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Rare Groove / 2 Step Thread

All About the SOUL boba

 
Posted (edited)

Branching off my milton wright thread, I wanted to create a general thread to dump some questions into.

1. When did the "rare groove" and "two step" scenes in the UK start? Were they mostly in London? What was even the difference between the two scenes -- did the "rare groove" scene just play some funkier material that the two step scene didn't and the two-step scene played some smoother material than the rare groove scene did?

2. Were these like rival scenes? It seems like the same people would be interested in both things. Why were there two (or even more than 2?) scenes? Was there also a separate "modern soul" scene? And a separate "jazz funk" scene?

3. What types of events did these scenes have? Were they mainly soul nights at night clubs and bars? Did people mainly hang out and drink or did they actually dance?

4. What does "2-step" even refer to? It's weird because in Chicago there's a "Steppers" scene of mainly older folks doing sort of complicated dances to music that heavily overlaps the "2-step" scene. I think their biggest records are Jeff Perry "love's gonna last" and Lowrell "mellow mellow right on". But they play a lot of modern stuff to.

5. Did all the scene focus more on LP cuts than 45s? Did one of the scenes focus on one more than the other?

6. Do these scenes still exist?

Also, totally unrelated, I have been getting some nice rare groove type sounds recently (partly because I've been buying a lot of random major label numbers and listening to them and finding some nice material). Here are 3 random ones I pulled from the top of the pile:

Mowest 5015 - GC Cameron - You are that special one / What it is, what it is. Both sides are nice, one is faster and one is slower. Obviously not as awesome as his Curtis Mayfield sounding masterpiece "no matter where" but still really nice.

Mercury 73450 - Brenda Lee Eager - When I'm with you. This is a great Larry Mizell production. I feel lame listing the record just because it's now in demand after it got recognized after Fonce Mizell died (I hate buying things that are popular or that a lot of people are into) but this is a really nice, deep and dark, classic rare groove sounding track.

Castle 78102 - Marie Franklin - Being in love ain't easy. Really nice subdued modern / southern groove sound

also, one of my all time favorite rare groove tracks of all time isn't a single, it's this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSP3_nKX6qg

Did this get any play? I wish this were released as a single.

Edited by boba

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Oh yeah, my favorite "rare groove" LP that is listenable all the way through is "Those Sexy Moments".

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boba uk motown did a rare grove lp and i think ian d did a lp in the mastercuts series at the time.

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Branching off my milton wright thread, I wanted to create a general thread to dump some questions into.

1. When did the "rare groove" and "two step" scenes in the UK start? Were they mostly in London? What was even the difference between the two scenes -- did the "rare groove" scene just play some funkier material that the two step scene didn't and the two-step scene played some smoother material than the rare groove scene did?

2. Were these like rival scenes? It seems like the same people would be interested in both things. Why were there two (or even more than 2?) scenes? Was there also a separate "modern soul" scene? And a separate "jazz funk" scene?

3. What types of events did these scenes have? Were they mainly soul nights at night clubs and bars? Did people mainly hang out and drink or did they actually dance?

4. What does "2-step" even refer to? It's weird because in Chicago there's a "Steppers" scene of mainly older folks doing sort of complicated dances to music that heavily overlaps the "2-step" scene. I think their biggest records are Jeff Perry "love's gonna last" and Lowrell "mellow mellow right on". But they play a lot of modern stuff to.

5. Did all the scene focus more on LP cuts than 45s? Did one of the scenes focus on one more than the other?

6. Do these scenes still exist?

Let's try and answer some of these questions......

Late 80s for two step Bob, yes there were clubs and people danced. To me rare groove is just £5 records that didn't get picked up by northern crossover of funk scenes :lol: I'm not really impressed with that, most of the people I've met on that scene don't really dig that deep. Maybe I am being a bit harsh here....but....I think Norman Jay MBE was a main player (he has a medal for his services to music).

The term two step comes from the beat.

There was a separate modern scene and a jazz funk scene. Jazz Funk was by far the larger scene and went well beyond London. Essex was really a mainstay area and it was also popular in a number of other areas such was the North west and throughout the south. Today it's all revival nights, same old tunes, like a northern soul Top 500 oldies night but with different music :D:

There are six (seven?) of us left that like two step and no 'scene' so to speak :D:

45s and LPs? I think the format wasn't important it was the sound that mattered.

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Posted (edited)

Boba,

there was (in some instances) lots of x-over between tracks played on the 2 Step, Rare Groove & Modern Soul scenes (i.e. the same cut would be played on all 3 scenes).

