House Hunting #28 - Doctor Derilict

Aiden finds the perfect opportunity to cruise’n’peruse for some records…

House Hunting #28 - Doctor Derilict

Aiden finds the perfect opportunity to cruise’n’peruse for some records…

So last time I went crate crusading it was a proper House Hunting fail as Alan’s Records was shut. After this traumatic episode I was gettin’ wax withdrawal so as I was on a later shift last Monday this presented the perfect opportunity to cruise’n’peruse for some records… One vinyl joint that had been on my radar for a while was the new Shoreditch branch of Flashback Records that I hadn’t a chance to check out since its launch last November. With Sister Ray launching a second store at Shoreditch’s Ace Hotel and one of my fave record haunts Love Vinyl opening just up the road in Hoxton this east environ is taking on the West End wax maze of Soho in becoming the vinyl mecca of London.

For those who ain’t acquainted with Flashback well prior to the Shoreditch store launch they’ve had two North London outlets in Islington and Crouch End. Initially starting life as a music shop back in ‘97 that also sold retro and vintage couture in the basement, fast-forward nearly twenty years later and the Islington branch is still thriving – becoming a North London vinyl stronghold specialising in a myriad of genres that caters for all whether you’re a new collector, devoted digger or like me, the first-pressing fraternity. A decade later they took over an ailing record shop in Crouch End which has become my local haunt as I live in the area. A bijou Aladdin’s cave, you’re bound to unearth a wax jewel whatever genre you’re into if you dig deep enough… On a house tip this branch only ever has a handful though last year I copped a mint copy of Marshall Jefferson’s mystical masterclass ‘Open Our Eyes’ on Big Beat for under a tenner – a timeless piece of house history that never ceases to amaze…

Anyway back to the Shoreditch joint and upon entering I headed straight for the basement for some bargain belters and second hand solace. At the bottom of the stairs I was met with a surprising decent sized house section – a way more comprehensive catalogue then the Islington and Crouch End branches. On routing through the racks they were definitely my flavour as there were loads of Trax and Nu Groove which met the House Hunting criteria of all being original pressings – choice cuts being ‘Song Of The Siren’ by Aphrodisiac and the ‘Second Chapter’ EP by Code 6 aka Joey Beltram though at thirty quid this one definitely influenced by those damn Discogs speculators… Flicking through and though surprisingly a boss vintage house selection it was a bit disheartening to see that the prices were on a Discogs tip – I ain’t gonna dig out a dollar bin special here they know their house! Undeterred, I was determined to cop something and as the clock was ticking I pulled out another Trax sleeve – no it wasn’t a typical acid workout by Phuture et al but some obscure allure courtesy of Doctor Derilict with his ‘Dance Doctor’ 12”. Hyped to unearth this wax gem I took it straight to the counter and though at £18 I knew I was paying over the odds it was surprisingly in mint condition and upon listening was unusually decent sound quality (maybe a rare virgin vinyl Trax pressing?) so happy with my purchase – I could have copped more but the credit card ain’t coping this month…

So who is Doctor Derilict? Well it’s none-other than Wayne Williams aka the “Ambassador Of House”. Hailing from Chicago’s Southside, Wayne spent his formative years at the Warehouse, amazed at the energy of the gay abandon in tandem with the seamless masterclass of Frankie Knuckles’ sets. Noting down what Frankie was playing, he would cop as many of the records as he could from North Side record joint Sounds Good. Introducing disco and the early proto house sounds from the Warehouse to his straight Southside faithful didn’t initially go down well – proving to be proper floor-clearers as they were only accustomed to the safer and more current sounds. His persistence paid off however as heads adapted to the emergence of house with Wayne proving a pivotal figure in house transcending the underground gay clubs with his influential night at the Loft (not to be confused with David Mancuso’s NY one) and other celebrated Chi-Town clubs – also founding ‘The Chosen Few Disco Corp.’ which was an umbrella for his DJ posse of Jesse Saunders, Alan King, Tony Hatchett and Andre Hatchett.

