Boo Williams: Home Town Chicago
Anotherday Records

First things first: Home Town Chicago isn't newly created music but rather a reissue of a Boo Williams (real name Willie Griffin) album originally issued in 1996, and we've got Anotherday, a “new label dedicated to plucking forgotten classics from the sometimes murky depths of musical history” to thank for it. Anything but a crude relic from a distant age, Boo Williams' set, a lithe collection of irrepressibly bumping Chicago house, sounds as fresh as the day it was born. In 1996, Williams was a fresh voice on the scene, having debuted just two years earlier with the A New Beginning EP on Curtis Jones's Relief Records in 1994. After Williams followed it with more releases for Relief (1995's Midnight Express and the album-length, double-vinyl set Lost of Time) and New Breed, a twelve-inch for the Dutch label Djax-Up-Beats, Home Town Chicago, Williams' heartfelt love letter to the city, was born. Consistently melodic and inventive, the music is nevertheless charged with insistence and urgency, as if fervently desperate to reach its destinations as quickly as possible. It also goes down smoothly, with twinkling melodies and accents softening the sometimes raw thump and aggressive claps animating the tracks.

There's lots to enjoy about the album, starting with the title cut, which bounds into position, its uptempo skip and serene, two-note motif bringing with it the promise of unbridled joy. Subtly speckled with an omnipresent vinyl crackle and powered by an insistently stepping groove, “Devil Muzic” etches wiry melodic paths, while “Make Some Noise,” infectious in the extreme, weds a slinky hi-hat pattern to snappy beatwork and owly vocal effects in such a way that repetition becomes exhilaration. “Smokin' Acid” woozily segues between bars of clear-headed beatwork and convulsive stumble before the punctuation of an intermittent snare roll gathers the various strands and powers the material forward with a steadier hand. Williams is still active, by the way, with his Residual EP having appeared on Rush Hour Recordings in 2010. While it would be no doubt interesting to compare its sound to that of the album, I wouldn't be surprised to discover that the differences between them are relatively marginal, given the era-transcending character of Home Town Chicago.

January 2012