Love Saves the Day: A Tribute to David Mancuso

16Jan

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2016 played grim reaper to a host of defining musical geniuses, and somewhere between the loss of Prince and Leonard Cohen I missed the November 14th passing of David Mancuso. (Seriously, I have to get a hipper Facebook feed!) As the man who brought the rent party downtown from Harlem and really invented the New York discothèque as we know it (which is, essentially, disco as we know it), Mancuso changed the world as we know it—not that he’s getting much posthumous love from what I can see.  If anyone deserved a Life They Lived NYTimes obit, it was Mancuso.  I think he remains obscure because he never really emerged above ground. He threw invitation-only parties in his apartment (which became world-famous as The Loft—the first, billed as Love Saves the Day, was on February 14, 1970), but he didn’t market them or likely profit from them. He didn’t remix, he didn’t produce, he didn’t endorse.  What he did was to have the absolute best taste in music, a passion for high-end audio equipment, and a deep need to promote communal happiness. Plus he threw one hell of a dance party that paved the way for every other dance party that came after. 

 

This mix draws from a list of 100 Mancuso playlist favorites that has circulated for some time.  Mancuso as a deejay was unique in that he rarely altered a cut or mixed tracks; he just played ’em end-to-end and created a spell.  I couldn’t stop myself from mixing, but I tried to keep it to a minimum.  Mancuso liked to create musical journeys, and he also had a predilection for songs that changed mood and tempo throughout.  He gravitated toward Philly soul and spiritual exotica, and he adored music with a message. In a memorium that ran in the Paris Review (because Lord knows Mancuso is a prophet unheard in his own land), Dan Pipepenbring quotes Mancuso from Disco Music: “I want a situation where there are no economic barriers, meaning somebody who didn’t eat that day or only has a few dollars in his pocket can eat like a king, drinks are included, you see your friends. There’s no difference if you have a lot of money or a little.” Mancuso claimed that The Loft's guiding principle was social progress. Perhaps it's time to come back to the land of make believe.

 

Anambra – Ozo ’76 ♥ Stay Free – Ashford and Simpson ’79 ♥ Going Back to My Roots – Lamont Dozier ’77 ♥ Inside Out – Odyssey ’82 ♥ Come On Down, Boogie People – David Williams ’78 ♥ Love Is the Message – MFSB with the Three Degrees ’73 ♥ Keep On – D-Train ’82 ♥ Don’t Stop, Keep On – Kat Mandu ’79 ♥ Life on Mars – Dexter Wansel ’76 ♥ Can’t Live Without Your Love – Tamiko Jones ’79 ♥ Woman – Barrabas ’72 ♥ Music – One Way ’79 ♥ Could Heaven Ever Be Like This? – Idris Muhammad ’77 ♥ Rain – Dorothy Morrison ’70 ♥ Standing in the Rain – Don Ray ’78 ♥ Space Bass – Slick ’79 ♥ Land of Make Believe – Chuck Mangione with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra featuring Esther Satterfield ’73

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