Various Artists

The Definitive Salsoul Mixes '78-'83

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The Definitive Salsoul Mixes '78-'83 is a bountiful set committed to preserving the legacy of the late Larry Levan. It acts as an indispensable complement to Classic West End Records Remixes, replaces the seven-track Larry Levan's Paradise Garage, and is just as essential as Strut's Live at the Paradise Garage -- the last listed being the primary place where you can actually hear him in action as a DJ. Scads of reissues have popped up throughout the years that have anthologized Salsoul's many singles, but none of them have been dedicated to Levan's role in the label's success to this extent. While most of the cuts here were already available through a number of sources, it's great to have them organized in this manner, especially when they've been bundled together with such love for the man who made them work so fantastically on the dancefloor. Primarily a DJ, Levan understood his dancers as well as a studio engineer knows his equipment; this played a major role in how he was able to get the most out of the original mixes that were handed to him. Levan was often at his best when he was given enough to really stretch things out; as with Taana Gardner's "Heartbeat" and "When You Touch Me" (for West End), two remixes that either come close to or eclipse the ten-minute mark, Inner Life's "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and Bunny Sigler's "By the Way You Dance" consist of several movements, each of which allows you to appreciate and feast off elements and accents that would've otherwise gone unnoticed or underappreciated in the context of a compacted mix. And allowing space for new components often came in handy, such as the wild Patrick Adams synth freak-out (it lasts as long as the average radio edit) that helps close out that Inner Life anthem. Numerous disco and post-disco classics can be found here, including Instant Funk's "I Got My Mind Made Up," First Choice's "Double Cross," Logg's "I Know You Will," and Jimmy Castor Bunch's "It's Just Begun." A handful of mixes previously not available in a commercial sense are included as well. In a couple instances, the sound quality leaves a little to be desired; in the grand scheme of things, it's really a non-issue.

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