Dance Zone Level 6 (Polygram TV, 1995)

Dance Zone L6

Dance Zone L6 r

Review
For Dance Zone Level 6 – the final one of 1995 – the tagline was “40 buzzin’ dance hits.” Pride of place: The Original, Berri, JX, Donna Summer, The Shamen, Mary Kiani, Mozaic, Strike, Jam & Spoon, Deuce, Jinny, Corona, Soul II Soul, Shaggy, New Order.

As summer 1995 blended into autumn, the heat continued. No let up. Very relentless. I graduated from university in October, melting in my gown. First blood to The Original’s I Luv U Baby, now on its second run which peaked at #2. The spirit of ’77: Berri’s pulsating Sunshine After The Rain – the Two Cowboys Club Edit – which pulsates like I Feel Love. A flashback to Dance Zone Level 1 as JX’s Son Of A Gun reappears as the Original Hooj Edit. And logically, Donna Summer’s magnum opus comes next, reinvented by Rollo & Sister Bliss into a Monster Mix. So good as the shimmering synths of The Shamen’s Destination Eschaton (Hardfloor Vocal Edit) kick in. From the album Long Hard Funky Dreams came Mary Kiani’s soul meets euro dance When I Call Your Name. Zipping left, Mozaic’s frantic Sing Hallelujah and Strike’s obscurity Free At Last before Deuce’s wonderful On The Bible, a kind of pop gospel wedding song. Move over for euro dancemasters Corona and the intense Try Me Out, which in turn leads into Jinny’s sweet house sound of Keep Warm.

You’ve seen me mention the Cellar Bar on more than one occasion. A legendary basement watering hole which formed part of The Royal Hotel / Crosbie Motor Hotel / Hotel New Ross and was a key drinking den from about 1992 to 1996. The likes of the Jam & Spoon and Whigfield tunes were heavily caned there as we were served by Roger and John. Elsewhere Soul II Soul’s laidback Love Enuff and Michelle Gayle’s ecstatic Freedom add a mellow vibe before Shaggy’s Summertime. Some harmless fluff – PJ & Duncan’s Stuck On You before the Nightcrawlers’ late night soul house of Surrender Your Love. Bangers on the double with Bobby Brown’s bouncy Humpin’ Around and Clock’s Whoomph! (There It Is). The first half comes to an end with another non-album 45 from Utah Saints. From one state to another AKA state of love and trust – Ohio. Some of the records sampled are Ohio Players’ Fire Jocelyn Brown’s Somebody Else’s Guy. Sadly it just missed the top 40.

The second half of Dance Zone Level 6 begins with the ominous strains of TWA’s Nasty Girls. The World Is Androgynous; a far superior version to the original. It makes way for the epic Break Of Dawn (Eat Me Edit), a floorfiller all over these isles, courtesy of Rhythm On The Loose. We then go smooth on Kim English’s furtive I Know A Place and Shiva’s upfront Freedom before Incognito’s fresh ‘n’ jazzy I Hear Your Name makes everything seem alright. Her swag remains irreplaceable! Aaliyah, the diva with the power gives us the divine The Thing I Like. More: Junior Vasquez’s pleading Get Your Hands Off My Man leading into the swirling Sensation by Electroset as remixed by Tin Tin Out. And then, D’Bora: who started out in the early 1980s as a member of the Mercedes Ladies, an all-female hip-hop group/DJ crew from The Bronx. Another big one from UFO that summer was Antonomasia’s build-up ‘n’ bang And I’ll Be There which is followed by Lovedeejay Akemi and Yosh’s discofied warehouse groover It’s What’s Upfront That Counts.

All tracks written by Gillian Gilbert, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris and Bernard Sumner: Blue Monday ’95 was the third coming and here we get the rare Hardfloor Mix Edit which runs for 6:14. “A burbling 303 instruction book, acidic and good for public consumption.” (Alan Henery) All is changed, changed utterly. Next comes the 99th Floor Elevators in cahoots with Tony De Vit on the apt Hooked. More TDV on Mrs Wood’s handbag classic Joanna. Another repeat, Liquid’s Sweet Harmony before Hyperlogic crash in with the immense Only Me. The last stretch starts with the fast-paced Manifest Your Love from D.O.P & Lorna Marshall. And then the Sugarbabies’ Magic In U, a sample-heavy hopper of a tune. Finally a big whopping debut to finish; Faithless and Salva Mea (Epic Mix Edit), 6:46 of bliss. Rap by Maxi Jazz, vocals from Dido, duck green peas for Rollo.