An instance of this was Lou Ragland's "Making Love". This was known instantly to MS guys as Lou already had a really high established profile with NS / MS fans. So this cut was played from a new release (on a 12" EP put out by Lou on his own Casino label).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbseqjMSJTk

On the 2 Step scene (on which tracks were initially spread by DJ's doing fans cassettes/ CD-R's) it was known as

"(Got a Girl) on the Otherside of Town". The cut is just about the perfect tempo for 2 Steppers.

After the 2 Step scene had picked up on it, the track was 'booted' to meet the demand from 2 Step record buyers.

Before too long it was also played on the Rare Groove scene & I believe it got a RG release on CD.

The daft thing was that many 2 Steppers who knew the cut really well (& would always dance to it when out in clubs) had no idea who it was by or what it was called.

The wife & I popped into the florists in the main area at Euston Station (a big London railway stn) & the track was playing. As the black girl running the shop made up our order, I commented that I loved the Lou Ragland track playing over the shop's PA system and she had no idea what I was talking about even though it was her tape that it was being played from.

Edited by Roburt

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Let's try and answer some of these questions......most of the people I've met on that scene don't really dig that deep. Maybe I am being a bit harsh here....

Steve, I do think you are being quite harsh. Both the 2 Step (more so) and the Rare Groove scenes musically both thrived on finding that elusive unknown exactly like the Northern scene. And the Rare Groove scene was also duped with the taylor made Roadblock by Stock, Aitkin and Watermand the same as the Four Vandals. There was more of a trendyness about the people attending, probably in the same way Wigan/Mecca was 10 years previously, now you had magazines like "the Face" to help promote it. What I have seen over the last few years is that as Northern has got more funky records which were played on the Rare Groove scene are now getting embraced commanding much higher prices(in relative terms) than they did when they were big on the Rare Groove scene.

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Thanks to everyone who responded so far. One thing I'm confused about is the jazz-funk scene. Can someone give examples of what was being played on the scene? Just because a lot of 70s jazz funk (e.g. mizell bros productions) are rare groove classics (at least in my experience, don't know the specifics of the UK scene). Did the Jazz Funk scene play harder jazz funk (e.g. more early 70s) or was there this overlap. If this was the overlap, I don't really understand the difference at all between the scenes.

Overall I don't understand why the scenes were so fragmented when there seems to be so much overlap in the music.

Also, was there a specific "2-step" dance that people did?

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Tracks on a typical 'JAZZ FUNK' CD .........

Lonnie Liston Smith - Expansions (Original 12" Mix)

Ronnie Laws - Always There (Original 12" Mix)

Gil Scott-Heron - The Bottle (Original Version) (Original 12" Mix)

Donald Byrd - Change (Makes You Want To Hustle) (Original Full LP Version)

Wilton Felder - Inherit The Wind (Original 12" Mix)

Spyro Gyra - Shaker Song (Original 12" Mix)

Azymuth - Jazz Carnival (Original 12" Mix)

Johnny Hammond - Los Conquistadores Chocolates (Original Full LP Version)

Eddie Henderson - Say You Will (Original 12" Mix)

John Klemmer - Brasilia (Original Full LP Version)

Harvey Mason - Till You Take My Love (Original 12" Mix)

Dizzy Gillespie - Unicorn (Original 12" Mix)

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I don't understand why the scenes were so fragmented when there seems to be so much overlap in the music.

Regionally all of the events I attended in the mid to late 80's were in and round London and don't remember going out of London as Rare Groove evolved from the Warehouse parties where most of the then big named London DJ's evolved from. Also I think there was more of an ethnic mix with rare groove probably being a 50/50 mix black and white whereas 2 step was predominately black.

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The wife & I popped into the florists in the main area at Euston Station (a big London railway stn) & the track was playing. As the black girl running the shop made up our order, I commented that I loved the Lou Ragland track playing over the shop's PA system and she had no idea what I was talking about even though it was her tape that it was being played from.

Also, related to your comment, was the scene pretty racially mixed? Were there differences between the scenes with respect to this? Was there a general age range of people who went?

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Various artists contributed to the jazz-funk scene - mainly tracks from their albums from the late 70's -

Roy Ayers, Lonnie Liston Smith, Grover Washington Jr, Benny Golson, Lee Ritenour, Donald Byrd, Herbie Hancock, Bob James, Alphonse Mouzon, George Duke, Patrice Rushen are a few

There was also a lot of stuff from Japanese artists - Sadao Watanabe, Terumasa Hino, Hiroshi Fukumara plus lots of others who's names I can't spell

Ian Dewhirst is the best to answer your question - he was behind the Mastercuts jazz funk LP compilations

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Tracks on a typical 'JAZZ FUNK' CD .........

