Lots of the tunes on this site have that feeling of Zeitgeist about them, a connection to a place, time, or perhaps both. More than any other, this particular tune is forever locked into it's time and place. The time:1988- the place:London. This was the so-called "second summer of love" and London was absolutely obsessed with acid house. I was working at Rough Trade, skating my heart out, and DJ'ing at a number of Acid parties in the suburbs in North London; it was only a matter of time before this particular song became pretty much the centre of my listening world.
"Oochy Koochy" is the first really big home-grown, proper, authentic UK acid house record.It bleeps, pulses, rises and falls exactly as you'd expect from an imported slice of acidic goodness from Trax records, yet it was recorded right here. It's that localism that gives this tune it's sense of open-eyed wonder: in a way, it's an homage to the acid sound of Chicago, yet it retains a flavour of London in it's DNA: there's a playful nature to melodies, a feeling of fun, of freedom. That's the influence of the liberating power of the music that was ruling London's clubs at the time; that new-found enthusiasm couldn't help but bleed through into the music, and it imbues every millisecond of this song.
There were a couple of versions of this song: this was the first and best. The way to tell? Well, that's wrapped up in an apocryphal tale of clubs, bass and broken speakers. When this version of "Oochy Koochy" was recorded, it was obviously made in a frantic rush of creativity, and was actually released without the Bass Line being properly EQ'ed. In the (one would imagine) tiny studio in which it was recorded, this wasn't much of a problem. However, in a huge club environment, it was a different story. Legend has it that label-mate Mark Moore (of S-Express fame) took one of the first copies of this version down to the Acid night at Heaven, put it on in the middle of the night, and the huge, lolloping B-line promptly caused the PA to have a serious wobbly; and blew the speakers. Rhythm King Records, fearing the wrath of club owners across the land, remixed the song, EQ'ed the bass a little (to ensure it wouldn't play havoc with those PA's) and added a little Icon of an ear with a "warning" stripe across it on the rear of the sleeve. So, if your 12" has an ear on the back (and a written warning about the dangers of playing it loud) it's the second pressing. If it doesn't, chances are it's one of these.
You could get "Oochy Koochy" on CD at the time (though it was the Re-EQ'ed version) and that CD is long since out of print. There are a couple on Amazon, but they'll set you back £25.