Get ready for it …. here’s 20 of our favourite funky house tracks from the mid-to-late 1990s…
But first …
How we define ‘’Classic Funky House’’
Drawing on Funk, Soul and Disco influences from the 70s & 80s, together with the use of samples, the mid-to-late 90s was really the birth era of what we call ‘’funky house’’; a sub-genre that would go on to flourish for about 15 years – running all the way through the 2000s.
Every standout genre (or sub-genre in this case) has its golden age, which is nearly always during the initial years from when that genre was conceived. It’s these tracks that are commonly referred to as ‘’classics’’ for years to come.
In short, this is why ‘’classic funky house’’ is the best way to describe our selection.
For those of you born in the 90s, or even the early 2000s, you might prefer to describe these tracks as ‘’old school house music’’ – which is also fine. To a certain degree, you might say it’s subjective.
Before we jump in
This list has been hand-picked by our team here at The DJ Revolution, many of whom had these records in their vinyl collections as working DJs around the turn of the decade. It includes tracks from house music legends such as Junior Jack, Kenny Gonzalez, DJ Sneak, Bob Sinclair and many more.
Make no mistake, these records helped to shape dance music culture in a big way during the second half of the 90s!
In case you wanted to purchase any of the selections, we did our best to include the appropriate ‘buy’ links for the digital and vinyl versions in the description for each track.
So then, here’s 20 of the best funky house classics from the mid-to-late 90s!
1. Bobby Dambrosio – Moment Of My life (feat. Michelle Weeks)
To kick us off we’ve chosen this soulful/funky house classic from prolific remixer, producer and DJ of over 20 years, Bobby Dambrosio. Providing the unmistakable vocals is American house diva, vocalist and songwriter Michelle Weeks.
As well as being a massive hit in the US, this little gem appeared on the top 20 of the national charts in the UK and has since been licensed all over the world. It was released in 1997 on Definity Records, with this 10-minute ‘classic club mix’ the most popular version from the 4-track EP. Most importantly, the track’s infectious funky piano baseline just makes you want to dance!
2. Byron Stingily – Get Up (Everybody) (parade mix)
Bringing the disco vibes for our second selection, from 1997, is Chicago-based singer Byron Stingily – known for his high-frequency range ‘Falsetto’ vocals. The track samples Sylvester’s ‘’Dance (Disco Heat)’’, an original disco track from 1978.
Stingily had various hits records before this through the 80s & 90s as the lead singer of Ten City, with his biggest success being as a solo artist where he’s reached number 1 on three separate occasions on the Billboard Dance Club Songs Chart.
3. Eclipse – Makes Me Love You (Morning Star Mix)
Still a well-recognised classic the world over, this feel-good track is absolutely timeless. It was produced by Paolo Martini and credited to Italian DJ/producer duo, Eclipse.
It uses a sample from ‘Thinking of You’ by Sister Sledge, and was released on the Italian label Ocean Trax and also Azuli Records in the UK back in 1999 – reaching number 25 in the UK singles chart.
If you want to add this little beauty to your collection you can get the original 3-track EP on Discogs and also find the digital version on Beatport. The 10-minute ‘Morning Star Mix’ is generally considered as the standout version.
4. Junior Jack – My Feeling (kick ‘n deep mix)
This next track is another disco-inspired classic that really needs no introduction. It’s by Italian DJ/Producer Junior Jack (real name Vito Lucente).
Having entered the top 40 in the UK charts, My Feeling was originally released on Noise Traxx back in 1999 and was built around vocal samples from ‘Saturday Love’ by Alexander O’Neal and also ‘One More Time’ by Sister Sledge.
Whilst it might be considered a little on the commercial side of things, this 90s house classic can’t be denied. If you wish to add it to your collection, grab the original vinyl EP over on Discogs …or get a digital copy from Beatport.
5. Novy vs. Eniac – Superstar (Full Intention Mix)
Originally released on Kosmo Records in 1997, this next track should be credited to German DJ/Producer Tom Novy, in collaboration with Eniac.
Novy’s productions can be characterized by their funky baselines together with his standout vocals. Perhaps better known for his single releases “Without Your Love” and “Your Body”, Novy’s more recent tracks have run more along the sub-genre of European-flavoured progressive house.
