Barry Adamson – The Negro Inside Me (Mute Records EP, 1993)

Barry Adamson 'The Negro Inside Me' CD artwork

mute records | lp/cd stumm120 | 19/10/1993

Barry Adamson‘s 1993’s Paul ‘PK’ Kendall-produced 6-track The Negro Inside Me begins with a burst of spiralling horns before rushing headlong into an up-tempo Hammond organ versus James Bond jazz-funk groove; built around a recording of what appears to be Adamson’s publicist or manager trying to run through a list of engagements, interviews and appointments, at around three minutes, the track breaks down into a latin-edged cymbal-intensive percussion rhythm, before rebuilding and gathering greater momentum. ‘The Snowball Effect’ appears to be the most appropriate name for this rolling, energetic track.

‘Dead Heat’, with its varied collection of headcleaner scratched record samples, electronic noises and slow-mo hip-hop breaks wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a Massive Attack album. However, the orchestral textures piano motifs give this a totally different atmosphere from anything that Bristol collective could muster.

The outstanding ‘Busted (Michaelangelo Version)’, built around layers of percussive hip-hoppery and organ flourishes, sounds just like a gangster TV show soundtrack with its car-chase saxophone melodies and sparse and funky wah-wah guitar, Starting with some soulful female vocal textures, ‘Cold Black Preach’ gradually develops into a filmic, atmospheric work with an amazing bassline and urgent hip-hop breaks.

Re-setting and re-positioning an old song should not be slapdash; pop music is littered with failed, miserable attempts to do just that. Thankfully, Adamson’s revisioning of the simultaneously cheesy and sexual ‘Je T’Aime… Moi Non Plus’ – like his version of ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’ with Anita Lane – is somehow respectful, taking the core melody and song structure of the original and adding a steady, bass-heavy groove. A duet with Louise Ness (with language training by regular Mute chanteuse Pascale Fuillée / Pascale Fuillée-Kendall), the vocals are somehow more coherent and loaded with barely hidden sexual desire than the Serge Gainsbourg original.

This 30-minute mini-LP closes with ‘A Perfectly Natural Union’, a slow and lounge-y piece of café jazz for piano and vibes, with Adamson’s double bass walking alongside at a steady, lazy pace. Sounding a little like the ‘Gallery’ muzak on Tony Hart’s kids TV shows, ‘A Perfectly Natural Union’ is the perfect chilled-out conclusion to this excellent release.

The title of this release always intrigued me. Unlike his other releases (which bear a sense of lightness and humour), it seems, on first examination, strangely serious. However the music itself is characteristically upbeat, and a glance at Adamson’s face in Polly Borland’s photo on the cover tells you that this isn’t meant to be taken too seriously, so sit back and let the good vibes toll…

Track listing:

A1. / 1. The Snowball Effect
A2. / 2. Dead Heat
A3. / 3. Busted (Michaelangelo Version)
B1. / 4. Cold Black Preach
B2. / 5. Je T’Aime… Moi Non Plus
B3. / 6. A Perfectly Natural Union

First published 2003; edited 2014

(c) 2014 Mat Smith / Documentary Evidence


Cold Specks ‘Christmas Evermore’ (Sartorial Records, 2012)

Various Artists 'All Ready For The 25th?' download artwork

All Ready For The 25th album | Sartorial Records | 2012

Cold Specks delivered this cover of a Mary Margaret O’Hara track for a Christmas compilation released on Sartorial Records. A plaintive cry for peace and an end to war, ‘Christmas Evermore’ is at times beautiful and at others defiant, Al Spx‘s voice turning tricks that evidence a captivating vocal power she’s barely even started using yet. Spx is here joined by Mark Bedford (double bass), Lee J Harris (electric guitar) and Terry Edwards (flugelhorn, acoustic guitar); if, like me, you think Christmas isn’t Christmas without brass, ‘Christmas Evermore’ won’t disappoint.

First published 2012; re-published 2014

(c) 2014 Mat Smith / Documentary Evidence

Email Exchange With Penguin Books


From: Mat Smith (Documentary Evidence)
Sent: 15 March 2014 11.56
To: Editor (Penguin UK)
Subject: Research Help – Rhythm King And The Dance Explosion book

Dear Penguin,

I am trying to find details of a book that may have been published by Penguin ‎/ Fantail in 1990. The book is entitled Beat This! Rhythm King And The Dance Explosion. I have undertaken a number of Google searches but this book either never existed, never got published or has simply been forgotten in the passage of time.

The book is referenced on the sleeve‎ of an LP released by the Rhythm King record label in 1990 and describes the book as being imminently published. See the attached picture by way of evidence.

I am trying to confirm the existence of this book at this stage, and also any details of the ISBN, cover, author etc. I don’t want to particularly think about how hard it will be to track down a copy. I will cross that bridge in due course.

This is all research for a series of articles I am writing for my website in order to present the most comprehensive history of the Rhythm King label, which had a major impact on the development of electronic dance music in the UK.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

By way of background, I am a freelance music journalist writing for Clash, This Is Not Retro, Electronic Sound, Feeder and my own blog Documentary Evidence.

I look forward to any help you can supply.

Best regards,



From: Editor (Penguin UK)
Sent: 21 March 2014 10.45
To: Mat Smith (Documentary Evidence)
Subject: Re: Research Help – Rhythm King And The Dance Explosion book

Dear Mat,

Thank you for your email.  Unfortunately I’ve been unable to find the book you’re looking for in our title database and I admit I am unfamiliar with Fantail publishing, as it no longer exists as an imprint.

Really sorry I can’t help you any further with your search.

Kind regards,

The Editor
Penguin Random House


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