Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Joey Negro and The Sunburst Band - The Remixes - 2009 - Z Records

Joey Negro (aka Dave Lee) is an amazing talent and is able to craft some of the finest house / dance music on the scene - both for a commercial market, and the more niche dance markets that cross over into 'our' sort of soulful territory. For the past 17 years I have had the greatest respect for the man and his 3 albums with his "Sunburst Band" have given us much more depth, breadth and texture to his unquestionable talents. His Doug Willis alter-ego has provided extra soulful disco flavours, and the idea of handing over his mighty Sunburst catalogue to a host of top dance music names for remixing and reworking MUST be something quite daunting for Mr. Lee. The album is, for me at least, a mixed offering - although an essential one. My issue is very trifling in a way and does not or should not reflect negatively on the fine DJs who have been included on this project. It's simply that when you know, love and are used to a certain tune it's hard sometimes to take on board a remix - especially something radically different. Hence I've taken longer to 'soak up' this set in order to best judge it.

element will gain much currency with US garage heads. Different and sounds great pumping LOUD. "Moving With The Shakers" was one of last year's highlights; a far too brief yet sweet effort and I am so pleased that from the recent Some tracks I can take, some I can leave. Some are damn right essential and the first that I really must single out is Cool Million's SUPERB 80s retro restyling of "Everyday". This has every hallmark of a Cool Million classic cut and at once you will be whipped back to the 1984 - 1986 dance period, a period I still love immensely. Fans of Cashflow, The Horne Section, CurtisHairston etc will simply love this and as far as I am concerned the album is essential for this track alone. Not that this is the only recommendation, of course! "He Is" is given a great rework, less integral is the Dianne Steinberg sample, but here we have a Club mix courtesy of Dave himself and is more in tune with more recent stompers such as Doug Willis and Copyright. This is essential and the 80s styled synth solo here is simply sublime. Dennis Ferrer's gutsy "Journey To The Sun" owes more to a Defected styled track than anything else and the ElectroEP the extended version appears on here - 4:39 of strings, rhythm guitar and full-blown vocals. Buying this CD is a no-brainer. "We Can Live Forever" as a remix by Simon Gray has been seriously beefed up and reorganised into a completely different beast. OK, it's taken some time to get my old head around this new arrangement but once I fall in line with what Simon's done what you realise we now have is a complimentary CLASSIC early 80s styled boogie tunes that would not be out of place with the works of Rod Temperton or Quincy Jones. It's only the chorus, perhaps that is still out of sync a bit BUT such a classy rework easily overshadows this. Lovers of the Salsoul sound - think Candido - should favour the Idjut Boys remix of "Twinkle". I really, truly, think that if you're a fan of Dave Lee in any of his many guises, and love modern dance music, house or garage with a boogie or disco twist then this set is, frankly, essential.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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