1997-1999 were indeed golden years for French house and it wasn’t just Daft Punk that was making some waves at the time. French DJ/Producer Chris Le Friant, better known by his alter-ego Bob Sinclar, released his debut studio album “Paradise” in 1998, a set of funky, filtered house jams that relied even more heavily on layered disco sampled than his fellow Frenchmen did.
Sinclar’s association with Thomas Bangalter led to the creation of “Gym Tonic”, a track mixed and programmed entirely by Bangalter, and later released as a promo single against Bangalter’s wishes(you can read about that debacle here). Despite it’s popularity the single, in Toronto anyway, was difficult to find leading many DJs including myself to simply grab the full album on vinyl. “Paradise” turned out to contain several club-worthy tracks, including a little gem, “The Ghetto“.
By combining elements from a live recording of soul legend Donny Hathaway‘s “The Ghetto” and George Benson’s classic “The World is a Ghetto“, Sinclar threw together a funky stomper of a tune that made my jaw drop when I first heard it at Toronto’s legendary Venus nightclub during our Saturday sessions. Over the coming weeks, people would seem to lose their minds when the delirious piano loops came in and the track remains a favourite of mine to pull out every now and again. Despite “Gym Tonic” getting most of the shine, this cut and the album as a whole are not to be overlooked and stand out as true French house classics.