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Boo Williams – Home Town Chicago review

Albums don’t come much more house than this. Boo Williams is one of the less-celebrated second wave of Chicago artists, perhaps blighted by the explosion of DJ Sneak and Cajmere on the international radar. All the same, his repertoire stretches back to ’94, and in that time he’s amassed quite the catalogue of smooth, warm jams of a purist nature.

Home Town Chicago in particular came early on in Boo’s career, and listening to it,  in some ways it’s easy to see how he got passed over by many. There’s less of the blatant crowd-pleasing sampling and overtly party-starting composition that some of his contemporaries possessed, instead replaced by a dreamy, meditative mood that speaks more to the heart than the feet.

Don’t think that this is an album unsuitable for the club, because it really is just a collection of stompers rather than an overall artistic statement. “Devil Music”, for example doesn’t hold back with its nasty synth squelches and snare-baiting build up, but still the lush timbres prevail and create an esoteric vibe that would appeal to the more sensitive souls out there.

“Snare Tappin” is a tune that ably demonstrates just how on-point and far-sighted Boo really was when he crafted this album back in 1996. In the bumping groove and delayed key stabs, the micro-funk of mid-era Trapez releases can be felt; a pre-emptive echo of music that would come nearly ten years later.

While the music may be somewhat deep and meaningful, there’s no denying the heavy funk that Boo brings. Whether it’s the euphoric piano chimes of “Evil Ways” or the jerky grit of “Smokin’ Acid”, there’s plenty of evidence of just how much punch Home Town Chicago packs, even today.

Oli Warwick