Classics: Sterling Void & Paris Brightledge – It’s All Right (DJ International)
“Forests falling at a desperate pace. The earth is dying and desert taking its place. People under pressure on the brink of starvation I hope it’s gonna be all right. Generations will come and go, but there’s one thing for sure. Music is our life’s foundation and shall succeed all the nations to come. I hope it’s gonna be all right ’cause the music plays forever…” As many words sadly keepin’ on speakin’ for themselves more than thirty years after.
And here we go, once again, with a pivotal cut in the early days of Chicago (Deep) House. And it’s all right. Not that far from Joe Smooth‘s ‘Promised Land’ in terms of lyrical content. ‘It’s All Right’ is most likely Sterling Void‘s signature gem. And, in the meantime, one of Paris Brightledge‘s most touching vocal performances along with ‘We’Ve Got To Love’ years after with Joe Smooth. Not to mention some extra masterpiece to the credit of Marshall Jefferson in charge of the production.
We’re talkin’ about “Deep House” here and it’s all right. As it’s the term one used to use at the time. This when comin’ to speak of the most introspective side of House Music.
Released back in 1987, ‘It’s All Right’ came up as the opening track to the Sterling Void‘s 1989 album of the likes to which Joe Smooth contributed as well. It eventually resurfaced that same year with the Pet Shop Boys givin’ it a cover version.
Belonging to the original generation of Chicago House Music producers, Sterling Void came to find his influences while clubbing in the city. At The Playground, he would get to hear Jesse Saunders and Farley Jackmaster Funk spinning. At The Power Plant, this would be Frankie Knuckles. Meanwhile in Downtown Chicago was The Music Box. A place where he admitted losing his mind in Ron Hardy‘s mixes and his unique sound effects.
Void pretty much thought of makin’ tracks after hearin’ tracks by the likes of Chip E and Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley who was crafting his music with Keith Nunally. First investing in a 707 drum machine and a Casio keyboard. Then eventually jamming with a friend named Sean Chaney and his dad – Ken – who was one of the key figures of piano and Jazz in the Windy City.
On the heels of a conv he managed to have with Marshall Jefferson, Sean suggested Void to meet him. From then, the two guys did a track called ‘Destination’. A cut which Ron Hardy later on turned into ‘Love And Happiness’. This while blending it with the famous Al Green acapella. Then soon after, Jefferson eventually got Void to be the first to have a listen to ‘Move Your Body’ without the vocals. This before showing him tricks using a sequencer.
Sterling Void finally got in touch with Paris Brightledge via the uncle of the latter who happened to be a friend of his. They both started writing the lyrics of ‘It’s All Right’. Then went into the recording studio along with Marshall Jefferson. With the whole put together in about two days.
‘It’s All Right’, Sterling Void‘s debut-single, appeared back in 1987 on Rocky Jones‘ DJ International Records label, before resurfacing two years later as the opening cut of his album of the likes. In the meantime, UK label FFRR eventually released it as the flipside of the boiling ‘Runaway Girl’. Meanwhile Void‘s album included another collab of his with Paris Brightledge by the likes of ‘Set Me Free’.
He also happened to do a cover version of A Taste Of Honey‘s classic ‘Boogie Oogie’. Although it only saw the light as a non-album single at the end. The ironically titled ‘Don’t Wanna Go’ standing as his last cut for DJ International back in 1991.
It would take almost 20 years before seeing Void releasing some new material. This by the likes of two digital album – ‘Questions N Answers’ and ‘Goodnight Vienna’ – by the beginning of 2009. Then eventually sharing the bill with Rona Ray on ‘Not Strong Enough (Part II)’ back in 2012. But also with Paris Brightledge on ‘Let Loose The Light’ before launching his own Void Digital Music label.
His last release to date – ‘Sweat’ – seeing him sharing the bill with Vincent Coleman on Quantize Recordings during the Summer of 2017.