afro-Cosmic scene (that drugged-out, dubbed-out satellite of the Ibizan Balearic mothership).
Daniele Baldelli and DJ Mozart were the sonic alchemists of this much-discussed, little-understood musical micro-climate…and, once the New York DJ’s had left, the Baia was their laboratory. Baldelli the hyper-prepared disciplinarian; Mozart the looser, organic improviser. Whilst each had their own approach, unpicking their individual contributions is perhaps as fruitless as arguing who was best, Morecambe or Wise?
And yet, some say that DJ Rubens was the brightest star of all – more capable than Mozart but free of the methodological constraints of Baldelli. Sadly an all-too-familiar tale of missed chances and drug-fuelled excess (“He lost it before anyone else” according to Gianni Zuffa, record-supplier to the scene), has relegated him to a minor figure in this beguiling left-turn from the dancefloor super-highway.
Unsurprisingly little survives of his work behind the decks, so we’ll have to make do with this all-too-short set that purports to be from the Baia Degli Angeli (despite him never having held a residency there).
But putting aside any doubts about historical accuracy (this is the Internet after all), sit back and enjoy a 30 minute musicological fragment from a rather special time and place.
“It’s one past ten o’clock here at WRKS FM New York. We’re 98.7 Kiss. K-I-S-S: where nobody gives more music. I’m Yvonne Mobley hosting our Kiss Mastermix Dance Party – dance hits of 1980..”
Yvonne Mobley: a name to make many a UK music-obsessive go weak at the knees. And for true fans of vintage New York radio air-checks, the honeyed tones of the great Chuck Leonard can also be heard on this year’s 500MH seasonal offering.
Broadcast over the NYC airwaves on Christmas Day, 1980 this edition of the Mastermix Dance Party brings together the stellar talents of Tony Humphries and Shep Pettibone, though it’s not clear just how they divided up the mixing duties. No matter, the results are predictably splendid and the 500MH spotting team have compiled an (almost) complete track-listing – check the Lyrics tab of the mp3 files.
So the sound quality ain’t great…but hellfire, this is TONY HUMPHRIES and SHEP PETTIBONE. 32 years ago!
All that remains, therefore, is to wish everyone a Merry Christmas from 500 Miles High. Postings have been slightly erratic recently and who knows what the New Year will bring, but for now…push back the sofa and party like it’s 1980.
There’s nothing we like more at 500MH than wandering off the well-trodden path and discovering something interesting in the disco undergrowth. So whilst it’s great to hear tapes of classic New York radio shows and clubs, what (you may ask) was happening in early-80’s gay Seattle?
That question can now be answered in the form of a storming set by Dana Andrews, recorded at The Monastery club’s 1983 Red Party.
A quick trawl of the Internet reveals virtually nothing about this amazing looking Seattle venue – The Munsters meets Paradise Garage? – but what scant info there is on the long-demolished Monastery (aka The Sanctuary) can be found over at the ever reliable discomusic.com, for example:
“So many crazies: the naked dancing men, the glitter girls, the fashion fags, the leather gang-honeys, they were all there…”
But enough of the clientele, what was the music like? On this showing a fascinating mixture of what you might expect (multiple Patrick Cowley tracks) to things you wouldn’t (a very long and spacey version of the Gap Band’s You Dropped a Bomb on Me).
Oh and a lovely sequence where Nick Straker’s Straight Ahead is mixed seamlessly into Glad to Know You, which sounds like it could have been recorded in Shoreditch (or Oslo) last weekend.
It’s surely not an understatement to say that the nation (or at least the bearded sub-strata) is currently gripped with Harvey-fever. The prodigal son is playing long-awaited UK gigs in Manchester and London in the next few days (and 500MH will be front-and-centre for the latter).
“Harvey who?” some of you may be saying…to which we simply respond, this one.
“As Balearic as a German pensioner’s thong…”. How many times have you heard that phrase at fancy dinner parties and had to nod embarrassedly, not really knowing what was meant.
Nod no longer. As part of our public education remit, 500 Miles High is here to help by re-presenting a rather wonderful show that went out on Ministry of Sound Radio in 2007.
