The KLF: Album-by-single-by-album

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by bunglejerry, Aug 24, 2017.

  1. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    INTRODUCTION

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    The KLF - also known as the Kopyright Liberation Front, the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, the JAMs, the Timelords, the Forever Ancients Liberation Loophole, the K Foundation, 2K, the One World Orchestra, and Rockman Rock and King Boy D - were Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, from Scotland and England respectively, who after a decade or so on the fringes of the music industry spent roughly five years from 1987 to 1992 releasing a torrent of music in various electronic genres (despite their punk, rock and pop backgrounds), to routine critical acclaim and rapidly increasing commercial success.

    A certain superlative keeps getting bandied about in varying forms regarding the duo: that they were the best-selling singles artist of the year 1991, or perhaps the best-selling indie artist, or perhaps the best-selling British singles artist, or some such variation. I've never seen documentation regarding this claim; it just seems to be "received wisdom," and I'm now of the opinion that it's likely not demonstrably true in any of its variations. Nonetheless, they were indeed extremely successful for a brief period as the 80s turned to the 90s.

    All the same, the KLF story is not merely a musical story. The KLF were, and still are, probably more notorious for various confounding or attention-grabbing "pranks" influenced by Situationist and Discordian philosophy, counterintuitive moves that routinely overshadowed their musical accomplishments. These continued after their "retirement" from the music industry in 1992, culminating in the infamous act of burning a million pounds of UK banknotes in 1994, before decades of near-silence broken by their recent "return" in the form of a book, having just completed a 23-year vow of silence regarding the money-burning episode.

    It's possible to discuss the KLF's public relations moves with scant reference to their music (see, for example, most writing about them); it is, sadly, harder to discuss their music independent of the media circus surrounding it, so as we progress through the discography, these 'scandals' and what-not will inevitably come up. It's unavoidable, because it's at times jaw-dropping and hard to fathom. Moving through the KLF story, you're confronted with no small amount of imponderable questions. For my part, I'll attempt to keep the focus on the music.

    Even that is no small effort: the KLF discography (entirely self-released in the UK) is incredibly difficult to pin down, with white labels, limited releases, variant overseas contracted releases, bootlegs and semi-official releases, and probably-non-existent "rumoured" releases scattered left, right, and centre. Add to that, of course, the fact that all of it is out of print (in the UK at least), and you have a catalogue that exists entirely in the shadows. I can offer you no advice about how to get your hands on any of this material, though when you're dealing with a band whose very name gleefully advertises "kopyright liberation," those very shadows are perhaps the karmically correct place to search.

    In the UK, Bill and Jimmy released almost everything themselves on their own "KLF Communications" label. They signed contracts to get their stuff released in other markets, on labels small and - in the case of Arista in the USA and Toshiba in Japan - very large indeed. For my purposes, this is primarily a label discography. Every individual release on the KLF Communications label that can be determined to actually exist will fall within the scope of this release-by-release thread (whether or not both Bill and Jimmy appear on it). Past that, a few objects scattered here and there will get swept up, but I make no attempt to be utterly comprehensive. That's likely to be a complete impossibility; no one on the internet has succeeded at that. Furthermore, there exists a rather large library of fan-made tracks, compilations, remixes and "leaked demos", the vast majority of which is fake. I don't think I'll pay most of these releases any attention at all, though anyone else can feel free. My principal source will be the classic Laszlo discography, as recently updated by klf.de, before they inexplicably decided to undo all of their good work.

    To that end, then, I will start with their first single, "All You Need is Love", immediately after providing a brief run-down of Bill and Jimmy's pre-KLF work, which I won't bother discussing since it doesn't really interest me at all.

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  2. Gems-A-Bems

    Gems-A-Bems Forum Resident

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    My introduction to their first single was through History Of The JAMs. I wasn't able find a copy of the original 12-inch until a decade later and the 7-inch for another few years after that.

