Raw, early versions of Chicago house classics.
Or maybe, as Delroy Edwards told me on the phone recently, the flow of ideas was eased by a communal "scenius." "It was a big family," he said from his home in Los Angeles. "I know you hear people say that shit and it's never true, but in the case of Chicago it is." Since he launched his label, LA Club Resource, in 2013, Edwards has been releasing raw, archival Chicago tracks from the likes of Gene Hunt, who he now considers a mentor. After Ron Morelli put him onto Emanuel Pippin's underrated 1994 album on Trax Records, Edwards asked Hunt to put him in touch with the lesser-known Chicago producer.
Turns out Pippin was the mother lode. Pippin, brother of DJ Deeon, was the '80s and '90s equivalent of a modern-day DJ who only plays promos. He played DJ sets almost exclusively using cassettes—obsessed, as Edwards told me, with playing the "new shit." As a result, Pippin's meticulously kept archive is a revelation. Here, we get Sean Hardonson's "Crash," which is an early version of Lil' Louis's "The Original Video Clash." There's an arresting Armando cut (a drum track featuring Martin Luther King's famous vision of his own Eulogy) and a fascinating version of Dunn's "Magic Feet" by Ron Hardy.
Mastered and pressed to vinyl from Emanuel's cassette, these ultra-rarities fit in with LA Club Resource's tape-hiss aesthetic. They also hint at a mountain of unheard tracks sitting on tapes and DATs in the bedrooms, garages and basements of Chicago DJs, music that would give us a better picture of the birth of house. "It's getting to the time when these tapes are gonna start falling apart," Edwards said. "They did a lot for us so I'm trying to give back."