Regardless of that, there’s no denying that this energetic funky house classic absolutely bangs! Grab the Full Intention Mix on vinyl via Discogs (on Hed Kandi) or get the digital version on Beatport.
6. Power House – What You Need (feat. Duane Harden)
If we’re talking 90s house classics, they don’t get much bigger than this one from Powerhouse!
It features vocals from Duane Haden and samples Thelma Houston’s ‘I’m Here Again’ — a disco-pop track from 1977. It was released on a few different labels including Defected and Strictly Rhythm back in 1999.
Check out the 8-minute Full Intention Power Mix (our favourite) on YouTube from Strictly Rhythm Records. You can also grab the vinyl EP on Discogs or rummage through the different digital edits on Traxsource.
7. Troy Brown – Feel Allright (Original Mix)
Perhaps a lesser-known funky classic than some of the others on this list, ‘Feel Allright’ was produced by Troy Brown and released on Canadian label Aquarius Recordings in 1998, and samples George Benson’s “Give Me the Night” from 1980.
This feel-good disco-inspired track has lovely warm soulful vocals together with a trumpet breakdown and percussive elements that make it truly unique. In short, it’s a must-have addition to the collection of any house music enthusiast out there!
8. Cassius – Cassius 1999
Sure, it might seem a little commercial, but when you think ‘funky house classics’ from the 90s, this little gem simply can’t go unmentioned.
Released on Virgin Records in 1999, the album entitled ‘Cassius – 1999’ was produced by French electronic music duo Philippe Zdar and ‘Boombass’, who unfortunately broke up in 2019 following the death of Philippe.
The main edit from the album is a shorter radio edit, although you can grab the rare 9-minute vinyl version here on Discogs (the same one we’ve featured below). Alternatively, the shorter digital version is available on Beatport.
9. DJ Sneak – Get Up Stand Up (original mix)
For this next track, we thought we’d showcase Get Up Stand Up by house music legend DJ Sneak. It samples ‘Strut Your Funky Stuff’ by American disco group Frantique from 1979.
The track was released on Henry Street Music back in 1995, and can be characterized by its dominating trumpet backing, synthesizers and percussive elements.
DJ Sneak (real name Carlos Sosa) was inspired by Chicago legends such as Marshall Jefferson and DJ Pierre, and was part of the second wave of influential Chicago house producers that includes Derrick Carter and Green Velvet.
10. Supakings – Back & Forth
Back & Forth from the Supakings is another feel-good funky house classic that we absolutely had to include! It was originally released in 1999 on German label Peppermint Jam and contains a sample of Main Ingredient’s “Evening Of Love” From 1981.
What else can we say — it’s funky, it’s soulful, and it’s dancefloor-ready as hell! Check out the 2021 version on YouTube below, it’s basically identical to the original mix from 1999.
11. Cheek – Venus (sunshine people)
This next track was an underground club hit by Cheek in 1996, produced by French electronic music DJ & Producer Gilbert Cohen (AKA DJ Gilb’R) and released on his own label ‘Versatile Records’.
True to its name, the label is known for its versatility and has a reputation of not sticking to the playbook or locking itself into a particular genre. Over on Discogs, we noticed that the label gives a special thanks to Daft Punk, although there’s no mention of any official collaboration.
12. Gusto – Disco’s Revenge
Gusto (real name Ed Greene), started rapping in the mid-1980s before moving over to house music in the early 90s.
This timeless funky classic is recognised the world over and sampled the funk & soul track ‘Groovin You’ by Harvey Mason from 1979.
Disco’s revenge was first released in 1995 on Bumble Beat Records and then in 1996 on UK house label Manifesto. The 6-minute Mole Hole Mix is generally considered as the main version, which is part of a 4-track vinyl EP on Discogs. You can also grab a digital copy on Beatport.
13. Afro Madusa – Pasilda (Knee Deep Club Mix)
A list of classic funky house just wouldn’t be complete without some Latin influences. Whilst this track was mostly only available from the year 2000, one of the original vinyl was technically conceived in 1999 — so we’ll take it!
