Thursday, March 06, 2008

Heartbeat (Club Version)

Song: Heartbeat (Club Version)
Artist: Taana Gardner
Album: Journey Into Paradise: The Larry Levan Story

We didn’t get to listen to too much of it at the party, but my friend Nick introduced me to this great compilation (not to mention a legendary DJ) entitled “Journey Into Paradise: The Larry Levan Story.” Larry Levan is considered by many to be the first of what we know as the modern DJ. He was the main DJ at the now legendary Paradise Garage of the late 70’s and 80’s in Greenwich Village of NYC. He specialized in obscure disco tracks, which he often had produced and mixed himself.

This collection is a solid mix of lesser-known tracks of the day (no “I Will Survive” here) both upbeat and loungy. I immediately recognized Taana Gardner’s “Heartbeat,” and initially thought… OMG, that’s that Seduction song! Well surprise surprise late 80’s fans… that was NOT an original! Gardner’s is a bit slower, but you soon realize that Seduction did a completely faithful cover, complete with the spoken word break toward the end. (“Now you know this don't make no kind of sense Walkin’ around here so intense”)

Unfortunately, Levan became quite dependant on PCP and heroin, and thus died in 1992 of heart failure resulting from endocarditis. I knew nothing about Levan until listening to this compilation and am now so happy that I do. This collection seems more like a time capsule, and a celebration to an important figurehead in the history of New York nightlife, disco, and the art of DJ-ing itself. If you like 70’s disco (and a touch of early 80’s new wave) but are tired of the same old tracks, this is a great compilation of brand new favorites.


Here is a quick (and poor quality) video of Levan DJ-ing the last party at the Paradise Garage in 1987. It lasted a full 48 hours! Now that’s a party!

Here’s a great short piece that shows the inside of the Paradise Garage from the documentary “Maestro.”

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