Won’t Talk About It – Norman Cook
Yes, that Norman Cook, once bass player in The Housemartins and future…well Beats International, Freak Power, Fatboy Slim and Mr Zoe Ball.
This track was the B-Side to a tune called Blame It On The Bassline, which came out in 1989. The A-Side was a typical sample heavy dance tune, using Blame It On The Boogie as it’s foundation. Won’t Talk About It was another beast entirely.
Built around the intro to Billy Bragg’s Levi Stubbs’ Tears, Won’t Talk About It is a melancholy groover, mixing blue eyed soulboy vocals, doing their best Curtis Mayfield impression and some very Isley Brothers guitar solos. What was most surprising about it was the fact that the Weller-esque soulboy vocal is Mr Bragg himself. At the time it was like: “Bragg? Well. Who knew he could sing like that!”
Levi Stubbs’ Tears is a fantastic song and this doesn’t reach the same heights. But it was one of the first times I’d heard somebody use a sample in a really creative way, rather than just catchphrases and drum loops, and come up with something almost as good as it’s source.
And at the time there was some serious freak out power in hearing that familiar intro in a club. I did wonder if I was imagining it some nights….