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Gramophonedzie - 'Why Don't You'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:26 UK time, Wednesday, 24 February 2010


I'm detecting a theme here. After the burlesque boom and all the Winehouse wannabes - and Wiley's reworking of that song by White Town that samples that other song from the olden days - here comes dance music's tribute to the era of jazz, swing and blues. And when I say tribute, I mean taking an old tune and hitting it with a massive mallet until it cracks into a million pieces, then putting the bits back together with micro-robots and spraying it gold.

That is simply how dance music likes to pay tribute to things. Can you imagine how messy Fat Boy Slim's funeral is going to be? Loads messy, that's how.

(Here's the video. It's like Being Human only no vampires or werewolves and more pants on the floor.)

'Why Don't You Do Right?' was recorded by Peggy Lee in 1942, as a mournful blues. Poor Peg's been having a lot of trouble with her man, you see. He's been playing the field, sowing his wild oats, and generally allowing other women to make whoopee on his dime, and now there's no money left. In short, it's a Beyoncé song from a time when Beyoncé was nothing more than a twinkle in the twinkle in her grandpappy's eye.

But now, thanks to the benefits of modern technology, there's a new (not new), improved (OK, you can have that one) way to experience this downbeat ditty without all of that wartime dust and powdered egg. Kids today don't have the attention span to listen to a whole song all the way through, you see, unless you repeat tiny fragments of it - a bit like they do on Teletubbies. So why not get a Serbian dance duo to goose things up a bit with some perky dance beats?

I said why not goose things up a bit with some perky, perky, perky, puh, puh, puh, puh, why not goose, why not goose, goose, goose (etc etc).

Of course, if you're trying to follow the story in the song, the happy bits don't make a heap of sense, unless they're supposed to represent the man's response. Peggy's all heartbroken and sad, and listen, her man is too busy living it up even hear her out. But even if that's the case, it's as jarring as R2-D2 and C-3PO strolling into the middle of Lark Rise To Candleford and setting up a Starbucks franchise.

Naturally, put that mix out in a club situation and things change dramatically. The crowbarred rhythm changes become a welcome opportunity for the ladies to swish about, wagging their fingers at the men, who are checking the pleats on their imaginary zoot suits. Everyone gets to have a little panto moment and the world becomes temporarily confused as to what year it is.

Or at least, they are in my mind. And if they are not, I for one do not wish to hear about it.

Three starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: February 28th
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)


  • Comment number 1.

    I first heard saw and heard this on Italian television a few weeks back and thought about how crazy Italy and its musical tastes were compared to our much more, erm, reserved taste over here. So my disappointment was imaginable when i found out this was it and it was to be released over here. Its pointless, someone has just found an old record and stopped it playing a couple of times, and decided to release it as a single to our dear Nation. It won't work anywhere but the situation Fraser mentions, or untill Jools installs that dancefloor i proposed...

    Huge congratulations on the star rating Fraser, spot on, i know how much that means to you...

  • Comment number 2.

    Well I put a lot of thought into it, y'know? Wanted to get it just right.

  • Comment number 3.

    The effort paid off, i'm sure everyone is proud and pleased with the review despite their lack of comments...

  • Comment number 4.

    Well, I was kind of disappointed that the review omitted a reference to 80s kids TV show/showcase for regional accents "Why Don't You?".

  • Comment number 5.

    I really like this track. It's been all over the radio and rightly so. Although it's rteally just rehashing some old stuff, it does it well and it's a great fun sound.

  • Comment number 6.

    Thank you Liam. I thought I was the only one who could hear the fun and refreshing energy in this one. And not just in the Peggy Lee bits! Okay, it´s deffo no masterpiece, but as far as radio/club "friendly" music goes, this is spot on.

    It sounds really good on the radio! What more can anyone ask for, Jonesy?
    I´d much rather listen to this than the drivel that is Jason Derulo or Leona Lewis...

    Happy is the new black btw. ;)

  • Comment number 7.

    Listening to the start of this gives me the shivers.. I keep thinking Blind Date is back on....

    It's a great track really, a different blend of sounds for the dancefloor and not unpleasant on the radio.

  • Comment number 8.

    This version of the song is really starting to grow on me. It does justice to Peggy Lee's vocals whilst giving the song a nice, new modern feeling. While I do prefer Lee's version, I do like what Gramophonedzie have done with it.


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