Archive for the ‘Garage’ Category

Frankie Knuckles 1955 – 2014
April 1, 2014

I found out last night that Frankie Knuckles had died aged 59 and I cannot overstate how gutted I was. Frankie Knuckles wasnt just a DJ or Producer, he was one of a very small cadre of people responsible for creating the sound that has played in my head and heart for as long as I can remember. Sounds a bit spiritual I know but its hard to explain that music to me has always been about the kickdrum, the high hat and piano or soulful vocal hook. Sure my tastes have mellowed over the years but at the very beginning of my own personal musical journey, it was House music and specifically the Soulful House sound synonymous with ChiTown/NYC that I loved. Imagine me. locked onto as a young 8 year old lad, the John Peel radio show on a Sunday night, taping the imports that he played during the show. House music is probably the first thing I would say that defined me as my own person with my own taste. The first thing I found on my own.

Frankie Knuckles was responsible for the music at the Warehouse in Chicago, often credited with the origin of the name “House”, a shortened version of “The Warehouse” music that was in such demand in early 80’s Chicago record stores. The history of House Music is littered with DJ’s and producers held in high almost godlike reverence but almost all agree that Frankie was deserving of his title as the “Godfather of house”. A guy who took the records available to him after the death of commercial disco, rolled in a drum machine in the booth thanks to Derrick May and helped pioneer a sound that has dominated global music for over thirty years. Sure it was going to happen sooner or later but this soon, man I wanted to see Frankie just one more time…

So today the web has been rammed full of tributes to Knuckles, Twitter exploded last night with tributes, Facebook has been busting at the seams with friends all posting their favourite Frankie Knuckles cuts. He has a legacy that transcends his death for as long as there is a Kick Drum, a snare, a highhat played over a soulful vocal and an uplifting piano riff, therein lies some of Frankies DNA, a fingerprint that will outlive all of us left here reflecting upon his body of work.

Thank you for the music Frankie.

Pamela Fernandez – Kickin’ In The Beat (Extended Mix) [1992]
February 27, 2012

I reckon its about time we paid our repects to the excellent Pamela Fernandez and the seminal classic that is “Kickin’ In The Beat”. Yeah, that accapella has been caned within an inch of its life, found predominantly listed as remixes of this tune but often just snippets of the whole. You’ll find a bunch of those tracks listed on here but the highlights for me have to be Sublime’s The Theme and the Club For Life track from Chris & James. Fernandez’ voice is tailor made for house music and the Todd Terry remix of this just brings it all together with a funky but chunky house arrangement and the vocals stomping all over the track like Godzilla. There’s a bunch of other decent remixes out there, some house heavy tracks, some more progressive. Lets see if we cant list some of the better ones eh?

Tommy Musto Remix – Glam House from 1994

Standard Issue Dancing Diva’s mayhem from 1994

Deeper Alex Party remix, also 1994!

The cracking Sub-Urban Kickin’ Mix from……. 1994!

The inexplicably popular AIM Dub mix, choppy raveyness/bouncy houseness in here… 1992

Finally and most importantly, the original accapella;

Colonel Abrams – Trapped 12′ inch version [1985]
April 18, 2011

Time to show some respect to the Colonel. Its still incredible to think this was released in 1985, what could be considered a freestyle track in the vein of Sinnamon. However, the track has far more in common with the House sound that emerged a couple of years AFTER this was released. Incredibly, it was a huge track, well received across the globe and could be pretty much heard everywhere on release. Yet, with a fanastic vocal and the backing of a hit single Abrams effectively dropped off the face of the Earth after 1989, releasing sporadic, average tracks forever in the shadow of this incredible release. Regardless, from a vocal standpoint, Abrams cant be faulted, his voice is close to perfection on this coupled with the direction of the extremely talented Richard Burgess and its not hard to see why its a winner.

From Discogs
This is Proto-House track that came out in 1985. It could easily fit into an early House set and it was played at clubs such as the Hacienda. It could also be classed as a Soul classic. Either way it’s just brilliant Black vocal Dance music of the highest order.

RIP Loleatta Holloway
March 22, 2011

Loleatta Holloway

Its a sad sad day for music. We lost one of the truly great female vocalists. In this day of autotune and refined marketability, Holloway continued to find cuts of her vocals in all manner of music, in many cases without any financial compensation. Her voice remains one of the most sampled in the history of music with Love Sensation being one of the most prolific accapella’s of all time.

I grew up with Loleatta Holloway’s voice, from the originals back in the early to mid Eighties to the rise of the sampler and House & Garage tunes from 1987 onwards. From that point on, I dont think ive heard more than 20 different electronic tracks before I find one with a vocal from Holloway. Ive lost the plot with her, i’ve danced around a field with her voice floating across the fields, heard in raves, mixtapes, hardcore, house, drum & bass, commercials, movie trailers, on my ipod about four times a day and i’d hazard a guess that she was playing the day I got married. There are very few artists that I know of that can claim to have been in the collective audio unconscious of sample based music lovers for almost four decades.

She was one of the truly great vocalists of our time and one that will be very sorely missed by me. In an effort to do any kind of justice to this memory, lets get the music underway.

RIP Loleatta Holloway, you were fucking amazing.

