House Hunting # 52 - Kid People

All the records are a pound a pop with lethal lacquer languishing everywhere in this basement burial ground so time to see if I could unearth some house from this crate cemetery and give them the light...

House Hunting # 52 - Kid People

All the records are a pound a pop with lethal lacquer languishing everywhere in this basement burial ground so time to see if I could unearth some house from this crate cemetery and give them the light...

A few weeks back I took Tonya out for a dinner date and as in the east environ of Hoxton we were in the vinyl vicinity of Love Vinyl – House Hunting hazard she ain’t gonna like that... I can’t pass by any prime platter prospect though so I seduced her with some cocktail couture in exchange for being a diggin’ deviant. There was an in-store goin’ down with Toby Tobias’ LP launch so that would soften the blow as she wouldn’t have to play wax widow. As we entered heads were buzzin’ with their beers and Toby was at the controls with a serious selection including droppin’ one of my choice joints – Rude Movements’ ‘Sun Palace’, a proper warm-up weapon.

With most heads soakin’ up the sounds and Tonya in good company it was that time to get my black crack fix... As ever I raided the house racks but nothing really shoutin’ out at me so I gravitated towards the new arrivals but again proving futile. I even did some disco digging in the hope I may find some proto-house styling but nah it weren’t happenin’, proper diggin’ dejection... Determined not to go away empty-handed, in deviating to the hip-hop racks I pulled out a rap joint on Supertronics for a mate who’s a hip-hop head – if you ever have any wants give me a shout as always on the eternal crate crusade... I detected some house records on the display shelves but it was joints I already had including a deep dose of Prescription via the ‘Grand Lodge Of Luxor’ EP and ‘Another Side’ by  house heavyweights Fingers Inc. – watch out reissue touchin’ down soon for the wax welterweights! 

Anyway, I copped the Supertronics 12” and as I was goin’ to the toilet I clocked the stairs that lead down to the bargain bin basement. I poked my head around the corner and Tonya was chattin’ away so thought “f**k it” and descended down to the depths for a deep dose of dusty fingers... All the records are a pound a pop with lethal lacquer languishing everywhere in this basement burial ground so time to see if I could unearth some house from this crate cemetery and give them the light... As I was flickin’ through the racks they were overflowin’ with promo pressure and bargain bin nonentities. However, on flickin’ further I scoped a shrink-covered sleeve with a familiar hype sticker which had that iconic koala on it – yeah that’s right this was a Sleeping Bag joint serious! This one was ‘Come Back Lover’ by Richie Valentine and if you can look past the naff 80s cover of a topless Richie this is an ace EP produced by house heroes Clivilles & Cole complete with Chep Nunez on the edit. Though the flavour of the EP has that freestyle flow that was all over mid 80s NYC, it’s all about the ‘Original Club Version’ which is an ace C&C rendition of the Fresh Band’s ‘Come Back Lover’ released a few years earlier back in ’84 – check it out here...

So I awoke that Sleeping Bag outta hibernation as I’ve already done a love letter to the label. I dug deeper as I had that feeling that I was gonna pull something else out. Conscious I left Tonya up there for a while, I was flash flickin’ but nothing catching my eye until approaching the last rack sitting on top all alone was an inner sleeve so I had to check it out. To my surprise it was a Pow Wow joint outta NYC and on inspecting further it was the Paradise Garage anthem ‘Life’s A Party’ by Kid People aka production powerhouse Winston Jones and Anthony Malloy of Serious Intention fame. Couldn’t believe that was left down there so had to cop that too. Upon ascending back to the party and showing my finds Jake let me have ‘em on the house nice one – best things in life for free... Now I had to contend with Tonya and was met with a “Where had you gone?!” (standard) as I tried to explain I got sidetracked seeking second-hand solace...

So let’s delve a bit deeper in the house history of Winston Jones and Anthony Malloy... In the early eighties after Disco had its heyday, a new sound emerged from its shadow fusing the classic elements of the genre such as the disco drums, piano, strings and diva vox with the emergent sounds of synthesisers and drum machines giving birth to boogie and later spawning garage. Winston Jones was one of these new wave of producers, and along with his partner in crime Paul Simpson (who I won’t elaborate on too much as he’s deserving of a House Hunting piece alone) they collaborated on ‘Use Me, Lose Me’ as The Paul Simpson Connection on Arthur Baker’s Streetwise imprint. Released in ’82, this post-disco, proto-garage production was the precursor to Paul and Winston’s inimitable style that has a distinct disco flavour but with an ear open to the future. Though most will credit Chicago as the birthplace of house with Jesse Saunders’ ‘On And On’ being the catalyst, some may argue that NYC was just as influential with the ‘Garage’ sound that had formed in the early 80s also helping build the foundations of house – synonymous with the heavy reverb rerubs and superlative sets by Paradise Garage prophet Larry Levan. Anyway, in ‘84 Winston produced Colonel Abrams’ second single ‘Music Is The Answer’ which was a departure from his disco-tinged debut with Paul Simpson as with its stripped-down garage styling it bares all the hallmarks of house – a proper driving proto house joint with the Colonel and the blueprint for his future productions...

