Club Escape’s “Perfect List” 1991

Triple J Club Escape Perfect List 1991: click for a close-up

OK, I lied. I have managed to find a hard copy of the Club Escape Perfect List from 1991.

As before, this is a list of the “best” dance tracks released in 1991, as chosen by the crew at Club Escape, the Adelaide-based dance music program on Triple J.

I wasn’t involved in Club Escape that year. I’d already gone on to The Core magazine — and indeed this list is taken from The Core issue 12, from 15 January 1992. So the people to blame for this list are producer John Thompson-Mills (”JB”) and presenter Paul Kitching.

[Update 6 September 2007: I’ve linked to as many of these songs as I can find on YouTube. Some of them may not be the exact mix played on air, but you get that. Enjoy. And if you find any others, please let me know.]

[Update 27 January 2011: I’ve just updated all the links back to the songs on YouTube. So many had suffered linkrot over the last few years. Not all of the links will be to the same mixes that were originally played on the radio.]

Top 10:

1. De La Soul: Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)

2. Quadraphonia: Quadraphonia

3. The KLF: Last Train to Transcentral

4. Enigma: Sadeness

5. Rozalla: Faith (In the Power of Love)

6. T99: Anastasia

7. Crystal Waters: Gypsy Woman

8. PM Dawn: Set Adrift on Memory Bliss

9. LL Cool J: Mama Said Knock You Out

10. Sabrina Johnston: Peace (In the Valley)

Part 1, 28 December 1991:

Creative Thieves: Nasty Rhythm
Brothers In Rhythm: Such a Good Feeling
Clubhouse: Deep In My Heart
Double Dee: Don’t You Feel
De La Soul: A Rollerskating Jam Named Saturday
Heavy D and The Boyz: Now That We’ve Found Love
Spectrum: Brazil
Human Resource: Dominator
Joey Beltram: My Sound
Gary Clail and the On-U Sound System: Human Nature
Massive Attack: Unfinished Sympathy
Sonya Roche: Love Itch
Slam Slam: Move
Black Box: Strike It Up
DJ H & Steffy: Think About
Clubland: Pump That Sound
Frankie Knuckles: The Whistle Song
Sue Chaloner: I Wanna Thank You
Naughty By Nature: OPP
Gang Starr: Love Sick (You can see some wanker mime to it, at least.)
A Tribe Called Quest: Can I Kick It?
DJ Professor & Zappala: We Gotta Do It
Utah Saints: What Can You Do 4 Me?
NDX: Higher Than Heaven
Hookline & Singer: Night Time

Part 2, 4 January 1992:

Living House: To Talk
Velvet: Hold Me
Ginny: Keep Warm
Public Enemy: By the Time I Get to Arizona
Young Disciples: Get Yourself Together
Lisa M: Love’s Heartbreak
Digital Boy: Gimme A Fat Beat
GTO: The Bullfrog
Brand New Heavies: Never Stop
Driza Bone: Real Love
Bomb the Bass: Air You Breathe
Eve Gallagher: Love Come Down
The Badman: Magic Style
LA Style: James Brown Is Dead
Final Exposure: Vortex
Massive Attack: Safe From Harm
Shabba Ranks & Maxi Priest: Housecall
Bomb the Bass: Love So True
Audio Deluxe: Sixty Seconds
The KFL: Amerika: What Time Is Love?
Midi Rain: Eyes
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince: Summertime
Queen Latifah: Fly Girl
Afrika Bambaataa: Just Get Up and Dance
Jennie: Bring Back the Bus Stop
Rozalla: Everybody’s Free

Part 3, 11 January 1992:

Fits of Gloom: Differences
Rozalla: Born To Love Ya
Alison Limerick: Where Love Lives
3 x Dope: Mr Sandman
Digital Underground: Packet Man (YouTube has a live version)
Djum Djum: The Difference (remix)
Moby: Go
Space Trax: Atomic Playboy
Natasha: AM/FM
Enigma: Principles of Lust
Incognito: Always There
Alison Limerick: Come Back for Real Love (remix)
Nomad: (I Wanna Give You) Devotion
Ce Ce Peniston: Devotion
… and the Top 10

Apparently there was time to include some other tracks in the programs which weren’t in the Top 75, but still considered good — but The Core doesn’t say what they were.

What strikes me about this list compared with the previous year’s are:

  • My god, it really was the year of Italo-house, eh? I mean, three Rozalla tracks? Sheesh! Maybe it’s just that JB was in luuuurve…
  • Where’s the English electronica gone?
  • Why are there so few tracks that I actually like?
  • Nice to see Moby launching his career.

There was also a…

Club Escape Listeners’ Top 10:

1. Rozalla: Everybody’s Free

2. Human Resource: Dominator

3. Moby: Go

4. LA Style: James Brown Is Dead

5. T99: Anastasia

6. Naughty By Nature: OPP

7. Final Exposure: Vortex

8. Stereo MCs: Elevate My Mind

9. Bassomatic: Funky Love

10. Marley Marl: The Symphony

You know, I reckon the listeners chose better — or maybe that’s just me?

