So after a brief hiatus House Hunting is back! Sorry Retail x Easter = me being jam-hot hectic so slack on the lyrics front. Anyway, been a productive few weeks on the house hunts with loads of lethal lacquer scored, traded and even a few choice collections copped though it was a hot house haul south of the river that’ll I’ll be waxing lyrical about this week… I was scanning my Instagram during the usual morning commuter chaos and had to do a quick flick-back when the Music & Video Exchange (check out their Instagram page here: https://www.instagram.com/musicandvideoexchange/) posted a seldom seen slice on Chi-Town institution Trax. This one was the acid-induced ‘I’ve Lost Control’ by Sleezy D aka Derrick Harris complete with Marshall Jefferson under his Virgo guise at the controls – when my eyes clocked it was the green label housed in a green Rap Trax sleeve Jesus talk about losing control proper geek-out! If that wasn’t enough they also posted the rare blue-labelled copy of Larry Heard and Robert Owens’ house Holy Grail ‘Bring Down The Walls’ – I was gettin’ proper Trax tremors so hit ‘em up to see if they could hold these two Trax and what branch they were at. Turns out they were housed in the Greenwich shop so checked to see if they could do the usual transfer to the Notting Hill store as I could deviate on a cheeky detour via the central line post-work. They weren’t heading west anytime soon so requested to hold tight and I’ll jet south on my next day off on a prime platter patrol…
So though a bit of a mission as I finally got off the DLR train staring right at me was Casbah Records so made a quick perusal pit-stop there. However, this rack raid proved futile as the reissue resistance was strong with this one so didn’t hang around for long… Upon leaving it was time to take a wax waltz around the corner to my desired diggin’ destination of the Music & Video Exchange. Upon entering there was a live Grooverider set blazin’ outta the shop stereo with ‘The Morning After’ by Fallout (aka NYC house heroes Lennie Dee and Tommy Musto) in the mix – the perfect soundtrack to a rack raid! I headed straight for the counter where at the controls was Jamie who was my go-to-guy for the MVE Instagram deals – finally meeting him in the flesh always nice to put a name to the face! Anyway, after talking about what else but records he presented me with the two Trax which as promised upon inspection were in EX condition (aka ‘Trax mint’) which you don’t see everyday as usually battered’n’bruised. As the Sleezy D was £35 and the Robert Owens £25 these two were at the high-end of the haute house scale but as a sucker for a mint Trax they had to be copped… With our Instagram exchange Jamie said I could bring a few records to trade and turns out had £25 worth so a nice lil’ reduction. With that deal done it was time to deviate in some diggin’ with my rack raiding radar going into sensory overdrive when detecting those Chicago racks…
Straight away I clocked some Chicago Trax sleeves which included Farley JMF and Ricky Dillard’s ‘As Always’ (a Chicago House rendition of Stevie Wonder’s ‘As’), ‘Don’t Stop’ by Dean Anderson of Farm Boy fame, Samurai Sam’s ‘House Of Japanese’ and Donell Rush’s anthemic ‘Knockin’ At My Door’ plus the ‘M.T.S. 2’ EP on Trax offshoot Housetime – all about the fierce ‘Flange It Twice’ shout out to the sample spotters on that one! All of these were £3-£5 so just copped ‘em all regardless whether I got ‘em or not as the original Chicago Trax sleeves were the deal-breaker… Away from the Chicago racks the NYC racks were overflowing with Strictly and Emotive pressure but nothin’ really shoutin’ out at me so moved back to the Mid-West to the Motor City racks where there were loads