Tag Archives: Backbeats

what’s the word for socially conscious soul music?


Alongside Listen, Whitey!and the other comps mentioned in that post, there’s also the excellent What’s The Word? (Socially Conscious Soul Music)(2011) as conceived & compiled with love by Dean Rudland for v/a Backbeatsseries three on Harmless (currently part of the Demon Music Group) … budget priced, as it should be with catalogue music. Some tracks to convince you: “Hey brother” (based on “Hey Joe”) by the Identities and “(We gotta) Bust out of the ghetto (pts 1 & 2)” by Moody Scott (both 1970).


neil bogart’s lot

And loads more vids on / by Casablanca artists here … as for background stories, check “And party every day – the inside story of Casablanca Records” (Backbeat 2009, ISBN 9780879309824) by Larry Harris with Curt Gooch and Jeff Suhs … the most dirt-filled music book since Mötley Crüe’s “The Dirt” […] always entertaining and frequently jaw-dropping, from Harris’ description of acting as runner for an enormous amount of cocaine for […] and several female hotel guests […] to tales of calling his own positions on the Billboard charts” (dixit the AV Club’s Michaelangelo Matos). Or is it? Those expecting salacious stories à la Hit Men by Fredric Dannen will be disappointed (Harris challenges this version of events) dixit DJ History. Still, can’t wait to read the book myself!
+ bonus books ’bout the biz:

harmless brings mastercut backbeats

Late nineties – early noughties, the Harmless label gave us the “Pulp Fusion”, “Mellow Mellow”, “I’m A Good Woman”, “The Breaks” and many other excellent v/a comps (e.g. in the latin and funk rock genres), but after the initial heyday, Harmless seemed to lose its momentum. Recently, the people who own the label (of the Demon / Music Club group), have relaunched it, sort of, with a new series called BackBeats“. Its first installment (“series one”) has been compiled by Ian Dewhirst of Mastercuts (MC) fame (label ànd radio show) and counts ten less-than-midprice volumes mainly aimed at a (British) urban audience into (slick) soul, twostep and disco, though there’s also a ‘jack’ house, a ‘9Ts garage, a northern soul and a funk volume – the latter being “Gimme A Break” (BACK 007), from which these two tracks – 1976 & 1981 – were culled. Aimed as it is at an audience I hardly belong to, I don’t think the series is extraordinary, so far, but I do like the statement of intent in the booklet: “we intend to make a stand for the beauty of the lovingly compiled compilation format. […] We will only use the original 12″ or album versions from the original artists […] with over 75 minutes on each Backbeats volume”. Let’s hope other labels may be inspired by this, and that a more interesting second series will materialise!