General Jimmy

Writer / DJ / PR Manager / Fat Bastard

Archive for the tag “Salt Dog Slims”

Five for the Funk – Salt Dogs turns One

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This weekend Salt Dog Slims and Bar 81 turns one. There’s a mahoosive hot dog competition kicking off in Salts from 5pm with the promise of free beer and the guarantee all weekend of joviality and japes wherever you stumble. Having been resident for near enough the entirety of that year I thought I’d throw some five for the funk love their way to celebrate, and pull up arguably the five biggest bangers that have been part of my repertoire since I started playing.

It’s been a load of fun along the way, and a good challenge adopting to a different kind of vibe than the all out rowdiness of Bumper and the mercurial fun of the Metropolitan (RIP), which were my other bar based residencies in the city of the past few years. Here’s to another year.

Everyone loves a bit of old classic rock and roll, and everyone loves this. Straight out of the American Graffiti soundtrack, this is a majestic two and a half minutes of hip shaking greatness.

Those stuttering stabs at the beginning make way for one of the most recognisable and gorgeous disco records, with the lyrics as playful and infectious as they get from the genre. ‘Doesn’t take much to make me happy starts an ode to love that is tailor made for Saturday nights. Corker.

Aggressive hip-hop is the last thing that works, so I tend to run with some of the records that have been recognisable samples such as Charles Wright’s ‘Express Yourself’, The Isley’s ‘Footsteps in the Dark’ and Lou Reed’s ‘Take a Walk on the Wild Side’.

This one though, famously used for the vitriolic cartoon ‘Gz & Hustlaz’ by Snoop back when he was a Doggy Dogg, is a personal favourite. It’s also just about the right side of weird.

Although it was sampled into a pop-house classic by Vito Lucente aka Junior Jack under his Room 5 guise, sound-tracking a Lynx advert en route to topping the charts in 2002, this jam was an eighties funk classic that made it onto compilations for Electric Chair and GTA, and prior to its ubiquity was a record the soul heads digged.

The bassline is gloriously seductive and the lyrics epitomise the carefree escapism that comes round once the working week is over. Whilst Room 5 would make the riff of ‘I like to party, everybody does’ as the centrepiece, the shrieking ‘I can’t wait for the weekend to begin’ would also become part of Micheal Gray’s ‘The Weekend’. Olly was there first, and best.

What a tune. The biggest thing that makes this amazing is the fact that not everyone gets onto it straight away when it comes on. There’s that wee bit of calm and then a surge of recognition from most people, but it’s never, ever, uniform. There’s always that kind of infectiousness though with people that even if you don’t understand a record, when you see plenty of other people get involved you kind of just go with it, especially as this isn’t a tune that gets played early on. And then slowly it gets more and more dramatic, and then that riff kicks in.

I love Fleetwood Mac and adore Rumours even more, I don’t think there’s been a DJ set in the past few years where I’ve not played at least one record by them and it usually comes off of that album. Everyone gushes about the Stones, but I reckon they’re the best living band at present. And this is the best record they’ve done.

Five for the Funk – Italian-American Singers

Last week was the first time in a LONG time I went a calender week without DJing. Tonight it’ll be thirteen days since I last played records for other people, which I’m pretty sure hasn’t happened since June 2011. I’ve got a double header at my Saturday residency at Bar 81 above Salt Dog Slims starting tonight, and so rather than going on down the hip-hop tip like I’ve recently done with the Five for the Funk series, I felt it was a good point to showcase some of artists that I play here, specifically showing some love to the ones that crop up in my set at 81.

Considering the relatively small percentage of the population they made up for, Italian-American singers have certainly had a hefty grip on the pop charts from before the second world war. Much can be made of the fact the mob ran the jukebox syndicates which would account for their early exposure, but equally two of the biggest female mega stars of the past thirty years have Italian roots. There must be something in the pasta. Here’s a quick glance into the annals of Italian-american songwriters that do the do for me.


Dion ‘The Wanderer’

Before four uppity scousers and a shedload of other brits ‘ruined everything’, the early 60s pop landscape was all about clean cut crooners like Dion. The type of singer that the stand up guys that dominate the mob focused films would of loved, the ones that were true to them. The music was a whitened version of black music from the 50s but that didn’t matter, this was something white America could relate to, and a precursor of the likes of the Yardbirds, Fleetwood Mac and the Rolling Stones making an even bigger advancement on blues. Better yet it still stands up as a classic, a wedding tune that will make everyone dance.


