Cream Coach Trip 95-99

nation_venue

This is a look back 20 or so years ago, the time when superclubs were in their ascendancy, Ministry of Sound, Gatecrasher, Cream, Slinky, Tall Trees and Back 2 Basics at the Pleasure Rooms on three floors.

I used to organise coach trips while at Bradford University to Cream in Liverpool. This really came about due to the number of Cream compilations we used to listen to in various Halls of Residence, listening to records like In the Trees by Faze Action or Keep on Groovin by DJ Sneak.

Sometimes you turn up at the turntables, this is one of those special mixes, though any mix with 51 Days by Paper Moon is likely a great one, Cream Live was the compilation back then, as was Cream’s Dance Anthems with David Morales and Paul Bleasdale , my favourite however is the triple CD by Darren Emmerson, Deep Dish, Les Ryder and Paul Bleasdale, below is a review by ecuadorian_bass on Discogs, January 16, 2010 that I think is more or less spot on, except for reasons I give at the end of this article – to be continued!

About 10 years ago I was working in a crappy factory where I had to put plastic injection moulded boxes into bigger cardboard boxes. It was dreadful, but it meant I had beer money for a while. Anyway I was chatting to a colleague one day and we got onto the subject of music and it became apparent that I liked that ‘electronic shite’ and he didn’t, and from there our relationship waned. A few weeks later out of the blue he came up to me and give me a cassette with the words, ‘This is probably up your effing street’, or words to that effect. The cassette was the Deep Dish mix from the Cream Separates box set and I managed to wear it thin.

So eventually, via that bidding behemoth Ebay, I managed to bag the 3xCD collection, and am very very chuffed to say that this mix has stood the test of time and still sounds as magical and uplifting (not in a Ferry Corsten at Gatecrasher, I’ve just boshed a load of Mitzis way).

The mix offers two sides of the Deep Dish duo with Dubfire mixing the first half and then Sharam finishing the next half.

In my opinion you can’t go wrong starting a mix with the sublime Rhythm & Sound, particularly ‘Never Tell You’, which was later immortalised on Richie Hawtin’s ‘Decks, EFX & 909′.
Dubfire then takes us on a mini tour of what feels like a template of Yoshitoshi – groovin'(Sandy Riviera), techy (The Horn), aquatic (Two Lone Swordsmen), funky (K.O.T.), epic (Mood II Swing) and the phasing synthy wonk of Basement Jaxx.

Sharam takes control through the Listenin’ Parlour a cappella that serves as a perfect transition between the duo before the violin (or fiddle?) laden Summer Madness is unfurled in all of its sunshine glory. ’20 Mins of Disco Glory’ follows like a throwback to Back to Basics before the dark ominous plodder ‘Tick-Tock’ swings into action – the mere fact that it has a ‘War of the Worlds mix’ gives it a dark edge I think. ‘Don’t Ever Stop’ bleeps and vocalises with gusto and funk whilst ‘Theme From The Blue Cucaracha’ has a quality piano/synth line in the break that is very reminiscent of John Carpenter’s Halloween theme. ‘Samba Magic’ then rolls up with pure Carnival vibes – cowbells a-go-go; before ‘In Your Soul’ Deep Houses and smokes its way into a celestial groove that brings you back to reality.

I’ve heard mixes before and after this one by Deep Dish as a duo and as individuals, but I feel that they absolutely nailed it with this – hats off.
I should add that I haven’t even bothered to listen to the other two mixes on this CD as I feel Darren Emerson is a mediocre DJ at best, and as for Les Ryder and Paul Bleasdale – yawn.

– Continued

equadorian_bass gives short-shrift to a compliation that contains many tracks highly rated by the brilliant Ralph Lawson owner of one of the best british record labels of the last quarter of a decade the phenomenal 20/20 Vision Recordings, the Darren Emmerson mix contains (amongst others) 51 Days by Paper Moon, Neal Howard’s Indulge, Virgo Four’s In A Vision and Sueño Latino’s Sueno Latino (The Paradise Version) (though Ralph opts for the original E2-E4 by Manuel Göttsching) these are all records that Ralph Lawson loves (check his blog out) so this cannot be a mediocre mix – get rid of the confirmation bias my friend – Darren was prodigious then, and twenty years on this remains an outstanding compilation, I personaly love his (uber rare on vinyl) mix of Shakespear’s Sister Black’s Sky (dub extravaganza part 2) from 1992, Oneiro’s Warrior is a Back to Basics classic (the nightclub in Leeds), Derrick Carter in fine fettle.

