Kraze – The Party (Tunnel Mix) [1988]
January 9, 2014

There’s a riff, that I often find myself humming. On those rare occasions when I get a quiet moment, its a good chance that this riff will be there, floating around in the background. You might even say, its a riff that haunts me. That riff is the bassline to Kraze’s “The Party”. Its so damn perfect in its execution, its as if the sequence of notes were always meant to be played next to each other in this way. Like there really is no other way for them to be woven together.

Now that might sound a bit off the wall but stick with me. This came out in 1988, I was beginning to listen to House music, moving away from the hip hop and soul I had been listening to. There’s a good chance that I probably heard this, like so many others on a John Peel show on a Sunday night. But, like a handful of other tunes, this has a riff that has just stayed with me since that day. Its so simple, so iconic that its not hard to see why its such a beloved track by so many. Sure, the vocals can grate a little but you know you have a wry smile in the corner of your mouth when you head “Y’all want this party start right? Somebody Scream!”. Its a snapshot of everything that made these dance music releases so damn brilliant. Its got a huge slab of Detroit Techno in its veins with a bucketload of NY House sass thrown in for good measure. Its a song who’s sole purpose is to make you dance. At home, at work, on the bus, in a club, in a field, at your desk. Consider my Party well and truly started.

Corporation Of One – The Real Life [1988]
March 26, 2012

I reckon you could credit Corporation of One with the instigation of sampling Themes for Great Cities since this went stratospheric in 1988. I mean, hell it samples everything else as well! You have Queen, some Al Pacino from Scarface as well as that instantly recognisable string section from Simple Minds. But its how they are used that makes this track such a belter. Its breaks are clean and crisp, the moogy bass makes another appearance some four years before Farley and Heller got their hands into it.

Corporation of One was the pseudonym of Freddy Bastone, one extremely prolific remixer from the Bronx who’s work ranged from remixing Queen (surprise surprise), Bananarama, Brandy, Judas Priest, Lil’ Kim, Missy Elliott, Radiohead, Rod Stewart, and Taxi Doll.

Charles B & Adonis – Lack of Love [1988]
February 6, 2012

Good god yes. This just came up on the ole Ipod after a crafty weekend update and i’ll be damned if its been too long since I heard this banger. A seminal piece of classic Acid House, retaining the added distinction of being probably the only track of the time to have an entire vocal section included in it. While many lament the addition of the vocals, I absolutely bloody love the whole composition. The acid riffs complement the vocal perfectly, likely because the vocalist isnt actually all that good. Instead you get some raw lyrics over a ferocious acid riff with Adonis’ trademark squelchy 303 business. A track that is guaranteed to have you grooving to the very heart of acid house, what a cracker.

From Discogs
Lack Of Love is timeless, vintage gem of a track, and the fact I’m about to jot down a laudable line or two about it, twenty years after its original release date, only helps prove my point.
By combining really smooth vocals, great and subtle piano stabs and an infectious, yet instantly memorable and emotional acid riff, the track has potential to draw in both, the regular VIVA Club Rotation electronic music follower as well as the more underground orientated acid house freaks.
I haven’t really heard many DJs drop it that many times, but what I can tell is that it works equally well during the lazy morning after hours and during the peaks of more sophisticated house sets.
A trait of a true classic, no doubt. It has really aged with grace in my humble opinion. One of those tunes which will bring smiles to people’s faces another twenty years from today.

How does one combine brilliant deephouse with brilliant acid? By recording “Lack of love”! Most techno and acid fans hate it because it’s too soft and most deephouse fans hate it because it is too hard. But I think it is one of the best records ever!

Hijack – Hold No Hostage [1988]
June 21, 2011

The headline track from Hijack’s very first release and what a way to kick off the legend of one of the UK’s biggest Hip hop acts. Its all about Sly’s cracking MC delivery with this one, the breaks are grand, but Kamanchi Sly just rips your face off with proper lyrical gymnastics. Classic.

From Discogs
Hard, hard UK rap 12.

At a time (when is this not the case) when British rap was not hitting the same level as their US counterparts. These guys came along and hit so hard. Sitting on album covers with gas masks on and ninja swords way before Wu Tang clan, delivering hard, fast, funky rap, Komanchi Sly cutting through the beats with impecable delivery. Undercover, transforming and cutting up noise over the sledgehammer breaks

And it was from the UK, made you feel proud that we could do this rap thing as good the US.

Eddy Grant – Give Me Hope Jo’anna [1988]
June 15, 2011

Alright, time to get onto some Eddy Grant. Its been a long time comming, but lets kick off with one of my favourites of Grants. Now, in fairness, its release date definately went against it, music was changing noticably in ’88 and despite being at the forefront of the synth boom in the early 80’s, Grant didnt use his sizeable experience in this field to push the boundaries with “Give Me Hope”. I would imagine the main emphasis was the message not the track itself and sadly I think that it may have suffered at the time because of this. Listening now however, musical trends passed and recycled since its release, I can at least appreciate the track for what it is. An uplifting call to South Africa during the twilight days of Aparthied, designed soley to get people up dancing and singing. Something Grant is a master at.

