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Disco will never die! Two hour film of the Paradise Garage closing party, 1987


 
More disco/dance gold dust. It’s Friday after all, so let’s get funky!

A lot of people are wondering if this will be the “Summer Of Disco”, from Vice magazine to the Guardian newspaper

Of course, the obvious answer to this general query is that EVERY summer is the “Summer Of Disco”! As the foundation of practically all forms of modern dance music and its symbiotic “club culture”, disco is just too embedded in the DNA of popular musical consciousness to undergo some kind of cool-by-association, short-term revival. Regardless of the fact that there are countless artists still producing amazing disco-influenced work (even beyond Daft Punk and their sphere), you might as well as if there’s going to be a pop music revival or a reggae revival. The short answer is: there is no need for a revival, as disco never really went away.

The Paradise Garage is testament to this fact, as it kept on repping all that was “disco”, even as the genre changed and mutated through freestyle, electro and house during the early to mid 80s.

The Garage was one of the first ever “super” clubs, and Larry Levan essentially laid down the template for the superstar dj. The sound and visuals in this film may be less than excellent, but there is no doubting its historical importance. The club’s closing party was always going to be fraught with emotion, and if you were there (or even if not) you can now relive it, in all its washed out, VHS glory.

And, at the very least, you are guaranteed NOT to hear “Get Lucky”:

 

 

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Larry Levan died 19 years ago today


 
In memory of the late great Paradise Garage dj here’s a mystery set that has turned up on Soundcloud and is credited to Levan from the early 80s. Uploader R_co hasn’t been able to locate a playlist, but he has found a list of (nearly) every song played during his run as resident at the Garage - that’s quite a lot of music if you care to have a look. The mixing on this set is a bit hit and miss, but the crowd audibly loves it and the drop into Loose Joints’ “Is It All Over My Face” (from an excellent mystery track) at around 6 minutes in is heavenly:
 

  Larry Levan Live @ The Paradise Garage, New York (Early 80s) by R_co
 
Of course, Levan was more than just a dj - he was a remixer of no small talent, and some of his remixes are guaranteed dance floor fillers more than 30 years after their release (such as the previously mentioned Loose Joints track, one of my desert island discs). As a special bonus, here’s Levan’s first ever remix, which he mixed as a try-out for the Sesame Street disco album project, and which remained unreleased for almost 30 years:

Cookie Monster & The Girls “C Is For Cookie (Larry Levan Special Version Funky Disco Mix)”:
 

 
Thanks to Tara McGinley
 
After the jump more of Larry Levan’s best remixes, including the Joubert Singers, Grace Jones, Gwen Guthrie and more…

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
A piece of Paradise: Larry Levan mixing live at the Paradise Garage in 1979
‘Maestro’ - a film about the Paradise Garage and the birth of Disco culture

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‘The Tube’ 1983 NY clubbing special ft New Order, Klaus Nomi, Paradise Garage & more


 
The Tube was an early-to-mid 80s British “yoof” TV program covering music and fashion, hosted by Jools Holland and Paula Yates. This special report comes from sometime around 1983 (the date is unspecified but we know that Klaus Nomi has already died) when Holland and guest presenter Leslie Ash take a trip around New York’s most happening night spots. That includes the Paradise Garage, Danceteria, The Roxy and even a brief, passing glimpse of CBGBs.

If you can ignore the cheesy presenting style (“Wow! Clubs in New York stay open until FOUR o’clock!”, “I hear this club has a “happening” sound system.” etc) there are some great interviews here, as well as some priceless footage inside the clubs mentioned. So we get the likes of Arthur Baker talking about producing New Order, Nona Hendryx and Quando Quango performing live, Afrika Bambaataa on the turntables at The Roxy,  The Peech Boys backstage at the Paradise Garage, and Ruth Polsky and Rudolph of Danceteria talking about their good friend, the recently deceased Klaus Nomi: 
 

 
Thanks to Andrew Pirie.

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A Piece of Paradise: Larry Levan mixing live at the Paradise Garage in 1979


 
This is some serious disco history right here! A recording has recently surfaced of DJ Larry Levan mixing live from the 1979 2nd birthday party of the legendary New York night spot the Paradise Garage. The 4 hour set was broadcast live on NY’s WBLS station (hence the occasional MC commentary from the recognisable voice of Frankie Crocker) and was taped off the radio by producer Lenny Fontana as a kid. He had the foresight to transfer the original tapes to DAT in 1990, and to put the mix away into storage.

Recently unearthed by the BBC’s Eddy Gordon, who has described the tapes as “broadcasting gold”, the set was broadcast on BBC Radio 6 as part of a “A Taste Of Paradise” season, which ran over a series of nights and featured interviews with some of the key players in the Garage’s history. Props to the folks at the Irish disco website isodisco.com, who have uploaded all the interviews to their site - these are worth checking out too as they are fun and informative, and have some cracking underground disco soundbeds.

But the main attraction is Levan’s dj set itself. For many people like me, whose number one time travel destination would be the Garage at its late 70s/early 80s peak, this is as close as we’re ever going to get. You can really feel the party atmosphere in the broadcast - which opens with live PAs from Loleatta Holloway, Dan Hartman AND Sylvester, reason enough to be excited - and Larry’s selection is damn near flawless. Sure, the mixing could be tighter, but this is 1979 fer Chrissakes - just check the massive booming bass on some of these tracks! Obviously dub was an influence, as was the Garage’s legendary PA. If you’re not dancing by the time Tribe’s “Koke” kicks in (arf) at 2:49:10 - straight after Candido’s club classic “Jingo” - then you’re most probably dead.

Here’s the set, as hosted on Underground NYC - skip straight to 01:11:00 for the the broadcast to begin, and 01:52:00 for Levan to take over:
 

     

 
Just to make clear, this is NOT the set released on CD by Strut in 2000. 

Previously on DM:
‘Maestro’: a film about the Paradise Garage and the birth of disco culture
The last ever set from the legendary NY nightclub The Saint

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