Basement Boys - Anthology
I had always been a fan of Basement Boys even before I became familiar with the name. This anthology is what I would call a good introduction into the legendary "Baltimore Sound". I have a particular fondness for this collection because Baltimore and my hometown of Chicago are "sister cities" in terms of House musicality. (Side note: a bond between two entities is often strengthened by the exchange of remixes between them. In the mid-1990's this was exactly the case. VIBE Music (Chicago) released a double-pack 12", "Bring Me Joy" by Meechie. The remix offering from Baltimore was the Basement Boys Dub. Basement Boys released "Bad Girls" by Xaviera Gold, a Chicago artist. Chicago's remix offering came courtesy of none other than VIBE Music with UBQ's BadVibe Dub.) The other great thing about this collection is the musical rang that is covered. The only way to fully explain this is to break things down by CD:
These are 7 of the most amazing tracks ever made for the dance floor! Track one hits you right away and covers the Disco feel. Track two is a straight up Gospel House tune that raise the hairs on the back of your neck (at least it does if you've been through something)! Ann Nesby's voice fits the song perfectly. Track three has an old school sound with its 117 BPM (Chicago people listen up - 117 BPM: you know what means, right?) And, the vocals are simply oozing with "old soul". Track four - everyone knows "Gypsy Woman" (`nuff said), but I will say that I like how the re-edit made the song even more DJ-friendly. Track five is another old school flavored track with the perfect beat count - 119 BPM. The bassline is very simple and catchy, as well! Track six is a dance floor killer! We get treated to another powerful vocal thanks to Martha Wash. 13 minutes may seem lengthy for a song, but this is House Music - and you will love every minute of this track, trust me. Track seven is equally powerful. The message is all about House Music and how it makes you feel.
The dance continues with this disc. Track one has a slight 80s flavor and the tempo to match, consistent with disc one. This time we clock in at 119 - perfect! Track two will put you in an absolute trance. Track three is perhaps the fastest with the tempo in the 130's, but that takes nothing away from its dance-ability. Track four features another Basement Boys favorite with Crystal Waters. This is another simple track, and sometimes those are the ones that work! Track five is my favorite on this disc. Here we get just slightly funky, but yet smooth. This track is another fast one with the tempo, but as long as we have pitch control this track will be on my radar for future gigs. Track six is a sleeper. Old school flavor once again, with a simple bassline and great keyboard "werk". The added bonus is the slowing down and speeding back up of the track, made popular by legendary Chicago DJ Lil Louis. Track seven takes us to a different music instrument and shows that House Music welcomes all forms of instrumentation. Track eight features yet another recognizable voice in Kenny Bobien.
Track one was an instant classic upon its release in 1994. I'm quite sure that along with "Gypsy Woman" this one has to be in every serious House DJ's record box. Track two has to be another one in everyone's crates. For track three we go slightly tribal, this has always been a great sound for the Basement Boys crew. Track four blew me away, since I also have a fondness for "finding" unreleased mixes on label albums. I have this 12" record, and instantly fell in love with it. Now that I have an additional mix via this album, I am falling in love with the song again. Track five is another DJ-friendly track that changes the mood to a happy one. This one has just enough Gospel flavor to get you to forget about your problems! Track six is another classic and is instantly recognizable. Track seven gives us a touch of disco (with the bassline) and some heart-felt vocals: serious stuff! Track eight is another Gospel track that will also make you forget about the world, and the tribal beats are sure to make you move. Track nine is pretty smooth, especially with the horns.
Now that you have gotten a synopsis of the Basement Boys Anthology it is up to you to investigate for yourself. Once you purchase it the next challenge may be to see if your review can be shorter than mine.