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DJ Purple (the duke of House): Recommended

Best of House Music, Vol 1

First off I must admit that I am already at an advantage with this album because I have 5 of the tracks on vinyl (You Used To Hold Me, Can't Get Enough, Fantasize Me, Move Your Body and Jack Your Body). So I already knew half the album when I bought it! This album features predominantly Chicago artists which gave a big lift to the Chicago Scene, since the album was released on a major label. With this album's release the rest of the nation could now see what the House Music fuss was all about. If you happen to be curious just buy the album and you will see...

Gotta Have House - Best of House Music, Vol 2 - Compilation CD

Once again we get a treat with this installment of the Best Of House Music series. This time from a New York/New Jersey point of view. On this compilation there only 2 Chicago artists + 1 Chicago producer. The other tracks are performed, produced or remixed by people in the NY/NJ circle (which is the great equalizer since club and radio DJs in Chicago were playing alot of NY/NJ tracks along with their home-grown tracks). The ones that really do it to me are "Work It To The Bone" and "Shake Your Body"--these are my "Jackin'" tracks. For the more melodic/spiritual side of the House I also go for "Love Is The Message" and "If You Should Need A Friend". Let me make a small confession concerning the latter song: I have an old mix, from 1989, recorded from a college radio station that has that song in it. I eventually found out who that was when I bought the album. Now, Blaze is one of the most acclaimed House groups, and they're still going strong!

Listening to this album takes you to the time when House Music was everywhere in Chicago and everywhere it was it was phat!

Im sure the New Yorkers and the New Jersey heads are feeling what I'm saying...if you are shouts out to you--you're represented really well on this album!!!

Best of House Music, Vol 3 - Compilation CD

The third installment in the Best Of House Music series features yet more twists and turns. This time Detroit is invited in. One of the most recognizable tracks at the time was included on this compilation-and rightfully so: "Strings of Life". And, of course you can't have Rhythm is Rhythm on the album without the other breakout sensation, Inner City: "Good Life was getting much airplay on Chicago radio, especially on the college stations. The included version of "Rock To The Beat" by Reese has that original Detroit Techno feel to it--before everything got 'distorted'. New York, New Jersey and Chicago influences are still evident, and there is even some representation another adopted home of House, London. "Voodoo Ray" is another track that stands the test of time because it's just that dancable!

This is a trip down memory lane that is just as enjoyable as the other two. You can't go wrong with this album...House Music All Night Long!

House Hallucinates: Pump Up the World, Vol 1 - Compilation CD

This CD features music from one of the heavyweight Chicago labels of the 1980s, TRAX Records. In 1988 Hot Mix 5, DJ International and TRAX were the labels that were the most sought after, especially once the records were played on radio. Eventually the major labels started to take notice of what was coming out of Chicago and started to release compilations. A&M picked up on the Acid House vibe and release a compilation with solely TRAX artists: House Hallucinates!
In order to take away the mystery I will give a short track listing:
1. Sleazy D - "I've Lost Control"
2. Phuture - "Acid Tracks"
3. Jungle Wonz - "Time Marches On"
4. William S. - "I'll Never Let You Go" *a personal favorite*
5. Jackmaster Funk - "Jack The Bass" *another favorite*
6. Maurice Joshua - "This Is Acid"
7. Lidell Townsell - "As Acid Turns"
8. Jack Frost - "Clap Me"
9. Mr. Lee - "Pump Up Chicago" *there is also Pump Up New York/London, depending on which version of the album you get*
10. Phuture - "Phuture Will Survive"
Now that the mystery is over I can give you the summary. This album will get you hooked! Most of the tracks are simple but very easy to dance to, and that's what makes the album work so well. Besides, House Music was created for the clubs, so when you get this don't forget to turn the volume up!

Trax records: 20th Anniversary Collection

Let's begin with a bit of background information. I first stumbled across this particular cd while window-shopping inside FYE, at the mall in Mary Esther, FL. How ironic is that? Actually the real question is: How lucky is that? I picked up the cd, looked at the track listing (mentally noting how I already have over ¾ of the tracks on vinyl), and said to myself, "I'm coming back to get this". One week later I bought the cd and the rest is history...

This cd package is an excellent introduction to this phenomenon we call "House". As a House DJ "ambassador to the G.I.s" I would often have difficulty describing the music to people who had never heard of it (or mistaken it for Euro-Techno). This cd package would make the explanation that much easier. Great selection, and equally great blends - I pay attention to those -with the occasional flange for effect! After listening to the first 3 tracks of CD1 you might find yourself increasing the volume controls. If by chance you didn't increase the volume, then the first 3 tracks on CD2 might convince you.

