There aren’t many producers that have enjoyed the longevity that Joey Luongo has. As Pal Joey, he’s been producing cutting-edge, innovative music since 1989. That’s quite a feat. After all, Pal Joey has had to keep ahead of the musical curve. He’s succeeded in doing that producing music that’s unique and groundbreaking. Pal Joey hasn’t just produced one musical genre. No. Quite the opposite. His music has evolved and progressed. That’s what Pal Joey’s been doing for four decades, producing groundbreaking music. His productions have influenced a generation of producers. Much of the music Pal Joey released was on his own labels, Cabaret, Footstompin’ and the Loop d’ Loop label. 

It’s on Pal Joey’s Loop d’ Loop label that he released some of the most successful and critically acclaimed music of his career. Founded in 1990, Loop d’ Loop documents the life and times of Pal Joey. To celebrate the career of Pal Joey, BBE Music will release Pal Joey Presents Hot Music on 21st October 2013. Featuring seventeen tracks, Pal Joey Presents Hot Music is the most comprehensive retrospective of Pal Joey’s career. Before I tell you about Pal Joey Presents Hot Music, I’ll tell you about Pal Joey, DJ, producer, remixer and record label owner.

Joey Luongo was born in Queens, New York and made first came to prominence in the days of boom boxes, b-boys and drum machines. Using the alias Pal Joey, Joey’s career started playing parties at his local recreation centre. From there, he progressed to playing college parties. Borrowing records from friends and fellow students, Joey’s quickly, career took-off.

At the time, Joey was working in Vinylmania, the legendary New York record shop. It was frequented by the city’s top DJs. Among them, was Larry Levan, who rumor has it, could be found shopping for records in his pajamas. Meeting Larry Levan helped Joey’s DJ-ing career. It was an introduction to New York’s burgeoning house scene. Soon, Pal Joey was spinning at some New York’s top clubs. His style was eclectic. Everything and anything would find its way into a Pal Joey set. Dancers loved Pal Joey’s style. Despite this, he wanted to make music, as well as play it.

In his downtime, Joey wanted to make music. As one of a new breed of producers, they were making the rules up as they went along.Their first attempts were the old-style pause tapes. From there, they progressed mixing drum beats with vocal samples. These samples came from vinyl. Young producers begged, bought and borrowed vinyl. This was a source of material for them. By combining a vocal and adding drum beats, here was the basis for a new track. It was recorded on Joey’s four-track reel-to-reel tape recorder.  This meant mastering the razor blade and reel-to-reel tape. Doing this, was akin to a rite of passage. Back then, you could only call yourself a producer if you could splice tape. Joey could. Later, Joey worked part-time in a recording studio.

For Pal Joey, working at New York’s Power Play Recording Studio was part of his musical education. Not only was he was learning, but was watching musical history unfold. Pal Joey was assistant engineer on Eric B. and Rankin’s Follow The Leader. He produced Soho’s 1989 single Earth People and 1990s Give It Up. Pal Joey was hired to remix tracks for Deee-Lite whose career was at its peak.This musical apprenticeship seemed to ignite Pal Joey’s passion for production. So did meeting KRS-One.

KRS-One is one of hip hop’s pioneers. A member of Boogie Down Productions, KRS-One realized that in Pal Joey, here was an up-and-coming producer who could change hip hop. Part of the problem was, in the early-nineties, dancing wasn’t hip in hip hop. Pay Joey set about changing this. He was hired as a remixer and producer. One of Pal Joey’s most successful productions was Boogie Down Productions’ 1990 single Love’s Gonna Get Cha. This was the start of a profitable and productive partnership with Boogie Down Productions that lasted a two years. Although working with Boogie Down Production was a huge boost to Pal Joey’s career, he decided was ambitious. He wanted to launch his own record label. That was Loop d’ Loop

By 1990, Pal Joey’s nascent label, Loop d’ Loop, released its first release single. This was the single Runaway. Written and produced by Pal Joey, this was the single that launched this progressive, commercially successful and much admired label. Eleven tracks from Loop d’ Loop feature on Pal Joey Presents Hot Music, which I’ll tell you the story of.

Of the seventeen tracks on Pal Joey Presents Hot Music, the earliest track on the compilation is the delicious jazz-tinged sound of Soho’s Hot Music. Released on the Underground Classics label, it’s hard to believe this track was released back in 1989. Truly timeless, it demonstrates how versatile a producer Pal Joey is.

It was as Earth People that Pal Joey made his commercial breakthrough. Earth People released Dance in 1990. Released on Underworld Records, this joyous example of disco house meant everyone knew Joey’s name. It launched his career. Truly it was a game changer. Chosen for Pal Joey Presents Hot Music, is the Beats Mix, which was on the B-Side of the single. The other contribution from Earth People on Pal Joey Presents Hot Music, is 1990s Reach Up To Mars. Just like Dance, it was released on Underworld Records. The version chosen in is the 808 Bonus Mix. Choppy, and driven along by keyboards and synths, it’s a a jackin’ track.

Another of the alias’ Pal Joey used was Dreamhouse, who released Jump And Prance in 1990. Released on White Hose Records, it features Caesar. The version chosen is the Dream Mix, which in 1990, was encompasses musical genres and influences. Funky, jazz-tinged, hypnotic and innovative, it’s a track with Pal Joey’s name written all over it. It’s also a track that drew inspiration from house music’s past and present to make the music of the future.

