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Xclusive Club Classics is rammed to the gunnels with over 3 hours of the best, stomping club anthems ever to grace a DJ’s turntable. These gems include floor-filling classics from the likes of Alison Limerick, De’Lacy, Joey Beltram, Heller & Farley, Clivilles & Cole and Hyper Go Go to name but a few.
1 Clivilles & Cole – A Deeper Love
2 Ce Ce Peniston – Finally
3 Heller & Farley Project – Ultra Flava
4 Martha Wash - Carry On
5 Alison Limerick – Where Love Lives
6 Chez Damier – Can You Feel It
7 Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam – Let The Beat Hit ‘Em
8 De'Lacy - Hideaway
9 Kim English – Nite Life
10 Mass Order – Lift Every Voice
11 Sounds Of Blackness – The Pressure
12 Funky People – Funky People
13 Blaze - My Beat
1 Joey Beltram – Energy Flash
2 Humanoid - Stakker Humanoid
3 Outlander – Vamp
4 Ravesignal – Horsepower
5 The Future Sound Of London – Papua New Guinea
6 Mental Cube - So This Is Love
7 Semi Real – People Livin' Today
8 Sil – Windows ’98
9 Reese & Santonio – The Sound
10 Model 500 - The Chase
11 Forgemasters - Track With No Name
12 True Faith with Final Cut – Take Me Away
13 Rhythmatic - Take Me Back
1 Nomad - (I Wanna Give You) Devotion
2 Hyper Go Go – High
3 Felix – Don't You Want Me
4 Funky Green Dogs From Outer Space – Reach For Me
5 Mory Kante – Yeke Yeke
6 Inner City - Do Ya
7 Olive – You’re Not Alone
8 Rhythm On The Loose – Break Of Dawn
9 Andronicus – Make You Whole
10 Rio Rhythm Band – Carnival Da Casa
11 Serious Rope feat. Sharon Dee Clarke – Happiness
12 Movin Melodies – Indica
13 Wildchild – Renegade Master
1. CLIVILLES & COLE – A Deeper Love
After blasting the charts in 1990 with their pop-dance project C+C Music Factory, Robert Clivilles & David Cole followed up with a cover of U2's 'Pride' a year later, backed by their own take on the theme, 'A Deeper Love' featuring ex-Change vocalist Deborah Cooper. It became one of the most enduring tunes in dance music history - Aretha Franklin later covered it for the film 'Sister Act 2' and brought in C+C to produce the new version.
2. CECE PENISTON – Finally
A huge anthem which followed Peniston's BV work for forgotten female MC Overweight Pooch on her 'Female Preacher' hip hop LP in '91. Impressed by the 21 year-old Cecilia, A&M Records' Manny Lehman booked a studio session with the album's producer Filipe Delgado to record 'Finally' which Ce Ce allegedly penned during a college chemistry class! A debut smash and one of the biggest uplifting tunes of the era.
3. HELLER & FARLEY PROJECT – Ultra Flava
The original Boys Own leaders have a catalogue of meaty soulful house classics under their belt as Roach Motel and as members of Fire Island. This one exploded in '96 with its infectious bouncy keys riff. "Those were crazy days," says Heller. "It was an exciting time because there was so much new stuff every week. Everyone was getting their hands on new gear as prices came down - there were a lot of talented people in quite a small scene."
4. MARTHA WASH - Carry On
Now HERE's a voice. Ex-Weather Girl and one half of disco powerhouse Two Tons Of Fun, Ms. Wash had a rough ride during the '90s, gracing many a classic dance track without due credit, including hits by Black Box and C+C Music Factory. Thankfully, this dynamite dancefloor smash with Todd Terry from '93 and a full debut solo album put the record straight - she returned the favour on Terry's later hits 'Keep On Jumpin'' and 'Something's Goin' On'.