    I think I actually prefer the edited intro to the original, though I do miss the original's "kick out the jams" sample. I bought the Illuminatus Trilogy soon after buying the History CD and it all made a lot more sense, though being a fan of the sampling concept I think the single stands on its own merits.
     
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  3. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    PRE-JAMS

    Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty had both spent most of the 1980s – and even a good deal of the 1970s! – with minor roles in the British music industry. Cauty had designed prog-rock album covers, Drummond had owned a record label (Zoo Records), managed Echo and the Bunnymen and the Teardrop Explodes, and had worked in A&R for WEA Records. Both had been musicians as well: Drummond was guitarist for the seminal post-punk band Big In Japan, a band better known for the pool of talent that moved through their ranks than for anything especially interesting they may have done with that talent, and released a solo album (in the country/folk genre!) called The Man on Creation Records in 1986.

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    Cauty, for his part, had been guitarist in a few different minor-success bands: Angels 1-5, Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction, and Brilliant. The latter of these, a kind of synthetic rock-pop effort produced by Stock/Aitken/Waterman, represented Drummond’s main effort during his days in WEA’s A&R department – which is, of course, how the two met. When they started working together, releasing the material I aim to discuss here, they were hardly pups: Cauty was 30 and Drummond was 33.

    The pre-JAMs material, then, is essentially as follows: For Bill Drummond, Big in Japan released a single in 1977 and an EP in 1978 (where he sang lead on one song). They also recorded a Peel Session. Lori and the Chameleons, a Drummond-led band, released two singles on Zoo in 1980. Following that, The Man came out on Creation in September 1986, just a few months before the first JAMs release, and was promoted with two flop singles.

    For Cauty, Angels 1-5 recorded nothing more than a single Peel Session, Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction’s recordings of the era don’t seem to feature Cauty at all (for some reason), and as for Brilliant, I see evidence of seven singles on WEA and one full-length album, called Kiss the Lips of Life, which came out in September of 1986, the same month as The Man and, again, scant months before the first JAMs release.

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    Most of this material appears to be available for consumption on YouTube and is “out there” in varying degrees of availability (none of it especially easy to find). For my part, I won’t be discussing any of this material, since I’ve never heard any of it. But ‘the story starts here,’ as they say.
     
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  4. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    You have the 7"? With "Me Ru Con"? I've never even seen it in the flesh. Must be worth a pretty penny.
     
  5. Gems-A-Bems

    Gems-A-Bems Forum Resident

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    Depends on where one lives. Checking discogs.com shows that they start around $30 in the UK and $75 in the US.

    Not surprising, though. I don't think any of their early releases had much in the way of stateside distribution. I've only seen one copy of the original 12-inch (the one I purchased) and that was in London. I found the 7-inch inexplicably in a Brooklyn thrift store.
     
  6. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE (March 1987)

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    Like pretty much everything Bill Drummond did and continues to do in his life, the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu came about on a whim, as a sudden and poorly-thought-out decision. Apparently on New Year's Day, 1987, Drummond seized upon the idea of making a hip hop record about AIDS and called up his like-minded friend Jimmy Cauty (this story is told in this exact fashion on more than one of their songs).

    The single was hastily cobbled together. Drummond and Cauty adopted aliases (rather childish ones for thirtysomethings), pressed the track themselves on a one-sided white label, and sent it out upon the world. Rave reviews in the media led to considerable attention (and the first indications of the duo's career-long ambivalence about that attention), and the band made an edited 12" and a prankish 7" commercially available. The white label version (JAMS 23) is frequently titled “All You Need is Love (original)”. The commercially-released 12”, released in May (JAMS 23T), features an edited version titled “All You Need is Love (106 bpm)” with “Ivum Naya (ibo version)” and “Rap, Rhyme and Scratch Yourself” on the b-side (both alternate versions of the a-side). The 7” (JAMS 23S) features what is called “All You Need is Love (Me Ru Con mix)” on the a-side with the same recording of “Ivum Naya (ibo version) on the b.

