Mon. Nov. 29, 2021

52nd Street – Tell Me (How It Feels)

Classics: 52nd Street – Tell Me (How It Feels) (Extended Version) (10 Records)

The first half of the 80’s saw the establishment of a typical synth led electronic sound in the production. Kinda hard to clearly say who happened to be its/their originator(s) as a matter of fact. Even though a deeper look at history tends to give indications. Beginning with The System on the memorable ‘You are In My System’ back in 1983. But also Mtume with ‘Juicy Fruit’ that same year. If not the Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis produced ‘Just Be Good To Me’ for The S.O.S. Band. The first name comin’ to mind in the U.K. being the one of Loose Ends. Although 2 years after with the evergreen ‘Hangin’ On A String (Contemplating)’. With the same applying (to a lesser extend though) to Mancunian band 52nd Street with ‘Tell Me (How It Feels)’…

No need to have studied in Cambridge to feel the connection between Loose Ends and 52nd Street at the time. This simply havin’ to do with the fact that they both chose to work with Philadelphia-based producer Nick Martinelli. The latter producing another British act by the likes of Five Star (‘Let Me Be The One’). Meanwhile, hard to not feel something of Fatback‘s ‘Is This The Future’ in the jazzy sax part of ‘Tell Me (How It Feels)’. With the latter givin’ us the opportunity to enjoy another facet of the late Diane Charlemagne‘s obvious talent.

What’s the value of your vinyl record?

– I guess it won’t be an offense whenever saying that 52nd Street‘s road has sort of been too windy to be long. With this resulting in the group releasing only 2 albums – ‘Children Of The Night’ and ‘Something’s Goin’ On’ – respectively in 1985 and 1987. With the reason of this obvious instability comin’ from regular internal disagreements. This leading to unceasing changes in terms of line-up. From their early days under the Factory management to their last hours. With both Diane Charlemagne and Tony Bowry endin’up leavin’ to give birth to Cool Down Zone

As a matter of fact, ‘Tell Me (How It Feels)’, from their 1985 released ‘Children Of The Night’ debut-album, is their most accomplished effort. And it would be their biggest success ever, dubbed with the lesser known ‘Smiling Eyes’. With thanks to producer Nick Martinelli who brought them to another level. With other gems worth the listen from them including ‘I Will Wait’ which saw the light as the flipside of ‘Say You Will’. Then ‘I’ll Return’ with production and remixing work respectively by the likes of Lenny White and Timmy Regisford.

– An incredible vocal talent and some definitive writing skills have allowed Diane Charlemagne to embrace like very few countless forms of music. From R&B to Soul, Jazz, House and Drum & Bass.

The Manchester native first rose to fame back at the end of the 80’s along with R&B band 52nd Street. With ‘Tell Me (How It Feels)’ standing as their best jam ever.
Managed by the ex-wife of Tony Wilson (the Hacienda), she eventually collaborated with Howie B and Doobie (of the Soul II Soul fame).

She got her breakthrough under the form of the memorable ‘Inner City Life’ where she shared the duties with famous junglist Goldie. She would then follow with a couple of hits as the lead singer of Urban Cookie Collective. The end of the 90’s seeing her digging deeper into Dance Music territories along with Judge Jules. But also Mutiny UK, K-Klass and Satoshi Tomiie. Not to mention Moby whom she’d toured with.

She is also renowned for her collaborations with UK Disco Don Joey Negro. Remember ‘Prove That You’re Feelin Me’ among others. If not her contribution to ‘Must Be The Music’. And she also happened to jam along with Opolopo on ‘Round And Round’. A cut which sadly saw the light on Z Records a few weeks before her passing.

Diagnosed with kidney cancer the previous year, Charlemagne sadly died of the disease on Oct. 28 2015, at the age of 51…

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