5. ALISON LIMERICK – Where Love Lives
London's Alison Limerick didn't take the traditional route of the dance music diva, working with the Style Council and 4AD act This Mortal Coil in her early days. This one found Frankie Knuckles and David Morales in their remix prime in 1990 with one of the best piano riffs ever committed to vinyl - Knuckles himself cites the track as one of his finest. Veteran clubbers in Mansfield remember it fondly too when Alison lifted the roof at the first ever Renaissance night.
6. CHEZ DAMIER – Can You Feel It
An unsung hero of dance music, Damier is an important figure in house and techno, a leading force behind the ground-breaking Music Institute nights in Detroit and backroom maestro for Kevin Saunderson's KMS label and Ron Trent's Prescription imprint. This is one of his classic early garage outings with MK aka Marc Kinchen at the controls in 1992. The Dub version set the blueprint for the Nightcrawlers' later smash, 'Push The Feeling On'.
7. LISA LISA & CULT JAM – Let The Beat Hit ‘Em
Full Force were mining a rich commercial vein in the days of early hip hop when they produced Latino freestyle smash, 'I Wonder If I Take You Home' for Nu Yorican Lisa Lisa in '85. By '91, she had released her final album with Cult Jam, paying tribute to her neighbourhood in Hell's Kitchen with fresh producers Clivilles & Cole at the helm. Here's the big one from it, complete with cut-up samples inspired by Coldcut's Eric B 'Paid In Full' mix and a groove based on a riff from Donald Byrd's 'Think Twice'.
8. DE'LACY - Hideaway (Deep Dish remix)
A group at the time rather than a singer (DeLacey Davis was the percussionist and Raine Lassiter the vocalist, both ex-members of Spectrum), De'Lacy enjoyed a bumper year in 1995. Blaze produced the original of ‘Hideaway’ but it was new remix team Sharam and Dubfire aka Deep Dish that did the real damage with a thunderous, rumbling take that catapulted both themselves and the track skywards.
9. KIM ENGLISH – Nite Life (Bump Radio edit)
Another of Chicago's great house music voices of recent years rooted firmly in gospel, Kim broke through with 'Nite Life', her very first single in 1994 following a hook-up with former Ten City members Byron Burke and Byron Stingily. Versions by Masters At Work, Joe T Vanelli and this one by Bump sealed the track as a classic and teed up a successful career - Kim was still topping the US dance charts during 2006.
10. MASS ORDER – Lift Every Voice (Take Me Away)
R&B fans may know Mass Order's Eugene Hanes and Marc Valentine from their production duties for Adina Howard, Chantay Savage and more during the mid-90s. Before that, they dropped two of the greatest gospel house records of all time during '92, 'Let's Get Happy' and the soaring 'Lift Every Voice'. The Basement Boys are at their best here, hot on the heels of huge hits for Ultra Nate and Crystal Waters. Sounds Of Blackness' Gary Hines features too as a co-writer.
11. SOUNDS OF BLACKNESS – The Pressure (CJ Mackintosh 12” remix)
This massive 40-piece choir built a huge following in their native Minneapolis, mixing an open, inclusive attitude with a celebration of God and the human spirit and powerful social messages. Egged on by Janet Jackson, the city's legendary producers Jam and Lewis signed them up, keeping their vision intact, and a string of sumptuous anthems followed. Here's their house masterpiece which underwent various treatments during 1991 and ‘92 - CJ MacIntosh's mix remains a DJ favourite.
12. FUNKY PEOPLE FEAT. CASSIO WARE – Funky People (MAW Mix)
The Blaze boys Kevin Hedge and Josh Milan out of New Jersey briefly flirted with their Funky People alter ego in the mid-'90s featuring Cassio Ware on vocal duties. "We always felt like Blaze was about soulful records that made a statement," says Kevin. "We developed aliases for different sounds." Kenny "Dope" and Louie Vega dropped this hypnotic, insistent mix that ignited dancefloors at the time and the track became a soulful house fixture, regularly re-appearing with new mixes.
