They were aimed squarely at people who still enjoyed variety in the intimacy of a club and had resisted the lure of House, House music all night long in hangar-like spaces all over the UK. Breakbeat lps were another type of boot compilation. Being collections of tracks with breaks on they went beyond FSJ & L to include other genres such as rock, thus inadventently preparing 90s listeners for comps that mixed up styles even futher.
In the early 90s breakbeat lp series like Ultimate Breaks n’ Beats were already well-established alongside the huge Hip Hop mixtape scene. Like 80s psych, garage and rockabilly boots breakbeat lps came professionally packaged with full colour sleeves and labels. In complete ccntrast most of the early 90s FSJ & L boots arrived white-labelled and plain-sleeved.
Finding the specific year of release is difficult for many of these but hopefully forumusic will eventually nail accurate dates and when we do so we'll update these pages accordingly. We think the un-dated boots in this section are pre 93 but we'll stand corrected if we're wrong.
The Rhythm Records price sticker on Heavyweight Grooves (top of page)is 02 May 96 but the tracklist which includes Gladys Knight, Chuck Jackson, Freddie Hubbard and Brother Jack McDuff suggests a much earlier date.
By 95 boots were more adventurous and had moved on from comping major label artists of this kind. Cross-referencing tracklists to funk, soul and jazz club playlists from back in the day could set the record straight at some point in the future.
To The Source is like a time capsule representing the point where all things funky were beginning to find favour over straight funk.
The conscience soul of Black Heat and Natural Four edge this lp towards a cool blaxploitation groove and up several notches in the desirability stakes.
You get two cool Wood, Brass and Steel tracks into the bargain and their version of Ronnie Laws Always There rides on burbling synth cushion invoking the spirit of Stevie Wonder in his prime.
In pre-internet days many UK and European vinyl fans paid silly amounts of money to get very common mainstream major label lps from the States so boots such as this one were a very attractive proposition. Now that we're regularly spoilt by a constant stream of uber-raer, private press or unreleased material coming out it's often overlooked that some major label artists produced some great music.
Minnie Riperton- Inside My Love will always be killer and it's accompanied here with similarly sumptuous and gently grooving soul cuts like Quincy Jones delicate orchestral and Hammond organ take on Summer In The City. This is a satisfying jazz funk trip down memory lane for partying like its 1990-sumthin' or a cheap jazz funk primer for those who weren't around back then.
Chill Pill is actually one of a series so in boot collector-speak is referred to as a Dexter. The name is also serves as quick shorthand for the producer of a boot series .
With the inclusion of Chakachas, RAMP and Johnny Lytle this contains music by artists from what the Waxidermy music forum has latterly referred to as the Wall of 95 genre . Roughly translated into normal-person speak these are artists whose lps could be seen on the walls of record shops around the mid-90s.
It's worth discussing the pressing quality of boots here and Messin' Around does not fare well in this department. There's a huge difference between music that has been properly mastered for vinyl release and music that hasn't. Jazz tunes with a surfeit of high resonanting tones from artists like vibraphonist Johnny Lytle sound absolutely awful in this context. Sound matters are further muddied when an lp is pressed as off-centre as this one is.
The quality of the leather was not always assured on 90s boots but for punters requiring a cut-price sip of the audio juice hi-fidelity was not a high priority. Fortunately the majority of boots sound excellent and are professionally mastered. In same cases the sound is better than on the original releases.
Benny Gordon - Tighten Up must have been popular as it appears on several boots but here's the full 9 minute version. Awesome.
it's impossible now to imagine how exciting it must have been to afford the likes of Leon Thomas and The Headhunters on vinyl in the days before blogs made sourcing sounds free and easy.
Deodato's version of And The Crickets Sing is very cool and proof these boots still walk great new sounds to the uninitiated. That's us.
The funk doesn't really kick in until the funk staple Ripple - I Don't Know What It Is But It Sure Is Funky bumps in to close the side.
No funk to open Side 2 either but no one's complaining when it's the Latin standard Joe Bataan - Latin Strut.
The mantra that there is no such thing as a boot comp one-tracker is confirmed here by The Boris Gardiner Happening - Melting Pot funky jam and the soul classic Esther Phillips - Home Is Where The Hatred Is closing Side Two.
The most cursory glance at many of these early boot Lps on Discogs reveals that at the start of 2012 the average price for most of them is around 7 GBP though many can be picked up for less. In later parts of this series we'll be scratching our heads in bemusement at how the price for some pretty average boots has begun to rise dramatically whilst the price of other genuinely inspired compilatons has remained stagnant.
