Songs In The Key Of… UK Garage

23 November, 2018 in Features, Interviews

Shy Cookie

Shy Cookie: his House & Garage Orchestra plays reworkings of classics from the scenes

DJ and producer Shy Cookie takes on a journey through a genre which dominated the charts of the late 90s

Shy Cookie’s relationship with UK garage stretches back over two decades. Thrust from college into the studio aged 17, after DJ Luck heard him play his first dubplate on Lush FM (Luck’s station), he ended up producing for DJ Luck and MC Neat for over 15 years. Cookie continues to produce his own house and garage music for his label Audio Intuition. His latest project is as a producer with The House & Garage Orchestra, a collective playing reworkings of old garage classics alongside a live orchestra. Soon to release their debut album, they are currently on tour across the UK.

Here Shy Cookie selects 12 of his essential tracks. To listen to them all in one go, check out the Spotify playlist.


BACK UP BACK UP BACK UP – WOOKIE
“A track known for its blend of Wookie’s production and a live guitar hook, this is the instrumental version – and original release of what then became Wookie’s Back Up To Me featuring Lain Gray.”


SINCERE – M.J. COLE
“This track remains one of the best from the late 1990s. From the strings and various other silky synth sounds to the warm but punchy bass and light drums, this track was and is a soulful garage gem.”


CLOSER THAN CLOSE – ROSIE GAINES (MENTOR CLUBMIX)
“This is arguably one of the tracks that got a lot of people into garage during the 1990s. It’s still a favourite to this day, and a great example of phenomenal vocal range and power from the legendary Rosie Gaines.”


LITTLE BIT OF LUCK – DJ LUCK & MC NEAT
“It’s the first track on the Red Rose EP release in the late 1990s (kudos if you still own the red vinyl), and the track that sent DJ Luck and MC Neat into the stratosphere. A simple but hypnotic chant from MC Neat that remains irresistible to sing along to. Coupled with 2-step drums (sampled from the underground hit Hype Da Funk) and a bassline sampled from a Suburban Base drum and bass track are those haunting synths and you have a track that has stood the test of time and remains a garage raver favourite.”


SOMETHING IN YOUR EYES – ED CASE (K WARREN MIX)
“A true garage anthem; epic strings and drums that build to a huge chorus. Shelley Nelson’s vocal is really something on the track – a powerful hook delivered in a way that only she can do. One of my personal favourite garage tracks from the late 1990s.”


FLOWERS – SWEET FEMALE ATTITUDE
“If you know garage music, you will know Flowers. Though the chorus hook is infectious in itself, the track is literally littered with catchy hooks that have had, and continues to have, ravers up and down the country singing their hearts out to the song in clubland.”

MOVIN’ TOO FAST – ARTFUL DODGER
“Arguably one for those with slightly more matured tastes, you will find no big bassline drops here. Instead, this track is one for the clubbers as well as for ‘easy listening’ when chilling at home or driving. Along with the beautiful vocals, the melody has an angelic, almost Christmas-like feel.”


IMAGINE – SHOLA AMA (GARAGE REMIX)
“Originally released as an R&B track, Shola Ama left a significant stamp on the UK garage scene when this remix was released. Uplifting chords and a really nice love song, delivered effortlessly by Ms. Ama, this is another anthem that stands the test of time.”


MASTER BLASTER – DJ LUCK & MC NEAT
“The second DJ Luck and MC Neat track on the list, this cover of a Stevie Wonder classic earns its place as its journey saw it pay dues on the underground before being thrust into the mainstream through the word on the street. MC Neat once again delivers timeless bars, and the rolling backing track, different from Stevie Wonder and Bob Marley’s versions, kept the track (at the time) modern and fresh. Still a massive crowd pleaser whenever dropped in a set.”


MY LOVE – KELE LE ROC
“Kele Le Roc is, in my humble opinion, UK garage royalty. Simply put, this track is one of the reasons for that bold statement.”


GYPSY WOMAN – CRYSTAL WATERS
“A house track that is loved by ravers from both the house and garage scenes, Crystal Waters’ massive hit from 1991 remains one of the best house tunes ever (in my opinion). A very simple keyboard riff that is still sampled to this day, this track has been one my personal all-time favourites since its release and has influenced producers from many of the sub-genres of house in one way or another over the years.”


POISON – THE CORRUPTED CRU VS DJ LUCK & SHY COOKIE
“A track I produced a UK garage cover for, along with DJ Luck and the Corrupted Kru (Scott Garcia and Mike Kenny), which went on to tear the roof off of many garage events for well over a decade. Still loved by ravers, and though never released to the mainstream, this track was still able to make a massive impact on the scene. Also featuring MC Neat, this track is a cover that retains many elements of the original Bel Biv Divo R&B production, and captures the collaborative spirit of the music scene that pushed things forward a the time.


Shy Cookie is producer, DJ and host of The House & Garage Orchestra. To pre-order their debut album head to smarturl.it/THGO