10 Replies to “Club Escape’s “Perfect List” 1991”

  1. Woo!

    Here’s my take on that list with the ones that I really liked then and now (in NPO) as opposed to own.

    Frankie Knuckles: The Whistle Song — Hugs all around at 4am.
    Massive Attack: Unfinished Sympathy — And then you get home…

    Gang Starr: Love Sick
    A Tribe Called Quest: Can I Kick It? — The party hip hop tunes. The former comes from one of my favourite albums of all time Step In The Arena.

    Nomad: (I Wanna Give You) Devotion – Perhaps it was the sampled horns, the female vocal or the drum break. A funky number indeed.

    Joey Beltram: My Sound
    Final Exposure: Vortex — Both of these slamming techno as we knew it. My Sound definitely the ‘ravier’ of the two, but still amazing.

    Actually, I do own all of that on vinyl.

    There was a far better cut by Midi Rain called Crack Train which didn’t get much play, but to this day is one of my favourite early UK house cuts.

  2. Definitely the year of Italo House! Actually, Think About isn’t a bad track. But I seem to remember Numero Uno was the inescapable (no pun intended!) Italo House hit… it was everywhere. Or have I got the wrong year?

    My favourite tune of this era was probably outside Club Escape’s remit: The Only One I Know by the Charlatans. Unfortunately, it was never big in Australia; I suspect the Mod-meets-Baggy vibe deterred all but the staunchest Anglophiles.

    Next up on the Nostalgia Channel: the year is 1992, it’s 5 am, and the DJ is playing Opus III’s It’s a Fine Day.

  3. Random lunchtime comments:

    My favourite thing on this list is Unfinished Sympathy. Dark, atmospheric & moody with a great video to boot. Not particularly danceable though. Safe From Harm would be more danceable — a slow jam type of dance I guess. The vocalist for both tracks, Shara Nelson, is fantastic. It’s a shame she never did more stuff with Massive Attack.

    Last Train To Trancentral is also fantastic — it slams you with hook after hook. Where is 3AM Eternal though? It became an international hit in Jan 1991 (originally released a bit earlier though — 1989?)

    I remember Enigma’s Sadness being a less annoying Deep Forest type song (i.e still damn annoying)

    Crystal Waters proves my theory that making songs about the homeless is generally not a good idea (see: Phil Collins’ Another Day in Paradise). Of course, she’s still lurking around the edges with recent memorable dance hit Destination Calabria (more memorable for the video always being on at the gym I go to — I can’t actually remember what it sounds like despite repeated exposure).

  4. @Richard: Dedicated Googling reveals that Starlight’s Numero Uno was released in 1989 — just before Club Escape time. A few copies are still available for £8.

    The Mad-Baggy-Manchester thing wasn’t in our remit, because (I suspect) that it involved guitars. Dance music, at least at that point, was opposed to the guitar on the grounds that — oh, I have no idea. Maybe someone can explain it to me.

    @Snarky Platypus I was howled down about putting The KLF into the chart the previous year. I think there was objection because people thought it was a joke — which it is, but that doesn’t stop it being good music too. Mozart wrote jokes too.

    Let us not speak of Crystal Waters.

  5. Great work Stilgherrian – both finding me and these lists… I still listen to some of the old tapes…

    I need to portion the ‘blame’ though for the difference in genres and sounds to JB, the then John Mills… I was just the puppet for his already programmed, chosen and as you pointed out anally-retentive playlists. I think he may have even scripted some of my reads!! This all said, I was in awe with the guy and his knowledge and passion.

    And it was an honour to sit in where you and Scotty T had previously…

    The days of taping Club Escape 6.30-9pm then pressing play at 9.30pm are still fresh in my mind – and ending up at Metro where Cam or Simon may play the tracks we had just put to air…

    thanks for the trip… 😉

  6. @Paul Kitching: I’m glad I’ve helped contribute to your nostalgia quotient for the week. 🙂 And thanks for the compliment.

    The comments being added to this and the previous post have triggered a lot of memories — as have some activities over at Facebook — so I reckon I’ll have more to say on all this over the next few days.

    Take care.

  7. ahhh, this takes me back, way back…I was cleaning out a spare room today and came across my collection of The Core magazines…nearly every issue and then did a bit of a google search to see what came up about them..which led me to here and to reminisce about Club Escape, The Songs on the Perfect List ( where was Energy Flash by Joey Beltram?), the Metro…the old days, the music & the awesome subculture surrounding it in Adelaide of 91 and 92.

    If time machines were real, I’d go back tonight. Now I’m torn whether to put the mags in the recycle after all these years of hanging on to the memories. Am I throwing away a slice of history I should be hanging on to?

  8. @Jodi Kruse: Glad to have fuelled a few more reminiscences. 🙂 Beltram’s Energy Flash was released in 1990 so it would have been eligible for that year’s Perfect List. But I don’t see it listed there. Personally I don’t see why it didn’t make the cut, but then it was a three-way process to decide.

    As for keeping the mags, well, it’s exactly that sort of disposable ephemera that future generations miss. The big players are archived forever. I’ve kept my set. Maybe a library would be interested…?

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