Following massive DJ support for a couple of white labels released back in 1997, Sheffield reprobates Barry Gilbey and Sara Whittaker (now Whittaker-Gilbey) decided, in the good old DIY ethic, to stop messing around and get a label started so they could have shiny business cards as well as the love and admiration of DJs. A testament to the trend-bucking (and childish) attitude of the duo, they ditched ideas of calling the new label something cool, and plumped for Choo Choo Records. When prompted for reasons, they will both give you a resounding: "er, er... er...".

The first release surfaced in 1998, coming from Gilbey and Whittaker themselves, a vocal cut by the name of "Always / Orinoco" which very quickly picked up attention from Sasha, Nick Warren and Sir Peter of Tong - a feat quickly establishing the label as one to watch among house circles.

Within ten releases, Choo Choo firmly set out its stall and was quickly letting its presence be known with the appearance of releases on the pioneering early Northern Exposure and Global Underground cds. The roster expanded to new artists such as Digital Penetrators, Red Devil, Andy Jarrod and world class DJ Anthony Pappa, and a slew of releases meant the label reached its twentieth release with quality control and consistency being the priority, something that is certainly still evident today.

Not content with having one successful label, Choo Choo Ltd emerged from the Choo Choo camp in 1999 with the remit to release tracks that were that little bit different, resulting in the Choo Choo name being spoken in circles outside of the typical "progressive house" world.

Although recently defunct, Ltd's mantle has been taken up by Choo Choo Records proper, which now has the simple aim to release quality house music, whatever sub-genre it may fall into.

Every release since CHCH020 has been extremely varied in style and now the label has patrons across the board, from house music masters Deep Dish and Danny Tenaglia to rising stars Hernan Cattaneo and Paul "Bobby Peru" Woolford, and everyone in between.

2002 saw Choo Choo settle towards release 30, and with that album projects from Mara and new boys Shafunkers, more international artists such as Turkey's Mert Yucel and Portugal's Carlos Fauvrelle and a continuing strong future are all on the horizon.

Check out all the Choo Choo releases on this swanky playlist!