Sunday, April 19, 2009

Baby Wants To Ride

My all-time favorite dance artist is Jamie Principle, the king of early Chicago house music. I would strip to his music almost exclusively, if it wasn't too underground and alienatingly religious (lyrically) for a middle of the road place such as Tryst.

No musical artist with whom I'm familiar explored religion and sex with the depth and explicit honesty of Jamie Principle. In my mind, he's the middle deity in the Sam Cooke/R. Kelly Trinity of Chicago soul artists who made music for dancing.

Obviously coming to terms with his own homosexuality (or, possibly, bisexuality) and drawing parallels between his sexual experiences and religious ecstasy (ie "Your Love"), Principle also infuses his music with a social conscience that is all his own (see "Rebels (Get Righteous").

I met him once, a few years ago, after Frankie Knuckles was honored at Summerdance in Chicago's Grant Park. A few thousand smiling, joyful party people from two generations united in their love of house music danced in the rain that evening.

Afterward I ran into Jamie Principle himself, whose early collaboration with Knuckles had occasioned his participation. He looked remarkably young for his age, gave me a big hug and talked with me about life and music till they kicked us out of the park. I've never been so happy to meet an artist whom I admire.

God bless!

One of the dirtiest, sexiest, most religious songs ever made, "Baby Wants To Ride":