Classics: Photek feat. Robert Owens – Mine To Give (David Morales World Mix) (Astralwerks)
“And if this world were mine, mine to give, I will name it ‘your love’. I’d do anything…” ‘Mine to give’ remaining as another timeless sign of absoluteness…
In an environment which has seen the music scene fragmenting itself into countless genres, themselves giving birth to a whole bunch of micro-niches, a collaboration between a British-based Jungle producer and a reputed Deep House singer had nothing of an evidence. But both Rupert Parkes aka Photek and Larry Heard‘s former neighbor and partner Robert Owens made it back in 2000. The whole – ‘Mine To Give’ – on some metallic although Deep House vein over a dark bass-led keyboard pattern adding much to the emphasis of the song. An emphasis which David Morales‘s additional production work pretty much enhanced as a matter of fact…
Mine to give, this world of theirs. Damn it, what a beautiful gift, huh?
“I’ve always been into Gospel voices. Robert had a religious background, although his sound was an exception to the rule for me. It didn’t come instantly though. As a matter of fact, Robert is like a wild horse. Unless you put up margins for him, he never can sing the same line the same way twice. I had to constantly sort of reframe him…” (Frankie Knuckles)
Here we have a statement that pretty much speaks for itself. And this by no one else but the one remembered as the Godfather Of House. Quite evocative of the inner strength/voice which had led Robert Owens to deliver some of the most vibrant vocal performances one can think of. Among those very rare to have stood the test of time. Being to the Chicago (House) scene what Arnold Jarvis happened to be to its NYC alter ego. And more widely being to House what Omar has become to the contemporary groove. With thanks to their unique voices and an undeniable eclectism…
A quick look at Robert Owens‘ discography (on Discogs) says it all. Or almost, as chances are great they may not have listed his entire repertoire. What we can read though is an inventory of 5 albums and 100+ singles. And, in the meantime, the fact that he’s been collaborating with some of the most talented producers since the second half of the 80’s.
As you may guess, Robert Owens grew up singin’ in church before exploring the facets of DJing. Eventually meeting Larry Heard by the middle of the 80’s. This resulting in the twosome givin’ birth to Fingers Inc. along with Ronnie Wilson. And subsequently releasing ‘Another Side’ back in 1988 on Jack Trax. A mythic album featuring timeless jewels such as ‘Mystery Of Love’, ‘Bring Down The Walls’ and ‘Mystery Friend’ to name a few.
Owens eventually engaged the upper gear the year after. This when joinin’ forces with Frankie Knuckles and a then unknown Satoshi Tomiie on the seminal ‘Tears’ (FFRR). Then makin’ his debut on Fourth & Broadway in 1990 with the abyssal ‘Visions’ co-produced by Frankie Knuckles and David Morales. The latter crafting on his own this time the syncopated ‘I’ll Be Your Friend’ which got released the year after on RCA.
He contributed to the recording of Larry Heard (Mr. Fingers)’s ‘Introduction’ album in 1992 on MCA. That same year seeing the release of the insanely vibrant ‘Too Much For Me’ without his consent. Launching his Musical Directions imprint while relocating in London, he delivered ‘Ordinary People’ with remixes courtesy of Booker T two years later. Eventually sharin’ the bill the year after with Michael Watford on the Marshall Jefferson produced ‘Come Together’…
In 2000, he landed his voice on Photek‘s blowing ‘Mine To Give’ with remix work by the likes of David Morales. Eventually colloaborating with other junglists – London Elektricity – with whom he released ‘My Dreams’ and ‘Different Drum’.
With Quentin Harris, he did ‘Always’ and soon after he came along with Coldcut on the abyssal ‘Walk A Mile In My Shoes’. He contributed to Atjazz‘s syncopated ‘Love Someone’ in 2007. Then he teamed up with Ron Trent on ‘Movin’ On’ then ‘Deep Down’. Meanwhile 2007 saw him sharing the bill with Gene Hunt on ‘Twilite People’. Then 2010 with DJ Spen on the deeply heartfelt ‘A Greater Love’.
