About this Playlist
Where to start with a man like Ashley Beedle, with his friends of course, the self-proclaimed gentleman rudeboy is one of the most liked, admired and well respected in the industry.
Artist, songwriter, producer, label owner and DJ, with 1000’s of songs and remixes to his name, he’s been creating music since the late 80’s but took until 2012 to create a track fully under his own name, for a long time in his career he lacked confidence and experienced loneliness in the studio, overly introspective in the creation process, so preferred to have someone to bounce off in the creation and recording process.
This led to most of his work being under numerous pseudonyms, multiple studio projects and collaborations with friends he met along the way on his journey, with the help of those many friends and a large musical family, he has overcome these obstacles and is now happy in the studio, albeit with a mate or two, but where do you start with a man like Ashley Beedle.
The story starts with the Windrush generation, his mother coming to UK shores from Barbados in 1960 and meeting her future husband at the hospital they both worked, they married a year later and as a multi racial wedding was unusual at the time, the local paper even came the witness the event.
Ashley’s youth was spent in the north west London suburb of Harrow with music being an ever present and all around him, from the family home, his dad was a avid record collector, with a range Ashley likes to describe as ‘Bach to Big Youth’ his uncles were in a cover band that reached the finals of a UK TV show and with a prevalence of youth clubs playing everything from pop and rock, to soul and reggae, many of which influenced young Ashley’s taste and future sound, his dad quickly recognising that passion for music, bought him a mobile disco and his first solo gig was way back in 1978, in a local community hall.
The Hoof caught up with Ashley for a chat
Can you tell us what was it like growing up in this period, who or what were your main influences and the first record that left an impression on you?
“I lived in a mixed household so I had the best of both worlds – my dad was British and my mum was from Barbados. We had the best parties with the best music, the best food and the best people in the street. My dad and his record collection were my main influences growing up. The first record that left an impression on me was the Tremeloes, ‘Here comes my baby’ – I used to bounce around the front room to that when it got played on the the radiogram”
Ashley found a spiritual home in the soul and dance community and started clubbing around 1976, a golden age of music with the sound of Philadelphia soul, disco and jazz funk, first attending club nights in his local area, luckily enough to have some of the finest DJ’s of the time like Robbie Vincent and Greg Edwards regularly visit. Then down to clubs across London and the south, hosted by the talents of Paul ‘Trouble’ Anderson, George Power and Paul Murphy at clubs like Electric Ballroom, Crackers and Dingwalls, learning his craft from names and places that are now woven into the fabric of UK club culture.
Ashley joined local soundsystem ‘Stateside’ as a box boy, moving the mega speakers and equipment and also stored the records at his dads garage, having access to what would have been a massive collection of classic reggae, no doubt influenced his love of the genre throughout his career.
Later joining ‘Shock Soundsystem’ a collective of DJ’s who wanted to branch out musically from the standard reggae and dub sounds normally played, the artist now known as Zepherin Saint, his brother Stan Zeff and other friends merged soul, disco, rare groove, jazz, hip hop and were one of the first soundsystems to play the new emerging sound of house.
Like many other producers and DJ’s of the period, the soundsystem was instrumental in Ashley’s career and the biggest event for all the soundsystems was playing Notting Hill carnival, just like Jazzie B’s (Soul 2 Soul / Family Funktion) and Norman Jay (Great Tribulation / Good Times) made a name for themselves at Carnival, Shock also played regularly to crowds of 1000’s, they took on Soul 2 Soul in 1989 in a soundclash at Muswell Hill, and inspired not only Norman Jay to a change of direction after witnessing the crowds and music direction, also maybe affecting a 14 year old James Lavelle who attended that soundclash.
The collective went on to host the back room at one of London’s earliest house nights at legendary party ‘Clink’ and this led to Ashley’s first involvement in a recording ‘Give Me Back Your Love’ recorded under the name Boyz In Shock, creative input from many of the shock members, with production help and a remix from Chicago house originator Marshall Jefferson from Ten City and released on seminal house label Jack Trax.
Ashley then started to DJ on his own at various venues and worked in record shops across London and the south, when at Blackmarket records he got his hands on old tapes of Chicago DJ Ron Hardy, this would go on to influence the Black Science Orchestra sound, with Hardy’s use of disco edits. Later edits of Blue Magic’s ‘Welcome To The Club‘ and Isaac Hayes ‘I Can’t Turn Around‘, were a tribute to Hardy.
His first co-production was in 1990 on the Psychic Vitamins 12″ ‘Safe as Houses‘ written and produced by friends he met in Blackmarket, Simon Mattocks, Eddie Jones and DJ Shakra, apparently it got it’s first play by the warm up DJ on the Tonka Sound System in a London pub basement party on a Thursday night in 1990, well everyones got to start somewhere!
The Ballistic X-Press2 Orchestra Family
The first full production Ashley was involved in, was on the 1992 release ‘Where Were You’ alongside his longtime friend Rob Mello, John Howard and engineer/studio boss Danny Arno, later came Marc Woolford, Uschi Classen, and then Phil Asher and Lindsey Edwards, the group became known as The Black Science Orchestra and always had a fluidity in its membership.
It was released on ‘Junior Boys Own’ a record label born of the fanzine created by Terry Farley and the late Andrew Weatherall. Like many of the collaboration across the years, this was a chance encounter as Ashley just happened to be working in the office next door to the newly formed label.
Although respected in the UK, it was in the U.S where it really took off, played in New York by Frankie Knuckles, and a well told story goes, on a visit to NY, Ashley is present when Frankie plays record, he thanks him for that, Frankie responds “No, thank you so much for making it”.
Songs like ‘New Jersey Deep’ set the tone of the BSO sound, they intentionally created a more US house sound, quite different from where the Euro dance and UK rave sound was at, more influenced by the sounds played by US DJ’s like Frankie Knuckles and Masters At Work, it was MAW who broke the the latest release when they included it on a mixtape.
Influences also came from closer to home, like a project by Rob Mello previous to the BSO’s creation, ‘Disco Elements‘ on Azuli records, but it was a name from those days with the soundsystems which lit the spark for that first track, when Norman Jay recommended Ashley a record from the originator of the disco beat Earl Young, it was ‘The Trammps III‘ LP and the song that Ashley instantly connected with was ‘The Night The Lights Went Out’, that sample became ‘Where Were You’, BSO went on to remix the original in 98.
The long awaited LP ‘Walters Room‘ was just that, as even though it was recorded in 94 it was delayed by two years because of sample clearance issues, I can’t confim but it’s believed session musicians were brought in to overcome the problem. The title refers to another legendary DJ and remixer Walter Gibbons, the man who gave us the first commercial 12″ remix ‘Ten Percent’ by Double Exposure and was one of first US producers to incorporate techniques from dub reggae into his sound, much like many of Ashley’s own productions.
Not really next, but at the same time, as with most of Ashley’s career the projects were intertwined. ‘X-Press2’ with Rocky & Diesel started with the release of ‘Musik Xpress’ in 92 and ‘London X-Press’ in 93 . It was Terry Farley of Boys Own who came up with name X-Press2 as he liked the name S’express, Mark Moore’s chart topping dance act from the late 80’s.
