For this week’s mixtape, we welcome Andy Hickford to the Dusk Dubs family.
"The selection process for Dusk Dubs was a tough one, there could have been hundreds of tracks; I have also ended up without tracks from genres I love, artists I love and labels I have been buying for decades.
The tunes I have settled on represent a back to mine vibe, these aren't records that I'd typically play out. These are late night songs, mellow numbers and a few oddities, all of which have been favourites for a long time and many with their own stories behind them.
I have been collecting vinyl for as long as I can remember. I DJ around Leeds and the North hosting monthly nights at Outlaws Yacht Club, Hyde Park Book Club and the Northern Monk Brewery as 'Downtown Science' with Decknologist and The Boogie Monster. I also DJ regularly at North bar in Leeds, as well as other venues such as Headrow House. I am also the in house DJ for the world famous Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield curating music for their exhibition openings and DJ'ing their parties..
It is an honour to be asked to join the Dusk Dubs family, I hope you all enjoy my humble contribution."
You can find him here:
1. U.N.K.L.E. – Time Has Come (Portishead Plays U.N.K.L.E. Mix)
2. Jean Claude Vannier – Danse Des Mouches Noires Gardes Du Roi
3. Serge Gainsbourg – Ballade de Melody Nelson
4. MC Solaar – Nouveau Western
5. Lewis Howard All Stars – Hula Rock
6. One Dove – Jolene
7. Bobbie Gentry – He Made A Woman Out Of Me
8. David Holmes – Don’t Die Just Yet (Holiday Girl remix by Arab Strap)
9. 4 Hero – Morning Child
10. Jackson Five – I Am Love
11. Buddy Miles – The Segment
12. Nino Nardini – Frantique
13. 24 Carat Black – Ghetto: Misfortunes Wealth
14. Wanda Robinson – Carnal Was The Word
15. Jorge Ben – Comanche
16. Harry Thumann – The Sphinx
17. New Order – 5 8 6
18. A Guy Called Gerald – Emotions Electric
19. John Carpenter – The End (Disco Mix)
U.N.K.L.E. – Time Has Come (Portishead Plays U.N.K.L.E. Mix) - Mo Wax is one of my all-time favourite record labels, so I needed to start out with something that captured the essence of the label. I loved this remix by Portishead; the only criticism I have is that it is too short. The Trip Hop sound is often maligned these days; however some of the most innovative music of the era was released on the likes of Lavelle’s label, Warp and Ninja Tune. This record reminds me hugely of the mid 90’s; I met my wife at university and moved to Leeds (20 years later I am still there) so it feels right to start the selection here.
Jean Claude Vannier – Danse Des Mouches Noires Gardes Du Roi - This is one of those albums that I knew of, but didn’t actually get to hear for years. Even the album cover was familiar long before the sounds within were. Something of a Holy Grail for those with Dusty Fingers before You Tube, Discogs and MP3’s made pretty much anything accessible to anyone this was the sort of record you only read about. Thank the lord for Finders Keepers who re-issued this wonderful record of psychedelic, orchestral and downright odd pop music.
Serge Gainsbourg – Ballade de Melody Nelson - More French grooves. One of my favourite tunes of all time is Gainsbourg’s ‘Melody’ from the Histoire De Melody Nelson album, however David Holmes has accounted for that for me later on in the selection, so I have picked another superb outing from the same album. Growing up in market towns in the late 80’s we were always told French music was laughable nonsense, with snide comments about Johnny Halliday to the fore. However in the early 90’s it soon became clear that there was more to French music than ‘ooh la la’ comedy tunes and bad rock. I was led to Gainsbourg by…
MC Solaar – Nouveau Western - Gilles Peterson is someone pretty much everyone who loves music has cause to thank. His work as a DJ, on the radio, as a writer and label boss / compilation compiler means that he has probably led me and many others in more new musical directions than anyone else. Talkin’ Loud led me to MC Solaar, his second album ‘Prose Combat’ inadvertently made me realise that the French couldn’t just do hip hop, they also did funk, jazz and much more well too. This track sampled Gainsbourg’s ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ brilliantly, giving a hint as to the treasures in the back catalogue of French music; around the same time acts like Air, La Funk Mob and then daft Punk and Saint Germain finally killed the idea that the French were in any way lacking in musical chops.
