BOOK’S JOOK: Zapp’s “More Bounce To The Ounce (Part I)”

  • Book’s Jook is a column dedicated to placing a record within my dream jukebox, if I were to have one. The Seeburg jukebox shown below is similar to the one I have wanted since I was a kid. To read more on why I started this column, click here.

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    For those who weren’t around at the time, it may be odd to realize that Zapp’s “More Bounce To The Ounce” used to be a new song by someone most people outside of Ohio didn’t know about. In the last 34 years, the song has been sampled and referred to countless times, it has pretty much become a part of America’s music DNA. In 1980, it wasn’t weird as in strange but more like “what is this?” or “where in the world did this come group?” Another question: “what is a Zapp?”

    I don’t remember how or why I obtained it, but one day my mom gave me the gift of Zapp’s first album. Not sure if I already had heard “More Bounce To The Ounce” on the radio or if for some reason she had heard it and maybe assumed her son would enjoy it. Not knowing who or what was Zapp, I did recognize one name on the record: Bootsy. For me, if this Zapp record had something/anything to do with George Clinton, then it had to be good without question. I still remember putting my needle on the record, hearing the first beat, the synth, and the robotic voice singing “more bounce” and in a second I was immediately blown away. Then the song keeps on going and while the chords are pretty much minimalistic, it fit perfectly. I also loved it because the song was 9 1/2 minutes and as a fan of the long song, that felt awesome. I knew Funkadelic’s “One Nation Under A Groove” was 7 1/2 minutes and since Zapp shared the same label (Warner Bros.) with Funkadelic, I had thought that it had the same feel, the same groove, the same vibe. Not songs that would sound similar but that here are two long songs that begin the album, maybe it’s going to take me to a journey.

    As a kid, even if I had the full length album version, I’d sometimes ask for the 45 just to hear the short version, which is how radio stations would play the song. The A-side had Part I and while I knew when certain parts of the song would happen, I would also begin to remember the edit perfectly too. It reduces the funk quite a bit, cutting the song from 9 1/2 minutes to just under four and yet if this was meant to be what would give the song radio and jukebox play, then this is how it was put together. Pre-digital, the only way you could piece together a radio edit was with razor blades but the edit seemed so finely trimmed and done, a bit intricate to my 9 year old ears and it just worked. It was a compact bounce. A longtime friend from Arizona once made me a mix tape that opened with the song and while I eventually played the entire tape, I would often play “More Bounce To The Ounce” over and over, rewind it to play it again to where I went to places with nothing but the one song performed with an emphasis on the one. I was 9 years old when the song was released and for me, it was a bit of a transition period, primarily because I felt I was about to enter the double digits in age, I was becoming “older”, I wasn’t sure what life would bring but I was anxious yet ready. “More Bounce To The Ounce” welcomed me into a different time and place, even though I was still living on Boyd Lane in Honolulu. When Troutman released “So Rough So Tough” a year later as Roger, I wondered how in the world did he get a chance to release more music, this time under another name.

    Even though the B-side to the single has a Part II, the two parts together still do not feature the full song but it still sounds good. 34 years after its release, no one has ever heard the full length version of the song either. I have always wanted to hear what happens when the song fades, how much longer did Roger Troutman and his brothers continue on. Extra five minutes? Maybe just 90 seconds? I’d love to find out.


  • BOOK’S JOOK: Earth Wind & Fire’s “Mighty Mighty”

  • Book’s Jook is a column dedicated to placing a record within my dream jukebox, if I were to have one. The Seeburg jukebox shown below is similar to the one I have wanted since I was a kid. To read more on why I started this column, click here.

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    It is uncertain what was the first Earth, Wind & Fire song I heard but considering that we only had the Open Our Eyes album in our house until Spirit was released, it’s safe to guess that it would be the opening track to Open Our Eyes, “Mighty Mighty”. The song has a groove and a wicked sense of funk, what a way to begin a fantastic album. Sure, I got into the band more as they released That’s The Way Of The World, Spirit and All-N-All but Open Our Eyes was my album, it was a must, it became necessary for me to listen to.

