John Morales Presents The M+M Mixes Volume IV.

Label: BBE.

There aren’t many DJs and remixers that have enjoyed longevity that John Morales has. He’s been DJ-ing since 1975 and has spent the last four decades remixing tracks by the biggest names in music. Some of these names can be found on the latest project from John Morales, which is the most ambitious of his long career. This is John Morales Presents The M+M Mixes Volume IV, which is a four CD set that was recently released by BBE and features twenty-seven previously unreleased remixes of tracks by the great and good of music. John Morales Presents The M+M Mixes Volume IV is the latest project from a man whose been immersed in music since an early age.

John Morales’ love of music started at an early age, working in an after-school job at a local record shop. He was only about twelve at the time, with the record shop paying him in singles. By the age of fourteen, John Morales had already formed his own band, the F Band. They played gigs at local high schools, but nothing became of the F Band. However, even then, John Morales knew that he wanted to make a career out of music. Little did he realise that the singles he had collected whilst working in the record shop would help him embark upon a musical career.

When John Morales started DJ-ing in 1975, he initially played first in small clubs and bars in his native Bronx. Then when the roller skating craze started in the early eighties, John Morales started working at the Bruckner Roller Dome. From there he began playing at other roller skating venues, before heading into New York, where he DJ-ed at various bars and clubs. Soon John Morales was playing at some of the top venues, including the Limelight, Pippins and Studio 54. However, soon John Morales went from playing in bars to co-owning with a friend.

This was Sergio Munzibai who would later play an important part in the rise and rise of John Morales. That was still to come. Before that, John Morales and Sergio Munzibai opened a club and renamed 1018, M&M. This was the first time that John Morales and Sergio Munzibai used these initials which later would become famous for quality remixes. 

Although John Morales was working as a club DJ and co-owned M&M, he also worked at New York’s WBLS radio station, where another famous DJ Frankie Crocker, was musical director. John Morales was responsible for the midday and weekend mixes and meant learning a new skill, editing tracks.

Just like Tom Moulton, John Morales had to teach himself to edit tracks. He had to make them longer, because the records were far too short. To do this, John bought a Sony reel-to reel tape recorder, and at home, taught himself to edit tracks. He spliced the tape up, rejoined it, lengthened breaks and made songs much more dance-floor friendly. This was John Morales’ first step on the road to becoming one of the best remixes of the mid-seventies and early eighties.

Soon, John Morales and Sergio Munzibai launched one of the most fruitful and prolific remixing partnerships in dance music history. After their first remix, they decided that each of their remixes would feature the M&M name. John Morales says his first credited remix was Inner Life’s Caught Up, although before that, he had undertaken a number of remixes. Ironically, on Caught Up, which was his first credited remix, John Morales’ name was spelt incorrectly. However, John Morales career as a remixer was underway.

Since then, John Morales and Sergio Munzibai, and then John Morales himself have remixed hundreds of songs, and each and every one of them featured the famous M &M logo. However, of all the tracks John Morales has remixed some of his best known are his Salsoul Records’ remixes.

It was after John Morales met producers Patrick Adams and Greg Carmichael that he became their favoured remixer for their Salsoul work. The Patrick Adams and Greg Carmichael’s production team’s partnership with John Morales at Salsoul Records proved to be a fruitful one and found him remixing tracks by Aurra, Funk Deluxe, Inner Life, Instant Funk and Logg. This was a huge boost to John Morales’ remixing career.

Soon, it wasn’t just Patrick Adams and Greg Carmichael’s Salsoul Records productions that John Morales was being asked to remix He was brought onboard to remix a whole host of non-Salsoul Records acts including the Universal Robot Band. Despite remixing other projects for Patrick Adams and Greg Carmichael still it was John Morales’ remixes of their Salsoul Records productions that are regarded as some of his finest remixes from that period. Remixing such high-profile tracks helped John’s career no end.

It helped John Morales become one of the most successful, busiest and highest profile remixers of eighties and early nineties. However, in 1989 John Morales and Sergio Munzibai decided to end what had been a highly successful remixing partnership. For the next four years John Morales continued to work on high-profile remixes. However, in 1993 disaster struck when John Morales became ill and this had a huge impact upon his career.

