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