It took nine years for the creation of the album ‘Muzikisum’ in 2001 released by SKINT, but with some major success for the outstanding and very catchy single ‘Lazy’ the collaboration with ‘Talking Heads’ David Byrne, reaching number two on the UK singles charts and number one in dance chart in multiple countries, it also earned Ashley an Ivor Novello award.
Collaborations will become the trend with Ashley’s music and there were plenty more with X-Press2, Dieter Meier of Yello on the first LP, then on 2009’s ‘Makeshift Feelgood’ LP, Tim DeLaughter from The Polyphonic Spree and Kurt Wagner from Lambchop on the excellent lead track ‘Give it’. Bernard Fowler on ‘Don’t Make Me Wait’ another homage to history of dance music, as it’s a cover of the Peech Boys track, the band formed by Larry Levan, DJ at the historic Paradise Garage, even working with the Hip Hop legend Africa Bambaataa on ‘Fire’, both can found on a the greatest hits and remix album ‘Raise your Hands‘ from 2008. Ashley left X-Press2 in 2009 to concentrate on his own music.
Listen to two great mixes from the collective, recorded back in the day and now hosted on Test Pressing, they’re described as early balearic mixes before everyone was making multiple genre mixes, part pop, disco, rock and electronic music, just quality tunes that sounded good then and still do now. Part 1 & Part 2.
The Ballistic Brothers project carried on the theme of multiple team members in the production with Rocky & Diesel, Dave Hill and Uschi Classen all involved once more, full of funk, breaks, hip hop and jazz grooves the ‘Ballistic Brothers vs.The Eccentric Afros’ EP’s Vol 1 & 2 was released in 94 on the label ran by Ashley and Uschi ‘On Delancey Street’.
The LP ‘London Hooligan Soul’ followed a year later, this time back on the Junior Boy’s Own label, although I recall Muzik Express from X-Press2 at the time, this was my real introduction to the music of Ashley, a record that left the same kind of impression as ‘Blue Lines’ by Massive Attack, a timeless album that changed the musical boundaries.
The next LP was two years down the line in 97 ‘Rude System’ was again released on a label linked to Ashley, Soundboy Entertainment. One of the artists that have inspired Ashley over the years is John Coltrane, a version of ‘Love Supreme’ as Pt 1 & 2 features on the album and for me is the stand-out track, amongst the deep jazz, ambient sounds and breaks.
The Extended Family
I know it’s meant to be a ‘where to start with’ article, a few choice tracks to get the reader interested in Ashley’s music, but there’s so much of it, where do you stop? the playlist is not sequenced in chronological order and is by no means every track released, but everything I can find that fits the flow and design of the playlist is there and those that aren’t and various albums have YouTube or Bandcamp links, but there’s probably still 100’s more songs and remixes I’ve not either mentioned or can’t locate to share.
So let’s go back to 1994 , it was a productive period, the release of ‘Big Bottom Hula’ with Ralph Lawson and Daddy Ash (I wonder who that might be) on Black Sunshine Records (yep another of Ashley’s labels), this was on Delancey St in London, yes that Delancey St, must be important, should have it’s own theme tune. Also on the label ‘Disco Evangelists’ Ashley and David Holmes combining on ‘De Niro – Spaceflight remix’ featuring on ‘Sasha Digweed – Renaissance The Mix Collection’ argued by some to be the best mix LP of all time, it was certainly popular, peaked at #9 in the UK compilation charts.
Then turning to the ‘East Village Loft Society’ AKA ‘The Delta House of Funk’ working with Uschi Classen and at times Marc Woolford again, big tune alert ** ‘Manhattan Anthem‘ inspired after a visit to Junior Vasquez’s club night Sound Factory around 95, also from East Village another real bit of quality ‘I Wanna Sing’ from 93.
The Delta House moniker was used extensively on original productions and remixes for the likes of Shara Nelson (the voice of Massive Attack – Unfinished Symphony) in 93 on ‘Uptight‘ and ‘Nobody’ in 94, then Ashley and Mark Woolford wrote and produced the song ‘Rough with Smooth’ for the LP ‘Friendly Fire’ in 95. Getting ‘Deep‘ with East 17 on remix release for thier single ‘Steam’, then onto some stateside action with ‘Feenin‘ by Jodeci on The Delta 70 B Boy classic remix.
Two personal favourites ‘Hold My Peace’ and ‘Friendly Pressure’ by Jhelisa, little known fact, to me anyway, Jhelisa’s cousin is Carleen Anderson from the Young Disciples, who’s mother was Vicki Anderson, a singer with James Brown throughout the 60’s and 70’s the and wife of a J.B, the great Bobby Byrd. There were three songs with UK soul singer Gabrielle ‘Because of You‘ Delta House of Funk mix, ‘So Glad‘ Delta Classic mix and ‘Baby I’ve Changed‘ Ole Ruffneck Sound mix
Away from the Delta and to a far off land, where sometime in the early 90’s the Sunz Of Ishen were born and just as quickly disappeared, as there was just the one track ‘Who Killed the King‘ a project with multiple artists including Douglas McCarthy of Nitzer Ebb. Blink and you’d miss them, along came the Urban Bushmen, should really have been called Urban Bushman, ‘Logorhythmic Black’ was a rare solo release.
All the gang involved once more, Woolford, Classen and Diesel returned on the EP entitled ‘Roots Revolutions’ in 95, released on Narcotic and later that year ‘Revolutions in Dub’ with a classy Deep Dish remix of the lead track ‘Jumpin at the Factory Bar’ and the second sighting of Daddy Ash, another of Ashley’s studio names to add to the long list, this one for more dub based music (more on that later).
Ashley has been involved with as many record labels as he’s had aliases, Afro Art was formed in 1996 and the first release was ‘Universal Jones’ with Dr Bob Jones, a DJ I remember (vaguely) listening to myself on the on-site radio at the first Southport weekender (at Berwick) way back in 87, he’s been a staunch supporter of jazz dance music all his career and is claimed was the first DJ to play jazz on a modern dance floor back in 1971. As expected this was a classy release, ‘Phoenix Rising’ combining Brazilian rhythms, sounds and percussion programmed for the dancefloor.
Not the first time he’d worked with the good doctor that was in 93 as Daddy Ash (him again), the closest yet Ashley had come to using his own name, additional production on two songs by UK Soul/Pop act Workshy, ‘Never The Same Again’ and ‘Heaven Sent.
In the same year Daddy Ash worked on the Marden Hill recording ‘Come On’ released on Mo Wax, the seminal trip hop label founded by that young fan from the Soul II Soul soundclash, James Lavelle. The band went on the release an album ‘Blown Away’ on Ashley’s label ‘On Delancey St’. The band were on the brink of success, but for reasons unbeknown turned down North American tours with Massive Attack and Beck and even Glastonbury, the band were often described as ahead of their time, so much so, that we’re just catching up with the sound in 2021, as Ramrock Records has just released a believed to be lost LP ‘Casino Muse‘ recently found in the basement of the bands creator Mark Daniels.
Delancey St was referenced again on the short lived label ‘Mass Of Black Delancey’ with just seven releases in 95/96 mainly from Bradford based band ‘The Glamorous Hooligan’ check out this slice of moody trip hop ‘Terrace Flu‘. It was surprisingly a label that to my knowledge didn’t contain any remixes or production duties from the man himself.