Word on the street is Trax Records is back, with new releases. Time to Jack all over again...

DJ Rain - Urban Excursions Volume One

This is an all-around smoothie. The melodies are soothing and just right for a chill-out session. Having said that, watch out for Track 10. That one can get you to move towards a dance floor. I highly recommend this CD.

Kym Sims - Too Blind To See It

This album was purchased as a casette; based on that this review will come in two parts.

Part One:

Side One of the cassette can be best described as the Dance Side. The album has the Chicago Sound all through it (particularly on the Dance Side) and is smokin' right from the start. The title song (Track One) was an immediate hit for the independent Chicago label ID Records. Small wonder it was picked up by a major label. The "house train" keeps moving with "Take My Advice" which is a good follow-up tune. The one that really grabbed me was the next track. "A Little Bit More" is a slower tempo but is still a House tune and the feel of the song is phat! The same can be said of the very next track "Take Me To The Groove". These two songs have awesome background vocals by Kym as well as a couple of artists from the ID Records camp -- Donell Rush and Chante Savage. "One Look" is the closer of Side One and is dynamic as well.

Part Two:

The R&B Side is the description of Side Two and what a way to showcase Ms Sims' versatility. "I Found Love" and "Should Have Known Better" are uptempo jams that would likely be heard at an outdoor barbecue. "In My Eyes" is a good ballad as is "I Can't Stop", which was probably thrown in for good measure (having 2 slow jams is a good way to showcase talent). "Never Shoulda Let You Go" is another hot party jam. But, the best way to close out the album is with the title song (again). This time the title track gets a different spin with the Soul Mix.

A few footnotes regarding the architect of this album, Steve "Silk" Hurley:

- pioneering Chicago DJ who, along with Farley "Jackmaster" Funk, helped shape the House Music scene in the 80's

- accomplished DJ, artist, producer, remixer and songwriter

- one of a few Chicago-based DJs to strike a deal with a major label

Don't sleep on this album -- get in any format possible!

Soulfuric In The House

I received this package in the mail yesterday and began to play it nonstop - I finally stopped playing the CDs in order to get to sleep. But as Track One, CD 2 starts: "I Can't Get No Sleep".

This is an excellent blend of the old and the new; but of course in House Music the old and the new always work together. Old tracks-"Thousand Finger Man" and "The Boss". New tracks-"Bulo" and "Nekoosa". Oh, but there are still some not quite old/not quite new tracks added for good measure. The most pleasing surprise for me, personally, came in Track Nine, CD 2: Help "Me Out". I've spun records with these guys in the past and they always had a knack for churning out unique recordings. Another favorite of mine (and possible half the planet) is Track Two, CD 1, "Back Together". This is what I call a future timeless classic.

Soulfuric is one of my favorite record labels; after giving this a listen it may be a favorite of yours, too!

Deep House U.K., Vol. 1

This is a pretty danceable CD. I was in England in 1996 and during that time House Music was in a state of evolution. What we have here is part of that evolution; many of the tracks here sound like the stuff that was spreading from the UK to the US - a bit of "role reversal".

I just wish I knew who the DJ was for this compilation...good job on the mix!

Electro Breakdance: Real Old School Revival - Compilation CD

Oh my goodnes!!!

I saw the track listings and saw one song that made me get the CD: Hey DJ. I had wanted to get that song since 1984. I then looked at the other tracks and knew that this was the one CD I would be proud to have in the collection.

This CD really takes me back to my childhood days, when just about everything that was on the radio was hot. That includes the Pop and Soft Rock that was coming over from the UK and everywhere else in the world. Breakdancing was "in" and boy, was it fun to watch. In fact, there was a guy in my elementary school class by the name of Maurice Hatter. Man, this guy could "break"! He did the Pop-Lock, Moonwalk, Helecopter, and Robot all the time!! He was so good that he was easily voted as best dancer by the 8th Grade graduating class. I was only able to do the Worm, the Centipede, and the occasional Knee Spin. I also saw the movie Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo at that time. But, this time around I will get my chance to catch up on the other Breakin' movie as well as Beat Street.

Why did I just go into such detail about my childhood? Blame it on CD One: Tracks 2, 3, 4, 10 and 13, as well as CD Two: Tracks 2, 3, 7, and 11!

Now that I'm done with this review it's time for me to get Volume 2!

