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Favorite two-step tracks/artists?


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nice one to start with 

That didn't last long, did it? The thread was started by someone with a particular interest in soulful slowies above ballad tempo looking for similar tunes. As far as I'm concerned the thread has not

Tell me it gets much better than this:-  

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Posted (edited)

Hi everyone, I went over my long post from yesterday again just now, and remain of the opinion that all but 2 of the 15 listed qualify as steppers. The two that clearly don't, for the reasons stated, are Yvonne Gage and Airplay. Later today I expect to list another selection of tracks in a slightly higher BPM range to yesterday which we can debate. For the moment though I'd like to focus on Mickey's 3 tracks from yesterday.

Here's the BPM's with the lowest first, 1. Herb 82.9, 2. Down Five 87.9, Alex 92.1. 

I don't like to criticise other peoples choices but on the Down Five I have a few points that I feel there is validity in. I don't own this record myself purely because of the vocal content, but it's interesting that Mickey is from Finland. Whilst he possibly speaks better English than most people in England, there can be a fine margin on the meanings of words or phrases that go unnoticed in translation. As a first language English speaker, there's three lyrics early in the Down Five that have deterred me from buying it: "You love me deep, the kind that's made for two," assuming group sex wasn't on the menu then this is a rather obvious statement. "When I'm with you, you're always on my mind," how reassuring for the girl to know he wasn't thinking of someone else whilst in her company. Worryingly for her though, he made no reference to his thought process for her when not in her company? "You're my honey, sweet as mellow wine." Whilst it might be technically possible to describe wine as such for all I know, it's a phrase that doesn't sound right to me. If only one of the three lyrics had existed I might have considered buying it, but when all three come within a 43 seconds segment it's not for me. I feel the drums on this track are too heavy for the type of groove that the lyrics, if improved, were suggesting. My overall opinion of this one is it's not a stepper and there simply hasn't been enough thought put into the material, especially the lyrics, which is a shame as the chorus melody was appealing. Just going back to the language issue, I have many non-English sung tracks, especially Japanese, and I am convinced I am likely to have far worse lyrical content than the above but just accept it by not being in a position to challenge it. I'll edit this posting if anyone objects to it, but i just thought it would be an insight into some collectors buying criteria.

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3 hours ago, Martin S said:

Hi everyone, I went over my long post from yesterday again just now, and remain of the opinion that all but 2 of the 15 listed qualify as steppers. The two that clearly don't, for the reasons stated, are Yvonne Gage and Airplay. Later today I expect to list another selection of tracks in a slightly higher BPM range to yesterday which we can debate. For the moment though I'd like to focus on Mickey's 3 tracks from yesterday.

Here's the BPM's with the lowest first, 1. Herb 82.9, 2. Down Five 87.9, Alex 92.1. 

I don't like to criticise other peoples choices but on the Down Five I have a few points that I feel there is validity in. I don't own this record myself purely because of the vocal content, but it's interesting that Mickey is from Finland. Whilst he possibly speaks better English than most people in England, there can be a fine margin on the meanings of words or phrases that go unnoticed in translation. As a first language English speaker, there's three lyrics early in the Down Five that have deterred me from buying it: "You love me deep, the kind that's made for two," assuming group sex wasn't on the menu then this is a rather obvious statement. "When I'm with you, you're always on my mind," how reassuring for the girl to know he wasn't thinking of someone else whilst in her company. Worryingly for her though, he made no reference to his thought process for her when not in her company? "You're my honey, sweet as mellow wine." Whilst it might be technically possible to describe wine as such for all I know, it's a phrase that doesn't sound right to me. If only one of the three lyrics had existed I might have considered buying it, but when all three come within a 43 seconds segment it's not for me. I feel the drums on this track are too heavy for the type of groove that the lyrics, if improved, were suggesting. My overall opinion of this one is it's not a stepper and there simply hasn't been enough thought put into the material, especially the lyrics, which is a shame as the chorus melody was appealing. Just going back to the language issue, I have many non-English sung tracks, especially Japanese, and I am convinced I am likely to have far worse lyrical content than the above but just accept it by not being in a position to challenge it. I'll edit this posting if anyone objects to it, but i just thought it would be an insight into some collectors buying criteria.

