A Certain Ratio – Be What You Wanna Be
A Certain Ratio (ACR) were one of the original bands on Factory Records having formed in 1977. In the mid 90s they came full circle by moving to former Joy Division and New Order manager Rob Gretton’s, Rob's Records. To me they are one of the most underrated Manchester groups.
I first heard this on John Peel’s radio show. It was never released in its own right, only as a b-side to “Backs to the Wall” in 1989. This was at the height of the Manchester scene and was largely overlooked compared to the output of Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets etc. It was released again as part of the Four to The Floor EP in 1990 and then on the ACR’s MCR album. I would highly recommend seeking this album out if you don’t own copy. I seem to have ended up with all of those releases along with the 7” of Good Together which has an edit of Be What You Wanna Be on the B side.
The track is a fusion of bongo, guitar and drums samples (from Johnny Pate’s “Shaft in Africa”), live instrumentation alongside keyboards and effects. Denise Johnson who performed on a number ACR tracks as well as Primal Scream tracks such as “Don’t Fight it Feel It” adds some great vocals to complete the track. The track epitomises the ACR sound to me.
I’ve seen A Certain Ratio live a number of times over the years. Once at Brixton Academy in around 1994, another at Platt Fields in 2010 and most recently performing in Blackpool Cricket Club @ Alfresco 2014. Live, the full-on version of this track is always one of the stand out moments.
Is this Record lost: Yes
Artist: A Certain Ratio
Track: Be What You Wanna Be
Label: A&M Records
Format: 12" Vinyl
Producer: A Certain Ratio
Mixed: A Certain Ratio
Engineer: Tim Oliver & Stuart James
The Lost Record is a showcase of music released on vinyl that never made it to Spotify or Apple.