- Finn Johannsen unpacks an acid house album that soundtracked the UK's Second Summer Of Love.
- Although acid house from the US provided the sonic blueprint for the UK's late '80s Second Summer Of Love, the rawness of the those originals often didn't match the ecstasy-fuelled hedonism sweeping UK clubland. Peter Ford seemed to have a clear vision of what was missing. Across his early releases and 1988 debut album, Ford Trax, Ford brilliantly merged inspirations from Larry Heard, Derrick May and Todd Terry with a knowledgeable pop sensibility. But unlike other successful London cohorts of Rhythm King Records (Bomb The Bass, S'Express, The Beatmasters), he didn't entirely succumb to the charms of sampling, aiming for musicianship over wild collages of references.
And unlike Manchester artists like 808 State and A Guy Called Gerald, who also achieved distinctive sounds, Ford was ready to sing, and used his voice to express a sense of humour. Tracks like "Oochy Koochy" and "Chikki Chikki Ahh Ahh" were catchy and smart. Ford made fine use of his influences while crafting a sound of his own, establishing a mini-canon of his own work. Ford's second album, 'Ooo' The World Of Baby Ford, aimed higher, with some variations on Ford Trax material. Tracks like "Let's Talk It Over" and "The World Is In Love" were sublime and full of hope. "Beach Bump" and "A Place Of Dreams & Magic" were more over the top, reviving the fun of "Oochy Koochy."
"Poem For Wigan" and "Wigan" didn't have much in common with the '70s Northern soul haven Wigan Casino or the jazz-funk and electro played at Wigan Pier by DJ Greg Wilson. That said, Ford grew up near Wigan and experienced those sounds, and both tracks have a bright sentiment that could reflect that inspiration. Ford's cover of T. Rex's "Children Of The Revolution" is more obvious, turning the '70s glam rock anthem into acid house. It was once again time for the UK's youth to rise up.
'Ooo' The World Of Baby Ford captured the revolutionary spirit and joy of the late '80s. It was not widely perceived as a defining statement, and Ford didn't become one of electronic music's pop stars, instead abandoning those bright ideas on the 1992 album, BFORD9. There were some traces of optimism, but he explored disillusionment, darker topics and harder sounds, reducing his persona and sound more and more (albeit with consistently great results). The early version of Ford's world may not have lasted long, but it still might make you go "ooh."
A1 A Place Of Dreams & Magic
A2 Children Of The Revolution
A3 Milky Tres / Chikki Chikki Ahh Ahh
A4 Poem For Wigan
B1 "Hi, Mr Logan"
B2 Beach Bump
B3 Let's Talk It Over
B4 The World Is In Love
B5 Change Your Ways