Favourite tracks
Utah Saints – Ohio

New Order – Blue Monday ’95 (Hardfloor Mix Edit)

Deuce – On The Bible

Aaliyah – The Thing I Like

Mrs Wood – Joanna (Tony De Vit V2 Radio Edit)

Lest we forget
Mary Kiani – When I Call Your Name

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Dance Zone Level 5 (Polygram TV, 1995)

Dance Zone L5

Dance Zone L5 r

Review
Dance Zone Level 5 brings us right into the long hot summer of 1995. It was now time for “40 bangin’ dance tunes” with the following lucky artists adorning the 2CD double value’s front cover: Baby D, Scatman John, The Outhere Brothers, Snap, Billie Ray Martin, East 17, Livin’ Joy, The Real McCoy, Perez ‘Prez’ Prado, Whigfield, Pizzaman, Bucketheads.

First up it’s Baby D welcoming Korgis to the jungle on I Need Your Loving (Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime). A true scorcher from June with an absolutely wonderful piano and vocal combination. Unlike others, I love the reggae rap. . . which brings to the staccato delivery of Scatman, in turn followed by the great wide open soundscapes of Boom Boom Boom. Out there. Kicking you in the face with nostalgia – Billie Ray Martin’s tortured Your Loving Arms. Staying for more are East 17 and the laidback Hold My Body Tight while Livin’ Joy make the dancefloors implode to the sounds of Janice Robinson’s vocal on the fantastic Dreamer. Next, the Real McCoy’s introspective Love And Devotion which ushers in a 1-2 punch from 1990 heavyweights Black Box and Snap. The former’s Not Anyone is a middling attempt at recapturing dreamy glories while The First The Last Eternity is like a pre-club tune for practising dance moves in front of a mirror. Getting into the Eurovision groove, Deuce’s pop mover I Need You. It made the pre-selection round that April.

After the forever sound of Bobby Brown’s familiar Two Can Play That Game and Grace’s overwhelming Not Over Yet, the Mad Stuntman (plus Reel 2 Real) drops by with the relentless Raise Your Hands. Next comes the deep disco sound of Judy Cheeks’ Respect coupled with M People’s divine Open Your Heart. A song for Europe: Love City Groove’s self-titled and underrated beat groover was the UK entry in 1995. The final line up of the band consisted of Stephen Rudden, Jay Williams, Yinka Charles (AKA ‘Reason’) and Paul Hardy. This ushers in a smoother and more laidback sequence with Ladysmith Black Mambazo and China Black’s Swing Low, Sweet Chariot and Freak Power’s Turn On. And then, a second turn for East 17 and the apocalyptic Let It Rain. Kudos for the inclusion of Mark Oh’s continental smash Tears Don’t Lie, a raved-up take on When A Child Is Born. CD1 concludes with Perez Prado’s uptempo mambo version of the Neapolitan song Guaglione that Guinness used to promote in an advertisement known as Anticipation.

CD2 gets underway to the sound of Whigfield’s erotic Think Of You – “I need you inside me tonight.” In the same zone, Pizzaman’s raunchy Sex On The Streets which is followed by the Happy Clappers’ uplifting club anthem I Believe. Praise you like I should. A.S.H.A can be filed under Italian project: Paolo Galeazzi, Maurizio Parafioriti, Dario Pozzi & Lello Gentile. J.J. Tribute is dedicated to Janis Joplin and originally came out in 1990. Remixes emerged in late 1994 and this Euro Club Edit is amazing and totally enhances the deadly original’s glorious hedonism. Later versions re-sung by Olivia. Still in the house, Direct Me from The Reese Project slipping into Ronni Simon’s soulfully rare Take You There. Up to Yorkshire for Shiva’s debut 45, the pounding Work It Out before Spirits go all garage on Spirit Inside. Over to Kenny Dope for the relentless Bomb, a welcome parachute before he Gems For Jem’s relentless house mover Lifting Me Higher.

Eurodance’s Move Your Body is a perfect example of the name suggesting the meaning. One Tribe? An alias used by Rollo & Rob Dougan to release the happy ‘n’ sandblasted High As A Kite. The former pops up again (as Rollo Goes Mystic) on the spinetingling Love, Love, Love – Here I Come. Keeping it real, the definitive mix of Tin Tin Out’s Always Something There To Remind Me – the Tooley St. Edit. +The pummeling beats of Westbam join forces with Red Jerry on the grinding Wizards Of The Sonic, another rare 7″ edit. Nice beat matches with Koolworld Productions’ In-vader (Tall Paul’s Lush Mix Edit). David Wood: “48 year old male dancing round my kitchen with headphones on dreaming of days gone by.” Samples include Darth Vader from Return Of The Jedi & Al Pacino when he’s stuck in the bathroom in Carlito’s Way. We tread water on Tinman’s Gudvibes before going out of our heads to Hasha’s Everybody In The World. Last men standing: DJ Misjah & DJ Tim and the brutal techno assault of Access. Memories of a dancefloor monster.

