Dusk Dubs returns with another incredible journey through sounds. As always, our guest provides us with music that has a special place in their memories and in their souls. Music that moves them, that invokes images of sunrises, sunsets, good times and good people. We then play each record, in full, giving it breathing space and allowing it to shine.
This week we invite Ben Wilcox to the Dusk Dubs famiy.
The chances are that if you ever arrived at work a little cloudy behind the ears on a Tuesday morning in the 90’s Ben Wilcox was probably to blame. As part of the seminal Monday night club That’s How It Is at Bar Rumba, alongside Gilles Peterson and James Lavelle, Ben brought his genre busting, block party, eclectic mix of funky dancefloor detonators to an international crowd of seasoned DJ stars and clued up ‘n’ hip young London things. A member of both the Massive Attack and Ballistic Brothers sound systems, and Blue Note resident DJ, his party rocking style has taken him all over the globe playing alongside DJ’s as diverse as Francois Kevorkian, Grooverider, DJ Harvey, Kruder and Dorfmeister and DJ Shadow.
From 1996 to 2004 Ben co-owned and was Director of both Sirkus and Laws Of Motion record label. He also wrote for the legendary "Straight No Chaser" magazine, was guest Radio Presenter for Ross Allen’s tri-weekly Sony Award winning BBC London show. He created mixes for Gilles Peterson’s BBC Radio One Worldwide show and British Airways Inflight radio station, had London DJ residencies including The Blue Note, Scala, Fabric and of course Bar Rumba with James Lavelle and Gilles Peterson and was European tour DJ for Massive Attack. In 2003 Ben created the compilation album Bar Rumba: 10 Years of Dancing for Amnesty International. and held International DJ residences (Spain, France, and Ireland) and global guest appearances in the USA, Italy, Singapore, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Belgium, and German.
As Ben maintains..... "He's Still buying too many records and still addicted to the next ltd. ediiton"
1) Bob James – Theme from Taxi
One of the first records I ever bought as a kid was a compilation called ‘Visions’ that had lots of themes from TV shows and films but this was the one I bought it for. I was too young to know what an influence Bob James would be on me in later life.
2) The Awakening – Mode for D.D
The Young Disciples - Carleen, Femi and Marco – did what is now known as a takeover of Patrick Forge’s Cosmic Jam show on Kiss FM and they dropped lots of nuggets: some they gave us the title to and, in true rare groove style, some they didn’t.
My cassette of this show was on its last legs and praying for mercy ten years later and I still hadn’t found this track until one wonderful Saturday afternoon in the original Soul Jazz this came on and I raced to buy it. DJ’s used to go to actual shops then, meet up, chat about tunes. Miss that.
3) Big John Patton – Dirty Fingers
First proper ‘big’ jazz gig I went to was BJP at the Town and Country club in London. Was still at school so had to tell my mum and dad I was “staying at a friend’s”. Became a bit obsessed with BJP and Grant Green when I was a teenager so this was a massive gig for me.
4) Billy Hawks – O’Baby (I Believe I’m Losing You)
Was introduced to this during the magical summer of ’87 and it went on every mixtape I did and I think half of south east London was humming it by the end of August. Infectious.
5) Grace Jones – Slave to the Rhythm
Oh, where to start. Grace’s Island Life changed my life.
6) Art of Noise – Close (to the edit)
Purchased from Woolworths on a 7”, alongside a Thomas Dolby record, I’d never heard anything like this. Been sampled to death, which is ironic and right.
7) Davy DMX – One for the Treble
Like most music heads my age I was an addict for Noel and Maurice Watson’s Electro albums on Street Sounds and this was a gamechanger track for me. I had never heard anything like that bass line and those samples before. Big tune at my 11th birthday party with the system in the garden, the lino and the bad popping and locking.
8) Happy Mondays – Wrote for Luck (Vince Clark remix)
The Chart Show was on the TV in the house on Saturday morning and the video for this came on. I’d just started dabbling in acid and this was the closest thing I’d ever seen on screen to tripping your nut off. Was even better live.
9) Information Society – Running
Mike Allen’s Capital Rap Show was the must listen to show as a teenager and this was – and still is -one of the records that I can never get enough of. Passionate electro and remixes from a very young Louie Vega and Albert Cabrerra when they were playing freestyle at The Nest in NYC.
10) Electribe 101 – Talking with Myself
After the acid madness on the dancefloor in the ‘80’s a deeper sound came along and Electribe 101, with Billy Ray Martin’s sultry vocals, were just an amazing blend of comedown house and songs from the heart.
11) our Below Zero – My Baby’s Got ESP
One of the wonderful things about music is its power to unify and I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of friends from Glasgow who’ve got soul for miles. Sam Fraser, a Glasgow legend, introduced me to this and whenever he came to Bar Rumba I’d play this and we’d dance like nothing else mattered, and then I’d suddenly realize I had to put on another record!
12) Donald Byrd _ Jeanine (live)
I’d gone in at the deep end of learning about jazz with Coltrane cassettes my brother in law kindly did for me and it was a steep learning curve. There was a show on Radio London (where I later DJ’d) called Mad On Jazz by this bloke called Gilles Peterson; the show changed my life and was inspirational and this is one of the tracks that was my gateway into loving jazz. Every solo is amazing.
13) Santana – Jungle Strut
If you want fire and soul in a tune, it’s right here.
14) Airto – Samba de Flora
You can’t stand still! The most passionate dance record of all time. Was lucky enough to have a Guinness or two with him at Ronnie Scotts one quiet Monday night when I should’ve been revising for my A levels. Such an amazing man.
15) Jazz Warriors – In Reference to Our Forefathers Father’s Dreams
This is a very important record for me, it was the UK jazz scene in the 1980’s finding a voice and not selling out. No compromise. Cleveland Watkiss, Courtney Pine, Steve Williamson, Mark Mondesir, Gary Crosby, Orphy Robinson and many other greats creating a pathway for jazz in the UK. They got their voices heard and I hope everyone takes the time to listen to this all the way through: it is majestic.