Any serious fan of house music knows the name Frankie Knuckles
. Like Marshall Jefferson
, he commands the type of respect in the genre that Grandmaster Flash
enjoyed in hip-hop. When Knuckles
signed with Virgin, the enthusiasm was high among house aficionados; but in fact, his Virgin debut, Beyond the Mix
, isn't the all-out dancefloor extravaganza many were predicting it would be. The CD definitely has its strong points -- including Lisa Michaels'
seductive vocals on "Sacrifice" and the haunting "Rain Falls" and Shelton Becton's
gutsy performances on "It's Hard Sometime" and the gospel-influenced "Soon I Will Be Done." At its best, Beyond the Mix
is far superior to most of the songs heard on urban contemporary radio in 1991. But "Godfather" and "Party in My House" are routine hip-house numbers that are virtually indistinguishable from countless other fusions of rap and house recorded in the early '90s.