In 1999 Ashley joined forces again with Marc Woolford for some co-production and remixes on the Afro Art label, one of many new personal discovery’s for me writing this was Jenny Devivo’s ‘Season of the Witch’ haunting vocals and the booming bassline, familiar to any EPMD fan. The label went onto release music from a wide selection of artists including more Black Science Orchestra tracks like ‘Sunshine’, coming full circle again when Terry Farley and his musical partner Pete Heller remixed it and there is really sweet Balearic style dub released in 2002 by Paul Murphy, legendary Jazz DJ of the Wag club (you may recall a club Ashley visited when he was younger) Murphy later went onto manage the label.
Back to 1997, well 96 first with Los Jugaderos, Phil Asher (RIP) is back as a partner, with the disco-funk influenced ‘Barrio Stress’ EP, this partnership was also known as The Rising Sunz, the ‘Lessons’ EP on New York label ‘Henry St Music’ it was full of jazz grooves and broken beats and also featured Uschi Classen once more on keyboards.
Record label #64 was born, Illsun Wreckords a label dedicated to house, lasting only a year between 96 and 97 with releases from Rocky as Problem Kids, with remixes from BSO on ‘Feel Alright’ and a solo mix on ‘Mardi Gras’, Rocky and Uschi Classen combined as Straighlife on ‘The Message‘ and Laj Gloves, otherwise known as Raj Gupta (more from him later), released ‘Continuum‘, somehow Ashely contained himself and didn’t supply remixes for either track (as far as I know).
‘The Jamayka Boyz Presents – Dancehall Sessions’ released again on Junior Boys Own, was another short lived solo project from Ashley, just three tracks, the dub influenced dance of ‘Good Body Boys’ and slower tempo progressive dub sounds of ‘Good Body’ and ‘Rastaman’.
In 1997 Ashley was referenced on the Daft Punk track ‘Teachers’, a song that the French duo list their own inspirational figures in dance music history, included with such luminaries as George Clinton, Louie Vega, Kenny Dope, DJ Sneak, Armando, Luke Slater, Armand Van Helden Romanthony, Dave Clarke… Ashley had already or went on to create music or play alongside many of the names included.
In 1999 the Grassroots mix LP was released to critical acclaim, still to this day respected and adored by fans. Showcasing Ashley’s musical roots and inspirations, soul, jazz, disco cuts, many of them not known to your average music fan, featuring the likes of Freddie Hubbard, Windy City Orchestra and Stan Ivory And His Omnificent Orchestra.
I’d read you’re interested in getting involved in soundtracks in the future like your friend David Holmes. The X-Press2 track ‘Lazy’ ft David Byrne is soon to be featuring on the Spike Lee directed movie ‘American Utopia’, you must be proud of that, but what classic film would you have loved to have done the soundtrack for.
“I’d love to have done ‘Babylon’ – Dennis Bovell did the original score which was brilliant.”
Read more below on Ashley’s love of reggae, as next up on the timeline was a short-lived but impressive project the ‘Black Jazz Chronicles’ with Marc Woolford a few EP’s and one LP ‘Future JuJu’ all on Nuphonic records over the course of a year. Fela Kuti is one of the artists who has influenced Ashley over his career and he dedicated the ‘Black Jazz Chronicles’ project to Fela.
A one-track release project with Darren House (Diesel) from Ballistic Brother’s and the X-Press2 on ‘Big Sur Highway’ under the title Human Arts, then with the other half of XP2 Darren Rock (Rocky) transformed into the ‘Mole Clinic’ in 99 with ‘Buggin’ and some Latin influenced house.
Just the one outing for moniker #198 ‘Dynamic Shadows’ going back to 2000 on the track ‘Lowriders Listen To The Band’ and that man Woolford once more riding pillion with Ashley.
Heavy Disco began as party in the early 2000’s, with Diesel and Dave Jarvis (Moton Records), the tagline was ‘Heavy Makes You Happy’. Deeper records from all genres and lots of unexpected turns, music to put a smile on your face, not follow trends. It went on to give a new recording name to the story ‘The London Heavy Disco Revue’ released on ‘Out Hear Audio’ yeah of course ran by Ashley, to release his productions and those from artists, ‘She’ ‘Pulp Disco and the Outcasts’ and ‘April March‘ but most of releases were under the Heavy Disco banner, with Darren Morris accompanying on production ‘Balloon Room‘ ‘And Justice For All‘ ‘Move It‘ ‘Riot on Broadway‘ and many more I’ve just spent a unsuccessful hour looking for links for, but there was a compilation of the edits in 2012 ‘Heavy Disco – The Trials And Tribulations Of Heavy Disco (The Legendary Edits From The Legendary Night)‘ if you’re luckily enought to find a copy, you’ll find edits from the Dells to Rod Stewart. The party and music philosophy inspired a radio show many years later.
Ashley returned the favour to Farley for the X-Press2 name when he came up with the name for Dave Jarvis and Terry Farley’s ‘Faith’ party, which spawned the Faith messageboard and Fanzine, with a little help from George Michael or at least the video for Faith, as when Terry asked Ashley if he could come up with one for the party, later that day as he watched the TV the video for Faith came on, two important parts of UK dance culture were born, the messageboard was an institution for many dance enthusiasts fanzine ran for years and is back in print today, brought to life by the Defected record label last year and the Faith party still continues, celebrating its 21st birthday this year.
You were (allegedly) involved on some pirate radio stations back in the day ’STUDIO FM’ and a show with ‘Coldcut’ you’ve also cited ‘DBC Dread broadcasting corporation’ and ‘KissFM’ as influences in your career, what effect has radio had on your career as a listener/fan and artist, is it important to you to connect with your audience?
“I was actually on Kiss FM as a presenter when it first went legal. However, after playing ‘Self Preservation Society’ by Quincy Jones (from the OST ‘The Italian Job), I was shown the door! Radio is hugely important on getting my music across and the reverse of that enables me to hear new music from other artists. I think radio is enjoying a renaissance and I have a show on Worldwide FM once a month called ‘Heavy Disco Spectacular’ where I have a great rapport with my listeners via the chat room + Discord. It’s important to engage with everyone who listens.”
How do you choose the music for your radio show and how is the planned Podcast idea going?
“Jo is my producer for the ‘Heavy Disco Spectacular’ and, if you’re a regular listener, you’ll recognise the show’s format – three distinct sections – chilled, picking up the tempo and dancefloor. That gives us both the freedom to select music that can fit into one of those three sections and allow me to build up the show to end on a ‘Heavy Disco’ high! Jo is very strict on the quality control and makes sure that I adhere to the ‘Heavy makes you happy’ theory. The podcast idea is still in the development stage.”
I personally recommend the radio show, Ashley digs deep for classics and underground music, the best of the latest releases and lots of edits and dubplate action, sample some of his selections on the playlist below, no match for the show itself of course as many tracks not available on Spotify, I’ve swapped out unavaliable edits for originals and will update each month with music as it’s released and new show updates.
Ashley has worked with, produced and remixed music for some of the biggest and most famous names in the music industry, first we head all the way back to 93 with a mix for Detriot’s finest Inner City, joined by Uschi Classen on the East Village mix of the Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway disco classic ‘Back Together Again’.
Next stop Planet 9 with a remix for US rapper Justin Warfield, ‘Fisherman’s Grotto’ the Delta House Of Funk Vocal mix, originally on a quality LP ‘My Field Trip to Planet 9’, not sticking to one genre, from disco to hip hop, next came Indie Rockers Manic Steet Preachers and ‘Roses in the Hospital‘ with two mixes, O G Psychomental and 51 Funk Salute.