Tokyo clubs were buzzing around this time. (See Behind Kungsträdgården sleevenotes later on). This begins with breakbeats from Klaus Doldinger non-de- plume Paul Nero but it doesn't take long for an 80s Maze-like soul groove to kick in. The excellent Latimore and Milton Wright tracks are a reminder that many old soul artists enjoyed an extended recording career well into the 80s as a direct result of affordable music technology promoting the spread of cheap digital recording studios.
Side 2 follows the same template opening with Hair and Thangs - Let The Sunshine In before easing down to the smooth Jazz Funk of Asha Puthli- Right Down Here and Collage -Do What You Gotta Do.
They're all very well produced and a cheap and easy way to build up a selection of classic 70s and 80s soul. Side 1 kicks off with Cannonball - Taurus before ticking off tracks from RAMP, George Duke and Melvin Sparks. It's soulful listening all the way but with a keen eye on a Hip Hop-loving teenagers sack of pocket money there's breakbeat appeal on Side 2 from The Power Of Zeus, Los Angeles Negros, Steve Grossman and 11th Hour. It's very pleasing they managed to shoehorn the classic soul of Chuck Jackson - Take Off Your Make-Up in amongst that lot.
The series continued throughout the 90s and carried on the tradition of sampled by the artist - type breakbeat lps issuing compilations with fetching titles like A Sack of Nas, A Sack of Jigga and A Sack of Ghostface.
In other series the price of some of these sampled by the artist boots has risen dramatically but the Sack ones are still mystifyingly cheap to buy and some are well worth picking up before they're hot..
Crystal clear sound and a loud pressing make for a particularly full-on Johnny Harris - Stepping Stones on this second volume.
Saint Jude pointed out that a fifth black-sleeved Uptight An' Outasight! is available which is actually a bootleg of best tracks from the first four og bootlegs.
Bodger from VG+ added The Bhagwan Love Example track at the end of the bootlegged bootleg is by the bootlegging bootleggers themselves.
Full marks on a whip smart marketing move by aspiring superstars. What was their name again?
Uptight 3 is as beautifully produced as 2 with the funk, jazz funk and jazz sounding clear as a bell. Is the presence of A Porky Prime Cut in the run-out groove just light humour or were these being pressed at pressing plants formerly used by the major labels?
Cd sales had outstripped lp sales a few years earlier and a lot of vinyl pressing plants must have been grateful for any business they could attract.
The Deirdre Wilson Tabac, Pacific Jam and Kenny Rankin on Side 1 suggest this compilation arose from the Jazz Dance scene which could place this release a few years earlier than 94. Regardless, Side 1 is a breathless jumping over your own legs and doing the splits kind of dance workout which is just as tiring when it is imagined whilst slumped and smoking in an armchair.
Covering more bases and with potential sales in mind perhaps, Side 2 gradually eases the tempo down into a satisfying blend of mellower jazz funk and then slower soul to give the jazz dancers a breather but definitely not a break as they'd bloody dance to that). Ike White and The Lost Generation bring the proceedings to a slow Soul Jamz - style full stop.
Hunting for this you may find Priceless Volume Two from 95 from Resolution Records. It has a full colour sleeve, copyright information, credits and contact numbers all present and correct. It's not featured here as it appears to be a completely legal comp which would automatically eject itself off your prized booty rack.
The same 70s yearning is increasingly reflected on sleeve designs, typography and even in the titles of later boots though thankfully use of the 'g' word faded as the decade got older, genuinely gnackered from over-use.
70's blaxploitation themes began creeping onto comps during this period pre-empting the mini-explosion of OST comps which flooded out from 1994 onwards. On here there's Dennis Coffey - Theme From Black Belt Jones and Eddie Harris & Les McCann - Shorty Rides Again.
All the tracks on this lp benefit from the fact that it's both clean-sounding and loud, suggesting that someone involved in this release had their mastering and pressing skills comfortably sorted.
Side 2 tracks has Charles Wright - What Can You Bring Me, Ernie Hines - Our Generation and Little Royal - Razor Blade. There's plenty on here to help keep your DJ bag light. And that's groovy too.
...they had already been sale-tested as separate lps in the early 90s. Heavyweight Grooves is the original version of Chill Town Presents...Heavyweight Breaks, Beats and Grooves.
The question that naturally arises is whether or not the Chill Town compilers were the same people who produced this or if is this further evidence of boot booting?
We'll reveal all later via forensic run-out groove inscription tests to confirm whether or not this was the work of just one or two different Dexters.
