Record Review: Arlene Philips’ Hot Gossip – I Don’t Depend On You

Dindisc ‎| UK | 12″ | 1982 | DIN 39-12

Arlene Phillips’ Hot Gossip: I Don’t Depend On You UK 12″ [1982]

  1. I Don’t Depend On You [12″ remix]
  2. Depend On Us

I always thought highly of the one-off single by The Human League under the name ‘The Men.’ While I only heard it in the late 80s when the “Travelogue” CD was issued with delightful bonus tracks, it immediately won a place in my heart. In some ways, it prefigured where Martyn Ware would sail the good ship Heaven 17 once he and Ian Craig Marsh left The Human League. When I finally got the CD of the sole Hot Gossip album, “Geisha Boys And Temple Girls,” a few years back, I took an even bigger delight in the remake of “I Don’t Depend On You” that Ware had cut with his terpsichorean crew on that disc. It sounded even more like a great Heaven 17 number with B.E.F. and their secret weapon, John Wilson on bass and guitar. It became intensely funky in its newer form.

Now, I finally have sourced a copy of the 12″ single of “I Don’t Depend On You” and once I placed the platter on the record player and fired up Sound Studio to digitize this shortly after buying it this year, I was immediately floored by the dramatic enhancements that the 12″ version sported. To wit, how about the horns of Beggar + Co. added to the mix? In 1981, the horn section of Light Of The World went freelance and immediately caused a stir with the intense “Chant No. 1 [I Don’t Need This Pressure On]” for Spandau Ballet.

Their horn arrangement added to this track took dynamite and ratcheted it up to insane funky brilliance! It was like taking the basic track and squaring [maybe cubing] its grooviness. The syncopation in the middle eight was whole realms more funky and complex than just hearing John Wilson syncopate his bass and guitar off of the Linn Drum. The mix plateaued out at roughly the same length as the album cut, but the 12″ version had definitely become an event with Beggar + Co. invited to the party. Ware wisely let the horns ride the fadeout to the end so that the guest stars had the last word on the 12″ mix.

The B-side was a dub mix that lost the vocals of Roy Gale [but kept the femme b-vox] and  also removed the horns, reminding us of just how much impact they had made with their addition. Upon hearing this mix, and the Linn Drum pattern that the song was built upon, I realized that it was the same pattern that H17 had used on “Penthouse + Pavement.” Waste not, want not, I suppose. This dub mix, in spite of not having the killa horns, earned its wings by giving Wilson’s bass and guitar the spotlight, which they richly deserved! Hearing the solos in the middle eight gave me even more respect for the man’s talents. Especially since he had to lay down those performances separately, against an existing drum track. Can we all just just agree to seek out John Wilson, wherever he is, and conspire to aim the spotlight on him once again, for he was surely the X-factor that made early H17 so over-the-top with groove appeal.

When I ordered this record, I had no idea what I would be getting for my purchase. The entry in the Discogs.com database is sketchy on details like track length, which are helpful in determining whether to buy something or not. Now I know that Mr. Ware made double damn sure that buyers of the 12″ of this single got a feast for their senses! So the obvious thing to do now is to buy the other 12″ single for “Soul Warfare!” Watch this space!

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9 Responses to Record Review: Arlene Philips’ Hot Gossip – I Don’t Depend On You

  1. Echorich says:

    Beggar+Co may have made their mark with Chant No.1, but it was Ware & Marsh who really got the most out of them. They would show up on B.E.F. Featuring Tina Turner’s Ball Of Confusion and Paula Yate’s take on These Boots Are Made For Walking from Music Of Quality And Distinction Vol.
    1. But something I remember reading was that the “synthetic” horns on single mix of Height Of The Fighting (He, La, Hu) from Penthouse And Pavement are meant to be Beggar + Co Horns in a “treated” form.
    Beggar + Co released a single, Mule (Chant No.2) which lacks the immediacy of the Spandau Ballet’s Chant No.1, but they do have a song, Laughing On from that same time period that captures some of the excitement of Chant No.1 much better.

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    • Echorich says:

      One last thing…the magical guitar on B.E.F. Featuring Billy Mackenzie’s Secret Life Of Arabia is by Light Of The World/Beggar + Co guitarist Neville Breeze McKreith. I had to find a way to work in Billy Mackenzie somehow…

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – I was wondering about the “Height Of The Fighting” single mix. The horns didn’t sound like the “Boys Of Buddha.” But the liner notes weren’t telling. As I recall, they were almost completely missing on CD and I never had the LP [or 7″ box version, if you can believe that]! Chastened, I have since added the latter to my infinite Want List.

      I remembered “Chant No. 2” when writing this post and wondered if it was anywhere near the power of the Spandau track, though a part of me needs it in any case.

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      • Echorich says:

        The story I’ve read in the past was that Beggar & Co came in to lay down the horns for the single version of Height Of The Fighting (as the single release dropped “The” from the title) and in my estimation it was meant to be a real 12″ extended version but ended up 5 seconds shorter than the album version. This has always given me the belief/hope that there is a much longer, funk/synth workout out there somewhere.
        There is footage from an old The Tube appearance by H17 with John Wilson (I think) on bass and Beggar & Co. on horns. In the performance Glenn and Martyn are in their “just out for a night at the bondage disco” gear and Ian looks like he just teleported in from a WW2 bomber mission. Brilliant really.

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        • postpunkmonk says:

          Echorich – I only saw H17 live on The Tube ca. 1985-6 with live (!) cuts from “Pleasure One.” Didn’t The Tube start in 1983-84? I’m thinking that “Height of the Fighting” would have been ancient history by then.

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          • Echorich says:

            The Tube began airing towards the end of 1982. And having just watched it again, it is definitely from that time period – Martyn is WAY too thin for it to have been around 1986.
            Watching another clip of The Jam peforming A Town Called Malice it’s the same studio/set so I’m convinced it’s late 82 which fits as Height Of The Fighting was released as the last single from P+P.

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  2. Gavin says:

    Colour me Jealous.
    I don’t own either the original 12″ by The Men or the Hot Gossip version.
    However,I do own a large silver button badge with “I’m a Starship Trooper” written in black,which I shall be wearing to a birthday party this evening.I can feel you swooning from here.
    I have often wondered what happened to John Wilson as well,he certainly added some great talent to many records.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Gavin – I still need the 12″ by The Men. Just because. Enjoy your party. It will likely be a splendid one since I am assuming that everyone there will immediately grasp the significance of The Button? Say “hello” to Princess Julia for us.

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