Frankie Valli ‘The Night’

If Dion was creating an Italian focused rip off of blues, this was the motown soul counterpart. Frankie Valli and the Four seasons famously signed for the label and bombed catastrophically, but amidst the wreckage was this gem that never even got released in the states. It did see the light of day over here however, becoming a Northern Soul favourite and eventually making No 7 in the charts. Joining blues in the 50s and decades later house and techno, this is one of the records Americans undervalued that we loved. Their equivalent is Bush. Ouch.


Jim Croce – Bad Bad Leroy Brown

Classic slab of bluesy folk that’s great early doors, this is much more in the vein of 70s americana and the kind of track that no doubt sounds great coming on a jukebox in a bar in Nebraska where everyone wears plaid shirts. And what’s not to love about someone so mean finally getting their comeuppance?


Madonna ‘Lucky Star’

At the apex of her career Madonna was the dancefloor queen. Produced by Jellybean Benitez and, in the case of this song, Mtume producer Reggie Lucas, she had that post disco groove going on for sure. This 12″ edit of it is just accessible dancefloor dynamite.


Tony Bennett ‘Rags to Riches’

‘As far back as I could remember, I always wanted to be a gangster’

So opines Ray Liotta at the start of Scorcese’s classic Goodfellas. Much is made of Tarrantino’s glorious grip of soundtracking his films, but this is easily one of the finest juxtapositions of celluloid and music ever. Much is to do with the sheer class of Tony and the song, delivering the quintessential crooner performance, the thinly veiled metaphor of love and power shuffling by one another and a great backing band. An end of night anthem if ever there was one.

I’ll be in Bar 81 from 10pm-3am both tonight and tomorrow evening (15th & 16th March)

Hall & Oates – Five for the Funk

Curve-ball to an extent for this week’s Five for the Funk – here’s five reasons why Hall & Oates are awesome in line with my two DJ gigs this weekend at Salt Dog Slims/Bar 81. Lambasted by the rock press at the time and still to this day as bastions of anti-cool and devoid of any traces of credibility, the duo had a handful of master-class records that more than made up for them not being the type of group you’d listen to their albums on repeat. And their tunes tear the roof off week in week out.

Feel the force of their song-writing genius without the need to lodge your tongue in your cheek with the below. And I don’t even have to mention the greatest fancy dress costume ever.


‘Kiss on my List’

A genuine gem of a record, lashings of cheesy vibes permeating every second but really it’s a great radio love song. One of the records that makes the duo really easy to lambast but when you think about it, also one of the reasons they’re also so endearing.


‘Rich Girl’

Prior to their 80s electro-funk reinvention, H&O didn’t really know where they stood in the pop landscape and consequently their efforts were quite far reaching and extremely hit and miss. One of the better jams from the seventies was this rocky ode to girls taking advantage of monetary assistance. Common themes in their records the dastardly ways of women.


‘Maneater’

Arguably the most recognisable and certainly the most commercially successful H&O record and all the better for the languid saxophone that kicks in, as worthy an addition to the 80s pop’s use of that instrument as George Michael’s ‘Careless Whisper’. It’s also warning the male sex about the predatory instincts of women; I was shit scared as a seven year old about actual women eating me as a consequence of this song. The truth, as Darryl and John opined, was much worse.


‘I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)’

Obvious but what a monster. Prince Paul lopped the groove to perfection on De la’s ‘Say No Go’ and whilst the use was celebrated by many as a victory for post-modernism and evidence of the producer’s wry irony, he contradicted this viewpoint in interviews – his reaction was really that he just liked the sound of it; evidence that the record was built with the dancefloor in mind and where it belongs. Also sampled by the likes of 2 Live Crew, Tech9ne, Heavy D and, er, Simply Red. Pop perfection.


‘You Make my Dreams’

Another record that everyone knows but for all the right reasons. This is as upbeat as it gets and the biggest H&O anthem, hands down. An unashamed floorfiller that is that right combination of being both a bit shit and awesome, which is Hall & Oates massive trademark.

Happy Friday everyone! I’ll be DJing at Salt Dogs from 10pm-3am tonight and tomorrow evening.

Ben E King – Supernatural Thing (Autocycle Edit)

Decent, very well produced and most important simplistically done edit from autocycle of Ben E King’s groover. This is getting RINSED this weekend in Salt Dog Slims.

Classixx rub up Madonna

Natty little edit by Classixx of arguably the best Madonna Tune from the 80s and a veritable banger week in week out in Salt Dogs. Dig in and remind yourself of why she really was the queen of the dancefloor thirty years ago.

Thank God it’s Isley

Over the Christmas period I had a pretty thick and heady DJing stint at Salt Dogs, with four gigs in the space of nine days. One of the bands that kept popping up all over that period were the Isley Brothers, who truly are one of the greatest soul combinations in history.

