T-COY Carino

I had no idea who was behind this track when I first heard it in Manchester clubs in 1987 but I really loved it. When my brother bought it, we realised it was probably a local production because Mike Pickering was a Hacienda DJ and the ‘Pickering’ credited on the label was probably him.

‘T-COY’ stands for ‘Take Care Of Yourself’ according to www.deconstructionrecords.co.uk.

Carino contains sounds and melodic phrases from south american music; I think at the time we called it ‘latin-house’ for want of a better term.

There was a big south american/spanish theme going on in pop music generally in 1987. La Bamba, performed by Los Lobos, reached No. 1 in the UK charts during 1987, as did Madonna’s La Isla Bonita.

Many jazz dance tracks which I heard in The Berlin, and subsequently bought on Streetsounds Jazz Juice albums, were either jazz-latin tracks or had a south american sound. Various musicians in Manchester were using samba rhythm sections, notably A Certain Ratio and Inner Sense Percussion. (Well Inner Sense Percussion was a samba/batucada rhythm section.)

Simon Topping, from A Certain Ratio, provided the real percussion sounds for Carino. Ritchie Close played the latin keyboard part; he played with Apitos, a jazz-funk band, but also worked as a session musician.

I imagine the jazz-latin keyboards and real percussion sounds were intended to ‘add warmth’ to the electonic music, without using a human voice. There is also a parallel between batucada-style samba and house because both are percussive, repetitive forms of dance music, not tied to a ‘verse-chorus’ structure.

This won’t be the best quality recording of Carino on YouTube but it is worth watching for the dancers, who are from Manchester. Some of the guys are Foot Patrol, and I remember seeing the girl with the stripes dancing in the Hacienda in a competition. She danced Lindy-Hop steps (from the 1920s) which I tried to copy without much success! I think the girls may have been called the She-Devils.

The video also contains rather random footage of speeded-up New York street scenes… reminiscent of the film ‘Koyaanisquatsi: Life out of Balance’ (1982) by Godfrey Reggio and Ron Fricke, where time-lapse photography makes the human race seem like an insect colony. Koyaanisquatsi was much imitated during the mid-80s; archive film of space, industry or factory production lines could easily be speeded up to produce a similar effect. DIY videos made in this way routinely accompanied music at the Hacienda (where Mike Pickering worked). This was when angst-ridden self-doubt was still in the ascendant, before unrepentant hedonism took over, circa 1988.

Carino was released on 1st May, 1987 and is now said to be the first British House record, although I don’t remember hearing that said at the time. This piece called ‘House Proud’ is from the first issue of the fanzine SCAM, from summer 1987, and no such claim is made in the interview:

By Sarah & Al – Sarah Champion and Alison Martin, who produced the SCAM fanzine.

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  1. John Nash

    The girl in the striped leggings is called Zuzan and M Pickering produced a single for her and her crew called Girls Can Jak Too. Stu Allan got behind it on his Piccadilly radio show but I don’t think it ended up doing much.

    Carino — great tune, brings back many fantastic Hacienda memories.

  2. Dexey

    Good article. Though i think the fact that they didnt say in that interview that it was the first UK house record released was because at the time it wouldnt have meant especially much. No one had any idea how huge House music would get. Just shows how small comparatively House was back then and that they werent especially thinking about legacy at the time.

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