Lewis Howard All Stars – Hula Rock - So from hip hop sampling French pop, to underground hip hop royalty taking from UK Library music – I can’t leave the impression that it is our friends from across the channel that had all the hidden funk. I love Madlib; he would have to be in my top 3 producers/artists, however rather than include Madlib tunes (some were very close to the final cut) I thought I’d use some tunes that Madlib has flipped. Anyone familiar with Madvillainy will immediately recognise this tune, it takes you to Hawaii quicker than a jumbo jet ever could and you don’t even need to apply sun cream.
One Dove – Jolene - One Dove should have been massive; perhaps they were just ahead of their time? When you think about the success acts like Morcheeba had and then compare their music to that of One Dove it does seem odd that Dot Allison and co. didn’t hit a bigger audience. With Andy Weatherall on production duty for much of their work it is odd that they didn’t follow Primal Scream into orbit. I loved their album, but have selected a B-Side, their re-work of Dolly Parton. The question is did One Dove play the Jolene 45 at 33rpm and decide to do a cover in that vein – or did the One Dove version inspire Balearic jocks to check out the Parton 7” and do just that?
Bobbie Gentry – He Made A Woman Out Of Me - Sticking to a country theme, this is a track, unlike most of those on the list that is relatively new to me. This is a cracking Country Funk tune that I discovered on the compilation on ‘Light In the Attic’ of the same name (Country Funk Vol.1). I always thought that whilst I liked most genres of music there were some that just weren’t for me – Country was one of those genres. I think adding this to my selection is about reminding you that you shouldn’t dismiss things without giving them a fair hearing.
David Holmes – Don’t Die Just Yet (Holiday Girl remix by Arab Strap) - As noted earlier – I love Gainsbourg’s ‘Melody’, David Holmes lifted heavily from that tune to create ‘Don’t Die Just Yet’. This version blew me away though. Arab Strap adding a poem about shyness, self-doubt and unrequited holiday romance to the incredible strings of the original to create a track that can send shivers through you.
4 Hero – Morning Child - As a young lad I loved a bit of hardcore – Reinforced was a label you’d always check; the idea that the guys behind Mr Kirk’s Nightmare would end up being the UK’s Rotary Connection would have seemed far-fetched to me back then. (Not that I knew who Rotary Connection were then either). This is a beautiful example of how the broken beat scene could create not just effective club tracks, but also timeless music that would stand with records on labels like Cadet and Perception. Possibly one of my favourite 4 Hero productions, at least in my top 20 anyway. Between Dego & Marc Mac there must be dozens of quality tunes, so you can’t really narrow down to pick just one favourite.
Jackson Five – I Am Love - Growing up I listened to a lot of Motown, my mum was a big fan and had a few twin cassette greatest hits collections, so weekend mornings I’d often hear Diana Ross, the Commodores, Marvin Gaye etc… singing in the kitchen. Familiarity did breed a bit of boredom (contempt probably too harsh) whilst undoubtedly good, some of the more sugary Motown tunes that regularly featured on these comps led me to dismiss the label for a while. When your 10 and have heard baby Love for the hundredth time, Motown just became defined in my pre-teen mind as not for me. I was getting into Eric B & Rakim and Run DMC at the time so why would I like Motown? (How we learn…) Anyway as you get older, you get wiser – and as with country music, you learn not to dismiss things too quickly. So as it turns out there is grit in with the sugar and Motown is a label to cherish after all. Best evidenced by this tune – when I play this out it is rare that people believe me that it is the Jackson Five. A funk-rock smash.
Buddy Miles – The Segment - Another more recent find this, I was led to Buddy Miles via the Daphni/Caribou track ‘Yes, I Know’ on Jialong. I found this record after spending a while searching for it (I prefer to find a copy for a reasonable price in a shop, rather than cave in and impulse buy a high price copy plus US shipping rates via Discogs – well mostly). My brother and I were on a weekend digging trip to Amsterdam and the album this is on turned up in the last shop, on the last day. Can’t beat that feeling when you find something you have been after for a while, so wanted to include this track as a nod to a great weekend and to the joy of the vinyl hunt.
