IT’S 20 YEARS AGO TODAY THAT THE WORLD SAID A FOND FAREWELL TO LARRY LEVAN, but for so many he will always live on! Larry was a one-off, a supreme talent that created some of the most thrilling, unique, organic, sexy mixes we’ve ever heard.
His remixes of Gwen Guthrie tracks in particular are simply jaw-dropping, genre-defining (and genre defying!) classics, full of charm, sexiness, and the kinds of sounds you can’t quite describe in words. We only wish we’d been old enough and bold enough (to fly all the way to NY!) to catch one of his legendary sets at the Paradise Garage way back in the day.
Here’s an interesting piece written about Larry from the Discogs website….
“There’s not much that can be said that hasn’t been said already in dozens of articles, reviews and tribute websites, but I’m compelled to add my two cents. I first heard about the Paradise Garage from an article in NYC’s defunct “SOHO Weekly News”, and I was fascinated. The very well written review was published sometime in 1979 or `80, and my interest was piqued, as my world consisted of clubs, parties and venues that thrived on the anti-disco backlash. My willingness to examine my own irrational prejudice against “Disco” occured one night at The Mudd Club, a cutting-edge post-punk dance club with a sound-system designed by Bryan Eno and a punky-artsy clientele that probably prided itself in never having set foot in a “real” discotheque. I counted myself among that herd until I heard a real Disco DJ upstairs, guesting on the second floor, and my eyes were opened wide and my jaw dropped when I watched and listened to this guy seamlessly blending hot Salsoul, West End and Prelude records. Of course the music was amazing and had nothing in common with my media-inspired, brainwashed aversion to so-called Disco music. I was mesmerized and made it my business to get into the Garage come hell or high-water. I had started DJing in the East Village by then and Bobby Shaw, then the promoter for Warner Brothers records, got me on the guest-list and I finally arrived at Disco Nirvana. But even then, Larry opened my mind and challenged my pre-conceived notions of what he was about. In the course of the night I heard Kraftwerk, The Peach Boys, Yaz, Konk, Mikki, The Temptations, Men At Work, D-Train, and the list of ecclectic twists and turns was mind-blowing to say the least..and that sound system. The best I’d ever heard, albeit too loud for my already sensitive ears. I was a regular there until it closed, and due to Larry’s reputation as a moody and unpredictable soul with a slightly self-destuctive bent (like Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison, to name a few), I kept my distance from his inner circle and insisted on paying my yearly membership fee as well as the modest admission price. I never regretted my decision, and only after the Garage closed did I become friendly with the now more accessible and down-to-earth Larry Levan. I feel blessed to have had him share his knowledge and stories with me, and not a day passes when I don’t think about the man or listen to one of his totally unique, trippy and dub-inspired remixes. Literally NO DJ can ever achieve his impact on my life or come close to his skills at sonic reconstruction and open-minded, genius programming. He was a genuine 20th century SHAMAN. I Love you and miss you Larry!”
Here at GLX HQ we can’t get enough of Larry’s work and we thought we might share with you a short list of some of our favourite Levan mixes.
We strongly recommend that you hook up with LL and let him cement himself in your subconscious. PLAY LOUD and DANCE!!
JIMMY ROSS – First True Love Affair
TRACY WEBER – Sure Shot
CENTRAL LINE – Don’t Tell Me
GWEN GUTHRIE – Hopscotch (vocal and instrumental)
GWEN GUTHRIE – Seventh Heaven
FIRST CHOICE -Double Cross
LOGG – I Know You Will
AURRA – When I Come Home
SKYY – First Time Around
INSTANT FUNK – I Got My Mind Made Up
NEW YORK CITI PEECH BOYS – Don’t Make Me Wait
CLASS ACTION – Weekend
There’s so many more, but these are some of our biggest faves….hope you dig :)))
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