Incredible as it seems, this year marks twenty years since the launch of Johnny D’Mairo’s Henry Street Music label. To celebrate, BBE is marking the occasion with a sumptuous five- disc CD retrospective, a fitting tribute to one of the most important of all house labels. This is one of the most extensive grand summations yet done of a dance label.
Henry Street Music exemplified its era as much as Trax and Nu-Groove had theirs. Come the mid-‘90s, the disco cut-up became ubiquitous, as thousands tried to emulate the success of Henry Street’s first big killer, The Bucketheads’ Tha Bomb –still a dancefloor staple two decades on.
Many of the movers and shakers of the day had their best moments on Henry Street, and they’re all here: Johnick, Armand Van Helden, DJ Duke, DJ Sneak, Dirty Harry, Davidson Ospina, Todd Terry, Mateo and Matos, Brutal Bill, Josh Wink, even the UK’s own Ashley Beedle, and many more –a veritable roll-call of the premiere-league of dance at the time, an era when dance music still seemed incredibly fertile and the link with its own past was still vital.
Some of the American originals can struggle to get props among the countless mutations of house out there vying for attention in today’s digitalized dance scene, but the real house-heads always knew to check them, and will recognize this as quality product, through and through.
Henry Street (named after Brooklyn homeboy Johnny’s neighbourhood) always had a ‘New York’ vibe, and even when drawing its producers from further afield, the label encapsulated the city’s melting-pot of talent and raw, bristling energy… energy captured here, and exploding off these remastered tracks like it’s 1999 all over again!
Alongside the massive dancefloor anthems from the likes of Kenny Dope and Armand Van Helden are some real gems that got away, some exclusive mixes, and the thoughts of Johnny D, one of the prime-movers of the New York dance scene even before he came up with his own label, responsible for countless hits as promotions man and as dance A&R at Atlantic. Never one for the limelight, Johnny’s own story is nonetheless inextricably bound up with the transition from disco through house to the ubiquity of dance music today.
So… dust off those dancing shoes, and get ready to feel the heat, it’s one more time for the Henry Street Hustle!
3LP track listing:
Side A : Columbia Street
A1 Kenny “Dope” presents The Bucketheads – The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind)
Side B : Hicks Street
B1 Armand Van Helden presents Old School Junkies – The Funk Phenomena
B2 Johnick – Play The World
Side C : Henry Street
C1 DJ Sneak presents The Polyester EP – Show Me The Way
C2 Robbie Tronco presents Tronco Traxx – Walk 4 Me
Side D : Clinton Street
D1 Groove Culture / Arnold Jarvis – Feelin’ It (Rhythm Section Main Mix)
D2 Stron Jay – Feel The Thunder (Tommy Musto Mix)
Side E : Court Street
E1 Mike Delgado presents The Upstairs Lounge – Byrdman’s Revenge
E2 Tiger Blood – Like That
Side F : Smith Street
F1 BQE – Steal Your Love
F2 DJ Duke / Roland Clark – D2-D2 (I Get Deep) (Timmy Regisford Shelter Mix)