of killer KDJ cuts and serious Sound Signature slices – choice clock on the wax wall was the ‘Come Into My Room’ LP by Moody’s muse Norma Jean Bell on Peacefrog. Nothin’ else shoutin’ out at me so checked out the the NYC racks for some disco and boogie bombs. Raiding these was proving futile until gettin’ near to the end of the rack alphabet I pulled deep outta the crate cache the West End weapon ‘Time’ by Stone complete with Tee Scott on the mix – hype sticker and shrink intact super score! As I found this Italo-Disco flow of B.W.H.’s ‘Stop’ was on the shop stereo (they got taste in this joint!) so descended downstairs to see what was goin’ down… Turns out it was a bargain bin basement so delved deep in the dance racks but flickin’ through proved fruitless so jetted back up to the ground floor and crouched down to check out the crates under the racks. These were all full of £1 pressure so had to flick through every one standard and unearthed the Italian Nu Groove pressing of ‘Set Me Free’ by Roqui aka Burrell Brother Rheji (complete in Nu Groove sleeve – anoraks anonymous…) plus another Trax in the form of Adonis’ ‘We’re Rocking Down The House’ (no not the original the Basement Jaxx remixes!) so as a pound a pop had to cop as though I don’t need ‘em I could move them on. I returned to the house racks to dip for one more platter plunge and pulled out from the depths ONE MORE TRAX this time being the Radical Records licensed version of Frankie Knuckles’ ‘Your Love/Baby Wants To Ride’ which for a tenner weren’t bad – I’ve got the original but picked up as I could sell on. So happy with my score I approached the till for Jamie to tot up the total amount when I scoped a bargain boogie box so had a quick gander and unearthed some Fresh flava with Hanson & Davis’ ‘I’ll Take You On’ (That Larry Levan Dub!) complete with shrink intact and hype sticker plus the Streetking slice ‘Is It Too Late?’ by Animation aka synth supremo Fred Zarr so couldn’t say no two quid each. For the lot it was £75 so not bad for a days diggin’ – I’ll be jettin’ down here soon again for sure let’s check out my choice finds in the playlist below…
Not content with my Trax stax scored from the Music & Video Exchange, I also hit Berlin’s Private Records up as they had a load of mint Trax they were offloading. For those of you not familiar with Private Records https://www.facebook.com/private.records.berlin/timeline, the label specialises in reissues of obscure allure and previously unreleased soundtracks from the 70s/80s – case in point their latest release ‘Dreamdancer’ by Cosmic curators Michael Bundt and Peter Seiler which was an unreleased soundtrack of a German porn movie hardcore you know the score! Anyway, they had about 20-odd Trax all clean and in original sleeves including Farley’s first release on the label ‘Jack The Bass’, the seldom seen blue-label pressing of Maurice Joshua’s eloquently-put ‘I Gotta Big Dick’ and Lidell Townsell’s ‘Jack The House’ plus a SEALED copy of Derrick Carter’s ‘Time For Techno Presents The Unknown’ EP – which no doubt will gain further exposure as the ‘Get On It’ track features on Jeremy Underground’s ‘My Love Is Underground’ (12 Other House Tracks) comp that’s been released as of late. So it was time for some house hustlin’… As in mint condition with some sealed these were listed north of £300 so approx £15 a record (ouch!) so my opening gambit was a cheeky £150. After some hardcore hagglin’ we agreed on £200 so at a tenner a record not bad and I could sell some on and though more than I’d usually pay as in tip-top condition it was a decent deal – If I hadn’t have copped ‘em my house habit would be yearning for that black crack… Check out the full inventory and my choice cuts below…