    “All You Need is Love (original)”: Deliberately provocative from the get-go, the first sounds we ever heard on a JAMS record were an eleven-second sample of the Beatles. Cleverly, though, the JAMS appropriate the Beatles' own appropriation of another song: the French national anthem at the beginning of the Beatles' "All You Need is Love". Throughout their career, Bill and Jimmy repeatedly defended their use of sampling by comparing it to musical appropriations of generations past (they'd be invoking the Beatles themselves again in a few months in response to ABBA's cease-and-desist action against them). A second sacred-cow sample in the form of the MC5, and the song proper is off and running. Like all of the early JAMS material, "All You Need is Love" is hindered by the amateurish drum programming and Drummond's Scottish-Beastie-Boy vocal performance, but the song itself is a pretty good one, well-written and thought-provoking. The Samantha Fox sample is well-integrated, as is a sex-ed information recording, Drummond gets in some interesting lines about sex and the AIDS scare amidst the Illuminatus-referencing nonsense, and there's a pretty great moment where he shouts, "I don't want to die" into dead silence. That comes right before a peculiarity of early JAMs material: a lengthy coda sung by female voices. Throughout, for lack of definitive information, I will attribute any female vocals during the JAMS era to Jimmy's wife Cressida Cauty and Jimmy's former Brilliant bandmate June Montana, who together formed KLF side-project Disco 2000. Here, they sing in attractive voices (a nice change from Bill's) a rather poignant and surprisingly direct paean to a child dying (presumably of AIDS). I had thought that this part was lifted from an existing song, but it seems to be a JAMS original - memorably so in a song whose notoriety stemmed from all that wasn't original about it. All in all, with kind ears you can hear potential here, but you can also hear thirtysomethings with no real sense of the music they were aping or skill with the machines they were using, gamely "having a go". You kind of wish, among all the songs that got big-budget remakes in later years, that this particular one might have been revisited. As is, it's best filed under "shows promise."

    “All You Need is Love (106 bpm)”: Uncharacteristically getting cold feet, the JAMs edit their underground release to re-record (most of) the Beatles sample and the MC5 sample - Samantha Fox stays, though. The recording of “La Marseillaise” is replaced with a rather disrespectful sampled voice “singing” it - which isn’t much fair, as it was the Beatles and not the French who they were antagonising. All sacred cows are created equal, I guess. This made it to number three on the indie chart, apparently.

    “Ivum Naya (ibo version)”: This particular track is another version of "All You Need is Love" with some of the lyrics apparently translated into the Igbo language of Nigeria and rapped/sung by Chike, who would also appear on the 1987 album. His lines are interspersed with Drummond's original, to simulate a Run-DMC-style "tag team" vocal performance. Unfortunately, Chike's vocals are mixed much louder than Drummond's, so it kind of sounds like a movie crudely overdubbed for a foreign market. A slight remix introduces a new bass riff at certain points.

    “Rap, Rhyme and Scratch Yourself”: Ostensibly designed for the listener to rap over top of (with a childish pun for a title), this is a kind of "bonus beats" version of "All You Need is Love", a song whose beats are perhaps the weakest part of it. Toward the end it's geed up with imitation-Art-of-Noise sound effects, but it's not something you'll need to hear more than once.

    “All You Need is Love (Me Ru Con mix)”: Using up many of their best Situationist tricks on their first release, Drummond and Cauty posit that you can remix a song until it becomes another song entirely, in this case "Ca Dao Me" (a/k/a "A Mother's Lullaby") as written by Trinh Cong Son, one of Vietnam's most famous modern composers. The recording is a rather beautiful a capella performance by clarinetist Duy Khiem, apparently spontaneously rendered and recorded. His lovely voice is accompanied only by a cavernous echo and by a simple background drone toward the end. The sleeve came with an English translation, but one can imagine punters being mighty annoyed by the pretence here. Bill and Jimmy credit the song to “Trad. arr. Z. Khiem”, which is bound to be untrue, since the protest song wasn’t especially old. It wasn’t really, as claimed, an “old traditional Vietnamese folk song” but a composition of recent vintage.
     