Lonnie Liston Smith - Expansions (Original 12" Mix)

Ronnie Laws - Always There (Original 12" Mix)

Gil Scott-Heron - The Bottle (Original Version) (Original 12" Mix)

Donald Byrd - Change (Makes You Want To Hustle) (Original Full LP Version)

Wilton Felder - Inherit The Wind (Original 12" Mix)

Spyro Gyra - Shaker Song (Original 12" Mix)

Azymuth - Jazz Carnival (Original 12" Mix)

Johnny Hammond - Los Conquistadores Chocolates (Original Full LP Version)

Eddie Henderson - Say You Will (Original 12" Mix)

John Klemmer - Brasilia (Original Full LP Version)

Harvey Mason - Till You Take My Love (Original 12" Mix)

Dizzy Gillespie - Unicorn (Original 12" Mix)

these all sound like "rare groove" to me, was the rare groove sound different?

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is there a webpage or book that explains the different scenes that I can look at so I don't bombard you all with a bazillion questions? because I still don't have a clear picture of what was going on.

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The 2 step scene was based on the beat, similar to Ramp everyone loves and sunshine, Arnold Blair, Clausell let mew love you. The baseline was the driver to success. Even Barbara Streisands Guilty was a massive track.

Rare Groove was more of an anything goes: funk, Jazz, soul something with now haw can I say this a funkier beat. A good example would be Voices of east harlem. Cashing in and Wanted dead or alive were both on the same LP. Rare groove ignored cashing in and went mad for WDoA and probably vise versa for the Northern perspective.

As it was quite a trendy thing, I don't remember people being over 30, urrr, like going to a club with your granddad and the same quandary debated many times on here.

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Tracks on a typical 'JAZZ FUNK' CD .........

Lonnie Liston Smith - Expansions (Original 12" Mix)

Ronnie Laws - Always There (Original 12" Mix)

Gil Scott-Heron - The Bottle (Original Version) (Original 12" Mix)

Donald Byrd - Change (Makes You Want To Hustle) (Original Full LP Version)

Wilton Felder - Inherit The Wind (Original 12" Mix)

Spyro Gyra - Shaker Song (Original 12" Mix)

Azymuth - Jazz Carnival (Original 12" Mix)

Johnny Hammond - Los Conquistadores Chocolates (Original Full LP Version)

Eddie Henderson - Say You Will (Original 12" Mix)

John Klemmer - Brasilia (Original Full LP Version)

Harvey Mason - Till You Take My Love (Original 12" Mix)

Dizzy Gillespie - Unicorn (Original 12" Mix)

Deja vous Paulino Decosta and Wanted dead or alive both my fave rare groove track's although I loved most thing's played but didn't like tracks like mistamena.Regards Simon.

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One thing to remember is that both the Rare Groove and 2 Step scenes were youth driven "dance scenes" as they're not musical genres just dance scenes that picked up on particular records that fit at that particular time whether they be soul, funk or jazz. The same can be said for the "northern scene", but people believe its a musical genre which it isn't. That's the thing about successful "dance scenes" they take the best from whatever source it comes from to fit that moment in time.

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Dave Raistrick would be the best person on soul source to add comments on this as He found loads of that stuff and it was at a time when i was buying loads of this kind of stuff .I used to say to Dave Jesus some of these track's could be played on the northern scene at the time i was playing thing's like the Debonairs on soul click

and The Royal Esquers ect so didn't see the conection but it may be a good idea to re asses these albums regards Simon.

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Posted (edited)

is there a webpage or book that explains the different scenes that I can look at so I don't bombard you all with a bazillion questions? because I still don't have a clear picture of what was going on.

There is an exhaustive (to put it mildly) book written about the UK jazz-funk/jazz-dance scene by Mark Cotgrove ("Snowboy") which was published in 2009:

"From Jazz Funk & Fusion to Acid Jazz: The History of the UK Jazz Dance Scene"

Here's a link to amazon:

http://www.amazon.co...27746056&sr=8-1

Edited by Sebastian

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Keep asking the questions Bob as I'm sure it is of interest to others as well.

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Bob

the rare groove scene is one of the most misrepresented scenes by northern soul types, not helped by the absolute tosh that Keb used to talk about it when he was trying to distance himself from it when he was inventing 'deep funk'.

The London based black music clubs in the West End in the early to mid 80s played a mixture of new commercial soul, early electro and somewhere along the line added all sorts of black music classics into the mix. When it became clear that these worked DJs started looking for more stuff that worked along these lines, and started looking back. Sometimes this was only a couple of years to tracks that were lost on albums, on other occasions it could be all the way back to the late 60s. A very young scene - teens and early 20s I'd say - and very miced racially - there was none of the depth of knowledge that the northern scene had, but importantly there was no need for it. Like the northern scene in its early days there was tons of funk records just waiting to be stumbled across for a couple of quid. So whilst some extremely rare records were played - Party by The New Jersey Queens for instance - JBs and related productions dominated alongside other well known cuts. Records that were big at the time such as Across The Tracks and I Believe In Miracles rapidly became overplayed anthems, but were better than most black music that has been discovered by any club scene in the UK.

