Most Wanted! Earth People – Dance (Underworld Records/Apexton)
Speakin’ of Earth People‘s ‘Dance’, thereafter what you can read on Traxsource… “Classic stuff from Pal Joey. If you don’t know, you betta ask somebody!” A straightforward intro that pretty much says it all. Or, at least, suggests you’re in front of a piece of music you’re supposed to know. And this, most likely if ever you’re into House Music. But what if you belong to the younger generations? In other words, if you were not old enough by the early days of House Music?!? Because this is just what Earth People is about…
Earth People‘s ‘Dance’ almost brings us back to the genesis of House Music in the Big Apple and its surroundings. Beginning with Jersey and The Zanzibar where Tony Humphries heavily championed it. This along with other gems such as Underground Solution‘s ‘Luv Dancin” and/or Mello House‘s ‘The Flower’ to name a few. Differently said, this brings us back to 1990 and the souvenir of Abigail Adams‘ ‘Movin’ Records’ store. At a time when we would hear of expressions such as Jersey Sound or Garage to qualify what stood as the most groovy/soulful side of House Music at the time.
Melting Jazz and Funk vibes over a bouncing House groove, Earth People‘s ‘Dance’ is most likely Joseph Longo‘s (better know as Pal Joey) signature cut. And, in the meantime, one of the most sought after House 12″ on the second hand market. Coming in a brilliant although complex amalgamation of samples. From Carl Bean‘s ‘I Was Born This Way’ to Chic‘s ‘Dance, Dance, Dance’ in addition to Debbie Malone‘s ‘Rescue Me’. Meanwhile, no doubt as to how it obviously inspired Kenny Dope and Louie Vega. This when they came to produce ‘Dance (Do That Thing)’ for Black Magic seven years later…
Download from Traxsource.
In the 30 years he’s been releasing music, Queens, NYC native producer John Longo, better known as Pal Joey, has sort of kept a certain distance from the light which most of his alter egos have embraced in the meantime. Which is not to say there’s nothing notorious to talk about when thinkin’ of him. Beginning with his engineering recording studio period at the legendary Power Play. But also his four years selling records at Charlie Grappone‘s Vinylmania. This in addition to collaborating with countless luminaries as a matter of fact. From Deee-Lite (‘Good Beat’) to Perception (‘Feed The Feeling’). But also Sade (‘Cherish The Day’), The Orb (‘Little Fluffy Clouds) or The Rock Posse feat. Fonda Rae (‘Do You Really Want My Love?’). This in addition to Lisa Stansfield, MC Lyte and Boogie Down Productions among others.
I guess one can say the man behind Earth People is a typical New Yorker. In the sense of havin’ come to find his foundations in various genres. From the up and running sound of Hip-Hop to so to say clubbier vibes such as House.
Longo (Pal Joey), or call him whoever you want from his countless guises, has just made the one he’s become from observations. Be it while evolving at the Power Paly Studios in the Queens, from doin’ various maintenance tasks to becoming second engineer. Or working at one of the most record stores in New York City by the likes of Vinylmania. Getting to clearly know what the customers wanted. But also coming to eventually advice producers while givin’ them his own feedback from what he’d heard from them.
Pal Joey‘s first recordings emerged back in 1989 on Raynald ‘The Crazy Frenchman’ Deschamps‘ Kool Groove label. This under the form of a split single that showed two of his aliases. And what a package at the end! With Earth People‘s ‘Dance’ on one side and Soho‘s ‘Hot Music’ on the other. A Hip-Jazz monument also made of a complex blend of samples. From Wynton Marsalis‘ ‘Skain’s Domain’ to J.R. Funk & The Love Machine‘s ‘Feel Good, Party Time’. Not to mention Aretha Franklin‘s ‘Jump To It’ among others.
As a matter of fact, one of the reasons why Longo has remained so underrated could pretty well be the cohorts of different guises he’s used along with time. With the main reason for that being that he felt like he had so many things to explore.
As a result, you could see him as Pal Joey, Earth People or Soho, as already said. But also Dreamhouse, Las-Civ-I-Ous or Espresso to name but a very few. Not to mention his impressive Loop D’ Loop series.
Back in 2013, UK label BBE released a compilation – ‘Pal Joey presents Hot Music’ – that pretty much recaptures the man’s long career.