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Jun 13

THE OUTHERE BROTHERS – “Don’t Stop (Wiggle Wiggle)”

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#718, 1st April 1995

The Great British Public has a long and warm relationship with smut – stuff that is somehow about sex without making anyone actually want to do it. A part of our national psyche is forever a 12-year-old boy. As times and manners change, the balance between cheekiness and directness has tipped, from seaside postcards and George Formby to Judge Dread and Roy “Chubby” Brown. The itch remains the same – show us something naughty. So it’s not that surprising that the Outhere Brothers (debut single: “Pass The Toilet Paper”) wind up with two number ones.

If the urges the Outheres appealed to were age-old, the ways radio dealt with them had changed. Blackouts and bans were counter-productive, and left the station on the wrong side of most arguments. The preferred solution? Radio edits – or, as in this case, full radio remixes. Which led to the odd situation that the record on the radio and in the chart wasn’t at all the one people had been hearing in the clubs and buying. That hefty call-to-arms of “Wiggle Wiggle!” aside, the original mix and the radio edit are strikingly different*, and if all you heard was the hit, the track’s filthiness might come as a wicked surprise.

The differences between the mixes go further than cleaning up the lyrics. The “Eskimo Nell” style call-and-response on the full version – “Put your lips on my face!” &c – is the track’s most unusual, though crudest, idea: the UK radio edit drops it for more wiggling. Its directness gets replaced by an in-your-face blurt of a synth riff, an addition which shifts the track into more familiar, ravey territory. Unfortunately that comes at the expense of the original’s clicky, chunky, nicely loping house beat, which was the best thing about it.

The worst thing about “Don’t Stop” remains whatever the version: Keith Mayberry’s hoarse, range-free bellow. It’s all strain, no fun – it’s just a man yelling at you about genitals. For that first ten seconds or so it’s effective – a foghorn cutting through anything else on the airwaves. But that’s all the song does. Or to put it another way, “Don’t Stop” shoots its load far too quickly and ends up an awkward mess.

*Very Boring Clarification: I didn’t hear this on the radio, so I’m assuming the version played is the 3’06” “Townhouse Radio Edit” that was Track 1 on the UK CD and ended up on Now 30, which leaves off the call-and-response verses. There is also a full but clean version, which keeps the verses but switches “pussy” for “kisses”. And of course the original version, which I heard played out. I expect we’ll have more ambiguities like this as Popular picks its way through the CD single age. Meanwhile knowing the different version of Outhere Brothers hits is my cross to bear.

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Comments

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  1. 26
    Patrick Mexico on 3 Jun 2013 #

    Nine years old at the time, much more familiar with the radio edit, far superior to the clean/dirty versions with the lolloping house beat (oddly I’m also a big Hideaway fan), but still sorely lacking in charm and a sense of free-spirited abandon compared to the absolute, ahem, BANGERS on this album I got for my tenth birthday 18 years ago this week (though it also contains some of the most pointless tracks of all time.)

    I’ll talk more about this later; though obviously the Norman Cook track shouldn’t have been Pizzaman but Freak Power – Turn On, Tune In, Cop Out… what’s not to like about acid jazz meets War’s Low Rider by way of the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?

    http://www.discogs.com/Various-Dance-Heat-95/release/358811

    Only realised yesterday the lyrics aren’t “All you do is drive me crazy” but “All that booty drives me crazy.” I’ll knock a point off it for that. Oh, do piss off back to MTV Spring Break. Maybe I’m being a bit unfair on the Outhere Brothers – everyone deserves a second chance…. :laughs like Muttley:

    2.

  2. 27
    Lazarus on 3 Jun 2013 #

    The sleeve is indeed dreadful, but it’s still better than the song. I only ever heard the radio edit and had no wish to investigate further. The sort of Number One which, though its reign was mercifully brief, made me wonder whether I was getting too old to listen to the Top 40, or to Radio 1. A 2, and that’s only because the weather has put me in a good mood.

    Bit of a retro feel to the Top 20 around this time, incidentally, with the Beatles charting with ‘Baby It’s You’ from the ‘at the BBC’ album, and new hits from the Human League and Simple Minds.

  3. 28
    glue_factory on 3 Jun 2013 #

    ‘Ever read the comments on Freakytrigger and think you must be listening to a different record to the other posters? Well in this case I was, namely, 2 In A Room’s Wiggle It, a slice of charming of pop-rave which beats both the clean and dirty versions of this track. I’m surprised that it’s only taken until 1995 for a record’s rise, stay at the top and descent to pass me by entirely.

    Another vote for Hideaway, a record I only really “got” one Saturday afternoon, after hearing it on the Dry bar’s (no doubt ruinously expensive) soundsystem.

