Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

Screamadelica

Primal Scream released one of THE albums of the 1990’s in the form of “Screamadelica” on 23rd September 1991 and it went on to win the first Mercury Music Prize in 1992.

This months sees the album re-released in an expanded 20th Anniversary Edition (though 6 months early) including a very expensive tin box set.

The album was a massive departure from the band’s early indie rock sound, drawing inspiration from the house music scene (and associated drugs) that was becoming popular at the time of its production. The band enlisted house DJs Andrew Weatherall and Terry Farley on producing duties, although the album also contained a wide range of other influences including gospel and dub.

The album’s title track did not appear on the album itself; the ten minute dance track was also produced by Andrew Weatherall and sung by Denise Johnson. It appears on the Dixie Narco EP released in 1992, and featured in the opening credits of the now rare Screamadelica VHS video tape the track along with the other songs on the EP are now available as part of the expanded release.

The album includes “Loaded”, which was a top twenty hit single in the UK. Dance DJ Andrew Weatherall began remixing “I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have”, from their previous album, “Primal Scream” and the resulting track disassembled the song, adding a drum loop from an Italian bootleg mix of Edie Brickell’s “What I Am”, a sample of Gillespie singing a line from Robert Johnson’s “Terraplane Blues”, and the central introductory sample from the Peter Fonda B-movie The Wild Angels.

The single “Movin’ on Up” was the band’s breakthrough hit in the United States, reaching #2 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart, and also making #28 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

Screamadelica has been described with typical hyperbole by the NME as “the album that changed music forever” and lauded by Q magazine as “Sgt Pepper for the E generation”. Speaking at the time of its release, frontman Bobby Gillespie felt it was closer in spirit to The Beatles’ White Album, citing the diversity of styles crammed into its double album running time (even if Screamadelica only manages 11 tracks to the White Album’s 30).

The druggy euphoria reached its peak on the slow-burning Come Together, but Screamadelica is not just about the epic mantras. Inner Flight, the pretty, trippy instrumental indebted to Pet Sounds, and the lysergic twinkle of Shine Like Stars both provide vital connective tissue.

Gillespie ceded lead vocals to Denise Johnson on another single Don’t Fight It, Feel It, the weird, compelling club track with the jittery bassline that will not be denied,

and invited Jah Wobble, the ace on bass, and The Orb to put their stamp on ear-popping “dub symphony” Higher Than The Sun”.

In summary it is near perfect.

  • “Movin’ On Up” opens the album in C major and is similar in style to the Rolling Stones. The song features Bobby Gillespie’s vocals in the verse section with a gospel chorus, accompanied throughout by acoustic guitar, electric guitar and percussion. The song borrows from the lyrics to Can‘s “Yoo Doo Right”. The lyrics are similar to those of Amazing Grace.
  • “Slip Inside This House” is a version of a 1967 song by the 13th Floor Elevators. Primal Scream’s version features Sly Stone‘s laugh from the end of the song “Sex Machine” (from the 1969 album Stand!) and the Amen break.
  • “Don’t Fight It, Feel It”, in the Italo house style, with vocals by Denise Johnson.
  • “Higher Than the Sun” uses a sample from “Wah Wah Man” by the Young-Holt Unlimited Trio. It also has a recurring spoken word sample from “Get Away Jordan” by Take 6.
  • “Inner Flight” samples the closing sound on Brian Eno‘s “The Great Pretender” from the album Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy).
  • “Loaded”, in E major, features lines spoken by Peter Fonda’s character in the 1966 movie The Wild Angels, as well as a drum loop from an Italian bootleg mix of Edie Brickell‘s “What I Am”. There are brass pedal notes between the sections with vocals. It is a remix of Primal Scream’s own “I’m Losing More than I’ll Ever Have”, off their second album ‘Primal Scream’.
  • “Damaged” contrasts to the previous track, being of a slower tempo and more reflective mood. Sparse percussion, acoustic guitar and piano accompany quiet vocals.
  • “Come Together” is the longest track on the album. On the UK version, the track opens with part of a speech given by Jesse Jackson at the Wattstax concert held in Los Angeles in 1972. About half-way through the track, a repeated female vocal line “Come… together as one” kicks in and repeats for the rest of the track.
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    To buy the music of Primal Scream click HERE

    “I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Know”

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    March 22, 2011 - Posted by | Blast from The Past, New Releases, Old Music, Video |

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