on 13 May 2013
from DEREK'S MUSIC BLOG:
Ever since John Morales released The M&M Mixes Volume 2 in March 2011 on BBE Music, one of the greatest remixers in modern dance music has been working on the followup. Believe me, the two years John has spent working on John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3 has been time well spent. John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3 is a three-disc box set, which features twenty-four brand new remixes from John, will be released by BBE Music on 29th April 2013. Featuring remixes of Marvin Gaye, Barry White, Teddy Pendergrass, The Dramatics, The John Davis Monster Orchestra, Loleatta Holloway and The Salsoul Orchestra. The twenty-four tracks on John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3 encompass Philly Soul, Salsoul, classic soul, funk and disco. Quite simply, John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3 is the best installment of The M&M Mixes. You'll realize that when I tell you about some of the highlights of John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3.
When you look at the track listing to Disc One of John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3, you're pretty much spoilt for choice. Choosing the best tracks isn't easy. After all, how do you choose between Barry White, Jean Carne, Sandy Barber, Johnny Hammond and Teddy Pendergrass. That's not forgetting Side Effect, Hamilton Affair and T-Connection. Quite simply, the eight tracks on Disc One all have one thing in common...quality. So after listening to the remixes on Disc One, I've picked my fantastic four, which I'll tell you about.
The first track from Disc One of John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3 I've chosen is Barry White's Never, Never Gonna Give You Up. This is a track Barry's album sophomore album Stone Gon, which was released in 1973 on 20th Century Records. Stone Gon' reached number twenty on the US Billboard 200 and number one in the US R&B Charts. When Never, Never Gonna Give You Up was released as a single in 1973, it reached number seven in the US Billboard 200 and number two in the US R&B Charts. Written and produced by Barry White, this is a stonewall classic which John Morales has transformed into a sultry, sensual eight minute epic.
I was pleased to see that John had included several Philly Soul tracks on John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3. The first is Jean Carn's Was That All It Was. This is a track from Jean's 1979 album When I Found You Love, which was the third of four albums Jean released for Philadelphia International Records. It was written by Jerry Butler, Linda Conlon and John Usry Jr. Arranging and producing a track that played its part in transforming Jean into a disco diva, was John Usry Jr. John Morales' M&M Mix is a welcome reminder of just how talented an artist Jean Carn was.
Last year, BBE Music rereleased Sandy Barber's 1977 album The Best Is Yet To Come. When The Best Is Yet To Come.had originally been released in on Olde Worlde Records in 1977, it wasn't a commercial success. It contained a real hidden gem of a track. This was I Think I'll Do Some Stepping (On My Own). Quite simply, this is the best track on the album and demonstrates just how talented Sandy Barber really is. It was a track that was ripe for a remix. Two peerless remixes are Al Kent's and of John Morales' M&M Mix. Once you've heard and fallen in love with John's M&M Mix, I recommend you buy the rerelease of Sandy Barber's 1977 album The Best Is Yet To Come.
My final choice from Disc One of John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3 is Teddy Pendergrass' If You Know Like I Know. After having released a quartet of commercially successful and critically acclaimed albums with Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, Teddy Pendergrass embarked upon a solo career. The commercial success and critical acclaim continued, with four of Teddy's albums being certified platinum and three gold. Teddy's most successful album was 1979s Teddy, which reached number five in the US Billboard 200 and number one in the US R&B Charts. This resulted in Teddy being certified gold. One of Teddy's highlights was If You Know Like I Know, penned by McFadden and Whitehead with Jerry Cohen. Here, Teddy delivers a delicious emotive, growling vamp, helped no end by cooing harmonies. He demonstrates why he was the greatest soul singer of the seventies and eighties. For his part, John Morales totally transforms the original track, turning it into a nine-minute Magnus Opus.
Choosing just four of the eight tracks from Disc One of John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3 wasn't easy. Each of the eight remixes are of the highest quality. John's remixing skills are better than ever. Similarly, his choice of music impeccable. The four tracks I've chosen prove this, as does his decision to remix Johnny Hammond's classic Fantasy and T-Connection's Do What You Wanna Do. If the quality continues over the next two discs, then John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3 must be an early contender for compilation of the year. However, is that possible?