13. BLAZE - My Beat
Hedge and Milan again, this time helping to spearhead house music's flirtation with Afrobeat back in 1998, skilfully pitching Fela Kuti-style arrangements with some subtle 4x4 magic. The track inspired further forays into Afro house from Kerri Chandler, Dennis Ferrer and more and vocalist Palmer Brown became a regular on Blaze releases after this one.
1. JOEY BELTRAM – Energy Flash
In 1991, Joey Beltram ruled. ‘Energy Flash’ first surfaced on Derrick May’s Transmat label, before bursting through on the hottest imprint of the ‘90s, R&S, setting the marker for the future sound of the label with its relentless, throbbing tone, ghostly strings and hard jacking beats. Techno turned on its head, this one was, and still is, pure hedonism on vinyl. A true classic.
2. HUMANOID - Stakker Humanoid
A short-lived collaboration between video artists Mark McLean and Colin Scott and later Future Sound Of London creator Brian Dougans, this vicious acid assault featured samples of Evil Otto from early ‘80s video game ‘Bezerk’ and was originally designed as a soundtrack for the 1989 graphics video ‘Eurotechno’. Street Sounds’ Morgan Khan recorded and released it and it became one of the only pure acid tracks to crack the UK Top 40 chart.
3. OUTLANDER – Vamp
More genius from R&S, this time from producer Marcos Salon, who had shown his maverick colours as Balearic favourite IN-D on Subway in the late ‘80s. Now, at a time when New Beat ruled in Belgium, Salon kept the music’s mid-tempo drive, removed all of the stodge and created a new hybrid, borrowing from techno (spot the Reese & Santonio samples), acid and UK hardcore to devastating effect.
4. RAVESIGNAL – Horsepower
C.J. Bolland started early in dance music with his Dad running a club in Antwerp and his Mum a DJ. Having scored an early hit with R&S with The Project’s ‘Do That Dance’, he had hit burn-out by 1992 – on the sleeve of his ‘Ravesignal III’ EP, he depicted his face with a disturbing patchwork of coloured lines. Ironically, the growling ‘Horsepower’ from the EP took off and would help to cement a healthy production and remix career for him during the ‘90s.
5. THE FUTURE SOUND OF LONDON – Papua New Guinea
The massive debut from Garry Cobain and Brian Dougans (fresh from leaving Humanoid in 1992), ‘Papua New Guinea’ established FSOL as digital pioneers ahead of their time and hit the zeitgeist with its post-rave ambient dub stylings and vocal loops lifted from 4AD act Dead Can’t Dance’s ‘Dawn Of The Iconoclast’. The accompanying video was pure hi-tech psychedelia and the track hit the UK top 20, securing them a long-term deal with Virgin Records.
6. MENTAL CUBE - So This Is Love
Another early track from the Future Sound Of London boys under one of many pseudonyms used as vehicles for the wide spectrum of styles emerging from their Earthbeat Studios in North London. This sleeper from 1991 remains an atmospheric mellow breaks gem with a memorable piano line and their trademark use of everyday sounds. Here, they drop in a dry, disgruntled telephone voice.
7. SEMI REAL – People Livin' Today
Hear FSOL’s ‘ISDN’ album and you would take good odds that they would run a mile from all things Balearic. But, Earthbeat HQ was always full of surprises and here is another Cobain / Dougans alter ego, this time whipping up a simple but effective formula of smacking house beats, flamenco guitars and pan pipes. A solid club hit when it surfaced in 1992.
8. SIL – Windows ‘98
A terrific slice of early trance energy that introduced Olav Basoski to the world, originally out on Work in Holland back in ’91. Hooj Choons gave this one a new kiss of life in 1998 with a fresh batch of remixes and Basoski went on to become the master of dance music in Holland as both a DJ and prolific remixer for Moby, James Brown, Armand Van Helden and many more.
