This week we invite the "Afro-Futurist" Ashley Beedle to the Dusk Dubs family. Whether its DJ'ing, producing, remixing or running numerous record labels, Mr Beedle has that magic touch, so much so that Daft Punk once referred to him as one of the “Teachers”.
"In 2017, Dusk Dubs asked me to compile my ‘Dusk Dubs’ playlist….finally, in 2019 I’ve got round to doing it – but I’ve had a fantastically reflective time doing this. It’s hard to talk about music that’s been so ingrained in my psyche but I hope these selections show what makes me tick. Enjoy!" [[ASHLEY]]
Ashley Beedle first began DJing during the 1980s and made a name for himself during the heyday of Acid House. In the early 1990s, he teamed up with Rob Mello and John Howard to form the first incarnation of the Black Science Orchestra, signed to the legendary dance label, Junior Boys Own. After releasing the seminal club classic ‘Where Were You?', BSO’s production unit morphed and evolved with Uschi Classen and Marc Woodford and tracks like 'Strong' and ‘Philadelphia' were released as well as the 1994 debut album 'Walter's Room' and deep house classic ‘New Jersey Deep’.
While working with the Black Science Orchestra, Ashley started another project known as The Ballistic Brothers with Dave Hill, Uschi Classen, Rocky & Diesel spawning the 'Ballistic Brothers vs The Eccentric Afros' Pt 1 & 2 EP plus 'Blacker' (a favourite of Prince’s) and the 1995 LP, 'London Hooligan Soul'. In 1997, the Ballistic Brothers released their second album, 'Rude System' while at the same time, Ashley was working on a multitude of projects including Black Jazz Chronicles, Roots Revolutions and Rising Sunz with Uschi Classen and Phil Asher.
Running parallel with the Ballistic Brothers, Ashley was a founding member of the group X-Press 2, with fellow DJs Rocky and Diesel performing on 6 decks and 3 CDJ players. They scored global dance chart action through the 90’s and 00’s with tracks such as 'Muzik Xpress', 'Say What' and 'London Xpress' and charted at #2 in the UK Top 40 with their global hit 'Lazy', their collaboration with Talking Heads' David Byrne which earnt Ashley an Ivor Novello award. X-Press 2 also released two albums, 'Muzikisum' and 'Makeshift Feelgood'.
From the late 90's onwards, Ashley continued to remix and produce, releasing the milestone 'Grass Roots' compilation in 1999 and between 2001 – 2003, Bent's 'Always' + ‘Magic Love’ and The Streets 'Weak Become Heroes' all received the Beedle remix treatment. Ashley’s remix of Elton John’s ‘Are You Ready For Love’ catapulted the song to No.1 in the UK Singles Chart. In 2005, Beedle remixed Bob Marley's "Get Up, Stand Up" with Damian "Junior Gong" Marley's "Welcome to Jamrock" to create the mash-up 'Stand Up Jamrock (Ashley Beedle Remix)' which the Marley family loved so much they ended up including it on the Bob Marley compilation album 'Africa Unite: The Singles Collection'. The track went on to chart at #1 on the Jamaican National Charts.
Since 2015, Ashley has been working as part of the 'North Street' remix collective with North Street Studio One owner and musical genius, Darren Morris and Ramrock Records/F*CLR boss, Jo Wallace as well as solo remixes. In 2017, Ashley’s remixes of Stan Serkin’s ‘Save Me’ and Glenn Davis’ ‘Body & Soul’ reminded the international dance music community that he is a force majeure in the world of remixing and production and his remix of Mama’s ‘Unmask Me’ was voted the No.2 best single of 2017 by DJ History. 2019 already has a plethora of projects underway including Waterson’s debut album, an Afrikanz on Marz concept album and the reunion of the legendary Black Science Orchestra – watch this space….
You can find Ashley HERE:
1) Alton & Eddie – Muriel
This would be the first record that I remember. My mum and dad used to play this old Bluebeat record and it’s got magical memories. It draws upon a time when my parents had house parties and there was always a very cosmopolitan crowd which was a wonderful environment for a mixed race child to grow up in. ‘Muriel’ was one of many bluebeat, ska and rocksteady records that my dad had in his collection and his love of all things eclectic gave me a great musical start in life.
