There is something special about 90’s house music. The combination of authentic disco with soaring diva vocals and soul all came together in a magical moment for house music. Those tracks come back time and time again to be rinsed out as classics, or get remixed and edited for a new audience. One factor that made the era really stand was the rise of the house vocalist who became as important as the person who produced the track. Mark Knight may be a modern house music machine with Toolroom Records and his own tracks. However, he cut his teeth as a clubber back in the 1990's and knows those tracks very well. With a new vocal track under his belt “If It’s Love” with Laura Davie & Melody Men, we asked Mark Knight to share with us his favorite vocal house tracks of the 1990's.
With his track and the songs below, Mark Knight brings us to a time where love and positivity ruled the dancefloor. It may be a while before we get back there as a community, but while we wait and dance alone (together online), listen back to Knight’s favorite vocal house tracks of all time. Mark goes down memory lane with these, so read on for some nostalgic clubbing memories.
1. Cloud 9 – Do You Want Me Baby
This is without doubt my favorite house record of all time. Those chords on the intro get me every single time – it just reminds me of everything I love about the scene and completely ties me to electronic music. It’s absolutely perfect.
2. Arnold Jarvis – Inspiration
This brings back memories of some of my formative clubbing experiences at Ministry of Sound in the '90s at the legendary Rulin. 10am, just finished listening to Tony Humphries for eight hours or something like that, and we’d blast this record on the way home from the club. It’s an example of a house record with proper, meaningful lyrics. I’m actually working with Arnold on something at the moment, which is a real honor for me, to be working alongside someone who has such a huge impact on me back in the day.
3. Blaze – Live The Happy Life (Kulb Head Vocal)
This remind me very specifically of a night at Bagleys in ‘94 or ‘95 hosted by Hard Times. They invited pretty much every big US DJ you could name and I must have heard this played four or fives times over the course of the night. I really think that was the best night’s clubbing I’ve ever had in my life, and this record played a huge part in soundtracking it.
4. Alexander Hope – Saturdays
Just a brilliant, feel-good record – so positive. I often put this on when I’m just heading out to a gig to get myself into the right mindset: instant party vibe.
5. Voices – Voices In My Mind (CJ Mackintosh Remix)
Again, this is a record that really reminds me of being in the main room at Ministry Circa 95…Chris absolutely nailed this remix. It has this really long acapella reprise intro before the bass comes in, and eventually the drums still makes on the hair on the back of my neck stand up to this day – a record to properly lose yourself in, especially in that dark room with an immense sound system. What I wouldn’t give to go back and do relive that for just one night. This was my generation’s equivalent of the Paradise Garage.
6. Federal Hill – I Have Something for You feat. Karen Daughtry (Original T.M.V.S. Club Mix)
Tommy and Victor provide just pure quality US garage at it’s very finest. If you can’t dance to this record …you basically can’t dance. A Garage City/ Loft Classic
7. Mood II Swing – Closer feat. Carol Sylvan – Swing To Mood Dub
Anyone who was involved in the house scene in the 90s will know this record – it was and still is an absolute anthem. It’s just incredibly versatile: tough enough to played peak time and soulful enough to be played as part of the warm up. Still gets absolutely hammered across pirate radio in London to this day, and was one of many, many Mood II Swing tracks that prove their completely mastery of the genre.
8. Sharon Pass, Steve "Silk" Hurley & The Voices of Life – The Word Is Love (Silk's Anthem 12”)
I still play this all the time. It’s a real crowd pleaser as it’s instantly recognizable from that bassline. And the hook oooof! Different level oozes soul. One of the records I really wish I had made!
9. Barbara Tucker – Beautiful People
If you had to pick out five house records that defined the 90s, this would have to be in there. A completely joyous anthem that still stands the test of time. Every mix from the Dub of the Duck beats to the full vocal next level. House music at its absolute finest.
10. Swing 52 feat. Arnold Jarvis – Color Of My Skin
Benji Candelario does some brilliant production on this song that was actually relatively tough for its time. With Arnold providing the top line, it’s the lyrics that really make this stand out. Incredible songwriting that really means something and that people remember as a result.