42 one month ago
Once upon a time ...

... there was a nightclub called The Paradise Garage ... or at least, that's how many variants of the tale begin.

Way back in the 80's, a sophisticated new sound emerged from of a number of clubs and churches spread down a section of the North East US coast - this was a sweet, celebratory, soulful dance scene, centering on NY and New Jersey as its birthplace and spiritual hub.
The Garage itself was the home of the legendary Larry Levan and, emanating from there, this new sound slowly spread its tendrils and influences across the continent and, inevitably, into the underground clubs of London, Lisbon, Canada, Italy and beyond, onwards across the globe.

The hefty majority of this music was made at a time when the best producers on the NY scene had the luxury of easy access to splendid singers and nice big studios, and the lengthy and glowing roster of the sound's champions features many a lofty house dignitary; Humphries, Knuckles, Masters at Work, Basement Boys, Roland Clark, Benji Candelario, Victor Simonelli and, of course, Kerri Chandler.

For much of this era, Strictly Rhythm was THE label of choice, but Easy Street, Nu-Groove, Nervous, Sub-urban, King Street, 4th Floor and countless other independent labels, many long since gone, all left their mark on the genre.

Sometimes providing a stripped down sound, sometimes huge gospel-driven productions, garage came across as a softer, sexier, more soulful sub-branch of house; with disco as an obvious predecessor - and donating it's backbone 4/4 kick - it had a warm, natural vibe, and never strayed too far into the tougher, more accelerated, future-sounding style which came to dominate mainstream dance at the time, though it did occasionally surface from the depths of the underground, with tracks like Hardrive's "Deep Inside" thumping out of every car stereo in London over the summer of '93.

Knocking this mix together has evoked a fair few memories, including those of hanging out on D'Arblay St on Mondays and Thursdays, waiting for the guy in the small blue van - sorry mate, can't remember your name - who delivered vinyl hot off the plane from New York - if you caught him before he could reach the shops, you might snap up some exclusive beauties before they forever disappeared behind the counters of all the indy dance music shops located nearby.

Still alive and well today, US garage is in great hands - with a constant stream of top-drawer tracks coming from the likes of Terry Hunter, DJ Spen and Glen Horsborough, there will always be soul running through this music's heart.

Though the elfin mixing presented here may perhaps not be to everyone's taste, if the wonderful tracks and truly glorious voices contained within are not entirely your cup of char, then may we humbly suggest that AbRad is possibly not the one for you, as we'll stand by these tunes 'til hell freezes over.
Perhaps for you some Genesis instead?

And, sadly, some of the tracks featured may no longer exhibit premier sound quality - suffice to say, that's probably because they're rare, and only ever existed on what is now 30+ year old vinyl. Only the lucky few had copies of some of these tracks, and we understandably thrashed them to death. And some of the vinyl was neither especially well-pressed nor mastered in the first place!

Finally, for those of you who can't get enough of this, there is also a complete version of these sessions, combining both mixes - let us know if you'd like a copy via the chat below and we'll get a link for you to download the whole mix in it's full, unadulterated glory.

Love and hutias,


The Abrad Team

Continued in part 2...



1 ozone sun by saltmarsh
2 zeros slum hasta by non
3 helpless by urbanised
4 higher by ngposse
5 wine by instrum
6 a message for the dj jimpster by delano smith
7 house of love by smooth touch
8 slave to the vibe by aftershock
9 movin' on by roach motel
10 feel like singing by sandy b
11 we can make it by sole fusion
12 in your bones by fire island
13 falling from grace by romanthony
14 keep on luvin by maydie myles
15 story of my life by hidden agenda
16 get into the music by djs rule
17 ministry of love by romanthony
18 joy by janet rushmore


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