dimanche 21 mars 2010

Tito Puente -
Para Los Rumberos (1992) (Masters At Work mixes)

1992 - 1994 were really classic years for me. New York house was at its prime: MAW, Sanchez, Morales, MK, Johnny Vicious, Vasquez, Tomiie... It was a really stimulating time.

Masters At Work's roots in Latino and house gave rise to a few interesting collaborations with Tito Puente at the time, culminating with his contribution to the Nuyorican Soul project, but even before then the MAW boys were taking Puente tracks and housing them up for the club kids, such as Para Los Rumberos for the Mambo Kings soundtrack.

It was a great track that only saw single release on 12", but the Masters At Work Forever blog (during its short life of 9 months) made the Kenlou mix available for download, and I decided to fuse it with the dub available on the first BBE compilation of MAW tracks. The result is nearly 11 minutes of classic Latin house, great percussion (obviously) and added vocals from India. Hard to complain about really.

I cleaned up the vinyl rip, tweaked the sound a little to make the two tracks flow into each others as seamlessly as possible and repeated a bar or two that I especially liked. There's definitely enough going on to keep your interest for 10'45". Have a listen...

And once again, the track's an example of how house music of the time has been orphaned by major labels; released as a club tool to boost the film nearly twenty years ago, no-one has got round to having it released digitally, and the Kenlou mix is - as such - only available on blogs. Proof that major labels are generally just short-sighted money-making machines with no interest in the quality of their back catalogue at all.

You can download Tito Puente - Para Los Rumberos (Kenlou/Puente's Vibe mix Fist fusion)
by pressing the download button on the player above (16MB).

samedi 6 mars 2010

Los Clodettes -
Alexandrie Alexandra (Joey Negro mixes) - 1995

Although moving to Paris in the early nineties made finding some records a real battle, there were - from time to time - benefits. The rise of the French touch, Dimitri from Paris, Daft Punk... it wasn't all bad. And then, in 1995, Sony released Joey Negro remixes of a French disco classic Alexandrie Alexandra, originally sung by French disco deity Claude François. For those who don't know of him (and outside of France, there's no shame in that), he was famous for:

a) wicked/disturbing disco moves and threads (for the 1970s)
b) his backing singers/dancers The Clodettes
c) co-writing the original version of My Way, and
d) accidentally electrocuting himself by trying to change a lightbulb whilst in the bath. True.

Disco was not taken very seriously at the time (François was sometimes called "the favourite singer of the under-10s) but he is is mourned to this day by a bunch of nostalgia-obsessed loonies, and his hits are heard all the bloomin' time on French radio. To be fair, he more or less brought disco to our shores, which I suppose is not a bad thing, had an amazing ear for a hook and danced like a wigged out motherfracker. Check out his legendary moves below. The video is from 22nd January 1978. Two months later, François was dead.

The Clodettes' version of Alexandrie, Alexandra seems to have originated on Joey Negro/Dave Lee's Z Records label, but licensing it to Sony France was a masterstroke. It's rare to see a well known tune like that get released through a major with remixes by such an underground name.

Whether the releae was success, I don't know. 16 years later it's not even available as a legal download, a bit of a shame seeing as the CD-single had four great mixes and a total running time of over 45 minutes. A bit of a classic.

I had a bit of fun putting two of the mixes together (a vocal and rather daring acid-laced version), making an 18-minute version that's part cheesy, part surprisingly catchy, a guilty pleasure if you will. Not sure what sort of club would play it (first part's too cheesy for the underground crowd, second part's too 'strange' for the mainstream crowd) but although it almost makes me cringe, I do have a soft spot for it.

You can download Les Clodettes - Alexandrie Alexandra (Joey Negro/Parallel mix Fist fusion) here (33MB)
(and the whole CD single can be had for 3 euros here!)

UPDATE: there's a legal download available (of the Z Records 12", with some of the CD-single mixes + acapella and bonus beats) here. Thanks Konstantin!