This long-overdue compilation is an essential purchase for disco diehards and boogie beginners alike
Until now, the volatile genius of Paradise Garage founder and resident Larry Levan - while the stuff of dance music legend - has been decidedly under-represented in album format.
Sure, there are numerous compilations of tracks 'made famous by' Levan, and two live albums (Live At The Paradise Garage, recorded in 1979 and released in 2000 by Strut, and one-fifth of Ministry Of Sound's 20th anniversary boxset Live And Remastered), as well as label-specific remix comps from Salsoul and West End. But until now, no-one's seriously attempted a definitive, career- and label-spanning collection of Levan's studio work.
It's a surprising gap, but one which this Universal Music compilation now fills with aplomb. There are, admittedly, several very well-known tracks here, and serious disco lovers will certainly have the likes of Glenn Guthrie's Padlock, Peech Boys' Don't Make Me Wait or Syreeta's Can't Shake Your Love in their collections already. But given the 'definitive' status the compilation aims for, and given that Levan's production canon wasn't exactly vast and sprawling anyway, that's kind of inevitable. The good news is that there are plenty of lesser-known gems, too - see, for instance, Jimmy Ross's First True Love Affair, Esther Williams' I'll Be Your Pleasure, or Dee Dee Bridgewater's Bad For Me.
Boasting a smattering of rarities, too, from the likes of Grace Jones, Smokey Robinson, Loose Joints and Brit-funkers Central Line, if you have even the most passing interest in disco, garage or the history of dance music generally this is unmissable.
Words: Russell Deeks
Release date: 25 March
Tags: Larry Levan, Paradise Garage, Universal Music, disco, boogie, garage, Peech Boys, Gwen Guthrie, Grace Jones, Smokey Robinson, Syreeta, Salsoul, West End, Ministry Of Sound, Strut, Larry Leven Genius Of Time review