Given the plethora of quality releases that came out of Thomas Bangalter‘s Roule label in the mid-90s, it’s easy to overlook the funky, filtered, stomping gem of a tune that Chicago house music legend Roy Davis Jr. released in 1998. In fact, Rock Shock was the label release that immediately preceded Roule’s biggest success, Music Sounds Better With You.
Davis Jr. previously worked as an A&R scout at the revered Strictly Rhythm label and released the massively successful single “Gabriel” which was a worldwide club hit. With Rock Shock, based around a sample of Claudio Simonetti‘s “I Love The Piano“, Roy drops a fantastic piece of futuristic funk complete with booming drums, a thick bass and some nice filtering on the sample.
Thomas himself takes over remix duties and his “Start-Stop Mix” take Davis’ original formula, stands it on its head and…..well, I’ll let you have a listen for yourself. Bangalter’s blend of crisp beats, signature filters and some deft turntablism tricks makes for a stellar remix and both sides of the vinyl can literally rock the dancefloor at anytime of night.
This is definitely a great jam to drop if you want to take your crowd for a ride and remains an iconic release in the Roule catalog.
As yesterday marked the 2nd anniversary of the passing of perhaps the truest legend in house music, it would rather ignorant to have a blog about classic house and not have a post about Frankie Knuckles and one of his most revered productions, Tears. Laying the groundwork for the genre through his sets at Chicago’s legendary Warehouse club, the broad genre known as house music took its name from the club in tribute to the records Knuckles played there. Knuckles would often bring in a Roland 909 drum machine to play over other tracks, giving a distinct, heavy-sounding edge to his signature style.
Produced in conjunction with Japanese producer and protegé of Knuckles’ Satoshi Tomiie, the track features a seminal vocal from another house music legend Robert Owens. The track was an instant club success and the mournful narrative of the lyrics firmly established it as a timeless classic.
Numerous remixes have followed over the years, including a pumping remix courtesy of Full Intention in 1999 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the original. After finally finding a vinyl copy about 2 years ago, I was inspired to put together a remix of my own not long after Knuckles’ passing. While I can’t say if it is as timeless as the original, I wanted to give it a bit of an update while putting the emphasis on the song and the groove.
Easy to pull out and incorporate in any form, “Tears” will live on forever as one of the greatest house records ever made and one of the greatest songs ever recorded.