RIFFS / Jon Marsh of The Beloved sings the praises of Ten City's 'Right You'

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The Independent Culture
'I FIRST heard this in its extended single form in 1988, on the dance-floor rather than on the radio. The difference with house tracks then was that most were proper songs, with a sung rather than sampled vocal, and a verse-chorus structure. I was in bliss on the dance floor three weeks running, and, as it had a tune, I could hum it to the staff in the record shop and get a copy. And it sounded just as good at home in the living room, which is rare.

It's a standard 120bpm early house track, not frantic, built around this very fluid bassline which is rooted in Sixties soul. Apart from the drums, everything, all the horns, the bass and the guitar, is played live. Marshall Jefferson produced the track and Steve Silk Hurley mixed it, so it's a real deep house classic, all very Chicago, before the New Yorkers took over.

Ten City songs have always been boy meets girl, loses girl and feels awful about it. It goes, 'I've asked all my friends what should I do? / But the trail always leads right back to you'. Byron Stingily (there are two Byrons in the band, it's worth liking them for that alone) sings in this high and rather loose falsetto. The other two come in on 'Right back to you' in harmony, and that repeated becomes the chorus. There are four verses, with fairly standard couplets like 'hide / pride', 'on my knees / begging you please'. If they had a greater lyrical range they could be fantastic, but it's a bit limited.

Still, the song is fantastic because of the melodies: in most songs you rush through the verse to the chorus, which carries the tune, but here the verse, chorus and Middle Eight all have their own melodies. The killer one is in the Middle Eight, it's like a Motown track, with the bass descending a note with every bar. The drumming is the classic house beat: four-to-the-floor, high hat, bass and snare with big tom fills going on. This type of dance rhythm highlights the dramatic stuff in the track. Static parts on top of, say, a wandering bassline can also appear to change, even though they don't. It makes for a real dynamic song. Nowadays house has either a good rhythm track or a good melody, but this has both.'

'Right Back To You' is on Ten City's CD, Foundation (Atlantic).

(Photograph omitted)

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