  4. 29
    Mutley on 3 Jun 2013 #

    #23 and #25 The Walker Brothers were an American act with two UK number 1s in the mid 1960s, but with little chart success in the USA.

  5. 30
    leveret on 3 Jun 2013 #

    The explicit version of this was doing the rounds of my secondary school months ahead of the clean version’s chart-topping feats. Away from the rock and indie fans, the most popular sounds of the time in this school on the outskirts of Glasgow were home-made compilations featuring plenty of rave/tartan techno by the likes of QFX and Ultrasonic. This seemed to be popular with the same crowd and there was much sniggering about the lyrics in the corners of the playground. It was a bit like the musical equivalent of a few pages of a discarded jazz mag someone had found under a hedge.

    After the initial fad passed, I expected never to hear anything of it again, as the music favoured by the techno tape afficianados never troubled the charts (presumably much of it was originally taped off vinyl as it was a complete mystery to me at the time where much of it came from). Alas, the neutered version arrived in the charts eventually.

    Since the Outhere Brothers album(!) had alredy been released in 1994 I wonder how the school cassette tapers originally picked up on this? Compared to the emerging trend of the time for slicker marketing, straight in at number one singles etc. this seems an old-fashioned slow emergence from pop’s sweaty underbelly in comparison.

    I’m now almost 33 years old and haven’t been brave enough to re-listen to this yet.

  6. 31
    Rory on 3 Jun 2013 #

    Out Here Brothers? Ou There Brothers?

    Either way, ou.

  7. 32
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 3 Jun 2013 #

    Scott Outhere’s later solo releases are amazing, of course.

  8. 33
    mintness on 4 Jun 2013 #

    #14

    “Oh, he just said “pussy” again. Are You Being Served, sir?”

    Does that make this the straight version of Scooch’s “Flying The Flag (For You)”? (Although there’s a good argument that the main problem with the Scooch track is that it’s so very terribly heterosexual.)

  9. 34
    weej on 4 Jun 2013 #

    #29 – Yeah, The Walker Brothers were my first thought, but both their UK number ones went top 20 in the USA. Not big hits, but still much better than The Outhere Brothers (what is it about ‘The (Something) Brothers’ who aren’t really brothers?)

  10. 35
    enitharmon on 4 Jun 2013 #

    I fear we are moving into the era of “hey, did you see what I did there? I said “fuck”! Isn’t that so fucking cool of me? There, I did it again! How edgy is that man!”

    [yawns]
    [listens to Apeman by the Kinks]

  11. 36

    Not to suggest this is remotely up to the same standard in any way at all, but there’d been a tradition of openly blue recorded black comedy music in the US since at least the 1970s*: Red Foxx is probably the best-known name (Chris Rock cites him as an inspiration).**

    *And these are from the 1940s: but of course they couldn’t even be sold over the counter, let alone enter the charts (if charts had been invented yet).

    **(Curiously — since it surely has to be a coincidence, unless the OBs are much subtler scholars than seems likely — Foxx’s own very first release, a 78 for Savoy in 1946, jump boogie-style, is called “let’s wiggle a little woogie“)

  12. 37
    Steve Mannion on 4 Jun 2013 #

    Given how open explicit language was commonplace within rap-orientated dance at the time it’s only the curious crossover of ‘Don’t Stop’ that makes this seem shocking to anyone surely.

    They weren’t trying to shock or impress outsiders. Their ‘regular guys on the street’ image supports this I think – being more House than Hip Hop they couldn’t go about it on a gangsta lean either. This was almost refreshing in a way. Younger lads might’ve liked them for the rudeness but probably not as much as countless thug rappers at the time.

    That’s to defend the OB’s stance rather than the music itself which was average fare for House blurring its Euro and Latin influences.

    But I quite liked their third UK single ‘La La La Hey Hey’ because within it were some stronger euphoric elements and it was quite a swerve away from the naughtiness quotient of their previous hits (subsequently doing worse business in the charts).

  13. 38

    It’s a long time since I checked this — think it’s in Toop’s landmark early 80s book — but didn’t some of the super-early HipHop DJs use Red Foxx as a sample-scratch material? The ground of their sonic landscape was basically their parents’ LPs (or haha poss their own in DJ Kool Herc’s case, as he is five years older than me; and actually Bambaata is three years older).

  14. 39
    anto on 4 Jun 2013 #

    Andrew Ridgeley, Blink 182, Carter USM, The Outhere Brothers.

    Face it, grown men in shorts are always a warning.

  15. 40
    mintness on 4 Jun 2013 #

    #39 – now if *that* were the support line-up for the Friday Stone Roses gig…

  16. 41
    Patrick Mexico on 4 Jun 2013 #

    “West Coast Americans gave ska a bad name. Grown men in shorts”

    As said the Dead 60s in 2005.