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  7. acetboy

    acetboy Forum Resident

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    Thanks for the thread, I'll be following it.
    I guess I'm childish, I like their names and thought that song title was a hoot.
     
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  8. Gems-A-Bems

    Gems-A-Bems Forum Resident

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    I confess, not owning the commercial 12-inch, that it had the same version that showed up on Shag Times and History. I do consider it a "cheekier" intro to the song than the original.

    I also agree that "I don't wanna die!" is a great moment in the song, underscoring what a seemingly harsh penalty for a mere "shag" had become. However, I don't believe that is exclaimed by Drummond but instead by Chike.
     
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  9. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    You might be right. It seems like a Scottish accent to me, but the voice is indeed a bit less nasal than Bill tends to be.
     
  10. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    Thanks Jer for taking the time compiling this info. Quite a mind boggling adventure. I just have a handful of The White Room related stuff/History and of course the Doctorin' single :laugh:
     
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  11. ronton99

    ronton99 Forum Resident

    I became aware when I got the Pure Trance 12"s - 1 and 2 - in those days when House music was tipping into Acid House in the UK.
    Then it came down to buying everything I saw by them.
    Their discography was confounding - especially to a guy in the American Mid-West, so there is some stuff that I missed.
    But they remain eternally fascinating - due to their amazing sonics and also their oddball reluctance towards stardom - or was it a collapse due to artistic pressure?
    Anyway, I am looking forward to following this thread!!!!
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017
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  12. hutlock

    hutlock Forum Resident

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    Cleveland, OH, USA
    Oh man yes. Having just turned 45, I read Bill Drummond's book of the same title just after my birthday. I bought it when it was released back in 2000 when I was 28 and I've held onto it, unopened, for 17 years until I was the proper age to read it.

    Something tells me Drummond would be pleased to hear this.

    Anyway, big KLF guy. I'll be following along intently. Thanks to the OP for getting this started.
     
  13. kendo

    kendo Forum Resident

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    Oot Beh,Scotland
    Conversely, I read it when I was 54, starting at the back. :)
     
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  14. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
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    1987 (WHAT THE **** IS GOING ON?) (June 1987)

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    Jimmy and Bill really did spend the entirety of their career together in a state of ambivalence - among other things, ambivalent about whether the JAMS/KLF were an actual musical career or just a wheeze to engage in from time to time. When have you taken the joke too far? And what happens when you do? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

    So the logical next step after a well-received debut single would obviously have been a full-length album, recorded in the aftermath of the white label debut single and completed at about the same time as the debut single’s re-release, in June 1987.

    With its convention-breaking potty-mouthed album title and its extremely liberal approach to sampling, the album was guaranteed to gain the duo more notoriety, but initial critical responses were actually rather tepid. They said - rightly, I think - that ideas that were exhilarating over a four-minute single got a bit shopworn over 40 minutes. The album definitely has its share of great ideas, but you sense listening to it that it was thrown together rather quickly. The 808 beats are primitive and rather undanceable throughout, and Drummond’s rap style can get grating after a while. By any conventional standard, and certainly by the standard of the excellent work they would produce a few years hence, this album is a bit of a let-down and best listened to today for its historical importance or its taboo-breaking moxie rather than its musical merit.

    “Hey Hey We are Not the Monkees”: The first track on the first JAMs album is kind of a suite in three parts: part one, which lasts one minute, is a kind of rhythm based out of human breaths and grunts, the kind of thing that every person who ever had access to a sampling keyboard wound up making at one point or another. The second part, which lasts two minutes, is the "song proper", I guess. It's a cacophonous deconstruction of the Monkees theme (and "Last Train to Clarksville") with Drummond exclaiming some rather unimpressive nonsense over top. Lasting three minutes, the third part is - lo and behold - their future hit "Justified and Ancient" in embryonic stage. Cressida and June start singing a capella, and gradually the primitive instrumentation piles up. The lyrics will change, but the composition is pretty much intact here, years before it found celebrity via Tammy Wynette. It's interesting to hear, but it's certainly not preferable to what came later.