TX104 – Jack Master Funk – ‘Jack The Bass’
TX149 – Dean Anderson – ‘Don’t Stop’
TX155 – Rich Martinez – ‘Are You Ready’
TX156 – Mr. Lee – ‘House This House’
TX160 – Dancer – ‘Number Nine’
TX169 – Maurice Joshua With Hot Hands Hula – ‘I Gotta Big Dick’
TX170 – Lidell Townsell – ‘Jack The House’
TX171 – Mr. Lee – ‘Acid Fantaslee’
TX178 – Scamara – ‘Kisses Never Lie’
TX179 – J.R.’s House Co. – ‘It’s About House’
TX182 – Kamia – ‘Take Me’
TX184 – Maurice – ‘Get Into The Dance’
TX190 – Streetlife – ‘Streetlife’
HT 1004 – Bowel Movements – ‘Pussy Is Good’
HT 1005 – To Kool Chris – ‘Can You Feel The Beat’
HT 1006 – M.T.S. – ‘Spinach Power’
HT 1010 – Time For Techno Presents The Unknown – ‘Get On It’
HT 1011 – M.T.S. & R.T.T. – ‘M.T.S. 2’
HT 1027 – Years Of Motion – ‘Danomes on The Smoth Tip’
So it’s only right I compose a lil’ love letter to this Chi-house institution… Trax Records was founded in ’84 by cult Chicago figure (some may say crook) Larry Sherman along with house forefathers Jesse Saunders and Vince Lawrence. Jesse approached Larry to press up his house hit (and arguably the first house record) ‘On And On’ at his Precision Records Labs pressing plant after growing frustrated with Vince’s Dad procrastinating over releasing their ‘Fantasy’ record as Z-Factor on his Mitchbal stable. Though he usually pressed up 7-inches for Blues artists, with the potential demand for the record he agreed to press up 500 copies for Jesse’s last 800 dollars. The record sold out it’s first run within days and Larry couldn’t believe that they were back at the pressing plant ordering more as legendary record joint Importes Etc. were requesting reorders. Sensing an opportunity, he proposed that he’d press up the record for free in exchange for taking the cost of the record outta the profits also taking an additional percentage cut dependent on sales – giving you an insight into his early wax wheelin’n’dealin’ that’d he become infamous for. The record sold in the thousands with Larry’s deal proving a shrewd move so wanting to capitalise on the house craze that he was helping facilitate he set up his Streetfire stable with Importes Etc. head honcho Paul Weisberg to re-release Jesse’s next production ‘Funk You Up (Those Pretty Girls) which as receiving heavy rotation on WGCI and WBMX the track became the best-selling record in town even gettin’ into the billboard charts.
As well as Streetfire Larry had another start up in the form of Precision Records which was a vehicle for Jesse’s productions including Gwendolyn’s ‘Come To Me’, ‘Fresh’ as Dum Dum and his infamous rip-off of Jamie Principle’s ‘Waiting On My Angel’ – the story goes that Larry was so p***ed that Jamie signed to Persona instead of Trax that as well as blocking the distribution and sabotaging the record in any way he could he got Jesse to record and release a cover version. With Jesse’s deals Vince didn’t want to be left in the shadows so he proposed to Larry they release some basic productions and split the profits (naïve on that front) that could be produced, pressed-up and released quick’n’easy for the club kids who just wanted to hear these ‘tracks’ so this was the inspiration behind the name and Trax Records was born… At the time Vince was influenced by the industrial movement with acts like Ministry who released records on the label Wax Trax! which with his artistic instincts (he designed Jesse’s Jes Say Records logo) inspired the bold, off-centre white TRAX text on black label design. They launched the label with ‘Wanna Dance’ by Le’ Noiz aka Jesse Saunders and Duane Buford of Dance Mania fame with the following releases being ‘Girls Out On The Floor’ by Jesse Velez (RIP) plus another Le’ Noiz 12” with ‘I’m Scared’.
