Including this compilation on this blog is highly tenuous, and as I shipped it off to the guy who bought it off me this weekend, I really couldn’t find a reason to write about it at all. I then opened up the CD sleeve and found a brief message of thanks to ‘Darren Price and Centuras’, and bearing in mind that Price became a celebrated NovaMute artist a few years later, that gave me the highly tenuous reason to document this here.
Centuras were a trio of Price, Eric Chiverton and Gary Lindop, and the unit dropped a few 12” singles on various labels before finally settling at Junior Boy’s Own, the dance label established in 1991 as a subsidiary of the UK’s Boy’s Own Productions. Price’s early group don’t feature on this compilation, predominantly because Junior Boy’s Own Collection was designed to showcase the label’s bigger acts – Terry Farley and Pete Heller’s house project Fire Island, Underworld, Ashley Beedle’s X-Press 2 and a unit then known as The Dust Brothers, who would of course go on to become The Chemical Brothers.
Underworld were poster boys for UK dance music around 1994, having transitioned from a singles band operating squarely in the club genre to the front cover of the NME and Melody Maker upon the release of Dubnobasswithmyheadman, probably because Karl Hyde played guitar and that made it acceptable to the indie masses. Two Underworld tracks (‘Dirty Guitar’ and ‘Rez) are included here, along with the upbeat ‘Bigmouth’ under their Lemon Interrupt alias. That JBO had both Underworld and the other highly lauded crossover act The Dust Brothers (their rare early cut ‘Song To The Siren’ appears here) was quite remarkable for a small indie label, and probably the catalyst for Virgin’s V2 subsidiary taking them over.
As a survey of the disparate forms that dance music was already coalescing into in the pivotal year of 1994, Junior Boy’s Own Collection is near-definitive, given that it covers two flavours of house, nascent trip-hop and cross-over electronica. The only thing missing is pure techno, something that JBO had never really specialised in, the mantle for which was already being picked up by other, more specialist small labels.
I recall buying this from an HMV in Birmingham in 1994, for no apparent reason whatsoever. I already had the Underworld and Dust Brothers tracks and had no real interest in Farley / Heller, X-Press 2 or any of the other acts included here. It’s the kind of needless spending that I did as a kid, and one of the reasons I now feel the need to trim back my record collection.
(c) 2015 Mat Smith / Documentary Evidence