Good Times is 30! How much fun can you possibly have after 30 years? Well on the evidence of the latest compilation by King of Choppers himself, Norman Jay MBE, the answer is lots – get you’re Good Times today.
Whilst the soul of Good Times is grounded in the past, the staple of Mr. Jay’s Good Times of disco and dance music is so much in the now (as are Horse Meat Disco who were in Phonica on Thursday night for a bit of a road-block with their album launch in-store). And blocking roads at Notting Hill Carnival has been what Good Times Sound System has been about since its inception when Norman and his brother Joey broke the mold in 1981.
Norman’s vision of a New York street party at the then reggae dominated Notting Hill wasn’t the immediate success that he’d hoped for (but no doubt expected) but it was a defining moment as it was the start of more open minded festival that is today.
Jay’s became a big name with reputation, club nights and radio shows to match; the rare groove version of Gilles Peterson; and as a duo, they headed up the seminal record label Talkin’ Loud from 1989-93. And he was closely associated with the ear earlyNew Yorkhouse scene of Louie Vega, Loretta Holloway, Blaze (contacts that he’s still keeps up from popping up at Ministry of Sound last year with Peterson, Vega & Anané to SunSplash on the Turkish Riviera).
How can you get all this wealth of spinning records that make people happy and have a ‘Good Times’ experience on one 16 track CD? Well, to start with you’ve got to be thankfully and he kick’s off with a bit of disco MOR heaven with Mark Capanni ‘I Believe In Miracles’. It’s so Big Chill it must be on his set list for this years’ Sunny Sunday extravaganza (Norman’s sets at Big Chill are nearly as famous as at Carnival).
Talking of sunny, next up is a 60s soul revival of Avery Sunshine ‘I Got Sunshine’ that bottom out the Northern Soul fans who recognise the name of Little Anthony & The Imperials. If you’re familiar with Little Anthony & The Imperials, you’ll know that they have at least two bona fide Northern Soul all-time classic to their name so ‘I Don’t Have Time To Worry’ will be a bit of a surprise slow tempo soul revival (incredible string arrangements). And if you thought there were no other Curtis Mayfield classics in the back catalogue, Norman has unearthed ‘Victory’ which is so now (how does he do it?)
And just to show that he’s as much in the present as the 60s past, Mario Biondi’s cover version of ‘My Girl’ is shocking in that you you know the original will never be bettered but Bondi has such a fantastic voice, this is very close (more big strings and as an aside, I’ve recently played Bondi’s fantastic ‘This Is What You Are’ at Jazz Chronicles by coincidence) and is just sublime.
With Strut just releasing HMD, Ted Taylor’s ‘Ghetto Disco’ is as big as the strings and horns backing up Ted’s high pitched vocal (great congas on this edit) and then there’s the boogie rarity ‘Dreamin’ by short-lived band Zalmac, Fries & Bridges’ ‘Forever This’, that’s a full on 4×4 featuring a young Cee-Lo Green on vocals and Terri Wells (who should be a soul superstar) on jazzy vibraphone belter anthem; Hey!
The J Boogie Dubtronic Science on the strangely addictive OM Records and People Under The Stairs remix make it old skool hip hop and there’s some old skool electro funk of Dante’s ‘Freak In Me’.
To keep in with brother Joey, Jacob Miller & Inner Circle get on the ganga vibe (as an aside, well worth to catch Peterson’s clash with Rodigan on his Radio show last week, see link below), St. John’s we salute you and for a bit of Brazilian cool, Attic Tree jazz-hop on ‘Voar’.
To finish there’s a Carl Craig’s Detroit Experience ‘Think Twice’, remix by Henrik Schwarz (when he was going through a particularly hot period but it’s well worth getting the orginal album) and then, an old favourite with Afro Art connections, Ashley Slater’s ‘Private Sunshine’ ends the day.
Not only that. for the CD and LP you’ll get leading journalist and author Lloyd Bradley interview Norman Jay that covers his 30 year plus career-spanning together with rare and unseen photos from across Norman Jay’s career as a DJ.
I’m playing this Sunday at Smokin’ Aces this weekend, (a post Bournemouth Pride Festival which was very good as you can imagine) so don’t be surprised if one, two or three tracks are played as they are sutiable for many, if not any occasion, i.e. a perfect compliation for DJs and home listeners alike. We love Norman Jay, MBE (especially on 7th August and Carnival).
Reviewed: Norman Jay MBE Presents – Good Times 30th Anniversary (Strut) Cat. No: STRUT080CD/LP Formats (all unmixed): 2xCD/2xLP/digital Release date: 19th July 2011
1. Mark Capanni – I Believe In Miracles (3:04)
2. Avery Sunshine – I Got Sunshine (3:16)
3. Ted Taylor – Ghetto Disco (Edit) (8:45)
4. Zalmac – Dreamin’ (4:16)
5. Terri Wells – Who’s That Stranger (5:31)
6. Little Antony & The Imperials – I Don’t Have To Worry (3:21)
7. Mario Biondi – My Girl (2:57)
8. Jacob Miller & Inner Circle – Tired Fe Lick Weed In A Bush (3:09)
9. The Basemetn Khemist – Everybody (L I F E) (4:56)
10. J Boogie’s Dubtronic Science feat. Goaple and Capital A – Try Me (People Under The Stairs Remix) (3:45)
11. Attic Tree – Voar (4:36)
12. Curtis Mayfield – VIictory (3:21)
13. Dante – Freak In Me (4:29)
14. Fries & Bridges – Forever This (7:52)
15. The Detroit Experiment – Think Twice (Henrik Schwarz Remix) (7:30)
16. Ashley Slater – Private Sunshine (3:54)
http://www.bigchill.net/festival/line-up/norman-jay/?y=2011 Playing on Sunday 7th August at Deer Park Stage.
SunSplash Antalya 2011: 22 – 29 May www.sunsplash-antalya.com
http://www.smokin-aces.co.uk/home.php Sunday 17th July, The Jazz Chronicles