    As a kid, I wasn’t paying attention to the lyrics for “Mighty Mighty” but I knew the chorus “we are people of the mighty, mighty people of the sun” because it seemed to represent my upbringing in Honolulu, for me at least. When I heard the second half of the chorus which said “in our heart lies all the answers to the truth you can’t run from“, I wasn’t sure what they were singing about, and it would take me awhile, and living life where I’d be able to relate to it completely, did I know its meaning.

    The first chorus had Maurice White and Philip Bailey singing about keeping true to yourself, whether it’s with a spiritual sense or whatever you choose to believe in because “how’s your faith? ’cause your faith is you/who you kiddin’, to yourself be true“. What I never understood was the second chorus, but once I started living as an adult and got a job, then it all became perfectly clear:

    The eagle flies every seven days
    still cryin’ blue all about your pay
    what ya gonna do ’bout your living thing?
    will ya make it better or just complain?

    everyday is real, don’t run from fear
    ’cause better days are very near
    there are times when you’re bound to cry
    one more time, head to the sky

    The song was about working a 9 to 5, having to deal with the powers that be and feeling stuck within certain boundaries. If you stick to your intentions and what you enjoy doing, you’ll be happy. After that point, Bailey starts reading the high notes of the song, but he doesn’t even stop there. He goes higher during the chorus and that has got to be the brightest sound of jubilation ever heard on wax.

    Even the small moments in the song are great, from the brief mention of “delicious” after the line “who you kiddin’, to yourself be true” to a minor “uh” panned to the left channel after the line “the eagle flies every seven days“, whatever reasons they were placed and remained in the mix, it sounds awesome. The song lasts a mere thre eminutes and yet I’d love to hear a full version of it, be it unedited or to a proper close without a fade. I want this to happen in my life, it is on my bucket list.

    Considering how much I love the drums, it makes sense that another reason why I like this 45 is because of its B-side, the song that opened side two of Open Our Eyes, “Drum Song”. It opened me to the kalimba and made me want to have one, even though I had no idea how to play one. I received it as a gift for my 7th or 8th birthday and I have it to this day, out-of-tune and everything.

    I also intended of putting other Earth, Wind & Fire songs into my dream jukebox, including “Got To Get You Into My Life”, “Serpentine Fire”, or “Fantasy” but no other song would fit perfectly into my jukebox than “Mighty Mighty”, for me at least. I remember it as one of my earliest musical pleasures. If the entire album was released as 45’s, I’d include it too but “Mighty Mighty” would have to go in there, for it represents who I am, in many ways.

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  • BOOK’S JOOK: John Rowles’ “Cheryl Moana Marie”

  • Book’s Jook is a column dedicated to placing a record within my dream jukebox, if I were to have one. The Seeburg jukebox shown below is similar to the one I have wanted since I was a kid. To read more on why I started this column, click here.

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    This is one of the first songs I remember listening to as a kid, because it was one of my dad’s all time favorite songs. While John Rowles’ comes from New Zealand, the lyrics of the song he co-wrote could be appreciated by anyone who lived on an island, although in this case it refers to a lady from Maui. Being Hawaiian, this is something that my dad could appreciate deeply, for it’s not just about missing a woman from afar, but it uses a woman as a metaphor for missing a place they called home.

    Rowles simple sings “In the sleepy little town where soft breezes blow/there’s a lovely little Maui Miss I used to know/someday I’ll go find my way and I’ll return from over the sea/to where my island sweetheart waits for me.“. It’s plain and simple. The chorus is easy to remember too, but when the chorus comes back and we hear that there are two parts to it instead of one, it pulls the heartstrings:
    Cheryl Moana Marie
    someday our waiting will end
    safe in my arms she will be
    my Cheryl Moana Marie

    For years, the moment you heard this song being played, either everyone would sing along or everyone would stop and cry emotionally. It allows all islanders to reminisce about a “woman” we long fore, hoping that one day we’ll return to her comfort and be happy again. Sadly, the song only went as high as #61 on Billboard’s Pop Singles chart but amongst Pacific Rim countries along with the state of Hawai’i, it became an instant classic.

  • BOOK’S JOOK: AC/DC’s “Guns For Hire”

  • Book’s Jook is a column dedicated to placing a record within my dream jukebox, if I were to have one. The Seeburg jukebox shown below is similar to the one I have wanted since I was a kid. To read more on why I started this column, click here.

