Y: You Used To Hold Me by Ralphi Rosario featuring Xavier Gold, 1987. Hot Mix 5 Records.
Ralphi Rosario was djing from as early as 1979 and became a regular fixture on Chicago’s seminal radio station WBMX where he became part of the Hot Mix 5 crew along with Farley Jackmaster Funk, Kenny Jammin Jason, Scott Smokin Silz and Mickey Mixin Oliver. In the early to mid eighties, they basically defined House music as it was developing, playing the newest freshest records in synchronization with them being aired in Chicago’s clubs.
Ralphi was the youngest of the crew and had joined when still at school, by the mid eighties he, along with the others, began to move into production. He put out the track ‘Sample That!’ with Vince Edwards (who was involved with Jesse Saunders’ Z Factor outfit) under the name Bang Orchestra in 1986, and the following year he went on to produce the biggest hit of his life and one of the anthems of early house.
The track nailed the template: Roland drum machines, simple nagging synth bass line, powerful slightly off key vocals which are sampled, repitched and p-p-p played during a break half way through the tune, there’s even a diva like spoken word breakdown in there as well. It’s seven minutes long and it’s full of breakdowns, interludes and bridges to increase the dancefloor drama.
The track was a runaway smash and cemented Ralphi’s position in the dance music hall of fame, he’s gone on to remix and produce for everyone from Beyonce to Yoko Ono and You Used to Hold Me has been covered, sampled and remixed to death. Ralphi himself has never bettered You Used to Hold Me, but expecting him to would be churlish – the track is a hands down banger and worthy of the reverence it holds to this day.