Production-wise, Wayne first came to prominence in ’84 on Jes Say Records which incidentally was run by his younger step-brother and House’s founding father Jesse Saunders – who is widely credited for releasing the first house record with ‘On and On’. Along with Jesse, fellow house forefather Vince Lawrence and dextrous house pianist Duane Buford, Wayne under his Doctor Derelict guise produced and released ‘Under Cover’ that same year which is a typical primitive house production with the ‘Dub A Cover’ mix being my choice version – let’s rewind back to when house history was being made…

It was at this time that Wayne got a reception position at Jesse’s newly incepted imprint ‘Trax Records’ which he co-founded with Larry Sherman. As Larry owned Chicago’s only pressing plant, naturally he capitalised on the nascent house scene by prioritising the pressing of Trax releases by the new wave of Chicago House producers – releasing influential house holy grails such as ‘Move Your Body’ by Marshall Jefferson and ‘No Way Back’ by Adonis. However, there was always a degree of controversy at Trax through Larry Sherman’s shady dealings, whether it was pressing releases on recycled vinyl, ripping off artists or not fulfilling contractual obligations (a Trax deal meant s**t and Larry would screw over the young and naive house upstarts) and not paying the heads of A&R which have included Jesse Saunders, Vince Lawrence and Wayne himself. Though notorious for this if you didn’t mind a poor pressing with dubious sound quality then Trax did prove an outlet for where your record would get pressed up and released quick – Larry must have liked Wayne as the Dance Doctor 12” I’ve copped sounds great! Wayne also released ‘That Shit’s Wild’ on the ‘Acid Trax Volume 2’ compilation which is a proper acid-drenched groove showcasing his dexterity with a 303 – check it out here…

Despite releasing records on Trax he quit working for the label as grew weary of Larry Sherman’s way of business. Looking for a fresh start, he enrolled in the Police Academy dabbling in a bit of A&R business here and there. Just when a career change was in motion his productions and A&R caught the attention of London-based major Jive Records (who he got Adonis signed up to featuring on the ‘Jive Presents In-House Volume 1’ comp) who were scouting for their Chicago division as the house scene was blowin’ up in London and the UK.

Wayne proved to be an influential figure during his reign at Jive. Initially signing Mr Lee of Mitchbal/Chicago Connection and Trax fame, through Wayne’s guidance he gave him commercial appeal with his debut ‘Get Busy’ LP selling over a million copies – showcasing Wayne’s ability in unearthing and producing raw talent. He even produced and remixed page 3 pin-up Sam Fox (!) – you’d probably thought you’d never say “Chicago House” and “Sam Fox” in the same sentence but Wayne Williams made those dreams come true…

In the early 90’s he oversaw Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince’s meteoritic rise to superstardom releasing celebrated hit’s such as ‘Ring My Bell’ (in which he produced) ‘Summertime’ (enlisting house duo Hula & K.Fingers of Da Posse and Clubhouse fame who became production mainstays of the label) and ‘Boom! Shake The Room’ in which Wayne’s protégé Mr Lee was on production duties. He later oversaw hits by mega popstars such as the late Aaliyah, Justin Timberlake and even Britney Spears, but his crowning achievement is discovering the honeyed harmonies and mercurial talent of R. Kelly whilst at a barbeque, guiding him in being a multi-platinum superstar. Moving on to the present and Wayne’s presence still felt in the music world in being Senior Vice President of A&R at RCA Records. He also continues to run ‘The Chosen Few Old School Reunion Picnic’ along with his Chosen Few Disco Corp. alumni (Terry Hunter and Mike Dunn also now part of the crew) which started life as a reunion back in ’90 and over the years has evolved into a renowned annual house festival featuring the crème of the Chicago house hierarchy – showing that Wayne stays true to his house roots…

Anyway, back to the record... What I love about this 12” is that though released in ’87 it sounds like a proto house joint with an Italo feel a la Duane Thamm’s Jump Trax and Knight Action releases or Master Plan’s ‘Pushin’ Too Hard’ – not the usual type of Trax joint but still got that inimitable Chicago feel. The vocal version has some helium-induced vocals coming into play but for me it’s all about the instrumental that just relentlessly builds and builds – definitely gonna drop it next time I play out get your prescription of Dance Doctor here…

Aiden d’Araujo

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