94 was a short story, the Delta Freestyle Jam for Iziz on the track ‘Izit Everywhere’, actually they aren’t anywhere, as couldn’t find a link to share the track with you.
Onto 95 and the a run in with the Police, not the bizzies but Sting and his gang, joined by DJ Harvey with a wonderful edit of Balaeric classic ‘Voices In My Head’, repressed for record store day in 2013 and sold out in on the day and everytime its been repressed, the same happens, sign of a proper classic, talking of classics sometine in the mid 90’s, Ashley remixed of the B Boy anthem ‘Breakers Revenge’ by legendary remixer Arthur Baker on the relaunch of his Minimal record label.
Another instance of Ashley’s remixes featuring on a successful compilation album, the mix of Moloko’s ‘Lotus Eaters’ Funk In Your Neighbourhood first released in 96, but also featured on bands ‘All Back to Mine’ compilation in 2001.
Also in 96 lots of Black Science Orchestra titled remixes, ‘Alabama Blues’ from French musician St Germain on the Black Science Orchestra Philly Phunk Edit, The Dub Science Disco Mix of ‘It’s Music‘ by Century Falls, The Black Science Alchemy Rebirth mix of ‘The 13th Key’ by Sunship and a mix for Japanese producers Crue-L Grand Orchestra on ‘Mo’R‘.
Some big names of the industry in 97, starting with Scottish Rockers Texas and ‘Put Your Arms Around Me’ the Spooky Dub mix, Manc soul singer Lisa Stansfield with Black Science Orchestra remix of ‘The Line’ and Liverpool band the Lighting Seeds on ‘What You Say’ – Psychedelic Beach Funk Vocal mix and the Black Science Restoration Vocal mix of ‘Armed And Extremely Dangerous’ by 70’s Philly soul girl group First Choice.
Working alongside James Brown on ‘Lost and Found’ by D*Note with the Spiritual Union vocal mix, James is a producer and engineer who has joined Ashley in most of his projects from BSO to Problem Kids and many of the edits and remixes from Bent to The Streets, then Ashley was back with once again with good friend Phil Asher and his Restless Soul project on the Deep Love Science mix of ‘Mama‘
98 was another busy year, working on UK garage classic ‘Sincere‘ by MJ Cole and another big chart hit from Cornershop ‘Sleep on the Left Handside’. Onto 80’s band Heaven 17 and ‘Let Me Go‘ on the Modern Travel Dub Mix from the Retox / Detox remix album.
A sweet downtempo groove on a very different interpretation of Jay Kay’s ‘When You Gonna Learn‘ with the Mr. Beedle’s Spacer Out!! by Brazilian singer Clara Moreno, whose parents are two legends of Brazilian jazz, Joyce and Nelson Angelo.
Onto a project from Dave Jarvis and Greg Belson, Native Soul on ‘New Day‘ with the Black Science Mississippi Black Sunday Remix and a few years later with the duo on a track featuring Mr Saturday night Oliver Cheatham ‘Our Day Will Come’.
From a compilation of remixed disco and dance classics ‘Everybody Dance and the track or sample where it all started with ‘The Night The Lights Went Out’ by The Trammps and the Black Science NY Story Part 2, presumably Part 1 was that first BSO track ‘Where Were You’.
1999 saw Ashley working with legendary reggae and dub producers Sly & Robbie on ‘Softcore Surge‘ and techno trainspotters Underworld on Save Our Disco’s Re-edit of ‘King of Snake’, more BSO on the Superman Lover Vocal of ‘Baby Love’ by New Jersey’s Cassio.
On another techno classic in 2000, Laurent Garnier’s classic ‘Man with the Red Face‘, if you didn’t already know there literally was a red faced man, it was the saxophonist, when recording the solo Laurent pushed him harder and harder for the sound he wanted by basically telling him it was sounded shit and needed to try harder, I’ve tried that at work as productivity technique, it doesn’t work, you obviously also need some gallic charm.
Working with the music of Brazilian Airto Morieira, the great jazz drummer & percussionist on the remix LP ‘Revenge of the Killer Bees’ on the track ‘City Sushi’, the deep into the ‘Swarm’ by Eardrop Killa B remix.
The list of names you have worked with seems endless and is full of quality singers and musicians, but which release, did you enjoy working on the most and which one are you most proud of?
“It’s a tough one but it’s going to have to be ‘Lazy’. Whenever I hear the tune, I can recall the exact timeline of the project and I can only give much love to David Byrne, Rocky and Diesel.”
Onto UK House originator A Guy Called Gerald on the Ashley Beedle’s Love And Compassion mix of ‘Humanity‘ and ‘Answering Machine‘ by Chicago producer Green Velvet, this time back with Rocky and Diesel on the X-Press2 Direct Line mix, there was numerous remixes credited to X-Press2 from 92 right through to Ashley leaving the group.
Sadly most of them, well pretty much all of them not available for streaming, but included on the playlist is the Farley and Heller project Fire Island with ‘There But for the Grace of God’ a cover of 70’s classic by Machine, co-written by August Darnell, known to most for frontin Kid Creole and the Coconuts from 94 and on a different X-Press train, all the way from Chicago, from producer Mike Dunn the MD X-Spress, with ‘God Made Me Phunky’
By the power of YouTube, here’s a few more random selections from the 100’s of X-press2 remixes, first some Shades of Rhythm and the rave classic ‘Sound of Eden‘ a bit of trance from PQM on the Song of the Machine on ‘The Flying Song‘ the 90’s banger ‘Funk Phenomena‘ from Armand Van Helden, bleeps and beeps on Missy Elliot’s ‘We Run This‘ ‘My Prerogative‘ what I put on this page, so there’s even a bit of Britney, then back again with Talking heads frontman David Byrne in 2002 on a club and dub mix of ‘UB Jesus‘.
Just a few remixes not under the X-Press2 name as far as I can find in 2001/2, one for Finnish band Pepe Deluxe ‘Before You Leave’ and the Black Science Orchestra’s Last Stand Remix and then getting deep again in New Jersey with Josh Milan and Blaze, featured on the bands album Spiritually Speaking with ‘Breathe’.
Ashley’s first appearance on the Late Night Tales compilation with Shawn Lee’s ‘Happiness’ and the AB West Coast mix for Zero7’s take on the legendary mix series. Remixing under his AOM guise as Senegalese singer, guitarist and percussionist Baaba Maal on ‘Fa Laay Fanaan’ on the LP Quango – Global Adventures in Music and on the Air America Vocal of Coloursound’s ‘Fly With Me‘ and Soultek Vocal mix of ‘Harder‘ by Bristol band Kosheen.
Top of the Pops (not literally) in 2003 with a re-edit of global superstar Elton John with ‘Are You Ready For Love’ it reached No.1 in the UK Singles Chart, followed by some dreamy cabaret pop on Ashley Beedle’s Isola Madre Vocal Remix of Ilya’s ‘Bellissimo‘
Onto another Heavy Disco mix, this time with Mr Acid Jazz, Jamiroquai on ‘Seven Days in Sunny June’ the song a throwback to Jay Kay’s early sound, finishing off the year flexing his muscles on the Buff Boy Vocal Remix of Nathan Haines ‘Doot Dude‘.
