So the first time I heard “Walking Down The Street (The N Song)” (the song from the video below) was when Mr. Carroll himself dropped it poolside at last year’s WMC. After that, I basically obsessively searched for it for like 6 months and could not find it anywhere, so at some point late last year I gave up/forgot about it all together. Then boom, all of a sudden I noticed a Count & Sinden remix charted on these guys myspace page (which you can listen to on this blog) and was reminded of how psyched I had been when I heard first heard that signature line and couldn’t get it out of my head. A little interweb research later and bang, you’re looking at the official video.
But the story doesn’t end here (and you know that we would never just post a video on Soul Clap without at least a little context for it). More surprising to me than finding the track was who had charted it. J.O.T.S. make and play “electro” music (the international misnomer for hipster’s current dance party music of choice) and Ron Carroll has made his name in the world of soulful Chicago house music. In fact, RC is one of my favorite house vocalists and a solid producer and songwriter to boot. So before this track blows up (which it will, because it’s already been licensed to 3 labels (including international cheesy disco house rulers Hed Kandi and Sinden & The Count played their version on Essential Mix last month) I think it’s important to give all the kids a little history lesson, Soul Clap style.
Ron Carroll – My Prayer (H&F Underground Dub) [Af-Ryth-Mix Sounds 0001 – 1993]
This was the first release on Chicago’s Af-Ryth-Mix Sounds, which was one of many labels M&Ded by 90’s Chicago house stalwart Clubhouse Entertainment. Af-Ryth-Mix only had twelve release and all of them were at least partially produced or remixed by Hula (except ARM-0007) who was also one of the members of The Outhere Brothers of ’90s dance hit “Boom Boom Boom” fame. This particular record happens to be Ron Carroll’s first and with six mixes to choose from it covers a wide range of early ’90s house styles. From the Original Mix’s uplifting Gospel workout, to the NYC vibed King Street Mix (can’t figure out who did this, maybe something to do with the label of the same name), to Ron Trent‘s chopped up Detroit house sounding Hymn Mix and finally to this here dub version. H&F would be none other than Hula & K. Fingers, who along with future grammy winner Maurice Joshua and fellow Outhere Brother Martell formed acid house supergroup Da Posse in the late ’80s. The two also had a grip of house remixes for Jive from ’90-’94 and Fingers aka Craig Simpkins was a member of successful deep house team Blak Beat Niks. I know, I’ve been babbling, and call me a nerd, but all these connections are what make up the roots of the music we hear today.
Ron Carroll – Natural (RC Grooves Big Room Dub) [Music 101 005 – 2002]
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Let’s keep this one simple. This track is a weird stompy, drummy workout that RC produced, but didn’t do the vocals on. It’s def not his most famous work, but we hammered it when it was released and even put it on a mix. Another remix on the record is by the aforementioned Blak Beat Niks, but I don’t like that one as much.
Hardsoul ft. Ron Carroll – Back Together (Classic Main Mix) [Soulfuric 0021 – 2003]
This is one of my absolute favorite house tracks of the early ’00s and Dutch brother team Hardsoul are some of the best producers of this style So emotional, so powerful, so dancefloor. Before the soulful sound starting coming back this year, I would put this track on to pull me out of the dark place that techno can leave me sometimes. If you like this style of “funky” house and you have never heard of Soulfuric, do yourself a favor and go check there depth of dopeness over at Traxsource. Pure class.