House Hunting #15 – Paradise’S Deep Groove
So if you regularly tune in you may remember last month I was deliberating on whether to spend 60 notes on an original pressing of the E Legal house Holy Grail ‘Paradise’s Deep Groove’. Soho’s Reckless Records managed to source this copy and though were willing to knock off a fiver from the original £65 price despite its super scarcity I just couldn’t do it… Yeah I know there’s a current reissue (looks like a bootie to me – the sound ain’t great) but you know me strictly original pressings no reissues…
However, all was not lost as my prudence on this occasion paid dividends when a few weeks later a US dealer got in touch saying he had a copy available for fifty quid. I always look to get a deal so offered a cheeky £30 as I knew he’d counter-offer around the £40-mark with my prediction being right – though slight fading on the label (I can live with that…) the record was in near mint condition so a decent price for this scarce slice of wax… Rapid shipping from the US too got it in three days though was a proper mission to get my hands on it. I have a post office sorting office on my road in Crouch End so if I’m not in only a few minutes’ walk to pick my parcels up however they’ve just decided to send all undelivered parcels to a depot in a nowhere industrial estate in the depths of Tufnell Park – how long… I’ve just had another one of the dreaded red Royal Mail cards through the letterbox (another record from the US – House Hunting tip seek out records from dealers/shops/Ebay/Discogs etc over the Atlantic as can get some killer deals) so another Tufnell Park trek awaits…
Right, Royal Mail rant over so on to the record… So as I alluded to in last week’s edition this week I’m featuring this Discogs wantlist weapon that you’ll probably see only once or twice in a lifetime if you’re lucky – rare ain’t the word… So who’s behind ‘Paradise’s Deep Groove’? Well, the clue is in the title as it’s one of the array of aliases of New York enigma Nelson “Paradise” Roman (not to be confused with Mike “Paradise” Munoz of ‘A Dose Of Paradise’ fame). I love how New York DJ/Producers in the early 90’ had nicknames like Andrew “Rags” Richardson and Vincent “Overdose” Sanchez proper old-school you don’t see that anymore… Anyway, in the late 80’s/early 90’s Nelson featured on and produced some choice records on Big Beat which became a bigger beast when Atlantic Records acquired the label in ’91 – he actually co-produced Big Beat’s first release ‘Join Hands’ under his ‘Taravhonty’ guise along with label owner Craig Kallman. Check it out here…
Nelson also had a hand in one of my favourite house tracks of all time contributing with the ‘Celestial Mix’ (along with Mike Dunn and Craig Kallman) of ‘Open Your Eyes’ by Truth aka Chicago House marvel Marshall Jefferson. A mystical masterclass that defines the word deep, to quote UK house hierarchy Terry Farley this record is “the actual original deep house”. Along with Jay Williams he also produced the Big Beat hit ‘Sweat’ which was an anthem in legendary NYC temples such as Red Zone and Sound Factory.
A more obscure EP of his on Big Beat is his ‘Tropical Moon’ 12” with kindred spirit ‘Bluejean’ (RIP) – as featured in last week’s edition of House Hunting. This was in the days when an EP would have four killer joints and this one is doesn’t disappoint with four varying flavours of Nelson and Bluejean’s house palette – Nelson’s ethereal and tribal production style juxtaposing against the deeper and rawer aesthetic of Bluejean effortlessly. Though I love all the tracks ‘Data Bank’ is my personal fave with its brooding bass, ominous synths and menacing vox taking you down into the deeper bowels of house… Check ‘em all out here:
Moving on from Big Beat and Nelson later contributed to some lesser-known records on one of my favourite record labels – New York institution Nu Groove. Examples include contributing to ‘Get Up’ by Underground Kids and his Paradise remix of ‘Groove Me Rite’ by Lazuli Blue though it’s the lucid oasis of ‘Journey Into A Dream’ co-produced with Ralph “DTR” Soler (there’s another one of those NY nicknames!) with additional killer keys by Peter Daou that gets my vote – pure paradise… House Hunting Tip – just check any obscure house record with the words ‘Paradise’ or ‘Dream’ always seems to work…
From the early till the mid-nineties Nelson was omnipresent on New York Garage stable Bottom Line Records releasing a ton of records in various garage guises. Though I feel his later productions lost a bit of the magic and spirit of his initial productions it’s still worth checking his Bottom Line releases out as there’s loads of dollar bin gems waiting to be unearthed… Back to this week’s pick and this hallowed piece of house haven is my favourite of his as an EP in the truest sense with four killer cuts that are timeless yet have that distinguishable paradisiacal touch. Though ‘Innermind’ is most kats’ favourite with the intricacy of its rhythms and lush, floating synths, there’s the Junior Vasquez fave ‘I Love’ which with its deep and foreboding rhythm (reminiscent of the aforementioned ‘Data Bank’) you could imagine the club kidz losing themselves to in the Sound Factory… Also featured are ‘Hypnotic Flute’ which does exactly what it says on the tin and ‘Trance Dance’ which I’ve currently got on heavy rotation dripping in Nelson’s signature ethereal sound complete with entrancing piano.
It seems Nelson has fallen into obscurity since the mid-nineties but this piece is a celebration of this unheralded producer’s timeless productions and influence in the emergence of the deeper facets of house. I’m hoping he may resurface in the near future though just maybe he finally found paradise…
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