The two-step scene was far more black based and liked a sweet soul groove - Leroy's 'All Because Of You' and Starvue's 'Body Fusion' spring to mind - and this scene was under most people who weren't there's radar. But it was noticeable that at Leroy Hutson's gig two years ago, the black part of the audience - ABY excepted - were there for a different set of favourites from the white part.

Rare groove was blown away when mainstream London clubbing went all Acid House in 88, and those who were interested in the old fnk & soul joined the nascent Acid Jazz scene, and carried on their excavations.

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British answer to that band across the water EWF....Hi Tension (led by David Joseph), Light Of The World, Atmosfear, Donald Byrd, Ned Doheny, Herbie Hancock, David Bendeth all were played under the Jazz Funk/Rare Groove genre.

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In the late 7ts I went to lots of mid week Jazz Funk gigs in the South, mostly trendy clubbers & on the South Coast they called themselves Funkateers, the main club in this area that promoted nights all over the South Coast area was Black Velvet, they even had a Weekender on the Isle of Wight.

In the early 8ts I went to lots of Rare Groove does mid week in the South, again, mainly trendy white clubbers.

This was my mid week soul fix but at weekends I was still doing the Northern/Modern Soul Nighters/Dayers ooop North & the Midlands.

The proper Two Step Scene was London based & mainly black, it was something I was blissfully unaware of, as I think most people on NS/MS scene were at the time, I stumbled across a Two Step Alldayer in a bar in Brixton after a 100 Club Nighter, whilst wandering around London in a post Nighter mess looking for something to do.....we were the only white punters & we had never heard any of this music before, we didnt quite know what we had stumbled on, we were made very welcome & had a great time, there were some records played later on Modern Scene which had been played on the Two Step scene previously, Two Step was a scene based on a sound/dance.

A 'Stepper' is now mainly referred to by the Modern scene, referring to a slower beat, which is just about danceable.

Hope this helps a bit too Bob.

Best Russ

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Posted (edited)

Bob

the rare groove scene is one of the most misrepresented scenes by northern soul types, not helped by the absolute tosh that Keb used to talk about it when he was trying to distance himself from it when he was inventing 'deep funk'.

The London based black music clubs in the West End in the early to mid 80s played a mixture of new commercial soul, early electro and somewhere along the line added all sorts of black music classics into the mix. When it became clear that these worked DJs started looking for more stuff that worked along these lines, and started looking back. Sometimes this was only a couple of years to tracks that were lost on albums, on other occasions it could be all the way back to the late 60s. A very young scene - teens and early 20s I'd say - and very miced racially - there was none of the depth of knowledge that the northern scene had, but importantly there was no need for it. Like the northern scene in its early days there was tons of funk records just waiting to be stumbled across for a couple of quid. So whilst some extremely rare records were played - Party by The New Jersey Queens for instance - JBs and related productions dominated alongside other well known cuts. Records that were big at the time such as Across The Tracks and I Believe In Miracles rapidly became overplayed anthems, but were better than most black music that has been discovered by any club scene in the UK.

The two-step scene was far more black based and liked a sweet soul groove - Leroy's 'All Because Of You' and Starvue's 'Body Fusion' spring to mind - and this scene was under most people who weren't there's radar. But it was noticeable that at Leroy Hutson's gig two years ago, the black part of the audience - ABY excepted - were there for a different set of favourites from the white part.

Rare groove was blown away when mainstream London clubbing went all Acid House in 88, and those who were interested in the old fnk & soul joined the nascent Acid Jazz scene, and carried on their excavations.

Spot on...........and that's where it all met at Talkin Loud in London.The old Electric Ballroom jazz dancers were left in limbo when Paul Murphy left and Peterson took over.When the jazz dance scene ended at the ballroom Peterson took that crowd on to Dingwalls after a brief reappearance at The Wag on Monday nights.This was a melting pot for the leftovers of Rare Groove,the hardcore Electric Ballroom type dancers,disenchanted mods and people from the boogie scene....which is why you got Art Blakeys-The Feast,Alive-Skindo-Le-Le,Milton Wright-Keep It Up,James Mason-Sweet Power,Clarence Wheeler-Right On,Jean Luc Ponty-In The Fast Lane,Roberta Flack-Feel Like Makin Love and Ramp's Everyone Loves The Sunshine all played in the same afternoon.The outside world (most of them) were too busy at acid House.I still have some 12's that were pressed at the time ie Ray Barretto's- Right On and New Jersey Kings-Party that was released on baseline as they were that popular in the clubs.I remember buying one of the first Acid Jazz 12's which was The Bottom End/Kitty Bey-Byron Morris And Unity....this was typical of the sort of sound that The Monday Wag and Ballroom boys were dancing to.....and still are. I went to Shiftless Shuffle last week and the London Jazz dance scene is still thriving to a mainly seventies heavy fast jazz fusion beat.The Deep Funk scene picked off where Rare Groove died and mined it deeper.