For Trax Records fourth release WBMX wizard Farley “Jackmaster” Funk was added to the roster with his ‘Jack The Bass’ EP – the first Trax release with the now iconic red-label that is synonymous with the stable. Farley releasing a record would prove to be beneficial as he was one of the Hot Mix 5 who with their ‘The Friday Night Jam’ and ‘Saturday Night Ain’t No Jive’ mix shows on WBMX with a listenership of half a million could give the record and label further exposure. With Jesse’s house hit ‘On And On’ record selling by the thousands and having witnessed the lo-fi approach in laying down a track, Farley like many others felt they could do that and improve upon. Farley was already utilising a TR-808 when playing his sets at The Playground to ‘boost the beat’ on records like ‘Dirty Talk’ by Klein & MBO and ‘Let The Music Play’ by Shannon which became known as ‘Farley’s Foot’. Farley collaborated with Jesse Saunders on the Prince-styling of ‘Real Love’ and launched his House Records label which released Chip E’s house holy grail ‘Jack Trax’ featuring the jack anthem ‘Time To Jack’ plus his ‘No Vocals Necessary’ LP and of course his UK Top Ten hit ‘Love Can’t Turn Around’. However, it’s his early primitive productions on Trax that do it for me including his ‘Funkin With The Drums Again’ EP (choice cuts on this include ‘Jack’n The Trax’ and ‘Farley Knows House’), ‘Sensuous Woman Goes Disco’ as Jackmaster Dick’s Revenge (inspired Ron Hardy using the risqué accapella over Jesse Saunders’ ‘Funk You Up’) and the haunting ‘Give Your Self To Me’ which fellow house hero Sweet D lays down the stark synths and brooding bass that was later used by Master C & J for their ‘When You Hold Me’ record subsequently released on Trax. Get into that Farley flow here…
After Farley’s debut the next release (TX105) was by another member of the Chicago House hierarchy this time Marshall Jefferson. His baptism to house was listening to the Hot Mix 5 and getting christened by the late Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy in house sanctuaries such as the Music Box and The Warehouse. This initiation proved to be his awakening, and though ridiculed by his Post Office colleagues (yeah a Postman-turned-producer!) for rinsing nearly 10k on loads of hardware he didn’t know how to play including a Korg EX8000 module, a Tascam four-track recorder and an armada of Roland gear including the 707, 808, 909 drum machines, TB 303 sequencer plus the JX8P keyboard, this derision fuelled his determination with him laying down his first track after just two days. His first record for Trax was ‘Ride The Rhythm’ featuring the late voice of house Kevin “Jack’n House” Irving on vox and he would release subsequent Trax anthems including my Music & Video Exchange score the ominous ‘I’ve Lost Control’ by Sleezy D which Ronnie beat in the box (the dystopian acid-drenched rhythm an accident as Marshall couldn’t program his TB 303), his Virgo EP which features ‘Free Yourself’ (a precursor to his mystical masterclass ‘Open Our Eyes’) and House Hunting fave ‘R U Hot Enough’, his huge house hit ‘Move Your Body’ featuring THAT infectious piano and catchy Curtis McClain vox plus the timeless mysticism of his Jungle Wonz joints with house poet Harry Dennis of ‘Donnie’ fame. Though a Trax mainstay Marshall wasn’t immune to Larry Sherman’s shady pressing practices when it came to releasing a record or being ripped-off – examples include not being credited on countless Trax cuts plus Larry pressing up the aforementioned ‘Move Your Body’ on Trax instead of Marshall’s ‘Other Side Records’ – house trivia you can still get copies of the record where the Other Side OS002 catalogue label was scratched out with the Trax cat number TX117 inserted in the wax by Larry. Anyway let’s delve deep in Marshall’s Trax discography…
Fast-forward a few releases and TX112 proved to be one another huge house hit with Adonis’ ‘No Way Back’. Though best known for this ubiquitous house anthem, prior to laying down this classic Chicago cut Adonis’ roots were in soul and jazz as in his teens he played in various funk and R&B bands – even rehearsing with heads like Larry Heard and Mr Lee who also went on to become Chicago house hierarchy. However, Adonis’ friends introduced him to Jesse Saunders’ ‘On and On’ as they thought he could compose a better production and, though not initially interested due to rehearsing R&B, he finally came around to the idea and was confident he could produce something better. This joint was none-other than ‘No Way Back’ which, with a phat 303 bassline at its core complete with the stuttering claps, snares and hi-hats of the 808, showcased Adonis’ deftness with the Roland TBs. Add to this the ice-cold dystopian delivery of Gary B and his debut production was destined to get heads jackin’: "Release my soul, I've lost control… Release my soul, I've lost control… Too far gone, too far gone, too far gone… Ain't No Way Back." Upon hearing it, fellow house visionary Marshall Jefferson wanted to include it on one of his EPs under his early Virgo guise and to entitle the EP ‘Virgo and Adonis’ with both of them laying down two tracks each. Subsequently, however, Adonis attended a party in which Larry Thompson (of House Jam Records fame) was playing and he handed him a tape which had ‘No Way Back’ on it. When Larry dropped the track the crowd lost their minds with everyone including the DJs wanting to know what the f**k that hot house joint was! Also in attendance was Larry Sherman who introduced himself and gave him his business card, inviting him to his pressing plant down on the South Side.
