MuchMusic - Soul In The City (1989)

MuchMusic - Soul In The City (1989)

Fascinating documentary from Canada's Much TV channel in 1989. Given when this was produced I imagine it even felt dated at the time. And check out the weird anachronisms and terms that are used. I do quite like Julie Levene's opening blurb:

House music is really appealing because it’s very sexual, it’s very positive, it’s dance music. You use your whole body. And in this day and age a lot of people can’t go home and have sex so they have sex on the dance floor.
— Julie Levene (Journalist, Streetsounds)

The piece has some great visuals and some incredibly 80s fashion (don't judge, it was a different time). But perhaps most pertinent are some of the categorisations of house as the 30 minutes tick down. We're taken on a tour of Chicago House, Garage House (the NY sound), Hip House, Acid, Deep House, and bizarrely Techno House. I had to stop and look quizzically at that last one for a while. My confusion deepened when Levene suggested that techno house "boarders on new wave". Suffice to say there are some spurious opinions presented as musicological facts in this but it's interesting nevertheless. Appearances from loads of early Chicagoans including Ten City with Byron Stingily, Frankie Knuckles, Todd Terry, Ce Ce Rogers, the long forgotten Xavier Gold (You Used To Hold Me), and Marshall Jefferson are all in the mix. Plus a pretty awesome snippet of Royal House performing live.

I don't know about you but I've never heard of "Techno House" before.

In the small fragments or vox pops of Frankie Knuckles you get to see how wonderfully articulate he was, and how considered his approach to the music was. I particularly enjoy his indictment of acid house and his identification of criticisms being reversed when major record labels spy a quick buck (anyone remember the boom and bust of 1979 disco?).

House music has nothing do with acid or drugs period. That’s a misconception England have. I don’t know where they got that from, it’s some they’ve picked up. Anything that’s a powerful force they try to suppress. Some bad press on rock n roll, or rap music, but it has nothing to do with no drugs at all. It’s all having fun and partying. We don’t see anyone doing drugs at any of the shows we’ve done. So that’s them who started that.”
— Dwight. Duke of Royal House

Julie Levene has a bit of a dig at the UK and shows the absolute worst of what the UK pushed out during this period (but I’d say it’s nowhere near as iffy as Ten City was). And we get a little soundbite about church vocalists. Finally, Byron Stingily talks about everything being natural and spiritual in deep house. From the project perspective it doesn't really touch on the LGBT community but it's an intriguing watch all the same.

Here are all the bizarre Top Fives from the show:

Chicago House Top Five
1) Fingers Inc - Can U Feel It
2) Marshall Jefferson - House Music Anthem
3) JM Silk - Jack Your Body
4) Farley “Jackmaster” Funk - Love Can’t Turn Around
5) Raze - Jack The Groove

Garage House Top Five
1) Serious Intention - You Don’t Know
2) Blaze - If You Should Need A Friend
3) Lachandra - Just Started
4) Adeva - In & Out Of My Life
5) Phase II - Reachin’

Techno House Top Five (that's not a thing!)
1) Reese & Santonio - The Sound
2) Blake Baxter - When We Used To Play
3) Derrick May - Nude Photo
4) Reese & Santonio - Rock To The Beat
5) Rhythm is Rhythm - The Dance

Hip House Top Five
1) Tyree - Turn Up The bAss
2) Fast Eddie - Yo Yo Get Funky
3) Toni Scott - That’s How I’m Livin
4) Double Trouble - Feel The Music
5) Todd Terry - Bango

Acid House Top Five
1) Tyree - Acid
2) Adonis - H.O.U.S.E
3) Phuture - My Only Friend
4) Fast Eddie - Acid Thunder
5) Baby Ford - Oochy Koochy!

Deep House Top Five
1) Ten City - Devotion
2) Sterling Void - It’s All Right
3) Ce Ce Rogers - Someday
4) Joe Smooth - Promised Land
5) Whitney Houston - Love With Save The Day (Frankie Knuckles Remix)

Frankie Knuckles @ Power House. Opening Night (25th October 1986)

Frankie Knuckles @ Power House. Opening Night (25th October 1986)

Can You Feel It? - In Conversation with Robert Owens (FoH2016)

Can You Feel It? - In Conversation with Robert Owens (FoH2016)