Ray Keith, a man somewhat associated with the amen break and famously quoted for saying “stick an amen in, it will make anything sound better” was without a doubt a pioneer of the jungle scene.
His label Dread Recordings pushed out more hits in the mid 90’s than most and tunes such as ‘Yes Yes’, ‘Chopper’, ‘Nina’s Rinse’ and ‘Sing Time’ were incredibly popular among DJ’s and ravers alike.
Dr Wootang – Original Wootang
As with most of the producers I talk about, Ray Keith had a host of aliases including Dark Soldier (most commonly known for it’s use associated with the track ‘Terrorist’), Babylon 5, Dragon Fist and London’s Most Wanted.
Lifting the same vocal samples from Fu-Schnikens’ classic Hip Hop track ‘Cray-Z’ as SS used in the legendary ‘The Lighter’, Ray Keith created somewhat of a Lighter remix with ‘Original Wootang’. I remember asking for this in my local record shop as just that, ‘The Lighter’ remix. It didn’t get me anywhere though and I picked this record up by chance having a flick through some of the recent releases in the rack at the time. Any vinyl enthusiast will no doubt relate to the feeling finding something totally out of the blue gives you.
This is without a doubt an intro tune, one that creates a certain vibe and atmosphere whenever you play it. It contains all the right ingredients for that critical blow when it drops but the key to the production in this track is the first 1 minute and 10 seconds – the female vocals alongside the “lighter” vocal combined with bright stabs of something or other. It’s nothing overly complicated by any means but it doesn’t need to be – that’s really something to remember these days, Jungle music wasn’t built on extensive production techniques and 100’s of audio channels. If this tune was to be reproduced with today’s technology I doubt the project file would amount to a mass of data.
Although the initial drop sets the pace, it’s the second drop at 1:40 that calls for frantic waving of hands combined with lighter gas being ignited and dozens of Reebok Classics burning up the dancefloor. Ray Keith really was a sampling wizard, taking parts of what I assume was a Wu Tang Clan tune and slapping it right in after the drop. It fits the track perfectly and certainly leaves a lasting impact every time you hear it.
SS obviously didn’t have any hard feelings about the sample sharing as he remixed ‘Original Wootang’ later in the year. Pick the remix up for a few pounds via Discogs here which also contains a remix on the flip from Mark Da.
Check this classic Wu Tang freestyle from the Westwood archives.