Ashley was really on a roll in this period as up next was a remix of Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up” alongside Damian “Junior Gong” Marley’s “Welcome to Jamrock” to create the mash-up ‘Stand Up Jamrock’ the Marley family loved the track so much they ended up including it on a Bob Marley compilation LP ‘Africa Unite The Singles Collection’. It went on to chart at #1 on the Jamaican National Charts in 2005.
A brief rave-up in 2005 with a remix for Japanese producers C0-Fusion on Hot! Hot! under the banner ‘Rightism’ with Dan Tyler of the Idjut Boys and Phantom Slasher.
You were diagnosed as bi-polar in 2006 and it seems what was a never ending output of remixes seemed to become more sporadic, did it affect how you approached your work and the choices you made, regarding recording and remix work?
“I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar Type 1 in the mid 2000’s but it got progressively worse until I was sectioned in 2014 when I was finally given the correct treatment. It was a gradual recovery over the following two years during which you see North Street West productions taking off in 2016.
This coincided with the improvement of my mental health. Since then, I’ve experienced a total return to form and an even more creative approach to music across many genres. My recovery is due to the NHS and the wonderful support network of mental health practitioners and family – all praises due.”
If working with the music of Elton, The Police and Bob Marley wasn’t enough in 2005, Ashley produced a Heavy Disco remix for the Rolling Stones song ‘Rain Fall Down‘ and later in 2007 on the solo Jagger song ‘Charmed Life’
With 2006 being an obviously difficult year, Ashley still managed to work with Crazy P on ‘Can’t Get Down’ and in ‘1973‘ sorry 2007 with James Blunt, 1973 was inspired by the club scene in Ibiza, Ashley himself spent many summers there, with the success of X-Press2 this led to a residency at Pacha in party isle, with the trio of DJ’s displaying some three-deck wizardry, and Ashley himself playing right through the 90’s at Space and Amnesia, and then some of the biggest club nights of UK, Cream, Fabric and Electric Chair.
Another short-lived project ‘Ralph Ünd Beedle’, with two tracks ‘Ride This Train’ in 2007 ‘Made Of Stars’ in 2009 with Mark Ralph, a guitarist who’s featured on recordings from the likes of Gwen Stefani, Roy Ayers, Sister Sledge, Pet Shop Boys, Ringo Starr, Ronnie Wood and Robbie Williams. If you’re in another country you can possibly listen to the tracks here, on a great compilation from Ashley’s label ‘Out Hear Audio’ but currently not avaliable in the UK. Then finishing the year with a smile and Max Sedgley’s ‘Happy’, the Ashley Beedle’s Headhunter’s Revenge Vocal Remix.
A slower output of remixes and edits in 2009 but quality makes up for quantity, standing out, is the exquisite Heavy Disco edit of ‘Running Up That Hill‘ by Kate Bush on Modern Artifact. Then meeting up with his friend Dr Bob Jones, who was still working at the legendary Southport Weekender, 22 years from when I first heard him on the on-site radio. Ashley and King Britt created the official DJ mix, two eclectic mixes and exclusive Heavy Disco Edit of Peven Everett’s ‘Surely Shorty’ from Ashley. The pair played at the 43rd event of what had the finest events of its kind, fans of all kinds of dance music travel from all over Europe, US and beyond to attend.
The collaboration with Jamaican roots reggae singer Horace Andy on ‘Inspiration Information 2‘ was incredibly put together in five days, when the record label ‘Strut’ asked Ashley to produce the second instalment of this project, the first was from Amp Fiddler and Sly and Robbie, Horace Andy known to most non reggae fans as the voice of Massive Attack’s ‘Angel’ provides the vocals to a selection of his own songs and two covers, Mark Ralph again joined up with AB on production and a remix version followed with mixes by Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy, Toddler T and the Souljazz Orchestra, watch two minutes of that five day recording process below.
2010 saw a bunch of remixes from the previous decade from the likes of Armand Van Helden, Mighty Dub Katz and the Whip released on Norman Cook’s record label ‘Southern Fried Records‘ brought together on digital compilation.
The ‘Afrikanz On Marz’ name first appeared on a remix of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti on a remix album ‘Shoki remixed’ on Nuphonic in 2000 and then later as a production and remix project with long time partner Darren Morris in 2010, released on various labels including yet another one from Mr Beedle ‘Modern Artifacts’ label, lots of AOM releases on this label including a remix of Brazilian jazz great’s Azymuth ‘E Mulher’.
One of the most creative pseudonyms yet in 2011 on the ‘Detroit Urban Gardening Ensemble’ with Take Root’ (Ashley Beedle’s Dearborn Heights Rework. So vague and little information I don’t actually know if its actually an ensemble with the usual crowd or a solo tidy-up of downtown Detroit.
Another collaboration was ‘YamBee!’ YamWho and Beedle = YamBee on Modern Artifacts, edits of ‘Riders on the Storm‘ and ‘Eminence Front‘ (by the Who) and on the Out Hear Audio label ‘Chemical Love’ in 2011 and remixes of Black Science Orchestra track ‘Blacker’ on Midnight Riot label of Yamwho and a remix of another classic Azymuth track ‘Jazz Carnival’ on Far out recordings.
YamWho aka Andy Williams is a DJ I fairly recently heard myself at a local party put on by a friend, another guest DJ at one of the parties was none other than the man himself and I bloody missed it after attending most of the previous ones, say’s something about Ashley, Andy and the likes of Al Kent, Unabomber and Colin Curtis that they attended these small events aimed at discerning music loving crowd, promoter Jonathan below joined by Ash about to take the controls.
Back to Ashley’s story and one that continues with Darren Morris as it will for some time and the one album released in 2010 under the name ‘Mavis’ it’s a personal favourite, Inspired by the creative output of Mavis Staples, the duo recorded an instrumental track influenced by the Bert Bacharach sound and shared it first with Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner then over time a very varied selection of artists including John Turrell, Cerys Mathews, Candi Staton, Edwyn Collins, Ed Harcourt added vocals to the same track, then the backing tracks were subverted, yet still connected by the influence of Mavis and Bacharach and four years later the album was born.
The edit for a future compilation of ‘In A Week In A Day’ Ashley Beedle´s Streetsoul Edit on Tru Thoughts, by Australian singer Kylie Auldist, a vocalist who has recorded with the countries best exports The Bamboo’s and Cookin on 3 Burners. Then Afrikanz On Marz were back on the remix of ‘Positive Vibe’ a song by Bah Samba and jazz funk legend Roy Ayers.
‘DarkStarr’ was another remix partnership, this time with the lady from the loft Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy. Colleen was David Mancuso’s DJ partner when he brought his legendary party to London, Ashley cites Mancuso’s influence in his own selections played as a DJ, just good quality music aimed at the dancefloor, not following trends or genres. Over a five year period between 2010-2015, the duo worked on remixes for the likes of ‘2 Bears’ and ‘Beardyman’ and Colleen added her cosmodelica percussive magic to ‘When the Rain Falls’ for the ‘Inspiration Information’ remix album.
