My favorite cartooned cover model is back with some double dance disc dynamite. It is the latest in the off-shoot of Ministry Of Sound’s hedkandi series and this time we are at the lively Beach House
even as I write this in early winter! Ahh, the power of music...
hedkandi is one of the classiest brands of Dance music. Originally launched in the late nineties, I first was hipped to it by Ministry Of Sound radio DJ Ruiz when I listened back in 2006. His show reminded me of the old Capitol FM radio, London circa 1990, and when I once correctly "named that tune," I won“Served ChilledI love the packaging of these double disc albums and artwork as much as the music itself. The tracks are not segued or mixed together, which allows you the freedom to create around them instead of being locked into an awkward mix at best if you want to be the ultimate selector.
Disc one opens with “Believe In Us” featuring Robbie Taylor’s Classic Vocal Mix by Marcella (featuring I-Fan). This is the way dance music evolved out of being "just disco" as the 1970s turned into the eighties; beat intro, strings dropping in, and a lovingly strong male vocal painting the word-picture as you move to the groove. The next track is true its name because they "Keep it Poppin’" with Torvill & Dean - (featuring Tyree Cooper) as is with the liveliness of Wez Clarke and Maxine Hardcastle’s "Bringing Me Back" and Nelson’s smooth vocalizations on track four, "Love Me." However, the spiciest song by far is "Spread Love" because Doug Willis deftly utilizes the sample from Al Hudson & the Partners’ 1979 smash hit, "Musik" to spread it around! I mixed my vintage 12 inch MCA vinyl into it again, and againnnnn.
At times, and I hate to harken back to those good ole days whenever this new stuff is great, but again this is a stone cold New York City radio mix that my dearly departed ole former mentors and program directors like Sonny Taylor and Frankie Crocker would be proud of. I think that way because of the way hedkandi sways sending us into the "something for my Latin friend" segment with salsa song seven, "Identity" by Cuba Libre.
Remember now, we are still on CD One! Roy Ayers, can you hear yourself on the next from Duthchican Soul, "Jazz It Up?" Skipping ahead now to the song that punctuates perfectly this first foray inside the Beach House we find our ears in the throws of Yasmeen Suilieman’s lead on Studio Apartment's "Sun Will Shine." Her stylings remind me of mid-1990s female Hip Hop artists who would hold that last note on the last syllable of the lyric really long to "maaaake a poiiiiint" like Mary J. Blige. Not to be outdone is Thomas Toccafondi and Kaysee as they close with a bouncy and light number the East European girls would like to prance to in the nightclub window with the sophisticated, "I’ve Changed." Now there is a reason that it is called "Disc 2" – not because they had too much material, but in many cases it isn’t as good as Disc one! Yet, have faith; in this case, it is a continuation of the first disc, kind of like a good sequel that you don’t have to wait for long to enjoy. First there is Lisa Shaw who we reviewed in this space during the summer of 2009 with her smash, "Like I Want To" – a strong song. Next, the lead vocal on Afterlife’s "Fantasy" sound like Howard Hewitt of the ‘80s group Shalimar on top of a full round bottom bassline. Kyla Sexton sings nicely against jazzy bongos on “Out of Time”, and Linda Sundblad is succinct inside of a bright, optimistic Top 40-ish feel generated by the intro bed. I’d like to hear Kim grant circa 1993 do this tune.
My favorite on disc two however, is the very next song called "This Way" featuring a smooth-crooning Christa and Hollis P Monroe; a good turn or safe twist on an old theme of keeping it light yet steady and danceable throughout. You know it is special from the first beat – good international fare for the Eastern European ladies on the dancefloor! Candy Apple (I can taste their name) and "Leaving You" is haunting and sexy while the very next track is a classic and stylish discotizer in the Salsoul ilk of 1979. The hit keep comin' courtesy of Stephanie/Leggs with a second fave on this roll, the simple name for mouthwatering music, "La, La, La" – I go ouch with pleasure!
Finishing up, "Take Me Higher" also has a really nice beat but get’s bogged-down by it's own interlude and skip to the last track for the best Latin-Style groove by Inusa Dawuda’s "Believe." A haunting, pleasant, piquant party experience awaits all who do some of this hedkandi that will tease body locomotion with five fastidious stars.
Released August 2009 on Hed Kandi America Records.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more
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