Over the course of 90 minutes, Bill Brewster (with input from Balearic demi-god, Phil Mison) runs through the…wait for it…Top 25 Balearic Records of All Time, as voted for by the beards at DJ History.
Whilst stopping tantalisingly short of a definitive answer to the timeless metaphysical question, “What is Balearic?”, the show is a valuable crash-course for the novice and an equally-valuable source of “debate” for more the more seasoned espadrille-botherer.
What, no Cliff Richard?
1 Tullio de Piscopo – Primavera (Stop Bajon) (Bagaria, 1984)
2 William Pitt – City Lights (Public Sound, 1986)
3 Elkin & Nelson – Jibaro (CBS, 1986)
4 Chris Rea – Josephine (Magnet, 1985)
5 Herb Alpert – Rotation (A&M, 1979)
6 Manuel Goettsching – E2-E4 (Inteam, 1984)
7 Mandy Smith – I Just Can’t Wait (Cool & Breezy Jazz Mix) (PWL, 1987)
8 Dizzi Heights – Would I Find Love (Parlophone, 1986)
9 Art Of Noise – Moments In Love (Island, 1983)
10 It’s Immaterial – Driving Away From Home (Virgin, 1986)
11 Carly Simon – Why (WEA, 1982)
12 Sebastien Tellier – La Ritournelle (Lucky Number, 2005)
13 Donna Summer – State of Independence (WEA, 1982)
14 Laid Back – Fly Away/Walking In The Sunshine (CBS, 1983)
15 Kate Bush – Running Up The Hill (EMI, 1985)
16 Cure – Lullaby (Fiction, 1989)
17 Linda Di Franco – TV Scene (WEA, 1985)
18 Flash & The Pan – Walking In The Rain (Epic, 1978)
19 Izit – Stories (ffrr, 1989)
20 Fleetwood Mac – Big Love (Arthur Baker Remix) (Warners, 1987)
21 Double – The Captain Of Her Heart (Polydor, 1985)
22 The Beloved – The Sun Rising (WEA, 1989)
23 Enzo Avitabile – Blackout (EMI, 1986)
24 Mike Francis – Features Of Love (Concorde, 1985)
25 Richie Havens – Going Back To My Roots (Elektra, 1980)
Rodigan! What more can be said about this unlikely legend of the reggae scene? For the length, breadth and sheer oddness of his 30 year career, 500MH proudly salutes him.
From appearances in early episodes of Dr Who to sound-clashes with the leading Jamaican DJ’s, David Rodigan has dominated reggae broadcasting since before most people can remember (me included, for once). The fact that he is a sixty-something, white guy from Oxfordshire hardly seems worth mentioning any more.
Today’s musical offering is courtesy of an unlabelled CD-R that I acquired a few years ago and have, to my shame, only just got round to listening to. Judging by the references to Welcome to Jamrock, this recording dates from 2005, and is from Rodigan’s Hot 102 FM show in Jamaica.
The format appears to have been that R would start off playing “tunes that made Reggae great” – which he does – then be joined by his sparring-partner, Barry G, for a proper sound-clash (i.e. the DJ’s playing alternate records, attempting to outdo each other with increasingly exclusive dub-plates). The only problem is that Barry G doesn’t turn up, but Rodigan unleashes the dub-plates plates anyway.
For anyone unfamiliar with his style, this recording is not only an education in reggae music but an interesting primer on the sometimes astonishing fluctuations in Rodigan’s accent (Kingston, Surrey meets Kingston, JA).
This splendid mix from Jenko arrived at 500 Miles High Towers a few weeks ago and the only reason it’s not been posted before now is…the weather: how can a mix called “Drifting on the Sun Raft” be launched in the rain?
So with the sun finally poking-out between the SW12 clouds – and looking to stay there for at least today – we’re delighted to present this burnished gem from the South West (England, not London).
Jenko is a master of the horizontal approach to mix-construction – music for the mind rather than the dance floor – and makes Jose Padilla seem like David Guetta.
He’s currently looking to return from semi-retirement to launch a regular session in the Cheltenham area. As that would also involve his partner-in-crime Situation (who’s Get On Up edit we absolutely loved) the night could be a monster.