Check out the tracklisting of this and Chill Town presents..Heavyweight Breaks, Beats and Grooves Vol. 2 for a matching pair. Either are the Real Thing as far as classic funk is concerned.
Ike & Tina - Bold Soul Sister, The Soul Searchers - Think, Gerald Wilson - California Soul, Manzel - Space Funk, Sly Stone - Crossword Puzzleare five great reasons to keep this funk primer and that's just a selection from Side 1.
Archive the Cool Cuts og boot and play out the Chill Town og boot reissue or vice versa? Tough choice.. Clue: Cool Cuts is much harder to find
The classic Jimmy Castor Bunch - It's Just Begun is on Side 1 and better news still is it's the original 7" version. Drummer man Shelley Manne - Infinity is a loop and sample treat for 90s kids with their new Akai samplers.
In similar bleeping, breakbeat style Side 2 opens with Silhouettes - Lunar Invasion, a weird psych jam with a breath and scat flute outro for good measure. This is an excellent track from a dyed-in-the-wool sample tool of an lp.
Sitting alone on Discogs with catalogue number st-001 Soul Travelin' looks to all the world like a Harry. We doubt it though. Once again the mastering of each track and the overall quality of the sound points to someone who's done this before.
It's a very laid back selection overall and if the sample credits weren't present we'd have thought this was a mid-to-late eighties compilation. There would be a certain completeness attached if this were a reissue; replete with this sticker stating who sampled what; of an earlier boot. Bootleg lps were actually used by producers to create hit songs. This was certainly the case in England where several musicians involved in the the whole Bristol / Portishead / Massive Attack scene admitted using boot in their productions.
This was one of four boots from a record shop in London. The manager looked uncomfortable when we asked him for others and it took a short while to convince him we weren't Trading Standard Officers. He sold all four boots to us on our understanding that he didn't realise they were out in the shop and the £12 we were paying was for the plastic bag only and not the records which we had found and could now put in it.
We couldn't be bothered to ring Guiness and lay claim to the highest price ever paid in a UK record shop for a plastic bag. A less cautious shop nearby has a sign in the basement pointing to the Soul Patrol lps.
Each one consists of classic and lesser known funk, soul and jazz tracks.
With faultless seguing on both sides it's into 70s funky from the off with Mike James Kirkland - What Have We Done? channeling the spirit of Gaye's What's Goin' On?
John Cameron - Troublemaker from his 69 lp Off Centre will be familiar to many as one half of a cool and legal double-sider 45 from Jazzman Records with Mike Westbrook - Original Peter on the flip.
The selections on these lps appear fairly mainstream today but were hugely influential in shaping the taste of record buyers in the early 90s.
The extent to which these lps helped to inform and educate the crowds who went to jazz, soul and funk nights is debatable but many vinyl heads we've interviewed went on to source og lps after first hearing tracks on boots.
Twelve people obssessed with Latin Soul perhaps? We'd be lying if we didn't state that we hope this series of articles will bring forth enlightenment for the 2012 double-dip recession generation of boot collectors. As when these lps originally surfaced, there are now significant numbers of vinyl lovers who can't splash for og's.
This is a selection of cool Latin sounds and not as heavy on the Latin breaks as stated elsewhere. The majority of tracks here are a taster of fuller length tracks rather than whole tracks. We're presently loving the quirky organ groove opening of Armando at the end of side one which fades out the moment the female singer comes in but we haven't got a Scooby Doo who it's by except that his first name is Armando. It's highly likely this boot came laced with a typewritten tracklist but we don't have it.
forumusic are not Latin aficianados so the no titles thing leaves us feeling more uncool than we usually are.
The discordant but oddly powerful version of Goin' Out Of My Head (Over You) by Los Grillos is great though..
"Various / Not on label / comp / unofficial"
Like an Unknown Soldier, here's an lp to represent the scores of oblique boots possessing a white label, a typed tracklist and nowt to decipher in the run-out grooves.
People claim there are thousands of these but if you're talking about just the late eighties and early 90s period we'd argue the number is more likely to be in the low hundreds from research conducted so far.
It's easy to see the appeal of booting lps when there are identifying features on them. There must have been a certain social cachet in some circles for being the person who could access, hustle, press and distribute the hottest tracks. But the appeal of producing a completely blank boot? On a related note forumusic and Spoke Records very own Andy Cann recalls white label boots being thrust into record bags as freebies when purchasing other lps from record shops in London.