Sensing he had further potential with the instantaneous reaction to the track and newfound attention, Adonis pulled ‘No Way Back’ and ‘The Final Groove’ (which ultimately never got released) from the Virgo EP. One of the last-minute replacements for the EP was ‘My Space’ which was co-produced by Adonis and has that dystopian feel akin to ‘No Way Back’ with the ominous bass and sinister synths that are definitely from another planet… So Adonis left Larry the tape recording of ‘No Way Back’ so he could listen and consider whether he would sign it. When he came back he was surprised that Larry was handing him test presses of the record – Larry loved the tape and recorded it from that straight to press. As well as ‘No Way Back’ also on the tape was ‘We’re Rocking Down The House’ which was released the same year in’86. On behalf of Adonis, Marshall Jefferson gave the tape of this to Ron Hardy and, with Ronnie droppin’ it at the Music Box, naturally it became an instant Chicago classic with its infectious bassline and catchy hook synonymous with the winning formula of ‘No Way Back’. Half a dozen releases later and under his Santos alias, Adonis produced ‘Work The Box’ with Ron Hardy which no doubt had been inspired by his formative years in the Music Box. On the flip Frankie Knuckles (Rest In Paradise…) turns out a couple of mixes – all about the ‘Beat The Knuckles’ mix which with its menacing bass and ominous synths takes you into a cavernous chasm that is deep for daze… As well as that there’s all his Jack Frost & The Circle Jerks joints on the Acid Trax series which are proper stone-cold jackers! Like so many before and after him, Adonis was another victim of Larry’s dodgy dealings that he became notorious for and were synonymous with releasing a record on Trax. Even though Adonis had his LP ready (‘Lost In The Sound’), disillusioned with Larry he left Trax and defected to DJ International and Jack Trax for his future releases. Still, he left a lasting legacy on Trax – let’s get into those 303-induced rhythms…
Another legendary Trax 12” has to be Larry Heard’s jackin’ joint ‘Washing Machine’ which he released under his ‘Mr. Fingers’ moniker. Also on the EP is ‘Beyond The Clouds’ and the seminal ‘Can You Feel It’ which from its initial inception on a cold Chicago winter of ‘85 nearly 30 years later it still elicits euphoria when dropped on the dancefloor with that phat Roland Alpha Juno-2 baseline reducing grown men to tears – if you’re ever trying to articulate to someone what house is all about then no words needed just put this record on and it’ll all make sense… A few more Trax releases after this and Larry was also at the controls of Robert Owens’ anthemic ‘Bring Down The Walls’ with the straight-up jackin’ rhythm perfectly complimenting Robert’s etheric vox that soars into space… On a more obscure tip he later released the ‘Mr. Fingers 2’ EP on Trax offshoot Housetime Records in ’91 with four instrumental cuts that typically have that majestic Mr. Fingers flow – this was the last release on Housetime so the perfect send-off…
Later that year Trax released the influential ‘Acid Tracks’ EP by acid auteurs Phuture which gave birth to acid house, spawning the UK’s ‘Summer Of Love’ and subsequent rave scenes. Like many of the primitive productions of the era, ‘Acid Tracks’ proved to be a happy accident when friends Earl “Spanky” Smith, Nathaniel Jones aka DJ Pierre and Herb J were foolin’ around with a TB 303. Unable to find inspiration in the hardware at their disposal, Spanky scored a 303 at a second-hand shop for $40 and brought it home to see if could elevate their productions. When he fired it up though he could get a rhythm going he was unable to