Friday, January 30, 2009

Poison Clan Appreciation Week, Day 1: Dance All Nite!

Another "week" kicks off here at Werner's! As you'd expect, we'll be looking at some Poison Clan 12" action, plus we'll take a look at their affiliate groups, and I've got a cool little "Mini-Post" article in the works, too. So let's jump right into it, shall we?

We're starting off with Poison Clan's first banger, their single "Dance All Nite." Now there's two separate 12" singles of this (not counting promo and foreign variants), but you'll want to stick with this one. The other version features some of the stuff on here, plus two house remixes which I would recommend for only the most die-hard fans. And it's missing some nice stuff this 12" has got, so yeah... this is the 12" you want.

It's easy to see why "Dance All Nite" was picked as the single - it's the clean, dance-oriented track of the album - and I think it worked better than they expected. It was the huge 1990 hit (especially regionally) that showed Luke Records The Poison Clan was more than just a throw-away "Baby 2 Live Crew," but recording artists to be taken seriously. Produced by the underrated Mr. Mixx, this song works mainly for its instrumental - it's a killer loop from the Shaft soundtrack laid out over some classic Florida beats and of course a hot, deep bassline. It's also got some really nice scratching for a chorus. It's got a breakdown where the music eventually strips entirely away, and the DJ is cutting it up acapella - fresh! The rhymes are simple and unimpressive, but they (this is back when the Poison Clan was a two-man outfit, Deb and JT) have cool, distinct voices that sound good over the beat.

But before getting to the album version, this 12" starts things off with the "Remix With Bonus Beats." It's basically just the album version but better. You've got the same beats and rhymes, but additional break-beats and samples are added to the mix (plus an added shout & call vocal sample on the hook between Luke and his audience shouting, "dance, sucka!"). It also ends (like its name suggests) with an extended bonus beats outro which loops some killer Shaft horns and adds a really nice bass drop.

Next you've got the "Felix Remix." No other credits are given, but I think it's a safe assumption that it's by Felix Sama. It's essentially the same as the "Remix With Bonus Beats" minus the bonus beats, but it does drop in those Shaft horns in a few other places which is cool, and there's some additional points where the beat is chopped up (a la Double Dee and Steinski rather than proper scratching).

Finally, it ends with the awesome posse cut "Poison Freestyle" featuring Tony M.F. Rock (of Let Me Take You To the Rockhouse fame) and Brother Marquis of The 2 Live Crew. While no one here is going to put Percee-P out of work with their complex lyricism, each MC comes with a tight verse - think Ant Live on "Money In the Bank." And they've picked the perfect track to rap over, the incredible instrumental K-Solo used that same year for his third single, "Fugitive" ...and which, more recently, it turned out Unique used on his Die Hard EP. Considering those guys used it for a narrative and message song respectively, it's great to hear this as the foundation for just a raw, freestyle posse cut. It's one of those songs I could just lift up the needle when it ended and listen to again and again.


  1. I'm glad you wrote about this song. By any chance do you know the name of the song they sampled for that backing vocals "dance all night" that occurs throughout the song? I used to have that song on a mixtape and I'm trying desperately to find it. The line goes, "Dance all night, 'til you get it right." Also contains the line, "Hold 'em high, 'til you touch the sky." I don't know what they were saying in the words after that, but it sounded like, "Head dance," or "headless," or something. I'm hoping someone can help me remember this early '80's R&B song. Thanks!

  2. if i'm not mistaken, the felix mix was used for the video.