Catch A Break




A recent post over at Test Pressing, together with the Catch The Beat book that DJ History put out last year, got me feeling nostalgic about the London nightclub scene in the mid/late ’80s, in particular Phillipe Salon’s Mud Club and The Opera House. The Mud Club’s history goes back further of course, but it was the period around ’86-’87 that we used to go. The Opera House was more short-lived, an old theatre in London’s West End with the first few rows of seats ripped out to create a dance floor. Both clubs were seas of MA-1 bomber jackets, DMs and Levi 501s, with a few baseball jackets and flat tops left over from the earlier rockabilly craze, plenty of Boy London and Chanel T-shirts, ’50s suits and ’40s ties, and of course the usual helping of more creatively dressed oddballs (“Going Mud?”, my friend Jiva used to say). As this video from a fashion show at the Mud around the same time shows, there were also far too many people in cycling shorts…

The music was a mixture of Go-Go, Hip-Hop and what was then called rare groove, essentially early ’70s funk records (the term has since sometimes taken on slightly different meanings) – House music was yet to take hold in London, much to everyone’s relief. The scene made a lasting impression and kick-started a vinyl addiction that has lasted to this day. After paying tribute to the Jazz Rooms in an earlier post (my ultimate ’90s venue), I thought I’d do the same for the Mud Club (my ultimate ’80s venue) and collect together some mixes incorporating tunes played there and around the London warehouse party scene. Jay Strongman, the Mud Club DJ (along with Mark Moore of S’Express) recently did the same for DJ History.


The mixes below are a bit light on Hip-Hop, since I’ve featured most of the big tunes I would have put in in earlier mixes; so there’s more ‘rare grooves’. Many of these we have to thank Louis Flores for pointing us to with his Ultimate Breaks & Beats series on Street Beat Records. And like Street Beat, it was the Urban reissue label – rather than Polydor, King, People or Brownstone – that first introduced most of us to the extended James Brown family.

Of the first mix, I’ll just say that Blow Your Head really did blow my head when I first heard it (at a warehouse party in west London a guy from my school, Noddy, was DJing at) and it still sends shivers down my spine. It wouldn’t be a Mud Club mix without Public Enemy; so I sneaked in the intro from Public Enemy #1 first. Melting Pot and Apache are of course the big B-Boy records, while It’s Just Begun provided the music for the breakdancing scene in Flashdance. Small Saul reminded me recently that Are You Ready To Do The Bus Stop was pretty much the soundtrack to London’s Kiss FM. Meanwhile, many first heard Jungle Jazz (an instrumental take on the earlier Jungle Boogie) as a Coldcut and M.A.R.R.S. sample at the same time it was getting play on the rare groove scene.

  1. Public Enemy Number 1 (intro) – Public Enemy
  2. Blow Your Head – Fred Wesley and The J.B.’s
  3. Still Smokin’ – Trouble Funk
  4. Apache – The Incredible Bongo Band
  5. Are You Ready To Do The Bus Stop – The Fatback Band
  6. Melting Pot – Booker T and The M.G.’s
  7. Melting Pot – Boris Gardiner
  8. Eighth Wonder – The Sugarhill Gang
  9. Catch The Beat – T. Ski Valley
  10. In The Mix – Slim
  11. Holy Ghost – The Bar-Kays
  12. Gettin’ It On ’75 – Dennis Coffey
  13. My Thang – James Brown
  14. It’s Just Begun – The Jimmy Castor Bunch
  15. Jungle Jazz – Kool and The Gang
  16. Jungle Boogie – Kool and The Gang
  17. King Kong (Part 2) – The Jimmy Castor Bunch



The second mix I’ve posted before. There’s a bunch of cut-ups in there mixed in with the old-school Hip-Hop and rare groove. Personally, I think my current home city’s T.S.O.B. is the best old-school rap record there is, and Rapture’s the best rap record that wasn’t. Bad Place To Get Hit deserves a mention just because I had it on a cassette 20 years ago and never knew what it was until Catch The Beat came out. The Mohawk’s Champ would have been in this one too rather than Faze 1’s much lesser version if I hadn’t put the original in an earlier mix. I confess there’s a couple of anachronisms in there: I’ve heard all the classic James Brown cut-ups (the Froggy mix, Lesson 2, and Feelin’ James) one too many times and so DJ Format’s more recent cut gets a look-in instead; similarly we get the Scratch Perverts’ remix of Flash’s adventures rather than the original (which I first heard in the Greek’s Vauxhall Viva a long, long time ago…).

