Sharon Redd – Can You Handle It

Every once in a while, one is captivated by the reverence shown in a review for a record, take a look at this one for “Can You Handle It” by Sharon Redd, written by someone going under the pseudonym MaximusMCX;

Once upon a time I was in Scotland and decided to visit the famous little church in Rosslyn. Famous because of its appearance in Dan Brown’s book The Da Vinci Code. Many stories are told about this beautiful little church. It is said that the Holy Grail is buried beneath it. Another story tells the tale of one of the fourteen pillars where Rosslyn Chapel stands on. A pillar standing out in beauty from all the others. The three pillars at the east end of the chapel are named, the Master Pillar, the Journeyman Pillar, and most famously, the Apprentice Pillar. Its name comes from a legend dating from the 18th century involving the master mason in charge of the stonework in the chapel and his young apprentice. According to the legend, the master mason did not believe that the apprentice could perform the complicated task of carving the column without seeing the original which formed the inspiration for the design. The master mason travelled to Rome to see the original himself, but upon his return was enraged to find that the upstart apprentice had completed the column anyway. In a fit of jealous anger the mason took up his mallet and struck the apprentice on the head, killing him. The legend concludes that as punishment for his crime, the master mason’s face was carved into the opposite corner to forever gaze upon his apprentice’s pillar. So, what’s the point of making a Special Remix? To make it better than it was before. Right? Why do so few succeed in that? There is only one man I know who made every mix better than it was before and that’s Larry Levan. A true wizard and master. And then there was the apprentice Francois Kevorkian, who made this mix. A jewel. Four minutes of only intro. Sharon who starts singing, chanting along with the guitar, after those lovely four minutes. All the instruments coming together in one perfect blend of bliss including the awesome lyrics. Do you really think you can …. uhhhh …. Handle IT? I’ve bought this record in 1981 and 30 years later I like it as much as in the beginning. I never get tired of it. I do not know one song where the remix is so much better than the original. Not a bit better, way better! Seek no more, you’ve found the Holy Grail.

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Having lived in the sleepy village of Roslin, and witnessed the daily commute by both pilgrims and tourists, this review resonates with one. I guess the aspect that might be missed by a lot of people is just how hard it was to get a copy of this record 30 years ago. Another review I read recently went thus;

if you see this , snatch it fast, put on a bullet proof vest and get your ass home, cause if some other mother f***** sees ya with it, he’s liable to shoot ya down for it!!!

It really is lamentable that this level of passion is lost by newer generations, one loves the fact that whether you are rich or poor you can always get a copy of the music you like using the internet.

I hated going to record shops sometimes twenty or so years ago, because the people that consistently got the best records were people that had money (stands to reason though), so the guy in the record shop would reserve the best records for said person, if one was close personal friend, you knew every couple of months or so you would get a hot record. It is important to note that a lot of dance records were released several times depending on sales, a record could be played in underground clubs for a couple of years before getting a major release, most times the next release would have a newer mix so getting a good record collection was very hard back then. If you happened to have a hot record, and were playing out live, then all to often other DJ’s or the public would time their moment and misappropriate (steal) said record. Music used to drive people to theft, an uncomfortable but necessary observation, this is why a lot of second hand records are worth a lot less, as usually they have someone’s name etched on the record or cover or both.

The thing I love about this record is the sheer sophistication of the voice and the unbeatable production, it almost is the perfect dance record, if someone asks you to name a classic tune “Can You Handle It” by Sharon Redd is head and shoulders above the rest, and one of my all-time favourite dance records, be it the original album mix, or this “Not a bit better, way better! Seek no more, you’ve found the Holy Grail” version.

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