Actually I thought 2 step is a just a UK thing and steppin' is a US thing, I don't think it matters, BPM doesn't matter it's just a slower paced tune than a disco beat, surely

 

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Not sure about the Dramatics song but I have heard "Float On" 

on Chicago Steppers mix shows. Here's another Classic Chicago

Stepper - 

 

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Posted (edited)

At this point I feel I have to step in as this thread is in danger of deviating so wildly from the original topic based on some of the recent uploads. Let's get back to the qualifying criteria for what we describe in the UK as two step, as mentioned by a few of us here. The classic combination is a driving bass line, lyrics that are actually love songs or that way inclined, and the tempo has to be significantly different to that of a dance track/disco beat. I'll run through B'pools last bunch first:

* Indicates timed and calculated over a max of 2 segments from the Youtube upload for approximate result though possibly spot on.

Arnies Love is in no way a two step track. It's feel is an obvious disco beat at 104.0 BPM, way above the typical threshold for two step. 

Mayer Hawthorne has no bass drive whatsoever and is in no way a two step track even though BPM of 90.4* is within typical range.

Delegation again has no bass drive whatsoever and is not a two step track. I would describe it as a downtempo mellow soul track which is bordering on ballad due to there being "no groove" in the rhythm section. BPM is 94.6 and below*

Johnny Bristol is 87-88.5 BPM* but sounds way faster, so much so that I timed 3 segments of it as it felt more like a disco beat. It's definitely not two step.

Bo & Ruth has no bass drive and is way over average threshold at 103.8 BPM*

So I'm sorry to report that only 1 of the bunch of 6 qualifies as a clear two stepper:

Bobby Caldwell. Note that this has a distinctive bass line driving the groove, BPM varies from 83.8 to 85.5*

I saw you made a comment regarding steppers in USA, but where I have used the phrase stepper or stepping it's only as a reference to UK two stepping and I have no idea what qualifies for stepping in the USA.

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Okay, I've checked the rest of todays uploads. When I look at each contributors consistency, can hold his head up high. I didn't know that Boz Scaggs track so thanks for uploading that. For everyone else still in doubt, that Boz Scaggs track is precisely the definition of two step. Immediately the track starts the driving bass line groove is there, BPM loosely timed is 76.6. As for Tyrone's Love Triangle, the mix in the video is a messy too long intro mix, the regular mix though suggests this is yet another two step track and the BPM is 70.6. 

Sadly the two uploaded by Concrete are not two steppers. Emotions Flowers is approx 108 BPM and an obvious dance track, and Eighties Ladies despite being within BPM range of approx 92 BPM, is a dance track. Both of these were classic floor fillers.

At this point I should just say something I didn't mention in my earlier postings. I was a well known trader [Safe Sounds] throughout the 90's at the London Black Music Record Fairs, and promoter of my own occasional fairs in Croydon and Kingston early 90's. I was therefore in direct face to face contact with many serious collectors of two step in the London area, and therefore feel I'm in a good position to make judgement on precisely what qualifies.

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36 minutes ago, guest said:

Do you remember when these tracks had some demand ? All UK's .

The Vibrations / Compromise 

Realistics / Puttin' down down to way I feel about you

Moon Williams / Everytime I take the time

The Vibrations - I had never even heard of this before you mentioned it. Doesn't appear to be on Youtube either. Is it good?

https://www.discogs.com/Vibrations-Compromise/master/1459190

The Realistics - Don't remember any demand on that, it's the same song as Jimmy Helms did in 1977, which I have. Was Realistics the first release of this song?

Moon Williams - Don't remember any demand on that either, again hadn't heard of it until you mentioned it. Sounds pleasant but just average. Edit: I think I have something by MJ Williams, he uses either name, let me check....I have this one which again is pleasant but just average, flip isn't saying anything btw https://www.discogs.com/M-J-Williams-Only-Your-Love-Can-Save-Me-Now/master/681408

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Interesting ?

