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Walter Gibbons: Jungle Music: Mixed With Love: Essential and Unreleased Remixes 1976-1986 (Strut) 

Although Walter Gibbons was less publicly heralded than some of his contemporaries, history has definitely caught up with the groundbreaking DJ and mix-master with the release of Jungle Music.

Gibbons was there back in the day, at disco's inception, in the legendary dance clubs of New York City. He was one of the first DJs using two turntables to mix live; one of the very first DJs to fashion extended tracks (on reel to reel, no less); and reportedly the first DJ granted access to multi-track original tapes, for his reworking of "Ten Percent" by Double Exposure in 1976. That single track helped set the mold for 12" singles and decades of remixes and "dance music."

Jungle Music (a term coined for Gibbons' rough and ready style) collects 14 tracks by the likes of Arthur Russell ("See Through"), Stetsasonic ("4 Ever My Beat"), Salsoul Orchestra ("Magic Bird of Fire"), Arts and Craft ("I've Been Searching"), Gladys Knight ("It's a Better Than Good Time"), Bettye LaVette ("Doin' the Best That I Can") and Sandy Mercer ("You Are My Love"). All are Gibbons' original mixes, many clocking in at more than 10 minutes. (This is a double-CD set.)

Gibbons' mixes are straight-ahead, dynamic, percussion-heavy and dance-floor-ready, without any of the fussy, energy-draining arty deconstruction of the thousands of bummer remixes that followed in their wake. This is the real stuff—clean, hard and right to the point.

More by Carl Hanni

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