Arts & Entertainment
2 min

CD review: Two Decades of Club Classics – Danny Rampling

Masterful selection of classic house

The sixth installment of CR2’s highly successful series Live and Direct features legendary house music DJ Danny Rampling and two dozen or so of his favourite club cuts from the past 20 years. Is it good? Yes. Owing to Rampling’s rise to fame during the early years of house in the late ’80s, there is a rich and colourful selection on this compilation that is nothing short of masterfully selected and lovingly mixed.
A bit of a backgrounder: Rampling is one of the most famous DJs on the British house scene since its beginnings. He shot to fame after a trip to Ibiza in 1987 that saw him return to London to create several seminal club nights in the capital that helped push the Balearic sound to the mainstream. When it exploded in the clubs (with a little help via the rise of MDMA consumption), Rampling was well positioned as the movement’s de facto leader, which was only compounded when he joined BBC Radio One as host and producer of the Lovegroove Dance Party, one of the most successful BBC radio shows of all time. The man’s credentials are second to none and he more than delivers on Danny Rampling ’88-’08: Two Decades of Club Classics.
Stretching way back right off the bat, Rampling treats the listener to a host of surprises including Sterling Void’s early house classic “It’s Alright” (which was faithfully covered by the Pet Shop Boys in 1988) and Sabrina Johnston’s legendary house cut “Peace in the Valley” which has never sounded fresher. Always eclectic, true to his nature, Rampling goes right into Latin club classic “La Diosa Misteriosa.” I’ve never really been big fan of Latin club cuts, but by including the track, Rampling is giving a nod to the Latin community, whose massive influence on various aspects of house music is undeniable. The Latin sound peaked in the late 1990s, but it never went away. In that sense Live and Direct comes across as more of a musical history map, without ever once coming off as boring or self-indulgent.
Further in Rampling delves into the Euro side of things with his inclusion of Freemasons’ “Pacific” and a brilliant rework of USURA’s classic spacey house cut “Open Your Mind” — I’d forgotten how much I love that track. Blaze’s “If You Should Need a Friend” is another welcome addition to the compilation, a very soulful slice of classic Chicago-style house music. Danny Rampling Club Classics is hands down one of the best house comps I have ever heard and is highly recommended.