Over the (almost) 3 years Thunder has been running, we’ve made a whole bunch of new friends and met a whole bunch incredibly knowledgeable house music fans. A good few of these people fall into both categories, and as fan of both lovely people and house music, these are my favs. One particularly amiable young man is also one of the most obsessive crate-diggers. It turns out that not only does not mind getting his fingers dirty but they can also dance across the keyboard of a laptop, and he certainly has a fair turn of phrase in him. So, next week sees the start of his new, weekly Ransom Note column, House Hunting, which will catalogue the detail of his adventures in crate digging. But before all that, this week he’s kindly offered to write Thunder Picks.
So, ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to, Aiden d’Araujo.
So Miles has given me the honour of contributing to the essential weekly house reading of ‘Thunder Picks’. After much deliberation, considerations for my ‘Picks’ were, with my dodgy barnet, perhaps top questionable DJ haircuts? Or as I like a move and a groove, maybe Thunder’s best dancers [Ed: not exactly spoilt for choice there, eh?]? Or even the tracks that influenced me in my younger years via my mum’s tapes, listening to the britcore rap of Gunshot or the deep ambience of Biosphere and Pete Namlook? However, my first love is house and that along with my penchant for digging for long lost house records at bargain basement prices means it just makes sense to contribute with what I know and love best, so I present to you…
THUNDER ‘THRIFT’ PICKS – HOUSE RECORDS FOUND FOR UNDER A TENNER
TECH TRAX INC – FEEL THE LUV – NU GROOVE
When in the mood to dig deep for some pre ’93 house I will always take a jaunt to my local haunt Alan’s Records. Though probably not on most diggers’ radar as his shop in the depths of East Finchley, for the vinyl purist there is every genre imaginable with shop owner Alan always on hand with his encyclopaedic knowledge and attentive approach – he’ll even offer a cup of tea if you’re diggin’ deep! On a recent visit as ever I raided the usual NY/Chicago house racks and pulled out a record on one of my favourite labels outta New York – the seminal Nu Groove records. This particular find was ‘Feel The Luv’ by Tech Trax Inc. which is one of the many pseudonyms of label mainstay Rheji Burrell of Burrell Brothers fame – who more recently have come to the attention to a newer, wider audience with reissue kings Rush Hour releasing a comprehensive retrospective celebrating their Nu Groove discography. Anyway though more well known for his records under his more celebrated NY House’n Authority and Metro aliases, this particular 12” by Rheji was Nu Groove’s first ever release so definitely a piece of house history complete with the earlier, quirkier logo design – I need that on a t-shirt! As the record was priced at £7 I knew this was a bargain as it can go for over £20 so gave Alan a tenner and he only charged me £3.50! Though I’m a regular I don’t mind paying a good price or expect any discount but that’s just testament to how nice a fella he is. If you’re in the environs of East Finchley any time soon then it’s definitely worth an excursion to Alan’s…
NORTH/CLYBOURN – O BAN 1 – GHERKIN RECORDS
With Thunder matriarch Miles being a geeky Gherkin obsessive it’s only right that I include a Gherkin record from their small but distinguished discography. Founded in Chicago by Brett Wilcots (aka Gallifre), the label has released some of the most influential and collectable Chicago House records including Larry Heard’s acid-tinged ‘Stomp The Beat’ and Detroit-inspired ‘1990’ EP’s under his ‘Gherkin Jerks’ guise – which have been recently reissued on Larry’s Alleviated imprint if you can’t afford or source the originals. Anyway last month I was in Islington and as I hadn’t been there for a while I visited Haggle Records on the Essex Road. If you’ve never been to Haggle it’s a weathered Aladdin’s cave with thousands of records – a treasure trove of wax jewels waiting to be unearthed though be warned as the owner Linn is the stereotypical moody counter guy who really doesn’t care about records and to quote ‘I think most of my customers are f**king idiots’ so don’t expect warm, friendly service! As usual I went straight to the house section and found some killer records – Dance Mania’s first ever release by The Browns, an L.B Bad record on Nu Groove – and this particular Gherkin 12” by North/Clybourn. Taking my finds to the counter I was surprised to get a compliment from Linn on my black satin bomber and he then went on to give me a monologue on Savile Row and tailoring which he was enthused about – a tip to get him in a good mood! As he thinks house music is all s**t (I argued that it derives from disco and how influential it is but no he weren’t havin’ it) he surprisingly let me have the Gherkin 12” for free as it been in the racks for so long without me hagglin’ for it! Yes this North/Clybourn 12” cheaper and more accessible to find than other Gherkin records but to get a near mint copy for free I ain’t complaining – the Radio Mix my fave with its simplicity and that killer piano I don’t care if you disagree Miles…
THE NIGHT WRITERS – LET THE MUSIC (USE YOU) – DANICA RECORDS
Sticking with Haggle and upon leaving with my stash including the free Gherkin 12” I noticed that propped in one of the racks was a Danica Records sleeve. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Danica, it’s another 80’s Chicago label that though lesser known has some collectable records including the Frankie Knuckles ‘Powerhouse ‘87’ remix of My Mine’s Italo classic ‘Hypnotic Tango’ plus that Chicago enigma Brett Wilcots whose ‘Night Beats (House Rhythm)’ track on the Chicago Boogie Rhythm Tracks EP was an earlier prototype for Mondee Oliver’s mournful melter ‘Make Me Want You’. So anyway on checking the record to my surprise this particular one that caught my attention was the classic Night Writers 12” by Frankie Knuckles. Awash with synths, keys and cowbells juxtaposing effortlessly against gospel marvel Ricky Dillard’s commanding vox, it’s an ethereal and timeless piece of house history that sounds like none other – and one that I needed in my collection. Priced at £18 I thought was fair but I could probably haggle a few quid off – when Linn got the record out it had a warp and indentation so he let me have it for free as he wouldn’t be able to sell it! So I jetted home to test the record and was amazed that it played fine – the best things in life are for free… RIP Frankie!
DON CARLOS – ALONE – CALYPSO
As I work on Oxford Street whenever I get a chance whether on my lunch break or after work I’ll always pop over to Soho to check out the diverse array of record emporiums that have made the area a mecca for vinyl lovers. One shop I always check is Berwick Street’s Reckless Records as they
stock the second-hand older house records that I love gettin’ my fingers dusty with. However as they specialise more in this area and their staff serious record purveyors their house records are priced accordingly to what they’re worth so you’ll be hard pressed to find a super bargain. As ever I like to deep dig and sure enough prior to a Thunder get-together in Soho I paid a cheeky visit and found an original Italian pressing of Don Carlos’ ‘Alone’ in its original cover for a super cheap £6! The record was scratched and I had my doubts whether it’d play alright but for £6 was worth the risk and to my joy when I got it home on the turntable it played fine so a risk worth taking! A defining house track that with its dreamy chords, infectious piano, soaring strings and yearning sax elevate it over the usual fare and will remain a timeless classic for years to come – killer end-of-nighter…
CE CE ROGERS – SOMEDAY – ATLANTIC
Another Soho record shop I always check is the MVE (Music Video & Exchange) however their records can be in a state strewn with stickers, scratches and pen marks – I can hack light scratches that don’t affect play but I’m a bit OCD when it comes to having clean labels & covers! Also the Soho shop’s house section is limited if you compare it to the Notting Hill branch. As Notting Hill a bit out of the way I don’t frequent it as much as I would like to however that makes every visit more unique and exciting – I always find something there like last week when I took a cheeky trip before an afternoon shift at work and found an original Italian issue of Rudoulpho’s ‘Sunday Afternoon/Touch Me’ 12” (I can’t feature this properly as over the £10 thrift picks limit!). You’ll always find a decent house record for under a tenner however a recent killer find was the Ce Ce Rogers