Little did John Morales realise that when he became ill in 1993, that this illness meant it would be nearly a decade before he next set foot in a recording studio to remix a track. However, this gave him the opportunity to test and learn the new musical software that would soon dominate the music industry. During this period, John Morales tested what would become Cubase for Atari Computer, and in some ways, this must have given him an advantage over other producers when he returned to the recording studio. 

Since his return to the recording studio, John Morales has been even busier than ever, remixing some of the highest profile names in dance music. He’s now spent over forty years as a DJ and remixer. During that time, John Morales has become one of the most respected DJs and remixers, and has released some of the most successful compilations over the last ten years.

During that period, John Morales has forged a successful relationship with the British independent record label BBE. They released John Morales-The M&M Mixes to critical acclaim in February 2009. Not only did the compilation reinforce John Morales reputation as one of the top remixers, but was the start of a long and successful relationship between BBE and John Morales

Just over two years later, and John Morales The M+M Mixes Volume 2 was released by BBE, in March of 2011. It featured remixes of Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, Candy Staton, Sandy Barber, Loletta Holloway and First Choice which were another reminder that John Morales was still one of the leading remixers. Critics and record buyers hoped that Volume 3 would soon follow.

It did, when two years later, John Morales The M+M Mixes Volume 3 was released on April 2013. John Morales had surpassed himself with twenty-four tracks spread over three CDs. There were remixes of tracks from Loleatta Holloway, The Salsoul Orchestra, John Davis and The Monster Orchestra, Marvin Gaye, Teddy Pendergrass, Sandy Barber, Jean Carne and The Dramatics. However, this wasn’t the only John Morales release that day in April 2013.  

As an added bonus, John Morales The M+M Mixes Volume 3-Instrumentals was released at the same time. This was another welcome addition to this successful series. However, little did anyone know, that John Morales labour of love was also nearing completion.

After nearly eight years work, eventually, John Morales Presents Club Motown was completed in early 2014, and released in July 2014. It featured some of Motown’s eighties roster, including  The Commodores, Diana, Ross, The Temptations, Lionel Ritchie, Teena Marie, Rick James, Thelma Houston and Debarge. This brought to an end the project that John Morales had called his labour of love.

The next project that John Morales began work on was one of the most ambitious of his five decade career, John Morales Presents The M+M Mixes Volume IV. This was a four CD set that would eventually feature twenty-seven remixes, including many by the great and good of music. This would include many artists who have featured on the previous instalments of the The M+M Mixes series. These familiar faces are joined by some new names on John Morales Presents The M+M Mixes Volume IV which features another series of carefully crafted remixes.

Disc One.

Disc one of John Morales Presents The M+M Mixes Volume IV features eight new remixes, and opens with a remix of Barry White’s I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little Bit More Baby. John Morales takes this classic slice of sultry soul from 1973 and reinvents it, and in the process sets the bar high for the rest of disc one.

A remix of Atlantic Starr’s 1982 single Circles is welcome addition and is joined by Tenderness from Diana Ross’ 1980 album Diana. Both tracks are given a makeover, and John Morales transforms Tenderness and puts all of his four decades of experience to good use. That is the case Keith Barrow’s 1978 disco single Turn Me Up. It’s followed by a trio disco anthems from true disco divas.

Tamiko Jones’ 1979 single Can’t Live Without Your Love gets the ball rolling, before John Morales remixes Jackie Moore’s 1978 disco classic This Time Baby. Hot on its heels is Tata Vega’s 1978 single on Motown Just Keep Thinking About You Baby. From Motown, John Morales heads to Philly and remixes The Jones Girls  Life Goes On from their 1979 eponymous debut album. This closes disc one, but there’s still three more to come. 

Disc Two.

Frankie Beverly’s Joy and Pain from 1981 gets disc two off to a good start, as soul, boogie and proto-house combine. It gives way to The Controllers’ Stay from 1986 which fuses boogie, funk and soul on a track that has a tough, but contemporary sound. These remixes are a reminder of the post disco years. After that, John Morales adds a trio anthems from true divas

The first comes courtesy of Teena Marie, whose Lover Girl is remixed by John Morales. This is followed by Melba Moore’s 1978 disco anthem You Stepped Into My Life. It’s without doubt one of the highlights of disc two, although John Morales remix of Donna Summer’s Heaven Knows from 1978 is another anthemic floor filler.