Not to be confused with the breakbeat garage mash-up of later eras, the Hackney 2 step scene celebrated a special form of US soul music that had the streets of East London buzzing for quite some time. The original 2 step sound got its name from the omnipresent whiplash rhythm, which for a certain period dominated the orchestrated major label productions in the US. With its low-key mid-tempo swagger, 2 step soul was especially popular with the notorious UK rare groove scene, and later UK artists like Micah Paris and Omar, who continued to put their own contemporary spin on the classic recordings.

https://www.redbullradio.com/shows/sound-obsession/episodes/kirk-degiorgio-hackney-2-step-originals

Edited by Blackpoolsoul
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On 19/12/2018 at 14:22, Martin S said:

How refreshing to find a thread on here not dominated by people arguing the toss over who played what where and why he or she should or shouldn't have done, a thread for those of us just concentrating of the music itself. 

 

9 hours ago, Martin S said:

At this point I feel I have to step in as this thread is in danger of deviating so wildly from the original topic based on some of the recent uploads. Let's get back to the qualifying criteria for what we describe in the UK as two step, as mentioned by a few of us here. The classic combination is a driving bass line, lyrics that are actually love songs or that way inclined, and the tempo has to be significantly different to that of a dance track/disco beat. I'll run through B'pools last bunch first:

 

 

7 minutes ago, steveh73 said:

A lot of the tracks posted here are not recognised 2 steppers - is it time to close the thread?

 

That didn't last long, did it? The thread was started by someone with a particular interest in soulful slowies above ballad tempo looking for similar tunes. As far as I'm concerned the thread has not deviated at all. It's always interesting to see different perspectives on what qualifies as something such as "2 step", but while Martin S clearly knows his stuff and has channeled his inner James Hamilton to work up a particularly precise definition of "2 step", I don't see anyone else setting such rigid boundaries or calling for disqualification of this or that. We nominate tracks we like - others like them, or they don't. I appreciate the analysis and we are beginning to see variations in style thanks to the stuff posted here about Chicago, London, Hackney, my bedroom, etc. But even more I appreciate hearing great music I've not heard before or just forgot about. And hopefully Babinski's original request gets satisfied along the way. What's difficult?

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As I write I'm listening to the Expansion Soul Sauce volume 2 comp and this track by Wilton Felder featuring Bobby Womack from 1992 came up - seems to fit the bill:

 

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3 hours ago, Blackpoolsoul said:

Interesting ?

Not to be confused with the breakbeat garage mash-up of later eras, the Hackney 2 step scene celebrated a special form of US soul music that had the streets of East London buzzing for quite some time. The original 2 step sound got its name from the omnipresent whiplash rhythm, which for a certain period dominated the orchestrated major label productions in the US. With its low-key mid-tempo swagger, 2 step soul was especially popular with the notorious UK rare groove scene, and later UK artists like Micah Paris and Omar, who continued to put their own contemporary spin on the classic recordings.

https://www.redbullradio.com/shows/sound-obsession/episodes/kirk-degiorgio-hackney-2-step-originals

That description is perfect. Hackney was the prime spot.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, steveh73 said:

A lot of the tracks posted here are not recognised 2 steppers - is it time to close the thread?

Steve, the whole point of the thread is to educate readers as to what qualifies as a two step track. You are correct in stating that a lot of the tracks listed so far are not recognised two steppers and in response to this I have spent time breaking them down with reasons provided for such. However, someone might post a track that was stunning but not recognised yet, following which it will be.

I believe I'm correct in saying that the majority of readers would be far more interested to hear a bunch of titles that you believe are two steppers, rather than suggest the thread is closed. A one sentence negative posting helps no one. Please list titles that are not already in these 29 https://www.redbullradio.com/shows/sound-obsession/episodes/kirk-degiorgio-hackney-2-step-originals most of which I was asked for countless times throughout the 90's. 

