6 May 2011

Dance albums you really should own #3

Part 3 of dance albums you really should own. One direct from Manchester and the other a world away from New York's iconic Sound Factory nightclub at the peak of its popularity.

M People - Northern Soul (1991)
M-People, Northern Soul
Though M-People's cool was tarnished somewhat by their more poptastic material on the albums which followed this one, they started out with the best intentions and struck gold with some quality music. It was mostly a meshing of live-element funk/soul inspired music and club grooves created under the direction of Mike Pickering (the "M"). Famous for being resident DJ at the Ha├žienda nightclub in Manchester and A&R guy at Deconstruction Recs (responsible for signing Black Box) he hit gold almost immediately with the epic 'How Can I Love You More?'. It featured the vocals of Heather Small who soon became the centrepiece of M-People. 'Someday' and 'Colour My Life' were also popular singles from the album and which were given the big-name DJ remix treatment which earned them tons of club play. At the other end of the spectrum was 'Kiss it Better', a standout track from the album - a melding of peppy guitars, a slow 4/4 groove and Small's amazing vocals which resulted in a summer vibe which still sounds great 20 years on.

Key moments > Youtube: How Can I Love You More (live on TOTP, 1991) and 'Someday' (Sasha's Master Mix) - A feelgood remix of the era.

Junior Vasquez - This Is The Sound Of Tribal UK - Live at the Sound Factory (1994)
Junior Vasquez, Tribal UK
Straight up, this is the mix that sealed my fate as a tribal house lover! To me it is one of the finest mix CDs of all time and evidence of the brilliance of Junior Vasquez in the mid 90s when he was probably the most revered DJ on the planet. Released during his legendary residency at the Sound Factory, NYC it covers the ethnic side of house (tribal doh!) from the darkest to the most camp - all of which were on the Tribal America/UK label. The greatness of the mix is down to the dozens of amazing records which came out on the label and Vasquez's skilled use of fades, delays and juxtaposition. Danny Tenaglia's 'Bottom Heavy' and the Fire Island remix of Junior's own global gay anthem 'Get Your Hands Off My Man' were on show for the first time anywhere on this mix, making the limited edition vinyl pack extremely sought-after. Also making a showing was The Daou with Vanessa Daou's infamous haunting vocals, Eric Kupper as K-Scope, Pato Banton remixed by The Orb and Roger Sanchez and more. When someone mentions "tribal house" this is the benchmark.

Key moments > Youtube: The Daou 'Are You Satisfied' - the unmistakable vocals of Vanessa Daou made this a dance floor bomb. Kiwi Dreams 'Y?' - hilariously camp and quirky.

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