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    AC/DC are a band that I’ve heard since childhood, and I enjoyed going to my uncle’s place as a kid just to look over the covers, especially If You Want Blood, You Got It. The photo of Angus Young being stabbed by his own guitar was grusome and sick but awesome, who wouldn’t want to be killed in that fashion?

    While I had heard their songs on the radio and from what my uncle played on his stereo, I first got into their music with their exposure on MTV, which for me meant loving their album For Those About To Rock We Salute You. I was that kid who did not know how to play guitar well but I could take off my shirt and be a Hawaiian Angus Young until my neck was about to fall off. I loved the power he displayed in the video, and who couldn’t help but love the song. With that said, the first AC/DC record I bought was not an album, but a single. AC/DC were always an album band but they had hit singles, or at least Atlantic Records in the U.S. wanted to be sure to release singles as a way to help sell albums. Nonetheless, when they released the Flick Of The Switch album, they released “Guns For Hire” with something that I still feel is one of the best introductions to any AC/DC song. Young sounds like he’s about to light up a firecracker with a few plucks of his guitar before it falls into a bit of heavy metal minimalism. As someone who was getting into minimalism before I even knew there was a name for musical repetition, I got into it big time and when the drums kicked in, I felt the song was about to explode. AC/DC was already turning into classic rock mavens with massive airplay for “You Shook Me All Night Long”, “Back In Black”, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” and “TNT” but to be able to hear a new AC/DC song as it was about to rise to the top of the charts was exciting.

    Well, “Guns For Hire” didn’t rise to the top of the charts at all, it only went as high as #84 on Billboard’s Singles chart, but managed to go to 37 on the UK singles chart. To me, this was the best thing AC/DC had ever released, even though I had never investigated their music yet, but that was my song. Even though Flick Of The Switch would release two more singles, I didn’t want them at the time. All I wanted was “Guns For Hire”. Sadly, the song did not gain the same status as “Thunderstruck” or “Heatseeker” but no matter, for “Guns For Hire” is one of my prime AC/DC anthems (up there with “Sink The Pink” and “Shake Your Foundations”.)

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  • BOOK’S JOOK: Pete Townshend’s “Rough Boys”

  • Book’s Jook is a column dedicated to placing a record within my dream jukebox, if I were to have one. The Seeburg jukebox shown below is similar to the one I have wanted since I was a kid. To read more on why I started this column, click here.

    Pete Townshend photo PTRoughBoys_label1_zps6e4dec05.jpg
    When I first saw MTV on December 24, 1981, it was in silence. Oceanic Cablevision in Honolulu were about to bring the new cable network to Hawaiian households but they were still testing it, so while I could see video, there was no music yet. I had heard it was coming, had turned a channel and there it was. I was excited but without any music, I became anxious. On December 31, 1981, the sound popped in and I was immediately sold. The new wave of my musical education would begin. Back then, MTV’s programming was delayed by a week because it wasn’t possible for MTV to send satellite signals 24 a day, 7 days a week, in stereo. That may have been normal for channels like WTCG, CNN, and ESPN, but MTV was still small time. Thus, by the time 1982 was in its first days, they were still showing Christmas programming. One of the first videos I saw was one by the guitarist from The Who, Pete Townshend. It was “Let My Love Open The Door”, which seemed cool but the one I really got into was one that they also used in a few MTV promos.

    The attitude of “Rough Boys” was loud and raunchy and felt like a Who song, or at least it felt like The Who music I had known as an 11 year old. I hadn’t explored their discography just yet but it sounded like some of the older material I heard, some of the then-recent songs and of course their appearance at Woodstock. This was another level. The video showed Townshend at a pool hall, hassling the young kids while he played his guitar with aggression. Did he really say “I wanna fight and kiss you“? It left me to wonder… “why?” Why does Townshend want to kiss the rough boys? (In truth, his lyric was “I wanna bite and kiss you“.) Regardless of what he did or didn’t mean, his guitar work was powerful and always in your face in this song, and the bass work (from Tony Butler, later a member of Big Brother) just pounded deeply and it was felt through a teeny television speaker. I hadn’t known it at the time since the music video only showed Townshend, but Kenney Jones was the drummer for the song. Looking back now, you can tell it’s him although back then, he was primarily known as The Who’s new drummer, having replaced Keith Moon after he died in 1978.