Liquid Groove: A Slick Mix of Liquid Groove Records' Best

This CD came as a pleasant surprise to me. I had never heard of Oliver Stumm as a DJ, but sometimes a shopper has to take a chance; I took this chance based on the record label, and I got lucky. The mix is very fluid and deep. Favorite tracks are "Live In Unity", "Nobody's Business", and "This Is The Only Way", simply because I heard those very often during my stint in the UK. Although not an absolute favorite, it is still a good CD to have in the collection.

Club Nervous, Vol 2

What is it about DJs named "Frankie" that makes them sound so good??? There's always been Knuckles and now there's Feliciano, representing Club Nervous. This CD is the perfect follow up to Volume 1. It is mixed to perfection! There two notes that need to be made as to why this CD is special. The first thing is Track Two. It is in memory of Armando Gallop (R.I.P.), who will be remembered by those die-hard House heads from Chicago (like me). It has such an enchanting melody and bass line that every time I listen to it I will think of "Armando" and some of my friends from yesteryear. And for the track to follow "Missing You" is really awesome (thanks Frankie). The second thing is how Frankie "works" a couple of tracks, namely Track Three and Track Seven. Just like the other Frankie, this one keeps the groove locked in and is not afraid to "work" a track and extend it.
If you get this CD you will find yourself playing it every day...just make sure you play it loud!!!

Soulful House Experience

It's Not Always About The Biggest DJ...

...and this CD proved it to me. I didn't know who did the mix, nor did I care. I saw some of the titles and thought I should go ahead and pick it up. I'm glad I did! This CD is phenomenal! I looked at the insert and saw that the DJ was Christopher "KC" Anderson - I had never heard of him. But guess what, this guy is good! The track selection and sequence are often important to creating a good mix. But, then there's the blending, and this guy does it well. In fact he does it so well that you will find yourself looking at the CD insert again and again, taking note of the DJ's name. Remember the name Christopher "KC" Anderson - I sure will!

Soulful House Experience, Vol. 2

Mix The Vibe: Kaoz on King Street

Kerri Chandeler is a genius!
I've seen Kerri spin in England and I have also heard him on the radio in England. And while I consider myself fortunate for having seen and heard him, these type of memories are still somewhat transitory -- the only way you can relive them is by either having a tape of the even (which I don't) or by playing a record that the dj was playing and hope that the memories come flooding back! However, with this mix CD I can definitely remember what I felt when I saw Kerri in the club.
But enough about my flashbacks -- let's get down to the meat: the music! Track one sets it off! The perfect intro for the mix, not going into a four-on-the-floor beat just yet. That happens on track two, right after the short vocal intro. Next there is track three which is sooooo jazzy; it belongs, trust me! Track four slamms on the vocals. Track five (one of my all-time favorites) kills on the dubs and short vocals. And we're still on that jazzy vibe as well! But the real treat is track six. Oh my goodness this is truly one phat record! Watch for the hook!!!!!! Now, one thing that I really enjoy in a mix CD is the transition from track to track. The transition from track six to track seven is amazing. If you are not screaming at that point then just keep waiting because this project just gets better! Oh, by the way, we're still in that serious jazz mode. Now the transition from track seven to eight is pretty smooth, as well. Note the heavy bassline, which is a feature of the next track, which WILL MAKE YOU LOSE CONTROL!!!!! Thankfully track ten lets you cool down a bit and catch your breath. The seamless transition in to track eleven allows for the cool down to continue. We are still in the jazz mode again. But the vocals make a triumphant return for the next two tracks, and they are hot! Track fourteen brings it back to a simple bassline and short vocal hook that is typical Kerri. Tracks fifteen and sixteen sound excellent in sequence and keep the vibe warm, just in time to complete the mix.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention one important thing about this compilation. Read the liner notes...they tell the truth!
After hearing this mix you'll know why Kerri is a genius. Three words: deep, jazzy, soulful!

