Back to the masterplan

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As the rare groove scene tailed off and house music began to dominate in late 80’s London, one response was acid jazz; another was a new blend of street soul/funk typified by Soul II Soul. Jazzie B’s journey from dole to soul is covered in a recent BBC documentary. Soul II Soul started as a sound system but evolved into a band. Come 1989, Soul II Soul records weren’t just being played in the clubs, they were charting. The members continued to DJ (I remember playing with Aitch B around 1995), and a bunch of similar new artists began to feature in their and other DJs’ playlists, alongside older soul/funk and increasingly jazzy hip hop.

The mix below brings back memories from that period. It starts with Loose Ends’ downtempo rework of Summer Madness and the P-funk classic. The B-side to Revival (‘yellow’ version) follows. Then echoes of Twin Peaks lead into a track Lucy the Swing Beat Queen put me on to. Next is a classic from Duffer and Sharpeye founder Barrie K. Sharpe, an icon of the rare groove movement whose recent autobiography is an interesting read. The Masterplan is one of those tracks I heard early (not quite sure where – possibly a clothes shop in Camden, maybe Iffley Rd), then played to death (my speakers facing out the window, people dancing in the courtyard below) and tired of by the time it blew up that summer; but I came round to it again when making this mix. I feel the same about Back To Life, the track that pretty much defined the era.

t55681851-b358798147_s400For a while, it seemed like all these club tracks had a rap in the middle; QRZ flipped things by putting a Pharaoh Sanders-style sax amid a rap (first heard Jazz FM 102.2), while for Keep on Movin’ Jazzie B created a beat that could be heard on everything from adverts to novelty ambient records. A classic UBB break sets off Set Me Free, the perfect downtempo club track. Boundaries, built on the Average White Band’s Stop The Rain, came a bit later that decade but fits the vibe. The Fresh 4 track blends Faze-0 with the Funky Drummer – it always reminds me of doing step overs with Justin and Andy one night in Deptford. And I never tire of that D-Influence track, which is surprising given that I permanently associate it with being sat up in my room listening to Kiss FM, cramming for finals.

  1. Feel The Vibe – Loose Ends
  2. Nothing’s Gonna Change – Martine Girault
  3. Ghetto Heaven (Jazzie B & Nellee Hooper Remix) – The Family Stand
  4. The Masterplan – Diane Brown & Barry K. Sharpe
  5. Back To Life (Jam On The Groove mix) – Soul II Soul
  6. This Is Calling You – QRZ?
  7. Love Or Nothing – Diane Brown & Barry K. Sharpe
  8. Set Me Free – The Bygraves
  9. Keep On Moving – Soul II Soul
  10. Boundaries – Leena Conquest
  11. Wishing On A Star – The Fresh 4 feat. Lizz. E
  12. Journey – D-Influence

Download

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~ by ricardosevere on 05/08/2017.

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