    “Don’t Take Five (Take What You Want)”: A minute-long field recording of the London Underground precedes what is probably the JAMS' most genuine attempt at emulating a mid-eighties Def Jam sound; the song is based around a J.B.'s groove ("Same Beat") with Drummond "tag-teaming" alongside Nigerian associate Chike (who has a much better singsong flow than Drummond, though he’s no Rakim). The almost-titular Dave Brubeck song gets a lengthy drop-in in the middle of the song. The primitive beat actually works fairly well for its purpose and integrates with the J.B.’s sample quite well, but the constant fake scratching effect grates. While it’s a decent enough effort, none of it sounds particularly great, and when this song got inexplicably included on the Shag Times compilation, it was probably the lowlight of the collection. The lyrics are self-mythologising gibberish about, I think, Drummond finding Chike in a supermarket and asking him to join the band. They’re kind of funny in a surreal sense.

    “Rockman Rock (parts 2 and 3)”: This one has everyone on it: Cesare scratches (apparently, though throughout the early years authentic scratches seem rarer than awful sampled scratches), Chike raps, Duy Khiem blows double-tracked clarinet and saxophone, and once again the second half of the song is given over to June and Cressida singing a pleasant enough lyric. Also, there's samples left-right-and-centre - most prominently from "Fiddler on the Roof", though there’s also an orgy of guitar riff samples from hard rock greatest hits. The samples are rather well integrated, and in fact if it weren't for the drum programming, this would be an attractive if overlong piece. Like side two, this song ends with Khiem blowing as the drum machine gets simpler and simpler. Well, that and a few seconds of nonsense about giros (third time this side!) that was apparently a parody of the b-side of Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It".

    “Me Ru Con”: The same recording that came out on 7" as an ostensible remix of "All You Need is Love". There, it was a provocative statement about remixing and appropriation. Here, renamed and stuck on an album alongside the actual "All You Need is Love", it's merely a WTF-moment, designed to do no more than make the listener ask, "Why is that here?"

    “The Queen and I”: The highlight and most notorious part of 1987 is, of course, this song, which opens with a 44-second sample of ABBA's "Dancing Queen" taking you right through the first chorus. It recurs throughout, with its melody also 'played' by an annoying sample of what might be a baby crying. Both of the famous songs titled "God Save the Queen" get plonked into the mix too. The redeeming factor, though, is Drummond's lyrics (and - believe it or not - his double-tracked vocal performance) as he riffs on the monarchy in a manner reminiscent of the Smiths' "The Queen is Dead". While there is, of course, humour and irony, Drummond is genuinely attempting to make a statement here, really the only time outside of “All You Need is Love” that he does. His vocals seem to improve when he cares about what he’s saying. It's an ugly mess (with those horrible drums again), but it's worth hearing more than once. ABBA, of course, would take rather unkindly to the JAMS' appropriation of their hit song, suing them and leading Bill and Jimmy on the first of many madcap adventures, documented on their next album. You can't really blame Benny and Bjorn: this track goes far beyond sampling as a defensible art-form into what can only be defended as thought-provoking provocation. Which it ultimately is.

    “All You Need is Love”: Believe it or not, almost three minutes of excerpts from a single episode of "Top of the Pops" comes next. A 'statement' on the state of pop music? Or filler on a threadbare album? You choose. Anyway, then it's onto the debut single. The JAMS put the edited “106 bpm” commercial single version on, though after "The Queen and I", it's frankly tough to suss out why.

