Mr. Bird ft. Greg Blackman: Where Did The Party Go?

Ashley Beedle's sublime powers of studio hoodoo at work on Mr Bird & Greg Blackman's soul classic on Ramrock Blue.

Some records you connect with on such a visceral level that the music really can make the world more tolerable and fill up a room with all manner of brightness and sunshine. “Where Did The Party Go?” from Mr. Bird and Greg Blackman’s 2014 Lo-Fi Classics album on BBE is one of those songs for me. Weirdly, I always thought it would do for A Tom Moulton Mix (the don would instead remix “Over Again”), but Ashley Beedle helped me see the light. This is an incredibly powerful set of remixes, worked over by Ashley like a jazz musician jamming on a cover rather than a modern producer remixing from a laptop or a console. The “North Street Remix” strips it down to soul & bones: soaring falsettos and horns that somehow evoke winsome nostalgia and optimism at the same time. The sound is big – sunshine isn’t the only thing that fills up a room – and Ashley’s powers of studio hoodoo are on full display with the “North Street Stripped Back” remix, which doesn’t just honor Greg Blackman’s vocals but almost makes love to them.

Gorgeous soul records never go out of fashion: this could have been a Northern Soul classic and 10 years old when it was. Three years down and you already know this is one that’s going to stick around for a mighty long time.