Thanks

 

 

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4 hours ago, Mickey Finn said:

As far as I'm concerned the thread has not deviated at all. It's always interesting to see different perspectives on what qualifies as something such as "2 step", but while Martin S clearly knows his stuff and has channeled his inner James Hamilton to work up a particularly precise definition of "2 step", I don't see anyone else setting such rigid boundaries or calling for disqualification of this or that. We nominate tracks we like - others like them, or they don't. I appreciate the analysis and we are beginning to see variations in style thanks to the stuff posted here about Chicago, London, Hackney, my bedroom, etc. But even more I appreciate hearing great music I've not heard before or just forgot about. And hopefully Babinski's original request gets satisfied along the way. 

Mickey, let's just look at what I stated a bit more carefully:  At this point I feel I have to step in as this thread is in danger of deviating so wildly from the original topic based on some of the recent uploads. I made this comment because once tracks of 104 and 108 BPM were up, we'd have had 110, 114, 116 more likely by which time the thread would have been chaos, you've seen it on the site time after time with various subjects. People seemed to just be uploading tracks they liked without really asking themselves, is this two step or not and am I bringing anything valid to the debate. My main aim on this thread is to answer Bab's question in ways that leave him and other readers, in little doubt as to what qualifies as a two step track, or close to such.

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22 minutes ago, guest said:

2 step central .

If a two step, 6 or more track bootleg compilation surfaced in a plain white sleeve, in the late 80's or 90's, it wasn't hard to figure out which direction it might have been heading from!

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I like debate of this kind and appreciate your attempt to give us something to debate. But this debate is part of how the thread has evolved. The definition of 2 step remains an open question and hopefully we'll get some more perspectives on that. The regional variations are interesting, for example. Meanwhile Babinski will hopefully find some good tunes along the way. And the same goes for the rest of us. For what it's worth, those bpms you are quoting up there probably are more 4 to the floor than 2 step, in my opinion at least.

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27 minutes ago, guest said:

Very true sir . By the way did you advertise 'Safe Sounds' in any of the soul mags as I can remember seeing it somewhere ?

Yes, Blues and Soul. You might recall the slogan accompanying it for some while which was well received among many collectors in those days. Pricing? Not every brothers a soul brother.

We probably know each other? Send me a PM and reveal all.

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I know the term two step was used in the "Big Smoke" but in Manchester and the Midlands it was used in the early 1980's there's loads of us that were there dancing to 2 step tunes

 

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7 hours ago, guest said:

'Not every brothers a soul brother' - ha , ha -  I remember that very well - used to make me smile . I may have purchased off you back in the day - but would have been a long time ago [ Surrey way ? ]. Anyway nice to speak to you and some great input to this thread from yourself - particularly the BPM's .

It was amazing how much respect that phrase generated. I had insisted it was to be shown as lower case throughout. It ran for a long time before John Hassinger at B&S gave me a call one day following "concerns raised by another advertiser" LOL. Those 'ers seemed intent on forcing up prices throughout the market with no justification other than greed, and worse still, on many run of the mill titles. I couldn't tolerate anymore of them following this incident: Gloucester Road, Kensington, Record Fair. I had an LP priced at £7 that they wanted. They would most likely have sold it for at least £10. The only record they had that was sensibly priced that I wanted was £8. Hard to believe but they wouldn't do a straight swap, they insisted on the extra quid in cash. I was in Epsom until 1997.

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8 hours ago, Mickey Finn said:

For what it's worth, those bpms you are quoting up there probably are more 4 to the floor than 2 step, in my opinion at least.

Just clearing this up for everyone as Mickey's posting as shown in the quote, was a few postings after this one of mine: I made this comment because once tracks of 104 and 108 BPM were up. I think that's what Mickey is referring to and if so, he's correct, those BPM's are definitely dance/disco beat tempos, 104 is on the low side but it's in that territory.

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I've gone through the last couple of days uploads and BPM'ed them loosely with one take, they're close enough for this thread but not spot on.

There's one person who imo is coming up with perfect two steppers time after time,  Check out the Player track, it's instantly two step right from the start. BPM is approx 81 to 82.5, tempo appears to fluctuate. Shara Nelson was a track I didn't know, it's 71.0 BPM. 

Whoever uploaded the Dramatics yesterday, another instant two stepper, approx 74 BPM.

