Tuesday, December 18, 2007

[touch and go] find you very attractive

The test of an ongoing concern of any note is if it is readily accessible in Wiki.

Touch and Go are not so accessible unless you type in all the words Touch and Go Band Wikipedia.

The thing is, they never really were a band, let alone that there is an entity called Touch and Go Records as well [not them] and heaps of Touch 'n Go other things. So it's a labour of love but finally worth the effort. And even if you do get into their personal site, it says not too much.

They themselves say, in their blurb, which has definitely changed from the scratchy liner notes in the early 2000s:

Touch And Go is the progeny of an unholy alliance between television composer David Lowe, veteran radio presenter and music journalist Charlie Gillett and co-founder of Oval Music, Gordon Nelki. The trio conceived a new concept based around largely instrumental jazz-based tunes with an ‘economical’ use of lyrics — quite unconventional by today’s chart standards.

Would You…? [uses] a sampled vocal clip and trumpet jazz licks played by James Lynch, over a Latin rhythm.

And the girl? The sultry voice behind the success of the project?

Her name is Vanessa Lancaster and she's a UK based "voice-over artist for numerous UK TV commercials and has modelled both on the catwalk and for beauty products. Her other television credits include Emu’s World for ITV and the James Bond movie Octopussy."

The trumpeter, James Lynch, is one of the UK's top session musicians, appearing in a lot of shows , including with the BBC and has also toured with the Spice Girls and Robbie Williams.

So you've got the picture - a studio project without a face but a fun one nonetheless and a unique sound for all that. And that girl .....

Now cut to the 2000s. Clearly, David Lowe felt that it would all just fade away but Eastern Europe had other ideas, expecially the Ukraine and there was a demand for a human presence as some sort of face for the "band" - Eastern Europeans don't fully understand music they can't "see".

While David Lowe "writes [most] of the material, produces, arranges, and plays drums, keyboards, and most of the bass, as well as doing some of the vocals. Most of the parts are filled in by a cast of various musicians, none of them part of Touch and Go officially, contributing vocalists, brass, and wind parts, guitar, and violin," Vanessa and James front the "band" and co-write songs.

Now, here's the thing again - Vanessa Lancaster just don't gel in my mind as a vamp singer - look at that body language. She comes across to me as a happy girl, flattered to be included in something as much fun as an ongoing Europe-wide touring band. I mean, she clearly doesn't get down and dirty - look at the way both of them are dressed and he's the epitome of the cleancut Brit TV show session muso. And yet they sing:
I find you very attractive ... would you go to bed with me?
Vanessa was taken to task about this by the host of a late show in Bulgaria, Slavi Trifonov, who was keen to know if she often asked strangers to sleep with her.
She replied that when they wrote the lyrics they were looking for the craziest questions that they could ask somebody. The songs are often constructed around the sort of come-on lines used at the social get-togethers of the well-heeled and fashionable, added Lynch.

Uh-huh but there's more.
The song's accompanying video feature[s her] asking the same question to various inanimate objects including an iron and a shopping trolley.
Now I'm already beginning to really like this bit of fun, let alone the duo themselves and the superlatively catchy music but the next part clinched it for me. As the Sofia Echo explained, they visited "Sofia's First English Language School for a question and answer session in a small classroom packed with eager pupils."

Whoa there! This is a sultry nightclub act whose songs have been used by American pole dancing troupe G String Divas, raunchy and heavy with sexual innuendo. And they're invited to a school, to talk with the children? Well, you know, I'd probably ask them too - there's something very attractive about this pair.

Now, in a very minor way, I've also trodden that path. When I first came over here, I was taken to a school to meet "staff and students" and was also very politely mobbed. In their case it differed:
The pupils were keen to know if the two stars liked the school, what they thought about Bulgaria, and if it was difficult to compete in the music business. Lancaster answered and asked the students what they wanted to do in the future and if they found it hard to study English.
I too was mobbed by dozens of kids demanding autographs and I know full well the attraction of Eastern Europe for urbane westerners enjoying something a little different. There's still a fresh eagerness over here and great honour bestowed on guests, which is just lacking back home.

Wiki also notes:
As of 2007, the ensemble is still touring Eastern Europe and performing their popular tracks from the mid 1990s


Now one of my favourite "bands", Touch and Go's website is here. Google if you'd like to get this music. More here.

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