Nothing’s a dead cert when it comes to investments but there are certain things that almost guarantee a rise in value; land, immaculately maintained vintage cars and boxed Star Wars toys. Classic jungle vinyl appears to be another one.
To celebrate Record Store Day this Saturday – and the fact that Drum&BassArena 2015 comes with a limited vinyl edition this year! – we’ve dusted off the books and explored the darkest corners of the net to get an idea of the most expensive drum & bass records in existence.
This hasn’t been easy: each copy surfaces the price fluctuates massively. Value is only ever found in the eye of the collectors seeking the records at the time. Also some of most expensive and now-sought-after releases are often the lesser known tracks that only saw a limited run at release and have only really become classics years later.
“Rare records are expensive because they are hard to find for various reasons, and not always because they are any good,” laughs Jules who sells records under the user name Dobshizzle on Discogs. “In a lot of cases, if the tunes had been better, or even more popular, more copies would have been pressed. It’s fair to say in some cases prices for certain records can hit high heights because not many people have heard them!”
As a result this list is by no means authoritative. As Jules predicts, it is littered with names you may well not have heard (and a few you have definitely heard of) but it’s a great snapshot of where collectable jungle vinyl is in 2015… And where it’s heading.
“To be honest I wouldn’t say there were a lot of jungle records that consistently top the £100 barrier,” admits Jules. “But due to the popularity of the more ragga and ruffneck sound, and the nature of the pressings – white labels/ stamped pressings I can see a few of the releases climbing up in price as they get harder to find… And your article will only make it worse.”
It is not our intention to raise the prices, but it if you do spot the prices going up, bear our opening sentence in mind and make an investment. Hells, these might all spawn from the mid 90s but Jules is seeing a trend in current D&B vinyl too…
“I can also see a few newer jungle releases more on the Exit, Non Plus and Critical side of things becoming valuable” he explains. “I’m starting to see £50 as a common price for the Gemini Principle, for instance, and some of the comps for that amount too…. Even Calibre records are rising in price.”
So here we are… 10 of the most expensive jungle record in existence right now.
Plus, for good measure, Jules has pin-pointed 10 equally awesome jungle records that are still for sale under a fiver!
Fill your boots…
XTC & DJ Keen Nottingham – Here I Come / Reload & Come Again (Greensleeves Records)
Highest known price: £370
Released on seminal UK-based reggae imprint during the ragga explosion of the mid 90s, this Barrington Levy-sampling double-up caused uproar on Discogs when a copy was rumoured to have sold for almost £400. More often spotted for around the £100 mark, both sides really do crush…
Various – Two on One Pizza Hut Edition (Moving Shadow)
Highest known price: £275
Where the lines between mythical and actually expensive blur a little… Moving Shadow created a series of picture discs that made up a poster style Moving Shadow logo if you had the full set. The beats came from the very best in the game; Blame, Alex Reece, Deep Blue, Nookie, Roni Size, Krust and many more.
Once all nine picture discs were released, along came the Pizza Hut Edition. It included a 10th picture disc which had no music at all (and has been known to fetch upwards of £200) and, according to rumour, was only printed 30 times for the artists signed to the label at the time. Do a little digging on forums and you’ll see that price is just the start of it: people would offer silly money for the full set. And no one who actually owns this ever seems to want sell it. Hardly surprising when you check the full tracklist which includes scene defining bangers like these…
DJ Lewi – After Hours (Jet Star)
Highest known price: £175
Jet Star were a hugely prolific reggae compilation label throughout the 80s. When jungle took hold of the dance they, like other reggae and ragga labels, jumped on the vibe and unleashed a whole range of official and unofficial cuts. This highly limited white label being a fine example. A chop-slapping trio of skank-ups (featuring vocals from Cutty Ranks, Daddy Freddy and Angie Angel) it’s deemed to be one of the rarest Jet Star jungle outings. Still sounds sick today, too…
Dread & The Baldhead – Wicked Piece A Tune / Twenty Four Seven (Slam!)
Highest known price: £150
You think £150 is steep? The white label version has been known to pass hands for over £300. And just listen to it Wicked Piece A Tune… With those immense drums and the epic sonic breadth, it still sounds heavyweight and forward-thinking now. This blew minds when Bizzy B and TDK (the duo also known as Dub 2) first unleashed this one. One of the most legendary and sought-after jungle releases in history.
The Truper – Volume 1 (Street Beats)
Highest known price: £150
Some of Photek’s earliest releases came via his Truper alias. The Street Beats series came on 10” and each cut was untitled. While the succeeding two volumes don’t fetch anywhere near the £125-150 price tag, the whole set is highly collectable and document a pivotal moment in time for one of drum & bass’s most respected early contributors. May be interesting: Is the magic 8 ball really magic? Good news for everyone, who cares about soul, games with fate effects and huge bills from magic specialists. Despite that many online fortune telling sources include it into website menu, basic idea of the ball has no mysticism. It has more in common with the theory of probability and the set of random numbers, than with magicians. Mere chance! Pure luck! Thanks to free eight ball reading , you don’t need to ask weirdo like “fifth-generation witch” about your future.
Brothers With Soul – Music Is So Special (Precious Materials)
Highest known price: £125
Also available on the Mystic Moods – The Journey album at a bee’s dick of the cost above, this rare test press (only 50 printed) comes from Bukem, Phil Basement and Jack Smooth. It came about through a Phil Basement remix of Jack Smooth which Phil and Bukem felt could be enhanced. It was. And this breezy, star-gazing slice of drum & bass is the result. A lesson in perseverance.
