This weekend we welcome bassist, producer and DJ Hugh Brooker to the Dusk Dubs family.
Hugh provides an inspiration and influences volume entitled...
"'Night Trains Acid Jazz Records Selection"
Night Trains were formed in 1987 by bassist, producer and DJ Hugh Brooker and along with Galliano became part of the first wave of acts to sign to Acid Jazz Records. Originally a sax and Hammond organ-led 5 piece, Blue Note inspired instrumental combo, the band first cut their teeth at Soho's legendary Wag Club's Monday night Acid Jazz sessions, along with DJs and label founders Eddie Piller and Giles Peterson. Their first vinyl outing was the limited edition, and now rare as hens teeth, underground club hit 'Open Channel D.” This was followed by a very early example of Mash Up Breakbeat Jazz crossover on the track “And now we have rhythm” on “Acid Jazz and Other Illicit Grooves”; the seminal major label release on Polydor's Urban Records, alongside artists such as James Taylor Quartet, Galliano and Jalal from US hip hop pioneers The Last Poets.
Giles Peterson and Baz Fe Jazz released Night Trains' critically acclaimed debut album “Checkmate” on their B.G.P [Beat Goes Public] label in 1990. The Japanese release on Quattro Records featured a vocal collaboration with founding father of Hip Hop Afrika Bambaataa on the track “Russian Roulette”.
Returning to Acid Jazz Records in the early 90's, the band released two new albums “Loaded” and “Sleazeball” along with several singles and EPs. “Sleazeball” featured the international club hit “Lovesick” a track for which the band are most recognised. At this point the band signed a US deal with Instinct Records in New York. Night Trains played live extensively across Europe and Japan to promote these records supporting and touring with artists as diverse as Fatboy Slim, Jamiroquai, Gil Scott Heron and Afrika Bambaataa.
To keep the band's sound and vibe fresh, Hugh Brooker constantly changed the live and studio line up, with hand picked and, successful in their own right, session side men and women. These included, amongst many others, Spider Johnson [Drums, Vox], Jennie Bellestar [Vox], Damian Hand [Sax], Mike“chilli”Watts [Drums], Tony Watts [Guitar], Dave Priseman [Trumpet ] Julian Bates [Turntables] and Gary Foote [Sax/Flute].
Brooker took a break from Night Trains duties in 1993 to work with UK rapper and Fatboy Slim cohort MC Wildski on the Acid Jazz records album “Thoughts And Sound Paintings" under the guise “The Humble Souls.” After a successful year of international promotion he returned to work on the new Night Trains album “Obstruct The Doors Cause Delay and Be Dangerous”. At this time Acid Jazz records secured a major sponsorship deal for the band with legendary Italian fashion house Cerruti which resulted in various runway and TV appearances for the band across Europe creating extensive worldwide exposure. Brooker then wrote and produced his “Merchant Of Menace” Breakbeat double album project “Outside Looking Out” released on Acid Jazz and his own Super Villain Wreckuds label. This became Steve Lamacq's record of the week on Radio 1 and Ministry of Sound's Album of the month.
Hugh Brooker currently DJs globally and has been co-writing with and remixing and producing for artists as diverse as Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Earth Wind and Fire. Summer 2012 saw the return of Night Trains to Acid Jazz Records with the 7 inch vinyl release of "No More Heroes" a stomping northern soul reinterpretation of "The Stranglers" 70's New Wave classic. A teaming with Tim Walkers Back Burna records in 2015 resulted in the uplifting Soulful 7 inch "Black Whip" and Summer 2017 sees the band turning full circle and reuniting, for the first time in 27 years, with sublime vocalist Jennie Bellestar Matthias on the up-tempo, Dave Priseman-Horn driven, " Do Anything You Wanna Do" co-produced by James Johnstone [Pigbag / Infinite Wheel].
Hugh is currently in the studio with Night Trains producing new music for 2019.
