This week we invite Mark Gardner to the Dusk Dubs family......
"Firstly I’d like to say what a great honour to be asked to contribute my very own selections and join the esteemed roll call of so many outstanding prior guests. To say I feel a little out of my league here would be an understatement. That said I have had a life packed full of and surrounding music since a young age and unlike many others I didn't have the bonus head start of a home life full of cool music. My example is the opposite as the family in the main had awful taste centred on rock and roll and country or traditional folk music, sometimes even stretching as far as opera but hardly anything ever decent, bar the odd find that made a young lad ears prick up.
I LOVE and support Independent music, don’t do corporations, watch TV or entertain newspapers. What I do is dig as hard as I can for as long as I can with a single aspiration of sharing good and lost or overlooked music, alongside a few classics which transcend time. Todays all about the pre & much loved rather than the overlooked though I’ll wager at least a few off these will have well slipped off of most people’s musical radar by now (Or so I would imagine anyway.)
Music and dancing were formative in my early teens and was a keen body popper later going on to acquire sponsorship and winning the under 19 South UK Championships aged 15. The era I have chosen to focus on here is the music I spent my pocket money and part time job wages on.
Being always the Indie kid at the Rave and traversing many social circles and jumping onto the next fad, at this cumulative and wonderful time in music meant I kept on evolving constantly and gained a unique insight into many different and converging scenes and sub cultures of the time.
As such creating such a picture over just 80 mins is no easy task & I believe what all the lads round here term "The Dusk Dubs Dilemma". I too had my fair share in constructing this along with the most fun of course reliving some golden childhood memories. I have opted to go for a non trendy, most personal and honest approach I could to give you an insight into what I used to travel 14 miles round trip on the bus to go into 'Boots The Chemist' and ask for the GIANT Red book from behind the counter that (at the time) I was convinced had every record ever made in it. It certainly seemed to always have all I wanted and far more than I could ever afford.
It didn't take long for imports to become the all important thing and the start of a train spotting lifestyle but here I have deliberately chosen to avoid that and just give you a peek into the loves and playlist of an under 20 me.
I remember the very first time I saw Break Machine on TOTP and things changed hugely and forever and a country village overspill kid first experienced urban culture and all the things that this would lead to. Oct 13th 1983 and less than a month from turning the ripe old age of 13. As such this truly is an example of my true teenage Dusk Dubs up for your consideration and hopefully listening pleasure.
I've been lucky enough to work in many areas of the music business and be involved with friends’ projects over the last 31 years. A DJ is probably the last part of the scene I ever became seriously involved with and even now it’s not something I aspire to do professionally, although I will be starting up producing again seriously and doings some live events and other new radio projects as time goes on. We have just taken on management of a 200 acre festival site in Middle England so things are looking exciting for the future for the coming year!
For today however acting the DJ and getting me Dusk Dubs head onto my Worzel Style body, I'd like to introduce you to my personal playlist to represent 1983 - 90, my formative years spent collecting all I could find, recording every dance move I saw and practicing over and over nightly until I could do it. To be honest my formative years I consider to still be happening right now and even more so as time continues and I learn & discover more wonderful little avenues to explore!
Around this time there were 3 main influences in my life musically that I have hardly touched on here; 1.) The John Peel Show 2.) Robbie Vincents’ show 3.) Solid Soul > the reason being time constraints and aiming to stay within the spec given yet still retaining a coherent them and little mini journey that "flowed" how it’s supposed to. If gone into any of those 3 directions things would have opened and widened quite drastically to reveal the full extent of my somewhat wildly eclectic taste that my main radio show is known for.
Avoiding the Acid House scene here was like trying to resist that last Rolo but as with all the above there is a slight and subtle doff of the cap in that direction without opening a huge can of musical worms as if we go down that road, before we knew it we'd be back in the realms of #PJDN's "Steve's" doing an 8 hr Bank Holiday set, piss bottle under arm & off his tits on Nana's Prescription Meds! ;-)
As a digger it’s always hard to resist those WOW digs from then that you've only found now as no better feeling for a vinyl archaeologist to reveal something a little bit overlooked or a lost GEM. Once again something entirely avoided in this example, there are no real digs here and sure almost all the listeners of Dusk Dubs will know at least most if not all of my selections.
Thanks so much for lending your ears and time towards a little blast from my particular and personal history .I really do hope that you find something to enjoy here and perhaps relive a moment from your past magical musical history as well :-)"
1) Ennio Morricone - The Ecstacy of Gold (Sunset Records 1976)
I’ve already indicated as to my family’s awful taste in music although Spaghetti Western Soundtracks were the welcome exception and became my youths audio refuge and a place I have always been happily musically. Ennio Morricone of course I later learned to be a significant musical genius and composer of note but when I first heard and fell in love with this I knew nothing of any such considerations.A master class in atmosphere building through soundscaping with an orchestra no less and anyone who knows me knows I do love live instrumentation. OST’s and Films have always been a big part of my life since old enough to save for and buy my own records and in the early 60’s Mum & Dad got a video shop so the house was always full of some soundtrack in the background of some variety.
