House Hunting #54 – World Premiere

After my crate crusade in Essex I was back in home turf and as I was in the east environ of Dalston last week I paid a visit to house purveyors’ paradise..

House Hunting #54 – World Premiere

After my crate crusade in Essex I was back in home turf and as I was in the east environ of Dalston last week I paid a visit to house purveyors’ paradise..

After my crate crusade in Essex I was back in home turf and as I was in the east environ of Dalston last week I paid a visit to house purveyors’ paradise Kristina Records. Now it probably ain’t the first shop you’ll think when seeking some second-hand solace but I scoped via their Instagram page that their sale racks were overflowing so worth a shout. For those that ain’t checked out Kristina, since opening its doors back in 2011 it has established itself as one of London’s best sources of underground records complete with a superior interior and discernible dealers behind the counter (including owner Jason Spinks and Night Moves’ Jane Fitz) – all contributing to a contemporary approach in record retailing that has gained a loyal following whether it’s the seasoned selectors, vinyl veterans or new generation of diggin’ devotees. In the last few years, more vinyl vendors have set up shop in the area including Love Vinyl, Sister Ray, Flashback Records and more recently Cosmos Records which alongside the elder statesmen of Eldica and Lucky Seven have all helped Hackney steal Soho’s crown of being London’s chief crate diggin’ district.

When Kristina first launched it had a serious second-hand selection but with an armada of new releases touchin’ down complete with all that hype house s**t it was disappearing off my rack raiding radar... However I ain’t ever lost complete faith as I know they have a carefully curated collection with some rare and collectable cuts – as featured in their regular contributions for Ransom Note’s ‘Over The Counter’ series HERE's their last one. Being a boutique in the current retail climate you gotta diversify, with Kristina being no exception stocking some choice club couture (those Pal Joey tees!) and a menagerie of merchandise including DJ bags, headphones and totes that we can all lust after – cruise’n’peruse on the website HERE. They’re also reviving their Dream States night in the new year jettin’ into town superior selector Mike Servito who no doubt will drop some deep lethal lacquer so watch out for that... It’s the records I’m after though and upon entering I noticed there was a strictly second-hand section so sensed some house hunting potential. Before raiding that I gravitated towards the house racks to see what was housed in there. On checking them out there were some choice Chi cuts including some ‘Can U Dance’ by WBMX wizard Kenny “Jammin” Jason and hip house hero “Fast” Eddie Smith on DJ International plus the house holy grail ‘Essence Of A Dream’ by Risque III aka K-Alexi complete in original sleeve but at a dizzying £80 I nearly fainted! So I left that and had a quick flick through the bargain bin racks (every 12” just £3 a pop and LP’s a fiver) which houses an array of genres including house, techno, electronica, soul, disco, hip-hop, reggae, dub and dancehall. Nothing really grabbin’ me though so I moved over to the second-hand racks that had the cherry-picked choice cuts.

Housed in these racks were some Disco and Italo records so maybe there would be some proto-house styling. Straight away I picked out the prime Prelude platter ‘On A Journey (I Sing The Funk Electric) by Electrik Funk aka Prelude production powerhouses Eric Matthew and Darryl Payne – check out my love letter to these proto-house pioneers in the last edition of House Hunting featuring Sharon Redd HERE. There were other house hunting faves including ‘Wonderful’ by Klein & M.B.O. and ‘Computer Age (Push The Button)’ by Newcleus aka electro and house hero Ben Cenac plus loads of post-disco records on legendary labels such as Becket, Sam and Vanguard. However, I clocked a distinctive street style sleeve complete in shrink and on further inspection yeah as expected this was an Easy Street record but this wasn’t just any Easy Street joint - it was the boogie bomb ‘Share The Night’ by World Premiere. This record one of the earlier Easy Street releases and one of the more collectable cuts – I took it to the till and on examining further it was an original pressing that was near mint complete with clean labels so at twenty quid was a fair deal and had to be copped. Since my visit more hallowed house hotplates have been added to the racks including some motor city rhythms by Detroit Dons Moodymann (‘Shades Of Jae’ on KDJ) and Theo Parrish (his rare ‘Baby Steps’ EP on Dan Bell’s Accelerate subsidiary Elevate) plus some windy city weapons in the form of the original Alleviated release of ‘A Love Of My Own’ by Fingers Inc’ plus the Subwoofer pressing of Ron Trent’s ‘A Dark Room And A Feeling’ so a serious selection – this lot ain’t listed on the website so maybe worth having a gander on their Discogs page or even better get down the shop before they’re gone don’t sleep...