Edited by wiggyflat

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Other big 2 step tunes were:

Hutson LP's I & II

80's ladies Turned onto you

Sheree Brown -It's A pleasure

Randy Brown's Parachute & choc City stuff (but not Always in the mood)

Dee Edwards I can deal with that (the deto verson)

Hari Paris - You hit my love

Runette Roberts - you dont know

Jefree - Loves Gonna last

Various Barry White or his productions such as I'm gonna love you just a little bit more

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Posted (edited)

I think Dean's post above is pretty spot-on as regards the chronology of the thing. One thing I would add with regard to the links between two-step and rare groove was that the latter was really a case of many of the djs in the former scene crossing over and playing larger, more racially integrated gigs. The early two-step scene was almost exclusively a houseparty scene, occasionally breaking out to playing smaller bars and tiny nightclubs, and exclusively aimed at a black audience.

The two-step scene was definitely around from the late '70s and was basically an offshoot of the smattering of soul tracks played on the reggae houseparty scene. As a young teenager in the early part of the '80s I used to buy records from Lloyd Brown in Rhythm Records in Camden High Street and from the deletions room at Bluebird in Paddington Green. The audience of record buyers in both these shops was at least 70% black and as I said in the Milton Wright thread albums were priced or rated on how many 'steppers' they included. I remember being told the Sam Dees LP on Atlantic was crap as I handed over £3 for it and laughed at for wanting to buy the recently-deleted Norman Connors "Take It To The Limit" set for the title track!

Rare Groove was kind of a reaction to the increasing prevalence of first Electro (early 80s) and then House on the UK club scene (so mid to late 80s). The djs who were best placed to excel there were the veterans of the two-step scene who had built up large collections and had pirate radio slots. A lot of two-step was played but also a lot of JB funk, something one dealer once described to me to as 'older brother' records. As described in the posts above the major UK labels were able to capitalize on the success of the rare groove scene in a way they never would have been able to with two-step. Rare Groove became the other side of the proverbial coin to House in the mainstream club scene, particularly in university towns.

Edited by garethx

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I like records that fit into the 2 step category I find it very soulful and well produced.

I only have a small selection of these sounds but for value for money its a great genre to explore.

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From the early to mid eighties the two step rare groove scene had a huge following, I used to run a club in whitley bay called the compass for four years we had a sunday soul night playing from northern right through to recent releases, through the week the background music was all stuff like weldon irvine I love you, light of the world, direct drive, glenn jones, lenny white, & most of the tracks mentioned previously in this post and many never to be heard of again artists etc etc,

There were some superb DJs out there who used to push this stuff into the mainstream dance club scene like Lofty who was the main dj at the Garden farm nr chester le street and the Sands club in whitley bay, Peter simpson who became my dj at the compass but originally from churchills could go to Churchills on a saturday night in Whitley and hear stuff i've never even heard of again on the modern soul scene and of course when i moved south i used to go to an exceptional night at Clouds in Bradford on a Wednesday with my big buddy Peter Briscoe from whitehaven where yogi and owen would push some superb music, not withstanding the huge contribution Thorne had on this scene from the early eighties. (loved it back then) and who cannot fail to mention The Carlton Club Warrington that was brilliant.

I suppose my point is its always had a following and why not, the 60s scene has always had its rare portion and i suppose when djs play out new releases they don't know at that time they are going to be rare groove, those tracks just didn't take off for whatever reason. but music collectors or followers of this genre did put themselves out, heard these tracks and pockets of clubs and supporters did manage to find venues for like minded soul where they could listen to them.

Heres one for you though...sheffield community radios anyone listening to that in the eighties were treated to musical delights it was like people just came off the street with a box of records and said give us a spot they played from the heart, some of the stuff was mind blowing (some of the djaying was questionable LOL big pauses mis cues ) BUT no one could fault the groundbreaking music they played.

I dont think either that a lot of the USA music we were listening to even crossed over to the Jazz funk scene of the time, a lot was aimed at the club scene (probably to slow down from the 126 BPM disco tracks that used to grace the decks LOL)

I do think Norman Jay who was mentioned earlier whilst wasn't the originator of the scene he did have the wider platform to promote it and that he did.

But i also remember a DJ called Ian Hughes with his rhythm and groove show and Andy Peebles and before that Al matthews saturday night soul show all on radio two they were just as instrumental at pushing brand new and rare tracks

Geeoooooordie

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The Deep Funk scene picked off where Rare Groove died and mined it deeper.

