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FinalTraxboxExpandedPackShot_zps837e0820.jpgTX 166 Mr Lee – ‘Pump Up Chicago’

By 1988, Chicago’s innovators had bust way beyond the Music Box to hit our own disco infernos and acid house had become the biggest youth explosion since punk rock. This was huge; loud and crashing with incendiary riffage and Mr Lee’s crowd-stirring pronouncements stoking the hysteria. The flip nods at this new world audience with ‘Pump Up London’ (namedropping major clubbing cities) and ‘Pump Up New York’.

TX167 Donell Rush – ‘Knockin’ At My Door’ 

It has to be kept in mind that, elsewhere in the US, there were other strains of house-related dance music taking shape, usually of a slicker nature than Trax! Dalis duo Rick Barnes and Derek Brand brought a touch of New York soul elegance to the label with this sublime debut outing for Donell Rush (who would make stellar singles like ‘Symphony’ for I-D before tragically dying at 36). Over  insidious Latin-tinged rhythm, glittering keys and sleek backing vocals, Donell turns in the kind of huge performance which could of seen him become one of the big soul giants if he’d carried on. The Wall Of Sound Mix is an awesome mating of house, soul and pure energy.

TX168 The House Gang – ‘Hit Trax III’

Mike ‘Hitman’ Wilson had already released ‘Hit Trax’ sets for two other labels (including DJ International) when he made his Trax debut with three more merciless floor-pummellers, subjecting popular songs and artists to his savage jacking makeover. Side A was devoted to ‘Cool J Track’, which sees choice L.L. moments cut and sliced over ruthless acid bubble-torpedo (In 1988, he’d risen to become one of the country’s top rappers). ‘Hangover Trax’ is ostensibly Diana Ross’s ’Love Hangover’ but, stripped to its synthesised turbo-briefs, revealing a similarity to New Order’sBlue Monday’. ‘Bango Acid’ hammers along with ‘hit me’ cries and acid squirtation.

TX169  Maurice Joshua with Hot Hands Hula – ‘Gotta Big Dick‘; ‘This Is Acid’; ‘Feel The Mood’

Imagine the thigh-slapping fun they had making this. Maurice records an assertive utterance of “I got a big dick” then has hours of fun playing it on the keyboard over a seriously jacking groove. Of course, the rude tune craze would get worse (Trax drew the line at releasing Long Fellow’s 1989 masterpiece ‘This Is Penis’) but Maurice was in there predating potty-mouthed ghetto-tech with the best of them.

The B side, of course, harbored ‘This Is Acid’, another major anthem in the UK with its rap vocals and gnashing 303, repeating the exercise on ‘Feel The Mood’ (which benefits from effective synth counter-melodies).

TX170 Lidell Townsell – ‘Jack The House’

Needs little expansion really, except to say Lidell’s manipulation of the acid-bass-drum dogfight is masterful throughout the five tracks, including the sparsely propulsive title cut, while the slithering ‘As Acid Turns’ presages the kind of lyrical 303 stroking picked up by Richie Hawtin. ‘The Groove’ is another of this set’s big discoveries, pitting rasping Kenneth Williams-inflected 303 line with glistening piano and widescreen strings, making for an atmospheric masterpiece. The two versions of ‘Jack ’N Tall’ establish a hypnotic, rump-grabbing voodoo strain of machine-funk, countered by sweet pianos and strings and vocals on the second version, plus the prickliest acid on record. ‘The devil make you groove..’. 

TX171 Acid Fantasee Mr Lee – ‘Acid Pump Up London’ 

Swiftly consolidating his success in the acid outbreak gripping the UK, Mr Lee returned to pump everywhere up where he’d been playing. ‘Art Of Acid’ jacks like an amphetamined hippo with everything contributing to the forward momentum. ‘Feels Good’ maintains the beat beneath acid flood with the title hook splashing around in it along with a flatulent chicken. ‘Acid Pump Up London’ is exactly that. Mr Lee really knew how to ram-raid a tune into the crowd’s collective central nervous system. 

TX172 Farley ‘Jackmaster Funk’ Presents Ricky Dillard – ‘As Always’

Stevie Wonder’s ’As Always’ is given a faithfully respectful treatment by Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk, Ricky Dillard handling the vocal likea seasoned pro, cutting loose like a preacher on Farley’s epic 14 minute Lovin’ House Mix, soaring over the chorale to whip up a proper gospel knees-up. The church organ is a midway masterstroke. The ‘Acid As’ version introduces murderous 303 while vocal loops circle and snares batter up climaxes before the next stretch of pure acid funk.

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