Wednesday 16 November 2011

Old Skool Music Therapy

Thank you to Five Go Blogging and Older Single Mum for laying down the gauntlet of choosing three pieces of music which have really moved me, grooved me, shaken my bootie and made me stop dead in my tracks courtesy of Mammy Woo's 'Music Therapy' meme. Given that I DJ'ed for nearly a decade I wrongly assumed this was going to be an easy task and found myself totally overwhelmed by choice.

How on earth was I supposed to narrow down 1000's of records to just three? I've spent all week vacillating over what to include. So what I decided upon was those pieces which really influenced me as I blossomed from snotty, precocious girl into a demure woman fish netted brazen hussy. I've also been slightly mischievous by breaking the rules and included a fourth bonus track. So here we go. I hope you enjoy my selection .....

It's 1984, I'm thirteen years young and waiting impatiently in the front seat of my dad's car while he queues in Pizza Hut to collect the Saturday night take away. I turn on the radio and my ears are blown away by the arching synth sounds of New Order's Blue Monday. I have always been drawn to synth based pop. I can remember feeling mesmerised by Kraftwerk's The Model aged ten and a fan of groups like Tears For Fears, Scritti Politti and Propaganda as a middling teenager.
Blue Monday however was in a league of its own .....

How does it feel to treat me like you do
When you've laid you hands upon me
And told me who you are
I thought I was mistaken
I thought I heart your words
Tell me
How do I feel tell me now
How do I feel

Fast forward a few years, I'm 17 and coming of age with my first proper steady boyfriend. I dutifully follow all the indie bands he listens to but need some sounds to call my own. I discover The The's brilliant album Soul Mining from which the introspective Uncertain Smile is my hands down favourite. Now this song paints the ultimate background to the skin blemished, white histrionic knuckle ride of my latter teenage years. The piano solo, nod to Jools Holland, is vintage gorgeousness decanted into the finest Waterford crystal to be savoured over and over again courtesy of the rewind button.

Uncertain Smile .....

Peeling the skin back from my eyes, I felt surprised
That the time on the clock was the time I usually retired
To the place where I cleared my head of you;

But just for today, i think I'll lie here and dream of you.
I've got you under my skin where the rain can't get in,
But if the sweat pours out, just shout I'll try to swim and pull you out.

A howling wind blows the litter as the rain flows,
As street lamps pour orange colored shapes through your window,
A broken soul stares from a pair of watering eyes,
Uncertain emotions force an uncertain smile...

I've got you under my skin where the rain can't get in,
But if the sweat pours out, just shout I'll try to swim and pull you out.

A year later and I'm dolled up in my gothy hippy gear and perched on a bench in the Leeds Warehouse. It's 1988, Friday night, and the speakers are pumping out indie rock and acid house. Unbeknownst to my retro rock chums, who contemptuously frowned upon any new emerging musical genre, dance became my secret guilty pleasure. I've always been a rhythm girl at heart preferring the actual music to lyrical content so it was only a matter of time before I threw off my guitar heels and strapped on my dancing trainers.

There were two tracks that shook the goth out of me and replaced the cemetery black with tie die, flares and strange wavy hand movements. So I have to the thank the Leeds Warehouse for playing A Guy Called Gerald's Voodoo Ray and Inner City's Good Life. To this day I can still feel the shivers both these records sent down my unsuspecting spine. I was utterly spellbound. I had tasted the forbidden fruit of the four four beat and entered the temple of house music. Goodbye indie rock. Farewell my dinosaur friend. Music therapy indeed. No wonder I became a DJ. Love the underbudgetness of the Inner City video; you can't beat dancing outside a shop window in your best 80's shoulder pads and wide brimmed hat.

Finally, and swiftly moving onto my third decade, the album that sound tracked my thirty something years is Stay Human by Michael Franti and Spearhead. Laid back, jazz and funk infused, each album track is just superb. It was really hard to pick one but thanks to the limited choice on You Tube I have gone with Soulshine. This happens to be one of my favourites anyway. It always leaves me feeling inspired and hopeful.


Take ya time
Unwind ya mind
We all need a little soulshine
Take ya time
Unwind ya mind
We could use a little soulshine

And now I am passing on the baton to the following great blogs .....
The Bling Buoy
Mummy Plum


  1. Inner City - Good Life - I love that song! So uplifting. What a trip down memory lane. Great choices, and superb descriptions too. My favourite though has to be: "vintage gorgeousness decanted into the finest Waterford crystal to be savoured over and over again courtesy of the rewind button". Have you ever thought about becoming a music reviewer? I am bravely taking the baton...haven't actually listened to any music for ages, so this will be a great excuse to get the old ipod on again.

  2. You were a DJ? Wow! Does this mean we'll be reading more insights from your groovin' DJ days in future blogs? I'd love to read more as I've heard it's a whole other world. This one was an excellent start though - music taste gives you so much insight into a person. Hmmm... might need to think about this one for a while. Thanks for passing the baton to me! :)

  3. Hi you. Just wanted to echo mummy plum by saying you are so talented at writing about music - especially because you give it an autobiographical flavour. It's such a specialism! I think cat parrot was looking for someone to write a blog review of a singer-songwriter the other day?

    Really great choices too. Such a shame the you tube recordings are always such poor quality though. I'm off to hunt down the voodoo ray track on itunes methinks...

    PS Versatile blogger blog will be written, just in case you think i've gone and committed a morally abhorrent breach of blogging etiquette!! x

  4. Love it! Some great choices. I'm going to have to look through your archives to see what other music gems I can find.

    1. Hey musodad. Cheers for popping over. This was my first music post but I think I am going to have to write alot more since I used to be a DJ as well!


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