Ed Rush – Selecta (Jet Star)
Highest known price: £125
One of Ed Rush’s earliest pre-techstep outings, delivered by the aforementioned Jet Star during the ragga revolution of the mid 90s. Very few copies of this white label are in circulation. Probably because those who own it aren’t likely to let it go any time soon. Just listen and you’ll understand why…
Studio 1 – To The Rescue (Jungle Mania)
Highest known price: £108
Delivered on the hugely influential Jungle Mania, this Marley-sampling promo-pressing has also been known as Dancing Feet in the past. Cooked up in the studio by once-prolific garage don Mark ‘Ruff’ Ryder, his brother Mike James and Steve May who appears to have commented on this upload below!
Law & Auder – Gimme Da Weed (Sub + Bleep)
Highest known price: £110
It wouldn’t be a decent list of classic jungle records without at least one needy weedy ganj-anthem. Law & Auder provided some really early jungle documents and their discography is peppered with a few pricey gems (Feel It white labels on G-Fource have been known to sell for £150) But this one – delivered on the criminally short-lived Sub + Bleep – is one of their best. Not just sonically but the runout message is quite funny too: “WHY ARE U READING THIS MESSAGE – GET A LIFE”. Indeed… Little did they know reading the runout would be one way to distinguish it from bootlegs.
Chatta B – Terouble Times (Redskin Records)
Highest known price: £85
For our final expensive jungle release of the list we’ve dipped below the tonne-belt to pay respect to Redskin Records. While most label’s output will range between releases, Redskin deliveries pulls the most consistently chunky price tags and they appear to be increasing.
Chatta B’s Terouble Times is one of the label’s sought-after 10 releases and is interesting as it neatly documents the changing tide between the ragga and more soulful sounds some areas of D&B was embracing at the time. Enjoy the contrast in the sample use; the balance of bubbling horns against the heavy ruffage of Badman Tune and that evergreen Mary J Blige sampling on the proto-jump up Notch. 20 years old to the year and still sounding future.
Drum&BassArena 2015: Vinyl Edition is out Saturday April 18.
Individually numbered, 1000-only. Featuring Total Science, Bladerunner, Dub Motion, A.M.C, Six Blade, L 33, BTK, Maztek, Optiv, KG, Mindscape, Mark System and many more!
Haven’t got a spare three-figure sum for one record?
Jules has selected 10 jungle releases that can easily be found for a fiver… Or under!
Bay B Kane- Dark And Delicious
A lot of Bay B Kane records, while not expensive enough to feature above, can normally be found the other side of £20. For some reason this one can be found relatively cheaply. Maybe it’s not up there with his best but even then it’s still good enough to hold its own against almost anything else
DJ Krust- Set Speed (Remixes)
I could have chosen any number of V classics for this list (Angles, Fashion and Jazz Note all spring immediately to mind) as they were all pressed in large numbers and reissued comprehensively but this one does it for me. The reason is simple- anything by DJ SS in 1995 is going to get constant rotation on the decks in my house.
More Rockers- You’re Gonna (Make Me)
(More Rockers, 1995)
Of course it would be downright ignorant to leave the Bristol crew of Roni Size, Krust et al completely out of a list like this. Here they are remixing the More Rockers cover of The Jones Girls disco classic You’re Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else in fine style.
Flytronix- Shine A Rewind (DJ Harmony Remix)
(Moving Shadow, 1995)
As one half of the legendary Hyper On Experience, Flytronix played a big part in some of the best releases on the legendary Moving Shadow label. Sadly they are quite sought after so do not qualify for this list. However Flystep on here is well worth the £2.50 it’s currently listed on Discogs for, coming on as it does like a more roughneck version of Photek’s majestic KJZ
D’Cruze- Bass Go Boom / Want You Now
(Suburban Base, 1993)
I had to find room to squeeze in a classic from Suburban Base somewhere here. This one fits the bill nicely and the remix 12 with another one from the mighty DJ SS is well worth a look too.
Conquering Lion- Rastaman
Incredible ragga jungle from Congo Natty on Island Records subsidiary Mango. Three killer cuts with Rastaman being my personal pick and perhaps my desert island discs jungle selection
Top Star & Master Flexxer- Ladies
(Wicked Soundz, 1994)
If you are a sucker for a rare groove sample with your jungle a la Tom & Jerry then try this on for size.
S.M.F.- How Many Ways / Guillotine (Ray Keith Remix)
(Rugged Vinyl, 1994)
Everyone knows the classic tune Kenny Ken released on this label called Everyman but this one is great value- especially with that tidy Ray Keith remix on the flip
Chaka Demus & Pliers – Gal Wine Junglist Grind
Like Jet Star, Greensleeves weren’t shy in getting the big jungle producers of the day on board. Allowing producers like Congo Natty, Tom & Jerry and Reel ll Reel to feed their huge reggae catalogue into their samplers pretty much guarantees great results
Potential Bad Boy- Warning Remix / You Know Here
(Ibiza Records, 1994)
I really wanted to get something on Ibiza records into this list but prices for a lot of them seem to be creeping slowly skywards. This one can be found online for under a fiver so makes the cut. The B-side wins again!