2) Bob Dylan – Like a Rolling Stone
My Dad always played this incredibly loudly on the stereogram – and that opening snare….it was a sign of things to come. Where Dylan’s head was when he wrote the lyrics, I have no idea. Theories abound and there’s finger pointing but putting all that to one side, this is one of the all-time greatest records for me personally – with the Hammond B3 playing of Al Kooper – what’s not to like.
3) The Byrds – Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season)
Once again, my dad put me onto West Coast group, the Byrds. Along with inspiration from the Beatles and Dylan’s folk based compositions, this gave the group their musical starting point and I followed them until they splintered and went off to become Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Check out Roger McGuinn’s distinct 12 stringed Rickenbacker guitar.
4) Tremeloes – Here comes my baby
Even though the record was a lot older than me when I first heard it around 7 years old, I loved the groove. My mum used to dance me round the living room while I sang the chorus at the top of my voice….
5) The Beatles – Ticket to Ride
From the opening guitar riff to the ‘drone’ at the end, this was the sound of the Beatles going deep. This influenced so many other artists including the Byrds – see what I did there? Reflecting on the track in later years, I realised how pivotal ‘Ticket to Ride’ was for the Beatles. From that point onwards, they stopped being the mop topped lads from Liverpool and took us all on a magical mystery tour….
6) Sparks – This town ain’t big enough
Any song that starts with the lyric ‘Zoo time, is she and you time?’ gets my vote. Gunshots, fade in intro, demented Top of The Pops performance from the Mael Brothers – what’s not to like. A proto punk/ glam rock hybrid – this lead and others followed. A phenomenal track from 1974 making it all the more remarkable.
7) Adverts – Gary Gilmore’s Eyes
In 1977, the Adverts released their controversial 45 – ‘Gary Gilmore’s Eyes’ b/w the popular B side ‘Bored Teenagers’. The thought provoking lyrics describe a patient laying in a hospital bed after having had a cornea transplant and finding out on the news about the donor. Plus, I really fancied Gaye Advert…..
8) Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash – Girl from the North Country
9) Bruce Springsteen – Kitty’s Back
10) The Band – The Weight
A remarkable hat trick of country/rock/folk/soul tinged masterpieces all introduced to me around the time when I was 13. The impact they collectively made on my musical formative years was immense. You can’t really argue with these powerhouses!
11) Funkadelic – Funky Dollar Bill
I had a friend called Terry who introduced me to all manner of good grooves. Far ahead of his contemporaries, Terry unleashed this monster while we were listening to vinyl during one of our regular ‘record reviews’ in his bedroom at his parent’s house in Harrow where I lived at the time. Recorded 7 years earlier in 1970, I was 15 when I first heard ‘Funky Dollar Bill’ and it had lost none of its edge – hard Detroit rock and roll played by a black funk band. Truly "A Parliafunkadelic Thang"!
12) Crown Heights Affair – Far Out
13) Slave – You + Me
And then the Lord said – let there be Jazz Funk – and there was! Terry and I travelled far afield from Harrow in search of new music and ended up in The Hop Bine in Wembley! In the function room at the back of the pub, DJs Andy Mann & Greg Jenson kept the local youth up to date with hot imports from the U.S.A – along with their mobile DJ set up with the revolutionary sound to flashing disco lights. ‘Far Out’ + ‘You and Me’ blew my teenage mind – and to this day, I still get the adrenalin rush….
14) Bob Marley & Wailers – Natty Dread
15) Johnny Osbourne – In the area
16) Paul Davidson – Midnight Rider
Running parallel with my ‘soul boy’ persona was my love of conscious reggae + the incoming stream of wonderful sides from JA. During my teens, ‘Natty Dread’ enabled me to feel equally balanced in an unbalanced society. Being mixed race, I could identify with Bob Marley and it helped dispel a lot of racist attitudes towards me at school and socially. Using the ‘Stalag’ rhythm, Johnny Osbourne’s ‘In the area’ was a taster of things on the reggae horizon – early dancehall at its finest. And then, Paul Davidson’s ‘Midnight Rider’ – a cover of the Allman Brothers classic, recorded at Harry J’s studios under the watchful eye of Pluto Shervington, ‘Midnight Rider’ was as essential as John Holt’s ‘1000 Volts of Holt’ in any Caribbean household’s record collection.