  1. Intro
  2. Rapture (disco mix) – Blondie
  3. Another One Bites the Dust – Sugar Daddy
  4. Adventures On The Wheels of Steel (Scratch Perverts mix) – Grand Master Flash
  5. T.S.O.B (The Sound of Brooklyn) – Master Jay and Michael Dee
  6. If You Don’t Work, You Can’t Eat – Bobby Byrd
  7. Bad Place To Get Hit – JC001 & DJ D. Zire
  8. Let The Rhythm Hit ‘Em – Eric B and Rakim
  9. Once In A Lifetime – Talking Heads
  10. Bustin’ Loose – Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers
  11. Catch A Groove – Juice
  12. Feelin’ James (Instrumental) – uncredited (probably Danny Krivit)
  13. Stealin’ James – DJ Format
  14. Fusion Beats Vol. 2 – uncredited (probably Afrika Bambaataa, Afrika Islam and Jazzy Jay)
  15. Bust The Champ – Throwdown & Faze 1
  16. Fusion Beats Vol. 2 – uncredited
  17. Let A Woman Be A Woman, Let A Man Be A Man – Dyke & The Blazers
  18. I Know You Got Soul – Bobby Byrd



Roadblock starts off the third mix. There are a ton anecdotes about who did or didn’t fall for the line that it was actually a super-rare funk track from the ’70s. I don’t know whether to believe all the stories about people claiming to have the original (the ’80s drums were always a dead giveaway to me); I just remember that it was played a lot at the time. Cross The Tracks was probably even more ubiquitous than Are You Ready To Do The Bus Stop, and for a while in the late ’80s, Bobby Byrd’s Hot Pants ran Funky Drummer and Think About It by Lyn Collins close for the most sampled JB-family drum break. Finally, I couldn’t resist slipping in Fade To Grey (first heard Paris, years earlier, and a nod to earlier Mud times) – and Urgent at the end, once I found Tim and I share an affection for it with Afrika Bambaataa (courtesy of his Roxy playlist in Last Night A DJ Saved My Life).

  1. Roadblock (Dub Edit) – Stock, Aitken and Waterman
  2. Sledgehammer – Peter Gabriel
  3. Jack of Spades – Boogie Down Productions
  4. Eye Know (Remix) – De La Soul
  5. Doin’ Our Own Dang (Remix) – Jungle Brothers
  6. Let’s Get Small – Trouble Funk
  7. Good To Go – Trouble Funk
  8. Cross The Tracks – Maceo & The Macks
  9. Bra – Cymande
  10. Super Sporm – Captain Sky
  11. Bus Stop – Oliver Sain
  12. Hot Pants (I’m Comin’) – Bobby Byrd
  13. Joyous – Pleasure
  14. Scratchin’ – Magic Disco Machine
  15. Rock The House – Mr K. & Special G
  16. Fade To Grey – Visage
  17. Urgent – Foreigner


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~ by ricardosevere on 04/27/2013.

11 Responses to “Catch A Break”

  1. […] I heard in a club (as the Chicago sound began to appear in between New York Hip Hop and DC Go Go back at the Mud Club) – Jack the Groove – a digital take on Cymande’s classic Bra break (heard in this mix). The […]

  2. […] we didn’t know anyone. This one’s a mix of more soundtracks, classics from the earlier rare groove era, some big breaks and a couple of big cut-ups towards the end. The ones that stick in my mind are […]

  3. […] if I hadn’t already put it in an earlier mix, as would The Bar-Kays’ Holy Ghost (in this mix). There were plenty of others to put in though, and it’s always fun working out how to put […]

  4. […] Knuckles called ‘disco’s revenge’ – first began to appear in clubs like the Mud around 1986. Initially resisted by an underground scene accustomed to rare groove, go go and hip […]

  5. […] Jungle emerged out of hardcore in the early ’90s, pioneered by DJs like Fabio and Grooverider and labels like Reinforced, Metalheadz and Moving Shadow. Characterized by a much higher tempo (typically around 160 bpm) than house, it’s based around complex drum patterns that are essentially chopped up and reassembled 33 rpm hip hop breakbeats played at 45 rpm – the most common of these are the classic break from Amen Brother, which of course had already appeared at 33 rpm in classic hip hop tracks like King of the Beats and Straight Outta Compton (heard here) and The Incredible Bongo Band’s Apache (heard here). […]

  6. […] Jungle emerged out of hardcore in the early ’90s, pioneered by London DJs like Fabio and Grooverider and labels like Reinforced, Metalheadz and Moving Shadow. With a much higher tempo (typically around 160 bpm) than house, it’s based around complex drum patterns that are essentially chopped up and reassembled 33 rpm hip hop breakbeats played at 45 rpm. The most common of these are the classic break from Amen Brother, which of course previously appeared slowed down in hip hop tracks like King of the Beats and Straight Outta Compton (heard here), and The Incredible Bongo Band’s Apache (heard here). […]

  7. […] to dawn on me that almost every sound I was hearing – from the crazy synthesizer in Public Enemy No. 1 to the eery loop driving Original Concept’s Can You Feel It – came from an older […]

  8. […] Enemy’s You’re Gonna Get Yours (heard here) and Coffey later reprised it on a 45 (heard here). S.W.A.T is a classic that appeared on UBB510, and the intro was sampled by LL Cool J on I’m […]

  9. […] got us reminiscing about old times and prompted a mix of some of the house/techno we used to hear. As I’ve said before, I was never a big house fan, but when the rare groove scene died, it became almost inescapable at […]

  10. […] rather than at it – poppier sounds like Grace Jones and Trevor Horn productions as opposed to Hip Hop and rare groove – and coffee shops full of pretentious music video producers like Keith Allen’s in the The […]

  11. […] draws a direct line from jazz-funk to acid jazz, and I guess some of the rediscovered ‘rare groove‘ tracks I first heard were jazz-funk. But it was hearing Lonnie Liston Smith’s […]

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