By 1978, Teddy Pendergrass was enjoying a successful solo career, and just released his sophomore album, Life Is a Song Worth Singing. There was life after leaving Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes. One of the highlights of the album was the title-track

Life Is a Song Worth Singing which was a joyous anthem that John Morales has remixed and takes in a new direction that is guaranteed to fill a dancefloor. So too is Lenny Williams You Got Me Running a funky, soulful, disco track that was released on ABC Records in 1978. It’s a welcome addition and the perfect way to close disc two, by leaving the listener wanting more.

Disc Three.

John Morales seems determined to make an impact by opening disc three with his remix of Dan Hartman’s Vertigo/Relight My Fire which was originally released in 1979 and featured Southern Soul singer turned disco diva Loleatta Holloway. Nearly forty years later, John Morales remixes a track that is sure to bring back memories for many people. So to will Nobody Gets The Prize which was released in 1979, and features Diana Ross the disco diva. John Morales’ transforms a four-minute song into a ten-minute epic that is a mixture of sass and drama, that is sure to test the stamina of even the fittest dancers. 

Cher was one of many artist who jumped on the disco bandwagon between 1976 and 1979, when she released her fifteenth album Take Me Home. A reminder of Cher’s disco years is Take Me Home which was reworked by John Morales. It gives way to 3 Ounces Of Love’s Star Love which was the title-track to their 1978 album. It’s a soulful, funky and dancefloor friendly hidden gem that many people won’t be familiar with. That is also the case with  The Emotions’ Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love, which was the B-Side to the singles Flowers in 1978. Just like Star Love, Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love is another hidden gem, and is a reminder always to check the B-Side of a single.

Another welcome addition to John Morales Presents The M+M Mixes Volume IV is Cheryl Lynn’s Got To Be Real. It’s a track from Cheryl Lynn which was released in 1978, but John Morales extends to nine minutes of soulful, funky and dancefloor friendly music.

Maze featuring Frankie Beverly released Before I Let You Go on Capitol Records in 1981. By then, the disco era was over and DJs were looking for a new style of music to play. Tracks like Before I Let You Go with its soulful, funky boogie sound proved popular with DJs and dancers. John Morales’ nine-minute remix is a reminder of one of Maze featuring Frankie Beverly’s finest hours.

Closing disc three is Eddie Kendricks’ Girl You Need a Change of Mind which was released in 1973. Originally, the two parts of single were spread across the A and B side. It’s transformed into a nine-minute soul-baring and soulful epic that is a reminder of Eddie Kendricks in his prime. This is a fitting way to close the third side of John Morales Presents The M+M Mixes Volume IV.

Disc Four 

Tom Browne’s Funkin For Jamaica may have seemed like an unlikely candidate to be remixed by John Morales. However, he works his magic on the track that opens disc four and takes this single form 1980 in a new direction. It gives way to Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes’ Philly Soul classic Don’t Leave Me This Way which originally featured on their 1975 album Wake Up Everybody. This is one of the highlights of John Morales Presents The M+M Mixes Volume IV. So too is the remix of Barry White’s classic Let The Music Play which was the title-track to his 1976 album. Tracks like Don’t Leave Me This Way and Let The Music Play are reminders of why John Morales is regarded as one of the top remixers. However, he closes disc four with a remix of Level 42’s Mind On You from their 2013 album Sirens, which was mixed by John Morales. This makes him the best qualified person to remix Mind On You which brings to a close John Morales Presents The M+M Mixes Volume IV.

It’s the most ambitious project of John Morales’ five decade and forty-three year career. John Morales Presents The M+M Mixes Volume IV features twenty-seven new remixes which are spread across the four discs on the box set that was recently released by BBE. It finds John Morales taking the listener on a series of compelling and captivating musical journey where the music is soulful, funky, jazz-tinged and dance-floor friendly. Occasionally, John Morales throws a series of curveballs and takes the track in a direction the listener never expected. However, by the end of the track everything has fallen into place, and seamlessly, everything makes sense. Not many remixers can do this, but John Morales can. 

That is what we’ve come to expect from John Morales who is still a leading DJ and remixer. Proof of that can be found on John Morales Presents The M+M Mixes Volume IV which is the veteran remixer’s latest instalment in this successful series. John Morales Presents The M+M Mixes Volume IV is one of the best albums of remixes released during 2017, and is another reason why John Morales should be considered as the rightful heir to Tom Moulton, and assume his title as The Master of the remix.

John Morales Presents The M+M Mixes Volume IV.

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