Saturday, 19 September 2009

The Village Newspaper Of Acid House


I'll come clean, straight away, it was only a matter of time, no, it was in evitable that I would write a sprawling magnum opus of what was, in my humble opinion, one of the most influential and important record labels and production/remix outfits of the early 90's. My enthusiasm for the Boys Own label is outstripped only by that of Mossad agents visiting elderly Germans living in Venezuela or fat dogs for farting. They're early releases and parties have informed the lion share of my musical history since and are more than a little responsible for my love of intermittently subjecting the patrons of clubs round the country to my own brand of musical tomfoolery.
Anyhow, here's the science,,,,

Prior to being a record label, Boys Own started out in the heady, strike ridden good times of the mid 80's simply as a fanzine, set up by Andrew Waetherall, Terry Farley, Simon Eccles and Steve Mayes. The fanzine mainly featured the usual lads nonsense, stuff about clobber, football and club news. It was influenced in no little way by footy fanzines of the time coming out of Manchester and Liverpool, notably 'The End' which was co-written by Peter Hooton of The Farm. Around 1989 Weatherall was well on the way to establishing himself as a DJ of some repute and was a regular jock at Danny Ramplings seminal London club 'Shoom' and as Acid House/Balearica was taking hold he was asked to remix Primal Scream's 'Loaded' and 'Hallelujah' by Happy Mondays. Around the same time, Terry Farley was asked to remix The Farms 'Stepping Stone' and 'Groovy Train'. These remixes were the first to be credited to 'Boys Own' productions and it was this initial success and a small amount of backing from London Records that enabled 'Boys Own Productions' to set up stall in the summer of 1990. The first release was 'Raise' from Bocca Juniors. Named after the Argentine football team that Maradonna and countless other South American flair merchants played for, Bocca Juniors was essentially a DJ/Production dream-team of Weatherall, Farley, Heller and Hugo Nicholson. The Thrashing Doves sampling piano anthem was what could be considered a small hit and it's success ensured the label would continue growing, gaining a healthy following and boosting it's roster of talent to include the likes of Darren Price, One Dove, Underworld, Rocky & Diesel, Darren Emmerson and Underworld. Sadly, and perhaps because he had different projects to pursue and due to the labels output becoming increasingly hallmarked by the NY house/US Garage sound preferred by Farley, Heller and Steve Hall, Weatherall was the first to leave the 'Boys Own' crew to set up his own label and band, Sabres Of Paradise. JBO still managed to put of some very noteworthy records during this time, Outrages, 'That Piano Track/Drives Me Crazy', Ashley Beedle's, 'Black Science Orchestra' tracks to name but a couple, but for me, the label never again reached anywhere near the quality of it's early releases. But still, the spirit and attitude that the label was shot through with can still be felt today. They directly inspired Charlie Chester and Dean Thatcher to set up their 'Cowboy Records' imprint in 92' and countless clubs, most notibly the likes of Back 2 Basics in Leeds and The Social in London owe no small debt of gratitude to the Boys Own ideal.
And even though 'Boys Own Productions' no longer exists as the name of the label (it now operates under the less evocative handle of 'Junior (London)' and still uses 'JBO' as a logo on more commercial releases.) it's legacy is still felt today. In the right places of course.

Just to prove that I'm not wanting hog all love the for Boys Own crew, good friend of Tourist and local DJ/Promoter/raconteur Kristian Atkinson of Newcastles 'Jukebox' night also weighed in on the recent release of 'Acid house, Scrapes & Capers: The Complete Fanzines 86 - 92' across at his rather good 'Splash One' blog. Here's an excerpt:

"While fishing around in Beatdown records at the weekend I came across a copy of the just released replica Boys Own fanzine. Which has been issued as a promo tool for the forthcoming 20 years of Boys Own/Jr Boys Own (my God is it that long ago!!) compilation album - titled 'Boys Own Odyssey - Acid House Scrapes and Capers'. Also released is what looks like a must have book that collects together the complete Boys Own fanzines from 86 to 92 - the stuff of legend. For those of you that may not know what the hell I'm talking about...