Looking at the eight remixes on Disc Two of John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3 and you realize that this is a mouthwatering selection of tracks. Soulful, funky and dance-floor friendly. From the Philly Soul of The Jones Girls and Teddy Pendergrass, there's disco courtesy of The John Davis Monster Orchestra, funk from The Dramatics and the collaboration between Donald Byrd and The Blackbyrds. Then there's the classic soul of Marvin Gaye's I Want You. Having studied the track listing, you realize the quality continues on Disc Two of John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3, which I'll pick the highlights of.
Between 1979 and 1984, The Jones Girls released four albums for Philadelphia International Records. Their 1979 debut album The Jones Girls featured a Jones Girls' classic You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else. It was written and produced by Gamble and Huff, and rivals Nights Over Egypt as the best track Shirley, Brenda and Valerie ever recorded. John's decision to remix this track was a brave one, given Tom Moulton remixed You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else for his four-disc Philadelphia International Classics The Tom Moulton Remixes. However, both remixes are very different and bring something new to the original track.
Back in 1971, when The Dramatics released Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get as a single, it reached number nine in the US Billboard 100 and number three in the US R&B Charts. Then in January 1972, The Dramatics released their critically acclaimed debut album Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get. It was a huge commercial success, reaching number five in the US R&B Charts and reaching the top twenty in the US Billboard 200. Since then, Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get has been a track that's been ripe for a remix. i've always wondered why a top remixer didn't get to work on it. Thankfully, John Morales has rectified this on John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3. Hopefully, this will also introduce a new generation to The Dramatics' music.
While The Salsoul Orchestra were disco's greatest orchestra, John Davis and The Monster Orchestra were the best of the rest. They released four peerless albums for SAM Records between 1976 and 1979. Their sophomore album was Up Jumped The Devil. John Morales has remixed the title-track Up Jumped The Devil, which John Davis penned. What was six majestic minutes of music becomes eight and a half minutes of hook-laden, dramatic music where Philly Soul, funk and disco becomes one.
Trying to choose just one more track from Disc Two of John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3 wasn't easy. However, it would've been remiss of me not to choose one of soul's greatest vocalists Marvin Gaye, who enjoyed the most productive period of his career was between 1971 and 1978. During that period, Marvin released classics like 1971s What's Going On, 1973s Let's Get It On and 1976s I Want You. Of the five albums Marvin released during this seven year period, I Want You is an often overlooked classic. Released in 1976, I Want You reached number four in the US Billboard 200 and number one in the US R&B Charts. When I Want You was released as a single, the Leon Ware and Arthur "T Boy" Ross penned track reached number fifteen in the US Billboard 100 and number one in the US R&B Charts. John's remix breathes new life, meaning and sensuality into the track. He put Marvin's pleading, needy vocal at the centre of the mix, and uses percussion, keyboards, horns and harmony to add the drama and sensuality of the track. The result is stunning and should have everyone rushing to rediscover Marvin's forgotten classic I Want You all over again.
Just like Disc One, Disc Two of John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3 is crammed full of quality music. While I've mentioned tracks by The Jones Girls, The Dramatics, John Davis and The Monster Orchestra and Marvin Gaye, I could just as easily have mentioned Teddy Pendergrass' Only You or Donald Byrd and The Blackbyrds' Rock Creek Park. A welcome inclusion is Curtis Hairston's I Want Your Lovin' (Just A Little Bit). The other track is Third World's cover of The O'Jays Now That We Found Love. From track one to track eight, it's quality all the way. Disc Two contains eight tracks of soulful, funky and dance-floor friendly music, remixed by one the greatest remixers John Morales. John's kept the quality up for two discs, will Disc Three of John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3 see the quality continue?
The third and final disc in the John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3 box set sees John delve into the back-catalogue of two of dance-music's premier labels, Salsoul and West End Records. Representing Salsoul Records are Loleatta Holloway, Instant Funk, Skyy and The Salsoul Orchestra. Raw Silk, Loose Joints, Mahogany and Debbie Trusty. For anyone who loves dance music, then you'll love Disc Three of John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3, which I'll tell you about.
