Monday, July 13, 2009

B-Boys, Beware; Two Sisters are... Right There

I've had the Two Sisters' album since I was a kid. And to me me back then, the album was really all about the opening track, "B-Boys Beware." It was pretty much the most straight up hip-hop track, and it featured MC G.L.O.B.E. of The SoulSonic Force... after that, for the rest of the album, they mostly sang and I wasn't too interested. But much later, as an adult, this is the single that brought my attention back to the rest of the album.

"Right There" came out on Sugarscoop Records in 1983. It's one of many singles off this album, 'cause back in those days, albums were really just compilations of the artist's multiple singles; and you'd have only maybe 2 or 3 tracks, usually of far lesser quality (read: half-assed), thrown on there as filler.

So, yeah, they sing; but this isn't R&B. You know, it's electro/ freestyle/ whatever else all those funky pop non-rap hip-hop songs get labeled as. You know, like Shannon, Debbie Deb or Connie, except there's two of them, so they have some nice interplay in their stylings.

The song itself is pretty simple (natch), but in that delightfully vague/ accessible pop song kind of way. "Right there" is clearly in reference to the narrator's heart, where her lost love has touched her before he left and where she keeps her secrets. It's also one of those playfully obvious to but still subtle enough to fly over the heads of the naive mainstream double entendres. Lines like "this is where I keep my heat," and "I liked it when you put your love in there" can elicit a sly smile from the guys in the audience, but to our moms, they were still just referring to the heart.

And they're also the type of lyrics that you're not meant to pay much attention to. Their voices are essentially just another instrument, and you're only really thinking about how cool it sounds when their pitch rises and falls as they sing, "RiiiIIIiight there!" It's all about the sonic landscape produced by Paul A. Rodriguez, who did a lot of this fresh stuff in the 80's, especially at Sugarscoop, where I believe he was a full time staffer. It's pure new wave 80's: programmed drums, synths, more synths, shamelessly processed vocals, and zany keyboard solos.

And this 12" version is remixed (by industry staple Bill Szymczyk), taking even ore of the emphasis away from the vocals and onto the studio sounds: more keyboards (of course!), transformed drum solos, and even some saxophone. It just takes it one step further "out there." So if you've only heard this song on the album, know that there's an even better version to be had on 12".

Now, the B-side is just the "Dub-A-Pella," but it drew my attention because it's over two minutes longer than the original cut. Essentially, what it turns out to be is the dub (instrumental with some background vocals) version immediately followed by the acapella, with no space in between, so it's like one long track. You didn't see very many acapellas on 12"s back in 1983, though, so that's pretty cool.

So next time you pass a bargain bin, pull this one out and give it a home (as Sally Struthers would say, "for the price of a cup of coffee"). And if you've got the album, give it a listen past track #1. 8)


  1. Always wondered who did the scratches on "Scratch This", my second favorite track besides "BBoys Beware". Sounds like Whiz Kid, but unfortunately no credits on the record. Can somebody shed any light on this?

  2. hey werner, is there any chance to cop that promo of BDK's Veteran'z Day from you? I'd give you 100 bucks, dude!

  3. @ disco - yeah, I don't know. Unfortunately, the 12" doesn't offer any more illuminating credits than the album did. The "High Noon" 12" I just got today doesn't credit the scratches on that song, either.

    @ anonymous - Sorry; I haven't got a copy up for sale, I'm afraid. If I ever do wind up with doubles, well... you didn't leave me with a way to contact you anyway. :P