    If there’s any part of the song that I completely bow down to, it’s the rise to the climax in the last 45 seconds. Townshend plays his guitar in a minimalistic fashion, almost meditative while he plays a layer of keyboards and guitars that changes in chords, building up, calming down, before it rises to the point where it doesn’t stop and all of a sudden he yells “I WANNA SEE WHAT I CAN FIND!” and the song ends cold. Those 45 seconds remains a chicken skin moment for me, no matter how many times I listen to it, especially as it follows the powerful strength of the song’s previous three minutes. It makes you want to beat up people.

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  • BOOK’S JOOK: Pretenders’ “Message Of Love”

  • Book’s Jook is a column dedicated to placing a record within my dream jukebox, if I were to have one. The Seeburg jukebox shown below is similar to the one I have wanted since I was a kid. To read more on why I started this column, click here.

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    When MTV premiered in Honolulu, with visuals but no sound, on December 24, 1981, I did not know how much this cable network would change not only my life, but tons of other people’s lives in general. I’m sure I had seen records by The Pretenders at stores but never heard them on the radio, or at least they were not a primary focus of pop radio back then. They weren’t, they may have been on the rock stations on the FM but definitely not AM. When videos such as “Brass In Pocket”, “Talk Of The Town”, and “Kid” started getting a lot of MTV airplay, that paved the way for them to gain a much bigger American audience, not bad for a band with a vocalist with Ohio roots.

    By the time The Pretenders hopped into my vision, the group had already released two albums (Pretenders and Pretenders II) and an EP (Extended Play) but again, I didn’t notice them because I wasn’t listening to FM stations. When I became aware of who they were and moved to FM radio, then I realized how popular they were with DJ’s and listeners. While I liked the group’s poppier songs, I always find an attraction to the harder stuff, or at least I felt “Tattooed Love Boys” was the harder of their material, with James Honeyman-Scott’s guitar work ripping things apart. Pete Farndon’s bass work, and Martin Chambers’ insisting drums. Eventually I came across “Message Of Love”, which sounded a bit aggressive as well compared to “Brass In Pocket” and “Kid”. It’s hard to say even today what made me like this song at first: Chambers’ drum pattern, Honeyman-Scott’s strutting guitar, or when Farndom comes in to punch himself into the song. Yet what I also loved was Chrissie Hynde’s singing and lyrics. The song may have been about love, something I wasn’t concerned about yet, age 11, but who didn’t want to hear a love song? Maybe it was the lyric “look ’round the room/everybody stand up”, as if it was some calling to people at a concert hall, bringing in people and wanting to keep them revved up. Whatever the reason was, I fell in love with the song as deeply as the song’s romantic lyrics and I became a fan of theirs.

    (Odd Pretenders factoid: I was familiar with Grace Jones’ “Private Life” when I entered the Froggy’s store in Honolulu when the store played The Pretenders doing the same song. I knew it was Hynde but I thought “wow, this is a horrible verson, not realizing at the time that The Pretenders wrote and performed it first. I hear it differently now but it showed the power of what Jones could do with powerful material, a bit like her rendition of Roxy Music’s “Love Is The Drug”.)

    While “Message Of Love” and “Tattooed Love Boys” was not released back to back in any country, if I had a dream jukebox, I definitely would make a custom pressing of it and ave both of those songs on one 45. They are my favorite Pretenders songs and deserve to be with one another so for not, I’ll place “Message Of Love” within and make the jukebox happy.


  • BOOK’S JOOK: Brass Construction “Ha Cha Cha (Funkshun)” b/w “Sambo (Conditions)”

  • Book’s Jook is a column dedicated to placing a record within my dream jukebox, if I were to have one. The Seeburg jukebox shown below is similar to the one I have wanted since I was a kid. To read more on why I started this column, click here.

    (NOTE: This past weekend, ?uestlove was posting album covers of some of his favorite bands in his Instagram and Facebook, highlighting their logos and talking about how they identified artists in a way that let people knew who they were and what they played. One of the bands he highlighted is one that brought back a memory of a certain album, which is what lead me to choose this week’s edition of Book’s Jook.