…the key to her appeal is that she doesn’t push herself too far to the front. The pleasure of listening to divas like Whitney or Rihanna is that it’s an aspirational experience – women want to be them, men want to be with them. Holloway is a different proposition: a collective experience, of mutual understanding and shared joy. She takes the utopian ideals of clubland – sex, community, abandon – and massively amplifies them back at the dancers, singing to each one of them and the club as a whole. As her voice surges onto and fills the dancefloor, it really does feel like we’re all getting stronger.
Taken from a Great Obituary from the Guardian

Mike “Hitman” Wilson feat Shawn Christopher – Another Sleepless Night [1990]
November 6, 2010

Taking Shawn Christopher’s awesome vocals from “Another Sleepless Night” and mixing it into a deep house belter that became a Sasha & Digweed classic, immortalised on their legendary Renaissance mix cd. I had no idea this was from 1990, its a much more mature sound than a lot of the housey cheese of the time, taking a more progressive angle way before anyone had even considered the term. A driving, pounding masterpiece.

Mass Order – Lift Every Voice (Classic Boot Mix ) [1991]
September 27, 2010

Soulful classic from Mass Order, way back in 1991. Utilising Loleatta Holloway’s vocals from “Love Sensation” and combining the duo’s great vocal talent with a cracking Garage tinted house beat, Lift Every Voice was huge. Played to death by DJ’s on both sides of the pond, it evokes a great summer feeling.

From Discogs
Mass Order was a House Music duo from Maryland, whose members were Eugene Hanes and Marc Valentine. They released one album, Maybe One Day, in 1992. Their single Lift Every Voice (Take Me Away), was a soulful song that was instrumental for the sub-genre of Garage House, which was made popular in the late 80s and early 90s by House Music DJ Tony Humphries and features samples of soul diva Loleatta Holloway on this record as did black box on ride on time too the “take me away” bit .

Tweet – Boogie 2Nite (Fat Camp Edit) [2005]
August 11, 2010

Ive been caning Greg Wilson’s Essential Mix from last January, again, for like the millionth time. This re-edit of Tweet’s soulful Boogie 2nite has a massive injection of ElectroFunk/Disco tinged soul in it. Crackin’ vocal, monster bassline. What more could you ask for!

From Discogs
If you like Shelter style US Garage, or even Jazz n Groove style House, then you’ll love this mix. So much soulful feeling and emotion it’s energy keeps you up and lively while plucking at your heartstrings with every note. Still to be found in Marques Wyatt’s or Timmy Regisford’s sets even though it was pressed last year. An eminent example of quality modern soul music. Definite classic in the making.

Denise Lopez – Don’t You Wanna Be Mine ( The Clivillés And Cole Vocal Club Mix ) [1990]
July 14, 2010

Absolutely monster remix from the legendary Clivilles & Cole from the Dont You Wanna Be Mine remixes 12″. Ive always preferred the slightly pitched down version from Sasha, they work better with the vocal. Regardless your cant deny that Lopez’s massive vocal just rocks the shit out of this track.

From Discogs
The Clivilles & Cole House Dub was an absolute Hacienda bomb & completely and utterly rocks. Many DJs such as Sasha (many people forget that this man built his reputation on cheesy piano house) opted for the more cheesier Vocal Club mix, while the more discerning DJs (from that era) such as Graeme Park & Mike Pickering played the House Dub on the b side. The tune builds and builds with only minimal vocal refrains and then reaches the ultimate crescendo with a banging succession of organ stabs that would rock any dancefloor. Still sounds fresh today.

Funky Green Dogs From Outer Space – Reach For Me (Long Ass Mix) [1992]
June 21, 2010

Cracking deep soulful house groove from Murk & Network records. Pamela Williams was the original vocalist on this until she was replaced by Tamara Wallace for the final release. What a vocalist she is, pitch perfect for the deep bassline that drives this track onward and upwards. Classic.

From Discogs
A classic piece of house music and Murk’s finest moment. This is deep, hypnotic, haunting house music of the very highest order. There is a fantastic baseline throughout that really lifts the record, with the lovely vocal slipping in and out.

Robin S – Show Me Love (Original Extended Mix) [1992]
May 16, 2010

Possibly one of the greatest tracks ever released onto the dancefloor, most people wont confess to loving it but the moment it gets dropped the place WILL go nuts, no exceptions. Ive always preferred the Original Mix but AKA does a great job of doubling the length of the track, keeping it DJ friendly but interesting enough to not get repetetive.

What is it that makes this so legendary? The Korg synth riff is clean, deep and iconic and Ms Stones voice just offsets the synth perfectly. The minute her opening “Aaaaaaaahhh” kicks in your cerebellum lights up and somewhere deep inside you just knows that your about to have a LOT of fun. Its as simple a house track as your ever likely to find but it does everything right, in fact, if I had any criticism, it would be that pathetic 4 beat but since that was par for the course at the time, i’ll let it go!

Since its release in 1992, this track has had multiple additional release cycles usually adding different mixes every time. You’ve got trance, pop, hard house, techno remixes of the accapella but out of all of them, I would say that StoneBridge nails it but best remix.

Robin S – Show Me Love StoneBridge Remix