Classic House Series Episode #31 – It’s All Good(Full Intention Mixes) – Da Mob feat. Jocelyn Brown

In preparation for the launch of his incredibly successful and influential Subliminal Records label, internationally renowned DJ and producer Erick Morillo made sure he had all of his bases covered.  Having achieved his first success through a plethora of releases on the legendary Strictly Rhythm label, Morillo knew firsthand what was needed to establish Subliminal as a leader in  top quality house music.

It’s All Good” remains high on the list of the very best tracks to come out of the Subliminal camp and that should come as no surprise given the producers behind it.  The second release from Da Mob (after 1997’s “Fun which also served as the label’s debut release) is a soulful, funky vocal house number with a nice jazzy feel and the incredible vocals of legendary R&B and dance music singer Jocelyn Brown.  The 2×12″ release features a dub courtesy of The Dronez, but the real gems in this package come courtesy of the gorgeous remixes from acclaimed house producers Full Intention.

Michael Gray & Jon Pearn take the original and turn it into an uplifting piano-house anthem with more than pinch of gospel influence and their signature pumping drums and percussion.  The result is a track every house-head dreams about; one minute you’re dancing in a group hug with all your friends and moments later you’re lost in your own world but still completely locked into the same groove as everyone else around you.  Well worth tracking down if you don’t already have it, this one can still deliver in any prime-time house set just as well as it does as a late-night classic.

Special tribute to the victims of Orlando shooting – Free – Ultra Nate

On Sunday, June 12, 2016 the world was stunned and saddened by the news of the shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida in what was deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in US history and the deadliest terrorist attack in the US since September 11, 2001.

With 50 people now dead and 53 injured, there has been an outpouring of support from around the world, led by the LGBT community and supported by millions of others.  As Toronto Pride approaches at the end of this month, this incident will no doubt cast a shadow over the festivities, but it has also served as a reminder of exactly how strong the LGBT community is worldwide and how incidents like this simply cannot be allowed to continue.

I do not use this blog as a political forum, however, I cannot and will not ignore this incident and wanted to do something to boost the spirits of those affected by this terrible tragedy and remind them that they have been fighting the good fight for years and they do have one thing that no one can ever take away from them:  HOPE.  Hope that the magnitude of this incident will never be forgotten.  Hope that this tragedy will inspire people to unite together against discrimination, bigotry and hatred.  Hope that as human beings we can and will keep moving towards a time when all people, regardless of race, sexuality, gender or creed will all be loved and treated equally no matter where they are from and what they choose to represent.

It is with this in mind that I sought to post a song today that hopefully will resonate in the hearts and minds of anyone who has ever been discriminated against or targeted by those who do not understand.  It is for this reason that I have chosen “Free” – Ultra Nate.

Ultra Nate began her recording career in 1991 with the release of her debut album “Blue Notes In The Basement” followed by “One Woman’s Insanity” in 1993.  Neither album did exceptionally well in mainstream sales, and with her label Warner Bros. trying to push her in a direction away from her house sounds, she ultimately left the label and linked up with the hottest independent dance label in the world:  Strictly Rhythm.

It was here, in 1997, that her biggest release to date arrived in the form of “Free“.  Produced by Mood II Swing, the song is story about keeping positive under pressure and reminding the world that no matter who we are or what we do, if we choose to believe it, we are free to do what we want to do.  The track immediately was embraced as a LGBT anthem and catapulted Ultra Nate to the #1 spot on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Songs chart.

A timeless record that still drives people to the dancefloor in droves, I will fondly remember this record for its positive message, great groove and uplifting feeling.  At a time where saddens, confusion and despair grips the city of Orlando and millions of other around the world, I do hope that by hearing this song today that they will realize that hope cannot be taken away from them and my thoughts are with those who suffered from this horrible event.

 

 

Classic House Series – Episode #10 – Reach – Lil Mo Yin Yang

For our 10th installment of our Classic House Series, I thought I’d share a little recipe for an iconic house anthem:

Take two legendary house music producers, get them in the studio to mess around a little and add a couple of glasses of wine and you’ve got the ingredients to create one BOMB of a track.

The two producers in question include one-half of the extremely important house production duo Masters at Work. “Little” Louie Vega, and the man behind countless underground anthems as well as the successful crossover act Reel 2 Real in the form of Erick Morillo, whose anthem “I Like To Move It” has transcended the clubs to be featured in commercials, video games and the Madagascar movie series.

Combining chunky beats, glimmering synths and vocals snatched from “Love and Happiness” by River Ocean feat, India, a side project of Vega’s, the track builds until a long siren sample comes in before dropping into the apex of the track.  Produced during an impromptu studio session when the two legends were fooling around and having “a little sippy-sippy”, it remains the only co-production by the duo under the Lil Mo Yin Yang moniker.

As if the original cut wasn’t fantastic enough, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play charts by the end of 1995, Multiply Records re-released the track in 1996 with remixes from acclaimed UK production duo Basement Jaxx and Alcatraz.  The Jaxx crew offered a moodier take on their mix, but the Alcatraz boys cranked out an almost tech-house take on the track which destroyed many a club dancefloor and further cemented the legacy of this anthem.  It seems more than appropriate that they named their remix the “Lil Mo Got Gang-Banged Remix”.

More remixes followed in 2002 and again in 2008, but most were based around the style of the Alcatraz mix.  Retaining the vocal samples of the original, the siren sample was chopped up and turned into a key lead sound for the mix.  The energy of the track was turned up to 11 and offered a fresh take on an already established club staple.  Perfect to drop into a late-night house set, this remains a go-to track for many DJs this day and is one of the most revered tunes ever to come out of the legendary Strictly Rhythm label.

Classic House Series, Episode #4 – Do You Know What I Mean – Fresh Tunes #1

This track asked a simple question and everyone knew the answer the second they heard it:  YES!

You can’t help but consider this record when looking at the greatest classic house tunes of all time.  This one drove the dancefloors crazy when it was first released in 1993/1994 and it still does serious damage to this day.  Pressed up through various labels over the years, the track found the most success with its release under the classic Fresh Fruit and almighty Strictly Rhythm banners.

The simplicity of the track is one of the major reasons why it has aged so well over the years.  A good and proper house groove (which would later become the backbone of a Toronto house classic, more on that to come), a three-note bassline, and a vocal sample lifted from Colonel Abrams’ classic “The Truth”.  Throw in some steel vibraphone chords, strings and a an insanely catchy organ riff and you have a tune that forms a HUGE part of my definition of classic house music.

Fresh Tunes #1 (#1 Fresh Tunes depending on the label) was comprised of René ter Horst & Gaston Steenkist a.k.a DJ Zki & Dobre.  In addition to the classic piece of house, the two producers would also enjoy huge success with their release “Give It Up” as The Goodmen and over a decade later would drop one of my all-time favourite trance tunes “Stringer” under their Riva moniker.  The duo has recorded under at least 10 other aliases including Jark Prongo and the Rhythmkillaz.

The lads definitely hit the nail on the head with this one.  I remember dropping this back at Mixdown Mondays at Humber College in Toronto back in 2006 and a girl came running up to the stage to tell me I had just played her favourite song.  You can’t buy moments like that which is why I always enjoy giving this one a loving spin and it can work just about anywhere.  This tune is pure good times and I’ve seen it take the vibe to the next level in many clubs and everyone who gets on the floor to this one will have a smile on their face the whole time.

Have you got a story to go with this classic house anthem?  Post your comments below and tell us about it!