Anyone who grew up listening to black radio in New Jersey, New York or Chicago will light up at the mention of radio mix shows (an endangered artform here in NYC but thanks to WBLS, not entirely extinct). The same DJs that were rocking clubs on the weekends were throwing down those unreleased acetates and extended b-side dub versions of popular tracks on weekdays during rush hour. And in Chicago in the late 80s, music was changing; the sounds pumping out of the famed Warehouse and Music Box club were slowly taking over black radio, too. Jack To The Lost Chicago Reels is a rare glimpse into the inimitable vibe of those old school Chicago mix shows, restoring lost recordings by some of the biggest names in Chicago House music that were broadcasted on WBMX and WGCI once and then thought to be lost forever. The folks at Chicago’s Still Music hit the jackpot when someone dropped off a truckload of old reel to reel tapes at their doorstep, containing rough recordings of those mixes laid down by some of the scene’s most revered figures. These four cassettes include audio carefully transferred from those original tapes, with mixes by Chicago legends Frankie Knuckles, Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley, Devastating Darryl, and a fourth mix credited to an unknown DJ (but rumored to be the one and only Ron Hardy); enough Chicago mix show madness here to keep you jackin’ for a lifetime. There’s something about that warm analog compression that colors the sound of the radio; it’s an entirely different listening experience than hearing the same records on a nightclub soundsystem (take that, commit it to reel to reel tape, leave it to rot in some program director’s garage for 30 years and what you get will blow any “lo-fi house” tune out of the water). It’s going to take us months to work through these mixes and properly nerd out (tracklistings, alternate mixes/versions, etc.), but expect plenty of unheard tracks, demo versions and live overdubs of house classics. These four laser-imprinted cassettes come as a pack and are individually housed in full-color O-cards with all known information included on the back. Recommended.
- 4x laser-imprinted cassette tapes in multicolor shells
- housed in full-color o-card
- limited to 100 copies
- music label: Still Music 2018
reviewed by Devastating Drew 05/2018