You can find Hugh HERE:
1) Big John Patton - The Turnaround
When my band "The Night Trains" first signed to Eddie Piller's and Giles Peterson's "Acid Jazz Records" way back in 1987 we had a monthly Monday night "Jazz Room" residency at Chris Sulivans Wag Club in Wardour St Soho London and we used to include our version of this in our set.I can only but hope that our youthful teenage enthusiasm did justice to one of the greatest Hammond organ floor stompers of all time and also one of the best jazz-dance records Blue Note Records ever released.
2) Billy Hawks - Ooh Baby I Feel I'm Losing You
Many years ago I sampled the intro of "I'm Losing You" by Billy Hawks on a track I recorded for Acid Jazz Records called "Beads Things And Flowers" by my other band at the time..The Humble Souls with MC Wildski (who had just had a UK hit with Norman Cook pre "Fatboy Slim" called "Blame it on the Baseline).. I also bunged in a bit of of Ramsey Lewis and The Young Holt Trio... Years later Eddie Piller told me the instrumental version had become a modern mod anthem!!!!! I obviously cant take any credit as I nicked it all from the proper geezers, but can only hope I opened up the originals for a new generation...
3) Curtis Mayfield - Move On Up
Every time i'm on an almighty downer this one melts away the blues like Goldfingers laser beam!!!!
4) Lee "Scratch" Perry And The Upsetters - Jungle Lion
A great horn driven funky reggae reinterpretation of Al Greens " Love and Happiness" by one of my all-time musical heroes.Night Trains band member Mr Spyder Jonson often plays in The Upsetters and very affectionately refers to the genius of Lee Perry as "Fully Mad" so, as one of my other favourite artists once said.... "If this is madness.... Then i'm filled with gladness"!!
5) The Jam - That's Entertainment
A perfectly crafted ode to the trials and tribulations of growing up as a teenager in the Suburbs of 1970s England.
6) The Specials - Friday Night Saturday Morning
The flip side of the fantastic GHOST TOWN.... another "Tragic Comedy" ditty from a superb outfit.. I often end my current DJ set with this and many younger people come up, really digging it, asking who it is... So its all-embracing" Friday night screw up" subject matter must still resonate to this day!!
7) John Barry - Mountains and Sunsets
From the moment i first saw 007 at the cinema John Barry's incredible spine tingling compositions blew me away.. Its impossible to choose my favourite from such a huge cannon of excellence, but this will always conjure up riding across Japan on "The Bullet Train" at a very unholy speed. staring out the window being mesmerised by the beautiful Japanese landscape during our Night Trains tour with United Future Organisation in the early 1990s.
8) The Isley Brothers - Fight The Power (Part 1 & 2)
Superb politico floor filling funk from the Isley's and, against all odds, I think a few of us are still trying to do exactly that!!!
9) Terry Callier - I Don't Want To See Myself Without You
Terry Callier was a very obscure fantastic artist that Eddie Piller tracked down and signed to Acid Jazz in the twilight of his career.. He's sadly no longer with us... but very lucky for us... his music still is!!!!
10) Rip Rig & Panic - Bob Hope Takes Risks (12" Version)
Anarcho free blowing punk funk from Gareth Sager, and the gang featuring a very young Neneh Cherry.
11) Maceo Parker - Soul Power 74
The record that spearheaded the "Rare Groove" funk revival , secured my undying love for all things James Brown, Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley,Marva Witney and Bobby Byrd and paved the way for the birth of Acid Jazz Records.
12) The Slickers - Johnny Too Bad
Reminds me of The Hammersmith Palais and The Lyceum, both great London New Wave /Punk venues in the late 70's early 80's Before the bands came on the sound person always played dub and reggae (to check the bottom end) and by doing so educated a whole new fan base into the joys of this genre..There is also something very poignantly melancholy about this beautiful tune (from the O.S.T of Jimmy Cliff's "THE HARDER THEY COME") that perfectly conjures up the potential consequences of a "misspent" " youth.