Dancemasters Volume 1 was the brainchild of the CBS Dance Division who were based at 17-19 Soho Square, London W1V 6HE. The CD booklet contains a form that you can return if you would like to receive upfront information or release news. The first 50 received would get themselves a free “Dancemasters” t-shirt. As well as your name and address, CBS just wanted to know you age and where you bought the album – which incidentally contains 20 tracks, many of them 12″ cuts or remixes. There was no second volume.
Hail To The Chief: setting the scene are Tony Scott and Ben Liebrand with the rap meets killer bassline of Move To The Big Band. It took two attempts for The Chimes to get us to love Heaven; originally a #66 flop at the end of 1989 before the success of I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For smoothed the passage for the climb to #24 in September 1990. The Physical Mix is the work of David Morales and is a sublime slice of new funky swing. Next comes the knockout swagger of LL Cool J and The Boomin’ System with Babyface’s smooth jam My Kinda Girl providing a restrained antidote. Obscurity knocks for Western Block’s Right Here Right Now, a heady soul favourite of the London pirates. Nice vocal from Terri Symon. A snapshot video appearance on Channel 4’s Dance Daze.
Fear Of A Black Planet was described by Simon Reynolds as “a work of unprecedented density for hip hop, its claustrophobic, backs-against-the-wall feel harking back to Sly Stone’s There’s a Riot Goin’ On or even Miles Davis’ On the Corner.” Can’t Do Nuttin’ For Ya Man was a solo run from Flavor Flav and sampled The Jackson Sisters’ I Believe in Miracles, Bobby Byrd’s Hot Pants… I’m Coming, I’m Coming, I’m Coming, Michael Jackson’s Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough and If You Don’t Get It Right, Back Up and Try It Again, Party by The JBs. On a similar tip, 3rd Bass and the vintage flow of Steppin’ To The A.M. Elsewhere Nayobe’s pleasant I’ll Be Around was produced by Teddy Riley while Regina Belle’s Good Lovin’ packs a hard R&B edge. CD1 ends with the fuzzy ambient chill of Tubular Bells, courtesy of Plutonic and remixed by Stephen Rudden. It really works.
Welcome to funk city: Newkirk’s slamming Double Dutch On The Sidewalk and other people’s memories – “I remember hearing this on a Coca-Cola promotional cassette tape that I won back in 1989. I was 9 years old. Trippy as hell to be listening to this at 36.” (Ray) Next comes The Emotions’ Flowers, originally released in 1976 and updated by Gaz Anderson and Tony Thorpe for the new decade. Respectful. Meanwhile A Guy Called Gerald’s average Emotions Electric gets the Frankie Foncett treatment (known as Remix 2). Of more interest is Anna Mwale’s Get Free, soul riding the baggy vibe. And then, hanging on a string, Midnight Star’s serious cut Money Can’t Buy You Love, a stately jam.
What of Pianonegro? An Italian singer and composer, Roberto Zanetti and born in 1958. Samples Masimbabele and Jingo. For this remix: Happy Larry / Tim Bran / & special guest appearance on spoons and handclaps, Nigel Wilton = Creative Source. Teena Marie’s Since Day One is wonderful, a totally under promoted single due to Epic’s displeasure with the sale of her Ivory LP. Produced by Jazzie B and really needs rediscovery now. Another ’70s number gets updated: Sly & The Family Stone’s Family Affair by Mark Brydon. Step aside for Gang Starr’s amazing Jazz Thing. Guru pays homage to jazz, also telling its history – shoutouts to Scott Joplin, Bessie Smith, King Oliver, Satchmo, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Mingus, Max Roach, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman Betty Davies, Sonny Rollins. Finally, The Afros: A Funky Rhythmic Organisation Of Sounds and the triumphant ‘n’ joyful Feel It. “Ed Lover doing the Ed Lover Dance with an afro. Love it! LLCoolJ, Slick Rick, and Big Daddy Kane in fros. Good times.” (Renragged)
Gang Starr – Jazz Thing (Video Mix)
Teena Marie – Since Day One (Jazzie B Mix)
The Afros – Feel It (Long Version)
Lest we forget
Plutonic – Tubular Bells (Extended Version)