17) Mark Murphy – On The Red Clay
A cover of Freddie Hubbard’s 1970’s version. Outstanding jazz from Mr Murphy in 1975. I was put onto this by Patrick Forge – which brings us neatly onto….
18) Brand Nubian – All For One
Taken from their ‘One for all’ album and included on Patrick Forge’s & Julian Palmer’s hugely influential 1992 ‘Rebirth of Cool Too’ compilation, ‘All for one’ burst onto the hip hop scene in the UK in 1990. I was working in Black Market Records in London’s Soho and I could hear someone playing a track downstairs and thinking ‘what is this???’ The release FLEW out of the shop – it was so exciting and so exhilarating – it was one of those ‘you had to be there’ moments.
19) Public Enemy – Rebel without a pause
A meteorite of a record – us sound system boys didn’t know what had hit us. But trust me, when we dropped this the first time at the 1987 Notting Hill Carnival when I was with Shock Sound System, the neighbourhood shook. Incendiary hip hop!!
20) David Bowie – Young Americans
21) Orange Juice – Simply Thrilled Honey
22) Hüsker Dü – Love is all around
23) A Certain Ratio – Shack Up
Like Picasso, this is what I like to call my ‘blue period’ group of records – not defined by date but more by content. I’ve always been a huge fan of ‘blue eyed soul’ and Mr Bowie’s Philly release ‘Young Americans’ blew up not only on the London soul scene but globally. Follow that with the dulcet tones of Orange Juice frontman, Edwyn Collins and you begin to get my drift. Hüsker Dü elbow their way into the selection – not soul but soulful in its own unique way. Who else could make the Mary Tyler Moore Show theme sound so radical? And then A Certain Ratio’s leftfield New Wave take on Banbarra’s 1975 funk classic ‘Shack Up’ – giving it a refreshingly ‘British’ angle.
24) Jungle Wonz – Time Marches On
Purchased in 1987, Croydon, Mi Price Records, Jazzy M at the controls. Hard to pick a defining track in my historical House music lineage but Jungle Wonz ‘Time Marches On’, produced by Marshall Jefferson & Harry Dennis on Chicago based Trax Records pinpoints that moment. Another massive sound for Shock Sound System at Carnival….trust me, IT WENT OFF!!
25) Sun Ra & the Sun Ra Arkestra – Sleeping Beauty
Lady Di had passed on the day that Gilles Peterson was presenting his Radio London show. He played the full length version of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ in her memory which I thought was very respectful of him to do during a strangely unsettling time in the media. Thanks to Gilles, I began my exploration of the Universe according to Sun Ra – still out there exploring!
26) X-Press 2 ft. David Byrne – Lazy
I’ve included this – not as an ego trip but as a thanks to David, Rocky and Diesel for giving me one of the most extraordinary periods of my musical career. ‘Lazy’ enabled me to travel the world, meet people from all walks of life, opened doors that I could never have opened before and I even got to appear on Top of the Pops – what more could I ever ask for?
29) Glen Campbell – Guess I’m Dumb
28) Joseph Malik – Love Bound (A Wallace & Morris ‘North Street’ Remix)
Finally, a ‘Back to the Future’ moment. I was introduced to ‘Guess I’m Dumb’ and to Joseph Malik via my partner, Jo Wallace. ‘Guess I’m Dumb’ is, for me, Glen’s finest hour – a 1965 slab of Beat Ballad perfection, arranged and produced by the Beach Boy’s Brian Wilson and underpinned by the magnificent L.A session musicians, the Wrecking Crew. Fast forward to 2018 – Jo Wallace + Darren Morris take Joseph Malik’s original version of ‘Love Bound’ from his ‘Diverse Part 2’ LP and apply their ‘North Street Remix’ production + arrangement skills to pay homage to the masters that went before – Teddy Randazzo, Jerry Ragovoy and Burt Bacharach to name but a few. Darren Morris’s additional keyboards and Jo’s understanding of the atmospherics of 60’s ballads resulted in a modern day masterpiece.