program it, so handed over to Pierre who instead of attempting to program it tweaked and twisted the knobs which created a low-end, squelching sound that was outta another dimension. They ran with this and recorded onto tape, taking it to Ron Hardy as they thought he’d be the only DJ bold enough to play it. Sure enough, he dropped it early doors which proved to be a floor-clearer. Undeterred, he played it again an hour later with the faithful halting their dance flow until the next track came on. At this point the Phuture posse presumed he wouldn’t drop a third time as there had been no reaction just confusion. With the club full now he plays it again, and this time the crowd keep on dancing so though they’re unsure they keep going putting their faith in the Music Box messiah. By the time he dropped it a fourth time the crowd had lost their minds and became known as ‘Ron Hardy’s Acid Track’ – the inspiration for the track title. As it proved a major Music Box hit, Pierre took a tape to the Power Plant where Marshall Jefferson’s group On The House was playing in the hope he could give to Marshall as at the time he was helping Larry do A&R at Trax. He couldn’t get Marshall’s attention but On The House vocalist Curtis McClain clocked he was trying to get his attention so took the tape for him to pass on for Marshall. To Pierre’s disbelief Marshall called up the next day to arrange a recording session and mix the track for them. He tweaked the levels and slowed it down to a more club-friendly 120 bpm as the track was 128bpm which would be too fast for clubs outside of Chicago – no-one could rinse it that hard like Ronnie! After Marshall adding his Midas touch ‘Acid Tracks’ was released on Trax with ‘Phuture Jacks’ and ‘Your Only Friend’ – again Marshall advised them to drop Pierre’s voice on this one and get Spanky’s low voice pitched down so felt like that the cocaine was talking. As well as their debut EP they released the ‘We Are Phuture’ EP and under his Pierre’s Pfantasy Club pseudonym Pierre released the anthemic ‘G.T.B.’ aka ‘Got The Bug’. Get lost in an acid house haze here…
Virgo Four are also worth giving a house holla with their consecutive Trax EP’s. Not to be confused with Marshall Jefferson’s records as ‘Virgo’ on Trax (although an easy mistake), Virgo Four comprises of Chicago duo Merwyn Sanders and Eric Lewis. As ever wanting to make a quick buck, the story goes that Larry Sherman adopted the ‘Virgo’ name for Merwyn and Eric to capitalise on the success of Marshall Jefferson’s earlier ‘Free Yourself’ 12” as Virgo. Though their debut ‘Do You Know Who You Are’ EP on Trax has some distinction as they released it as ‘Virgo Four’ and their next ‘Ride’ EP was released with their initials ‘M.E.’, the tracks off these two EP’s formed their ‘Virgo’ LP under the name ‘Virgo’ when licensed to Radical Records – you still with me?! Anyway, regardless of the horoscope hoo-ha and despite the LP comprising of their two Trax EP’s, all the tracks have an amazing synergy and are a constellation of ethereal yet haunting rhythms that have an otherworldly feel. As well as the two Trax EP’s, they later released the forgettable ‘Winter Days & Summer Nights’ also on Trax however for the hardcore housespotters keep an eye out as some copies you may clock ‘It’s Hot’ on the B-side which is a killer cut and is more in the vein of their early records – also available via the later ‘Lost Trax’ EP. Lose yourself in these…
