Adeva ‎– Adeva!

In the same year that the “Paradise” album by Inner City was released, Adeva was taking us to Vocal Heaven with her self-titled bomb Adeva! This album was a game changer in the true sense of the word, it represented a new approach to house,  and marked a significant departure from the way records had been made in the eighties. Of the ten tracks on the album, half of them were released as singles, and all of them have a place in club land history. Three of them got into the top 20 here in the UK, all have been sampled countless times. Of the remaining five tracks not released as singles, are five wonderful songs, that played next to the aforementioned singles, leave one feeling that it is a complete album.

Different tracks were bigger than others in other countries, where the less popular tracks in one country would be the most popular in the next, it balanced out. The first track on the album “Respect” made people think she had covered Aretha Franklin’s classic track with the same title, that seemed quite logical, the minute you heard the first baseline you knew you were in for a treat! You’ve got to remember that Ladies back then were all about tracks like the gold-diggers anthem “Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ On But The Rent” by Gwen Guthrie with lyrics like “No romance without finance”. I use the phrase gold-diggers affectionately here (the dub version of that is a classic Paradise Garage record and a personal favourite), women were finding a new identity and this was reflected in the lyrics of the day. “I Thank You” is one of those tools you loved as a DJ, depending on the crowd it was a true floor filler, in that if you were playing to an empty or emptying dance floor it retained and pulled people back, in a house set it makes an excellent end of night record, DJ’s used to kill the sound when that was playing and rewind it or use two copies and have the whole room singing with their hands in the air, a completely infectious record.

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Adeva was in charge on this album, she was the Boss, she knew it and you knew it as well, powerful and intelligent. Of all dance records, this is most memorable for having such wonderfully written and sung songs that spoke to the listener.

This album is a blueprint of what some call “Soulful House” today, and people in the nineties called “Garage” and a huge record for me the year it came out and since, certainly a cassette one had on “Heavy Rotation!”.

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Inner City ‎– Paradise

I fell in love with house music through a close family member in the mid eighties that had a boombox and absolutely loved house music. He would play all the classics like Nitro Deluxe’s “This Brutal House ” and Mr Fingers “Can You Feel It” and all the early Chicago trax. It was all cassette tapes back then, and he had loads of the stuff. This influence resulted in me purchasing a copy of Paradise” by Inner City when I got my first Sony Walkman.

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I must have played that cassette every day for a year, wherever I was, that cassette tape was close by.

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It was only a decade later or so that I would hear people refer to the album as techno, it was so well produced, different tracks appealed more depending on your mood and there were stunning vocals from Paris Grey. It definitely was an album, and not an album with one or two hit singles and the rest of the tracks being “fillers” that a lot of albums tended to be like back then. Once you got a hit record, that usually resulted in an album deal, and very few people ever managed to pull it off and create an album worth listening to. In some ways, this is why mix-tapes took off, back then it was always about the record that came next, the focus wasn’t as it is on smooth mixing today, typically you went out and heard records at a hip-hop tempo 96 BPM all the way to 126 BPM and everything in-between, in fact there are a few hip-hop records like Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock’s “It Takes Two” that you would hear at house parties and would appear on house music compilations on vinyl, cassette and CD at the time.

Unfortunately due to the commercial success of the music throughout the nineties, House & Garage music became more and more fragmented, by the mid nineties you had, Piano House, Hardcore, Happy Hardcore, Rave, Handbag, Hardbag, House and Garage, Deep House, Breakbeat, Jungle, Trance, Progressive House, Hard House, Tech House, Speed Garage, Leftfield and so on. In some ways DJ magazine and Mixmag are as culpable as the promoters in pigeonholing music ad-infiniutm. It got to the stage where your typical trance or hard house fan would communicate their complete and utter disgust at US style Soulful Garage. I would sometimes throw parties back then and people would come and complain that the music was “too slow” and that I needed to play the music faster, I would pitch up the techno records I had to plus 130BPM, and they would start nodding and say “that more like it, but play it faster!”, as alas, the tempo of the music had become more important than the actual music.

The most revered DJ’s in the world, David Mancuso, Larry Levan, Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy all played across the board. Even today David Guetta or Paul Van Dyk would be household names if they could not just play trance or electro, people don’t seem to mind going to a club and listening to 10 hours of electro non stop but I digress. It is for this reason why most DJ’s and producers today will never ever gain the cult status of David Mancuso, “people are one trick ponies”

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Technotronic Featuring Felly and “Pump Up The Jam” was probably the club single of the year with the “Paradise” album containing hits like “Big Fun” and “Good Life” that would be played on the radio and in clubs as well. Make no mistake about it, this is probably the most important dance record that came out in 1989, if you have never heard it, definitely get yourself a copy.