Forming in 1954 as a gospel act, they then spent the next thirty years traversing a variety of genres and in the process became one of the most diverse bastions of longevity in popular music. Funk, Rock, Soul, Doo-Wop, even shades of disco, they had it all, and they can also lay a claim to a pivotal role in the Quiet Storm era which transformed radio programming. Basically they’re boss, and Ronald Isley’s voice is just butter. They’ve also been sampled on some of hip-hop’s finest moments, but we’ll get to that shortly.

Anyway I’ve been rinsing Ron and his siblings over the Christmas period, so I thought seeing as it’s Friday I’d share my five favourite jams from the group. Here we go…

One of their most famous records, this is the perfect combination of laid back soul, languid funk and hazy rock. And the outfits were always amazing on Soul Train.

More seventies rock soul crossover, Jimi grinding with Marvin vibes. And the outfits, again!

“Are we really sure, can a love that lasted for so long still endure?” As opening gambits go that’s a pretty heart wrenching mantra and if this doesn’t melt that iron heart nothing will. And Ice Cube licked the beat brilliantly for ‘It was a Good Day’.

The record that they made it big off, the 1959 finger snapping classic. Much better than every cover as well.

The absolute one! To be able to go from Shout in 1959 to being able to deliver this a full 24 years later is awesome, even taking into account the odd personnel change over the years. It’s been reworked brilliantly as a languid hip-hop jam, first by Tribe on the hootie mix of ‘Bontia Applebum’ and then even more memorably by the man like B.I.G. on ‘Big Poppa’. Both kept the bump and grind ethos of the original close to heart as well, either as a backdrop for Q-Tip to drop science on big butts or Biggie to proclaim he had more mack than Craig and in the bed, urging you to believe he had enough to feed the needy. Awesome.

Salt Dogs this weekend

I’ve got a couple of gigs this weekend in hot dog emporium Salt Dog Slims, the first throwing up some midweek action on Thursday night and then the usual Saturday night histrionics, 10pm-3am for both. The above Freddie Scott tune has been a bit of a staple recently, following a prolonged love affair with the record that famously sampled it. Biz Markie’s beyond brilliant ‘Just a Friend’. That sampling process was mentioned in this earlier post alongside a few others. Is the below the best video ever in hiphop? I think so.

Also worth noting is Salt Dog’s monthly hot dog extravganza, Liverpool’s very own equivalent of man vs food. Hit the link here for the skinny on that.

Salt Dog Slims this Weekend

After a rather hectic four day bender in Barcelona last week my serotonin resources have energised just in time for a double header at Salt Dogs this weekend. Both tonight and tomorrow I’ll be manning the ones and twos with the usual disco selection. Let these two videos from Shalamar , well more precisely Jeff Daniels on his todd, get you in the mood – they are easily the greatest dance performance from the 80s (he taught MJ everything). And probably the best alternative when your group ring in sick (lead singer Jody Watley was heavily pregnant at the time).

In fact he was so boss they brought him back again for a second stint a fortnight later!

Jubilee Gigs – LEAF & Salt Dog Slims

If you’re lucky enough to work full time in the music industry then there is a good chance you don’t really know what a day off is. 9-5s are infrequent, and spare time is usually spent doing something which flirts between the murky world of leisure and something that pushes your passion forward. That said you’re working in something you love (hopefully) so it’s more than worth it.

So a four day weekend for most people is actually a chance to work harder for me, with three gigs in and around the city of Liverpool. The first is for a pop up event for LEAF tonight which coincides with the Olympic Torch hitting Liverpool. Now this isn’t on some Tiesto 2008 shizzel (think more sleazy soul akin to the above tectonic groover from The System) but if you’re in that end of town pop down where I’ll be on 9pm-close after Andy Mac. There’s award winning teas and, thankfully for the Friday night of a four day weekend, booze on the go as well.

Then on Saturday and Sunday I’ve got a double header in a bar I only djed in for the first time recently. Salt Dog Slims is one of Liverpool’s newest bars, run by the same people who turned cocktail boozing on it’s head in the city with the fearlessly hedonistic Santa Chupitos, and upstairs they’ve got a very swanky room where I’ll be dropping domineering disco, 80s boogie funk and the odd slab of vintage rock n roll amongst much more from 10pm-3am. On the Sunday as well beforehand they’ve got a monster hot-dog eating competition on the go as well.

The vast majority of the gigs I’ve had in 2012 so far have been centred on the accessible side of the dirtier end of the dance music spectrum and hip-hop focused, so be good for an entire weekend of smoother manoeuvres. And to end I’ll leave with this complete and utter gem from Billy Ocean. Each and everyone will be one of those nights you feel like getting down.

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