Monday, February 15, 2010

Week 38: Chicago House

After last week's tape, I felt like it was time for some ACTUAL house music, so here goes...

The stories about this genre have been told a bajillion times, so go google them if you want the in-depth version.
The short version is this: there was a guy from New York named Frankie Knuckles who moved to Chicago in '77 to play at a new discotheque called the Warehouse. He played lots of very odd, deep, drum-oriented disco, which soon became the dominant sound of early-'80s black Chicago (and spawned a lot of other, even weirder DJs—most famously Ron Hardy, who played at the Music Box).
By 1981, Chicagoans were referring to the Philly Disco, Italo, Quebecois disco, and new wave records heard at the Warehouse not as "disco", but as "House Music".
By 1985 you have a bunch of local Chicago kids attempting to MAKE this type of stuff on their own, with loads of crummy equipment culled from thrift stores (equipment which, in the intervening 25 years, has become incredibly valuable due to its house music cachet).
By 1986, this local Chicago music has blown up and gone worldwide, conquering New York's club scene, hitting #1 on the UK pop charts, and directly inspiring Detroit techno (and every other dance music genre since).

25 years later, Chicago House still sounds different than house music from the rest of the world. It often has a rawer, less polished quality than, say, French house, or NY house. Also, Chicago house tends to vacillate between VERY traditional, R&B-inspired vocal tunes and VERY weird, psychedelic, oddness in a way that most other genres (including other sub-genres of house) don't.

But enough of my rambling. Here are my faves from the early years of Chicago house.

Chrissy's Year of Mixtapes Week 38: Chicago House.
  1. Jamie Principle; Waiting On My Angel (A Frankie Knuckles Production) (Persona Records, 1985)
  2. Adonis & The Endless Pokers; The Poke (D.J. International Records, 1986)
  3. J.M. Silk; I Can't Turn Around (Chrissy Re-Edit) (RCA Victor, 1986)
  4. Mr. Fingers; Washing Machine (Trax Records, 1986)
  5. The House Master Boyz & The Rude Boy Of House; House Nation (Dance Mania, 1986)
  6. Mr. Lee; I Can't Forget (Dub) (Trax Records, 1987)
  7. Marshall Jefferson; The House Music Anthem (House Your Body) (Chrissy Re-Edit) (Trax Records, 1986)
  8. Sterling Void & Paris Brightledge; It's All Right (House Mix) (D.J. International Records, 1987)
  9. Joe R. Lewis; Love Of My Own (Target Records, 1987)
  10. Robert Owens & Fingers, Inc.; Bring Down The Walls (Trax Records, 1986)
  11. Steve Poindexter; Computer Madness (Muzique Records, 1989)
  12. Project Democracy feat. China; Is This Dream For Real (Under Dog, 1987)
  13. Vicky Martin; Not Gonna Do It (Mike Dunn Dub) (Movin' Records, 1988)
  14. Pierre's Pfantasy Club; Got The Bug (Club Mix) (Trax Records, 1987)
  15. Phortune; Jiggerwatts (Hot Mix 5, 1988)
  16. 2 Houss People; Feel The Rhythm (Acid Mix) (Neco Records, 1988)
  17. Sleezy D.; I've Lost Control (Space Mix) (Trax Records, 1986)
  18. Jackmaster Curt; Real Fresh House (House Mix) (Jiszack Master Records, 1987)
  19. Armando; 100% Of Dissin' You (Warehouse Records, 1988)
  20. Maurice; This Is Acid (Les Adams Remix) (Vendetta Records, 1988)
  21. Cool McCool; World Turns Around (Hot Mix 5, 1988)
  22. Phuture; Slam! (Trax Records, 1988)
  23. Tyree; Let The Music Take Control (D.J. International Records, 1989)
  24. Ralphi Rosario vs. Richie Rich; You Used To Salsa (The Remix of Salsa House) (FFRR, 1989)
  25. Frankie Knuckles Presents Satoshi Tomiie feat. Robert Owens; Tears (Classic Vocal) (FFRR, 1989)
  26. Pleasure Zone; Fantasy (Trax Records, 1988)
  27. Jack Frost; Clap Me (Trax Records, 1988)
  28. Ce Ce Rogers; Someday (Club Mix) (Atlantic, 1987)
NEXT WEEK: New Beat.


  1. Hi,

    Great concept!
    How about mixtapes dedicated to breakbeats. Not the 'Breakbeat' vynils for scratching, but the broken beats, with fast rolling drums etc...

    Keep on rocking from France


  2. Thanks for this one, and...
    NEXT WEEK: New Beat.


    Respect and all the best from Russia!

  3. You're a prince, 'Bot. An excellent primer.

  4. This one rocked my world. Thanks!


  5. "VERY weird, psychedelic, oddness..."
    So true. When mixed with some of the more 'out there' EBM, it can really take you on a journey. I always thought the Chicago House artists were tapping into a seriously innovative vein of creative freedom - the instrumentation is often surprising, too, with cool percussive rhythms and beats. There's nothing else like it.

  6. @ taylor d

    That's what got us old boys hooked. We grew up on Throbbing Gristtle/Chrome/Faust (and Ash Ra/Popol Vuh/Neu!) as wellass Moroder/Kevorkian/Russell and whilst a lot of my chums were suspicious of this 'groovy music' malarkey it only took a month or so for us to be completely converted....

    House got us all hooked. Now I'm middle aged - and not a disco-dad sort ;-) - am hooked on FaltyDL, Untold, L-Vis 1990, Girl Unit, Actress (not to mention coevals like MJ Cole and Zed Bias) and all sorts of wonderful freaks banging their virtual boxes.

    There is a thread and it it goes from Sun Ra to Sly Stone to Drexciya to Dem 2 to Actress... Fuck genres!!! Dis Granpa says 'Respack... wot wot...!'

  7. This is fan-fucking-tastic! I would kill this collection of records...

  8. I'm actually selling my record collection...