Kings of Tomorrow - It's in the Lifestyle

I must start by saying that even though I don't own the limited edition of this release I am fortunate enough to have the vinyl editions of the tracks on cd two.
So let's begin with cd one:
Right from the beginning this cd takes off and flies! The KOT Anthem is cookin'. Although it's really short it grabs you because of the beat. Besides, back in the day in Chicago, djs would often play a beat track or an instrumental and you would hear a short speech being played over the track. Track two has a sweet vocal. 'Nuff said! Track three is an excellent cover of a Sister Sledge classic. The next track has yet another sweet vocal. Add a real jazz/funk element to the beat and you have a smooth song. Next track, "My Love Is Real": groovin' vocals again. We also get something of a disco/rock feel. Makes you wonder how come this stuff isn't on MTV! Track six, for the hard-heads. Not really hard, but tough and driven to make you dance! Track seven comes on strong with the vocals once again. Where do they get the vocalists from???? This time we are treated with Tressa Fennie and Dawn Tallman providing background vocals. Awesome! The next track is all about dancing, and I'm not just saying that because of the title! This will make you move. We have the old skool disco sound here, which is appropriate because disco never died, it became House! Track nine is such a smoothie. "Nuff said! Track ten is one of those all-time anthems. If you don't know now you know! Track eleven is simple but effective. Sometimes all you need is a simple bassline and simple lyrics, then let the vocalists take over! Track twelve has the same formula. Track thirteen takes you to the jazz/funk area again.
Now for cd two:
"Finally" gets a boost, courtesy of Louie Vega. The Dance Ritual Mix and Kosmic Dub are the bomb! I don't have the Nuyorican Soul Mix but I have heard it before and it rocks, too! Kevin Yost's mix goes deep. Lenny Fontana gives "Tear It Up" a mellow treatment while Bob Sinclair gives it the spooky disco treatment. And then there's "In The Night". Tough, but soulful and the vocals stand strong. Considering that these are all tracks that were previously vinyl releases the only thing left to say is that anyone who gets vinyl will be just as lucky as anyone who gets this limited edition double set. All of the remixes are hot and are sure to please any dedicated house fan.

Classic 80's Groove Mastercuts, Vol 1

From the first track to the last this CD is a great flashback for the Old School heads. Granted, when most people think Old School they think only of the 70s. However, the music on this CD should get the traditional Old School heads to move!

"Do It To The Music" is a smoothie! I heard a sample of it in a house track that was played on Chicago college radio station WKKC (89.3 FM). Here is the irony: the mix show that it was played on aired in 1988 - six years after the record was released! Then there is "So Fine", which was reputedly played by legendary DJ Frankie Knuckles at his club The Warehouse. Another favorite of mine, for sure! What can I say about "After The Dance Is Through"? Smooth, smooth, smooth, smooth! "(I'll Be A) Freak For You" sounds like it could pass for a breakdance record, which is not a bad thing either. "Main Thing" is that one track that might take you out of the traditional Old School mindset, but it can easily be heard in any Old School House club, perhaps even one where Frankie Knuckles is playing. The song is very nice! Then we have another favorite - "You Used To Hold Me So Tight". I NEVER sing along with my records, but this one is that rare exception! "Fool's Paradise" is one that blends perfectly behind "Ain't Nobody" by Chaka Khan. Beautiful song. "Who Do You Love" and "Hangin' On A String" - aaah, a breath of fresh air! These are afterhours/stepper's cuts. "Change Of Heart" is the other song here that could get me to sing along. "Settle Down" is the sleeper cut for me. I must admit that I didn't pay attention to it the first time I got this album, but now I love it! Finally there's "Encore". Excellent closer.

So there you have it, an excellent CD that takes you back to the days of "fresh" grooves. Most people would shun the 80s because it was a time of bad fashion ("Beat It" jackets) and very bad hair (Jheri Curls). But, one cannot underestimate the strength of the music of the time. Many of the tracks on this CD have been sampled, sometimes more than once. That was also the time when House Music would take shape (but that's another story, all by itself).

This CD deserves an "encore".

Jomanda - Someone to Love Me

Who are these beautiful girls and where did they come from? Jersey is well represented with this album. "Make My Body Rock 1990" and "When Love Hurts" are dance floor fillers. The basslines are so smooth it's insane! "Share" is at a slower tempo than the routine House tracks but the melodies and harmonizing are on point! The same goes for "It Ain't No Big Thing". In fact, these two selections would compliment any R&B set! "Got A Love For You" is a great track and Hurley's House Mix is simply awesome! Steve "Silk" Hurley was a major influence in the early years of the Chicago House scene and several years later, upon this album's release, his influence is still felt! If you ever find the EP grab it quickly -- Hurley's mix and a few others make the song shine! Another Chicago-influenced track is "Dance", an experiment in Hip-House. The Chicago element is minor but those who remember Mike Dunn will recognize the sample from "Dance You Mutha".
1990 was a great year for House Music. It really started to gain national attention and the release of this album showcased another group of rising stars. Independent record labels would finally get the chance to showcase their artists and have them share some of the spotlight with other "known" dance artists. As a matter of fact, Jomanda was originally on Big Beat before being picked up by Atlantic -- another reason to buy the album!!!

