Lily Allen – Alright, Steal
For all the Lily Allen fan’s who still seem to flock to the site here’s a little compilation for you to grab.
Its the originals of all the tracks Lily samples on her “Alright, Still” album, and a few others that may or may not have been influences. Hold on to your rib cage while I tell you its called “Alright, Steal“… I know don’t give up the day job!
For the record I’m not critising Lily or her producers for sampling, this is not a negative post. Hopefully her use of a selection of wonderful old reggae and soul tracks might introuce that music to a new generation. Many of the samples were recreated for the finished record – I believe (correct me if Im wrong) that this is done to save money, its cheaper to give songwriting credit than an actual chunk of someones record.
If I’ve missed any samples or you think I should add a track please leave a comment.
To download the compilation click on the link at the end of the post. It contains all the MP3’s and artwork.
Also here’s a tasty South London remix of LDN by Hard-fi’s tour DJ WrongTom
Lily Allen – “STH LDN” (MP3) (click don’t right click)
If you’re a Lily fan can I strongly advise you listen to Adele (here). “Daydreamer” will break your heart.
1. Pierre Bachelet & Herve Roy
“Emmanuelle In The Mirror”
“Littlest Things”… well it’s an obvious Cat Stevens steal surely?? Apparently not, it’s actually based on two tracks from the Soundtrack to Sylvia Kristel’s 70’s soft-core porno classic Emmanuelle.
Pierre Bachelet (1944 – 2005) (co-writer with musical director Herve Roy) was a French singer-songwriter specialising in dreamy romantic vocals. Lily uses “Emmanuelle in the Mirror” and an instrumental version of the title theme, minus Pierre’s whispered voice.
Director Just Jaeckin (both a name and a descriptive term for what most 70’s teenagers did while watching) was asked by dvdmaniacs why he chose Pierre Bachelet to write the score?
How did you choose Pierre Bachelet to write the score?
I did a small TV fashion series, and Pierre was involved in putting some music into the finished project. We became friends, and when I finished Emmanuelle we talked to some very good musicians and singers to work on the score. They would all say no, we don’t want to be involved in an erotic film, so I told Pierre he had to do the music himself (Serge Gainsbourg turned it down, later regretting the decision when the single sold millions). We pushed him to sing the song, and when we heard him sing the first time, we said it was perfect.
2. The Soul Brothers
On “Smile” the wonderful summer ska sound and keyboards are taken from “Free Soul“, a 1969 track by The Soul Brothers.
Produced by the legendary Coxsone Dodd, with piano from Studio One’s very own Keyboard King Jackie Mittoo, it’s certainly an inspired choice to pilfer.
3. Professor Longhair
Taking a break from rifling through old reggae compilations for samples, “Knock ‘Em Out” finds Lily heading to New Orleans and snatching some Mardi Gras magic courtesy of the “Big Chief”.
Saint Henry Roeland Byrd, Fess, “the Picasso of keyboard funk” the list of Professor Longhair’s (1918-1980) aka’s and nom de plumes are almost as huge as his reputation and influence. Known for his unique piano playing style, creating entire solos on a limited range of notes “Big Chief” is one of his signature tunes, and no compilation of New Orleans funk would be complete without this track.
Home of the groove has a short history of the track:
“In 1964, songwriter/performer Earl King and arranger/bandleader Wardell Quezergue brought Fess into the studio to record “Big Chief”, which King had written years earlier. They surprised Fess, who hadn’t been active in a while, with a big session, including a large horn section. As it turned out, the song ended up being about five minute long and was split up on the A and B sides of the record, with Part 1 being instrumental, and Part 2 having Earl King singing the lyrics and whistling as the song faded. While King wrote the lyrics and the basic song structure, I am sure it was Professor Longhair who devised the finger-tangling piano riff that few people other than he could ever play well. Also, it is said that, in rehearsal, Fess showed drummer Smokey Johnson the syncopated beat he wanted by playing it on a cardboard box.”
4. Lord Kitchener
“London Is the Place for Me”
“London Is the Place for Me” is not actually sampled by Lily, but I’m sure she’ll have heard it before, and for me at least it’s the “LDN” of its era. It’s possible to draw a lyrical line back from Lily Allen to Kitcheners tales of London fifty years ago.
Calypso star Lord Kitchener (real name was Aldwyn Roberts) arrived in 1948 on the SS Empire Windrush with the first wave of West Indian migrants invited to work in post war Britain.
Newsreel footage of the time has Kitchener on the docks brimming with optimism, and singing “I’ve been travelling to places years ago, but this is the place I want to know.” It’s a giddy tribute to a city he had never lived in before, with a piano evocatively recreating the chimes of Big Ben.
