Larry Levan: Live from The Paradise Garage, 1979

Fuck Calvin Harris, Larry Levan invented disco. Yeah, you can credit at least a dozen people with the creation of the relatively ephemeral fad that swept New York and Comiskey Park in the late 70s...
By    September 12, 2011

Fuck Calvin Harris, Larry Levan invented disco. Yeah, you can credit at least a dozen people with the creation of the relatively ephemeral fad that swept New York and Comiskey Park in the late 70s and early 80s: Giorgio Moroder, Frankie Knuckles, Sal Abatiello, Tony Manero, Disco Stu. But for the purposes of this blog post, we’ll give it to Larry Levan, the DJ mastermind behind New York’s Paradise Garage, the spot that served as the prime incubator for disco, house, and the dance party as we currently conceive it.

I’m not sure how I didn’t catch the recording of the Paradise Garage’s second anniversary (1979) when it leaked about six weeks ago, but I finally wrangled it this weekend. Credit goes to Isodisco for dropping gems on us that Mobb Deep would probably loathe. Originally a radio broadcast recorded by Lenny Fontana on his father’s reel, the tape was transferred to DAT in the early 90s and eventually to the slightly muddy MP3 you hear today. Pay no mind, the funk bleeds through all levels of distortion. And don’t get caught in the usual “disco sucks sentiment.” This was pop music at its finest: fun, danceable, soulful, and as organic as Whole Foods in contrast to the normal swill that we currently consume.

Check the tracklisting on the nearly four hours of music. Isaac Hayes, James Brown, Sylvester, Patrice Rushen, Roy Ayers, Vaughan Mason. When you think disco, you think white suits and Brooklyn bojos, or gay men sipping on Champagne (King). But like most interesting things, disco went deeper than stereotypical definition. The second anniversary mix at the Paradise Garage proves it. Those with a passing interest in American music or at least a passive interest in partying, ought to download it. After all, MP3’s can’t serve as fuel for demolition nights.

Download:
MP3: Legends of the Dancefloor: Paradise Garage 2nd Birthday (intro)
MP3: Legends of the Dancefloor: Paradise Garage 2nd Birthday Pt.1
MP3: Legends of the Dancefloor: Paradise Garage 2nd Birthday Pt.2

1. Four Tops Four Tops – Main Street People
2. General Johnson – Can’t Nobody Love Me Like You Do
3. Isaac Hayes Isaac Hayes – Theme From Men
4. James Brown James Brown – Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose
5. Phreek – Weekend
6. Lou Rawls Lou Rawls – You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine
7. Keith Barrow – Turn me Up
8. Don Ray – Got To Have Your Lovin
9. Lisa Gerard/Pieter Barker – Sacrifice

Part II

10. Sylvester – You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)
11. Dan Hartman – Instant Replay
12. Loleatta Holloway – I May Not Be There When You Want Me
13. Loleatta Holloway – I’ve Been Loving You Too Long
14. Dan Hartman and Loleatta Holloway – Relight My Fire
15. Billy Nichols – Give Your Body Up To The Music
16. Billy Nichols – Diamond Ring
17. Deniece Williams – I’ve Got the Next Dance
18. Diana Ross – The Boss
19. Machine – There For the Grace Of God
20. Brainstorm – Love Is My Game
21. First Choice – Double Cross
22. Skyy – First Time Round
23. Paul Lewis – Girl You Need A Change Of Mind
24. Instant Funk – Bodyshine
25. Tribe – Koke
26. Candido – Jingo
27. Gibson Brothers – Cuba
28. Frisky – You Got Me dancing In My Sleep
29. Patrice Rushen – Haven’t You Heard
30. Don Armando – Deputies Of Love
31. Voyage – Lady America
32. South Shore Commission – Freeman

Part III

33. MFSB – Love Is The Message
34. Roy Ayers – Don’t Stop The Feeling
35. Evelyn “Champagne” King – I Don’t Know If It’s Right
36. McFadden & Whitehead – Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now
37. Leon Haywood – Don’t Push It Don’t Force It
38. The Supremes – I’m Gonna Let My Heart Do the Walking
39. Positive Force – We Got The Funk
40. Jackson 5 – I Am Love
41. Vaugh Mason Crew – Bounce Rock Skate Roll
42. Vaugh Mason Crew – Bounce Rock Skate Roll
43. Skyy – High
44. Skyy – Sky Zoo
45. Bill Summers – Straight To The Bank
46. Funk Fusion Band – Can You Feel It
47. Theo Vaness – I Can’t Dance Without You
48. Roy Ayers – Don’t Stop The Feeling
49. Shalamar – Right In The Socket
50. Grey and Hanks – Dancin
51. Black Ivory – Mainline
52. G.Q. – Disco Nights
53. Ecstasy, Passion & Pain – Touch & Go
54. Michael Jackson – Rock With You
55. Diana Ross – Remember Me

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