Mickey's uploads were Miles Jaye 84.6, Wilton Felder 80 to 81, both of these were two steppers imo,  Roy Ayers 83.5 but did this track have a vocal as I only listened to the first two minutes and hadn't heard one by then? Leon Ware I wouldn't classify that track as two step as I felt it had no driving bassline/rhythm, BPM 96.3

Unfortunately some of the feel of the tracks and their BPM's from Blackpool, are towering over the threshold significantly at times. Neither of these first two came across to me as two step tracks, perhaps guest can give his opinion on these too? Kindred 85.0, Eramus Hall 100.7. Moving on to Gap Band Outstanding, this is an interesting one because I happen to think this is a two stepper despite it being a little on the high side BPM of 99.0. Lowrell Mellow Mellow classic two stepper with quite a fluctuating BPM (which is why I've tended to avoid a mix on this one) around 87.5 over a short timing I just did. As regards to Will King I don't know what happened there, it's as much an obvious dance track as I am typing this sentence, but we'll put that one down to a mistake, it's 108.2 BPM, as are all of the following: Lillo Thomas Sexy Girl ! Rene & Angela I'll Be Good, Aurra You & Me Tonight, which gives you some idea where it should lie.

At this point perhaps I should ask this question: Does everyone reading this thread know how to calculate BPM's correctly? If you don't there's no shame in it, just ask and I'll put a posting up explaining it in detail. There's no point people guessing and uploading tracks that turn out to be way over the likely two step threshold. 

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I'm loving this thread and I've listened to all of the tracks posted and will continue doing so! I have greatly enjoyed the recent posts by Martin S and his definition of a proper 2 step record was both interesting and new to me. Like I said in the first post however I'm not a dancer and to me it's not a dealbreaker if the lyrics are about break ups or whatever and same goes for BPMs. Personally I'm just looking for that laidback, funky sound so as far I'm concerned just keep em coming - proper 2 step or not!

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I just edited the end of my previous posting by deleting what was the final paragraph as I've changed the details of the project I had suggested there. 

We're going to try to find a majority opinion on what may qualify as the general rule for two stepping BPM's. Nobody has suggested any of the 15 I posted a few days ago were not two steppers, although I did state I felt two weren't anyhow. So now we will move up a notch on the BPM's which are accurate calculated to one tenth of a beat from records in my own collection. I have uploaded 5 tracks which I believe are two steppers [see edit], or as damned close to it as I feel is reasonable. If you think all 5 tracks are two steppers please up-vote the posting. If there are any that you don't feel are two steppers, please reply with a detailed explanation as to why. Thanks, Martin

Edit: A couple of hours after posting I took a listen to the tracks again and on reflection Yours Truly is "way too bouncy" for a two stepper and there's no distinct solid bass line. It's a dance track despite the lowish BPM. Miles Jaye borderline, Michael Henderson two step, Cool Notes two step, D Train two step. So take Yours Truly out the equation, just the other 4 to give opinion on.

Yours Truly - Come and get it 86.9 [What a tune - One to get out when things are going against you - What a pick me up]

Miles Jaye - Lets start over 88.9

Michael Henderson - Come To Me 89.5 [Those light guitar riffs have just sent chills up my back again]

Cool Notes - Secrets of the night 90.5 

DTrain Oh how I love you girl 91.4

 

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3 minutes ago, Babinski said:

I'm loving this thread and I've listened to all of the tracks posted and will continue doing so! I have greatly enjoyed the recent posts by Martin S and his definition of a proper 2 step record was both interesting and new to me. Like I said in the first post however I'm not a dancer and to me it's not a dealbreaker if the lyrics are about break ups or whatever and same goes for BPMs. Personally I'm just looking for that laidback, funky sound so as far I'm concerned just keep em coming - proper 2 step or not!

I think you're going to enjoy these latest five immensely. What age are you please so that I have an idea of what you may or may not know already? What have been the new stand out tracks for you in this thread? Thanks for showing your appreciation. Martin

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42 minutes ago, Martin S said:

I think you're going to enjoy these latest five immensely. What age are you please so that I have an idea of what you may or may not know already? What have been the new stand out tracks for you in this thread? Thanks for showing your appreciation. Martin

Thank you, I'll have a listen!

