Friday, 26 September 2008

Italian House Obsession

Back in at the very start of the 1990s I had a problem. An addiction even. It wasn't anything cool or rock chic like hard liquor, smack or even glue, but… Italian house records!

I used go get paid weekly, in cash, on a Thursday evening and every Saturday I’d make the pilgrimage into Soho to what was the Mecca of piano driven continental house stormers, Trax Records on Greek Street.

Trax is still there but it’s become a bit of a niche gay music shop, specialising in the hard house. It always sold music for the gay scene but for a few years around 1990-92, when musical taste of straight, gay and mixed clubs was much less polarised than it is now, it was the place for everyone to buy their European house records in London.

This was a time before the advent of the internet and armchair record shopping, so if you wanted those hot tracks that you’d hear Rampling play at Pure Sexy on a Wednesday, you had to be there, at the shop, on a Saturday, before the handful of copies that were in the country sold out. And if you went on holiday for a fortnight, that was it, you may never the records that came out while you were away again!

This was also a time before listening posts in record shops, so it would be 4 or 5 deep at the counter of Trax, and you would be vying for spot near the front of the ruck of pony-tailed geezers, checking the weekly whiteboard chart and trying to catch the eye of Craig or Oscar, as they spun new tune after new tune to the assembled throng, hoping you'd secure the records you desired so and not be left with the gut wrenching disappointment of the spotty ted next to getting the last copy!

Fortunately, my dedication to the cause meant that after a while I got a knowing nod when I walked in and asked if I wanted copy before they all went. Well I think it was my dedication. It might have been the amount of dough I was blowing, because I often I left the shop without enough money to go out that night and on more than one occasion, without enough money to buy proper food the following week - so a diet of baked beans on toast and piano solos beckoned…

So what happened to all these precious, had to have 'em, couldn’t live without 'em, records? Well a couple of years ago I had a big clear out of records when I moved house, pruning back about a thousand unwanted platters that didn't matter - including a lot of the old Italian house. It was wrench to chuck records I had gone hungry for but some of it was so terribly dated, they just had to go. Not dated in a good way either, dated in a ‘what was I thinking’ way. There's only so many pigeon English raps a man can take!

Not all of it though. Some of it is still bloody good and will always be bloody good. And it isn’t all pianos either, those Italians could turn their hands to a variety of styles and really ruled the London house scene for those two years.

So this is it, my top 50 Italian house records from the very early '90s that I'm well pleased I hung onto.

The sound of Soho, at time when long haired geezers in leather trousers roamed the streets, clubs Flying, Pure and Yellow Book were the places to be be, and Danny Rampling was our king.
(in no particular order)

