Joey Negro Locked In The Vinyl Cellar Review

Released 2009.  

BBC Review

Getting Locked in the Vinyl Cellar doesn't sound like an unpleasant fate at all.

Chris Power 2009

Bookended by the light-hearted novelty of Disco Dick's D.I.Y. Disco and Marly Duffy & Joe Jones's I'm Gay (from mid-70s porno musical Let My People Come), veteran disco-house DJ and producer Joey Negro (real name Dave Lee) has compiled a winning compilation of rarities and oddities that screams D-I-S-C-O from its afro to its platforms.

The second CD contains two-thirds of the tracks on CD One in unmixed, DJ-edit form. The mix itself doesn’t waste time getting its groove on, the route-one funk of Heatwave’s Slip Your Disc to This segueing into New Deep Society's paean to the Warehouse, the Chicago nightclub that gave house music its name. The 1978 track Feeling Love by L.E.B. Harmony will have Italo Disco aficionados salivating, while the dubby electro boogie of The Maniacs' Sweet Ladies is a never-before heard remix constructed by Negro from three versions of the track on the ultra-rare original 12''.

The album has its quieter moments, too. Reggae has always looked beyond its borders for material and JamNowGen were no different: their Jungle Juk (TSOP) is a soulful skank based on The Sound of Philadelphia, an early instrumental by that city's most famous soul collective, MFSB. Roger Troutman, meanwhile, who would later have a huge influence on the vocoder-heavy sound of West Coast hip-hop, slathers his funky croon over Maxx Axe.

Possibly the most surprising inclusion comes from Mark Eric, whose Move With the Dawn is an intriguing bit of late-60s psychedelic pop. Equally unexpected for some will be hearing Trentemøller offering up not minimal techno or brooding deep house but the slick jazz-funk of Le Champagne, originally released by Naked Music back in 2003.

Check out the tracklistings of enough crate-digging comps and you frequently see the same ground being covered. That's not the case here, chiefly because these are all records that have personal resonance for Negro, as his liner notes prove. As both a personal document and a way of getting hold of some seriously rare tunes, getting Locked in the Vinyl Cellar doesn't sound like an unpleasant fate at all.

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