Don't normally include stuff from this era on TheFreeEPs but this one's an exception....there's some massively rare stuff on this one so it makes the grade.
1. Woke Up This Morning (Chosen One Mix) - Alabama 3
Or as Alabama 3's compilation, Hits & Exit Wounds, called it - The Sopranos Mix. Despite never being a proper hit - it reached #80 both on its original release AND reissue - this is one of the most heard songs of the new millennium after HBO chose this as the theme tune to their phenomenonly successful series The Sopranos. The blues-gospel-rock troupe, actually from Brixton, are still going but this will be the one that keeps paying the bills.
2. Connected - Stereo MCs
Let's draw a veil under those blasted phone adverts and remember this a 90s electronic hip hop classic. Already leaders of the UK hip hop scene, this was their commercial breakthrough hitting #18, its parent album spawning a further 3 Top 20 hits. They still sound the same 20 years later but it's sofisticated.
3. Voodoo Ray - A Guy Called Gerald
Acid house pioneer Gerald Simpson's all time classic. The 'Voodoo Ray' sample is actually a sample of Peter Cook delivering the phrase 'Voodoo Rage' which was cut short due to the lack of memory in Gerald's recording equipment.
4. Even Better Than The Real Thing (Perfecto Mix) - U2
The original version of this track hit #12 back in 1992; just weeks later Paul Oakenfold's remix went Top 10 becoming a dancefloor smash. Oakenfold, along with Steve Osborne, was the most in demand dance producer and remixer of the 90s, producing amongst others Happy Mondays' Pills Thrills N Bellyaches and transforming rock songs like this, and later U2's Lemon, into club hits. His massive hit rate with the Perfecto imprint continued for the next decade. Don't mention Shifty Shellshock.
5. True Faith (Morel's Pink Noise Edit) - New Order
Rare remix of New Order's 1987 classic. Morel's remixes appeared on a 2001 US promotional 12 inch - this was an exclusive edit of the Club Mix making this CD an instant collector's item for New Order fans. The remix is still rare though it did reappear on the bonus fifth CD of New Order's 2002 boxset Retro.
6. Go - Moby
Moby's Twin Peaks sampling rave classic breakthrough from 1991 is still his greatest single. The track originally peaked at #46 but hit the Top 10 a few months later. The song also samples Jocelyn Brown's 'Love's Gonna Get You'.
7. Retox - Fatboy Slim
From the album Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars. This track features vocals from Ashley Slater who was also the lead singer in Freakpower, the brainchild of Norman Cook. That's Norman Cook from the Mighty Dub Katz and Pizzaman who used to be in Beats International and The Housemartins. But who is this mysterious Fatboy Slim?
8. Jacques Your Body (Make Me Sweat) - Les Rhythmes Digitales
Originally released in 1997 to critical but minimal commercial success, Les Rhythmes Digitales aka Stuart Price, fared a little better in 1999 when it hit #60. It wasn't until 2005 that Jacques Your Body finally hit it big - its use on a Citroen advert ensured it finally hit the Top 10 nearly a decade after its initial release. Price is now a massively in demand producer and songwriter collaborating with The Killers, Kylie, Take That, Madonna. Oh, and Keane.
9. Pearl's Girl (Edit) - Underworld
The truncated, but no less awesome, single edit of this Underworld classic. Originally from their masterpiece Second Toughest In The Infants, this was a Top 30 hit twice reaching #24 in 1995 and #22 on the back of Born Slippy. Underworld fans should check out the US Pearl's Girl EP, almost an album in its own right.
10. The Time Is Now - Moloko
Not even endless use on Sky Sports alters the fact that this is one of the classiest #2 hits of all time. When they weren't producing luscious dance pop, Moloko were tripping balls, their debut album Do You Like My Tight Sweater named after Roisin Murphy's chat up line to partner and collaborator Mark Brydon. Sadly, Murphy split from Brydon and the world is sadly far saner without them. Murphy has since recorded two solo albums to critical acclaim.
11. So Hard (David Morales Remix) - Pet Shop Boys
OR NOT. A Q cock up but a collector's dream. The David Morales Red Zone remix is an absolute beast and personally chosen for inclusion on PSB's Pop Art Remix collection in 2003. Chris Lowe waxed lyrical about this gargantuan mix in the pages of Q that month. Only, the remix here isn't the original David Morales Red Zone Remix but the David Morales Radio Edit, not bad but a shorter, slightly watered-down and more radio friendly version of the mix losing the power of the original. Seeing as this hadn't been released in the UK - it had appeared on a German remix single - this actually made this Q release a whole lot more collectable for completists of one of the world's most collectable groups. Needless to say, Q apologised for the mess up in the following issue with Chris Lowe stating that his comments in the previous issue should in no way be attributed to the remix that actually appeared on the CD. Oops.
12. World In My Eyes - Depeche Mode
A DM classic from the dark synthpop masterpiece Violator. The band's seventh was their most successful critically and commercially, selling 13.8 million copies worldwide. This single was relased in the UK as the album's last single hitting #17. DM's Andy Fletcher has also cited this as his favourite Depeche Mode song.
13. Take California - Propellerheads
Big beat duo who released their one and only album Decksanddrumsandrockandroll in 1998. It was one half of the duo, Will White's, ill health that cut short their career which had got off to a flyer with their remake of On Her Majesty's Secret Service and their ubiquitous collaboration with Shirley Bassey, History Repeating. This was the duo's debut Top 75 single from their Top 10 album.
14. Devil In Sports Casual - Midfield General
The epitome of the big beat boom of the late 90s. Not surprising really - Midfield General was in reality Damian Harris, owner of Brighton's big beat label Skint. Harris would soon be sponsoring more midfield generals when the label became the long term sponsor of Brighton & Hove Albion FC.
15. Once More - The Orb
The Orb's 2001 album Cydonia, featuring this #38 single, was a sidestep for Alex Paterson et al featuring vocals and traditional song structures. The album did contain The Orb's usual ambience though and refreshingly contained a track called A Mile Long Lump Of Lard.
16. Pacific 707 - 808 State.
Pacific 707 is actually the single version of the house classic Pacific State. The original version appeared on their debut album Quadrastate and was remixed a year later to become their debut Top 10 hit. The acid house pioneers - yes, more of them - released a clutch of albums over the next decade and a half collaborating with, amongst others, James Dean Bradfield, Bernard Sumner and Bjork.
17. Tension (Live From The Q Awards) - Orbital
We end with an exclusive live version of this Orbital track from their album The Altogether; another reason to get hold of this CD - it doesn't get much better than Orbital live does it? Of course, the techno duo reformed last year and are back on stage. Their new AA side Don't Stop Me/The Gun Is Good even survives a Buggles sample.