Fine, fine, fine

So somehow a rumor got spread that I would be including an essay with each post here. Of course as soon as I read that the ink dried up. Please don’t hold me to that or it will be 6 months in between posts. I also realized that my music collection is organized in a system that can only be described as complete chaos and typing “white label” into my iTunes wasn’t as fruitful as I had hoped when planning out tracks to posts. One track did come to mind though. I ended my boiler room in 2016 with it and have been hounded for an ID ever since. I’m never protective of track IDs. Whats mine is yours, so on and so forth. But with this one for years I couldn’t bring myself to share the track. It was my secret baby, only discussed amongst close friends.

Jameson vs. Whitney – Fine (Untitled Mix 1) [2000]

In many ways “Fine” marks the beginning of the first stumbles in Whitney Houston’s discography. After perfecting an anthemic pop sound in the late 90s, she began to transition to grown and sexy r&b. She wouldn’t fully emerge from the lull until 2009’s “Million Dollar Bill.” “Fine” was included as a new song on her Greatest Hits in 2000, which always used to drive me crazy. Just give us the hits, please! The original version produced by Raphael Saadiq and Q-Tip has a middlingly funky vibe that would feel at home in a Disaronno commercial, heavily laden with ribbed sweaters and leather blazers. The video, like all music videos from 1999-2001, features a dance battle on a roof (but I will say Whitney looks good in a fingerless glove!)

Jamie Williams, aka Jameson, was a stalwart producer and MC out of England, who started with a string of excellent hardcore singles in the early 90’s as Kenetic and eventually covered just about every shade of UK house. Shortly after hitting his stride at the turn of the century he adopted the ever so slightly different alias Jamieson and had mild crossover success with a handful of bubblegum 4×4 records. In “Fine (Untitled Mix 1)” we have evidence of the producer at his peak as he pitches up the vocal and swaps in an original instrumental, turning the whole thing into glittering garage magic. When I first got this 12″ it made me forget that “Fine” wasn’t actually one of Whitney’s greatest hits. While a good white label takes a familiar track that you love and helps you see it from a new perspective, a great one takes a track that you don’t care about and breathes life into it.

Nearly everything about Jameson’s take is perfect but the star of the show here is the bass line. When the first “boing” hits at 15 seconds it penetrates deep into the chest. I have never not started doing gun fingers in the club at that moment. Each time I play this out and see the reaction I’m shocked it never made it into the pantheon of classic UK garage flips. But I guess thats the way of the genre. With such a massive volume of white labels coming out of the UK around 2000 , the difference between gold record and dollar bin oddity was a flip of a coin or a prime time rinse on KISS FM.

eternal mood

If you are staring at the discogs entry for this record right now and dying to know if “Untitled Mix 2” is as good as this one, don’t waste your money! But its definitely worth buying the first 4 or 5 white labels that came out on Cherry Pie Records

Bonus : For my fam in the contemporary soulful house massive I’m including my second favorite remix of “Fine” made by Rob Hayes in 2014. Going to have to see if I can sway the rest of you on soulful house another time 🙂


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