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    Wahiawa, Oahu, Hawai’i, circa 1976. When I discovered this album at my Omama’s (grandma’s) house, I questioned it, or at least questioned it in a 6-year old capacity. Why would my Omama, who seemed to only like soft pop and classical music, have a record by Brass Construction? She didn’t have any of the music enjoyed by me, and definitely not any records loved by her kids? I knew she was an old(er) lady but her musical tastes were different from my grandpa. In fact, my grandpa had records and a phonograph, my Omama’s stereo equipment was pretty much non-existent, despite the fact she had a few classical records and an album by Vikki Carr. My grandpa had loads of Hawaiian records along with a few pop records, but music seemed a bit distant with my Omama, partly because I was distant to classical music, it wasn’t my thing. Yet here she was with a Brass Construction album, specifically the Brass Construction II album where the members were in their uniforms/band costumes and standing in front of their logo, with one member jumping in the air. I pulled the record out, as was my habit as a kid, and I noticed they were on the same label War were on. War were one of my parent’s favorite bands and we had All Day Music, The World Is A Ghetto, Why Can’t We Be Friends and the almighty Deliver The Words, which had constant airplay. United Artists, before I knew any better, was a fairly funky label. I looked at the band members and they looked funky too. I played the record, and I’m not sure if I located my Omama’s phonograph or if I asked to borrow it. I do remember bringing it home and I really liked what I heard. I noticed all of the songs on the album had subtitles placed in parentheses, didn’t know what they meant nor cared at the time, I was only 6. However, the two songs I really liked were on Side 1, and I played them a lot as I borrowed my Omama’s album. I eventually had to return it, but when I got older I made sure to purchase my own copy. As I began collecting records for myself, I found other Brass Construction albums but none held up as well as Brass Construction II, despite most of the music being quite good.

    “Ha Cha Cha (Funkshun)” began with a countdown from the entire band where someone said “one, two”, repeated by the band saying “ha cha cha”. it was followed by “two, two”, then “ha cha cha”, leading to “three, two”, then “ha cha cha” before wrapping up with “four, two”, heading towards the massive horn section, or at least it sounded big and bold to me. The groove of the song reminded me of another album we had at home, B.T. Express’ Do It (‘Til You’re Satisfied), but then again soul music utilizing the power of the horns were plentiful, or at least they were enjoyed by my mom and dad. Disco was the music of the day, although it was before anyone heard of Saturday Night Fever and to be honest, I’m sure I didn’t use a word called disco to describe it. It was just the music of the day, what I heard at home and on the radio.

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    The other song on the album I loved, and maybe more than “Ha Cha Cha”, was song #3, “Sambo (Progression)”. While “Ha Cha Cha” was, with the exception of the countdown, instrumental, there were lyrics in this song but what a sambo and progression referred to, I didn’t know, I just loved the groove of the music, the funk of the guitar, the coolness of the bass, and the drums just getting down. One didn’t want to stop dancing, or at least it felt energetic. I’m sure I didn’t dance, I just played the song over and over and listened to it intently, enjoying what I was hearing and never wanting it to stop.

    I do remember when I looked at Side 2 of the album, one of the co-writers of the song with primary songwriter Randy Muller was someone named Joe Wong. Seeing that I was a part Wong, I wondered if this Joe guy was related to my uncles. I’d like to think that I did ask one of them and most likely they said no, but maybe I had wanted to ask and was too much into the music to question them. It’s been almost 40 years.

    It seemed my Omama lived in a place where some of her friends were guys who had just come from the military, as Schofield Barracks was in Wahiawa. Part of the neighborhood was where there was army personnel and there was a great record store near my Omama’s house that had records I had never seen at department stores near where I lived. I had liked Parliament, Earth Wind & Fire, and War but this store had artists I had never seen, and yet I walked in and felt like this was a home away from home. This record store catered to some of the military personnel, most of whom were black, and thus I’d consider this “the black record store”, full of soul and funk and its share of comedy records. In fact, this is why my Omama also had records by Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx and again, while I knew who these actors were from watching Sanford & Son and other children-friendly shows, hearing them say bad words was new to me, especially when the Pryor album my Omama had was called Bicentennial Nigger. I thought “that’s a bad word, she listens to this stuff?” It opened my world to not only the type of comedy I was unfamiliar with, but to a side of my Omama I had never known. It was a part of growing up, and while I never had a personal talk to ask about her musical and comedy interests, along with perhaps suggestive interests, I’d learn about “things” from my mom and my aunties about my grandmother whom I only knew up until that point for making great Austrian foods. I knew she loved to smoke cigarettes, but that was it.

