There was a point in time when Blue Boy’s “Remember Me” was inescapable, as ubiquitous as sunshine, cheap gas and bucket hats on weed dealers hangin’ in doorways. It shot to fame in a way that records only could then — on a mixtape, to wit as the second track on Mark Farina‘s Mushroom Jazz Vol #1. The sample for what became (quite apart from what Blue Boy, aka Lex Blackmore, had to say about it) a dance anthem was from a very serious song, Marlena Shaw’s “Woman of the Ghetto,” though unlike many vocalists sampled in this way she always seemed to be in the loop about it and was one of those magical moments when sampling truly appeared to lead to new audiences (and new revenues) for a performer.
You can’t really tell the story though without starting back where it began, and like so much in Chicago House of the 1990s, it began with Spencer Kincy. “Remember Me” originally appeared on Guidance and Guidance was Spencer Kincy’s label once — the second great label to blossom out of the hothouse offices of Curtis Jones‘ Cajual (the first being Prescription). For a trip, the Guidance Recordings website is still online, last updated 17 years ago, and until the CMS broke excitedly announced their participation in the new Apple digital endeavor called “iTunes.”
I don’t know what happened to separate him from Guidance later, but Spencer was in the UK hunting for new music and met Lex Blackmore. They hit it off, and Guidance signed four tracks from Lex which eventually became the 1996 Scattered Emotions EP, and it figures that’s probably how Mark Farina found out about one of those non-house tracks on the b side. In the end it went from Marlena Shaw-to-Lex-to-Spencer-to-Guidance-to-Farina-to-Mushroom Jazz-to-Jive Records and became the biggest thing all of them (other than Jive) had ever seen and one of the most popular tracks any Chicago house label released in the 1990s.
And like many smash dance tracks, “Remember Me” went from being everywhere to almost nowhere at all. Part of it is certainly the era — that Trip Hop sound is certainly of its time. Aside from the sample-a-like tracks, “Remember Me” has mainly resurfaced among pop and rock bands via cover versions by Tame Impala and Gareth Daley.
David Penn has been around long enough to see the ebb and flow of more than one track like this and puts his shoulder into making “Remember Me” anew for this High Fashion remix set. Strangely enough, this sounds like it could have appeared on one of the multiple club mix packs when “Remember Me” was originally released. There’s a lot more bass and the sharpness belies its modern origins, but Penn makes an uptempo mix that could have debuted at the Sound Factory Bar. On the whole, a nice job, classy and without unnecessary pyrotechnics that would date a remix just as quickly.
Blue Boy: Remember Me (David Penn Remix) (High Fashion / July 2020 (Reissue) / 12″ Vinyl)
A1. Blue Boy: “Remember Me” (David Penn remix) (6:16)
B1. Blue Boy: “Remember Me” (Franky Rizardo remix) (5:06)
B2. Blue Boy: “Remember Me” (7:02)