House Hunting #45 - Sweet D

Aiden heads to Essex on his latest crate crusade...

House Hunting #45 - Sweet D

Aiden heads to Essex on his latest crate crusade...

After last week’s house history session with house-forefather Jesse Saunders this week’s edition will be short’n’sweet as time is tight (if I don’t lose control)– yeah I wish I could lounge about in R$N HQ checkin’ out the latest cat couture but some of us have real jobs and gotta make some money for a deep dose of that black crack… Anyway, I popped next door to my local joint The Little Record Shop as David gave me a house holla that I sold a couple of records and he just got in a collection that may be my flavour… Upon entering as ever it was ordered chaos but that’s what I love about this shop you can pull out a killer house 12” amongst the rock and reggae racks… He pointed out a few piles on the floor towards the entrance so got on my knees and started flickin’ through – I had to do a double-take when I scoped not one but two mint copies of the killer KDJ cut ‘I Can’t Kick This Feeling When It Hits’ which he priced for just £12 we ain’t speculators here! Though the less-desirable single-sided platter (the other pressing has ‘Music People’ on the flip) you can’t moan at the price and condition that’s a proper steal of a deal – both were snapped up instantly you know a Moodymann record ain’t gonna last for long… Flickin’ further and there were some serious records outta the Motor City – a few choice Carl Craig records (no not his new s**t but his otherworldly opuses on Planet E like his ‘More Songs About Food And Revolutionary Art’ and ‘The Album Formerly Known As…’ LP’s), a couple more KDJ joints (‘Joy  Pt. II’ on KDJ and ‘Sunday Morning’ on Planet E) and amongst the Bowie and Dylan rack I unearthed Theo Parrish’s ‘Parallel Dimensions’ LP mental! When it comes to the Detroit records you know the drill don’t sleep...

I also clocked some Chicago House including Adonis’ anthem ‘No Way Back’ on Trax plus the ‘Acid: Can You Jack?’ comps on Soul Jazz which chronicles the classic Chi-Town trax of the era. I’ve also added a few records to the racks - we’ve got all the house records together now so easier for you to check out but roll them sleeves up and raid those racks as if you dig deep you’ll never know what house jewel you’ll unearth!

Anyway, I had set my sights on crate crusading in the depths of Zone 6 in Upminster on my day off – you what WHERE?! Yeah not the most likely destination for a dose of diggin’ deep but this Essex backwater is the home to Crazy Beat Records which I ain’t checked out since my uni days and got a tip that there’s some hallowed house hotplates that’d be my flavour. However, my house radar went into overdrive when my main man Miles shared that my other local haunt Alan’s Records just had a load of house overflowing in the racks – f**k do I take a jaunt up to Alan’s where I know I’ll cop some records that ain’t credit-crunchin’ or take a risk with some rack raiding recreation in Essex? I stuck with my original plan and opted for the latter as I fancied a change so left early doors for my Essex escapade – once again Tonya playing wax widow but dinner on me later, ever the romantic…

Leaving the tube station f**k me I was in the outta limits – actually it felt like home back up in The Midlands when walking down the high street with all the locals staring at me with my dodgy barnet and house threads. It ain’t strictly Soho round here… I made it to the safe sanctuary of the shop and sought solace in the house racks – my house radar detected a ‘house classics’ rack without hesitation I got down to it… In this rack alone there were some killer records then clocked there was a whole house section all arranged alphabetically. The classics rack was next to end of the rack alphabet so worked my way in reverse order and did my usual quick flick through all the letters. Jesus this was pure kid in a candy store flavour – I knew there was serious house hunting potential when I pulled out an original copy of Summer of ’88 anthem ‘I’m In Love’ by Sha-Lor (as featured in House Hunting #6) in the original Jump Street promo sleeve for just £8! Got it already but had to cop as the record was near mint (well the sleeve sealed the deal anoraks anonymous…). I got chatting to the owner Gary and turns out he’s been a DJ for 35 years spinnin’ Soul, Jazz, Funk and Reggae so knows his stuff – naturally got talking about house and all the stock he’s had over the years casually saying that he had loads of the Joe Lewis Pink Target releases over the years! Every record I was picking up he’d have a story or knew what I was talking about so a serious music head and loved the interaction how a record shop should be – there was even a regular blazin’ out a load of old Chicago and NY house over the shop soundsystem so the perfect soundtrack to my rack raid! Back to the racks and they were rammed with records on house institutions like Trax, Nu Groove, Easy Street, Movin’, KMS… Examples include original pressings of ‘The Jungle’ by Jungle Wonz (green label) and ‘Never Let You Go’ by William S on Trax, Hot Mix 5 hotplates by Phortune aka DJ Pierre and Ralphi Rosario, Larry Heard’s spine-tingling ‘What About This Love’ (Alleviated pressing in original blue sleeve OCD!), Kerri Chandler’s ‘Ionosphere’ EP on Subwoofer and a s**t load of Nu Groove necessities – CHI/NY/NJ/DT all representing I’d gone to house heaven… You can check out the Crazy Beat Records website or their Discogs page to get a taste but nothing beats the in-store experience make sure you jet down! As well as the Sha-Lor 12” check out below on some of the joints I copped on this crate crusade…

With all this house overflowin’ I had to rinse the credit card – don’t dig when you’re outta cash! Gary sorted a lil’ discount too – TIP if you pay with cash he may sort you out even more so get down on pay day! So overall a proper house haul and mission complete though there was one particular platter outta yeah you guessed it Chicago that was choice find of the day. What first caught my attention was the yellow shrink-wrapped cover shouting out at me in the rack, however on thinking it’d be a Dance Mania 12” my heart skipped a beat when it I scoped it was the collectable ‘Crazy D’ EP by Sweet D aka Danny Wilson – £12 and in mint condition I was coppin’ some of that Chicago flavour!

