The iJamming! Download: Classic disco and reggae “mix tapes”
My InBox is filling up with more MP3s, and links to unreleased albums, that I think I can cope with. But the legit freebies that have really tweaked me the last week or two have been these two retro mixes:
Bay Area DJ Vin Sol has put together a mixtape of classic disco and soul which was freely distributed via New York promoter Queen Bee’s website Good Peoples. I say “classic” but by that I don’t mean the kind of familiar hits you’ll hear on every “let’s pretend it’s 1977 and we’re at Disco 54” dancefloor; I mean the kind of classics that remind you just how sexy, funky and, above all, human, disco music could be before it got lobo/robo/mono-ticized by the music industry. Sol’s mix includes the likes of Gloria Ann Taylor, Unlimited Touch, Donald Byrd, La She Ba, Tony Silvester & the Baheeja, Marini, Bohannon, and Arthur King, though I’ve yet to find an actual track listing at his own site. The mix is beat perfect and comes in at precisely 1 hour and zero seconds, for those of you who still like to run these things off on your Walkmans.
Big ups likewise to the Deadly Dragon Sound System and their ongoing series of classic reggae Podcasts. I know these DJs through their Wednesday night party at Happy Ending in Manhattan’s Chinatown and, I guess, had always hoped they might make the mixes available for those of us who can’t get down to that basement club more than once every couple of years. Turns out they’ve been sharing them for a while already, and by visiting their podmatic page you’ll find dozens of them. I downloaded the most recent, Mr. K’s Studio One Mix, and almost went into instant ecstasy: the choices include such veteran/venerable artists as John Holt, Bob and Marcia, Sugar Minott, Alton Ellis and Marcia Griffiths, and they bounce between the decades with ease. Better yet, the Deadly Dragon DJs are masters of the 7” turntable mix, segueing perfectly from one scratched up piece of vinyl to another – and they have the second sense of all great DJs, moving out of those tracks that don’t cut it before the dancefloor (or Podcast listener) can fade. While Vin Sol’s mix is so perfectly edited I can only suspect he did it using computer software (and ain’t nothing wrong with that), Mr. K’s Studio One Mix is the sound of a DJ, his turntables, his 7” singles and the feeling that anything might happen. Now, if only I can find time to listen to all of Deadly Dragon’s other Podcasts….