I was born in 1987 in Sweden. Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, Mariah Carey, Kylige Minogue etc was being played at the radio. Been listening to a lot of hiphop and contemporary electronic dance music growing up. Soulwise I didn't know anything at all until a couple of years ago when I got into buying records (not soul exclusively though, been buying a lot of hiphop, jazz, house, disco aswell) and since then I've been learning and listening a bit here and there I guess.

A couple of new tracks from this thread I really dig are Clausel - Let me love you, Edee - Make it last (this one I even bought a couple of days after hearing it), Rita Wright - Touch me, take me (wow!), Vanesse & Carolyn -  Goodbye song, Bennie Brexton - Come to me, First love - things are not the same, Intimate strangers - love sounds (WOW, really nice track), 80's ladies - turned on to you.

Some I already knew of but love them aswell; Passion - midnight lovers, Denise Kelly & fame - I'd like to get into you (heard it for the first time a couple of weeks ago, really really loving this one), Jeffrey - mr fix it, bobby caldwell - what you won't do, delegation - oh honey, floaters - float on, William devaughn - be thankful for what you've got (has to be one of my favorite tracks of all time), the emotions - flowers, Lowell - mellow mellow right on.

At the time I think I have a slight preference for the sound of the mid to late 70s, but early 70s and early 80s often works wonders aswell. Lately been getting more and more into the 80s sound with drum machines and all that.

Edited by Babinski
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To Babinski

The best advice I can give you for learning, is to follow through producers and musicians links on Discogs. This has taken most of the hard work out of research. The First Love I posted was from 1984, written and produced by Jason Bryant, the keyboardist from the SOS Band. First Love are probably my favourite female vocal outfit. You will need their LP on CIM from 1982 and the Dakar 12" from 1980, both of which are produced by legendary Chicago musician Donald Burnside. With that tip, you then follow his credits/backing musicians and you will need the Superior Movement LP on CIM from 1982, and Elaine & Ellen - Fill Me Up 1980, to begin with, plus almost anything else with his name on it. The Captain Sky LP's are semi P Funk. There's a Donald Pittman 45 from 1986 which DB produced which is highly collectible and qualifies as a two stepper. Quite expensive but I have a second copy should anyone be interested.

 

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Despite no request for such yet, I'm going to give the instructions for BPM calculation at a professional level in a later posting today.

Regards Buttercup, it prompted me to just play the LP [Absence Without Love 1982] which was better than I recalled. Immediately I saw Buttercup posted I thought too fast for two step and had recollections of being in clubs with a full dance floor when it was played, it's 98.2 BPM [on the LP] which is already suggesting it may be too fast. The rhythm is too bouncy at that tempo for this to be a two stepper, however I pitched it down to what I felt gave it two step flavour, minus -4 on Technics 1200's which gave it a BPM of 92.7 approx.

On -4 "the feel" of the track is alarmingly different despite it only dropping 5.5 BPM, but you also have to consider the drop in percentage terms, it's 9.4% slower. If you listen to the drums carefully, despite the track having a bouncy feel they're not particularly high in the mix [unlike a clonking drum machine] and the hi-hat is creating a lot of the rhythm. When slowed down at -4, the spaces that open up between the beats in this example become significant and take it right in to the two step zone that it doesn't quite qualify for at its normal 98.2 BPM. Anyone who has the track and a Technics, try it out at -4 and post your thoughts.

Regards BPM'ing Buttercup, it's very unusual in that almost every piece of music we own is based on blocks of 4 beats and rarely do we find even minor deviations, but in Buttercup there are several segments where 2 beats appear between refrains, for example at 1.04 and 1.44. So if you've had trouble calculating this one that explains it. The track is written by Stevie Wonder so whether this is a regular feature in his compositions I don't know as I haven't listened to enough of them in that amount of detail to be able to comment.

This is how Buttercup would have sounded if it had been released in 1973 by the Jackson 5. The BPM quickly calculated over a couple of early segments is around 92. The drum patterns on this version have many more non 4 beat segments and the arrangement is significantly different. It has both two step and disco segments to it.

 

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