Parris Mitchell and RJ Hall: Work It! 94

Nowhere is Parris Mitchell's flexibility as a producer shown better than on this 1994 EP, reissued from the Dance Mania archives.

Parris Mitchell gets a lot or props for his A&R work, and deservedly so, but he’s never gotten the credit for being one of the most flamboyantly eclectic producers that Chicago or dance music as a whole has ever seen. Despite being a musician in the purest sense of the word, he quickly and eagerly dived right into the world of raw Chicago beat tracks and later Ghetto House. Nowhere is his flexibility better shown than on this gorgeous EP from 1994, dubbed Work It! from the A Side and most aggressive track on the record.

This was a collaboration between Parris and RJ Hall, aka Reggie Hall, some six years after the release of “I Want Your Love” by Victor Romeo (aka Parris Mitchell) and The Move, also on Dance Mania. The title track is raw’az’hell, with vocals so aggressive it feels like they broke the mic off halfway through. And on the flip: pure beauty. “It’s Alright” isn’t now on the short list of Classic Chicago House vocal tracks, but it will be. What a delight to hear that foggy aquatic trumpet buzz up from those fat bass hits and that soulful vocal lift up a room like they heard it for the first time! A label today would never dream of backing these two tracks together, though the circle does draw to a close with the “Work It! Mix” on B3.

This is yet another treasure from the ongoing reissues of Dance Mania classics. It feels like I’m going on about all of them and maybe I will.


Originally published inside 5 Magazine Issue #134 featuring Lay-Far, Inaya Day, Danism, Minneapolis Exchange and more. Become a member of 5 Magazine for First & Full access to everything House Music – on sale for just $1 an issue!