There’s never been a better duo than Morcambe and Wise. Or, as they started out, Earnest Wiseman and Eric Bartholemew. Pushed by Ernie’s mother and honing their skills extensively on the music hall circuit, before moving into tv, at first disasterously, then slowly, brilliantly they became the biggest comedy duo in British television history. A handful of films didn’t really do their talent justice, but their Christmas shows were watched by in excess of 28 million. And then they were gone, Eric first his health always a cause for concern, he died of a heart attack in 1984, with Ernie succumbing in 1999. Everyone, at least in Britain, has their own favourite Morcambe and Wise moment. The crux was this, individually they were brilliant, together they were world beating.
There’s musical competition on the horizon. Burning House have their new single taken from their debut album ‘Walking into a burning house’ released July 15th on French imprint Naive Records. But this duo are no new kids on the block, but beatmaster Cheif Xcel from Blackalicious and Herve Salters aka General Elektriks on keys and vocals.
They’ve been hanging out for a while, though, meeting shortly after Salters moved from his native Paris to San Francisco in the early 2000’s. They quickly hooked into eachothers projects, Xcel appearing on General Elektricks first album, and Salters repaying the mutual love by playing keys on several of Xcel’s projects, including touring with Blackalicious in the aftermath of ‘The Craft’.
The result of this more formal partnership, or double act you might say (should you be trying to seamlessly switch between talking about a funk hip-hop group and a uniquely British comedy duo in the same article) came later, and the first evidence of that is Turn off the Robot.
It’s pure funk killer, from the huge horn stabs throughout, to the vocals and the hooks that eminate from everywhere, to the hige electro keys that define the track. All this over hot hip-hop beats and with some incredible computer generated wizardry on the actual vocal. Seems like that Burning House are brilliant on their own, but together, well…….you know.