Favourite tracks
Deuce – I Need You

A.S.H.A. – J.J. Tribute (Euro Club Edit)

West Bam – Wizards Of The Sonic (Red Jerry Vs West Bam Mix Edit)

Kool World Productions – In-Vader (Tall Paul’s Lush Mix)

DJ Misjah & DJ Tim – Access

Lest we forget
Love City Groove – Love City Groove

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Dance Zone Level 4 (Polygram TV, 1995)

Dance Zone L4

Dance Zone L4 r

Review
Spring ’95 and time for Level 4. The centre pages open into a massive zone logo from Qd Design Limited. Upfront are Alex Party, East 17, N-Trance, The Real McCoy, The Brand New Heavies, Perfecto Allstarz, Deuce, JX, Nightcrawlers, Mory Kante, Corona, Clock.

Don’t Give Me Your Life reached #2 in Ireland, Israel and the UK, plus it topped the Club Record category at Music Week’s 1995 Awards. The next song makes me turning back my memory clock to the late ’80s and I remember both Pig Bag and Big Pig as graffiti on an unapproachable person’s pencil case. Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag had an amazing bassline; much too bright for post-punk. In January 1995, Paul Oakenfold released the addictive Reach Up, credited to the Perfecto Allstarz. A fav of Mitch’s. Anthems abound on Nightcrawlers’ Push The Feeling On, N-Trance’s Set You Free and Clock’s Axel F. Don’t you forget about Deuce’s poptastic Call It Love which is followed by the Human League’s Tell Me When, their biggest hit for nine years. Purchased just after Christmas in Virgin. Ready to wear: the joyful Close To You by The Brand New Heavies coupled with Mory Kante’s expansive Yeke Yeke, caned by Tom and Emma in the bedsits of Beechwood Avenue. Working those Euro dance moves are Corona on the simply wonderful Baby Baby.

“A generation without soul” wonders MC Sar on the evocative Run Away, the outstanding follow-up to Another Night. Adapting their sound were Snap, a throwback to the heady 1990-1992 period on the sublime Welcome To Tomorrow. Joo talks: “The nursery rhyme synth riff which goes throughout the song and especially under the Hocus pocus turn around, ain’t no magic at around.” Thank you for the days – there’s Whigfield’s carbon copy Another Day and East 17’s Stay Another Day pumped up in Less Sad Mix guise. Time for True Faith ’94, used to promote the November ’94 Best Of, a popular Christmas present. Next, another winter hit, M People’s Sight For Sore Eyes, the lead single from Bizarre Fruit. Less cerebral are Reel 2 Reel plus The Mad Stuntman on Can You Feel It while Driza Bone let Real Love have a second crack (#24 vs #16 in 1991). Bringing us to half time, Ultimate Kaos representing teenage London on the smooth Hoochie Booty.

CD2 brings us on a somewhat less familiar road. Some big ‘uns: Loveland’s powerful Let The Music (Lift You Up) and Lovestation’s uptempo Love Come Rescue Me. Plus more: Strike’s handbag classic U Sure Do and JX’s shimmering You Belong To Me; the latter summoning up the sensation of being in a fast car, windows open on a warm night. Move around the zone for Mr Roy’s party classic Saved – as Kee Lo says “Great track that used the BBC’s cricket theme nicely. Very euphoric and typical of the Eurodance movement of 1994.” Back once again or a slight return? Wildchild’s slammin’ Legends Of The Dark Black Part 2. A drop into the dark side on Giant City’s Feel The Spirit, a Hacienda memory for some as the North Mix Edit kicks in. And then a nice reggae detour with Sharon Forrester’s jungle-tinged Love Inside before the big, fat and heavy beats of Leviticus’ Burial. That one came from Freebird’s basement on Eden Quay. And taking it right back are Greed featurng Ricardo Da Force with a wicked version of Pump Up The Volume.

Quarter 4 opens with Ace Of Base and the doomy remix of Living In Danger courtesy of Armand Van Helden. In the name of love: Coming Out Crew’s Free, Gay & Happy. 23 years on, I’m still blown away by Moby’s Everytime You Touch Me. Its killer chorus and soaring melody along with the uplifting vibe – a true sound of Moyne Road. The nostalgic feeling continues with the arrival of Passion from Jon Of The Pleased Wimmin. Remember that on The Word? Get your hands in the air for Escrima AKA Tall Paul’s Train Of Thought – we all did at the Ormond Multi Media centre. Elsewhere, The Tabernacle give us the righteous I Know The Lord while Swing 52’s warehouse groove Colour Of My Skin still packs a punch. One of the forgotten hip hop records of the era is Darkman’s cutting and edgy Yabba Dabba Doo, inspired by a documentary on the killing of Stephen Lawrence. Quality London beats. Equally sublime is D*Note’s joyful acid jazzer The Garden Of Earthly Delights. Lastly, a call to arms from Outrage, a belter called Tall ‘n’ Handsome.

“And he’s got to be free”

Favourite tracks
Corona – Baby Baby

Darkman – Yabba Dabba Doo

Brand New Heavies – Close To You

Escrima – Train Of Thought

D*Note – The Garden Of Earthly Delights (X-Press 2 Radio Edit)

Lest we forget
Leviticus – Burial

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