9. REESE & SANTONIO – The Sound
Techno’s early pioneers were honing their craft in their Detroit labs back in 1987. Kevin Saunderson was one of the famed ‘Belleville Three’ originators and recorded this stripped back instrumental during the first year of his own label, KMS. A year later, he would help techno hit the mainstream through his Inner City releases with singer Paris Grey.
10. MODEL 500 - The Chase (Express mix)
“Berry Gordy built the Motown sound on the same principles as the conveyor belt system at Ford,” runs a famous Juan Atkins quote. “Today, Ford use robots to make their cars. I’m more interested in Ford’s robots than Gordy’s music.” From pioneering techno with recordings as Cybotron, Atkins perfected his moody machine music as Model 500 on his own Metroplex label during the mid-‘80s.
11. FORGEMASTERS - Track With No Name (Communique mix)
Not only was this one the very first single on Warp Records (producer Robert Gordon helped to start the label), it also kick-started the wave of sparse, spacey bleep ‘n’ bass tracks emerging from Sheffield in 1989 – the original and this remix by fellow Sheffield producers Unique 3 and Mark Brydon drops in a sample from Manu Dibango’s ‘Abele Dance’. Forgemasters members Winston Hazel and Sean Maher went on to score later hits on Warp as Tuff Little Unit and The Step.
12. TRUE FAITH FEAT. BRIDGETT GRACE WITH FINAL CUT – Take Me
A one-off outing as True Faith for Jeff Mills in his original Detroit days, here collaborating on a vocal house cut with Anthony Srock and vocalist Bridget Grace. The track was designed as a sister release to Inner City’s ‘Big Fun’ but only truly caught fire two years later in ’91 when UK producer Paul Waller unleashed a breakbeat treatment which tore up the rave scene.
13. RHYTHMATIC - Take Me Back (Robert Gordon edit)
From his productions as Krush, T-Cut-F and as part of the FON (F*** Off Nazis) collective through the late ‘80s and ‘90s, Mark Gamble helped to position Sheffield as a vibrant hub for dance music. His more techno-based work as Rhythmatic with Leroy Crawford hit its peak with ‘Take Me Back’ in 1990, picked up by Neil Rushton’s Network label.
1. NOMAD - (I Wanna Give You) Devotion
With a bit of wordplay on his first name, Damon Rochefort joined forces with producer Steve McCutcheon and moved effortlessly from music journalism to hitmaker, creating one of the rave anthems of ’91 with this one alongside singer Sharon Dee Clarke and MC Mikee Freedom. These days, Rochefort’s a top TV writer, penning episodes of UK favourites Coronation Street and Birds Of A Feather.
2. HYPER GO GO – High
Leeds producer Mark Bell is another versatile UK backroom legend. As well as making up one half of experimental techno pioneers LFO, his work has appeared on a diverse range of labels from Planet E to Harthouse. ‘High’ was one of his biggest tunes, a simple slice of uplifting Northern piano rave from 1996 with more than a cursory nod to Rhythim Is Rhythim’s ‘Strings Of Life’.
3. FELIX – Don't You Want Me (Hooj Mix)
An alias of producer Francis Wright, here alongside Rollo (Faithless) and Red Jerry (Hooj Choons), Felix slayed dancefloors everywhere with ‘Don’t You Want Me’ in ’92, lifting a sample from Jomanda’s ‘Don’t You Want My Love’ and dropping it alongside THAT epic organ line. The track has since been much imitated – Meck feat. Dino’s ‘Feels Like Home’ most recently used it during 2007.
4. FUNKY GREEN DOGS FROM OUTER SPACE – Reach For Me (12" mix)
Within Oscar G and Ralph Falcon’s rich seam of classics during the ‘90s, this one stands tall as the perfect snapshot of their rolling Miami house beats and depth charge basslines. ‘ Reach For Me’ was a colossal club smash in 1992 featuring vocalist Shauna Solomon and Funky Green Dogs would become the regular alter ego for the Murk boys’ more commercial work, including ‘Fired Up’ in ‘96.