    “Next”: Described by Drummond as “the only angst-er on the album”, “Next” is actually quite a canny recording and very probably the best track on the album. Somehow, they manage to make Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”, Scott Walker’s “Next” and “The Lonely Goatherd” from "The Sound of Music" seem as if they belong together. Drummond’s verses (sung, not rapped, and not poorly) kind of continue the story told by Walker (Drummond co-owned a record label in the early 80s that managed only two album releases, but one was a Scott Walker anthology widely attributed with rekindling interest in the singer). Between verses, Duy Khiem plays a very nice melody on the clarinet, and the final three minutes are given over to him playing an extended saxophone solo - one that NME apparently describes as being of ‘stupefying tediosity’. I disagree; I think it’s quite nice. It ain’t rock and roll. It ain’t dance music or hip-hop either. It ain’t punk. It’s another arched eyebrow in an album full of them. Still, Khiem emerges as a kind of star of this album, providing it with its only actual unsampled melodies (outside of June and Cressida’s sung melodies on three of the songs).

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    1987: THE JAMS 45 EDITS (October 1987)

    A pretty good prank, if not a pretty good listening experience.

    The lengthy sample of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” in “The Queen and I” set ABBA’s lawyers after Jimmy and Bill, with rather disastrous results for the JAMS, who were forced to destroy all remaining copies of their album (a journey we’ll speak more of when we get to the duo’s second album). With tongue firmly in cheek, they “reissued” the album in a “sample-free” format that purported to present the original album now free of unauthorised samples, with a set of instructions included for how to recreate the original with a pair of turntables and copies of the originally-sampled songs.

    A brilliant idea, but in fact the samples weren’t remixed out of the originals - instead, the sound cuts out entirely at the points where the samples had been. Voice, beats, everything is cut out, leaving lengthy sections of complete silence that abruptly kick in and end. As an objet it’s valuable, but it’s not listenable on its own merits. Watch this video to appreciate the idea on its own merits.
     
  15. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    Also: "Next" features the canniest sample of Wild Man Fischer you'll ever hear.
     
  16. GLENN

    GLENN Forum Resident

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    Kingsport,TN, USA
    Good timing. I hadn't thought about these guys for a while but I grabbed one of the "3 AM Eternal" 12-inchers while crate digging this past weekend and then today I saw this thread. Excellent! Looking forward to following this and I'll chime in if I have anything intelligent to say.
     
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  17. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    [​IMG]

    WHITNEY JOINS THE JAMS (September 1987)

    A white-label 12” with a blank b-side originally limited to 500 copies, the JAMs’ second single release (JAMS 24T) was a defiantly underground resumption of their “kopyright liberation” modus operandi. Presumably, they figured the under-the-radar nature of the release would keep it far out of the line of sight of Whitney Houston’s legal team. Interesting, then, that the single track included on this release would later turn up on the very over-ground compilation Shag Times. Interesting also that one day in the near future Bill and Jimmy would find themselves label-mates in the USA with Whitney herself.

    “Whitney Joins the JAMs”: “Whitney Joins the JAMs” is what would today be described as a “mash-up”, a cannily-concocted novelty based primarily on integrating Isaac Hayes’ “Shaft”, the “Mission Impossible” theme, and - most prominently - Whitney Houston’s then-current single “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)”. The former, with its wah-wah riff and orchestral stabs, serves as the main ‘groove’ as the song. The TV theme would appear to be replayed as opposed to sampled - since, of course, the dance song is in 4/4, and the TV theme is in 10/8. The Whitney sample - taking in the entire chorus and significant other portions of the song - serves as the song’s “punchline”, in that Drummond spends much of the track begging her to join the song until - through the means of sampling - she does, to Drummond’s delight.