1. Olympia 'You Want My Love' (Discomagic)
2. Nexy Lanton 'You Too' (Discomagic)
3. Mechanix Enterprise 'Let's Get Down' (Mighty Quinn)
4. Data Bass 'Piano in the Night' (w['dvblju(:)])
5. Josette Martail 'Woi Mama' (D&W)
6. J.T. Project 'Bulgaria' (BHF)
7. Precinct 13 'Listen to your Heartbeat' (LBDN)
8. Pako 'Pakito Lindo' (Italian Boy) >>youtube link<<
9. The Redmen 'You're My Way' (w['dvblju(:)])
10. Velvet 'Hold Me' (DFC) >>youtube link<<
11. Johnny Parker 'Love it Forever' (C.B.R.) >>youtube link<<
12. Soft House Company 'A Little Piano' (Irma) >>youtube link<<
13. Be Noir 'Give Me Your Love' (Irma) >>youtube link<<
14. Dilemma 'In Spirit' (Energy) >>youtube link<<
15. La Banderita 'Mediterranea' (In-Lite)
16. Raimunda Navarro 'Jungle Fever' (Discomagic)
17. M.C.J. feat. Sima 'Sexitivity' (Energy)
18. Adonte 'Feel It - Remixes' (Flying)
19. FPI Project ‘Feel It’ (Paradise Project)
20. CRo2 'Work!!' (Flying)
21. Seechi 'Keep on Jammin'' (Energy)
22. Ominverse 'Never Get Enough' (Antima) >>youtube link<<
23. Smallage 'Together' (Irma) >>youtube link<<
24. Alex Lee 'Take It' (Mighty Quinn)
25. Arkanoid 'Limit' (Hi Tec Music) >>youtube link<<
26. Baffa 'Piano On' (Energy) >>youtube link<<
27. Seechi 'I Say Yeah/Flute On' (Energy) >>youtube link<<
28. Claps 'My Love' (Inside) >>youtube link<<
29. Kwanzaa Posse 'Wicked Funk' (Flying)
30. Chico Seechi Project 'Whip of Rhythm' (Creative)
31. Nightlife City Rama 'Running So Hard' (Mighty Quinn)
32. Gong 'Masterblaster' (D&W)
33. Rap Delight 'Back Again' (Italian Style)
34. SBAM 'Take Me Away Now' (Rare) >>youtube link<<
35. J.T. Company 'Don't Deal with Us' (JT Comp) >>youtube link<<
36. Aqua Regia 'NYC Smile On Me' (DFC) >>youtube link<<
37. Funk Machine feat. Loose Bruce 'N.O.I.D.' (Flying)
38. Fidelfati 'Groovin' (New Music)
39. DJ Power 'Everybody Pump' (Pan Pot) >>youtube link<<
40. Valli Melody 'Party Time' (Hot)
41. A.S.H.A. ‘J.J. Tribute’ (Beat Club) >>youtube link<<
42. Roy the Boy ‘French Paradise’ (Endless Wave)
43. Afrika Bambaataa ‘Just Get Up & Dance (DFC) >>youtube link<<
44. F.ZappalĂ  & D.J. Professor ‘We Gotta Do It’ (Media) >>youtube link<<
45. 4 For Money ‘B.D.J. (Disco Magic)
46. Atomosphere ‘Atm-oz-fear’ (Beat Club) >>youtube link<<
47. Frank K ‘Everybody Let Somebody Love’ (Unknown)
48. D-Rail ‘Bring it On Down’ (DDD) >>youtube link<<
49. Ava Cherry ‘Fever’ (Bull and Butcher)
50. Sueno Latino ‘La Puerta Del Sol’ (DFC)


pinkychukkles said...

Nice post - I was a spotty teenager back then doing a paper round and didn't have two brass farthings to rub together. So although I didn't frequent Trax, when I had scraped enough together to buy an import twelve from my ever-growing want list, it would be Black Market or City Sounds in Holborn. Used to listen to Rampling's Kiss 100 show religiously as well. Ah to reminisce.

pinkychukkles said...

Forgot to add, nice pic. Nitelite Cityrama was one such twelve that I purchased but I never realised it came in a picture sleeve.

Miles said...

Glad you liked it! I think I've seen most Mighty Quinn stuff that came in pic sleevs in their standard company sleeve too. Maybe a bit cheaper?

Stephen Connor said...

Blimey -I've just been transported back in time to an era I had nearly forgotten about!!! Nitelite City Rama Runnin' so hard brings back memories of a Farm gig at Kilburn in 91 (??) . I think Flying records were doing the warm up and the DJ dropped this along with Mestizo by LTJ Sound Machine. These records and that period evoke such amazing feelings for me and yet the Italo ''screamers'' seem to have been forgotten in a lot of people's minds. I mention these records to mates in moments of reminisce and just get vague looks!!! I think it's safe to say I was more into the music and they were more into other things !!! It's great to read blogs like yours to confirm these records did exist !!!! GREAT BLOG.

Unknown said...

I too got paid on a Thursday and would make the same pilgrimage! Although mine had started a couple of years earlier around 1987 - 1988. I had been searching all over trying to find a copy of Stop Bajon ( I Think ) and had been pointed in the direction of Trax after calling in at Groove records, another record shop further up the road on the corner and sadly no longer there. Dickie ( I think that was his name ) owned Trax and was a real character as well. I think he used to have an import shop in Mile End Road before he moved to Soho. During the late 80's and early 90's Trax had real buzz about it, I used to love the anticipation of checking out the Balearic or Euro house chart that was always up on the wall...Ahh nostalgia