Saturday 29 March 2008

Urban Rhythm "Luv Will make It Right" (Strictly Rhythm Records, 1991)

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Let's place this record in some sort of context, shall we? It's 1991. My career as a musician is at its height. I'm a member of a highly successful indie rock band. And what am I listening to? Maybe some Carter USM? Kingmaker? Any of the other indie rockers filling the pages of the Melody maker or the NME? Nope. All I listened to was house music, and *points down* Breakbeat Hardcore. For several years, from roughly 1987 through to 1994, that was it for me. I was so immersed in the whole scene, so completely involved, that I ended up working in a Record shop in North London, specifically to feed my vinyl habit. The shop was called The Record & Disco Centre, or "the R&D" to its legions of regular customers, and was situated in the basement of a video rental shop in the suburban hinterland of Rayners Lane, at the northern end of the Piccadilly line. In between tours, gigs, and press appointments, I'd hop on the tube, get to the shop, get behind the counter, and feel completely, utterly at home. I've seldom been happier than when I was behind the pair of technics we had at the end of the counter, playing new tunes to an eager group of punters. The shop was right at the cutting edge as far as tunes went, we would have constant deliveries of new stock, and every new tune would be instantly assessed and devoured by a bunch of DJ's, desperate for the freshest tunes that their money could buy.

I vividly remember the feeling of breaking open a 25-count box of vinyl, fresh out of the Van that delivered it to the shop, seeing all those 12" sleeves, tightly swathed in shrink wrap, and snapping one open to play it for the punters. The world of record buyers are divided into two groups: those who use a fingernail to slice open the shrink wrap, and those who use the leg of their jeans. I'm in the latter group. It's quite simple, you find the "opening", give the 12" a shake so the vinyl inside nestles nearer to the edge, then rub the edge a few times, really fast, on your upper leg. Job done. Once the record inside has revealed itself, I always loved the smell of the vinyl as it emerged into the air of the shop for the first time. Pristine, dust-free, shiny, perfect. As quick as possible, I'd place it on the deck, slide the needle over....and wait. Years of listening to tunes focuses your diagnostic skill to a fine point: you tend to know in about 10 seconds whether it's a real tune or not. And so did all the DJ's crowding round the decks; at roughly the same point in the song, either a huge shout of "TUNE!" would go up, or a collective shrug of the shoulders would consign the tune to the bargain bin, from whence it would struggle to reappear. This particular record emerged from a huge pile of Strictly Rhythm releases (the label seemed to put out an almost constant stream of 12"s) and, at first glance, seemed like nothing special. Rhythm Section hadn't really recorded anything of real note before, there were no in-vogue remixes on offer (Wild Pitch, etc) and overall, it looked like any other generic slice of New Jersey Warehouse funk. How wrong I was. After a small, breathy vocal sample, the record started, and began to weave its spell on me. It's driven by a clattering almost garage-like set of beats, but it's all the melodies that make this one: a series of long, sustaining string samples, almost discordant, punctuated by niggling little vibraphone and keyboard riffs. Floating over the top is a sample of Ten City's Byron Stingily, repeating the title like a mantra: "Love Will Make It Right......" And he's right isn't he? Love WILL make it right, won't it? Every time I hear him sing, even if I don't believe it, you can bet I WANT to believe it. the relentless nature of the tune, coupled with the tension created by the shimmering sustain of the chords, means I always drift off into a sort of reverie while listening to it: it's house music at its very, very best. It's primal, urgent, compelling and just flat-out wonderful. Keen Jesus Jones fans will spot how much I loved this song, by noting that a sample from it appears in the JJ song "Want To Know" (the B-side of "The Devil You Know") that's a measure of how obsessed by this song I was- the entire JJ song was basically me trying to find a way of paying homage.

These days, it shouldn't be too difficult to find a second-copy of it, should you want one. SR 12"'s are a common sight in Dance shops, and many people tend to dismiss them as a result: "Well, if there's a huge pile of them, they can't be that good, can they?" Well, amongst that pile of SR 12"s in your local second-hand emporium there will probably be a copy of this, and it probably wont cost you more than a couple of quid. You'd be a fool to miss out. I've included both mixes of the A-side, the first is the full version, the second is sparser, more dreamy, and allows the melodies even more room to breathe. Both are, as you might gather, highly recommended.

Urban Rhythm "Luv Will Make It Right" (Hardhouse Mix) (mp3)

Urban Rhythm "Luv Will Make It Right" (As It Grooves Mix) (mp3)


Ctelblog said...

I was reading your post thinking "There used to be a R&D shop down my way. But it's hardly an uncommon name. I was shocked to read that it was in The Lane! Where I come from. I used to go there a lot. Presumably you used to go to the Rayners pub (now sadly shut down).

Anonymous said...

Liked the link to Want To Know, love that track, it's in my phone mp3 playlist. It intrigued me as to why, after penning such a great track, they didn't let you loose with any more? I could be right in thinking that was the only JJ track that ever had different writer credits on it? Was Mike nervous of your talent????!!!! We Want To Know! cheers Rob

Iain Baker said...

@ctelblog: Ah! the Rayners! I seem to remember going to some seriously drunken party nights there...great pub, and yes, I knew it had closed, I often pass by on my way to my folks, who still live in Hatch End.....
@Rob...well, yes, mike WAS pretty jealous of letting anyone near writing the songs, so i'm pleased I did my bit, even if it was tiny! ( I did some of "Nothing To Hold Me" too, of course)
I'm trying to remember all the other samples in WTK...the screech is taken from a Spear Of Destiny remix (of all things!) andthe rest of it probably came from whatever Techno i was listening to that week!!

Rob said...

Oh, I know that feeling oh so well, Iain. Those deliveries from Record Corner on a Friday lunchtime with all that shrinkwrapped house and techno and hip-hop... thanks for this!

Anonymous said...

Funnily enough I was listening to the track (WTK) yesterday on the train. Regarding Nothing to hold me, I was lucky to see you do the spoken intro to that at the start of the Doubt tour at Leeds. If I remember rightly it didn't make it on to the set list for the remainder of the tour so it could have been a very rare live performance of it so I like to think I was privileged!! And an SOD sample, another of my fave bands. Kirk Brandon is nearly as good to watch as you on stage ha ha, cheers

I Am Not The Beatles said...

I completely missed all this stuff at the time - the first 'dance music' I ever bought was, I believe, a very tentative purchase of the double CD Trance Europe Express in 1993 because it had a nice booklet with it. It did convert me immediately, mind you.

Incidentally, the latest one over at my place is a totally random dance record called Everything Bamboo. It is...utterly bizarre. If yer interested :

Anyway, I hope all is well with you and all the best,

Ian TB

Anonymous said...

what about the b-side?

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that the link to this classic no longer exists. I'm overseas in the military and do not have access to turntables where i am @. Maybe you can repost if you have the time, Thanks..

James Kavanagh said...

I came across this post and was excited because I hoped I could get a copy of the MP3. I have the vinyl at home and love this tune but never ripped it. Sold my decks a couple of years ago.
I know it's a long shot that you're even monitoring this anymore but don't suppose you happen to still have the mp3? Could you re-post? It would make an old man very happy :)


Iain Baker said...

James, mail me at keyboardbreaker at that gmail, and i'll see what I can do