The same year he hooked up with Paul Simpson again this time under their Pushé  pseudonym and released the garage anthem ‘Don’t Take Your Love Away’  (also featuring synth extraordinaire Fred Zarr and Francois K on the mix) on Streetwise subsidiary Partytime – my advice leave the vocal version and head straight for the b-side bomb that is the dub. This version perfectly captures the sound that would become synonymous with their later productions with those delay-laden dubby chords, synth-fuelled basslines and reverb-heavy vox fusing the finest elements of disco, Italo, boogie, garage and house. After the Pushé production they collaborated together as Subject on iconic garage imprint Pow Wow with releases such as ‘The Magic, The Moment’ (sounding like a reincarnation of their Pushé record with Anthony Malloy on vox – more on him in a min...),‘Celebrate’ and ‘Never Gonna Leave You’. Get down to some of that Pushé and Pow Wow pressure here no one drops a dub like Paul and Winston...

Other records Winston was on production duties include hookin’ up with the Colonel again for his boogie bomb ‘Speculation’ this time on label major MCA,  a few choice Carolyn Harding releases including ‘Memories’ and ‘Movin’ On’ on Emergency and ‘I Need Some Time’ on Profile plus collaborating with producer du jour Paul Simpson again for Roland Clark’s ‘Why!’ on Atlantic. However, Winston is probably best-known for his choice crossover cut ‘Ma Foom Bey’ as Cultural Vibe on seminal NYC stable Easy Street Records. Whether it’s the stripped-back, afro-styling of the ‘Love Chant Version’ or my personal fave the more driving ‘Rhythm Version’, The Hump turns out two fierce mixes with THAT BASSLINE that was a Zanz classic and is still devastating dancefloors three decades later – one that’s in the bag of the more discernible DJs for sure and still sounds like nothing else a proper pioneering production.  He released a few more Easy Street joints including ‘Don’t Let It Be Crack’ as Clausell, ‘Tell Me (What You Gonna Do)’ as Pandell plus he revisited his Cultural Vibe alias this time featuring hip hop hero Glenn “Sweety G” Toby with ‘Mind Games’ and ‘Power’ with my choice cut being the tribal rhythm of the Power Dub II of ‘Power’ – a precursor to his later records on Pow Wow as Tribal House. He also joined forces with David Shaw over the late 80s/early 90s and remixed majors such as Chaka Khan and Jellybean though for me his 90s remix work more formulaic so I’ll stick to the golden era of the Garage...

So let’s leave Winston there and check out Anthony Malloy who collaborated with Winston on the Kid People 12”. Though a name that many are probably unfamiliar with, Anthony is the voice behind many of the defining garage tracks of the early-mid 80s era.  This includes the Prelude proto-house blueprint ‘The Music Got Me’ by Visual aka WBLS dream-team Boyd Jarvis and Timmy Regisford which was the benchmark for the garage sound that was forming – most heads opt for the superior dub but we’ll give Anthony’s vocal a spin this time round. A year later in ’84 Anthony hooked up with Paul Simpson as Serious Intention released the garage anthem of the era - ‘You Don’t Know’ on NYC institution Easy Street. This was released not long after Paul’s Pushé record with Winston and though has all the hallmarks of that it’s a more stripped-back affair with the emphasis on the bass, Anthony’s vox snatches (‘oh-oh-oh!’) and the killer key stabs supplied by frequent Paul Simpson collaborator Arthur Storey Jr – all about the ‘Special Remix’ released a year later serious...  As well as collaborating with Paul and Winston on the aforementioned ‘The Magic, The Moment’ on Pow Wow, Anthony also sung on the boogie bomb ‘No Favors’ as Temper – if you ever caught a set by house forefather Larry Heard this is one he always dropped. In ’86 he formed Anthony And The Camp along with Crawford Peterson, Henley Goddard and Linden Aaron who released John “Jellybean” Benitez produced hits on Warner Bros including ‘How Many Lovers’ (with “Little” Louie Vega on the mix) and ‘What I Like’ – which may sound familiar as Tensnake sampled the bass and vibraphone for his ubiquitous ‘Coma Cat’ club cut. His inferior rendition no match for the superior original...

However, it’s the Kid People 12” with Winston that’s my preferred Pow Wow platter. What I love about this record is that it’s just a killer joint that transcends the usual club hits as it encompasses all the best elements of disco, boogie, garage and house. Head straight for the Rock Your Body Mix of ‘Life’s A Party’ which effortlessly builds with a trademark Winston bassline and the heady “Life’s a party, rock your body, kid people” hook reeling us in. Add to this Anthony’s longing larynx inviting u to his club sanctuary with lyrics like “bumpin’ jumpin’ bodies thumpin’, Friday Saturday Night” and “Movin’ groovin’ bodies soothin’ and love makes it alright” and you got the perfect Paradise Garage anthem... HEY KIDS! WHAT YOU DOIN?

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