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    I never found out if my Omama danced to Brass Construction records, but considering who some of her friends were at the time, I’m certain that she did. The 45 edit of “Ha Cha Cha” removes two minutes from the album version while “Sambo” is the full length version, and it would definitely fit perfectly within my dream jukebox.

  • BOOK’S JOOK: The Fixx’s “Sunshine In The Shade”

  • Book’s Jook is a column dedicated to placing a record within my dream jukebox, if I were to have one. The Seeburg jukebox shown below is similar to the one I have wanted since I was a kid. To read more on why I started this column, click here.

    The Fixx photo FixxSunshine_PS_zps2a4d4887.jpg
    My introduction to The Fixx was through MTV and the song “Stand Or Fall”. I liked what I heard and hoped to find out what they’d release next. “Red Skies At Night” was their next single and it was quite good as well. The band managed to have two decent hits with their debut album, so when they released their follow up, some wanted to see what they could do. Reach The Beach ended up giving the band two of their biggest hits, “Saved By Zero” and “One Thing Leads To Another”. Visually, the group knew how to manipulate imagery with how they presented their music, whether it was about painting themselves or showing a cocaine spoon (or whatever that was supposed to be). Both songs were good, not bad during a time when more artists were realizing how important MTV was becoming in promoting their music.

    The band followed their third album in 1984 with Phantoms and its first single, “Are We Ourselves?” Similar to a band like Duran Duran, it seemed like their new music was progressive forward, slightly similar to their old song but a unique arrangement to show they were in a new year, ready to prove themselves. The song managed to go as high as #15 on Billboard’s Pop Singles chart and even to #1 on the U.S. rock chart, enough to let everyone know this group were here to stay. Unfortunately, the next two singles did not do as well, despite being far better songs. One of the songs that made a huge impression on me was “Sunshine In the Shade”.

    Lasting less than 2 minutes and 30 seconds, it was a mid-tempo song that had a nice pop groove to it, which was highlighted with background vocals that sounded as if it was taken from Earth, Wind & Fire. Cy Curnin’s lead vocals never sounded more powerful with the falsetto compliments. The song reaches its bridge, makes a slight shift and it sounds as if will lead to one more verse, then a chorus, but while a portion of the chorus is heard, it is only in brief and the song ends cold. It leaves you hanging, wondering if there will be more, but it never comes back. It ends great, and with pop songs being everywhere from 3:30 to 4:30, having a song just under 2:30 was a throwback to hit songs from the 50’s and 60’s. I’m sure some fans wondered why the band couldn’t finish the song or radio wondered why the band didn’t give them enough. No matter, for Rupert Greenall’ keyboards did give the song a nice Nick Rhodes feel and guitarist James West-Oram’s chords pushed it to the edge of U2. On top of that, while the music world celebrated Duran Duran’s John Taylor’s funky ways, you couldn’t tell me Dan K. Brown’s basslines in this song were not impressive. Just when it was tentatively getting good, the band stop. Sadly, the short length may have been the reason why the song didn’t attract a wider audience, a shame considering how great it is.

    When the band released a follow-up single, “Less Cities, More Moving People”, it seemed fans weren’t ready for it. The song touched briefly on politics but was more about how we communicated and socialized amongst one another, and with a music video that was made to look like a TV news segment about world events, it may have been too much for viewers to take. I rarely saw this on MTV, mostly on USA’s Night Flight, and yet along with “Sunshine In The Shade”, I felt it was one of The Fixx’s finer moments, especially with Rupert Hines’ production.

