…Ma Foom Bey mixed with Aint No Mountain High Enough that’s what got me hooked. What I used to do was “steal” my Grandfather’s church tapes, my older cousin’s(God Bless you Hope) House tapes and then alter them by peeling off the label. I concluded by taping “Mr.-Mr.-Magic-Magic’s SUPER SUPER BLAST BLAST!!!” Who wasn’t into hip-hop then? One Sunday morning(coincidence?), while surveying my previous night’s handiwork, I noticed I had left a few minutes of my cousin’s House tape unrecorded upon. I listened to it.
Some 15 years later, I created Mafoombay-bringing forth the essence…-solely dedicated to bringing forth the essence…House Music. That mix still envelopes my Spirit today as it did that Sunday morning. In essence, that’s what House music does, or should do. It’s a crutch to elevate you from the physical, past the mental and into the Spiritual realm. Most people are afraid of House Music-don’t be. Most people don’t understand House Music-“It’s A Spiritual Thing!!” “God made me phunky, and I’m glad He Blessed me that way!”
The word “HOUSE” has taken on many different forms. You have techno, progressive, trip-hop, drum ‘n bass, etc. the list goes on. but all these offsprings, House begat. Colonel Abrams begat. Marshall Jefferson begat. Tony Humphries begat, Exodus begat. But in true reality, let’s go back a little further. Chicago’s Comiskey’s Park. A radio station in an effort to destroy the popularity of Disco (that’s a whole nother story) held a major bon fire in which disco records were routinely burned. This, in history, signifies the end of Disco but in (HOUSE)tory, signifies the beginning of “The Underground Sound.” Club Music was born. Since disco was shunned, it transformed itself into an R&Bish style to fool the masses. Then it realized, it didn’t need the masses, we do what we do. Sylvester, Carl Bean, Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band, Cerrone, Yoko One-yes, Yoko Ono, etc., all made impactual Club Cuts in the late 70’s to early 80’s. They focused on pleasing the crowds more so than record sales. If it rocked in the clubs, it was a hit. If Larry Levan played it at 1:17 in the AM, it was a hit. That’s where the concentration was.
Soon there was Salsoul Records producing acts like First Choice-Doctor Love, Love Thang, Jocelyn Brown-Moment of My Life, Aint No Mountain High Enough, Candido, The Colonel, Bettye Lanette, etc. Cuts like “You see baby!, when you came along and gave me a new world, then you gave me a baby boy-then you gave me a baby girl yes you did, yes you did now baby!” All praise due to Salsoul. That’s when Club Music was at its peak, the early 80’s. Cuts like “Hit & Run,” “This Time Baby,” “Changes,” “You Aint Really Down,” etc. these are considered timeless classics. A mix of Disco Circus with Nobody’s Got Time should be placed in a time capsule and preserved forever…
On came the middle to late 80’s. The Chicago sound seeped into the Garden State…”and House Music was born!” Ten City’s Devotion pretty much set it off. That cut, being a combination of a strong baseline and a powerful vocal, exemplefied the essence. We already had “Like This” and a few other hard tracks but Chicago gave us the unison. “Bring down the walls,” “Tears,” and all those “Jack” cuts-they truly created what is regarded as the House sound.
The mid to late 80’s, creativity and the House demand was at its peak. the competition was fierce albeit healthy and as a result, that era produced some of the best music of our generation. Ce Ce Roger’s “Someday,” all of Blaze’s cuts, Charles Dawkins’ “We can do it,” The Colonel still rocked as well as Ten City, Meli’sa Morgan, John Rocca and Barbara Tucker. “The WBLS Dance party is mixed by Merlinn Bobb, on 107.5 wbls, wbls, wbls…” Remember when Tony Humphries used to rock it with the wind blowing right at midnight, getting ready for the mix, then he’d bring in a cut like “Everyday, I think about you to get me started. Yesterday I needed you around, do you still want me?” Remember the mix at noon-John Robinson(RIP-forever) and the mix at 6? I’m reminiscing so much that I got away from structure of this thesis. But anyway, that’s what I am trying to Bring forth…the essence. Al Hudson’s “Spread Love,” Roland Clark’s “Alright,” Sylvester and Martha Wash singing “Just Us” I mean, how can you listen to these cuts and not feel total love in your heart. That’s why House flourished in the gay community. Acceptance is promoted. Ignorance is not tolerated. “Freedom” It’s semi-unfortunate that nowadays, if you’re a clubheaad, people’s first impulse is to label you as gay. Yes, it may be predominately-but not 100%. But listen closely, in The Shelter on a Saturday night, people who aren’t gay can accept the ones that are and vice versa. Shouldn’t that be what it’s all about? Tolerance? Maybe that’s why House music has stayed Underground. People are afraid of who thery are. In House you wouldn’t be fearful. Your Spirit doesn’t lie. “House is a feeling, let it soothe!”
When are we going to change our national anthem to “Follow Me?”-Let’s get it done people.