There’s an Aisling telephone on the front of Nite Flite 2. This ground-breaking device offered push button re-dialling, last number re-dial, secrecy and dual signalling. It was suitable for connection to exchanges that used either pulse or tone dialling. The secrecy option was very useful, allowing you to break the microphone link with the person on the other end of the line. Handy if you needed to mouth something to somebody else in the room. Lastly, the instructions also warned about using the telephone in or near a bath.
Also on the sleeve, a bunch of keys. By 1989 I had the key of our back door. Those Friday (and sometimes Saturday) discos would run until 2.00am with a visit to Deegan’s or JR’s meaning that I wouldn’t get home for at least another hour. Listening to these songs now takes me back to an era of surreptitious phonecalls and dates in the Ritz Cinema followed by some dancefloor action. When so many things seemed much more important than they actually were. Your starter is Roses Are Red, a slice of slick R&B from the Mac Band with that super violin intro. On Tabu, passionate sweater soul; the timeless Saturday Love, a sweeping duet between Cherelle and Alexander O’Neal. We lived for the weekend and a chance to let loose. And then the calming voice of Luther Vandross dropping the heartfelt Any Love before Joyce Sims’ strutting Come Into My Life. Slick, rhythmic and blue.
Jamming on are The SOS Band with their 1984 funk bomb Just The Way You Like It. According to Jimmy Jam, this was inspired by the Southern food chain Waffle House, as he and Lewis were frequent visitors of the restaurant. Next, a song in the key of A, Bill Withers’ 1971 melter Ain’t No Sunshine now updated for 1988 in an Eclipse Mix. The pace drops for Gloria Estefan’s gut-punching Can’t Stay Away From You and then Freddie Jackson’s baby-making special Rock Me Tonight. Luther’s Vandross is back! Stop To Love was declared the #1 R&B single of 1987 by Billboard Magazine. I adore its uptempo vibe as displayed in the music video, skyscrapers, greenery and petrol for 65 cents. Plus Lisa Fischer in the blue dress who later won a Grammy as a solo artist, but later went back to working for Luther, claiming that she was more comfortable as a backing singer.
There’s a pair of 1970s super soul staples in the form of Rose Royce’s Wishing On A Star and Earth, Wind & Fire’s After The Love Has Gone. They’re followed by Alexander O’Neal in his Hearsay pomp, Never Knew Love Like This. Elsewhere Brenda Russell’s Piano In The Dark is gorgeous, a deep memory from the summer of ’88, a black and white video with playing cards being tossed. Superb instrumentation or as Vlad Rio said “a massage for your ears.” For the final triple play we go back a few years. Sade’s excellent cover of Timmy Thomas’ Why (Can’t We Live Together) was the final song on Diamond Life, it’s here in 7″ edit form and still sounds amazing. A year earlier, Roberta Flack & Peabo Bryson’s sweet duet Tonight I Celebrate My Love. And lastly, Sexual Healing, the single version with no whispers at 1:49. Postcript: if you google “CBS 1989” you’ll the debs photograph of the other school in my town – where a number of my friends attended.
Cherelle featuring Alexander O’Neal – Saturday Love
Brenda Russell – Piano In The Dark
Lest we forget
Luther Vandross – Stop To Love