Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Greg Wilson - No Sell Out

Originally posted this mix back in April of 2008. G Wilson's made it available for download on his soundcloud with a little story behind the mix.


This is the most involved mix I’ve ever put together, even more so than my Essential Mix in 2009, for which ‘No Sell Out’ very much provided the prototype. I intended it as a definitive document to the period May 82 – Dec 83, when Legend and Wigan Pier were at their most influential, the new Electro-Funk sound turning the black scene on its head as the old gradually gave way to the new.

As I wrote at the time:
“The tracks on this mix represent this now distant time of both musical and cultural change. I’ve selected the records that were regarded as controversial at the time within black music circles, the ones that the traditionalists were up in arms about. I’d originally chosen 50 of the biggest tracks played at Legend and the Pier, but this was upped to 60, all of which needed to be edited down to an average of a minute and a half in length, which was no small task in itself! Realising that there were still other tracks I wanted to include, I decided to keep it to the main 60, but drop in snippets of additional records from the period, not only Electro, but also other big floorfillers from my nights. I never played purely Electro, but mixed it in alongside Soul, Funk and Disco (or as people refer to it nowadays, Boogie), and this is reflected by the numerous ‘references’ sprinkled throughout the mix.

It’s good to be able to place some of these tracks back into their original context. Tracks like ‘The Message’, ‘Rockit’ and ‘Buffalo Gals’ would become big hits in the UK, but they were completely unknown when first played at Legend and the Pier. A perfect example would be ‘White Lines’, which was an underground favourite for many months before the penny finally dropped with the mainstream audience and they came to appreciate it as the wonderful record it is, resulting in a chart stay of over a year! Nowadays, ‘White Lines’ can be played pretty much anywhere to a great response. It’s a sure-fire floorfiller, regarded as a dance standard, but it wasn’t always that way - without the initial specialist support it could quite easily have ended up as just a minor hit.

The title of the mix, ‘No Sell Out’, comes from the opening track. It seemed an appropriate name, given the fact these records were very much regarded by the purists as the selling out of black music, rather than its salvation (something which pretty much everyone can now, with hindsight, clearly see). Listening back to these tracks you can trace the evolution of Hip Hop, Techno and House. This was the point in time when black music fully embraced the available technology and took dance to new dimensions. Hearing these records for the very first time, we knew that the future was upon us and that dance music had entered a whole new phase of its development.”

The ‘No Sell Out – Electro Retrospective’ page at Electrofunkroots gives the full lowdown and complete tracklisting. It includes an introduction by Gerald Simpson (aka A Guy Called Gerald), for whose Samurai FM podcast this mix was originally put together.

Greg Wilson – February 2012

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