Dance heads and activists don’t need any sort of introduction to RED HOT RECORDS. The parent organization has been in business for 30 years and they’re marking the occasion with a double-volume dance compilation, ‘Red Hot + Free.’ And that compilation is the source of the label’s current ground-breaking single – ‘U Try Livin’ (Pressure)’credited to BLACK GUY WHITE GUY vs. 808 BEACH.
That artist tag is shorthand for a soul/dance “supergroup” – the UK’s Kwame Kwaten (D-Influence, Laura Mvula) and Gil Cang alongside New Yorker Bill Coleman (Deee-Lite, Lenny Kravitz) and John “J-C” Carr . The vocalists on the cut are Anelisa Lamola, Audrey Wheeler, Cindy Mizelle, Keith Fluitt and Elisabeth Troy and between them they bring just the right amount of uplifting gospel urgency and swagger that the lyrics demand… “All I see is battlefields pushing people to their knees. More to life than struggling. I need to dance, I need relief. Ain’t no joke when you ain’t got no money. U Try Livin’ when there’s no milk and honey. Life ain’t funny, baby…just wanna be FREE!”
Red Hot, of course, was birthed in 1990 when attitudes were so very different to where we are today. Bill Coleman says: “Our first project and subsequent releases were forward thinking in concept, inclusion and marketing, uniting a wide variety of visual and musical talent to raise awareness. The subject of AIDS and discussing any queer sexuality in popular culture was a provocative stance in 1990. I feel honoured to be a part of such a rich legacy. Weaving two things I love so much — music — with direct, in your face presence and activism. To be able to finish a project purposely called ‘Red Hot + Free’ and include such a powerful tune as ‘U Try Livin’’ during this unprecedented state of lockdown, feverish times and when the stark reality of our own mortality has really hit home was kind of a big deal. The irony was not lost on me.”
Coleman adds that ‘‘U Try Livin’’ (in both the original and Eric Kupper mixes) is designed “to liberate your mind and body in whatever space that you are — or find yourself in. Drop the needle, let go and play LOUD.” Amen!
Search the Archives
Share your views
By requesting an account, you can comment on all your favourite SJF content. Requests are manually processed.