Emerging from New Yorks gay disco scene, the Garage followed the early 70s lead of David Mancusos Loft and Nicky Sianos 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 Brodys Reade Street and when Brody laid down plans for a much larger, more ambitious venture, Levan was the automatic first choice. Brodys vision was revolutionary. In 1976, in a huge parking garage on King Street, in New Yorks 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 Yorks 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.
A rare document of "the worlds 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.