SOUTHPORT WEEKENDER VOLUME 9-MIXED BY MR SCRUFF AND DJ SPINNA.

SOUTHPORT WEEKENDER VOLUME 9-MIXED BY MR SCRUFF AND DJ SPINNA.

Since 1987, the Southport Weekend has been one of the highlights of the dance music scene. Rather confusingly, the first Southport Weekend took place in Berwick Upon Tweed. After that, Blackpool became a venue, before briefly, heading to Morecambe, just along the coast. Next stop was Southport, where the weekender called home for many years. Now, the home of the Southport Weekender is Minehead in Somerset. Over the twenty-five years of the Southport Weekender, some of the biggest DJs and artists have played at the event. Among these artists were A Tribe Called Quest, India Aria and Soul II Soul. Some of the biggest DJs of the past twenty-five years have all featured at the Southport Weekender, including Miguel Migs, Blaze, Kenny Dope, Tony Humphries, Giles Peterson, Dimitri From Paris, Joe Claussell and Kerri Chandler. Each of these DJs mixes have featured on the eight previous volumes of the Southport Weekender. Two other DJs whose mixes have featured on the previous volumes of the Southport Weekender are Mr Scruff and DJ Spinna. They both feature on the Southport Weekend Volume 9, the latest installment in this successful series. So three years after volume eight was released, comes Southport Weekend Volume 9-Mixed By Mr Scruff and DJ Spinna. Has it been worth the three week wait?

DISC ONE-MIXED BY MR SCRUFF.

On Disc One of Southport Weekend Volume 9, Mr Scruff weaves his way through a total of twenty-five tracks, with the focus quite definitely on soulful and funky track. During Mr Scruff’s set, his mixing isn’t just tight, but it’s totally seamless. Over nearly eight minutes, you get a snapshot of one of Mr Scruff’s legendary five hour sets. For this set, Mr Scruff has dug deeper, seeking out some hugely soulful tracks, while he sprinkles an element of funk throughout the set. Among the twenty-five tracks is his set are tracks by Le Frank O, Kerri Chandler, Theo Parrish, The Hi-Fly Orchestra, Midas Touch and Winfield Parker. However, with twenty-five tracks to choose from, what are the highlights of Disc One of Southport Weekend Volume 9?

My first choice from Disc One of Southport Weekend Volume 9 is the joyous, uplifting sound of Le Frank O’s Keep On Gettin’ Down released in 1978, on M M-M Gold. Written, arranged and produced by Frank Johnson, the track has a really soulful sound, with the irresistible sound of rasping horns and female backing vocalists accompanying the joyful, feel-good lead vocal. It’s a pity the full track doesn’t feature, with Mr Scruff only teasing us two minutes of the track. However, even two minutes of this hidden gem of track is better than nothing. To me, it’s one Mr Scruff’s best choices. 

Midas Touch’s Nite Life (Let’s Get It On) is an irresistible track with a real feel-good sound. Released in 1979 on the Palisades label, the arrangement is one of the best on this disc. A combination of blazing horns, backing vocalists and cascading strings accompany a funky rhythm section, before an impassioned vocal enters. The longer the track, the better the track gets, with a saxophone solo, sweeping strings, punchy horns and sassy backing vocalists accompanying the lead vocal. You just can’t help but get caught up in this captivating track, one that’s guaranteed to fill any dance-floor.

Winfield Parker’s I Want To Be With You is one of the most soulful tracks on Disc One of Southport Weekend Volume 9. It’s very definitely my favorite track due to the passion and emotion of the vocal and the way it combines with arrangement. To call the track uplifting, is doing the track a disservice, it almost has a spiritual quality. With the rhythm section driving the arrangement along, braying horns that punctuate the arrangement while lush strings add the finishing touches. Add to this the most soulful of vocals and the result is an absolutely, stunning track. Amazingly,  I Want To Be With You was only the B-side of My Love For You, when it was released on P&L Records. Taken from Winfield’s My Love For You album, this is a track that anyone who loves quality soul music will adore, I certainly do.

Kerri Chandler’s Rain was released in 2000 on Nervous Records. It’s a slice of deep house, with crunchy beats, percussion and synths accompanying the punchy vocal that drifts in and out of the track. Filters are used effectively throughout the track, but thankfully not overused. The track has a catchy sound and demonstrates the quality of music Kerri Chandler has been producing for so long.

