Hardcore Dancefloor (Dino Entertainment, 1991)

Hardcore Dancefloor

Hardcore Dancefloor r

Hardcore Dancefloor, the second volume in the series, was released at the end of June 1991. After the topical and everlasting Gypsy Woman, it’s a flashback to the last days of The Bridge Hotel with Nomad’s rather underwhelming Just A Groove. All hail T99 and their bombastic Euro dance of Anasthasia; another memory slap from Top Of The Pops May 1991. Professional 2 cramming to the Belgian bangers. There’s a triple play from the Now That’s What I Call Music 19 era before Cool 2 get funky with the Kool & The Gang-inspired Kinda Groovy. And now for a UK soul classic – Soul Family Sensations’s I Don’t Even Know If I Should Call You Baby as remixed by the legendary Marshall Jefferson.

On Jive, the slickest of R&B cuts, Hi-Five’s super smooth I Like The Way (The Kissing Game). Produced by Teddy Riley and taken from the Waco boys’ 1990 debut LP, the video has an exceptionally large amount of dark colours and shadows in contrast to the somewhat light-hearted tune that plays. Singer Tony Thompson died in 2007; a tragic end. Despite being advertised as The Peanut Butter Mix (3:31), the version of Groove Is In The Heart is actually the one as featured on the World Clique LP (3:51). The unfamiliar D-Word and the Chic-sampling Get’n Funk.e is rather ordinary and overshadowed by Ice Ice Baby (Revised Version) – the latter sounding like the album version. Elsewhere there’s BVSMP’s smooth Hold Me, that sees them try hard but fail to capture the spirit of ’88.

“Step back and give ’em some room! Quartet of future divas fresh from the Foster and McElroy stable deliver intricate, tight harmonies with a dash of sass on this groove-laden debut.” (Billboard)
Hardcore Dancefloor concludes with one of the most significant tracks of the era. It can only be En Vogue – Hold On which kicks off with an untouchable acappella snippet from Who’s Lovin’ You (originally recorded by The Miracles) before sliding into a killer groove. Some words:
“Summer 1990. You couldn’t escape this track, but damn was this shit bumping.” (B-Jo)

Favourite tracks
En Vogue – Hold On

Hi-Five – I Like The Way (The Kissing Game)

Marshall Jefferson – I Don’t Even Know If I Should Call You Baby

Lest we forget
T99 – Anasthasia (Valentine Boy’s Radio Mix)

Posted in Hardcore | 3 Comments

Hardcore Uproar (Dino Entertainment, 1991)

Hardcore Uproar

Hardcore Uproar r

Dino Entertainment launched their Hardcore series during March 1991. The concept is credited to Mark Arthurworrey who was also responsible for sourcing and sequencing the tracks. Special thanks is given to Nic Moran and Mark Rosenfield while the design was by Mental Block. This volume contains 20 tracks and does not come with a tagline. The Wikipedia entry states: “Hardcore albums always contained big dance hits first, and then less well-known, underground tracks at the end, making the series an attractive purchase for mainstream dance fans as well as underground followers of the genre.”

Hardcore Uproar covers some of the same ground as Thin Ice – The First Step on its opening tracks from Nomad, A Tribe Called Quest, Digital Underground and Seal (albeit we get the standard Crazy as opposed to Krazy). The lesser spotted 2 Mad drop the creepy Thinking About Your Body but the groove is whack. Far nicer is the sublime Ghetto Heaven, a timeless jam from The Family Stand. As soon as Where Are You Baby? kicks in, I am back in KG Discs, soaking up the new dance sounds and digging the Boomania vibe. It’s followed by The Dream Warriors and their self-referential hip hop of My Definition Of A Boombastic Jazz Style. Sample time: the theme song for the 1974 Canadian television show Definition which was based on Quincy Jones’ Soul Bossa Nova.

The Adventures Of Stevie V and their Dirty Cash (Money Talks) is still an ingenious hybrid of funkiness that’s totally fresh now. Next comes the smooth jam Sensitivity (Ralph Tresvant) and the apocalyptic In Yer Face. Then Snap’s biblical Mary, Adamski’s amazing Killer, the 7″ version of Technotronic’s Megamix and Caron Wheeler’s house banger Livin’ In The Light. The next obscurity comes from Prophecy + MC Deep – the predictable 4 Your Love is best consigned to history. Much better is Black Box’s Total Mix, a fused jam of epic proportions sequenced by Graeme Park – Ride On Time, I Don’t Know Anybody Else, Everybody, Everybody, Fantasy. There’s a soulful diversion with the Wee Papa Girl Rappers on Best Of My Love before MC Tunes battle it out with 808 State. Finally it’s the single version of Together’s Hardcore Uproar – see Now Dance 903 for more thoughts.
“You can’t win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become …”

Favourite tracks
Together – Hardcore Uproar (Radio Edit)

Betty Boo – Where Are You Baby?

Dream Warriors – My Definition Of A Boombastic Jazz Style (Radio Mix)

Lest we forget
Technotronic – Megamix

Posted in Hardcore | 4 Comments

Dance Energy 3 (Virgin, 1991)

Dance Energy 3

Dance Energy 3 r

Dance Energy 3 was released in late 1991 and came with a new design plus a much glossier inlay than the previous two. Artists in lights: Moby, 2 Unlimited, Rozalla, The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu, Congress, Bizarre Inc, DJ Carl Cox “and plenty more!” For dancers only: “There is a photo of myself dancing on the inside cover . I’ve put on a few pounds now so it was nice to see myself in my heyday.” (David Hodgson)

First up is the hypnotic sound of Moby’s Go. As Doc Hemelin once said “This song makes me wanna cry nostalgic tears about a childhood that will never return and the inevitable ending of things I loved so much.” The “yeah” vocal which features prominently in the track is actually a sample from soul singer Jocelyn Brown, taken from her 1985 single Love’s Gonna Get You. Next is 40 Miles by Congress – described as “Proclaimers lite” by someone who really didn’t have a clue. It was originally recorded as an instrumental by the two Dannys, Harrison and Matlock before vocals from Lucinda Sieger were added to taste. Staying in the clubs, 2 Unlimited’s storming Get Ready For This followed by Bizarre Inc’s stadium house Such A Feeling, really epic stuff and an amazing bassline. Back to Holland for Human Resource’s rather clinical Dominator before the arrival of the 3 Deck Wizard, DJ Carl Cox. I Want You (Forever) is glorious, piano meets hardcore breakbeat.

Rozalla arrived on the UK club scene from Zambia via Zimbabwe and Italy. Faith (In The Power Of Love) is my favourite of hers, a sweetly sung tune that brings back memories of being a fresher in UCD. Brothers In Rhythm keep the tempo right on the euphoric Such A Good Feeling while Joey Negro joins the scene with Do What You Feel. The JAMMs – read more about the North on my review of Now That’s What I Call Music 20. C&C Music Factory’s Things That Make You Go Room still sounds fresh – “so popular, Coca-Cola bought the rights to the tune for $20 million.” And Ring My Bell gets reworked by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. Hanging on in ’91 were Cookie Crew on the rather forced Love Will Bring Us Back Together which features Roy Ayers. Sadly less than essential.

Poetry + rap + jazz + fresh dance beats = Galliano. Described by Martin Furlong in ’91 as “shit” at the New Ross Tea Rooms but this harsh assessment is far from reality. Jus’ Reach is decent enough but there were greater things to follow. M People join our club with their debut How Can I Love You More. Remixed in 1993 and subsequently massive, this version has the original piano break. Where Love Lives was voted greatest dance record of all time in Mixmag and one that never fails to move the crowd. It’s got all this and more: a blinding piano intro, awesome production and beats that still sound fresh. Plus Alison Limerick’s fantastic vocal and uplifting soulful message – a real leap of faith. “Follow me down, deep down where the love lives.” Jack on: Frankie Knuckles restrained It’s Hard Sometimes and Yo Yo Honey’s Groove On. The chilled vibe continues with the Brand New Heavies slow cooking Never Stop before ending with the touching Winter In July, Bomb The Bass featuring Loretta and using the 3D sound system. “Everything will come in time.”

Favourite tracks
Rozalla – Faith (In The Power Of Love)

Bomb The Bass – Winter In July

DJ Carl Cox – I Want You (Forever)

Lest we forget
M People – How Can I Love You More?

Posted in Dance Energy | 2 Comments