I don;t hear similarities in the 2 step I know and the deep funk I know. Musically they are very different ?

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Further to Gareth's post.  The 2 step scene eveolved fro what was then known as a "blues Party". Where someone would open up their house of flat to people.  A sound system would be hired such as Touch of class and they'd sell alcohol and these parties could go on all weekend.  I remember paying £2.50 for a can or Red-stripe in the mid 80's.  These blues parties were more reggea focussed.  The 2 step sound systems still followed the reggea shound system rules where you had a DJ and an MC working in harmony and sound systems not only failed or florished on what they played but also the quality and interaction of the MC with the crown and the DJ

Edited by John Reed

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I don;t hear similarities in the 2 step I know and the deep funk I know. Musically they are very different ?

It does get confusing

Rare Groove to me is the Saturday Night Fish Fry Norman Jay JB inspired funk that was played in the late eighties....ie Maceo,stuff on the King Label,Clarence Wheeler, Last Poets ..horn led funk etc.

Everyone else calls the other scene...I think two step.To me it was boogie played down here around the time of the rare groove scene...very slow 80s productions one deejay was Lloyd And The Boogie Boys and it was a predominantly black scene.

Two Step to me was the northern soul scenes offshoot the modern scene which was played by Yogi Haughton, Searling,Curtis etc in the mid to late eighties and was a predominantly white scene .

The Jazz scene evolved from the jazz funk scene which was Cassinellis in the north,The Goldmine-Canvey Island,Purley Alldayers....everywhere really and it was the dancers that wanted the music faster.....the older style bop was played in The Berlin Club in Manchester and some other clubs were the south east was definately more fusion based...the dancing styles were miles apart as well as clothing.Fusion was slip on patent shoes, tight jeans,leather jackets,rolled Benny hats and the northern style were baggy 50s demob suits,wide ties and spats.There was a thing for small camera boxes as well to carry spare shirts etc.

Heres a picture from one of the very first Southports Im at the back doing my best Frank Spencer impersonation and there's a quite famous deejay at the front.

me at prestatyn.bmp

Edited by wiggyflat

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Hi Bob,

To get an idea of the different scenes that were going on the 70's and 80's it probably easier to check the track-listings on the various Mastercuts albums I did in the early 90's which cover areas like Rare Groove, 80's Groove, Jazz-Funk etc, etc. There's a listing here:-

http://www.discogs.com/label/Mastercuts

Look from CUTSCD1 TO CUTSCD44 and ignore everything else 'cos those others were nothing to do with me........

Ian D :D

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Two Step to me was the northern soul scenes offshoot the modern scene which was played by Yogi Haughton, Searling,Curtis etc in the mid to late eighties and was a predominantly white scene .

Searling etc. were just cherry-picking the best of what had been an established underground scene for over a decade before. Expansion opening in Manchester was part of it but the term two-step and the two-step parties had been going on since the time Richard was playing stuff like Cecil Washington at Wigan. No doubt it existed in Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Sheffield and Derby but London led the way as the two-step capital. Colin Curtis was, of course, playing some of these kinds of records at the Mecca in the mid-70s and had a great feel for what constituted a good two-step track.

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its all good stuff whatever it was pigeon holed into with lots of tunes overlapping several scenes and long may it continue

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Wow--what an interesting thread----great reading :thumbsup:

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Tracks on a typical 'JAZZ FUNK' CD .........

Lonnie Liston Smith - Expansions (Original 12" Mix)

Ronnie Laws - Always There (Original 12" Mix)

Gil Scott-Heron - The Bottle (Original Version) (Original 12" Mix)

Donald Byrd - Change (Makes You Want To Hustle) (Original Full LP Version)

Wilton Felder - Inherit The Wind (Original 12" Mix)

Spyro Gyra - Shaker Song (Original 12" Mix)

Azymuth - Jazz Carnival (Original 12" Mix)

Johnny Hammond - Los Conquistadores Chocolates (Original Full LP Version)

Eddie Henderson - Say You Will (Original 12" Mix)

John Klemmer - Brasilia (Original Full LP Version)

Harvey Mason - Till You Take My Love (Original 12" Mix)

Dizzy Gillespie - Unicorn (Original 12" Mix)

In fact that's the exact track listing from Classic Jazz-Funk Mastercuts Vol 1. One of the few 'specialist' albums to sell over 100K copies (mind you it was re-licensed 4 times over 12 years)!

Ian D :D

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Posted (edited)

Thanks to everyone that responded. I'm trying to process all the information before posting a followup question. I really appreciate it.

Edited by boba

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Steve, I do think you are being quite harsh.

Bob

the rare groove scene is one of the most misrepresented scenes by northern soul types, not helped by the absolute tosh that Keb used to talk about it when he was trying to distance himself from it when he was inventing 'deep funk'.

