Thursday, 11 August 2011

Royal House - Can You Party? (1988/ No. 14/ 14 weeks/ Champion)

Todd Terry was the absolute zenith of pop in 1988. Such was the appetite for Chicago house music that every week seemed to bring forth a new record under some pseudonym or other (Royal House, The Todd Terry Project, Swan Lake, Black Riot) somewhere in the Record Mirror club charts. These records were often actually not at all new, and had been - rather oddly - made by a (really young) man who had no idea of the ecstasy and smileys UK acid house rave culture into which they were co-opted as anthems. Unlike the rather charmingly clueless British-made hits that tried to tune into the spirit of the time ('Acid Man' or 'We Call It Acieeeed') these Chicago source records can create a sense of communal joy and euphoria that is timeless.

"Check this out!"

A siren. Disco diva "Ooh yeah!", more woozy than caterwauling. That feeling of becoming slightly discombobulated, a surge of happy feeling.

"Too Black! Too strong!"

Also sampled by Public Enemy at the same time! Here - to my fifteen-year old whiteboy public school self - the note of militancy works as an appealing reminder that this music comes from another source.


Yes. Yes, I really can! What's lovely about this is the mechanised music sounds so wonderfully organic and inviting to me. Actually a lot more humane and welcoming than say, the contemporaneous number one, Whitney Houston's motivational Olympic theme 'One Moment In Time.


Oh yes! Note how there's a muted sample of a cheering crowd under that "FEEEL IT". (A device also used on Chaka Khan's 'I Feel For You') That sense of this music being really inclusive and welcoming if you accept it. Another thing that people forget about early house is how trebley rather than bassy it is, the rush coming from the snares and stabs that tickle and stroke something within the listener.

"Aw shucks... Hi let me tell ya sumptin"

That babble of conversational voices low in the mix is like me, how my mind responds to things, prolix, thinking too much about what he's feeling, turning it into words. But it makes me respond to this brilliant record all the more.


Yes. I can. I really can! God bless the house sounds of Chicago.

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