With Paul Bleasdale what we misinterpreted at times was that he was a resident DJ, so tended not play all the big tunes, solid resident though, I remember the eruption when Armand Van Helden’s remix of Spin Spin Sugar was dropped for the first time, for me Carl Cox was amazing every time in the Annexe (on three decks), Mr C (again in the Annexe) and DJ Heaven (in the Annexe) dropping The Pet Shop Boys Alright as the last record. Truth is most of the nights there were Special and were the line-ups, being students were loved everyone from Graeme Park to Dave Seaman to LTJ Bukem (we would debate for 20 minutes what was the best, LTJ, LTJ Bukem, Bukem etc. definitely a God amongst us), an untold story is how well Cream looked after me with the massive concessions one got on the door for organising the coach trips, they really looked after me!

Advertisements

Sun Palace – Rude Movements

I guess back in the nineties when music was underground, the quest for most DJ’s was to find great records that no-one else was aware were any good, many club nights were based on this principle, invariably, successful underground clubs had their own sound and culture. I have always been fascinated with the music both musicians and DJ’s have an affinity with – not that the public doesn’t have a great choice mind – there is usually an unexpected perspective, a feeling, a devotion when one hears favourite music being discussed.

Rude Movements by Sun Palace is one of those magical tracks that works across the board. If you appreciate quality music, then you are in for a treat with this Mike Collins a produced, David Mancuso Loft Classic.

There is an excellent write-up on Mike Collins available here. Interesting to find out that he is connected to Bjork’s “Play Dead” another stone cold classic.

Only 10 000 copies were originally released, with second-hand copies seldom being available through the years, so the only affordable version of this track was on a bootleg, so great to see Mike Collins has made available an official release on BBE.

Also worth having a read is the original blog post by Mike before this release.

Basement #1 Demo

The Basement mix series has been a chance to expose some of the parental (and family) influence one had musically, records I still play today.

I vividly remember one day my father playing a record by Herbert von Karajan, and me thinking what on earth is that, what on earth is it? It was very powerful moment, the first time you really hear classical music and start to understand what is going on (listen to the third hour in Basement Mix #4), you suddenly realise you are not on earth in that one feels that they are in a place of absolute and indescribable beauty, so my sister and I approached him at once in a state of absolute confusion, and he lovingly took some time to explain fully what classical music is, what composition is and so on, in the coming days and weeks he had budding flautists and clarinet players to contend with.

Presently, the basement mix series is available in parts 1 to 8 (not including this original demo), the series has taken over three years to compile thus far, finding all the original and relevant Vinyl in some cases. 15 years ago it was such a big deal as a budding DJ to be able to record a decent set, and distribute it via cassette trying to get booked for gigs, pubs and clubs.

This is the original demo, the one that kicked things off, and gave me the idea to start to make a determined effort to try encapsulate this music, because one seldom if ever, hears it anymore.

As ever this is a Special “Vinyl Only” mix, recorded on two turntables, and a mixer.

Masters At Work

What is there to say about the Masters At Work that has not been said already? For me they encapsulate what House Music is all about. I happened to play a mix of “I Get Lifted” by Barbara Tucker for the first time in a while, and the memories came flooding back, tears in the eyes and everything, one truly misses those times!

Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez and “Little Louie Vega are probably the most important dance music producers that emerged in the 1990’s. Their name taken after a Todd Terry produced project “Does exactly what it says on the tin”. Development of Dance Music Culture in the 1970’s and 1980’s is attributed to DJ’s Like David Mancuso, Nicky Siano, Frankie Knuckles, Ron Hardy and Larry Levan (A childhood friend of Frankie Knuckles).

I first heard the Masters At Work when they Played at the Ministry of Sound around the time they released the classic Sessions Five mix on Limited Vinyl and CD on Sound Of Ministry. What Beethoven, Bach or Mozart are to Classical Music, Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez” and “Little” Louis Vega are to House Music. It’s as simple as that really!

51b9c0ad1a556

I guess the element that is easily lost, looking at this music retrospectively, is that it was first and foremost an “Underground Music” culture and was very important to people in the Underground Clubbing Scene, as music back then it was predominantly about the Charts or nothing else (no internet, just radio). The records in this mix are all originals, no anthologies or anything have been used, licentiously demonstrated by the display of two or more copies of a record. It must be known that whenever you saw a Masters At Work record in the shop you always bought it because they never disappointed, the wide array of people that liked Masters At Work and their significant output created a buzz on the Underground that is seldom, if ever repeated.