K-YZE - Without Warning

This is a must have album! Most of the tracks are Hip-House, but with a Jersey flavor to them -- in other words, smooth. Add some writing and production by Hula & Fingers, and Joe Smooth, and you have the Chi-NJ connection (it's only fitting that the connection would be so strong since a lot of the early Chicago records caught on fast in NJ). "Sweat Dance", "Shout It Out" "Stomp (Move, Jump, Jack Your Body)" and "Oh What A Night" are easy dance floor favorites of mine. They have that pure Hip-House energy and anyone can dance to them. "Colour Of Skin" and "What Are You Striving For" are two more brilliant recordings for two reasons: the melodies are addictive and so are the lyrics! K-YZE displayed the unique ability to rap about the real issues that affect the inner city youth and still keep the sounds hot. But there is still a splash of R&B with "My First True Love" and of course the slower version with "True Love (Mix)". These are all favorite tracks but the entire album is definitely worth a listen to. If you're about to embark on an hour-long road trip take this album with you -- before you know it your trip is done!

Get Large, Vol. 1

Scenario: world-renowned house label Large launches a new mix compilation series entitled "Get Large". The first installment is served up by Chicago icon Roy Davis, Jr. The end result is pure magic! Track One sets the pace with a smooth electric funk (the title says it all). Track Two needs no introduction. Fellow Chicago jock Mark Grant has always been funky and this track is just another example of the "Chicago House Renaissance" in motion. Track Three puts you in a happy mood while Track Four brings you to a laid-back feel. Don't get too relaxed, though. The next track is quite fierce and will get you movin'. The next three tracks flow quite nicely and take you on a bit of a journey. Longtime Large favorite Kerri Chandler brings you full circle on his track. "Return 2 Acid" sounds so old school it's insane. The next track keeps things deep and smooth, while Track Eleven starts that funk again. Now for my favorite track of the mix, "Wonderin'". This track is a future classic! The final track is transitioned with perfection.

This CD showcases Roy Davis Jr.'s unique style and should definitely be experienced.

Ministry of Sound: Sessions Volume 7

One half of the dynamic Def Mix duo serves up a slamming double set. Who better than David Morales? The mixes are flawless and the selections suggest that David really wants to take you on a ride. If you've never been to the Ministry of Sound this set will make you wish you have; if you have been to the MOS then this set will make you want to go back!

Nuyorican Soul

Once again the Masters are At Work! These are probably the most talented producers since Gamble and Huff. This album showcases all of the musical elements that make for a phat vibe. And then there are the artists: Jocelyn Brown, Roy Ayers, Geroge Benson, India, Jazzy Jeff on the wheels of steel. This is better than a Broadway Musical! Too bad MTV didn't pick up on this album. Get your copy today!

Soul Heaven Mixed by Bobby & Steve

I've seen these guys spin many times while I was in England and they really know what they are doing. Anyone who has visited their residencies at Ministry of Sound and Bar Rumba knows what I mean. This cd comp is on point! Excellent mixing and great sequencing. Disc One is my favorite of the two, but just by a narrow margin. Favorite tracks include "Special Kind Of Love", "The Music Is Everywhere" and "The Best Of Me". Pick up your copy today!

House Music Movement

While this cd will never compare to the way Farley used to spin back in the days of 102.7 WBMX (Chicago), it still holds its own. After seeing the track listing and hearing the first track it becomes obvious that this is a Gospel project. Since the vocal styles of the really hot soulful House records are Gospel-influenced, to have a Gospel directed cd comes as no surprise to me. Farley appears to be the first DJ to go in this direction but I already know that he's not going to be the last. Now on to the actual music; it's hot. The 4/4 beats on Tracks One and Three--his productions--are typical Farley (called the "Farley Foot" back in the day). You get a backtracking here, a flange there and a really quick sermon on top of a popular bassline. That's reminiscent of how it was done back in the day. Favorite tracks are "Child Of God" and "No Competition/FIM" (I especially love the beat and the sound in the beginning of the transition--classic Farley). Jackmaster Funk still has it goin' on!

Sounds from the Boom Boom Room

This cd is a very accurate representation of the Boom Boom Room @ the Red Dog. I have been to the Monday night venue on several occasions so I anticipated that the cd would be a good one. I must agree with "A Music Fan from Chicago" that Track One seemed bit out of place for the mood of the cd, but after Track Two the cd just takes off! Favorite tracks include "Music Is My Way Of Life" (Track Two),"Bust The Vibes", "I Found It (Yes It's You)", "Desparate Situation", "Livin' On Mars", "Cada Vez" and "No Time To Lose". This is basically half the cd! One other thing to point out is the transitions from Track Seven to Track Ten is a favorite "moment". Buy the cd, play the tracks and you'll see what I mean!
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