Sascha Dive’s Deepest America is an uplifting soulful house track. It was released on Germany’s Ornaments’ label in 2008. What makes this such a great track are two things, the vocal and arrangement. Both have a joyous, infectious, feel-good sound. With the sweet female vocal accompanied by crisp beats, percussion, flourishes of piano and reverberating synths, you’re quickly swept away by the track’s irresistible hook-laden sound. When all this is combined with a tempo of 129 beats per minute the result is a tantalizing, infectious slice of soulful house. 

The last track I’ve chosen from Mr Scruff’s mix is Solid Groove’s Missin,’ taken from their 2003 Dubsided EP on the Dubsided label. Here, the track is a combination of house and broken beat. This is a compelling combination that somehow, works well. With crunchy beats, piano, a flute and synths, the track is driven along at 134 beats per minute. Bursts of squelchy synths reverberate, while a floaty vocal drifts in and out of the track. During the track the tempo builds up, only to slow right down and then rebuild. Overall, the track’s a compelling combination of two genres, laden with energy.

Overall, Disc One of Southport Weekend Volume 9, Mixed by Mr Scruff is an eclectic selection of music, with the emphasis on soulful and funky music. During twenty-eight tracks, Mr Scruff reveals a few hidden gems, combining them with a selection of better known tracks. His mixing, like his selection of music, is of the highest quality. Although there’s so many great tracks on Mr Scruff’s mix, to me, the best tracks have to be Le Frank O’s Keep On Gettin’ Down, Midas Touch’s Nite Life (Let’s Get It On) and the brilliant Winfield Parker’s I Want To Be With You, which is the best track on this disc. Like Mr Scruff’s other compilations and mixes, his contribution to Southport Weekend Volume 9 is truly eclectic, and will appeal to a wide audience. Even though the emphasis is on soulful and funky music, Mr Scruff’s music will appeal to crate diggers, house music fans and of course, anyone who likes their music either soulful or funky. However, with Mr Scuff setting the bar high, will DJ Spinna be able to match or better, Mr Scruff mix?

DISC TWO.

While Mr Scruff takes the listener on an eclectic journey through twenty-eight tracks, with the emphasis on soulful and funky music, DJ Spinna takes the listener on journey through the soulful house. Here, he combines a few favorites with the latest in underground tracks. In total, DJ Spinna spins his way through twenty-three tracks on Disc Two of Southport Weekend Volume 9. The music ranges from Boddhi Satva to Kerri Chandler and Pevan Everett, via K.C.Y.C., Rhythm of Elements and Sandboy and Nanar. However, can DJ Spinna’s mix match that of Mr Scruff’s eclectic selection of all things soulful and funky? That’s what I’ll now tell you, as well as choosing my favorite tracks from Disc Two of Southport Weekend Volume 9?

The track that opens Disc Two of Southport Weekend Volume 9 and DJ Spinna’s mix is Boddhi Satva’s Who Am I? This is the French version of a track that features on Boddhi Satva’s forthcoming album which will be released on 20 March 2012 on BBE Music. Stabs of keyboards open Who Am I, which features Athenai and C. Robert Walker. It’s a track that explores a range of important issues, each of which are interconnected, including hatred, racism and discrimination. The lyrics are delivered with frustration and anger by Athenai against a spacey sounding arrangement where stabs of synths, crunchy drumbeats and percussion combine. Meanwhile, C. Robert Walker adds subtle and tender backing vocals, before later, his voice soars, laden with emotion and almost anger. It’s a compelling, powerful track where the hypnotic beats and frustration and anger in Athenai voice can’t fail to move you.  Of the twenty-three tracks on DJ Spinna’s mix, this is easily my favourite track. 

Very different from Boddhi Satva’s track is Kerri Chandler’s My Moody Life, from his 2011 Ozone EP on Madhouse Records. Crispy, pounding beats, stabs of synth and piano solo combine during this deep house track, as the tempo reaches 123 beats per minute. As the track gradually reveals itself, you realize it has an infectious, catchy sound. Key to that is the piano solo midway through the track. It’s a track that has a gradual wakening, eventually, revealing its subtleties and charms for all to hear.

