Ben Watt’s Romany & Tom

I reviewed a book by the musician Ben Watt about his parents for Paste. See the review here. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of the house remixes that Watt did in the early ’00s after the breakup of his group, Everything but the Girl. Check out what he does with Sade:

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Ben Watt, Master of Reinvention

benwatt_studio1

I wrote about the new album from Ben Watt–and interviewed him a little bit–for Diffuser. See the piece here. Watt started out playing acoustic pop, then spent twentyish years as one half of Everything but the Girl, and has continued to successfully reinvent himself after that. His website is a lot of fun. Below, a track from Watt’s first solo release back in 1983.

Bedsit Disco Queen

I reviewed the autobiography of Tracy Thorn — the singer in two English bands, the Marine Girls and Everything But The Girl — for Paste. It’s definitely one of the better musician autobiographies/biographies I’ve read over the last two years. Check it out here. I wrote about Everything But The Girl before because I’ve been in love with their song “Each And Every One” for a while now. If you’re more of an Ultimate Dance Party 1997 kind of person, relive your youth with the Todd Terry remix of Everything But The Girl’s “Missing.”

 

Horns II

I consider this my second post about great horn sections (my oblique reference to Diana Ross’s “Sunny Boy” is the first, though I didn’t name it appropriately at the time). Unlike Diana Ross, the English group Everything But The Girl work only intermittently with horns, but they still managed to attach some killer brass to the song “Each And Everyone,” from their 1984 debut album Eden. Everything But The Girl contained Ben Watt, who had recorded sparingly before the band got off the ground, and his more famous partner (and future wife) Tracey Thorne, who was fresh off releasing two albums with the Marine Girls — a group specializing in vague, simple, 60s-indebted pop, of the sort that’s been popular lately for bands like Best Coast or Dum-Dum Girls — and a short, honest solo album, A Distant Shore. Thorne’s previous work was spare and strictly guitar-oriented, but Watt brought a different set of tools to their collaboration. In “Each And Everyone,” the guitar carries the melody, but horns work to build a thick, solid foundation. Often the whispiness of samba or bossa nova becomes part of its appeal; a beautiful tune like “Girl From Ipanema” feels so fragile that if you sneeze too loudly you might blow the whole thing away, so you have to treasure it carefully. But the horns on “Each And Everyone” announce a sturdy and long-lasting groove. You can leave this one for a while, and it’ll still be there when you return.

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