So I think I’ve covered all the major Trax there. I ain’t forgot Frankie but to be honest I prefer the Persona pressing of Jamie Principle’s ‘Your Love’ plus ‘Cold World’ ain’t strictly Frankie with only ‘Walton’ under the track title(s) an indication that they’re Jamie Principle compositions though you can’t beat the sleaze of ‘Baby Wants To Ride’. Personally, I like some of the more obscure allure Frankie’s mixes including ‘Hey Rocky!’ by Boris Badenough aka Dean Anderson (leave the naff vocal and head straight for the more punchy instrumental) which is allegedly a dig at DJ International’s head honcho Rocky Jones plus ‘Your Love’ by Jesse’s Gang alumni Eric Bell. Another under the radar Trax is the otherworldly ‘I’ll Never Let You Go’ by William S with Lidell Townsell at the controls and Sweet D on the mix – the vocal version a guilty pleasure but the instrumental just edges it. More House Hunting faves includes ‘Dance Doctor’ by Doctor Derelict aka Wayne Williams who founded Chicago’s Chosen Few crew and incidentally is Jesse Saunders’ cousin proving to be the catalyst in inspiring Jesse to take up his DJing craft. This joint got a bit of an Italo flow that just relentlessly builds and builds complete with schizo-synths and helium-induced vocals that is the perfect prescription for the dancefloor. Fast-forwarding to the mid-nineties when the label’s direction went harder-edged a la Relief with releases by the late Armando, DJ Rush, K-Alexi and Mystic Bill, for me you can’t deny yourself ‘Late Night Sex’ by house marvel Mike Dunn which you can check out in my House Hunting piece http://www.theransomnote.co.uk/music/house-hunting/house-hunting-55-the-mike-dunn-connection/ on the main man.
As well as the main stable there were loads of Trax subsidiaries too including Demand, HipHouzzz, Housetime, Maad, Macadjous, No Labull, Saber, Streetfire, Zig-Zag and Zoneaphone. Though I’ve already covered a lot of the Housetime hotplates via my Housetime haul, other records worth a shout include Gene Hunt’s ‘Living In A Land’ and Armando’s ‘Overload’ however for me all about the late James “Jack Rabbit” Martin’s ‘Let Us Have Love’ featuring Pam White – leave the vocal and flip straight for the fierce acid mix that only he could do! Another one of the more prolific subsidiaries was Saber with the label roster housing Armando, DJ Rush, DJ Skull, Peter Black and Steve Poindexter – choice cuts including the deep majesty of ‘Let Your Body Talk’ by Ace & The Sandman aka Merle Sanders and Eric Lewis of Virgo Four fame plus the B-side bliss of Marcus Mixx, Victor Blood and Gitano Camero’s ‘Sweet Nectar’. Talking of Marcus and Gitano (Marcus’ engineer) they also released the ‘Best of Ron Hardy Volume 1’ EP on Streetfire which houses the X-rated deepness of ‘Liquid Love’ (all about the New York Mix). Another of Marcus Mixx’s EP’s worth checking is the ‘Zig-Zag 2’ EP on Zig-Zag which wouldn’t sound amiss if housed in New York or New Jersey with joints like ‘Savoire Faire’ and ‘The Spirit In Me’. Steve Poindexter handed the A&R reigns to Marcus at the turn of the decade and Larry let him release his own records if he was selling the Trax catalogue well but, as many before him it was only a matter of time before he quit due to the standard practice of Larry not paying. Anyway, let’s get into those obscure Trax offshoots…
So, he may have used recycled vinyl, pressed up records that sound like s**t, bootlegged thousands of records, not pay any royalties, rip off artists and screw over anyone he could, one thing you can’t deny is that if you took your tape to Larry he’d have it pressed up within a week with Trax launching a load of Chicago House careers in the process. The legacy still lives on with remastered represses released all the time for all the reissue renegades but y’know me I’ll stick to the checkered Chicago house history of the originals… Long live TRAX!
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