OK guys, fair points. My view was based on what I saw in London in the late 80s, and yes I agreed with Keb's views, Dean. From my perspective I saw people raving about the overstocks that made their way to London. People raving over £2 Zodiac records that we'd already been through. So I kind of dismissed it. Whenever I spoke to someone on that scene I didn't get a feeling that they actually knew very much. Maybe it was because it was a younger scene.

It's interesting though to hear the views of those that lived through it. :thumbsup:

Cheers, Steve

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Guest Nick Harrison\
Posted (edited)

these all sound like "rare groove" to me, was the rare groove sound different?

Bob,

first off - the above list is a selection of jazz funk records recorded on major labels and are not or even that rare. Common play oldies recorded by well known household soul, funk and jazz artists on generally 12" outputs. (IMHO rare groove is labelled and has always been termed incorrectly - still today by Jazzy B and Norman Jay.)

The "two step scene" embraced smaller lesser known artist who recorded on small indie labels and Lp's which made then "limited stock" and "rarer" and was collectable by modern soul collectors and the knowledged defined elite around at the time and still today.

So musically the difference is Bob - Two step is a slower production and rare groove is danceable.

Hope that helps somewhat.

Nick H :thumbsup:

Edited by Nick Harrison

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Guest Nick Harrison\
Posted (edited)

Searling etc. were just cherry-picking the best of what had been an established underground scene for over a decade before. Expansion opening in Manchester was part of it but the term two-step and the two-step parties had been going on since the time Richard was playing stuff like Cecil Washington at Wigan. No doubt it existed in Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Sheffield and Derby but London led the way as the two-step capital. Colin Curtis was, of course, playing some of these kinds of records at the Mecca in the mid-70s and had a great feel for what constituted a good two-step track.

Correct Gareth - but lets not lose the site of the fact that both Kev Edwards and Colin Curtis had seriously advanced musically well before Richard was cherry picking the best of the established underground.

Example "Raffter's" in Manchester thanks Colin and many can also relate to Colin's last hour mecca sound - slower two sounding constitued steppers well before Corporation Street and Expansion's shop front man Dean J J got with it, lacking behind frontman Richards absence :excl: .

Thanks.

Edited by Nick Harrison

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OK guys, fair points. My view was based on what I saw in London in the late 80s, and yes I agreed with Keb's views, Dean. From my perspective I saw people raving about the overstocks that made their way to London. People raving over £2 Zodiac records that we'd already been through. So I kind of dismissed it. Whenever I spoke to someone on that scene I didn't get a feeling that they actually knew very much. Maybe it was because it was a younger scene.

It's interesting though to hear the views of those that lived through it. :thumbsup:

Cheers, Steve

Hi Steve

I think the key point is that the people involved on the rare groove scene at the time were new to it. As such £2 Zodiac records - if they were good - were meat and drink to them. The quality of the records that were played was of a fairly high standard, the rarity less spectacular. It was rare in the terms of the scenes in which they came from - which was a contemporary dance music scene. I think Keb's view judges rare groove under the same terms as northern soul - and if you were to do that, the records to be judged against would be those played in the early days at the Wheel, not the super rares of The Mecca, Stafford or later.

It should also be remembered that apart from a few clubs - The Cat In The Hat, The Original Rare Groove for instance - the rare grooves formed by of a DJs set which at Warehouse parties could be made up of bits of jazz, mainstream club oldies (like the jazz funk hits mentioned above), new hip hop records or the latest soul imports.

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Bob,

first off - the above list is a selection of jazz funk records recorded on major labels and are not or even that rare. Common play oldies recorded by well known household soul, funk and jazz artists on generally 12" outputs. (IMHO rare groove is labelled and has always been termed incorrectly - still today by Jazzy B and Norman Jay.)

Nick H :thumbsup:

Nick

if you were 18 or 19 and used to buying the latest soul releases these were 'rare grooves'. You couldn't buy them in Our Price or Virgin and they took some searching out if you weren't part of a scene with an established collecting ethic.

I think that there is a constant upset with people of the rare soul scenes who feel miffed that someone called them rare grooves, which ignores the fact that the quality of what was played was exceptional.

Dean

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Nick

if you were 18 or 19 and used to buying the latest soul releases these were 'rare grooves'. You couldn't buy them in Our Price or Virgin and they took some searching out if you weren't part of a scene with an established collecting ethic.

I think that there is a constant upset with people of the rare soul scenes who feel miffed that someone called them rare grooves, which ignores the fact that the quality of what was played was exceptional.

Dean

This is probably what's leading to my confusion too. My understanding of the term comes from the Dusty Groove / collector culture of the mid 90s. "Everybody loves the sunshine" as well as late-70s jazz-funk LPs with dark sounding tracks, were the essence of "rare groove". Even if the LPs were not that rare. if the scene as it happened in the UK had a different sound, that's partly why I'm confused.

