This week’s Heal Yourself And Move—a biweekly column about dance and electronic music, written by Maryland’s finest, Andrew Field Pickering—jams some recent reissues and bootlegs and rejiggers the way we think about the bootleg in 2010. Bootleggers: no longer swagger jackers?
AHHHHHH re-issues. They're the best! I usually take a laissez-faire stance on eBay, Discogs, etc and the prices on them that get jacked up by people clamoring for older heat, because what else are you really gonna do, but it is awesome when labels (or even bootlegging individuals) even the playing field on some hard to find shit. And to be real, especially when it comes to super-obscure or oddball releases, I can't fault the bootleg. I know I want that shit, even if its a fake, and if a legit re-press isn't coming down the pipeline for something, I'm gonna get it. Usefulness trumps honor for me in this case. I think "the bootleg" was a much more sinister thing back when people actually bought records en masse when they were released. Back in the day, bootlegs came out for certain tracks whose presses weren't even exhausted yet; there was such a big market for records that people made counterfeit copies to get some money out of the popularity of those tracks. Today, bootlegging records on the whole serves a much greater purpose (most of the time), exposing awesome, sometimes forgotten music to a smaller batch of people trying to hear it, or in the case of dance records, DJ it.
All that said, there is some serious re-issue heat out and about right now. And the most serious tunes are straight Chicago.
There is a white label, 4-track EP available on Clone right now collecting the nasty, scratchy, yet "real, fresh" work of one Jackmaster Curt. There are two Jackmaster Curt 12-inches, "Real Fresh House" and "It's A Man's World." A few friends of mine have OG copies and the works of Curt are the exact sort of sound I want out of 87 acid, complete with that homemade feel, wigging 303s, and plaintive, yet demanding vocals like "Man's World"'s "...when a man says house, you house." Yes! Again, shout out to RealFreshBlog, the best website on the entire internet. My friends and I owe you big.
This is some of the most over-the-top Chicago house ever, a real strong song for all the 40-year-old heads to flex their biceps to. You gotta pretend you're doing a fake diva boob shake to this joint. Ron Hardy was of course the legendary undisputed champ of the Music Box, which opened when I was two. And this was an early Trax record, brought out of the "save search" terrordome by Rush Hour, who also plan to re-issue a ton of ill Trax tracks (ha), like the Virgo album, and the Ace & The Sandman cut "Let Your Body Talk" which I rock quite often when Beautiful Swimmers go deep. "Sensation" is what I would point anyone interested in the "WBMX sound" to, as this is a prime example. New Order bass + Evelyn King/Gwen Guthrie (sup Eddie Murphy?) vibes + jacking drums + italo pomp = this amazing song. DJs be warned though, the bass drum on the "1" is barely there (thank you Larry Sherman, the audiophile king of Chicago...), so you gotta mix from the "2".
There is also another, starker, crazier version of this track on the recent Jackmaster Hater 12-inch, "Hiccup Track" b/w "Sensation", although with these (and a lot of "lost Ron Hardy tracks") I never know what to think. I imagine these are just re-creations (and pretty great ones!) of Ron Hardy tracks, sort of homage attempts to re-create what can never truly be unearthed. I mean homie was reportedly on heroin until he died from it. All that music gear probably had to go at some point. It is a testament to his legendary vibe that multiple people try to re-do tracks from his cassette mixes, and release them, like four times a year. It also brings up an interesting (recurring) question for DJ culture: Are the tunes themselves so important and so immediately useful in their awesomeness that they matter more than their maker?
This repress has been out for a little bit, and it really makes me stride a line with "deepness" and its many bad connotations that I never really expected to stride. The A side track, "You Rock Me", is terrible. And "The Sun Can't Compare" is straight big room emotions in front of a track that is the good and bad sides of big room at the same time. The lyrics are like bootleg Shakespeare, and I'm still not sure if I like them or not. But I do sing a mumbled, unclear version of the "YOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUU AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRREEEEEE" to myself all the time. I don't know what to think when I listen at home. But to see people react to this song in a club creates a new dimension, people start asking "who is THIS?!" with that mystical look on their face. I guess I'm just straight conflicted on this one. I still haven't bought a copy.
To end this column, I just wanna post this YouTube and plead, plead, plead for someone to re-issue it...I can't afford this shit:
PS I haven't done this before, for whatever reason, but I would love to hear any and all new music, be it vinyl promos or otherwise. Please holler at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want me to hear something!