From Wikipedia
“Gimme Hope Jo’anna” is a song originally by Eddy Grant, a well-known anti-apartheid reggae anthem from the 1980s, written during the apartheid era in South Africa. The song was banned by the South African government when it was released. It reached #7 in the UK Singles Chart, becoming Grant’s first Top 10 hit for more than five years.

“Jo’anna” in the lyrics represents not only the city of Johannesburg, but also the South African Government that ran the apartheid system. Soweto is a black township near Johannesburg, notable for its role in the resistance to the apartheid laws. The archbishop is Desmond Tutu, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his opposition to apartheid.

“She’s got supporters in high up places, Who turn their heads to the city sun” represents the unwillingness of the international community, at first, to take action against the South African government for using the apartheid system. It is also a reference to Sun City, the South African luxury resort. “She even knows how to swing opinion, In every magazine and the journals” represents the propaganda which the media contributed which attributed to the success of the Apartheid system.

Eddy Grant performed a version of this song at the closing ceremony of the Indian Premier League T-20 cricket tournament on 25 May 2009. The song included a short reprise with the lyrics “…Jo’anna still runs this country” and the rest of the reprise in present tense.

Baby Ford – Oochy Koochy (Fu Baby Yeh Yeh) [1988]
April 13, 2011

There’s been a bit of a lack of acid in these parts too, so lets change that with one of the very best UK releases from Baby Ford. That acid riff is like getting needled in the back of the neck continuously while being slowly massaged by the WICKED subbase that rumbles beneath the whole track. The piano riff is a great addition and tempers the otherwise jarring composition back into perfection. I defy anyone to keep their hands at their sides when this banger comes on.

From Discogs
At the time of release – 1988, this was without a doubt the best Acid house track that came out of the Britain. Some still say this is the best UK Acid track ever. Its the mindlessness of the samples, the heavy kick drum, mixed with superb use of the 303. The flip tracks are also outstanding, Flowers, captures the whole Acid house movement of the late 80’s in the UK. Oochy Koochy Still sounding fresh today makes it a Classic. Oh and it really does blow your speakers…

Bomb The Bass – Dont Make Me Wait (Club Mix) [1988]
March 7, 2011

The A of the double A side release from Bomb The Bass that included the now legendary Megablast. This track on the other hand is a complete departure from the hip hop, sample driven Megablast. Nope, this is a freestyle vocal monster from Lauraine and what a cracker it is. Sadly, its definately beginning to show its age but tracks such as this were groundbreaking in getting a whole new generation of contemporary UK female vocalists out into the mainstream, out from under their Music Mogul overlords and over produced ballads and right up front with the best of them. Couple this with Shannon’s “Let The Music Play” and your laughing. Fantastic.

In response to arnewpunkt, it may be that some folks may be having trouble playing this outside of the US ( Bastards! ), so find attached a bunch of other links, see if this helps!

Bomb The Bass – Dont Make Me Wait original music video!
Bomb The Bass – Dont Make Me Wait (Club Mix) Alternative link!

Sugar Bear – Dont Scandalize Mine [1988]
February 2, 2011

“Call me a star, watch me shine”

Top Drawer Hip Hop classic. You gotta have some balls to sample the Talking Heads, Once in a Lifetime doubly so. But this doesnt just nail it, it knocks it out the park. Absolutely epic. The lyrics are pitch perfect, conscious and hype at the same time, guaranteed to destroy anything in its path.

Theres a great write up over at Jesse Serwers blog with an interview with the man himself, Sugar Bear.

Nobody knew I was making a record. When I made ‘Don’t Scandalize Mine,’ I wasn’t even out there telling people this is what I am doing. I think I was just making a record because everybody else was doing it. I was just like ‘Yo, this is what I’m doing’ and this guy Paul Shabazz, who shared the studio with Hank Shocklee at 510 South Franklin, said, ‘I think we got something.’ We did two cuts, both at Web’s house, ‘Don’t Scandalize Mine” and “Ready to Penetrate.’ ‘Don’t Scandalize Mine’ means mind your business. I’m good with metaphors, I make up shit. That’s just a saying I made up. On the first demo, the beat on ‘Don’t Scandalize Mine’ was real slow.

Continue reading over at Jesse’s blog…

Royal House – Can You Party (Club Mix) [1988]
November 29, 2010

Absolutely massive, banging house track with a higher tempo than most releases of the time. The synth stabs drive the track along with plenty of sing along vocal stabs and the unrelenting “Can You Feel It!” sample dominating the track. A proper shape thrower in the classic sense of the word.

From Discogs
1988 Acid House explosion wouldn’t be the same without this anthem. Although this wonderfull title doesnt feature any 303 bassline it brings the same energy on the dance floor. Another unreleased dub version coupled with Tyree’s classic ‘Acid Over’is featured in the famous video ‘The Evil Acid Baron show’ the same year. The result is a pure mental effect!

Sterling Void – Runaway Girl (12″ Mix) [1988]
November 29, 2010

No its not as huge as the full length Dub mix but this 12″ Mix of the original composition still rocks it for me. Absolutely huge piano monster and those epic vocals. Anyone with half an interest in dance music knows this classic. Best way to come back in from a week away in England, freezing my ass off. Let Sterling Void warm your soul!