With a penchant for all sorts of movies came all sorts of introductions to sounds I never even knew existed before that. Often the more cult and obscure items would also bring a wonderful OST and in later life led me to acts and bands that have brought me all sorts of glorious and over looked digs to re-enjoy. Truth be told I could easily fill 80 mins with just significant OST’s from the same period but for now that will have to wait until another invitation as today this merely a tip of the cap to my dear old Dad and his love for Spaghetti westerns and the musical joy and memory it still brings me today.
2) The Mexican - Babe Ruth (Harvest 1972)
Suppose you’d call this my introduction to the fact that cool music existed in the past as well as the present and whatever Our Price or Woolworths had to offer me at the time. A timeless B. Boy classic wasn’t long before first hearing that all the boys were queuing up to get hold of a copy of this. Often a staple of many an early old’s cool or Zulu Nation type mixtape of the time. The influence of this tune carried over to the rave era for me with Todd Terry & the likes making great use of the chords and samples to best effect.
3) Newtrament - London Bridge Is Falling Down (Special Vocoder Mix)
Highly coveted this one for me and my best pal had it for what seemed like an age before me, so getting to hear him spin it in the garage at what I know now to be a thoroughly less than neighbourly level of volume, was an absolute joy to me. When I did get it I had just started getting into import LP’s and recognised them as a good value for money purchase as well as being great for laying on my bed and contemplating my utterly complex teenage world of angst and nonsense in equal doses. One peril I discovered later was going in for the LP and ending up with a fistful of something that came out of nowhere and as time went on more and more I was mainly buying LP’s on cassettes and relying on homemade often cut and pasted with the use of a boogie box pause button some lad had made from various sources just to give the feel of a continuous mix before anyone had even thought of using anything other than mum or dads turntable. When I did grab this I’d gone in for an LP and spotted this as a must have extra purchase and remember almost being able to hear it on the bus all the way home.
4) Imperial Brothers - We Come To Rock (Cutting Records 1984)
Off one of the Original Electro LP’s which at the time almost everyone I knew owned a copy of. Well everyone I knew outside of from the village where I lived did anyway, my peers and social circle / fellow breakers of the time. Wicked Bassline and used in many a practice session and battle at the time.
5) Arthur Baker - Breaker's Revenge (Extended Vocal Version) (Atlantic 1984)
Now talking of battle tracks they don’t get much heavier than this (Jimmy Castor Accepted of course) but this really is a seminal 80’s battling track as featured in Beat Street and engrained in the mind of many a now aging but then teen breaker studying the crackly tape in slow motion over and over trying to perfect the moves of the then “Masters of the scene”.
6) Aleem Ft Leroy Burgess - Confusion (NIA Records 1985)
Another stone cold classic of the era and one of the Two particularly stand out tracks for me and indeed was so close to including both despite the time constraints here as both are amazing and held dear in my memory. I still like the clean and slick, smooth production here which was a stark contrast to the majorly industrial cut and shunt and harsher, more cutting edge and crisp high hats, With fat driving basslines aimed directly at the dancefloor. This however is the yang to that yin and an entirely understated yet still uplifting musical journey with some lovely frequencies and sweet vocal to carry you through.
7) Human League - Things That Dreams Are Made Of (Virgin 1981)
On both this and the classic essential League Unlimited Orchestra LP’s this is a largely overlooked track that has always resonated with me personally and I’d happily still use in a DJ set today as timeless in my estimations and is just a wonderful piece of electronic music which looking back now was entirely groundbreaking in its approach and attitude. A gamble you might say that “years on” has proved to have spectacularly paid off in spades!
8) Paul Hardcastle - Sound Chaser (Original) 1984 12" Version (ZYX Records 1984)
This was one of them tunes you had to take yourself personally to the battle as at the time not particularly popular with the stone cold classics that everyone went mad for. Mr Hardcastle was properly doing it as this time and its hard to believe Rainforest didn’t make it into this set. However this for me was one of them tunes that gave me extra power and confidence when battling or performing. It as hard as you like for the time and truth be told probably a bit dark for my normal tastes but there remains that undeniable something that will always keep it close to my heart and bring back good memories of childhood, listening music with pals hanging round the school when it was shut on huge old boogie boxes, a roll of lino and puffing / sharing “teefed” tabs and illicit booze we’d acquired.