5. MORY KANTÉ – Yeke Yeke (Hardfloor mix ’98 re-edit)
A contender for one of the finest remixes in recent dance music. Before this, world music had rarely met club production on equal terms but when Oliver and Ramon of Hardfloor injected their smacking acid energy into Mory Kanté’s simmering African anthem, all the tension of the original remained intact and a classic took shape. As much a credit to the German duo’s vision as to the Barclay label in France who commissioned it for their Going Global remix project.
6. INNER CITY - Do Ya (Reese Uplifting 12” mix)
Inner City were a regular crossover dance phenomenon during the late ‘80s / early ‘90s, shifting over 6 million records within as many years. By the time of later hit ‘Do Ya’ in ’93, Kevin “Reese” Saunderson and singer Paris Grey had perfected their Detroit-lite formula and mixed their output from slick 4/4 tracks to smooth downtempo street soul jams.
7. OLIVE – You’re Not Alone
Olive was something of a dance music supergroup during the ‘90s featuring long-time Simply Red member Tim Kellet, Nightmares On Wax original Robin Taylor-Firth and Sunderland vocalist Ruth-Ann Boyle (Kellet found Boyle by chance when gigging with Durutti Column in Portugal and hearing her voice on one of their tape loops). Here’s their biggest hit, a yearning cry holding out for distant love from ’96.
8. RHYTHM ON THE LOOSE – Break Of Dawn
A sunset classic for the rave generation from Midlands producer Geoff Hibbert. The formula’s deceptively simple with a synth line straight out of ‘Twin Peaks’, mellow breaks and vocal snippets from First Choice’s disco classic ‘Let No Man Put Asunder’ but when that piano comes in, hands still shoot into the air wherever it is played. Timeless.
9. ANDRONICUS – Make You Whole
Producer Jonathan Blanks was behind a few big dancefloor anthems during the early ‘90s, including two on Hooj Choons, ‘Save The Day’ by Diss-Cuss and this one-off fluid house / rave classic in 1992 as Andronicus. Remixes by JX, Blu Peter and more sparked new interest four years later but the original has endured as a classic of the era.
10. RIO RHYTHM BAND – Carnival Da Casa
Ian B is probably better known as the man behind the tech-hardcore classics by Eon during the ‘90s (‘Spice’, ‘Basket Case’) but Rio Rhythm Band was his funkier first incarnation, used for his debut single, ‘Cuban Jakkin’’. Here’s the best known RRB track from 1990 and the first single to be released on Red Jerry’s Hooj Choons label.
11. SERIOUS ROPE FEAT. SHARON DEE CLARKE – Happiness (Medley)
That man Damon Rochefort again with producer Aron Friedman, reuniting with Nomad vocalist Sharon Dee Clarke on an update of Brian Auger’s ‘Happiness Is Just Around The Bend’ from 1993. A UK club chart number 1, the track opened doors for Serious Rope to become A-list remixers during the mid-‘90s, producing dance treatments for Kim Wilde, Alexander O’Neal and Michelle Gayle, among others.
12. MOVIN MELODIES – Indica
Classic hard techno manoeuvres out of Holland courtesy of Patrick Prins from the tail end of ’96. Prins had made his mark back in ’92 with hardbag anthem ‘La Luna’ and, as the Dutch scene upped the bpms and grew around a more frenetic jackbooted sound, this one sent dancefloors crazy with its bouncing toytown melody line. One of several mid-‘90s classics from Prins on UK label Hooj Choons.
13. WILD CHILD – Renegade Master
Ahead of its time when in dropped in ’93, ‘Renegade Master’ followed a series of Wildchild productions on Brighton’s Loaded label and cut up A.D.O.R.’s ‘90s hip hop jam ‘One For The Trouble’ for an ultra-catchy pop-techno outing. Tragically, Roger “Wildchild” McKenzie died of a heart complication in November 1995 soon after he had relocated to New York. Earlier that year, the track had scored further crossover success thanks to a boisterous Fatboy Slim remix.