1976 saw Loleatta Holloway release her third album Loleatta. This was the first of four albums she released for Gold Mind Records between 1976 and 1980. It featured Hit and Run, which gave Loleatta a surprise hit single, selling over 300,000 copies. Since then, it's become one of Loleatta's best known songs, and helped establish Loleatta's reputation as the Queen of Disco. Accompanying Loleatta on Hit and Run are The Salsoul Orchestra in full flight. For me, disco doesn't get better than this. With the Baker, Harris, Young rhythm section providing the pulsating heartbeat, they're joined by lush strings, blazing horns, percussion and Vince Montana Jr's vibes. Accompanying and augmenting Loleatta's sassy vamp are tight, cooing harmonies from The Sweethearts of Sigma. When all this is combined, it results in not just a Salsoul classic, and of the greatest tracks of the disco era, but one of John's best remixes.
Instant Funk began their career as a backing band for artists like Bunny Sigler and The Manhattans. Later they worked for Philly legends like The O'Jays, The Three Degrees and Dexter Wansell. It wasn't until 1976 that Instant Funk's recording career began, releasing their debut album Get Down With the Philly Sound for Gamble and Huff's T.S.O.P. label. Three years later Instant Funk were now signed to Salsoul, and released their second album Instant Funk in 1979. Like the lead single I Got My Mind Made Up (You Can Get It Girl), Instant Funk sold over one-million copies. Ironically, I Got My Mind Made Up (You Can Get It Girl) wasn't even the best track on Instant Funk. That was the seminal and soulful Crying which in the hands of John Morales is given a makeover that transforms a classic track.
Of the four tracks released on West End Records classic on Disc Three of John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3, Loose Joint's Is It All Over My Face is the best. Released in 1980, this track demonstrates how dance music was changing in 1980. Written and produced by producer Arthur Russell and DJ Steve D'Aquisto, this marked the start of the post-disco era. The track incorporates an early house sound thanks to the drums and has a hypnotic bass line. Add to this a sassy, feisty female vocal that struts across the arrangement, and it's remarkable how dance music had changed within a year. Like so much of the music West End Records and Salsoul Records released, this is a truly that has a contemporary sound.
My final choice from Disc Three of John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3 is The Salsoul Orchestra's You're Just The Right Size. This was a track from The Salsoul Orchestra's 1976 debut album The Salsoul Orchestra. On the release of The Salsoul Orchestra, it sold over one-million copies. Unfortunately, Salsoul Records weren't registered with the R.I.A.A, so The Salsoul Orchestra didn't receive the gold disc they deserved. One of the highlights of The Salsoul Orchestra was You're Just The Right Size. It was written, arranged and produced by Vince Montana Jr, who died recently. Vince was a true musical visionary and played a huge role in the development of disco. That's why it's fitting that another musical innovator, John Morales has remixed this sultry, sassy strutting masterpiece.
Earlier I wondered whether the quality of music would continue on Disc Three of John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3? I needn't have worried. After all, Disc Three features eights stunning tracks from two of the most important labels in dance music. These are Salsoul Record and West End Records. From Salsoul, there's tracks from the Queen of Disco Loleatta Holloway, disco's premier orchestra The Salsoul Orchestra and contributions from Instant Funk and Skyy. Of the four tracks from West End Records' illustrious back-catalogue, Raw Silk, Loose Joints, Mahogany and Debbie Trusty are a tantalizing taste of one of the most important labels in dance music. Like the two previous discs, Disc Three is crammed full of great music, Soulful, funky, dance-floor friendly and with a Latin twist, John's choice of music is flawless. It's almost impossible to argue against the inclusion of any of the tracks on Disc Three. The same can be said of the two previous discs. Similarly, the standard of John's remixes is peerless. It seems the remixes on John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3 somehow surpasses the quality on the first two installments of this series.
So good is the music on John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3, that this is a possible contender for compilation of the year. John's choice of music and remixing skills are flawless. John breathes new life and meaning into familiar tracks. Over the three discs that comprise John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3 John take you on twenty-four compelling and captivating musical journey. These journeys are soulful, funky, jazz-tinged and dance-floor friendly. Occasionally, he throws a series of curveballs, taking you in a direction you never expected. By the end of the track everything falls into place. Seamlessly, everything makes sense. Not many remixers can do this, but John Morales can. However, that's what you'd expect from a veteran remixer whose life has revolved around music. Proof of this is John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3 which will be released by BBE Music on 29th April 2013. Somehow, John Morales Presents The M&M Mixes Volume 3 manages to surpass the quality of the two previous installments in this series. Standout Tracks: Jean Carn Was That All It Was, John Davis and The Monster Orchestra Up Jumped The Devil, Loleatta Holloway Hit and Run and Instant Funk Crying.