You’ll read a lot about how house music and in particular vocal tracks, lift you up, carry you along with a feeling, make you moist around the tear ducts. For me, most of that carries about as much weight as hearing kids in California harp on about P.L.U.R. back in the mid 90’s while they sucked on pacifiers and sported gargantuan, street sweeping baggy jeans. But I have to be honest that there are a select few vocal house tunes that can, to this day, send a shiver up my spine and have me dabbing at the corners of my eyes. Roland Clark’s South Street Player alias only graced two releases, but throughout his entire career that has spanned over twenty years this Strictly Rhythm release under that name is undoubtedly the highlight.
His vocal spots for Fatboy Slim and Armand Van Helden may have earned him more recognition, but in terms of raw emotion “(Who?) Keeps Changing Your Mind” wins hands down. The Night Mix is my pick of the two; the Club Mix focuses on a happier, jazzy vibe that Van Helden seems to have taken a few pointers from himself. The Night Mix’s deep organ swells set the mood for a soulful experience, riding out for a good minute before Clark’s falsetto drops. In the tradition of great Philly soul vocals, he spins a tale of lament for a lover with a wandering spirit, but the feeling he injects into the unoriginal subject matter is enough raise the hairs on the back of your neck. By today’s standards the production of this 1993 classic leaves a lot to be desired but despite this its bitter-sweet sentiment leaves most other vocal tracks for dead.