Wednesday, July 17, 2019
the beauty of Beverley
Six things I have in common with Beverley Craven
1/ Born in the summer of 1963
(July for her; June for me)
2/ A connection with Ceylon / Sri Lanka
(Her dad worked there and it's where she was born; my dad spent his childhood there, I grew up hearing many tales about Kandy and Colombo, still have quite a few Sinhalese relatives scattered around the globe)
3/ We both grew up in Berkhamsted and went to school there
(I was at the local boys-only public school; she would have been 2 years above my younger brother Tim at Ashlyns, the state school; before that she went to Bridgewater middle school, just up the road from our house, at 113 Bridgewater Rd, so I have almost certainly walked past her, or seen her walking past.. ) (She also once worked at luxury health resort Champneys, right next to door where my friend Dudlyke lived) (She still lives in that Hertfordshire / Buckinghamshire border zone).
4/ Both have a connection with the Yorkshire Dales
5/ Both cancer survivors
6/ Finally (and this is why this post is on EnergyFlashblog) we both intersect with rave culture.
In Beverley's case, the connection is not of her choosing - indeed it's possible, if unlikely, that she's unaware of it.
"Promise Me", her big hit - No. 3 in May 1990 - is a pretty-enough, rather old-fashioned ballad. The sampling wizards of Orca skip the sappy chorus and home in on a pearly wisp of melody and sunburst singing in the verse (heard first at 1.01 in "4 AM")
"It's four o' clock in the morning and it's starting to get light" - absolutely top detournement of a love ballad lyric to describe a rhapsodic rave moment, there.
As is another line that Orca (forgive me) reporpoise: "you look like you're in another world"
In "Promise Me", the "look like you're in another world" is about the male lover - who's distracted, distant, emotionally unavailable to the yearning girl singing the song
In "4 AM", "in another world" is the sea of shining eyes and the dancefloor dreamspace, from which we are to be too-soon expelled, into the gray light of the morning... back to ordinary life and the inevitable comedown...
On Lucky Spin records, "4 AM" was a huge tune in 1993.... I picked it up some years ago, by which time twas tad pricey.
(For a while, I thought the the artist was called Pure White. Seems that was name of a Lucky Spin sub-label).
The not-quite-as-good remixes
This one is ruff and junglistic, but I still prefer the original
Nothing else I've heard by Orca comes close to "4 AM", despite promising titles e.g. the two Dances with Dolphins EPs... "Pure Bliss" ,"Underwater Science", "Sky Hook". It's good, solid stuff, in that happy-dark zone, getting ruffer, then getting wafty (titles like "Intalect", ooer), then getting technical
However one of Orca - Darren Beale - had various other aliases (Koda... also Psykus, with his Orca-mate Kristian Towsend... quite a few others). One of these aliases was Acro, as in the great "Superpod" which continues the cetacean obsession with its name (pod being a tribe of dolphins) and use of dolphin sounds.
Fab rmx, getting well tech-itchy in a Photekky way but not losing the bliss
slow on the uptake today, just twigged that Acro = Orca backwards!
i shall have to do a proper trawl through the whole alias-cluster uuuurv at some point.
Back to Bev...
Craven cites among her influences Kate Bush and Judie Tzuke, but I don't hear much Bush, apart from the piano, whereas I do hear a lot of Tzuke - especially "Promise Me", which has a similar scenario and yearny, needy, feminine-fluttery quality to Tzuke's one hit "Stay With Me Til Dawn"
Look at this period-piece promo, which (possibly an artifact of the lighting and/or the aging of the video format) makes her look like a painting that come to life.
"Stay With Me Till Dawn" got repurposed itself, at the dawn of the Nineties, by Ultramarine, on the gorgeous "Honey", which turns around the "need you tonight" bit of the pre-chorus
Well what do you know, from just last year, Beverlee and Judee (and Julee) team up for a single
actually a whole album / tour
also a joint performance of "Promise Me" on the telly
Home Counties soul
Another Bev chartsong, albeit only just barely a hit really
There are other AOR lady / Brit female singer-songwriters who have been rave-ransacked of course, notably the lovely "Sleeping Satellite" by Tasmin Archer.
I guess that style of AOR is an alternative source for yearning, soaring vocals, from the more usual soul / R&B/ house diva stockpile.
I wonder why there was never a rave version of "Constant Craving"
Well fancy that
Pointed out by anonymous commenter, another dance treatment of the "it's four o'clock in the morning and it's starting to get light" Bev-sample - rather nice too
Meant to say also that in my mind I always bracket Orca's "4 AM" alongside this wonderful tune "Blow Out Pt II" aka "You've Had It, You've Had It All, Boy"
Must "do" Bass Selective properly one of these days...
And also alongside this tune by DJ Massive
"4AM", "Blow Out Pt. 11", "Ruff in the Comfort Zone" - a little cluster of junglistic but luvdup diva bliss anthems that walk that underground / pop line and stick together in my memory
Ian S in Comments points out that Bay B Kane sampled Ms Tzuke also - from "Ladies Night", off the same album as "Stay With Me Till Dawn"
Here is an in-depth breakdown of the making of the Bay B Kane track from God Is No Longer A DJ