Resident Selections is a new column where our contributors will shine a spotlight on favourites from their personal record collections.

Frankie Knuckles, Todd Terry, Larry Heard, Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk. These are just a few of the individuals regularly praised for pioneering house music during the 80s. Recognised for their respective contributions, it’s a shame that a few of their peers have faded into obscurity, regardless of their own impact on the genre. Chris ‘Bam Bam’ Westbrook falls into that category, although his work as label owner and a producer definitely qualifies him for entry into our imaginary ‘House Music Hall of Fame’.

Chris was the driving force behind Westbrook Records, but the label always lived in the shadow of the Chicago giants, namely Trax Records and DJ International. Despite fierce competition, a slew of stellar releases over a five year period meant the Westbrook name would be etched into the history books for its contributions to the scene. You’d struggle to another label that can rival their impact, while Chris even experienced a brief bit of mainstream success in the UK with the 1988 single, ‘Give It To Me’. The label recently reissued a few records in 12″ and digital format, but we wanted to give an institution that’s often gone under-appreciated and overlooked a little bit of love.

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Chris ‘Bam Bam’ Westbrook in 1988 (Photo taken by Rachael Cain)

The first record to get the spotlight treatment in our Resident Selections column is a two-sided compilation from Westbrook Records, entitled On The Loose. Released in 1989, the compilation was comprised of eight tracks – five of which Chris featured on in some capacity, even serving up two of his very own as ‘The Party Boy’.

‘The Curly Track’ is Chris at his very best. Rolling percussive grooves, gurgling acid lines and a tinkling melody that reeks of ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ just seem to tick all the boxes for a classic Chicago house cut. Throw that in with Kim English’s impassioned singalong vocals on ‘Your No. 1′, Mike Dunn’s unrelenting and infectious rhythms and House Sarg aka Sherman Burks’ skittering, piano-led construction, and you’ve got some serious weight spread over just two sides of 12″ vinyl.

Tracklisting:

A1. Kim English – Your No. 1
(Composed, Arranged & Produced by Bam Bam)
A2. Mike Dunn – Everything Must Change
(Composed, Arranged & Produced by Mike Dunn, Co-produced by Marshall Jefferson & Bam Bam)
A3. The Party Boy – The Curly Track
(Composed, Arranged & Produced by Bam Bam)
A4. Cheryl Edwards – I Need Your Love
(Composed & Arranged by Hulla, Produced by Hulla & Bam Bam)
B1. Mike Dunn – Groovin’
(Composed, Arranged & Produced by Mike Dunn)
B2. Mike Dunn – Mi Antionette
(Composed, Arranged & Produced by Mike Dunn)
B3. House Sarg – The Strut
(Composed, Arranged & Produced by Sergeant Sherman Burks)
B4. The Party Boy – Never Let You Go 
(Composed, Arranged & Produced by Bam Bam)

Be sure to check out the Best Of Westbrook Classics compilation too.

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