Choice : Tony Humphries

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  • This is the first in Azuli's blue riband 'Choice' series to concentrate on a particular venue, with Tony Humphries funking things up in memory of Club Zanzibar, one of the premier venues of the 1980s. Zanzibar became a legendary part of New Jersey nightlife, and was one of the main clubs to visit for the emergence of garage and US house music. Humphries' musical personality comes over perfectly in this unmixed selection, with some established classics rubbing shoulders with hard to find bootlegs, making a desirable and beautifully packaged collection for the house connoisseur. Getting the party started with Mass Production's joyous 'Welcome To Our World', the first CD moves through Tyree's 'Hard Core Hip-House', the big voiced Martha Wash fronting Todd Terry's 'Carry On' and The Blackbyrds' catchy 'City Life'. The intros in Hamilton Bohannon's 'Me And The Gang' could be construed as pretentious though. Curiously to end, there's Cher's 'Take Me Home', an end of night Newark favourite and to me by far her best song. LY's 'Back To Zanzibar' opens up part two, and I suppose you know your club's made it when people are naming their tracks after you! Humphries' choice cuts on this CD are from the Gypsymen, Heaven And Earth and CJ & Co's 'Sure Can't Go To The Moon'. In an apt twist the final track is Archie Bell's 'Where Will You Go When The Party's Over'. Overall I found the first CD more enjoyable and infectious than the second. However both combine to make a great historical document, and this is a 'Choice' well worth making particularly if you ever went to the Zanzibar. For those approaching from a modern viewpoint it might take a while to sink in. Stick with it though!