In 2011 Ashley was back with Yam Who on the Yambee! Sunday Service remix of Chicago DJ and producer Roy Davis Jr’s ‘About Love’. Then two remixes on the Odyssey’s remix album ‘Return Flight’ in 2011, first on the bands disco classic ‘Native New Yorker’ and Afrikanz On Marz & Yam who mix of ‘O DJ KO’ then a year later with the Ashley Beedle’s Big Apple Uptown Story mix of ‘Weekend’, joined again by Yamwho on keys and percussion.
Darren and Ashley also remixed Gil Scott Heron’s song ‘New York is Killing Me‘ from Gil’s re-birth LP ‘I’m Here Now’, released 16 years after his last recording, the remix was released on another AB label ‘Modern Artifacts’ in 2012. Ashley had some experience working with the music of Gil Scott Heron, well kind of, years ago before any dreams of being a world class producer, aged 18 his mam bought him a drum kit, after a few months of practise and realising he was not going to be the new Clyde Stubblefield, he traded them in for one of the first drum machines from toy maker Matell, channeling his inner Brian Jackson, he bashed the buttons along to some Gil Scotf Heron classics, asked now of he plays a musical instrument, he would say percussion, albeit in a digital manner.
In 2013 two remixes with another drummer Manchester DJ and producer Danny Ward or Moodymanc, first on Justin Velor’s ‘Back To The Source’ on the Ashley Beedle & Moodymanc After Dark Vocal remix and on Danny’s own production ‘Church’.
Previously working with Candi Staton on the Mavis project, it was time to work on a classic from her back catalogue ‘Hallelujah Anyway’ and the Yardism Dub version, released on Defected.
In that same year came a cheeky re-edit of a band, he’d been recommended to check out for a few years, for once you could say he was late to the party, just discovering the amazing nusic of Stereolab, once he’d heard it he instantly became a fan and still is to this day, that edit was ‘Ping Pong – Heavy Disco Edit’, you can listen to it on this mix recorded for Beats In Space, alongside edits of Duran Duran, Gaz Coombes of Supergrass and the Police. Ashley isn’t just a fan of the musical styles he produces, he’s always had an interest in indie, rock, jazz, afrobeat, every branch of music, as he says “good music is good music doesn’t matter about genre” discovering Pattie Smith on John Peel, digging the US and UK new wave music, iconic artists like Sun Ra, The Fall, Joy Division…
In 2014, Ashley formed, I think, the last of his record labels ‘Back To The World’ signing established artists like Adamski and upcoming producers Serbian Igor Jadranin and Waterson whose debut release ‘Tell Me’ became one of the biggest dance releases of 2015 and received the North Street remix treatment, more on that later, there was also some ‘Spanish Hustle’ with Darren Morris as the ‘Crazy Godz’. Production and remix duties on ‘Ghostdancers’ with Earl Zinger, the 2016 mix entitled ‘Cock Happy Vocal Mix’ for me is one of the best songs of the last decade, I reckon many folks will agree with me on that.
John Turrell featured on the Mavis album in 2010, this time it was Ashley’s turn to bring his own magic touch to the northern funk of Smoove and Turrell, on the electro soul of ‘Will You Be Mine’ and again six years later with the NSW remix of ‘It Ain’t Working’ from the bands rather tasty ‘Stratos Bleu’ remix LP. Then another familiar remix project returned with the Afrikanz On Marz mix on ‘Never Moving’ by Fat Freddy’s Drop. Followed by the Ashley Beedle’s Black Bahia Rework of ‘Toda Menina Baiana’ by yet another master of Brazilian music Gilberto Gil, on Fatboy Slim’s ‘Bem Brazil‘ remix compilation project.
2014 was also a year for Edits Edits and more edits on the compilation LP ‘Message in the Music – The Ashley Beedle Edits’ actually commissioned in 2009 by Iabel boss of Harmless records Ian Dewhirst, himself no stranger to a quality compilation. Ashley was asked to re-edit songs from the back catologue of Demon records with fully licensed edits, now here was the problem, as edits were made and time progressed the licences ran out and there were missing master tapes, companies changing hands during the process, but this made for a quality comp as Ashley had to dig deep, many of these tracks appeared on CD for the first time and most of them as edits by any producer for the first time. From classic soul and disco to 70’s AOR and psychedelic rock.
Making an appearance on the Hoof’s playlist is Gene Chandler ‘All About the Paper’ Doris Duke ‘Woman of the Ghetto’ Ruth Copeland ‘Gimme Shelter’ Cheeba ‘The 8th Day’ and Family ‘Burlesque’. Sadly all the edits are not avaliable on Spotify but you can listen on the playlist below to a few others and the original versions of music by Cado Belle, The Fall, Panama, Holland-Dozier, Bill Withers, Cymande, Donna McGhee, The Three Pieces, Switch, New York Port Authority, The Gap Band and I’ve took the liberty of adding a selection of original songs from how can we say, less official edits by Ashley and a few extra tracks that would I think appreciate a bit of that A-B magic. ‘Journey To The Light‘ Brainstorm ‘Soul Sleeper‘ Astra Nova Orchestra and ‘Whatcha Gonna Do‘ Heaven N’ Hell are only available on YouTube.
In 2014 Africanz on Marz shared remix duties on a EP from New Zealand band Fat Freddys Drop with good friend Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy and YamWho, the AOM mix of ‘Never Moving’ is a sweet slice of blissed out cosmic dub.
Lay Far remixed ‘Tell Me’ by Waterson on Ashley’s Back to the World label, so the favour is returned on the Russian producer’s own EP with ‘Slope’ and ‘Doctor Feelgood’ on Local Talk records and ‘Yes You Can’ on a Moscow based label, that’s worth checking out if you’re not aware of it ‘In – Beat – Ween – Music‘.
Ashley also worked on the music of none other than Johnny Mathis with ‘Love My Lady’ (The Black Bahia Version) from the unreleased album, written and produced by Chic founders Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, that was completed in 1981 but not released in its entirety until 2017.
The story began with Andrew Weatherall and the Junior Boys fanzine and record label for Black Science Orchestra and it reached another high when Weatherall played Ashley’s remix of ‘Mama’ – Unmask Me, as the last tune of the Convenanza Festival and the reception it received, once again shone the light again as a producer and it also went on be voted highly by DJ History as the No.2 best single of 2017.
Then in 2019 reworking a hit from the Acid Jazz label in the the 90’s, ‘Mini’ by Corduroy released on the LP ‘Rare Stock’ a collection of out-takes and rarities. Then working with Laville, the rising star of the label, on a mix of ‘This City’ from the LP ‘The Wanderer, a personal favourite remix of mine and talking of favourites…
I’d read your favourite ever mix you’ve done is Bent – Always – Mahavishnu Remix, has that been bettered recently with the Lou Hayter and Lady Blackbird remixes and what is your current and all time favourite remix from another producer?
“Everything for me has an equal place. In terms of the Bent remix, a lot of other people have classified it as their favourite Ashley Beedle remix. It’s certainly up there with my most successful remixes. From my perspective, remixes don’t ‘top trump’ each other – they’re just different. So Bent, Lou Hayter, Lady Blackbird, Ghetto Priest, Groove Armada, Kameelah Waheed, Glenn Davis and many more are all equally fantastic.
The one remix I wish I’d done is the Frankie Knuckles + Eric Kupper remix of Holly Johnson’s ‘Follow your heart’ – stunning.
I can give you a current production rather than a remix which is a complete classic which is Bruise’s ‘Grand Hi’.”