One track I was really pleased to find on this mix was Sure, by Real People featuring Darien. The version chosen is Frankie Feliciano Classic Vocal which has everything you want from a soulful house track. Take an uplifting, joyful vocal, add crisp beats, bursts of synths and percussion and then add some equally joyous backing vocals and you’ve the recipe for a classic slice of soulful house designed to lift your spirits. 

60 Hertz Project’s Capricorn (Ralf Gum Mix) is a track that was released on German label Gogo Music in June 2011. It’s a deep house track with a proliferation of percussion, subtle beats and keyboards. The arrangement seems to meander along with an irresistible sound thanks to the percussion, guitar and keyboards. Here the beats are more subtle than on other tracks, giving the track a lovely laid-back sound that you can’t help find irresistible.

Peven Everett’s Sweetness (Koyla Mix) opens with crispy beats, flourishes of keyboards and percussion combining with the emotive, soulful vocal. It’s a track with a polished, soulful quality and sound. Chiming guitars augment the arrangement, while the crunchy beats and keyboards are key to the arrangement. However, without Peven’s vocal, this wouldn’t be such a great track. Adding just the finishing touch, is a Hammond organ that enters after three minutes. Percussion is added to the track and this completes one of the highlights of DJ Spinna’s mix.

The track that closes DJ Spinna’s mix on Southport Weekend Volume 9, is Sandboy & Nanar’s Night Song (Yoruba Soul Mix) which is one of the most soulful sounding tracks that features on DJ Spinna’s mix. This is from their 2007 Night House EP, released on Germany’s Hinterland Records. With crunchy beats, stabs of synths and percussion, the track gets under way, before revealing its hidden charms. A breathy, sweet female vocal is enveloped among crunchy beats, percussion and flourishes of keyboards. It’s a track that builds and builds. Later, the track reaches a dramatic crescendo with rasping horns entering, joining the beats, synths and percussion. After that, the track rebuilds as it heads towards the track’s gradual finale. It’s a fitting finale to DJ Spinna’s set, with DJ Spinna saving one of the best tracks for last. It was definitely well worth the wait.

Although I’ve only chosen six of the twenty-five tracks that feature on DJ Spinna’s mix, I could’ve chosen just about any track from his mix. On Disc Two of Southport Weekend Volume 9, DJ Spinna spins a stunning selection of house music. Most of his set is soulful house, augmented by a few deep house delights. It’s a flawless mix, with one great track following hard on the heels of another. Overall, it’s a majestic journey through soulful house, taking in a few favorites and spicing things up with some cutting edge and contemporary underground tunes. DJ Spinna has chosen his tracks carefully, with him resisting the temptation to trot out the same tired old tunes that other DJs fill their mixes with. Nor did DJ Spinna try to be too clever, instead just concentrating on quality music. Here, he neither tries to impress the crate-diggers nor train-spotters who concentrate on a track’s rarity rather than it’s quality. Instead, he’s content to spin twenty-three quality slices of soul, seamlessly mixed. 

Does DJ Spinna’s mix match or better the quality of Mr Scruff’s? Well, in my opinion good as Mr Scruff’s mix is, DJ Spinna’s is much better. His selection of music peerless and his mixing seamless. I prefer the music and mixing on DJ Spinna’s mix. Maybe on DJ Spinna’s mix the music is more focused, with the focus on just house music, whereas Mr Scruff mixes a more eclectic selection of music. Having said that, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with either Mr Scruff’s music or mixing. His choice of music is excellent and his mixing seamless. When I say that DJ Spinna’s mix is better, I just feel the music is more soulful, uplifting and dance-floor friendly.  However, both Mr Scruff and DJ Spinna’s mixes are of the highest quality, making this a very welcome return to for for Southport Weekend Volume 9. Standout Tracks: Le Frank O’s Keep On Gettin’ Down, Winfield Parker’s I Want To Be With You, Boddhi Satva’s Who Am I? and Sandboy & Nanar’s Night Song (Yoruba Soul Mix).

SOUTHPORT WEEKENDER VOLUME 9-MIXED BY MR SCRUFF AND DJ SPINNA.

Southport Weekender Vol.9 Mixed by Mr Scruff & DJ Spinna

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: