The Vinyl Say 004: The Chocolate Layers

In every collection there are records that get played all the time, many of them for years, decades even. Then there are those that, while no less treasured, somehow fall by the wayside to lie in wait, ripe for rediscovery. This occasional series chronicles some of those nuggets as they resurface from my own back pages. So, put the needle to the record, put the needle to the record, put the needle to the record and it goes like this…

The Chocolate Layers – That Boy’s Evil (White Label, 1997)

Now, here’s a proper oddity – a genuine rarity that was for about five minutes quite highly sought-after, but can now be found in the bargain basements of the internet for less than a quid.

Released to music writers, DJs and club promoters as a limited edition one-sided white-label 12” promo single sometime in early 1997, it turned out to be the sound of Jarvis Cocker and Steve Mackay of Pulp arsing around with Big Beat and eventually surfaced on 8 June 1998 as the third track on CD2 of Pulp’s 22nd single, A Little Soul.

Sent out with a DJ reaction sheet by stalwart late-Britpop pluggers Pop Promotions, it came with a press release that proclaimed it as the “…first outing from hot new West Coast underground funkateers, The Chocolate Layers.” On it gushed: “Original and extremely charming, ‘That Boy’s Evil’, is an infectious, veritable lo-fi, swinging 60s soundscape-esque, beat excursion. Imagine Barry Adamson hooking up with Fatboy Slim in a Las Vegas studio, after a heavy session fuelled by tequila and the hits of Motown, and you’re not even close!!”

It was, in fact, a righteously shagadelic stomp with a nagging glitter beat, a (maybe) Dobie Gray sample and a vocal track collage of American kids talking in which the words ‘chocolate layers” can sometimes be heard as well as “some girl got a haemorrhage”. Nice..

Oh yeh, it was originally titled Down With The P Crowd.

Cocker and Mackay went on to remix several songs as The Chocolate Layers, most notably The Facts of Life by Black Box Recorder.

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