Monday, December 28, 2009

Week 31: NY Garage

Ok, there's a LOT to discuss before I throw this one out there. First off, big up to Birgitte in Norway, who sparked the idea to do this mix. She requested a mix of '80s soul & R&B; this is the first of two mixes exploring that theme (the other will come in two weeks).

Anyway, this week we have a tape of New York Garage. This is NOT garage rock, and the name has nothing to do with that...the "garage" in question is a sub-genre of disco that came from New York and helped pave the way for house music. It's named after the Paradise Garage, a members-only all-night dance club which existed in New York from 1977 to 1987, and was home to super-big-deal dance music legend Larry Levan. Previous to 1977, Levan had been mentor to "Godfather of House" Frankie Knuckles—in '77 Knuckles moved to Chicago to begin his residency at the Warehouse, and Levan remained in New York, beginning his residency at the Paradise Garage. Much like the distinctive sound of Frankie Knuckles at the Warehouse became known as "house music", Levan's distinct sound became known as "garage".

That having been said, one could basically define "garage" as "stuff Larry Levan liked, or stuff that sounds like Larry Levan would've liked it", but that's not very helpful to people who've never heard any of his productions or DJ sets. Basically, "garage" can be used to describe any mid-tempo American disco or house with heavy piano / vocal / gospel / diva elements. There's often a lot of weirdo stripped-down dubbed-out effects as well.

The word "garage" is still used to describe brand-new New York house tunes in this template, but this week's mix is just focusing on the classics—stuff from 1977-1983 that Larry played as he was defining this new sound. It's far from an exhaustive list, but it's a starting point.

And for those of you wondering where UK Garage (i.e. "garridge") fits in to all this, the lineage is pretty direct: US garage blew up in London around 1989, and throughout the early 1990s you had a scene of UK house producers mimicking the piano/diva/gospel choir sound of US garage. Those were the first "UK garage" releases, and as that scene absorbed more and more jungle/drum&bass/reggae influence, it evolved into 2-step, speed garage, grime, dubstep, bassline, UK funky, and everything else in the "post-garage" spectrum. It's gone on its own distinctly British path, but listen to MJ Cole or Burial and you can still hear Larry peeking through.

Chrissy's Year of Mixtapes Week 31: New York Garage.
  1. Brooklyn Dreams; Street Man (12" Version) (Millenium, 1978)
  2. The Salsoul Orchestra feat. Jocelyn Brown; Take Some Time Out (For Love) (Salsoul, 1982)
  3. Ashford & Simpson; Stay Free (Warner Bros., 1979)
  4. Lamont Dozier; Back To My Roots (Warner Bros., 1977)
  5. Convertion; Sweet Thing (M&M 12" Mix) (Vanguard, 1982)
  6. Denroy Morgan; Happy Feeling (Becket Records, 1982)
  7. The Salsoul Orchestra feat. Loleatta Holloway; Seconds (Shep Pettibone Mix) (Salsoul, 1982)
  8. Inner Life; I'm Caught Up (In A One Night Love Affair) (John Morales 12" Mix) (Prelude, 1979)
  9. Paul Lewis; Girl, You Need A Change of Mind (Chrissy Re-Edit) (Sunshine Sound Disco, 1979)
  10. Candido; Dancin' & Prancin' (Salsoul, 1979)
  11. NYC Peech Boys; Don't Make Me Wait (Larry Levan 12" Mix) (West End, 1982)
  12. Roy Ayers Ubiquity; Running Away (12" Mix) (Polydor, 1977)
  13. Chantal Curtis; Get Another Love (Key Records, 1979)
  14. Loose Joints; Is It All Over My Face? (Larry Levan Mix - Female Vocal) (West End, 1980)
  15. Sylvester; I Need You (Howard Merritt Mix) (Fantasy, 1980)
  16. Third World; Now That We Found Love (Disco Mix) (Island, 1978)
  17. D-Train; Keep On (Fran├žois K Mix) (Prelude, 1982)
  18. Instant Funk; Everybody (Larry Levan Mix) (Salsoul, 1980)
  19. Sinnamon; Thanks To You (Shep Pettibone Mix) (Becket Records, 1982)
  20. Class Action; Weekend (Chrissy Murderbot Edit) (Sleeping Bag, 1983)
  21. Dinosaur L; Go Bang! (Fran├žois K Mix) (Sleeping Bag, 1982)
  22. Jamaica Girls; Somebody New (Larry Levan & Ron St. Germain Mix) (Sleeping Bag, 1983)
NEXT WEEK: Weed Songs.


  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    Playing it (and loving it!) right now.

  2. Great mix. Love the tape. Was looking for a good garage mix and this seems to fit the bill very well.

  3. one of my favorites you released. great job!

  4. yo ....

    I downloaded a good few mixes off this series a while back, and then again 6 months back ....

    and now I'm back for third helpings

    a mix series that keeps on giving : )