When Masters At Work emerged on the House Scene, they were predominantly known for their dubs like “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” by St. Etienne a record that was on so many cassettes one used to listen to at the time, and “Carry On” by Martha Wash. The first track in this mix “Coming On Strong” by Desiya is as historic as they come, Todd Terry, Louie Vega, Tony Humphries, and Kenny Dope, kick-starting the Magic Sessions in Miami. It really isn’t possible to compare a track like “I Can’t Get No Sleep” with a Track like “Deep Inside” by Hardrive, but “Deep Inside” is the record that every DJ I have ever met swears by. Every Pirate radio station played that track to death.

What really took the world by surprise is that they embraced creating records with Singers and they produced both some of the most underground sounding house records, and also some of the best vocal records like “Too Be In Love”, a record very special to one, as one managed to bag an original import on Vinyl.

R-1218441-1410297275-4367_jpeg“To Be In Love”, took over two years until it was licensed here in the UK on Defected records, which meant there were only a few DJ’s playing that record out (there is also a rare Special White Vinyl Version), to think nowadays you can just download a track or stream it on the internet, back then, you paid twice, thrice or more for a rare Vinyl record on Import, word got out, and I would pack parties on the premise that people got to hear that record. Magical!

Remember that you can buy their music at http://www.vegarecords.net/ ,  http://kaydeerecords.bigcartel.com/kenny-dope , http://www.traxsource.com/,and also http://strictly.com or https://pro.beatport.com

The Mole People ‎– Break Night

It is an onerous task, to try and choose a Top 50, let alone a Top 10 for the label Strictly Rhythm, a label as important as the Apple label by the Beatles, every home should have a least one Strictly Rhythm record.

R-42952-1191399240_jpeg

For me “Break Night” by The Mole People (‎a pseudonym of Armand Van Helden) is the perfect 03:00AM to 04:00AM record, before you start playing records by Ron Trent and Chez Damier or Moodymann. It’s a long track that builds and builds, one you can get lost in, it’s the frequency of the bass that gets you on a world class sound system.

I first became aware of Armand Van Helden the summer “Professional Widow” by Tori Amos and “Sugar is Sweeter” by CJ Bolland came out, records that the people of Harrow in particular took a liking to. It was Flowerz however that I liked the most around the time the press were talking about a Sunday all dayer in New York by François Kevorkian and Joe Clausell called Body and Soul, Flowerz was an anthem there, and here in the UK as well, a timeless record.

Unlike a lot of the Vinyl I sometimes play, you can buy this and other classic Strictly Rhythm tracks at their website.

20/20 Vision Recordings Mix

The 20/20 Vision Recordings record label has remained one of the best record labels in the UK for the last 20 years releasing hundreds of 12″ Singles and Albums from Artists all over the world. The general rule of thumb is to avoid anything cheesy, at all costs. Ralph Lawson maintains an excellent blog where he has been putting a lot of people out of their misery by recording mixes showcasing some of the records that were being played at the culturally defining nightclub that is Back to Basics in Leeds.

My take on Ralph through reading news articles and listening to interviews, is that he is always focused on the future, and seldom has time to discuss the past, especially if it relates to music, but for a great many of us, the world wasn’t what it is today where records could be consumed immediately by the entire world. For a great many people, you went to Basics and might find out about a record like ‎”We Are One” by D.J.Q., or “The Day We Lost The Soul / Tribute! (To The Soul We Lost)” by Moodymann, but for the most part, you just remember having the time of your life, even when Ralph was playing on KissFM in Yorkshire, he would start off with a track like Nothing-Stays-The-Same by MD-VS-LR-Feat-Mike-Dunn, fat chance you had of ever finding a copy in local record shops.

The first Ralph Lawson record I fell in love with was “I Remember Dance” by Chuggles, that you would hear on the pirate radio stations in London, as well as at the Ministry Of Sound. House music became quite confusing then, with all the Genres that the press kept coming out with e.g. Happy House, Hard House, Deep House, Handbag House, Piano House and so on but 20/20 Vision Recordings remained one of the most consistent labels just putting out quality releases. I worked with a bunch of DJ’s at the time when 20/20 Vision Recordings  was gaining traction, it was very competitive, so if someone bought of copy of this 20/20 record you had to buy one that they didn’t have, so at one stage we had pretty much every release up till the mid noughties on Vinyl

This is just me trying to pick some 20/20 vision records that you probably have not heard that I still enjoy. Don’t forget that you can get both new and classic 20/20 Vision releases from their website or beatport or juno.

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.

R-241523-1364917504-4557_jpeg

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.