Thursday, 10 September 2009

Stealing Stereotypes

There was a bit of a theme going on in the tenth issue of Your Heart Out (which you can download for free in the library on your left) about cities and compartmentalisation. Fitting in with the theme of celebrating UK hip hop we looked at Manchester. And how you know there's this thing where at the end of the '80s into the '90s you have downbeat Bristol, rare groove and acid jazz in London, and Manchester's your house nation. Simples. Yet one of the great downbeat acid jazz classics is Black Whip by Chapter and the Verse, a Manchester outfit. So Manchester in fact its classic debut LP would be called Great Western Street, with a classic track about Claremont Road. Moss Side locations. The LP itself, from 1991, is a wonderful mix of hip hop, jazz, house, soul and more. The clue's in the opening lines which refer to legendary Manchester DJs Hewan Clarke and Colin Curtis, who were among those that played their part in shaping Manchester's musical map. But you might not know that if you read the official Madchester stories. When was the last time someone reeling off a list of Manchester classics mentioned this Chapter and The Verse moment?

The vocals on that track are by Beverley Bygraves, whom the Chapter production team also worked with as part of The Bygraves, producing soulful house (swing bleep?) tracks such as this:

And this track. You'll have noticed The Bygraves' connection to Rham! The same label that released the early Chapter & The Verse records. I guess if Rham! is known for anything it is for its A Guy Called Gerald releases, including the Hot Lemonade LP.

And the Chapter production team had close links to A Guy Called Gerald, performing with him live and so on. But despite that what do we know about Rham! as a label? Well, apart from the fact that it was based on Merseyside, put out records by Manchester's crown prince (what was going on with Factory and other Mcr-centric concerns?) and had a wonderfully diverse repertoire.

That track record included this wonderful piece of home grown techno which if it had been released on Warp would have been legendary. One of the other tracks on this EP, Veda, appears on a tape of a Grooverider set from '91, but I can tell you little else. I really am intrigued. Does anyone know the story and people behind Rham!?


  1. cor but set me free's a cracker ain't it just. 1991 waas a vintage year to be sure. around 2001ish i did a whole bad pub djing 1991 set but i've forgotten what the hell else was there. or maybe it was 1989. oh gawd my brains hurting now

  2. Yeah, yeah, '90/'91 is one of my very favouritest golden ages. You reminded me of this, which is not a good thing, but it's sort of what you meant.