    It’s not much of a joke, and the novelty gets grating upon multiple listenings. Drummond in particular serves as an overenthusiastic nuisance. In truth, I don’t find it much of a listening experience at all. Of course, that’s not the point. In addition to a furthering of their sampling ethic, “Whitney Joins the JAMs” is most important as Drummond and Cauty’s first real embrace of dance music: the conga-flavoured drum beat is more supple and danceable than anything on 1987, and the piano riffs scattered throughout are straight out of the vocabulary of the then-current house music scene. It’s easy to see how the mix of iconic TV and movie themes with a then-current pop hit would have worked wonders on the dance floor in '87, particularly with the house flavours underneath. “Whitney Joins the JAMs” is a disposable novelty, but one that carved a way out of the novelty-hip-hop cul-de-sac of 1987.

    When it finally got a commercial release on the Shag Times compilation, the song was credited as follows: “(The Jams, Rubican, Merrill, Isaac Hayes, Andrews, Burton, Westwood, Schifrin)”. As we note the repeated ways that Bill and Jimmy’s sticky fingers have gotten them in legal hot water, it’s also interesting to note the times they haven’t. It’s no surprise that today’s mash-up artists operate far away from the commercial arena; getting a song like this released today would be a legal nightmare.

    One highlight worth mentioning, in passing, is the rather amazing fact that, when Channel Four requested a video for this song, Bill and Jimmy recorded themselves driving to the Channel Four studio before arriving, presenting them with the tape they had just made, and saying, "Here's your video." I don't think that piece of moxie survives though; at least, it's not on YouTube.
     
  18. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    The KLF's early days are hard-going. I kinda want to fast-forward to their chart-beating days, because there will presumably be more to discuss then.
     
  19. GLENN

    GLENN Forum Resident

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    I thought the novelty got grating halfway through the first listen. Definitely not their finest hour, although you've got to admire their moxie to put out something like this.
     
  20. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    There's an instrumental version on Shag Times. It's probably the best way to consume it.
     
  21. Gems-A-Bems

    Gems-A-Bems Forum Resident

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    I completely agree that Duy Khiem elevates their first album. All of his contributions are haunting (and I mean that in a positive way).

    As for "Whitney Joins", I happen to like the concept and result. It's a cute "story" that I haven't tired of yet.
     
  22. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    I didn't mention it, but the story on "Whitney" is that Bill had gone to the shop to buy "Shaft" for the purposes of this single, saw a giant window display for Whitney's debut album, and decided to buy that as well. When they listened to it, they said, "Why are we even bothering to make music when they're already making music as great as this?"

    I wouldn't have agreed in 1987, but I do now. "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" is an amazing song - and, incidentally, one of the best uses of the 808 cowbell I've ever heard.

    It's truly mind-boggling that Clive Davis would, in less than two years' time, be offering Bill and Jimmy the chance to produce Whitney Houston. I don't know if it's good or bad that they declined.
     
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  23. Gems-A-Bems

    Gems-A-Bems Forum Resident

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    The Duke City
    The story the single itself tells is just incredible especially given the benefit of hindsight.

    The JAMs always claimed to have "no masterplan" yet "Whitney Joins" nevertheless turned out to be prescient - but the single where a groundbreaking female artist joins the JAMs is still a ways off...
     
    bunglejerry likes this.
  24. Tony L

    Tony L Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Excellent to see a JAMS/KLF thread!

    With regards to '1987 What The F*** Is Going On' this bootleg (Discogs) with the red on white cover art is interesting. I bought my copy after just missing the boat on the original, I've had it since '88 or 89 at the very latest, and it is very good quality, i.e. it doesn't sound like a needle-drop. I've also got a legit copy of Shag Times, and it sounds about the same quality-wise. As such I've always suspected they might have quietly re-released it themselves after the Abba debacle, but I've no evidence for this!
     
    bunglejerry likes this.
  25. Daddy Dom

    Daddy Dom Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Zealand

    My memory around this is, one night in my flat, we were playing "Whitney Joins the JAMS" and watched in amazement as the video for "I Wanna Dance" came on the TV. (Sound down, of course ;)
    Most of it all fitted together in an unforgettable, random, beautiful, mish-mash that you could never repeat in a thousand years.
     
    Bolero and bunglejerry like this.

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