This is a good mixture of cool easy listening jazz funk. Azimuth - Manha is forever a perfect soundtrack for waking up to and there's never a duff version of Berimbau on any lp. Mandrake take the honours here. Call us shallow but these boots allow you to sip the audio juice of the cream of jazz funk and Latin that was re-discovered in the early 90s without having to wade through an interminable number of dull filler tracks.
Here's a Funk, Soul, Jazz and Brasilien comp with choice Michael Garrick and Dudley Moore tracks.
Did boots assist a resurgence of interest in some artists? Many music forum members claim that after hearing certain tracks on these cheap compilations they went on to source original lps. Dudley Moore lps certainly went up in price in the late 90s.
Some independent labels today have no problem with selections from their vinyl releases being available as downloads on blogs claiming they actually boost sales of the physical product.
The Groove Vibrations label produced 13 releases from 93 to 2001 and this first one is 100% rare groove / funk.
Five years later the label released an lp of obscure 70s jazz-funk tracks from French /Canadian music libraries called Funkophonic Sound and in between those two they released original Hip Hop material.
Other series reflect changes in 90s crate-digging taste in much the same way. The chameleon-like Rare Funk imprint for example managed to squeeze femme funk, mod, psych, afrobeat and soundtrack editions into its series of releases in the 90s.
Pressed loud for maximum breakbeat collector appeal this premieres the top orchestral funk of Australia's Daly-Wilson Big Band - Dirty Feet. Getting an original copy of their lp these days is neither difficult nor overly expensive but this compilation put its funky orchestral big band appeal on the radar for many.
Matata - Talkin' Talkin' is another track that features repeatedly on boots because of its short but massively clean drum break and it's followed immediately here by the snare and bass drum killer Les Baxter- Hot Wind mistitled on the label as Helle's Belles.Times on affordable samplers were still fairly short in the early 90s so compilations like these had huge appeal to Hip Hop obssessed teenagers who wanted to either make tracks with their Midi'd up sequencers or rock doubles on their twin decks. This New Jersey label delivered the required beats loud and punchy.
The lack of cover and basic label design has kept this and other Vinyl Dogs releases very cheap. They are all well worth picking up as they have great track selections and are solidly produced.
We're on the finishing straight now so we'll stretch reviews a little further for a few lps from this period that are established classics and some others that are worthy of a spotlight.
On the classic funk boot Original! Blue Funk lp we have at last a date and address though any mail addressed to Flatbush, NY could arrive at any one of several thousand homes.
The label is a tidy pastiche of the Blue Note label and states that this is Blue Funk #3. We wasted a fair chunk of time trying to find the elusive Blue Funks #1 and # 2 and worked out there is often fuzzy logic or no logic at all in titles and catalogue numbers of boots in a series.
A short time later a very reliable Dexter came along and informed us that many compilers deliberately called their first productions Vol. 3 or Vol.4, purely to give the impression that their fresh offspring was part of a well established series and therefore not suspicious in any way.
So chasing sequences in a boot series is often as unproductive as searching for that elusive *missing* Big Daddy magazine that never was. There are other Original! titles which may be related and one is a cracker.
Side 1 is one of the straightest old school funk compilations available and the selection of bass heavy groovers and heavy slow funk is top rate.
Loads of goodies here to shuffle around to before, during or after a good night out including God Make Me Funky, Move Your Hand, Hip Drop and the compellingly simple 24 Karat Theme.
When this was issued it was nigh on impossible to find so many classic funk tunes in one place.
Over on Side 2 it's more of the same kicking off with Eddy Jacobs - Pull My Coat. Roy Ayres (sic)- Painted Desert offers light jazz-funk vibes relief on the second track and the whole affair closes with the slinky groove of Freddy Perren's Easin’ In.
A killer funk compilation and a boot staple to boot.
Quelque chose de Jazz / Something Jazz (1993)
This is the first lp from a label run by jazz, funk and Brazilian collector DJ Yellow and Chris LeFriant, aka Bob Sinclair, who was resident DJ at a popular Parisian club called Le Palace. Well that's the Discogs site says anyway.
Yellow Productions started up in 93 and went on very quickly to be a wholly legitimate label releasing tracks by the likes of Dimitri From Paris and Kid Loco. The label is still thriving today and in 2011 Bob Sinclair released a cd performing with Italian icon Rafaella Carrera. Type her name and Adriano Celentano into Youtube to find an extraordinary Italian TV performance of Prisenensicolancuisol. We'll put a link here when we find our CSS link manual.
