Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Lost Soul: Four Below Zero

My Baby’s Got E.S.P. is a modern soul anthem. It’s hated by the northern purists – it’s even a bit too much for many crossover fans; when “dropping” this tune at any of those indiepop clubs where the audience is open to soul, this song has cleared the dancefloor. Every single time.


I used to work with an old northern soul boy who told me that Pete Waterman broke this tune. I once met Pete Waterman – I did! – and talked to him about northern soul. He pointed out that it was interesting that two of the biggest UK pop writers/producers of the 90s – himself and Ian Levine, whose greatest success was with Take That – were northern soul fans.

There’s no contradiction between people schooled in northern soul’s infectious hooks and driving beats being able to make big chart hits, just as there’s no contradiction in loving both northern soul and Four Below Zero’s 1976 classic.

12 comments:

guy smiley said...

they both also loved disco too didn't they ?
great post

FireEscape said...

Yes, disco, too; Levine was - and is - especially keen on Hi-NRG.

LV said...

ace!!

CarsmileSteve said...

contradiction? i'd have thought i was a prerequisite...

FireEscape said...

Oh, if only it were...

ally. said...

ah hi - energy where are you now. i can almost smell the poppers.

your lost soul selections have been faultless so i go to this full of hope
x

FireEscape said...

Ah, poppers. The not-so perfect accompaniment to a couple of pints of cooking lager when I was 16. There was often a bloke about twice our age, back then, in any pub who'd sidle up conspiratorially, uncork his phial and say, "'Ere mate, 'ave a sniff of this. It's bangin'."

brogues said...

Another fine selection, squire! I would say that it's another of those many songs that I've taken to the floor to on numerous occasions without knowing who recorded it but that BULLY Novakovic will only go, "Ner, ner, ne, nerr...you didn't know that was by Four Below Zero? What are you...some kinda RETARD?!" :)

FireEscape said...

I have tried, Mr Miyagi-style, to introduce Daniel Novakovic to classy soul and spread the faith. I am sorry he is using my instructions to snobbish gains. I will have to take my rhinoceros-hide whip to his cheeky backside.

Daniel Novakovic said...

haha oh god, what did I start now? ;)

I'm sorry brogues, truly, but I think that even señor fire escape would agree with me that If I Could Only Be Sure is one of those obvious northern soul anthems that you just know about. I was just suprised thats all. I'm sorry. I'll go hide know :)

FireEscape said...

Children! Play nicely. In the case of If I Could Only Be Sure, I expect Brogues heard Weller's version and underwent extensive therapy to wipe the song from his memory.

brogues said...

Y'know...by a strange quirk of fate I just noticed that the flyer (which I got the night I discovered the name Nolan Porter and have been carrying about since) for 'Southern Fried' on May 29th prominently features a picture of "If I Could Only Be Sure". Nice abc-Paramount label! I guess I'm just unobservant :)