Compilation Review: ‘This Ain’t Chicago – The Underground Sound of UK House & Acid’ (Strut)


Chicago remains a mecca for compilation inspiration, so it’s good for the game when you have Richard Sen of Bronx Dogs talking us through a UK perspective from ’87 to ’91 rather than rehashing the same old classics. In some cases imitation is the sincerest form of flattery — the old stereotype of the United Kingdom pinching a lot of music’s best ideas survives thanks to Baby Ford’s “Crashing” and Julie Stapleton’s “Where’s the Love Gone” — and it’s noticeable more than once how much smoother the source is, compared to the chunkier transatlantic translations and more pointed form of jacking under drum machine rule while using raw materials. (Though Andrew Weatherall’s mix of Sly and Lovechild flies effortlessly with the best of them.)

Sen also brings to light producers finding their feet, featuring future UK Garage stars Julian Jonah and Mark Ryder, and those that would make chart breakthroughs in Bizarre Inc. and Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Paul Rutherford, (whose “Get Real” shows how house caught on, as it was produced by pop smoothies ABC). Of the best and most distinctive British sounds sparking up, seek out Rio Rhythm Band’s cheery “Cuba Jakkin’,” Playtime Toons’ Calypso harmony “Shaker Song,” Return of the Living Acid’s vicious “Twin Tub” and Ability 2’s roughneck bliss “Pressure Dub” for an educational account of the Windy City.
File under: Man With No Name, Mr. Fingers, Jamie Principle