He contributed more recently to Ralf GUM‘s ‘Fly Free’ (2013). And he also joined US NU-Disco gurus Soul Clap on ‘Misty’ the year after. Not to mention Kenny Dope with whom he shared the bill that same year on ‘Bricks Down’. Or Compost Allstars (Beanfield, Christian Prommer, Roland Appel and Michael Reinboth) on ‘Good Day’. This in addition to Martello‘s ‘In The Beginning There Was House’ and Oscar P‘s ‘Thank You’ which we both welcomed as our Single Of The Week at the time.
– A quick typing – ‘David Morales’ – in the search box of our site should give you a certain idea of his legacy. And, by that, of the consideration we have for him. Standing among the most prolific but first and foremost talented producers/remixers of his generation. With his name firmly associated to a signature – the Def Mix Sound – and an alter ego – Frankie Knuckles. Themselves synonyms with some of the most brilliant episodes in the maturation of the contemporary groove.
A native New Yorker of Puerto Rican ancestry, David Morales grew up during Dance Music’s most influential era. Thus, unsurprisingly frequenting its legendary clubs such as The Loft and The Paradise Garage.
As a result, it wasn’t long before he started his own nightclub – the Ozone Layer – in Brooklyn, by the beginning of the 80’s. His residency which lasted until 1986 eventually leading him to spin at The Paradise Garage in 1983. The 80’s seeing him DJing later at Newark, NJ’s famous The Zanzibar. With the latter standing as the craddle of the famous Jersey Sound also known as Garage. But also joining forces with Frankie Knuckles and For The Record DJ Pool founder Judy Weinstein under the Def Mix Productions banner to help manage remix requests and handle artist business affairs.
All in all, on his own or along with Frankie Knuckles, David Morales has remixed and produced over 500 releases. With the list of those he happened to rework the music of givin’ a better idea of the impact he generated. And this way above the strict spheres of House Music. Eventually bringin’ fragments of his universe on ‘Mine To Give’ by the likes of British Junglist Photek along with Robert Owens. But also working along Brit-Soul / Acid Jazz activists. From James Taylor Quartet feat. Noel McCoy‘s ‘I Love The Life’. To the Brand New Heavies‘ ‘Never Stop’, Loose Ends‘ ‘Love’s Got Me’ and Imagination‘s ‘Instinctual’. Not to mention Lisa Stansfield‘s ‘8.3.1.’. And how to not think of Alison Limerick‘s ‘Where Love Lives’ or Incognito‘s ‘Always There’ among others?!?
Of course, David Morales made some noise in the House scene. Responsible for seminal tracks such as ‘I’ll Be Your Friend’, ‘Finally’ and ‘My Piece Of Heaven’, respectively for Robert Owens, CeCe Peniston and Ten City. This in addition to Ce Ce Rogers‘ ‘All Join Hands’, Inner City‘s ‘Whatcha Gonna Do With My Lovin” and Richard Rogers‘ ‘Can’t Stop Loving You’. If not Doug Lazy‘s ‘H.O.U.S.E.’.
But, just like Frankie Knuckles, he also created serious bridges with R&B names. Beginning with Mariah Carey (‘Fly Away (Butterfly Reprise)’) with whom he established a long term working relationship. But also Luther Vandross (‘The Rush’) and Alexander O’Neal (‘What Is This Thing Called Love’). This in addition to Miles Jaye (‘Heaven’) and Whitney Houston (‘Love Will Save The Day’).
Meanwhile, under his own banner, Morales also made quite an impression. Beginning with his debut-album and single of the likes – ‘The Program’ – as David Morales & The Bad Yard Club back in 1993. But also ‘Needin’ U’ as The Face, five years later. And how to not remember ‘Golden Era’ along with Róisín Murphy? A cut which stood among the essential tracks of the year 2012… Or, more recently, ‘Lovin” as The Face feat. Kym Mazelle. And ‘There Must Be Love’ as fronted by Janice Robinson. This with remix courtesy of Nigel Lowis, which we welcomed as our Single Of The Week back then…