Afro Medusa is a British dance music trio consisting of Isabel Fructuoso, Nick Bennett and Patrick Cole. They placed two songs on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in the US, beginning with this one, which hit number 1 in 2000.
Anyone who frequented the bars & clubs in places like Spain, Ibiza or Portugal in the early 2000s will be more than familiar with these kinds of happy Latino vibes. The 12-inch vinyl version is available on Discogs, or grab the 2016 re-release on Beatport.
14. Gambafreaks – Down Down Down
This is another track that was originally produced on vinyl and CD in 1999, although it wasn’t until 2000 when we saw it explode onto the scene. It’s by Italian DJ/Producer Stefano Gambarelli – AKA Gambafreaks.
Here’s that same mix on Strictly Rhythm/YouTube…
15. Topazz – New Millenium (Freezzy Jam Mix)
This absolute gem from Topazz was released on a handful of labels in 1998 including Ultra Violet Recordings in Australia (on CD) and also German house music label Real Groove.
The Freezy Jam Mix of New Millenium takes about 90 seconds to kick in, and you’ll surely know it when it does! It uses a sample from ‘My Lady’, a track by American jazz group, The Crusaders in 1979.
16. Barbara Tucker – Stop Playing With My Mind
With a resume as long as your arm, US singer/songwriter Barbara Tucker is one of the most prolific soul/dance/house music vocalists of all time. And this funky classic feat. Darryl D’Bonneau perfectly demonstrates why!
Whilst the track was originally released in 1999, it wasn’t until 2000 when it was licensed on a number of prominent record labels such as Positiva (UK) and Strictly Rhythm in the US. Either way, this 90s house classic is an absolute bomb!
17. Bob Sinclair – I feel for you
I Feel For You was another track right on the crossover of the decade. A shorter radio edit was originally released in 1999, although the ‘Original Club Mix’ from 2000 took it to the next level, reaching No.9 in the UK charts.
In case you didn’t know, Bob Sinclair is a French remixer, producer and DJ, who is, in part, credited for popularising French House during the late 90s. He’s also the owner of electronic music label Yellow Productions.
Here’s the 6-minute ‘Original Club Mix’ on Defected…
18. Kenny Dope Presents The Bucketheads – The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind)
Originally released on Positiva back in February 1995, this retro-sounding disco/house/dance classic is as far back into the 90s as we go!
The track was produced by Masters At Work member Kenny ‘’Dope’’ Gonzalez, and features a prominent sample from Chicago’s ‘Street Player’ from 1979. It was a commercial hit in the UK in spring 95, reaching number 5 on the singles chart, while it peaked at 49 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US.
Whether you love it or hate it (we’ll admit it’s been a bit hammered!), who could argue that it’s not it a funky house classic?! If you want to pick up a copy, we spotted this 15-minute original edit on Traxsource. Other than that you’ll have to go digging!
19. Nerio’s Dubwork & Darryl Pandy – Feel it
This next track, ‘Feel It’, is carried by the wonderfully soulful vocals of Chicago native Darryl Pandy in collaboration with an Italian house music project called ‘Nerio’s Dubwork’.
Somewhat of a house music legend, Farley ‘’Jackmaster’’ Funk, Jesse Saunders, Duane Buford & Vince Lawrence brought in Pandy to lay down the vocals to “Love Can’t Turn Around” – the track that made the Chicago house sound and became a widespread phenomenon.
Feel It was originally released in 1999 on a number of different labels around the globe, with this 7-minute vocal mix considered as the original. Grab the vinyl on the Spanish label ‘Le Club’ over on Discogs or get the digital version on Beatport.
20. Lost ‘N’ Alive – Everything I Play
Last but not least, this track is a production from Milk & Sugar Recordings, originally released in 1999. It samples Lou Donaldson’s soul/jazz track ‘Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky’ from 1970.
We couldn’t find much more information on this one, unfortunately.
When putting this list together, it was a reminder of just how many classic funky house tracks actually fell into the following decade – or even bang on 2000! But I suppose that’s what makes these 90s representations all that more special!
In essence, these are the tracks that set the table for what was to follow in the coming decade. We hope you enjoyed the funk!
Read this next: 20 of the best funky & disco house classics from the 2000s.
Header image: Joseph Pearson.