What is there to say about the Masters At Work that has not been said already? For me they encapsulate what House Music is all about. I happened to play a mix of “I Get Lifted” by Barbara Tucker for the first time in a while, and the memories came flooding back, tears in the eyes and everything, one truly misses those times!
Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez and “Little Louie Vega are probably the most important dance music producers that emerged in the 1990’s. Their name taken after a Todd Terry produced project “Does exactly what it says on the tin”. Development of Dance Music Culture in the 1970’s and 1980’s is attributed to DJ’s Like David Mancuso, Nicky Siano, Frankie Knuckles, Ron Hardy and Larry Levan (A childhood friend of Frankie Knuckles).
I first heard the Masters At Work when they Played at the Ministry of Sound around the time they released the classic Sessions Five mix on Limited Vinyl and CD on Sound Of Ministry. What Beethoven, Bach or Mozart are to Classical Music, Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez” and “Little” Louis Vega are to House Music. It’s as simple as that really!
I guess the element that is easily lost, looking at this music retrospectively, is that it was first and foremost an “Underground Music” culture and was very important to people in the Underground Clubbing Scene, as music back then it was predominantly about the Charts or nothing else (no internet, just radio). The records in this mix are all originals, no anthologies or anything have been used, licentiously demonstrated by the display of two or more copies of a record. It must be known that whenever you saw a Masters At Work record in the shop you always bought it because they never disappointed, the wide array of people that liked Masters At Work and their significant output created a buzz on the Underground that is seldom, if ever repeated.
When Masters At Work emerged on the House Scene, they were predominantly known for their dubs like “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” by St. Etienne a record that was on so many cassettes one used to listen to at the time, and “Carry On” by Martha Wash. The first track in this mix “Coming On Strong” by Desiya is as historic as they come, Todd Terry, Louie Vega, Tony Humphries, and Kenny Dope, kick-starting the Magic Sessions in Miami. It really isn’t possible to compare a track like “I Can’t Get No Sleep” with a Track like “Deep Inside” by Hardrive, but “Deep Inside” is the record that every DJ I have ever met swears by. Every Pirate radio station played that track to death.
What really took the world by surprise is that they embraced creating records with Singers and they produced both some of the most underground sounding house records, and also some of the best vocal records like “Too Be In Love”, a record very special to one, as one managed to bag an original import on Vinyl.
“To Be In Love”, took over two years until it was licensed here in the UK on Defected records, which meant there were only a few DJ’s playing that record out (there is also a rare Special White Vinyl Version), to think nowadays you can just download a track or stream it on the internet, back then, you paid twice, thrice or more for a rare Vinyl record on Import, word got out, and I would pack parties on the premise that people got to hear that record. Magical!
Remember that you can buy their music at http://www.vegarecords.net/ , http://kaydeerecords.bigcartel.com/kenny-dope , http://www.traxsource.com/,and also http://strictly.com or https://pro.beatport.com