Volume 1 is a four-disc boxset crammed with funk, rare groove, jazz and Latin goodies both classic and obscure
Bridging the gap between the new romantic/Blitz Kids era of the early 80s and the acid house explosion at the end of that decade, while also helping to spearhead the hip-hop movement in the UK, the Wag Club was one of the most influential clubs of its day. But only now is the Soho nightspot's musical legacy being commemorated in album form.
Opening its doors in October 1982 on the site of the former Whiskey-A-Gogo jazz club, and helmed by journalist and promoter Chris Sullivan, The Wag divided opinion like few other clubs. To some, it was a safe haven, a place the glamorous and fabulous could preen and parade without fear of getting a pasting from the local knuckle-draggers; for others it was the elitist embodiment of all that was wrong with Thatcher's Britain. But over the years, everybody who was anybody played and/or partied there, from Elton John, David Bowie and Keith Richards to Frankie Knuckles, Goldie and Andrew Weatherall. The club was particularly important in breaking hip-hop in the UK, with the likes of Run DMC, Afrika Bambaataa, Jungle Brothers, Biz Markie, Kool Moe Dee, De La Soul, Eric B & Rakim and Grandmaster Flash all playing at the club.
The Wag finally shut up shop in 2001... but now you can experience the club's soundtrack for yourself with a four-disc boxset simply titled The Wag. Out on Harmless on 10 June, the boxset concentrates on the club's early years (1982-86), when rare groove, Latin and jazz rocked the Wag dancefloor. With classic cuts and obscure grooves from Cerrone, Dinosaur L, Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, James Brown, Gwen McCrae, Manu Dibango, Fatback Band and more, all accompanied by lavish sleevenotes from Sullivan himself, it's a little slice of nightlife history in a box.
A second volume, concentrating on the electronic music and hip-hop that defined the club's final years, will follow in due course.
Tags: Elton John, David Bowie, Frankie Knuckles, Goldie, Andrew Weatherall, Run DMC, Afrika Bambaataa, Jungle Brothers, Biz Markie, Kool Moe Dee, De La Soul, Eric B & Rakim, Grandmaster Flash, Cerrone, Dinosaur L, Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, James Brown, Gwen McCrae, Manu Dibango, Fatback Band