One small measure of how lucrative the boot market was in the 90s may be guessed from minor details like the speed at which a label moved from black and white sleeves to full colour ones. The sleeve of Quelque Chose Vol. 2 is very similar to this one but in full colour and features in our 94 coverage.
Quelque Chose de Jazz 1 and 2 were released a year apart. but by the end of 95 Yellow Productions had released over 20 legitimate titles from mostly new artists. Researching this series revealed names of many associated with legitimate record labels who learned to tie their music industry laces in the boot camp.
This is a cool compilation of top rate Latin-flavoured jazz sounds though the slow-burning funk opener
Xplosion - Wait A Minute is unexpected on an lp with the word jazz so predominant in the title.
Sahib Shihab - Calypso Blues blows away the funk and there's that whole breathy flute going on around his calypso percussion making it breezier than an afternoon on Great Yarmouth beach but far more sunny. Tania Maria - No Ano Que Vem cranks up the tempo whilst maintaining the beach feel.
Steve Grossman's compelling Moon Dance closes Side One. It's the kind of noodling saxophone jazz exploration that normally launches forumusic towards the turntable to remove the stylus but there's an urgency and groove to this that's cool and keeps you in your seat. This is a very good compilation and it still costs less than most singles.
I also compiled the semi-lgit The Sound Of Funk Volume 1 for Goldmine which really started the whole funk thing off. A lot of people approached me with their ideas for comps or requests for advice after that.
Some were out and out boots but Goldmine paid MCPS publishing royalties by submitting a standard AP2 form but ignored the sound recording rights (music has two sets of copyright attached - publishing and sound) which were usually owned by the original label. Most of the stuff was pretty obscure and most titles would only have been pressings of 1000 copies.
With the man in the driving seat on a mission to get some seriously rare funk out to the public The Sound Of Funk unleashed fresh funk gems onto an unsuspecting UK, European, US and Japanese public. Through well established industry, dealer, shop and music magazine connections this particular Dexter ensured it was relentlessly spammed everywhere and on hitting the distributors, specialist shops and market stalls it flew out. If you hadn't already heard the buzz about it the screaming pink cover at least ensured you noticed it.
The awesome funk from start to finish is matched only by the awesome fact that the 25,000+ sold means these are still plentiful and it costs about the same as it did when it first came out.
Being cheap and distinctly non-rare means you can play it until it's thrashed like you used to before you became an archivist.
For this boot at least you can set aside that whole purchase and preserve it in a plastic sheath to appreciate in value malarkey and enjoy every mis-cued stylus pop scattered amidst the mess of raw funk party beats.
Dedicated funksters knew it already but this compilation conveyed the message to a much wider audience that there was a lot more funk to be heard beyond the James Brown, Meters, Parliament axis.
Excellent yes. But is it from Sweden? It's clear from conversation with various Dexters there was much fun to be had making up names of people to thank on sleeves. You would, wouldn't you? If it's not going to involve a little bit of fun it's not worth doing surely? With a track called Behind Kungsträdgården plus Swedish resident Sabu Martinez featured marketing this boot as a Swedish one feels like an extended in- joke. We'll stand corrected and apologise if we're wrong. Good sleeve notes on this plus a track by track synopsis:
The current jazz explosion in London, Tokyo and many other places has now developed to a state where music from other places than the US and Britain is finding an interest with the DJs and the jazz audience. Jazz music mainly from Sweden , Finland, and Germany made in the 70s is of the highest quality... However this excellent music is extremely rare on the London / Tokyo market and often very expensive...
Melvin Price - Behind Kungsträdgården: rootsy bassline topped with a grinding Fender Rhodes groove...
Peter Herbolzheimer - The Catfish: funk a la big band from the sought after Live Im Onkel Po album
Sundance - Buster: features EGBA percussionist Ahmadu Jarr, check out lead singer vocal lines, - wicked!
Superb and still easy to find it's funky jazz from the Melvyn Price title track kick-off. It also includes killer tracks from Sabu Martinez, Ed Thigpen and Eeero Koivistoinen.
A great sleeve too, designed no doubt to attract the hordes of Europeans beyond UK shores who loved their Afrobeat and were sick of seeing the same cover art on every Electric Funky Afro Sound and Tribal Africanism compilation. We'll be looking at those later.
Many other superb jazz compilations were booted out of Europe as a result of Acid Jazz club culture going global. Although thousands of people were tranced and raving in hangars the re-vitalized UK jazz scene captivated a sizeable number of UK youngsters who discovered in dance jazz something just as fast but much cooler. Despite the berets of course.