Nino Nardini – Frantique - Another tip of the hat to Madlib. This is just a brilliant freak-funk oddity of a tune that Madlib used to great effect. I found it on a comp that I had bought years before the Madlib tune, but it was only sometime after I knew the Madlib track that I realised I had it. A reminder that sometimes, you don’t need to buy records, remember you can find forgotten gems by digging your won crates.
24 Carat Black – Ghetto: Misfortunes Wealth - A brilliant soul-funk tune with conscious intent. I’ve already referenced Talkin’ Loud as being a massive label for me; I loved the Young Disciples album with it being one of the first records I bought on the label. This track was clearly an inspiration to the band, I’m not knocking the YD’s for using this, rather I’m including it because it illustrates somewhat the point that Chuck D made when he said ‘You got to dig Blue Note, to get Def Jam’. The more you know about what has gone before, the more you can enjoy and appreciate the now.
Wanda Robinson – Carnal Was The Word - Another record I found when in Amsterdam. I’m still no fan of poetry, but this album demonstrates that very little can’t be improved by sticking a funky groove underneath it – yes, even poetry. Maybe even Question Time would be more palatable if sound tracked by the JB’s?
Jorge Ben – Comanche - World music – that was a much mis-understood term. As a young’un it seemed to mean pan-pipes, knitting Yoghurt and sitting around earnestly listening to someone playing a didgeridoo badly. If only I knew then that world music could have meant just finding brilliant tunes that didn’t happen to have been recorded by UK or US artists. There are many examples of international funk, jazz, soul, disco and more I could have used. But I just love this bit of Brazilian magic.
Harry Thumann – The Sphinx - Knight Rider – a big part of growing up, as soon as the theme tune kicked in that was it, locked in to the massive 22” TV (it seemed massive then) as pre-Baywatch Hasslehoff dealt with the bad guys, got the girl and spoke to his self-driving car (as if that could ever happen!). That tune could even be used to liven up so-so tracks from Busta Rhyme’s and Jay Z, but did this track come first? Is the Knight Rider theme tune just a big fat copy, or did Mr Thumann steal from Michael Knight? I don’t know and so far I have resisted the temptation to find out as somehow to know would spoil it.
New Order – 5 8 6 - I realised that I’d not really included any ‘indie’ music in this selection and I was a big indie fan in my teens, so thought what could I add? I had tracks by Spaceman 3 in mind, whilst big tunes I wanted to avoid Madchester material as it won’t be new to anyone. But, then I thought music from that city has been huge – so let’s have 2! So first up is New Order, with this track from Power, Corruption & Lies. I picked this album up second hand from a small shop that sold a mixture of things - odd electrical items, tights, household goods; repaired TV’s and also sold records. The sort of shop every town once had, but sadly have been lost in the name of progress. I also bought my first jazz-funk records there and remember them asking ‘are you sure’, as it seemed a bit of a departure for a 15 year old indie-kid.
A Guy Called Gerald – Emotions Electric - Second last tune is this beauty from A Guy Called Gerald; this is from the Peel Sessions record and remains as timeless as Voodoo Ray in my humble opinion.
John Carpenter – The End (Disco Mix) - The last track is an acknowledgement that, as with everything, my wife is always right. When we first met, some time ago (ahem) I was dubious of disco, probably ignorant really. I liked jazz-funk, acid house, hip hop, drum & bass and many more genres, but had fallen into the trap of thinking that disco was Abba, afro wigs and purple flares. How wrong I was and how right she was to insist that disco was ace. Opening my eyes to the joys to be found in tracks on compilations like ‘Jumpin’ on Harmless in the mid 90’s I soon discovered that actually disco wasn’t the fluffy nonsense that was defined by the music of 70’s nights in small town nightclubs and Aga-Doo on holiday – it was the source of hip hop, house, techno and much more. Whilst this isn’t exactly straight disco, the two of us got tickets to see John Carpenter in Manchester so it felt right to include this.