The first tracks from Pal Joey’s Loop d’ Loop label are its sophomore release, Party Time and the B-Side Raw Love. Released back in 1990, Party Time is a hypnotic, mesmeric and melodic track where elements of hip hop, disco and jazz are fused to create a slice of deep house. As for the B-Side Party Time, it’s something a hidden gem where tech and deep house combine. Again it’s melodic and has survived the ravages of time.

In 2003, Pal Joey released the Pal Joey Presents Contrasts E.P. Released on the Mother Tongue label, it featured I Sing and Glee. I Sing features on Pal Joey Presents Hot Music. Featuring saxophonist Tom Hutchings and vocalist Melanie White’s strutting, diva-esque vocal. A soulful, jazzy slice of house this track shows how Pal Joey’s music evolved over his four-decade career. 

From 1990, when we last heard from Pal Joey’s Loop d’ Loop label, we jump in our time machine and fast forward fourteen years. It was December 2004 when he released Show Me, which featured the vocal prowess of Nkemdi. Best described as a fusion of garage, deep house and soul, which came courtesy of Nkemdi’s vocal. There’s even a slight sci-fi sound to this soulful, influential and dance-floor friendly track. As for Happy which was on the B-Side of Show Me, features a vampish vocal from Dana Byrd, it falls into the category of hidden gem.

September 2005 saw Loop d’ Loop release its nineteenth release. This Just The Way You Are featured on the A-Side and Play Time on the B-Side. It’s four to the floor all the way on Just The Way You Are, as a myriad of beeps, squeaks and thunderous drum beats drive the track along. Add to that brief bursts of a haunting vocal and the result is the type of track that’s variously dramatic, futuristic and old school. While Just The Way You Are had an almost old school sound, Heatwave has a much more progressive and uplifting sound. Rather than being tucked away on the B-Side this Heatwave deserved a better fate.

Los Dos’ Tomorrow was released on Cabaret Records in June 2006. Featuring Pal Joey’s trademark keyboard sound, sultry horns and percussion, Pal Joey gets into a groove and exploits it to its fullest. Built around a series of riffs and a one-sided telephone conversation, Pal Joey continues to innovate. 

Of the other five tracks on Pal Joey Presents Hot Music, they bring Pal Joey’s music  much more up to date. Toi Et Moi featuring Papa Stomp was Loop-D-Loop twentieth release. Released in 2006, it demonstrates how Pal Joey’s music was constantly evolving. With its almost futuristic, but understated sound, soul, jazz and deep house unites seamlessly.

Loop-D-Loop twenty-third release was Spend The Night and Do What You Want To. Released in 2010, twenty-years after Loop-D-Loop had released their first single, Pal Joey hadn’t lost his Midas Touch. The Fredo Revisited remix of Spend The Night is an innovative, influential track. Electro, deep house, piano house, disco and soul combine to create a genre-sprawling dance classic. As for Do What You Want To, it has a much more understated, minimalist sound, but isn’t short of subtle charm.

Bringing us up to date in the Pal Joey story are Free and Perfectionist. They’re the final two tracks from Pal Joey Presents Hot Music. Released in 2012, Perfectionist sounds as if it could be autobiographical. Pal Joey probes and questions, asking “am I a Perfectionist?”  Pensive and thoughtful it’s soul-searching and maybe, cathartic? Free is anthemic, symphonic soulful and jazzy track, that Pal Joey has kept until last.

During a career lasting four decades, which is celebrated in BBE Music’s retrospective Pal Joey Presents Hot Music, which will be released on 21st October 2103, Pal Joey has pushed musical boundaries. He’s also reinvented himself several times. That’s apparent by the music on Pal Joey Presents Hot Music. If Pal Joey hadn’t reinvented himself musically, he wouldn’t have enjoyed the longevity he has. After all, how many producers careers last as long as Pal Joey’s? There’s a reason for this though. He’s succeeded in producing music that’s unique and groundbreaking. Pal Joey hasn’t just produced one musical genre. No. Quite the opposite. His music has evolved and progressed. 

Over the past four decades, Pal Joey’s produced everything from hip hop, house, garage and even acid jazz. As for house, this includes several types of house music. This includes disco, deep, electro or garage house. He’s even headed towards the techy side of house. By not restricting himself to one musical genre, Pal Joey has enjoyed the longevity that not many producers have enjoyed. 

By constantly reinventing himself and striving to innovate an, Pal Joey established a reputation as an influential and groundbreaking producer. As an innovator, Pal Joey didn’t follow fashions. Instead he’s a trendsetter, whose music was heard in some of the most fashionable clubs. This resulted in Pal Joey’s music was heard by some of the most influential people in music. They were hearing tomorrows music today. That music, including the seventeen tracks on Pal Joey Presents Hot Music, is truly timeless. Twenty years after some of the music on Pal Joey Presents Hot Music was released it sounds just as good as the day it was released. That’s no surprise. After all, what do you expect from one Pal Joey, who released music that’s best described as innovative, influential, joyous, mesmeric, uplifting and timeless. That includes the seventeen tracks on Pal Joey Presents Hot Music. Standout Tracks: Happy, Dance, Spend The Night and Free.


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