OK so yeah I know another proto-house record this week but f**k it when they’re this good... This Easy Street joint was originally released in ’83 which is one of my favourite eras as this is when house was laying its foundations amongst the roots of post-disco, italo, boogie and garage – think the Runaway Dub of ‘Don’t Go Away’ by Affinity on Mango, the instrumental version of Maniacs’ ‘Sweet Ladies’ on 25 West and the Melt Down Mix of Shirley Lites’ ‘Heat You Up (Melt You Down)’ on Mel Cheren’s disco institution West End Records. Anyway, back to our World Premiere and on the mix was the late NYC DJ Jonathan Fearing who as well as hosting a show on WKTU held down residencies at infamous institutions such as The Cockring and The Funhouse pre-Jellybean peak. He also got behind the mixing desk on classic cuts including Newcleus’ electro anthem ‘Jam On It’ and the Sam Records B-side bomb ‘Hupendi Muziki Wangu?! (You Don’t Like My Music)’ by K.I.D. – yeah that one ain’t gonna roll off the tongue and not the easiest to remember but such a dope disco joint... Also sharing production duties were Bernard Bullock and Doug Pittman who also collaborated on the funk-fuelled, electro jam ‘No More Writing On The Wall’ as La Vance a year later in ’84. This Streetking joint seldom seen so snag it if you catch it in a crate – the superior instrumental ain’t reppin’ on Youtube however the hip hop styling of the vocal version is one for some Cadillac cruisin’ down the Sunset Strip...

However, my choice contributor to the World Premiere 12” is synth supremo Fred Zarr. This multi-instrumentalist laid down some killer keys on early eighties releases like the dripping funk of Brooklyn Express’ ‘Burning Hot’, the italo-disco of Electra’s Emergency hit ‘Feels Good (Carrots & Beets)’ and the bubblin’ boogie of the Rockers Revenge cover of Eddy Grant’s ‘Walking On Sunshine’ on Streetwise – all about the ‘Dubbing In Sunshine’ incarnation on that one. For me though his defining year was ’83 where he featured on legendary LP’s such as Weeks & Co’s LP on Salsoul (all about the Richie Weeks and Shep Pettibone mixed ‘Knock Knock’ and ‘Tunnel Of Love’ proper jive-hard jams), Madonna’s eponymous debut breakthrough or ‘Gonna Get You’ by John Rocca’s funk faction Freeez – I still lose it over ‘I.O.U’. As well as all these he was behind the Easy Street electro flow of Hot Streak’s ‘Body Work’ which was a b-boy anthem due to featuring in the breakdance box-office hit Breakin’ proper old-school scenes. However, I’m always after some more obscure allure which he provides via his synth sonatas on Silver Cloud whether it’s the proto house of Opal’s ‘Ain’t No Way (all about the Killer Matos Mix) plus Up Front’s boogie bomb ‘Infatuation’ – all killer no filler with the mixes on that one but the dub criminally short so stick with the Special Club Mix. Also back on Streetking his dub of Animation’s ‘Is It Too Late’ sounds like a precursor to the schizo-synths of Maurice Fulton’s Syclops scores. With all this electro and boogie styling it’s time to take a trip to the final funk frontier... 