    Remember them?

  17. 42
    ciaran on 4 Jun 2013 #

    The first number 1 of my time that caused controversy.Was 12 when this was released so its infamy was immediate but in the pre-internet era it was hard to find anything other than the radio friendly hit. To this day I havent heard much of the x-rated takes and youtube is hostile towards it so Ill have to make do with the original.

    The radio edit it is and 18 years after its still as shoddy today.I’ll confess that I liked it for about a day or two back in 95 but its appeal faded very quickly.Looking back at the video now its clear that the video editing had almost totally changed any trace of smut and the old animation footage looks like something you’d get when a tv transmission was interrupted.

    I’m lost for words that this got a 4.A 2 at best (Borderline 1).DS(WW) is utterly dire which gets as bad every year and even the furore over it only detracts from what a lousy record it is.Thankfully the parties around the time had records like guaglione and alright to fall back on so this was banished very quickly.Unlike another big hitter from hula and malik…

  18. 43
    Erithian on 4 Jun 2013 #

    There’s mediocre, and then there’s poor. And then there’s really poor. And then there’s crap. And then there’s total shite. And then there’s “no redeeming virtues whatsoever”. And then there’s this record. Way worse than your Little Jimmys and St Winifreds, which you can imagine some people finding quite sweet, this belongs in a special category where long before the end of the track you feel the overwhelming urge to do physical harm to the people responsible.

    A few years ago I organised a poll at work for people’s top ten and bottom ten Number Ones, and placed this third in my bottom ten (hur, hur – he said “bottom”). The top two were an equally charmless bunnied hit by a fat bloke in 2003, and an amphibian ringtone. Yes, this record is THAT bad.

  19. 44
    fivelongdays on 5 Jun 2013 #

    This hit the top spot just after I turned 13, and I was therefore its target audience. It did the rounds at school, and even now it’s pretty…meh. That said, I will always have a soft spot for daft swearing, and the tune is nicely bouncy. Four is about right.

  20. 45
    James BC on 5 Jun 2013 #

    #41 I remember the Dead 60s. Their first album is one of my favourite ever!

  21. 46
    enitharmon on 5 Jun 2013 #

    Since I was previously unaware of the charms of this piece I have just wasted ten minutes of my life finding it, and its bunnied successor, to find out just what it was all about. Oh my GAAAAAAAHD!

    It sounds like sex from the point of view of a pustular psychopath who has read about sex in a mucky book but has no clue what it’s really about. Richard Thompson’s “Read About Love” from a couple of years earlier has the type nailed. Far from the reasonably authentic sounds of coition we’ve already had at number one (complete with radio-friendly mix) this is more on the level of Flanders & Swann’s Pee Po Belly Bum Drawers. Only without the sophisticated wit of course.

  22. 47
    Tom on 5 Jun 2013 #

    #37 yes, it wasn’t intended to “shock”, it had shock thrust upon it (erm). The problem isn’t the filth, it’s the tedium* – which may be why it hit big here and more salacious/believable sex raps didn’t.

    *why do I like DJ Assault and not the Outhere Brothers? is a good question, though, maybe one for another comment.

  23. 48
    Patrick Mexico on 5 Jun 2013 #

    Re: #45 ‘Twas pretty good. I’m one of the only people on the planet who own the second Dead 60s album, as well as the second New Young Pony Club one!

    Re: #42 Guaglione. Oh god hahaha. The Guinness ad song.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MuEtGPXLPI

    Apart from murdering Buffalo Stance, Dirty Cash and Merry Xmas Everybody (last summer!) on a camping stag do after necking a bottle of rum, impersonating the dance here at my 10th birthday party was the time I’ve disgraced myself most musically. It’s probably alright but I don’t dare listen to it again as the last time I heard it, it was the soundtrack to some haggard old men doing a striptease with balloons on Shameless (calm down, I only watch that show for Karen Maguire and her dark, smokey, understated accent.)

  24. 49
    Steve Mannion on 5 Jun 2013 #

    #47 You like DJ Assault because there’s no compromise probably? It’s strictly hardcore/underground and so tends to be sonically more visceral.

  25. 50
    Tom on 5 Jun 2013 #

    #49 also it’s quite funny.

  26. 51
    Baztech on 12 Jun 2013 #

    #41, I remember The Dead 60′s! I loved Riot Radio and was one of my indie favourites in that 05-06 era.

    Ahh, the memories…

  27. 52
    Ed on 13 Jun 2013 #

    @39 Bands that wear shorts are cool!

    See: http://worldofhoopla.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/OJ.jpg

    Also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_8-ijfZA2w

  28. 53
    Ed on 13 Jun 2013 #

    And, best of all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfRYGVWZilU

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