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Barry Harris and Chris Cox
THUNDERPUSS
(TOMMY BOY)

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The dance-music production team of Barry Harris and Chris Cox here present their debut CD, a 16-track continuous mix of diva-style house music. The teamís approach is to take existing songs ó hits, mostly ó and substitute their own rhythm tracks for the originalsí, retaining only the vocals and part of the supporting melodic instrumentation. The duoís fondness for radio hits is risky ó fans of the familiar versions of Enrique Iglesiasís "Hero," Madonnaís "Donít Tell Me," LeeAnn Rimesís "I Canít Fight the Moonlight," and Britney Spearsís "Donít Let Me Be the Last To Know" are sure to rebel at hearing these songs rebuilt from the bottom up. Club kids, on the other hand, hear things differently. That Harris and Cox recontextualize such torrid diva shouts as Suzanne Palmerís "Hide U" and Jennifer Holidayís "And I Am Telling You Iím Not Going" and cool house-girl jams like Kim Englishís oft-compiled "Everyday" and Kristine Wís "Clubland" is, as dance adepts know, simply the way club DJs do things. Itís part of the fun to hear oneís dance-floor idols put in a new suit of rhythmic clothing.

Still, Harris and Cox risk losing the club kids as well by giving every number the same revved-up, technofied treatment. Their sameness of design reduces even their own productions ó Barry Harris featuring Pepper Mashay doing "Iíve Got My Pride" and "Dive in the Pool" and Thunderpuss featuring Thea Austin in "First Class Freak" ó to three more slices of the same peach pie. Repetition keeps house music beating; changes and surprises give it soul. Which is why Harris and Cox, for all their dexterity, do not yet rise above technique.

BY MICHAEL FREEDBERG

Issue Date: May 16 - 23, 2002
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