Boys Own was the name given to a collective of like-minded DJ's and wideboys at the back end of the 80's. These wideboys just so happened to kick start a British revolution in response to both the explosion of House music happening stateside and some less savory British takes on the emergent youth quake.
Boys own established a true underground culture from which their take on House could thrive, and their Boys Own fanzine was instrumental in this. Taking some initial influence from Liverpool football/Casual fanzine The End, the boys Own posse added a more open ended manifesto to their pages. A truly hedonistic call to arms but almost mod in it's outlook and attitude. The core posse was made up of Terry Farley, Andrew Weatherall, Steve maze and Cymon Eckles and from fanzine to the first documented outdoor raves to a groundbreaking British record label - not to mention a load of truly life changing records, BO in there time were some serious geezers.


The label JBO brought the likes of stadium house giants The Chemical brothers, Underworld and X-Press 2 into the world, but there's so much more than that in the JBO story. And everyone has their own take or their own preferences. For me it's all about a hand full of boundary breaking genre smashing life affirming moments, most of them involve Andrew Weatherall - still one of my hero's to this day.
Things like...

• Bocca Juniors 'Raise' a tune that still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. This band was basically the Boys Own super group.

• Andrew Weatherall's remix of 'Soon' by My Bloody Valentine, this came out on creation but was later featured on a box set of Junior Boys Own's essential label related picks. Essential is definitely one word to describe this music, another two would be 'life changing'.

• One Dove's cover version of Dolly Parton's Jolene, underrated Scottish indie dance wonders One Dove take the Dollywood classic and turn it into an epic Dub House masterpiece - all under the guiding hand of yes... Andrew Weatherall. One Dove's singer Dot Alison went on to make some brilliant solo albums and work with Death in Vegas.

• Terry Farley's sublime and 'last word' remix of Primal Screams 'Loaded' the tune that cracked open the last resistance of indie kids to house music.

• Black Science Orchestra's 'New Jersey Deep' out and out classic of it's era.

• The Chemical brothers 'Leave Home' from their beginnings as the Dust Brothers (not the US Dust brothers) there was always something special about these two geeks, you cant argue with this.

• Ballistic brothers 'Peckings' this joyous slice of neo Ska came from their 'London Hooligan Soul' album which managed to distill all of the bands influences from the Jam and The Clash through Ska and Dub to Jazz Funk and deep house.

• DSK - 'What Would We Do' - total headrush anthem that was recently sampled by grime star Wiley on his smash hit 'Rolex'.

• Substance - another killer track by Bocca Juniors, that still sounds soooo exciting - beamed in from a punk rock house nation in outer-space. The sleeve is fantastic too.

• ONLY LOVE CAN BREAK YOUR HEART - Weatherall mix, those who know it know it, i hope you know it. Beautiful. Bliss. Heavenly. Perfection. Actually came out on St Etienne's Heavenly label but it fit's into the JBO scrapbook so perfectly that nitpicking is irrelevant.

• Happy Mondays 'Hallelujah' Club mix - the most important rock 'n' roll band of the acidhousequake era get the Boys own treatment (a colab between Weatherall and Oakenfold), not that they needed it as they were on that wavelength anyway. GENIUS

There's loads of others, you may have your own, but those are mine.
I never had any of the original fanzines so it'll be interesting to read some of Weatherall's old ramblings, and to get a sneaky read of some frontline banter from back in the day.
Also Splash One cohort Mike Porter bought one of the original Boys Own Clockwork Orange style logo T-shirts at the time. He has still got it and over the years I've offered him money, even the very fine sartorial authority - Eleven clothing Emporium in Sunderland have offered him cash so they can frame it on the wall, so iconic and strong a symbol of a great time now lost is that classic T-shirt that people who lived through the era melt at the mere sight of that graphic.
So then this compilation and book, a tiny reminder of some good time's past.
But all said and done fuck it and live for today looking to tomorrow - don't spend too much time looking back - it's what they they would have wanted."

Kristian DJ's at and promotes Jukebox at The Other Rooms in Newcastle every Friday and writes for the Splash One Blog.


Acid House - Scrapes And Capers: The Complete Fanzines 86-92 can be bought from the excellent website simply by clicking here.

Thanks again to Kristian for letting us use his piece and as ever, till next time. "Better dead than an acid ted!"
Big Love. Moogar. X.

P.S. As a late inclusion here's a recent mix from Andrew Weatherall himself. Live on the Electro Nation show on Kink FM. Just click to download.

Andrew Weatherall: Live on Kink FM.

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