It’s so upbeat and positive it seems churlish to note that by 1952 he was singing “I regret the day I leave sweet Jamaica, if I had wings like an airplane, I would fly to that blessed country again.“, and he returned disillusioned to Trinidad in 1962. Kitch did however enjoy massive success in England, with Princess Margaret known to be one of his biggest fans.
5. Tommy McCook & The Supersonics
Lily’s love of vintage reggae must be putting a huge grin on the Trojan Records accounts department. LDN’s trademark horn stabs are lifted wholesale from the glorious calypso of “Reggae Merenge” by Tommy McCook & The Supersonics.
Tommy McCook (1927 – 1998) was quite simply a bonafide Jamaican legend whose trademark tenor sax blessed many a reggae classic. A founding member of The Skatalites, who as in-house band for Coxsone Dodds Studio One created the ska sounds for groups like The Wailers, The Ethiopians and The Maytals.
After the Skatalites split, McCook went on to form the “Supersonics” for Coxsone’s deadly rival Duke Reid and his Treasure Isle Studio. As band leader and musical arranger he oversaw a string of hits for the label, as well as helping to develop Rock Steady and Reggae, having already overseen the birth of Ska with the Skatelites.
6. Pierre Bachelet & Herve Roy
“Theme from Emmanuelle (Instrumental)”
“Littlest Things” samples the instrumental version of Pierre Bachelet’s dreamy title music to the 1970’s soft-core classic, as well as the previously mentioned “Emmanelle in the Mirror”.
7. John Holt
“For The Love Of You (Original version)”
“Friend of Mine” takes its hammond keys and summer reggae-lite feel from John Holts “For The Love of You”, or at least I think it does as the history of reggae features more than a few covers of this Isley Brothers original.
For non Reggae fans John Holt is perhaps most famous for cover versions, his covers album “1,000 Volts of Holt” remains one of the biggest selling reggae albums of all time. His version of Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It through the Night” made the top 10 in the UK. Returning the favour Blondie had a huge hit with a cover of “The Tide Is High” originally recorded by John as a member of “The Paragons”.
“For The Love of You” does feature on “1000 Volts of Holt” but in a slightly different version to the one Lily samples (I think). In order to make them more palatable to the UK market and more likely to get airplay, Trojan Records frequently overdubbed lush strings to the Jamaican master tapes.
Released towards the end of 1973 the original was produced at Vincent “Randy” Chin’s Studio 17 by Chins son Clive with backing by the In-Crowd. It’s a straight up summer anthem, as X says a “masterful interpretation and the epitome of Jamaican soul”. Holt’s voice is simply stunning, and the beat coupled with killer keyboard work adds up to make this an irresistible reggae soul classic.
8. Origin Unknown
“Valley of the Shadows”
“Cheryl Tweedy“, the b-side to “Smile” liberally steals from one of the biggest drum & bass tracks of all time “Valley of the Shadows” by Origin Unknown.
Created in 1993 by a 15 year old Andy C (Andrew Clarke) and his mate Ant Miles, it took its famous “long dark tunnel” sample from a BBC QED documentary featuring a woman s near death experience during labour (along with that old chestnut Lyn Collins “Think” for the drums). It’s a dark-core jungle style track with heavy breakbeats and twisted synth hooks… a repeated “31 seconds loop” was taken from one of the NASA Space missions.
9. 50 Cent
Taken from 2005’s “Get Rich or Die Tryin” Soundtrack Fiddys “Window Shopper” is warped into one of Lilys best and certainly funniest tracks “Nan, you’re a Window Shopper”. Almost every line is parodied, so 50’s “nigga when we rollin’, rollin’, rollin'” becomes “There’s a leak in your colostomy bag… It’s got a hole in hole in hole in…“. Its essentially a cover version just with lyrics guaranteed to make you grin.
10. Bob Marley & The Wailers
“Burnin’ & Lootin'”
Technically I’m not sure if Lily samples this, but it’s certainly the basis for 50 Cents original “Window Shopper”. Scratch magazine found it: “a little strange to hear Bob Marley’s signature anthem for insurrection being used by 50 Cent to brag about blasting thieves and sexing freaks. However, C. Styles and Sire seem to find the original natty dread’s “Burnin’ and Lootin’” (from Burnin’, 1973) the right inspiration for a slicked-up interpolation which shines up the original songs keys with a brighter, lighter touch”.
11. The Specials
“Friday Night” certainly has a darker Specialsy “Ghost Town” feel to it, but I’ve included “Blank Expression” (from their 1979 debut album) instead as Lily covers it for an “itunes only” bonus album track. Terry Hall is the master of taking rocking Jamaican rhythms and undercutting them with a world weary, bathetic, English drone, while Lily at her best carries on Hall’s fine tradition of white boy or should I say girl reggae.