At The River – Groove Armada
…if you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air, quaint little villages here and there…
It’s hard to re-create the feeling of 1999 years after it happened – but there was a distinctive atmosphere. It was millenial. There was a Y2K bug which was apparently going to crash the internet, all the clocks and most of the electrical goods. It was an end-of-the-world feel, simply to do with the numbers, and a frisson of nervous energy was pulsing around everything. It was exciting to be alive in that very summer, when dance music had taken over the vibe and the mood, and down on the South Coast if you weren’t partying like it was 1999 to Fatboy Slim, Basement Jaxx, The Chemical Brothers and Phats & Small, then dude, you were never going to party or dance ever. I was 42 and still going to nightclubs – one of the things I like about Brighton is that its legendary tolerance embraces old geezers inside nightclubs. Nobody cares. We’d frequent The Escape usually, sometimes The Zap, or maybe someone’s house with a crew that included Patrick Sullivan, Josh, Mark and Keith Davey, Louise Yellowlees, Yarra Mills, Debbie and Soriya, Stompers, Albion fans, plenty others, many of them named Mark, all hands in the air; most people on a) cocaine b) ecstasy c) weed or d) all of the above. Not to mention the lager lager lager. Not my tipple, but back then it probably was. Of course the bohemia crowd (see My pop life #13) were ever-present and a gang of DFLs were regularly in attendance. Down From London of course! The imminent apocalypse made every night party night and every party shimmer with sex. But it wasn’t all jump around jump around.
In the summer there were beach barbecues which stretched out til way after the sun had gone down, mini-bonfires in the stones you could sit around until the tide came lapping in and sizzled it out. And that’s where Groove Armada came in I guess. This is such a chill-out song, a lazy Sunday Afternoon song, a greet-the-dawn song and I love every tiny detail about it. The strange opening sample (blue shoes???) to the lazy drums, the Patti Page song “Old Cape Cod” which contributes all the lyrics and the general summer’s day feel but mostly the spectacular trombone lick which is the cherry on the icing on the cake.
Tried to find out if it was Ashley Slater (Brighton resident bone man and Freak Power pop star) or Big Jim Patterson (Dexys and Elvis Costello boner) but I’m happy to report that Groove Armada DJ Andy Cato also plays the trombone, and played the phrase himself when they were putting the LP Vertigo together in the Lake District.
All put together this piece of music for me transcends time and place and rises up to somewhere holy and ethereal, untouchable and perfect, and is therefore one of my actual favourites songs of all time and ever forever amen.
We went to Cape Cod again last summer which gave me the excuse to play the song again over and over. It worked its magic one more golden time.
Short Version :
Full fat creamy Version :