    Phantoms did not sell as well as their first two albums, but the group did release a new album two years later, Walkabout and while they had a hit with “Secret Separation”, The Fixx’s popularity was winding down a notch, but just a notch. They would continue to have hits on the modern rock charts and while they did have hits throughout the 1980’s, pop radio seems to stick with the ones that are more well known by audiences, a shame since their minor hits are just as impressive, if not more. “Sunshine In The Shade” remains not only one of The Fixx’s best songs, but one of the best pop songs of the 1980’s, creating great magic in only 2 minutes and 26 seconds.
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  • BOOK’S JOOK: Art Of Noise’s “Beat Box”

  • Book’s Jook is a column dedicated to placing a record within my dream jukebox, if I were to have one. The Seeburg jukebox shown below is similar to the one I have wanted since I was a kid. To read more on why I started this column, click here.

    (First off, apologies for not having an installment of Book’s Jook last week. Sometimes I’m doing a lot of writing for the site that at times I will space off, but that’s rare. Last week, I was doing a website transfer and that was a hassle I had to deal with, so I can at least use that as an excuse. Nonetheless, the column returns.)

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    Technically, this is a record that isn’t necessary to place in my dream jukebox, which may lead some to ask “so why are you putting it in there?” I guess for me, “Beat Box” is such an essential part of my life that it really isn’t a must, but then again, it is that essential to me. A perfect (im)balance) for a perfect song? In fact, the song was originally co-published by Perfect Songs Ltd., so I know what I’m talking about, right? Anyway…

    I had already been a fan of “Beat Box” for almost a year before I got this 45. I had the Into Battle cassette in Honolulu, which I had to have after hearing the song for the video on MTV. I watched and was mesmerized. No, I was pretty much numb in “uh bubba duh?” mode, not sure what I was listening to but knowing this was a revolution that was to come. In my mind, this was a sound (or a type of sound) I wanted to hear in music, and a good amount of pop and synth pop were close to what I heard in “Beat Box”. I had been a huge fan of Kraftwerk’s Computer World album but this seemed higher than that. It went beyond the groove of what those Germans were doing, and yet I could not understand what I was really listening to. The music of Jonathan Jeczalik, Anne Dudley, and Gary Langan, the production of Trevor Horn, and the verbal texts of Paul Morley would soon become an important part of not only my musical listening, but an influence to the music I wanted to produce, even though in 1983-1984 I didn’t have the means to get into a recording studio nor have the tools to make anything similar. Importantly, it was Morley’s liner notes on Art Of Noise’s and other Zang Tuum Tumb (ZTT) records that made a huge impression on me towards what to write and the rules that were meant to be broken.

    Nonetheless, the “Beat Box” 45. I had received this from a neighborhood kid, in the neighborhood I had just moved in after my family and I departed from Honolulu. He was the kid who loved rap music and was a breakdancer and popper. Back then, it was a chance to know what music we listened to, and I had found out from another neighbor that the breakdancing kid had “Beat Box”. Even as a new resident of the neighborhood, my new friends had known I was a fan of Art Of Noise, so I wanted to see this record. White label with a partial black circle on the left side, fair and simple. The 45 had an edit that was used in the video, so you don’t hear the car ignition in the second half of the song, but what is heard is still awesome genius.

    What was a trip for me was flipping the record over and hearing “Moment In Love”, where Horn simply went to the multi-track, created an all new mix of the song, made adjustments to the arrangement and it allowed fans to hear the sampled strings and vocals in an all new way. The drums were slightly different too. I hadn’t heard “Moment In Love” on my cassette as Island Records removed it from the tape pressings, but existed on the record. It was on both the vinyl and cassette pressings in UK, so that was a nice joy.

    Having “Beat Box” on a 45 where the song quality is slightly grittier is nice, for having it played out of a booming jukebox would be quite cool. I would end up playing the 45 until the record turned to dust.


  • BOOK’S JOOK: Andre Cymone’s “The Dance Electric”

  • Book’s Jook is a column dedicated to placing a record within my dream jukebox, if I were to have one. The Seeburg jukebox shown below is similar to the one I have wanted since I was a kid. To read more on why I started this column, click here.