So another week another Chicago House hero – I’ll deviate from Chicago next week promise! So on to Sweet D and though to me he’s proper house hierarchy he’s not one that seems to be as heralded as other house forefathers such as Frankie, Larry, Marshall et al by the later generation. However, he had a significant influence in the emerging house scene with his dazzlin’ dexterity on the keys featuring on many classic a Chicago anthem though it’s ‘Thank Ya’ in which he’s probably best known for. A collaboration with ‘The Godfather Of House’ Chip E, ‘Thank Ya’ was released on Trax in ’86 and was a major club hit with THAT PIANO (sampled from Cheryl Lynn’s ‘You Saved My Day) complete with some of that jackin’ juice no doubt sending sweat-soaked crowds into pure euphoria – it won’t fail in puttin’ a smile on your face… Over on the flip the sample-heavy aesthetic continues with ‘Do Do It’ a lo-fi interpretation of Eddy Grant’s cosmic ‘Time Warp’ with some spoken word sleaze that was synonymous with the era and ‘Turn It’ transforms J.M. Silk’s Chicago classic ‘I Can’t Turn Around’ into a heavier analogue workout complete with boomin’ bass and bellowin’ vox. To round out the EP they add some 909 flavour over Mark “Hot Rod” Trollan’s haunting synth melody that was the spine to Jamie Principle’s house Holy Grail ‘Your Love’ – perfect lil’ DJ tool to fuel the floor into a frenzy. A definitive Trax 12” that should be gracing your collection it took me years to replace my battered green label copy but finally found one when on my NYC crate crusade a few months back in Northern Lights Records for a ridiculous 5 dollars – complete in decent condition with clean labels and original Chicago Trax sleeve yeah! Check ‘em all out here…


Prior to ‘Thank Ya’ a few Trax releases back he co-produced ‘Give Your Self To Me’ (a haunting rendition of Master C & J’s ‘When You Hold Me’) with kindred spirit and fellow house forefather Farley “Jackmaster” Funk which coincidentally I unearthed recently in the Love Vinyl loft – read about that and my love letter to Farley here. As well as Trax, they both collaborated on other house institutions such as DJ International and Dance Mania with Danny contributing with the killer keys. These include ‘It’s U’ on DJ International featuring gospel powerhouse Ricky Dillard of Night Writers fame and Chicago House anthem ‘House Nation’ under their The House Master Boyz And The Rude Boy Of House guise – sweat, strobelight and smoke machine scenes! He also lent his keys to Farley’s deviation to hip-house with The Hip House Syndicate on ‘Free James Brown’ – check ‘em all out here…

Though primarily known for his Sweet-D alias, he also released a couple of records on DJ international under his Full House guise with Richie Patterson who he met in band class in his high school days – before Danny and Richie formed Full House they were in a band called ‘Showdown’ who even opened for Roy Ayers! Anyway, their first 12” was ‘Communicate’ in ’86 which with the Colonel Abrams styling was a house hit and got signed up my label major CBS for their Epic Records subsidiary and received further edits by Dominician dream-team edit duo Chep Nunez and Roger Pauletta. You know me though strictly original pressings and for me all about the ‘Bell Mix’ on the DJ International release a proper b-side bomb that’ll get your jackin’ juices flowing. A year later in ’87 they released ‘I Remember’ complete with a Bad Boy Bill remix but for me all about ‘Communicate’. Have a listen below plus check out the videos courtesy of Danny himself featuring Full House performing ‘Communicate’ live in Stockholm (check those sweaters proper house couture!) and playing live at the ‘House Sound Of Chicago’ show in Rotterdam ’88 with both Full House hits plus a live rendition of ‘Thank Ya’ – SO HOUSE IT HURTS!

Danny also reappeared on a couple more Trax releases including ‘Move My Body’ under his 2 House People alias featuring Cynthia M (who also appears on Dance Mania and Strictly Rhythm releases) though the real jewel in the Trax crown is the otherworldly Balearic builder ‘I’ll Never Let You Go’ by William S which was co-written by Lidell Townsell complete with Danny on the mix. He also contributed to J.M. Silk’s house anthem ‘Shadows Of Love’ on DJ International (that video!) plus collaborated with Victor Romeo (aka Dance Mania mainstay Parris Mitchell) on ‘I Want Your Love’ also featuring the aforementioned Cynthia M and Reggie Hall on vox – whose smutty X-Rated yearning you may have heard on his later Dance Mania 12” ‘All Night Long’ with Parris Mitchell. Anyway on to this week’s find and with ‘Crazy D’ Danny provides a punishing workout that’s definitely one for the coldest jackerz out there – released on his own Sweet D Records label and was the sole release on the imprint adding to the obscure allure of the record. The track has two mixes (The harder acid-tinged ‘Insane Mix’ and more melodic ‘Maniac Boogie’ Mix) which is pressed on both sides so though a bit one-dimensional what it lacks in variety it sure makes up in pure jackin’ juice – both mixes will slaughter the dancefloor! Check ‘em all out here… 

Right I’ll call it a day I said this one was gonna be a hasty house edition but when it comes to Chicago I lose control… I’ll leave you with this news bulletin takin’ us back to ’86 when house made the news bringin’ it from outta the underground featuring none-other than Farley “Jackmaster” Funk and Sweet D showin’ us how to compose some Chicago House and drop some proper house couture – Danny I need to raid your 80’s wardrobe for those serious sweaters…

HOUSE MUSIC MANIA!

AIDEN d’ARAUJO

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