Fred also released records on a house tip which included hookin’ up with house hunting hero Paul Simpson for ‘Treat Her Sweeter’ as The Paul Simpson Connection on Easy Street (flip for the Dubmental Mix of ‘Treat Me’ for that kinda dub only Paul Simpson can do), Barbara Roy’s ‘Gotta See You Tonight’ (pass on the obvious vocal and head for the fierce extended dub version with the bass and synths straight from outta space) and the Jump Street joint ‘My Baby Loves Me’ by Toney Lee of Reach Up fame. More house heat came in the form of the garage groove ‘Turn Me Loose’ by Wally Jump Jr. & The Criminal Element – comprising of production powerhouse Arthur Baker complete with Fred on the keys, Boyd Jarvis on bass, Timmy Regisford on the mix and Sound Factory DJ deity Junior Vasquez on the remix. Add to this all the records that he collaborated on with Winston Jones in the late 80s (as featured in House Hunting #52) which includes a load of Easy Street essentials like Clausell’s ‘Don’t Let It Be Crack’, Cultural Vibe’s ‘Mind Games’ and ‘Power’ plus Pandella’s ‘Tell Me (What You Gonna’ Do)’ and this showcases his house pedigree. Check out those house hotplates here...

We’ll leave Fred there and dig deeper in the Easy Street archives... Established in the Spring of ’83, Easy Street burst on to the scene with jam-hot hits such as the previously mentioned break dance bomb ‘Body Work’ by Hot Streak and the Kingston flavour of Monyaka’s ‘Go Deh Yaka (Go To The Top)’ featuring mix marvels John Morales and Sergio Munzibai – some of you may be old enough to remember this record reached #14 in the UK charts! Other Easy Street anthems include ‘You Don’t Know’ by Serious Intention aka label mainstay Paul Simpson plus Cultural Vibe’s ‘Ma Foom Bey’ which are still in the bags of the discernible DJs and won’t fail to make you move – I had a moment on the Dance Tunnel floor last month when choice club night Thunder hosted Lauer and he dropped ‘Ma Foom Bey’ man that bassline... However, I love the more under the radar releases too like ‘One For The Money’ by Sleeque (as sampled by disco don Daniel Wang on his Balihu bomb ‘Like Some Dream I Can’t Stop Dreaming’), ‘Sometimes Love’ by In-Sync aka New Jersey house hierarchy Blaze complete with David Cole on the keys and Def Mix master David Morales supplying the remixes (my choice cut the Ozone Club mix) and the Colonel Abrams styling of the Smack produced ‘Anything Is Possible’ by Gary L. There’s also Todd Terry supplying his slammin’ sample-heavy house flow with ‘Check This Out’ under his Hardhouse guise (see if you can spot all the samples in that one love it when the Kasso drops!), Nelson “Paradise” Roman’s ‘Out Of The Jungle’ with his dubs taking you deep into the Amazon plus the hard-to-find ‘Love Of Life’ by Yohan Square aka Eddie Perez’ Smack Productions posse. Be sure to delve deeper into the Easy Street subsidiaries too whether it’s the late Bluejean’s Code Blue stable housin’ his ‘Track Show’ house holy grails plus the garage flavour of Easy Trax and Street Style with records like Cassio Ware’s ‘Baby Love’ and Keisha Jenkins’ ‘Goin’ Through The Motions’. Anyway, here’s some of those choice Easy Street joints...

OK to finish let’s rewind back to this week’s House Hunting hot find. My recommendation leave the R&B styling of the original and the short but sweet instrumental and head straight for the ‘Breakdown Mix’ which has Fred Zarr’s DNA all over it. I love how it just builds and builds with the bubblin’ bass and the space-age synth solos injecting some infectious interplanetary funk proper warm-up weapon – honestly this boogie bomb won’t fail to get your groove going. Though the Easy Street pressing not the easiest to unearth there are later issues on stables such as Injection Disco Dance, TNR and Transistor which are bargain bin prices so no excuse. Time to attend the World Premiere and share the night...


 

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