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    When “The Dance Electric” was released, I had already been a Prince fan for six years, of interest since Prince wrote the song. Prince was slowly winding down with what he presented with Purple Rain and was already getting into an Around The World In A Day mind state, so when this came out in early 1985, it really came out of the blue. I knew Andre Cymone was a part of Prince’s live band on his earlier albums and left a few years before this, and I had heard some of his solo material before, but this sounded nothing like what he had come out with before. To be honest, it didn’t sound anything like what Prince had come out with before either. To my ears it was harder, funkier, and sexier, and for this overeager 14 year old, I had no true concept of what a sexier song could be like, despite hearing music by Prince, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Barry White, Earth Wind & Fire and so many others, but no one was doing what this song had done. It’s a bit like Art Of Noise throwing around electronic music with drum sounds from different sources, I had no idea what they were doing or why it sounded that way, but I couldn’t stop listening. The same could be said for “The Dance Electric”.

    What made me get into the song was the fantastic music video that was shown on Black Entertainment Television’s Video Soul and Video Vibrations. They were always supportive of anything that had the Minneapolis sound, so this was presented to the people by default. The video was some kind of pre-apocalyptic tale about going to a club where only the sexy people could be, although people seemed to judge themselves by how sexy they are. Some of them may have been greedy or deceitful, but the dance kept on going. Even when the world (or their world) was about to end, the centered dance kept on going, sexiness uninterrupted. Who didn’t want to find a partner to get involved in that?


    I had felt “The Dance Electric” was the sexiest video I had ever seen in my young love, sexier than Rod Stewart’s “Tonight I’m Yours” or anything that was on the airwaves pre-1985. Two years later, when a certain movie was released and became an international success, I still felt “The Dance Electric” was the real Dirty Dancing. I’m sure by today’s standards, the video would be fairly tame and yet despite occasional off-tempo steps, it was the kind of seduction that you could only see on some foreign film that you could only watch on Cinemax After Hours or something. All of that appealed to me, and that only made me love the song even more.

    As for the song, Prince’s guitar work throughout is solid and has a number of peaks and valleys that help carry the music towards its destination. The background vocals from Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman carry in the tradition of how Prince would arrange every vocal in the song as if it could be a possible lead vocal. There were so many statements made in the song that it lead to great quotes that hold up every much today:
    never mind your hatred, try a brand new style
    when your youth is gone, when it comes to dawn, the light of truth will shine and you will fall”
    look, our world is falling, a rhythm-less house of blinded prophecy

    As for the Prince-isms in the song, where does one begin? In the Prince song “God” (the B-side to “Purple Rain”), he did say “wake up children, dance the dance electric” so perhaps he was dropping a hint of what he had created. While I never had the 45, I knew of the single version through the edit used in the video, but on the 12″ version, Cymone also said “we got 14 years”, which made be go “oh, it’ll be 1999”. This means we’re going to have to party before we get there. Being a 14 year old, I wasn’t about to party any time soon (nor was I a party-type guy) so how to party and with whom, I had no idea and had no sense of doing anything that felt good. It just seemed that Cymone was throwing out codes, with Prince laying some extra information along the way, with the voices/spirits of Melvoin and Coleman guiding the listener through the underground tunnels. Eventually, we were all going to get there, somehow.

    It’s a song that made us (or at least me) think, and I could only imagine what this song must have been like in the right clubs. Were people getting heated in a sexual manner as the video showed, or did the song not get much dance floor action because it wasn’t a massive hit? While the version the 45rpm single was four minutes, the 12″ version was 5 1/2 minutes and known as the “long version”. There have been demo versions circulating for years amongst diehard Prince collectors but in 2012, an acetate surfaced which featured the longest mix of “The Dance Electric” known: 12 minutes. It was a mix with Cymone’s lead vocals, none of Prince’s vocals like existing demo versions, and his guitar work was intact, this was real. To think that this was a mix made for possible release but either he, Cymone, or Columbia Records rejected it and it remained untouched by anyone, it didn’t surface on any imported 12″ singles either. It eventually surfaced on a deluxe edition of Cymone’s A.C. album that was released last year. To fans of Cymone throughout his career, this remains one of the best songs he has done. For Prince fans, this was just another part of his endless dimensions. It remains one of the best songs of the 1980’s, which is often identified with other songs but for me, the 80’s would have been nothing without “The Dance Electric”.

    (SIDE NOTE: One of the dancers in the video reminded me of a girl I liked in middle and high school, so there was that too. Respect to Lori S.)