Ashley is a producer who wears many hats (literally) not scared to create art for arts sake, doesn’t follow trends and likes to bend the musical rules, none more so on his that long awaited recording, solely under his own name, the 2012 release of the Yardism EP and follow up a year after, which was the record of the Month in DJ Magazine. The two EP’s reflect the influence of reggae and soundsystem culture on UK dance music, and yes it’s dance music but done in a way that soaks up the all the influences of a 40 year career.
He still actively collects reggae vinyl and started a party in Manchester in 2013 called ‘Best Dressed Chicken’ with a friend after making their our own jerk seasoning recipe, hoping to take the food and music combination to festivals.
Some dubplate action on his Modern Artifacts label in 2013 ‘Ashley Beedle vs Warbox’ and the ‘MoreTrouble’ EP. Warbox is a name used for more reggae and dub based projects, first used on a track by Warbox Allstars ‘Nyah ManSoul’ in 2006 ‘Gang Nairobi’ with Ross Allen featuring the vocal talents of Saul Williams, then on a remix for Lily Allen on LDN both in 2007 and even giving Suggs and ‘Madness’ the Warbox treatment on ‘Dust Devil’ in 2009.
Back in 1998 he recorded what I believe is the only mix of reggae and dub for Pete Tongs Radio1 essential mix and what is possibly the best (certainly what I’ve heard) DJ style mix of the genres.
You describe reggae as foundation music, how has your love of the genre shaped your musical output over the years, with your background in soundsystem culture and your production sound seemingly inspired by the heavy, sparse sound of 80’s reggae.
“Reggae has been an immeasurable part of my musical molecular structure. I’ve had Warbox Outernational as a reggae production moniker for years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Horace Andy, I put Bob Marley + Damien Marley to #1 in Jamaica on Tuff Gong and I’ve just finished working on the late great U Roy and Shaggy remix project. Long may it continue.”
The ‘Best Dressed Chicken’ nights seem to have stopped some time ago, but can you tell us did you perfect your jerk chicken recipe?
“Yes – it’s more Bajan than Jamaican – less fiery and more emphasis on the spices and lime….but that’s all I’m prepared to give away.”
The Ramrock And North Street Family
The Ramrock Records adventures began in 2014 with the first release, a homage to Desmond Dekker’s original Rudeboy anthem ‘Return Of The Gentleman Rudeboy’ from the Ramrock Allstars label owner Jo Wallace, Beedle and Morris, Ft DOxman Pon Mike. Another track featuring that man DOxman was the North Street remix of ‘Find A Way’ by DB Cohen & Mark Professor.
A great piece of dub was the Dr Rey remix of ‘Trust in Me’ by the Dissent (now we’re on pseudonyms of the pseudonyms) as Dr Rey is basically Jo, Ashley and Darren, the North Street remix team or the Ramrock Allstars. Are you keeping up?
Then in 2016 the Allstars with the first of many creative outputs with Ghetto Priest on ‘Life ain’t Easy’. A NSW remix of Hercules followed later, then earlier this year a great dub version made exclusively for Don Letts and his creation for the ‘Late Night Tales’ mix series ‘Version Excursion’. The most recent collaboration is on ‘I Don’t Want To See You Cry’ with both a Dr Rey and NSW remix… (Even I’m lost off now!)
Just to confuse things the ‘Afrikanz On Marz’ are back with their jazzy flavours, the piano mix of ‘Blue Bossa – My Feeling’ by Born74 & Arema Arega on Ramrock, not content with one label owner Jo Wallace created Ramrock in 2014 and also likes to keep us guessing where the music is coming from as there’s Ramrock Blue, Ramrock Red, Ramrock Retro and a dedicated house music label F*CLR (ahhhhh) here goes..
All the colours of Ramrock led to releases from Mr Bird ft the wonderful vocal talents of Mr Greg Blackman ‘Over Again’ & ‘Where Did The Party Go’ Electric Wire Hustle Ft Kimbra ‘Brother Sun’ Tom Glide ft Chidi with two right old sing-a-long tunes ‘Old Skool Dayz’ & ‘Soul Train’ and a great Hip Hop/R&B style sound of Daniel March ‘Falling For You’ and yes they’ve all received the North Street remix treatment, including Reggie Boone’s ‘Made In Love’ produced by only Jo and Darren, as was ‘Kind Of Strange’ from Edinburgh Collective Out Of The Ordinary, released on Ramrock Red, also solely Jo Wallace on the sublime remix of ‘Take a Left’, the first outing of many for Joseph Malik on Ramrock.
A Retro label repressing and releasing the like Gladys Knight and the Pips, Aaron Neville and a quality remix from Ashley of Rare Pleasure’s ‘Superfine Feeling’.
Also on the Ramrock rainbow of labels featuring a NSW remix, is the cool laid back future jazz sound of Future Unit’s ‘Lazy Bones’ L.A rappers Substance Abuse and a sweet slice of laidback old skool style hip hop with ‘Bridges’. NY rappers Shea Face and the self-proclaimed ‘Spike Lee of Hip-Hop’ SoSoon with Konkrete Big Apple, and the blazin funk of Leicester based band King Brasstards ‘Up All Night’ EP.
Joseph Malik produced ‘Meadows’ with a very creative use of the Jefferson Airplane track ‘Today’ although containing only one NSW remix his second solo album ‘Diverse Part2’ was also released on Ramrock, a LP of diverse soulful music redefining genres.
Then Ramrock introduced us to rapper/singer/poet Kameelah Waheed with the soulful house sound of ‘Holding On’. Kameelah would then go onto feature on ‘Diverse Part 3’ from Malik, with many other guest singers and rappers, recorded during the BLM protests across the UK and USA, listen to Kameelah and Joseph discuss the issues below.
Diverse Part 3 was chosen as Craig Charles album of the year for 2021 and will be played extensively across BBC Radio 6 on Tuesday 9th December.
You’ve dropped the ‘Gentleman Rudeboy’ tag and now like to be described as a ‘Afro-Futurist’ dare I say the musical equivalent of Jean-Michel Basquiat, with studio names like Black Science Orchestra, Black Jazz Chronicles and record labels named Afro Art and song titles like ‘Blacker’ and ‘Emancipation’ your roots have been an obvious influence in your career.
“I embrace both monikers – I use one or the other depending on what head and hat I’ve got on that day. There was a lot of political reasoning behind a lot of the nom de plumes and my choices of titles and credits. Of course my mixed background will have a lot of influence on my work – you can’t escape it!”
I’d read a younger Ashley Beedle was briefly involved with the Nation of Islam, was this a teenagers search for some understanding of the world or a more broader interest in black thought and politics?
“Both. I took my Shahadah in the 80’s and when I was living in New York in the same period, I became involved with the 5 Percenters (Nation of Gods and Earths). The way I view the World has expanded where I try and keep an open mind and embrace all the good bits of other people’s beliefs but I still follow aspects of the 5 Percenters.”
More quality music has come from Ramrock’s connection with the wonderfully talented Joseph Malik, there’s ‘Footsteps’ Digital Liquid ft Joseph Malik & Beldina Odenyo, a production from Edinburgh based musician and songwriter ‘Daniel Walls’. Longtime friends Steven Christie and Malik with ‘Till Sunday’ LP, Steven worked on the ‘Diverse’ LP’s mentioned above and recently recorded and toured with Scottish legends The Proclaimers.