classic ‘Someday’ on Atlantic in the original stickered cover for £8! It was cheaper as it had lots of writing on the labels but my partner Tonya being an Art & Design Teacher was confident it was pencil and it could be rubbed off. With me being OCD with labels I was hesitant to buy it with all the writing but I went for it – tense times when we got home but it was sheer joy when it was evident the writing was pencil and was rubbing out (yes I need to get a life…). Anyway if a serious house collector this track should adorn your record collection – like his records under his Jungle Wonz, On The House and Truth monikers this is another classic and timeless Marshall Jefferson production that still sends shivers with that piano and Ce Ce’s delivery…
RALPHI ROSARIO – QUENTAGIOUS EP – DJ WORLD
Having attended the London Record Fair at the Truman Brewery last year and found a few decent house records I thought it would be worth checking out again this year so hooked up with fellow Thunder cohort Tomislav last weekend for a house hunting session. This time it was located in the Boiler House on Brick Lane and it was great to see that it was buzzin’ with heads buying records – experienced vendors and hardcore collectors enthusing and obsessing about the virtues of the black wax whether an original press, limited 12” or affordable reissue. Anyway me and Tomi dug at various stalls – considering the fair seemed to specialise more in genres such as jazz, funk, soul, disco, rare-groove, hip-hop and rock there was a decent house showing – with one stall in particular having crates of extensive Chicago/Detroit/NY which initially got us excited but when the seller quotes £80 for an Armando record you know that’s a speculator bringing Discogs live and direct! Despite diggin’ deep we barely had a handful of records between us until Tomi found a killer stall selling predominantly Chicago house – exactly what we were after. On chancing the the ‘UK House’ rack I couldn’t believe it when I picked out Ralphi Rosario’s ‘Quentagious EP’ which I’ve been after for years – though better known for broadcasting on Chicago’s WBMX-FM as part of the ‘Hot Mix 5’ DJ team and for his classic Chicago House anthem ‘You Used To Hold Me’, this particular EP came out on Jamie Principle’s ‘DJ World’ label and has a more NY/NJ influence that wouldn’t sound amiss on an old Kerri Chandler or Vil’N’X 12”. To my utter disbelief when asking the price the guy said as a few scratches just £2 – ridiculous steal! Just goes to show that if you dig deep you’ll be rewarded – all tracks are killer definitely an EP in the truest sense but I think my choice cut is Bardot Fever…
RON TRENT – STATES EP – CAJUAL RECORDS
Though Discogs is everyone’s favourite record database and emergency relief if you can’t get a 12” anywhere else, with the emergence of speculators on there basically just taking the p**s with their record prices I rarely browse on there anymore. Instead I have rekindled my love affair with eBay as even though I’m not a massive fan of buying online over the last year I have won some record auctions at ridiculously low prices… There’s a few I could have included whether it was an original copy of Chez’n’Trent’s ‘Prescription Underground EP’ with Morning Factory and The Choice on the flip for £6, or more recently winning a rare Persona copy of Jamie Principle’s ‘Waiting On My Angel’ for a fiver, however I’ve opted for Ron Trent’s lesser known ‘States EP’ on Cajual Records. Though there’s two decent versions of his classic ‘Altered States’, the choice weapon on this EP is ‘Magic Woman’ on the flip – a deeper and warmer excursion that is more synonymous with his tracks on Emotive sub-label Clubhouse. At least once a week I’ll browse my eBay app via my phone and check my favourite house artists or rare records to see if anything decent. I found this one priced at £8.99 ‘buy it now’ with an option to offer – couldn’t believe my luck so chanced a £7 offer and was accepted a super deal considering it can go easily for £20 upwards! When Thunder’s Joe dropped it last year it sounded killer on the Dance Tunnel sound system so this one’s dedicated to him!
Aiden's 'House Hunting' series will begin on R$N shortly...
Simpson might be back next week for his Thunder Picks... your guess is as good as ours!
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