Pengo - The Compilation (1996)
Remember the label Pengo Records? A well known (and sometimes much hated) Dutch Happy Hardcore label from the mid 90s. During the 90s it was a well established name, and it was one of the many Happy Hardcore labels, run as a subsidiary from the legendary label ID&T. This label was so much loved/hated, it is still an important label for many Happy Hardcore fanatics. You can agree or disagree, but this label has meant a lot to the Happy Hardcore fans, like yours truly. I was a fan, and for good reasons: the tunes released on this label were kind of classics in the making. And 26 years later we are still talking about it. Or at least I am talking about it.
This CD was released back in 1996, one of the most important years of the happy sounding Hardcore. And at that time this CD was the one you as a zwabber needed to have. Yes, it was loved by many and hated by the die-hard fanatics, but you cannot undermine the importance of this label. And specifically, this one CD. It isn't the greatest album out there, and it did the trick that everyone did: cash in on the success at the time. You'll see why, when I show you the tracklist.
This wasn't an album filled with cheap and quickly made anthems. Oh no, these were classics in the making, by some of the biggest names in the Hardcore scene. You couldn't go to a rave back in the late 90s and NOT hear any of these songs. They were literally everywhere, and they have held their value, 25+ years onward. Happy Hardcore might not have been as big as it was back in 1998-1997, but there's still people out there, craving for this sound to come back.
So, instead of waiting for the next Buzz Fuzz, Critical Mass, The Beatsquad, etc, let's just quickly go back in time. When music was good (as the oldies would say). And this is what Pengo Records had to offer, and you will see why this was a quick and easy cash grabber.
CD 1 :
Critical Mass - Dancing Together (7" Original Mix)
DJ Weirdo & DJ Sim - Go Get Busy (Radio Edit)
The Prophet - Big Boys Don't Cry (4 Minute Mix)
Micado - It's Gonna Be A Fine Night (Radio Edit)
The Beatsquad - Miles Of Smiles (Short Version)
DJ Waxweazle - Come With Me (Radio Edit)
Bertocucci Feranzano - XTC Love (Radio Mix 1)
DJ Weirdo & DJ Sim - Pump That Stupid Bass (Credibility Radio Mix)
The Prophet & DJ Delirium - The Way You Make Me (CD Version)
Cixx - Ride To The Rhythm (Single Edit)
Critical Mass - Burnin' Love (Happy Radio Edit)
3 Steps Ahead - Drop It (Happy Mix)
CD 2 :
Critical Mass - Dancing Together (DJ Waxweazle Remix)
DJ Weirdo & DJ Sim - Go Get Busy (Hardcore Edit)
The Prophet - Big Boys Don't Cry (Original Mix)
Micado - It's Gonna Be A Fine Night (Happy Hard Mix)
The Beatsquad - Miles Of Smiles
DJ Waxweazle - Come With Me (Critical Mass & DJ Waxweazle Mix)
Bertocucci Feranzano - XTC Love (Original Mix)
DJ Weirdo & DJ Sim - Pump That Stupid Bass (DJ Friendly Mix)
The Prophet & DJ Delirium - The Way You Make Me (Original Vinyl Version)
Cixx - Ride To The Rhythm (Happy Hardcore Version)
Critical Mass - Burnin' Love (DJ Weirdo & DJ Sim Remix)
3 Steps Ahead - Drop It (The Ender Mix)
See what I mean when I said that this tracklist was a tad peculiar? Why bring an album on the market with basically the same songs on two discs, with two different version in total. That's just cheap as chips, right? They had so much more potential, but sadly missed the option to gain more fans. But those were the 90s. Plenty of crap CDs were released throughout the years. I do remember a CD focussed on Formula 1, and the first had Hardcore/Gabber tunes on it, with some race car sounds implemented in-between the tracks, and the second disc was ONLY race car sounds. Sound dumb? Well, it was. How do I know? I spent money buying this album, and similar albums like it.
This Pengo album isn't my finest CD in my collection. How to explain it to people on what is on this album? ' Well, there are two discs, and disc 1 contains 12 wicked Happy Hardcore songs, and disc 2 contains the same songs, different version of it. '' Lame. Right? Or not?
Well, at least Pengo gave people the chance to find out which version they appreciated more. For example, 'Go Get Busy'. Some like the Radio Edit, which I despise, but I fucking love the 'Hardcore Edit'. Same applies to all the songs on this CD. 'XTC Love' as the original mix is just a lame track. The Radio Mix 1 is good, but the Buzz Fuzz mix is better. You can't win every single time, but at least this gave you the option: don't like version A? Go for version B instead.
Whichever version you like of these 12 anthems, they are still Hardcore classics. They still hold their value quite nicely, if I might say so. Some versions are truly masterpieces, and some versions are just utter crap. But that was the 90s: multiple mix version, for 'ieder was wils', as we would say in the Netherlands.
It's a fine album, but not the finest Happy Hardcore album out there. But it has to be said that Pengo Records did release only the finest Happy Hardcore songs out there, right? Quality over quantity.
Best song? Well, one you wouldn't expect of me: 'Come With Me' by Waxweazle, remixed by Critical Mass & DJ Waxweazle. Banging tune!
Sadly it's probably one of those albums completely forgotten about. Time to have a throwback to 1996, the year when Happy Hardcore DOMINATED the world and its mother!
Artists: Various Artists
Genre/Style: Happy Hardcore
CD Info: Pengo - The Collection
Length CDs: +/- 2 hours
CDs: 2 (two)
Tracks: 24 (twenty-four)
Release Year: 1996
Label: Pengo Records / ID&T
Product Number: PENCOMP 001CD
More Information: -----