I still need to read everyone's responses and think about them in detail to follow up, I still don't have a good grip on all the scenes out there, their history, and how they interacted. Thanks to everyone who responded so far.

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Hey Boba wait until you come across 'jap jazz'. That was heralded by Colin Curtiss in the North and the Funk Mafia in the South both ends of the country were dancing to Hunt Up Wind Hiroshi Fukumara and many other tracks from very expensive audiophile standard japanese imports.

I remember CC starting his stint at the Ritz with Turning Japanese the punk track.

Anyone recall James Hamilton's page in the musical express were he reviewed a jap album by Kanu Sukalagwan?

I think ID produced a cd of most of the best tracks.

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Posted (edited)

Nick

if you were 18 or 19 and used to buying the latest soul releases these were 'rare grooves'. You couldn't buy them in Our Price or Virgin and they took some searching out if you weren't part of a scene with an established collecting ethic.

I think that there is a constant upset with people of the rare soul scenes who feel miffed that someone called them rare grooves, which ignores the fact that the quality of what was played was exceptional.

Dean

Dean im not sure our price and virgin were going in the early eighties ( im messing) but your right it had become a slightly specialist buy, there were loads of record shops where you could go to In Newcastle we had Callers and Hitsville USA, In Whitley Bay we had DJs records run by a club DJ called Ruben Condi i bought some superb stuff from there and in North Shields - Rumbelows run by another DJ called (i kid you not) Captain Groovy (trevor was his real name LOL) but if you wanted a tune new release or back catalogue all of these would get them in for you, apart from hitsville who were buying all that stuff in anyway by the shed load.

And i used to order from hotwaxx in warrington Kev Edwards place.

I do agree with nick they weren't rare grooves there used to be and are shed loads of some of the tracks labeled "raregroove" they were just not mainstream, a bit like any specialist area.

Geeooooordie

Geeooooordie

Edited by geordiejohnson

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I kinda know the two-step scene from selling it from around 1988 into the 90's.

I'd say it was album-based and relatively mainstream artists but as long as the sound was right anything went. Basically ballads with a bubbling backbeat. Judging from our customers at London record fairs I'd say it was a predominantly Black scene, more so than rare groove but there was some overlap with the more mellow rare groove and of course some punters liked both.

There was also a big reggae connection with many of the soul tracks being covered by reggae acts in I suppose what's termed a lovers rock style.

Not so sure about Gareth's comments. I think the scene was pretty new when I stumbled upon it. I went to the Mecca in the mid 70's. Two-step was far too slow for that venue. I think 2-step passed the majority of the modern Northern scene by certainly at the time of release in the 70's and even when it took a hold down in London in late 80's.

That's not to say it didn't start to catch on with some but I'd say 2-step influenced the modern side of Northern rather than the other way round.

A few classics.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGB1NKcOeJU

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Some nice examples of two step there Rod :thumbsup:

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Not saying Colin Curtis was playing out-and-out two-step at the Mecca but it's not a million miles from midtempo things like "Mr Weatherman" to a full-on stepper.

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Yes you're right and that Water and Power track was very popular with 2-step crowd.

I think it's just coincidence though rather than influence.

I did notice though as the 2-step thing went on some of the guys out of that scene did then start to get into the mellow Northern including 60's. So Colin's last hour at the Mecca does come into play.

ROD

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Steve,

I think Dave and I got onto it quite quickly and because we were selling it and it was new to us we had to pay special attention to the sound so that we could pick stuff up in the States.

I really like the sound as it's something different and similar to soulful reggae. Much preferred it to the modern Northern of the time.

And luckily we had a good teacher by the name of Victor who used to come up to the stall. I think he was actually one of the prime movers of that scene.

ROD

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The Rare Groove genre was always a haphazard confusion of styles and tempos, pretty much as the Northern scene became during the mid-70's.... not that that's a bad thing....I've always preferred my soul well mixed. Rare Groove though seemed to have been tagged as such by certain DJs that dug just underneath mainstream soul of the day. Rare is almost a complete misnomer (as Steve says) since most tracks as good as they were, were not particularly rare, more overlooked.

Not an easyily definable style, and as much confused by some record dealers as DJs who were happily labelling any half decent, and not so well known tunes as Rare Groove for the extra $$ the tag attracted, much the same as the crazy eBay dealers still tag absolutely anything as Northern in the hope of attracting bigger bucks.

Tracks like Mary Holmes - I Need Your Loving, and Gwen McCrae - All This Love I'm Giving were played under the banner of Rare Groove at the time but were equally at home on the Modern Soul scene as were plenty of others, which goes to show the one man's Rare Groove is another man's Crossover / Modern Soul / Funk.

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