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Larry Levan Live at the Paradise Garage

4.3 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 1, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

New York’s Paradise Garage. One of the most influential and most documented clubs in the history of dance music. The myth of the Garage (as it is known) and the clubs famed DJ Larry Levan has intensified since the club closed in 1987 and it is still rated by all who were there as one of the finest of all time.

Emerging from New Yorks gay disco scene, the Garage followed the early 70s lead of David Mancuso’s Loft and Nicky Siano’s Gallery by firmly placing the DJ at the focus of the club. Larry Levan had previously gained a strong reputation from spinning at the Continental Baths (alongside Frankie Knuckles) and Michael Brody’s Reade Street and when Brody laid down plans for a much larger, more ambitious venture, Levan was the automatic first choice. Brody’s vision was revolutionary. In 1976, in a huge parking garage on King Street, in New York’s SoHo neighborhood, he began construction parties with a view to creating, in that space, the finest club in New York . Unlike Studio 54, Xenon, New York New York and the other style clubs of the day where you went to see and be seen, people would go for the music, the dancefloor experience. Although the club was membership only (purchased annually after an interiew at the club), all were welcome--men, women, black, latin, white, gay, straight.

Brody had been a keen clubgoer for years and, by the time the whole building had been developed, he had cooked up a potent stew. The sound system was incredible, designed by audiophile Richard Long, the non-alcoholic bar provided free punch and fruit all night. The lighting was tight. And Levan controlled the crowd. People went there to dance and dance all night and they were under Levans spell.

Although much has been said about the Garage and bootleg tapes of Levan sessions have surfaced, there has never been a live DJ set by Larry Levan at the Garage made commercially available. Strut, in conjunction with New York’s West End Records, are proud to release Larry Levan Live At The Paradise Garage, a classic set recorded live from the Garage DJ booth in 1979. The tapes capture the full spirit of the club with the emphasis on great tunes. This was a time when the message was in the music, a time before todays obsession with fluid mixing and Levan mixes up a host of tracks which were fresh at the time which have since become classics. From the soulful heights of Shalamar and Ashford & Simpson to the funkier grooves of Motown Sounds and Crown Heights Affair, this album a joy throughout.

The album is a testament to a club that has never been surpassed before or since for the sheer intensity of emotion that it created. Garage-heads still carry their membership cards with them. All become teary-eyed when they talk of the club. Larry Levan tragically passed away in 1992 but the spirit of the Garage lives on.

Review

...a sense of the frenzied neopagan abandon that made the Garage both such a scary and joyous place to visit. -- Frank Owen, The Village Voice, September 12, 2000

…A rare document of "the world’s greatest-ever DJ" mixing vintage disco tracks. Disco sucks? Time to rethink. -- Will Hermes, Entertainment Weekly, July 21, 2000

…there'll never be another...Garage, at least we have this token of the way they used to do it. -- Even if there will never be another disco as special and wonderful as the Garage, at least we have this priceless token of the way they used to do it.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Bourgie Bourgie (Ashford & Simpson)
  2. It’s Music (Damon Harris)
  3. At Midnight (T Connection)
  4. Put Your Body In It (Stephanie Mills)
  5. Dreaming A Dream (Crown Heights Affair)
  6. By The Way You Dance (Bunny Sigler)
  7. Right In The Socket (Shalamar)
  8. Take Me Home (Cher)
  9. Pick Me Up I’ll Dance (Melba Moore)
  10. Funk Train (Munich Machine)
  11. Here We Go Again (People’s Choice)

Disc: 2

  1. Here We Go Again (People’s Choice)
  2. Bad Mouthin’ (Motown Sounds)
  3. Let Yourself Go (Supremes)
  4. Angel In My Pocket (Change)
  5. Smack Dab In The Middle (Janice McClain)
  6. Sun...Sun...Sun (Jakki)
  7. Trinidad (John Gibbs and the U.S. Steel Band)
  8. My First Mistake (Chilites)
  9. Erucu (Jermaine Jackson)


Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 1, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: July 1, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • ASIN: B00005QFLB
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #934,305 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This double CD set is absolute essential listening for anyone who has anything to do with the dance music industry, and for all who simply love dance music.
Simply put, Larry Levan was one of the most creative and influential DJs in the world. Widely regarded as the man who gave birth to the art of DJing, he was one of the first to attempt to "mix" records live in the DJ booth and to create "remixes" utilizing instrumental mixes of songs. He was also known for blending widely divergent styles of music (i.e. gospel, reggae, Philly soul, Euro-disco, rock, post-punk/New Wave, and ambient/environmental, among others) into an other-worldly soundtrack--a style which later became known as "garage," named for the nightclub he presided over for the bulk of his career. Though he died in 1992, his influence and inspiration lives on today, and this nearly 90-minute set merely begins to explain why.
Digitally remastered from the original reel to reel tapes recorded live in Levan's DJ booth in 1979, this set captures the essence of an era in dance music that has long since passed but will never be forgotten. The CDs are being released in conjunction with Mel Cheren's autobiography "Keep On Dancin (My Life and the Paradise Garage)," which both serve to tell the history of one of dance music's most influential and renown nightclubs, Manhattan's Paradise Garage (1976-1987), and of its star DJ, Larry Levan.
The track listing includes such classic names as Ashford and Simpson, T Connection, Stephanie Mills, Crown Heights Affair, Shalamar, Melba Moore, the Supremes, and the Chi-lites, and classic hits like Cher's "Take Me Home" and John Gibbs and the US Steel Band's "Trinidad," amongst 18 others.
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Format: Audio CD
Larry takes us through a time portal to one night in 1979 with disco mixing at NewYork's famous Paradise Garage. This is not a set of radio saturated disco songs, however a set that truly represents the great diversity of underground disco. Larry begins the rollercoaster ride with the classic feel good "bourgie bourgie". The twists and turns continue on disc 1 with other gems such as "At Midnight", "Right in the Socket", "Take Me Home" and "Get on the Funk Train". Disc 2 continues the ride with the almost impossible to find gem "Bad Mouthin". "Let Yourself Go", "Angel in my Pocket", "Smack Dab in the Middle" and "Trinadad" are also worthy inclusions. Larry really hands out a smorgasboard with this recording with its great variety unlike current dance music that endeavours to be monotonous with the least change as possible. Larry Levan, one of the worlds most prominent djs knew how to work the crowd and stir their emotions, its a pity today's djs can't do this [as well]. This 2 disc set also comes with a booklet that writes about the history of the club from beginning to its closure.
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By A Customer on December 13, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This is a great collection of classic tracks as spun by legendary DJ, Larry Levan. At first listen, I wasn't too thrilled with this purchase, but when I realized five months later that I was still listening to it everyday, I knew I had to re-evaluate my first response. The CD's are filled with some amazing songs, including the beautiful and melodious Ashford and Simpson song which starts out the first disc, and Stephanie Mills' "Put Your Body In It." Every time I hear this song, I never fail to put my body in it, even when I'm on the subway...
It is also a great collection because you get to hear Larry's style of spinning, which, although stellar, is not seamless as you would imagine. Instead, he spins high drama, crashing new songs into the mix and taking you on an incredible disco journey. A must-have for any disco fan.
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By A Customer on April 16, 2002
Format: Audio CD
being 18 yrs old i'm not supposed to know about the emotions old skool can bring up.my aunt put me on to larry levan....she used to go to the paradise garage. this album is ingenious and special. a time portal back to the past in the mind of a doctor. it made me experience....
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Format: Audio CD
The Garage legend is partially captured on this double CD. Larry was a master DJ. He always knew what to play & when to play it! One night I was in the booth watching him spin(I don't remember HOW I managed that!) He had total control of the crowd. The sound system was unreal! Stacks of Macintosh power amps in the booth, speakers so high you could commit suicide and bass that I was sure would literally split me in half!
This collection is a must-have for all that remember or anyone interested in learning how it all began. The mixing may seem primitive, even awkward at times but who cares? The tracks are so good! I'm thankful to have been a part of a place so special because it will never happen again!
If you were never lucky enough to have been there, try to imagine a club where all that mattered was the music. My standard outfit was t-shirt, shorts & sneakers. Dancing without a partner was common, but you never danced alone.
Buy it for a trip to Paradise!
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Format: Audio CD
i give this cd 4 stars simply for existing! as a paradise garage core member for years, my life was seriously diminished in quality when king st closed. larry was the finest dj ever - he knew how to mix without ever cutting out the break in each selection. he showcased the music, not his dj skills. my only criticism of the cd and all the backround info i read is that it seems watered down to me. the real story was this:
DANCING ROOM ONLY -too dark to see -too sweaty to be pretty- girls in high heels dont belong there- grinding your body against complete strangers of both genders is expected. It was a group orgy of dance-worship to the tribal music gods. are there any clubs anywhere in the usa even close to that these days? if so, save my life and email me the 411. i'm dying to be dancing.
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