- Mike Grant's label, Moods & Grooves, has been a staple of Detroit's house scene for nearly 20 years, but some of the best tracks it's ever released are remixes by a UK artist: Colin McBean, AKA Mr. G. With its rolling strings and snippets of Maya Angelou's "Still I Rise," McBean's "There's Hope" mix of Grant's "The Struggle Of My People" is a bona fide classic. Lesser known but no less essential is his "Freedom Train" mix of Grant's "My Soul, My Spirit," a sought-after house gem that resurfaced this month on Moods & Grooves Classics v5.
"My Soul, My Spirit (Mr. G's Freedom Train Mix)" has a lot in common with "The Struggle Of My People (Mr. G's There's Hope Mix)," namely breezy strings, a locomotive rhythm (McBean's trademark) and vocal samples about standing up in the face of adversity, this time coming from someone less conventionally poetic than Angelou: "yeah, it's fucked up, but I don't have to live like this, I'm gonna take my destiny into my own hands…" It's a pretty unbeatable arrangement: the drums are slamming, the melody genuinely uplifting, and the vocals lend it all some swagger.
On the B-side, Theo Parrish's "Chunky," originally released in 2001, is less special but still holds its own. Raw, stuttering and clearly played live, it shows Parrish's style of rough-edged sample collage early in its development. Though far more understated than the soaring "My Soul, My Spirit," it deserves its place in Moods & Grooves' Classics series.
A1 Mike Grant - My Soul, My Spirit (Mr. G's Freedom Train Mix)
A2 Mike Grant - My Soul, My Spirit (Mr. G's Freedom Reprise)
B1 Theo Parrish - Chunky