The second Dance Zone volume for 1996 saw the dance hits become “huge” with these acts getting cover mentions: *Take a deep breath* Stretch ‘n’ Vern, H20, Backstreet Boys, Gusto, Gina G, Clock, Livin’ Joy, Pizzaman, Wink, Todd Terry, Alison Limerick, Alex Party.
We start with an anthem; Stretch ‘n’ Vern’s scorching I’m Alive and its samples of Earth, Wind And Fire. Back once again are Gusto – and the addictive filtered beats of Let’s All Chant, originally a disco smash for the Michael Zager Band. Moving in with: take H2O featuring Billie, not dreaming to sleep but the Euro minimalism of Nobody’s Business. I think of Irish Modernist, Eileen Gray and her S-Bend chair. During her lifetime the land of her birth gave her little recognition except in an exhibition, Eileen Gray, Pioneer of Design. Held at the Bank of Ireland in the summer of 1973, it was organised by the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland. Later they presented her with an honourary fellowship. In the citation Robin Walker, then of Michael Scott & Partners, Architects said:
“. . . She was probably the sole representative from Ireland wholly immersed as an outstanding exponent in the pioneering work of the modern movement. . .”
Definitely no diggity for the Backstreet Boys’ We’ve Got It Goin’ On. Of more interest is Pizzaman’s rather chaotic Hello Honky Tonks (Rock Your Body), somewhat derivative of The Goodmen. Two giants collide as Livin’ Joy’s pounding Don’t Stop Movin’ blends into JX’s frantic trance banger There’s Nothing I Won’t Do. Old school rising like a phoenix from the flames. It’s nicely set with Gina G’s arrival, Ooh Aah. And back for yet another euphoric crack at the charts, Rozalla’s hedonistic Everybody’s Free (Eat Me Edit). They were mostly famous for Hideaway but the elusive That Look is another fine tune from De’Lacy. Meanwhile the promise of a good time is central to Alex Party’s Read My Lips with Clock’s cover of Oh What A Night an ideal morning reflection. Unmemorable: Peter Andre’s Flava, Pato Banton’s turgid cover of Groovin’ and Baby D’s Take Me To Heaven. The ubiquitous Return Of The Mack gives way to Apollo 440’s cracking Krupa complete with its Taxi Driver drummer sample. Gene Palma was the guy and he earned $172.50 for the scene. Extra virgin – Olive’s sublime You’re Not Alone. CD1 concludes with a beach party – Umboza’s Sunshine and Macarena (the latter by pretenders Los Del Mar).
Part 2 starts like a scene from Star Wars – before Todd Terry (never Terje) and Keep On Jumpin’ kicks in. You’ll remember that Dance Zone Level 7 began with The Lisa Marie Experience’s version (who also appear on the disc with the uplifting Do That To Me). Martha Walsh and Jocelyn Brown are the singers. Move over for DJ Supreme’s versatile Wildstyle and the evergreen Higher State Of Consciousness and Where Love Lives, both UFO favourites. Watch the party! David Morales banging In Da Ghetto with Crystal Waters in tow. Next comes the vocoder vs sultry female groove from Ruffneck & Yavahn, Move Your Body. Everything But The Girl’s timeless Wrong never disappoints. Upping the tempo afterwards are Love Tribe (brutal techno banger Stand Up) and those lovable ragamuffins Real 2 Reel’s and their twisty Jazz It Up. Another hangover from Level 7 – Klubbheads’ Klubbhopping reappears – now the Itty Bitty Boozy Woozy Mix.
Phone ringing – the sound of Junior Vasquez and the curious club classic If Madonna Calls. Then on Perfecto, the tinkling ivories of Mozaic’s Rays Of The Rising Sun. Beautiful piano – reach for the lasers. Purchased from Abbey Discs, recommended by Tara. Also purchased in that fine emporium was the Mighty Dub Katz – It’s Just Another Groove which leans heavily on Cloud One’s Disco Juice (which featured on Harmless compilation Jumpin’). Big in the clubs – Cooljack’s fiery Jus’ Come, followed by Poltergeist’s trance throwback Vicious Circles. One of my favourites of the era now: E’voke’s melancholy Arms Of Loren which has a real haunting quality. Keeping the vibe is Kelly Llorena and her defiant cover of Randy Crawford’s One Day I’ll Fly Away. Time gentlemen please! Grace’s beautiful Down To Earth, all shimmering synths and & a super chorus. Just time for one more, Robert Miles and the deep Fable. Top marks for that emotional final furlong.
“Where does the time go
Where does the memory slips into
All the joy, love, sadness, melancholy, carelessness.” (Alpha Beta)
JX – There’s Nothing I Won’t Do
Apollo 440 – Krupa
E’voke – Arms Of Loren
Grace – Down To Earth
Mozaic – Rays Of The Rising Sun (Electric Beach Mix)
Lest we forget
Kelly Llorenna – One Day I’ll Fly Away
A lot of filler and cheesy pop on here, disappointingly. Weird that the Klubbheads tune is on again, were they supposed to have gone for Discohopping but couldn’t get it or picked the wrong track maybe?
I do really love the De’Lacy and E’voke tracks though, both highly evocative of that era for me.
Most unusual Andy, a possible error. The closing stretch is great but there’s quite a few “hit the skip button” tracks on this volume and the next one.
Hi Paul, totally agree about needing the skip button here. While not a favourite, it’s slightly surprising they didn’t go for Los Del Rio’s Macarena given there are a few BMG tracks on here from Fresh Hits 96 (oddly not lifted from there).
Even more odd is that they decided against using the radio edits of the H2O and Lisa Marie Experience tracks despite them being licensed to Polygram. I picked up both in a second hand record shop charity bin years later and found they were different. The Alcatraz remix of Love Tribe’s Stand Up is a belter though. The Ruffneck track is the original 7″. This appeared on Best Dance Album in the World 6 – curiously, as a Positiva track on an EMI/Virgin compilation, they used an edited version of a different remix with a fade in and out.
What did you make of the Best Dance Album etc series? They seemed to sell well, even if they didn’t contain many unique tracks. 5 and 7 were my picks from a relatively forgettable series.
I bought first four Best Dance Albums – not that exciting I thought and didn’t consider them for review here. Interesting that you consider two I don’t have as the pick of the bunch – might take a look on Music Magpie.
Agree, strange to overlook those radio edits.