Joseph, Steven and Daniel would join forces again on a record that started as a male vocal but ended as a duo when UK Perrier Jazz Vocalist awardee Niki King heard it performed live and recommended a duet to Joseph for its recording on. The record ‘Reason to Be’ theme is of love and romance, inspired by the forthcoming wedding of Jo Wallace and Ashley, the unreleased demo was given to the happy couple as a wedding present.
Ramrock records have had a strong 2021 with support from many UK radio stations and DJ’s, from 1BTN, Huey Morgan and Cerys Mathews on there BBC 6 music shows, Totally Wired Radio, where Jo hosts her own show ‘Run for Cover’ showcasing her extensive knowledge of music, playing cover versions of all kinds of genres of music. The strongest support comes from Ashley’s ‘Heavy Disco’ show, closely followed by Craig Charles on his funk and soul show, where Jo recently presented the legendary ‘Trunk of Funk’ segment.
A question to both Jo and Ashley, since your marriage, I’m guessing there’s a rather large record collection in the family home, you both have extensive knowledge of soul music, but do you still pull tunes out the bag that surprise each other?
“Always! Jo does her ‘Run for Cover’ show on Totally Wired Radio once a month and she’s included Ken Boothe’s ‘Moving Away’ in December’s show. I said, ‘That’s not a cover song’ and she said ‘Yes it is – it’s a cover of a Kenny Lynch song!’….I never knew that. And visa versa – I pull stuff out of the racks and Jo says ‘Wow! That’s good’ and I’ll tell her the history behind it. A recent example was Da Posse ‘Searchin’ Hard’ (Mike Dunn’s A.C Mix) – Jo flipped! We never stop surprising each other.”
The ‘North Street’ moniker, then ‘North Street West’ version (the secret studio moved west) has actually been used for quite a few years across many labels, on remixes from artists as diverse as Groove Armada, Electric Wire Hustle, Honey Dijon, Blank and Jones, Fuminori Kagajo, SuperJaimie, Clicks, Frederick, 77:78, Charo, Paul Randolph and Waterson, an artist that first featured on Ashley’s Back to the World label. (All on the playlist, do check them out)
F*CLR is a dedicated house or dance music label created by Jo Wallace in 2017, from deep to dark to uplifting, after a few digital only releases from across the globe, ‘Detriot84’ from Parisian Strandtuch especially standing out, the first vinyl release was from Muscovite producer Stan Serkin with ‘Save me’ of course receiving the NSW treatment and recall myself at the time the track recieving glowing praise across the industry.
Also from the east came Mutenoise with the ‘Midnight’ EP and like French producer Blazers with ‘Side2Side’ and ‘Groove Sequence’, Irish artist Glenn Davis ‘Namida’ ‘Body and Soul’ and the right old rave up with ‘Special’ have all had been remixed by Ashley, Jo and Darren Morris, under the NSW or Afrikanz on Marz names, not forgetting a bit of hip-house (it’s been a while) with some serious old skool remixes on here from the sound of M25 raves to the Chicago underground on Bon Voyage’s ‘High Power’.
Earlier this year, this long story of music, friends and creative partnerships came full circle, in 2018 Ashley had already briefly reunited with long time friend Rob Mello for a one of remix on Jungle Fire’s track ‘Culebro‘, bringing back the Black Science Orchestra, new music was proposed, but the project took a little while to find its feet.
Enter another familiar name to this tale, Terry Farley and his own project, The Spaces Between with producer Wade Teo author and co-owner of Club Chi’ll Records, Ian ‘Snowy’ Snowball. They recorded ‘Ghosts‘ with lyrics paying homage to jazz legends like Miles Davis, Charlie Mingus, Stan Getz and more, vocals sung by Chicago singer Harry Dennis, once a member of Jungle Wonz with Marshall Jefferson, remember Marshall assisted Ashley and the members of Shock Soundsystem on that very first recording back in 1988.
Also coming full circle with record labels, Terry’s label released the first BSO track in 1992, this time it was brought to Jo Wallace for release on F*CLR, it was agreed this was the ideal opportunity for the official return of newly reformed Black Science Orchestra, now including Darren Morris alongside Ashley, Rob and if anything like the last outing of the band, who knows who might join up next.
Recent Family Outings
To the song that kicked of the playlist and the theme of the article from iconic UK group Bent, from the LP ‘Up In The Air’ their first studio album in 14 years, with the NSW Vocal Club Mix of ‘Friends’ with it’s warm sound and lush strings it feel like the musical equivalent of a big hug from your best mate. Not the first time Ashley had worked with the band this was in 2001 on ‘Always’ (Ashley Beedle’s Mahavishnu Remix) and a year later on the Black Magic remix of ‘Magic Love’.
Joining forces with Raj Gupta again, now known as Mang Dynasty, on another one track collaboration, renaming themselves ‘The Boogie Twins’ – Present Heaven And Earth – Trouble On The Land – A Love That Is Real’ reworking a rare groove classic and favourite track of Paul ‘Trouble’ Anderson’ keen readers will note, he was a DJ Ashley used to go and see/listen at the Electric Ballroom back in the late 70’s, the record was released to fund Macmillan Cancer UK charity as Paul succumbed to the disease aged 59 in 2018. In September 2021 Ashley revealed he himself had been battling prostrate cancer since the previous October.
Of course this didn’t stop the production train, next stop… Kenny Lynch – Half the Day’s Gone and We Haven’t Earned a Penny, more recently a remix of one of THE artists of 2021 Lou Hayter with a really special remix of ‘Time Out of Mind’, this followed the NSW take of Lady Blackbird’s ‘Beware the Stranger’ voted no.1 remix of 2020 by DJ History, the website, podcast and record label from co author of ‘Last Night a DJ Saved My Life’ Bill Brewster.
Kameelah Waheed returns to the story with one of the best records so far from 2021 ‘America the Beautiful’ with both a NSW remix and producers of the moment ‘Bruise’ released on Jo Wallace’s F*CLR house label and the North Street gang remix ‘Rhythm in Your Mind‘ by STR4FA the Brit funk project from Gilles Peterson and Bluey from Incognito.
Current and future projects to look out for from Ashley, more ‘North Street West’ remixes with Jo Wallace and Darren Morris, the latest being ‘Blow the House Down’ by Active Ingredients a.k.a the prodigious Antipodean beatsmith, Inkswel and his partner in rhymes, the formidable Atlanta emcee, Stan Smith. The North Street West Crew’s production nods towards a Philadelphia groove, with a smattering of inspiration from Pete Rock, Cold Crush Brothers and the Jungle Brothers as well as your very own label mistress Jo, aka Lady Kaos, elbowing her way onto backing vocals, those are Jo’s words, in her ever impeccable PR writing style.
Lot’s of new music and remixes to look forward to on Jo’s record label ‘Ramrock’ from Nicole Cassandra Smit ‘Strong Woman’, Maxine Scott ‘Erykah U Bad’ and the NSW team have just remixed the Twelve Caesars track ‘Swan Fendered Mercury’.
Also with Darren the long planned ‘Afrikanz on Marz’ concept album, new music and live performances from the Black Science Orchestra and 30 years after that first production comes at long last, the very first solo Ashley Beedle LP “Defying Foes”
AND BREATH….NOW make sure you listen to the musical version of the story.