Born in the Bronx – though of Puerto Rican heritage – John Morales was, indeed is, one of the first superstar DJs. He leant the art of the turntable in the 70s during a stint with the US Air Force where for two hours every day he worked the decks at his camp’s radio station and though it was no ‘Good Morning Vietnam’ he learned crucial lessons that stood him in good stead as he returned to civilian life. Working the New York club scene he implemented those ideas marking him out as an innovator and chance-taker – though he was/is savvy enough never to underestimate his audience.
To satisfy the growing and ever-demanding club audience he created a studio with fellow spinner Sergio Munzibar and from that base – MM Studios – Morales crafted remixes and medleys that won him a reputation as the Big Apple’s premier spinner. Through the nineties and into the new millennium he was absent from the scene for all kinds of complicated personal reasons, but in recent years he’s allowed the release of some of his classic creations – many of which have lain unissued since their inception. This wonderfully uplifting 14 tracker is the second volume of his work to be released on the bbe label and it’s stuffed with tunes and treatments that define the art of the “proper” DJ/remixer.
Two of our man’s best-known efforts adorn this collection – Teddy Pendergrass’ ‘The More I Get The More I Want’ and ‘Get Down Friday Night’ from the Fantastic Aleems. Both illustrate the fact that without a good tune in the first place, you’re a non-starter ; Morales then simply emphasises the magic by focusing on a hook or a break and either extending or isolating it. The result is dance floor magic and here he does the same with stuff like Logg’s ‘Dancing Into The Stars’, Evelyn Thomas’ ‘Heartless’ and Loleatta Holloway’s ‘Dreamin”. Highlight though is a fabulous treatment of a song that few would ever dream of tampering with – Candi Staton’s ‘Young Hearts Run Free’. Here Morales adds some addictive percussion and sweet strings to create a track that rivals the original – respect and innovation are the man’s watchwords and apply throughout the collection… a wonderful compilation, this.