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Six of Their Best. Number Two. Johnny Vicious

Six of Their Best Johnny Vicious 

Its late 1993, I am 17 years old and I am working in a record shop called BPM Records in the city of Derby. An unassuming white label import comes through the door, and it has nothing written on neither the sleeve nor the inner labels other than the words "I Love Music" Not even an artist name, this took a while to obtain but at the time there was nothing to go on. I open it and play it, and I was immediately all over this thing, I had found another Disco house hero.

The next thing I know this guy and his work starts to appear all over the place, especially through the legendary Network Records label. So without giving away too much at this point and without further delay here is Johnny Vicious' finest tracks in my opinion of course here at Waxadisc.

A guy whose production style had that raw Punk ethos combined with Disco House sound which broke all the rules, but mainly because there weren't any at that time, producers were making it up as they went along the unknown path of how a dance track should sound and what particular sounds mixed well with what. This is why many tracks from that era sound dated now as what worked well at that time doesn't necessarily sit well today. But Johnny's work which I have selected here works well even now. Enjoy.

I Love Music / MacArthur Park Re-edit Bootleg White Label 1993 

Whilst this came out in 1994, the white label was knocking about in late 1993. This was I guess my introduction to Disco re-edit mixes and as I had no idea about such terminology at that time I simply put it down as a House remix of the O-Jays. I love the nasty cut up samples on this accompanied with the trademark Congo introduction that this track is well known for.

It really cuts into the groove of the track and holds no bars with its message of delivering a straight up raw Disco House track. This is a sure fire cut to ribbons track with all the elements required for the dance floor. So because this was my introduction to his work in the mid 90's, I thought I would begin with this track.

MacArthurs Park McDonna's Park 1993 White Label

This was the flip side of the track above, because they were both solid tracks, I decided to fit them both in. This is a fantastic reworking of Donna Summers MacArthur Park, which was a New York staple back in the day on the Disco scene. Here Johnny Vicious reworked it for that dirty cut up style which was beginning to take shape in House music back then. 

Theme From Soul Train T.S.O.P Network Records 1994

When this came out he had begun to establish himself as an in demand producer. With his rendition of T.S.O.P  he really captured the essence of raw sample based House music and took it to a new level of toughness. 

Using the Theme from Soul Train on Philadelphia Records, this track was an absolute floor filler during that year, an absolute belter of a track and I even think this may have hit the national charts at some point? However it really does stand the test of time and is well worth playing out even today. 
If I still carried vinyl to my gigs I would be taking this in there on the odd occasion that's for sure.

Loleatta Holloway Stand Up Johnny Vicious Remix Network/Six6 Records 1993

His work for Network Records was ongoing through out 1994-1995. He was extensively involved in the 12" box set that came out on the label. However this was the first he did of her and this promo was knocking about in late 1993. I think this officially came out in early 1994. It has such a dreamy feel to it and begins with an extended flat string sound and heavy percussion. 

It does travel quite well as it is a very long version and has some unforgiving riffs throughout alongside her heavy shouting vocals. The track does have many different dynamics throughout which drop in and out giving us a taste of what a remix artist used to do with their commissions. These were the days when remixes would last for more than 4 minutes, something we don't hear anymore. 
A great rework of a forgotten Disco classic at that time. 

Loleatta Holloway - The Queens Anthem Network/six6 Records 1994

The second track is The Queens Anthem from Network Records which I am reviewing that he did for Miss Holloway. once again This one was certainly in the same style of the T.S.O.P track. It has a sluggish approach and a nasty lurking organ riff that trails throughout. Not to mention that this is the ultimate Disco Queen herself on vocals which are highly amusing to say the least, so in turn the artist and the producer make the perfect combination complete by creating a seedy Disco track worthy of any playlist.

Loleatta Holloway was bought back from the doldrums by Johnny Vicious more than anyone, Even the fact that she had a massive number one single in 1989 when Black Box sampled her for their Ride on Time classic. I feel that her true comeback where she genuinely belonged was in the Disco House scene and Johnny certainly contributed to that before her untimely death. A dark and yet entertaining track. His production at this point was getting tight. 

Deee-Lite Bring Me Your Love Johnny Vicious Remixes. Elektra Records 1994.

This came out originally on a U.S import white vinyl pressing. I actually have two copies of this because I wore one of them out in its heyday. This was a period when House artists began to combine genres, most notably with Hip Hop. Years after the Hip House boom had exploded and faded away, Producers began to drop their tracks down to a Hip Hop breakdown in the middle of the track. 

It began with Slo Moshun and their anthem Bells of New York and was replicated by K-Klass for their Bobby Brown remix in the same year, but here Johnny Vicious applies that same technique with thunderous effects. He has three mixes on this 12" but its the two that breakdown into Hip Hop that cut it for me. 

This one is a more tribal affair with lots of percussion going off with that trademark high string and low stabs that were associated with the Sound Factory at that time in New York with Junior Vasquez, With its reversed Disco stabs and the superb vocals by Lady Miss Kier, when it breaks down it has a brilliant Hip Hop break beat with the Disco bass line throughout. As the track returns back to its House groove the reversed Disco stabs and the organ licks take on full charge and lifts us back to where it originally began. Superb Disco House. There is also another version of this on the 12" vinyl that Vicious did which had a much more twisted Disco bass line feel to it, Its well worth buying a copy.

Six of Their Best. Number Two. Johnny Vicious Six of Their Best. Number Two. Johnny Vicious Reviewed by Waxadiscmusic on 05:00 Rating: 5

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