The 10 best proto-house tracks, according to Marshall Jefferson

The earliest hints of the genre as outlined by a legend of Chicago house.

Chicago house pioneer Marshall Jefferson is currently being featured on two massive compilations focussing on the origins of house (Terry Farley's 'Acid Rain', which chronicles the evolution of acid house, and the massive 16 CD 'Traxbox' , compiling the best of Chicago's Trax Records) - so what better time to pick his brain for the earliest gems of the genre? Scroll down to find out his 10 favourite pre-house records, and don't expect to be able to sit still through them. 

  1. Kano - It's a War
    Jefferson: "Frankie Goes To Hollywood before Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Driving, nasty, loads of attitude." 
  2. Omni - Out Of My Head (Love's Taken Over)
    Jefferson: "Chicago track that probably didn't leave the city but beautiful - great instrumentation and production."
  3. Yazoo - Situation
    Jefferson: "Oh, that bass line! Driving the whole song - as soon as it came on you knew what it was."
  4. Kano - I'm Ready
    Jefferson: "Vocoder on the dance floor! I remember hands flying all over the place to this."
     
  5. Secret Weapon - Must Be The Music
    Jefferson: "Sensational hook and I remember everybody mouthing the words to this. Simple, direct, and tight groove."
  6. Visual - The Music Got Me
    Jefferson: "Great production and great bass line, NYC in the house!"
  7. Klein & MBO - MBO Theme
    Jefferson: "Minimal production and vocals dominated by that super mean bass line."
  8. Tony Cook And The Party People - On The Floor (Rock It)
    Jefferson: "Harmoniser on the vocal with a monster telling us to get on the floor after he hits us with his lightning bolts. I danced."
  9. Imagination - Burning Up
    Jefferson: "Piano dance song! Imagination drives it home." 
  10. Doctor's Cat - Feel The Drive
    Jefferson: "Italy in the House! Simple vocals but easy to sing, say, and remember. Great pulsating bass and sweet synths, classic!"

Marshall Jefferson's music is featured on the Harmless Records box sets ‘Terry Farley presents Acid Rain’ (buy it here) and ‘Traxbox’ (pre-order here). 

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