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Saturday 18 May 2024

V.A. Saturday

Boy's Own began in 1987, four friends inspired by records, clubbing and clothes (and football)- they started a fanzine inspired by Peter Hooton's Liverpool based fanzine The End. Andrew Weatherall, Cymon Eckel, Terry Farley and Steven Hall had come together through connections in the Windsor/ Slough area and via Paul Oakenfold began hitting the early acid house clubs. Boy's Own ran for several years as a very funny, sharp and hipper- than- you fanzine, the 'acid house parish magazine'. I never saw a copy at the time but did pick up a few issues of The End. Eventually Boy's Own became a record label too and a band, Bocca Juniors, grew out of it releasing two singles, the first the superb Raise and a second, Substance. Boy's Own Recordings put out a series of the period's defining 12" singles, records by Less Stress, Jah Wobble, One Dove and LSK as well as their own Bocca Juniors singles. Eventually Andrew Weatherall moved on and did something different, as he was wont to do any times over the subsequent decades- he had a knack for knowing when to switch course or change lanes. 

In 1992 Farley and Hall created a spin off label, Junior Boy's Own which stated by putting out a run of essential 12" singles, some of the key dance music/ house/ techno releases of the mid- 1990s and then moving into the brave new world of dance acts making albums. The Chemical Brothers started on Junior Boy's Own and Underworld released their three 90s albums on the label, dubnobasswithmyheadman, Second Toughest In the Infants and Beaucoup Fish. In 1994 they compiled a various artists compilation that pulled together some of the records from those first few years, tracks that in some ways are the sound of the period- if you went clubbing in 1993/ 1994 you would have been dancing at some point in those long nights to some or all of Fire Island, X- Press 2, Underworld, Outrage, Roach Motel and The Dust Brothers. The influence of New York house, gay club culture and UK techno is here. The emerging sound of what would become Big Beat and the Heavenly Sunday Social scene can be found here too, not least in the massive sirens and crashing hip hop drums of Song To The Siren, The Dust Brothers' calling card. 

X- Press 2 released London X- Press in 1993, a percussive, relentless house groove and some funky guitar, synth sabs, thumping bass and that 'raise your hands' sample accompanied by sirens. 

Roach Motel were Pete Heller and Terry Farley, funky, early 90s house, deep, soulful, influenced by New York's club sound. Would still rock a dancefloor today. 

Underworld appeared on Junior Boys Own Collection twice, once as themselves (with Rez) and once as Lemon Interrupt. It originally appeared as 1992 12" with Eclipse but Bigmouth eclipsed Eclipse, a huge ten minute long Underworld drum track with head spinning lead harmonica on top, a swampy, chuggy, uplifting, funky, shot of 1992, Darren Emerson pushing Rick Smith and Karl Hyde into new places. 

The Junior Boy's Own Collection sleeve was a very knowing mid- 90s thing too, portraits of various faces done as 1940s cigarette cards- Michael Caine, Tommy Cooper, Pete Townsend, Phil Daniels in Quadrophenia, Captain Scarlet, Al Pacino, Norman Wisdom, Sid James, Marlon Brando, Travis Bickle, Mick Jagger, Patrick McNee, Sean Connery, Terry Thomas, W.C. Fields and Zachary Smith. 


Khayem said...

Great post, Adam. What I loved in the early 90s was that you could potentially dedicate yourself to just one label - JBO, Guerilla, Warp, Deconstruction, etc. - and still fill your boots with quality music, remixes and compilations.

Anonymous said...

The base drum on London express was something else.....

Tom W said...

I bought this, on cassette, the Stockport branch of Our Price, and thinking I was clever taped the Underworld songs and then took it back. Then wished I hadn't and spent years trying to track down mp3s from it, think I've got them all now. Period-specific detail: I was returning it just behind a mum who was returning her teen son's Cypress Hill tape and castigating the shop attendant for allowing a 'young boy' to buy this 'disgusting filth'.

Christ, this post's been like Proust's madeline...