Before the Soulful House was called soulful house, it was called “Garage”. In the early to mid nineties, Tony Humphries was resident at the Ministry of Sound in London, Masters at Work and Frankie Knuckles were permanent fixtures, and this is one of the tracks you would hear in the Ministry of Sound in the main room.
Trance killed garage music to an extent, as the new generation that came after the Acid House generation did not really care as much about the history of the music, so a DJ Tiesto, Paul Van Dyk or David Guetta fan would be disgusted if they went to listen to Frankie Knuckles and he played a record like this. I could scarcely believe what happened to house and garage music towards the end of the nineties, as records like this by producers like Benji Candelario were what made clubs like Hard Times in Leeds special.
Like the other Gospel tracks posted earlier, the words and chorus are one that believers and non-believers alike will all sing along to.
Who is the joy?
Continuing in the “Gospel” vein of the last few posts, released in 1999 this is one of my all time favourite Gospel records. It’s almost the perfect record, the vocal delivery, the strings, just sublime. Steer well clear of the other remixes, this particular version is the only one that matters.
This is another one of those records that if you time it right and drop in a nightclub, will have all the doormen and punters with their hands in the air, screaming at the top of they voice the chorus “He Is The Joy”, a road to Damascus record!
Another classic Gospel track from The Sounds of Blackness is the Frankie Knuckles mix of “The Pressure”. This used to get played at the Ministry Of Sound in London in the main room in the early nineties, and was pure hands in the air bliss. It really did not make much sense that a Gospel song would be adored predominantly by people that were irreligious, for the minority in the crowd that were, it was “manna from heaven”.
It was Danny Rampling that turned me onto this, who would champion the track in his mixes on the radio or club mixes, or constantly go on about it in DJ Magazine or Mixmag in the nineties. A lot of people don’t know this particular mix as it is buried in House music, it was never as big a hit as “Optimistic”, but if you time this right and drop it, even the Doormen in the nightclub will have their hands in their air, with ear to ear smiles!
In the previous post titled “The Gospel Truth” one goes into how Gospel music became mainstream, there is absolutely no doubt that U2 were instrumental in opening the worlds ears and eyes into something that had existed right beneath peoples noses for decades.
The first huge commercial Gospel success was The Sounds Of Blackness who have been performing since 1969 and are still going strong. The track Optimistic from The Evolution Of Gospel album is a special record indeed. It’s a record even atheists love, such is the power and the purity of the lyrics and the tour de force vocals from Ann Nesby and the Sounds of Blackness. Most records produced nowadays by DJ’s and producers in their bedroom, don’t have the budget that the record companies used to spend, like an orchestra, there are 50 to 100 individual voices and no amount of technology will ever be able to replace this.
This is a record that has been in my box since the day it came out, always soothes and heals in times of trouble and strife. I don’t think it can ever be surpassed. An all time Classic!
U2 released their sixth Studio and Rattle and Hum in 1988 (the year Acid House came out) which was accompanied by a brilliant documentary
If you have never seen this video, be advised that they don’t come better than this, you really need to get yourself a copy. In it, the band record the journey they go through recording the album, there are many standout tracks on the album where they explore many different styles of music, including Gospel.
The subject of God is a contentious one in music, especially rock music which is typically rebellious, Leather jackets, Levi jeans, Cowboy boots and Marlborough cigarettes. This really was a huge gamble for the band, as I don’t think Lemmy from Motorhead or Van Halen for example would have ever taken the risk, but U2 did, and it would go on to change the worlds perception about music where people are Singing to God, Worshiping God, and Praising their Lord.
Special track from the perennially suave, debonair and cool (in the true sense of the word) Brian Ferry and Roxy music. This is one of those tracks that people always ask what it is called if you play it out, as they usually are expecting their more familiar tracks.
Only Sade and Robert Palmer can match this in terms of sophistication, a track that never leaves my box (you definitely want both the album version and the extended 12″ for those longer sets).