Grandmaster Flash

The Official Adventures of Grandmaster Flash

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Leave it to the archivists at Strut to uncover another facet of the near-legendary New York dance scene of the '70s and '80s. After releases from Larry Levan and Danny Krivit shedding light on what it meant to go clubbing in the late '70s, the label moved to hip-hop -- that other musical phenomenon of the era -- with The Official Adventures of Grandmaster Flash. Half mix album and half history lesson, the compilation cuts back and forth between interviews, vintage or newly recorded turntable sessions, and a few old-school standalones -- Babe Ruth's "The Mexican," Kraftwerk's "Trans Europe Express," Yellow Magic Orchestra's "Computer Games" -- to get listeners in the mood. Only two of the seven mix sessions are old, though the new mixes were apparently done the same way they would've if he'd been allowed his own mix album in 1982 instead of 2002. (It's a fact obviously hard to prove, but the closest he got at the time, 1981's seven-minutes-of-madness single "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel," is still breathtaking.) The new mixes sound just as good, with the master flashing across the spectrum of '70s dance -- from Parliament to Thin Lizzy to Cerrone to Spoonie Gee to the Eagles -- with deft flicks of the wrist serving as all the transition he needs. The 20-page color liners, produced with Frank Broughton and Bill Brewster (of the mixing history lesson Last Night a DJ Saved My Life), are the next best thing to a full video documentary. It's just slightly less revelatory than Strut's crown jewel, Larry Levan's Live at the Paradise Garage (mostly because few knew that one existed), but The Official Adventures of Grandmaster Flash is still the best look at the best DJ in history.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
1:17
2 9:32
3
feat: Babe Ruth
5:42
4
0:23
5 12:04
6
feat: Kraftwerk
7:35
7
feat: Cat Stevens
1:19
8 3:51
9 12:09
10
0:28
11
6:29
12
1:11
13 15:13
14
0:37
blue highlight denotes track pick