Groovin Recordings – Words by Kelvin Slesser-Marriott (Prince Street Record Forum)
‘House Music Will Never Die’ could only really have been reissued by Alex De Ponti and Paolo Rey, its message quintessential of their mission to immortalise the sounds of 70s/80s funk & soul, disco and 90s house.
Alex and Paolo run Vinylbrokers, a record store in Milan founded in 2006 that turns over tens of thousands of original US pressings on a monthly basis. With an ethos to connect new listeners to affordable old music, the Italian duo have used their exposure to bring fully licensed reissues of classics from the biggest names in US dance music history.
Here are just a few of the more iconic to give you a taste of Groovin’s catalogue:
Peven Everett – Put Your Back Into It
Throw yourself back to Dekmantel Festival 2014 and a certain Motor City Drum Ensemble loosening up the Sunday afternoon crowd with this killer soulful house track from Peven Everett. Shortly afterwards copies of the original were changing hands for well in excess of £100 and you’ll be hard pressed to find a decent copy for any less today. Up step Groovin Recordings with a 2017 reissue and you can now bag this beauty in full vinyl quality for less than £20!
Glenn Underground – House Music Will Never Die
Groovin aren’t alone when it comes to preserving one sound in particular. Glenn Underground found his way to European acclaim via a love affair with 90s US garage house (idolizing Kerri Chandler), this track is a particular highlight from the selections at Dimensions Festival 2015. As a Chicago native, brought up when Larry Heard and Ron Hardy were pioneering the sound, Glenn Underground has a pedigree for deep house that’s exemplified on the record. Its jacking rhythms and hedonistic vocals from debut collaborator Cei-Bei make it one of his finest releases, brought to new light by that set in Croatia. Hence we have another timeless house record that commands a heavy price as it is between second hand dealers. Groovin again satiate the demand of a new audiences in bringing back this 1996 classic, untouched with all four original mixes.
Dunn Pearson Jr. – Groove on Down
Time for a slice of 1978 disco. Like a vintage car or an up-cycled armchair, sometimes an old record just needs a little TLC to give it new life. Dunn Pearson Jr. is a multi-instrumentalist that’s had as much commercial success scoring films and soundtracking McDonald’s adverts as he has producing records for soul legends and creating disco classics. Renowned as ‘The Black Beethoven’, this record from the height of US disco showcases a masterful arrangement of strings, brass and female group vocals – remastered and polished in 2018 by Groovin to tease the modern dancefloor into a 70s groove.
Gino Soccio – Try It Out / Dancer
This one’s perhaps a personal nod from Alex and Paolo to the Italo-Disco sounds of Gino Soccio, a Canadian born record producer of Italian descent. The EP is a mini-compilation of Gino’s greatest hits from the turn of the 80s, bringing together three key releases on one handy 12”. ‘Dancer’ gives you a minute long extended intro before releasing the tension with the funkiest bassline around, whereas Try It Out offers a steadier shuffler as chic-like guitar riffs and trumpet solos set the foundations for another disco hit. Although the originals don’t demand as high fees as the above, this release is exemplary of the refinement Groovin Recordings are able to present by filtering out the gold from their day-to-day operations in the Milan store, then repackaging these classic sounds at an affordable rate for discerning new collectors.
The work of Alex and Paolo, like Euan Fryer with Athens of the North and many others, is essential in creating longevity for classic dance music amongst collectors. At the time of writing, original and good quality copies of these four records would cost in excess of £600, whereas the Groovin endorsed equivalents are often a tenth of the price.
There’s also a much greater back catalog to discover than those cherry-picked above. With ten reissues already to hand in 2018 the boys are on a relentless upwards trajectory and definitely one to keep an eye on.