9) Sly & Robbie - Triplet Interpolating Don't Go - 1.1 The Taxi Gang (Mango 1986)
The cover of this alone would have grabbed you by the scruff of the neck at the time as not only is it striking it is also in the style of the famous electro series and so an instant want to know. Am said to say I overlooked this tune for many years and only reminded a few years back by a close pal of mine (who also loves it) of what a solid Gold gem it really is!This is a track I’ve regularly played over last few years via my own radio show’.
10) UB40 - The Earth Dies Screaming (Graduate Records 1980)
Years later I’d go on to work for their management and become involved in organising Acid House parties, ironically at a time where I had zero interest in UB40 as a musical entity of interest. As far as my just post teenage arse thought they had sold out and become far too commercial for my then bleep and breaks driven taste and so I lost interest in them for a number of years. The DEP label and studio they went on to create is a different story and a hive of cultural development and exciting, experimental things and as time has gone on I’ve come to appreciate them on an entirely different level. Their early work is a perfect example of pushing musical boundaries of the time and some wicked heartfelt and harmonious numbers plus some proper deep and timeless dubby action you could drop anywhere still even today. I chose this as fell in love with them early being championed at the time by John Peel who always had great things to say about them. This signing is pre DEP days and remains one of my all time fave tracks.
11) Shine Eye Gal - Black Uhuru (Virgin 1980)
I have a bit of a soft spot for Black Uhuru as marks a distinct change in my musical tastes upon discovering them. This was my entrance and interest in music of a black origin as I believe it’s now formally called. I recently featured the Red LP on my Desert Island Digs series with the Youth of Eglington Track, but this time completely different LP yet my no 1 fave track off the lot, literally Reggae perfection for me personally, love everything about it start to end. A band I recommend buying everything always on sight as represent a great value for money purchase on the vinyl accumulation front.
12) Gary Clail & On U Soundsytem - Two Thieves and a Liar (On-U Sound 1989)
If it wasn’t for this track and the one after next I could have easily made the set go from 1980 to 87 or Ten to Seventeen based on my own years at the time. I had a DuskDubs Dilemma as when asked this was defo going to be the finale track as I’ve always loved it, production, sentiment, lyrics, vibes and sampling, the lot in fact! Was always a fan of both Adrian Sherwood and the on U sound crews, for me doing everything that should be done on the UK underground Dub scene in those days. A lot of their LP compilations did get a bit experimental in places but this one still remains a crowd pleaser today and has some seriously fat basslines in it as you’d imagine coming from this crew.
13) Joyce Sims - Lifetime Love 12" (Hard Club Mix) (Sleeping Bag Records 1987)
What an artist, what a couple of LP’s she did, what a time in music as elements and people converged at the first wonderful post weekender, pre raving moments. Raving before it was termed raving if you like and this was one of those tunes which easily could be played on either side of the fence to a very
appreciative and knowing crowd.
14) Bocca Juniors - Raise (Heavenly Rap Mix ) (Boy's Own Recordings 1990)
During this period in my life & still living in the village, The Boys own were a total fascination to me from the fanzine to the nights, parties and productions. I first saw this tune on Reportage on BBC2 I believe and caught entirely by chance but loved everything about it. Punkish defiant and revolutionary energy wrapped up as a Balearic Morsel, Everything that Andy Weatherall at the time represented to me personally. Loved that don’t give a fuck we’re doing what we’re doing and following no one ideal and vibe. A truly exciting time in music and for me everything that real music innovation should be about.
15) Cabaret Voltaire - Sensoria (7'' Mix) -(Virgin 1984)
One of those incredible cross over bands that you could listen to with all your different circles of friends and all would have approved. Groundbreaking and experimental electronic to techno and doing their own thing fusing both indie and industrial elements in heavier and more frequently it seemed than most dared to. Of course in reality, when you look, loads also tried similar things but none to such spectacular effect of these fellas in particular. I have a penchant for both the 80’s and 7” singles and this was always going to be in here at some point to emphasise that crossover point that I love about music. This represents the style of tune I’m still hunting for, that certain sound with shades of something else working in there beautifully and alongside or on top too.
16) 2 Men A Drum Machine and A Trumpet - Tired Of Getting Pushed Around - (London Records 1987)
Now here’s a moment I get to doff the cap towards the Incredible IDJ Dancers, as they featured on TOTP for this surprise hit. One of those were the timing was perfect and captured the entire vibe of UK teen nightlife at the time. I loved IDJ and studied them on video over and over from The Solid Soul TV show and to which I’ll never forget them dancing to Kiss of the Spider Woman by Wally Badrou, it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen at the time and was truly blown away.
Love the Piano and chord work / stabs in this particular track plus fact it represents the time perfect without seeming to overly dated to listen to now.
As such I thought it may make the perfect end to my own personal Dusk Dubs journey.
Really do hope you found something to enjoy here?