So it's time to share my first compilation. To be fair, it's actually a showcase for just four acts that were signed to Sire Records in the early 1990s. But these acts are pretty obscure, and none managed a full album, so they're perfect for this blog, and I know you'll all love them! Plus, three of the four have interesting connections. The first is Doubleplusgood, which was musician and producer Ted Ottaviano and vocalist Basil Lucas. Ottaviano was then well-known for his work with awesome new wave group Book Of Love, who had several dance hits in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including "I Touch Roses" and "Pretty Boys And Pretty Girls". When Book Of Love broke up in 1993, Ottaviano had already been working on Doubleplusgood tracks. The group name was taken from George Orwell's book 1984. Ottaviano wanted to explore world music sounds, using mostly African tribal music with a house beat and Lucas' tribal-like chants. It was very similar to the sound Dr. Alban had already had success with. Their first single, "Conga Té", was a hit on the Billboard Dance charts, reaching #12 in 1993. An album was recorded, but for some reason was ultimately not released. Another track that was not on this compilation, "The Winding Song", appeared on the Just Say Roe compilation in 1995 (which is where I first heard of the group). It was released as a single and ended up hitting #2 on the Billboard Dance charts in 1996. One other track, "Boogala", appeared on the German Maximum Dance 5 compilation in 1997, and that was the last that was heard from the duo. Next up is Subliminal NY, a Latino new jack swing quartet, for which I can find no info except that they were masterminded by producers Chris Champion and Eric Sadler. They released one single, "Loungin'", that failed to make any impact and an album never surfaced. The next act on the compilation was also not successful, but its founders were. La Casa was formed by pop singer Tommy Page and freestyle diva Safire after both of their solo careers had stalled. Interestingly, they chose to remain in the background as producers and songwriters and hired two singers to front the group, Dacia Palmer and Allan Edwards (though both Tommy and Safire do add some backing vocals). Perhaps this was due to the racy nature of the songs and the fact that the songs were house music, a genre that Tommy and Safire were not known for. La Casa released one single, "Get To You", that gained only minimal support on dance floors, and again, an album never surfaced. The last act was likely the most notorious, in no small part due to the participation of Madonna herself. Jose & Luis were Jose Guiterez and Luis Camacho, two of Madonna's dancers on her Blonde Ambition tour who were immortalized in her documentary Truth Or Dare. They came from the "ballroom" community that was primarily responsible for the "vogue" movement. They were recruited by Madonna to choreograph and appear in her "Vogue" video, and ended up getting nominated for an MTV Video Award for their efforts. This led to their choreographing much of the Blonde Ambition Tour. They and most of the other dancers from the tour were soon let go by Madonna, but the boys planned on capitalizing on their new found fame. They enlisted popular producer Junior Vasquez (then also a friend of Madonna) to produce some vogue-worthy house tracks. They even managed to rope Madonna in for a cameo appearance and some backing vocals for their first, and only, single, "Queen's English". While it was an underground success, it didn't lead to an album deal.
This whole compilation is an amazing time-capsule of the early 1990s club sound, and this is the only place that most of these songs are available. While none of the acts were successful enough to get a full album release, most of the people involved have continued to work in the entertainment field, though to be honest, this compilation was released at the tail end of their heydays.
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