This mix of the populist and the enigmatic is all over House Masters, a collection made up entirely of Lee's own remixes and productions. Just take Sunburst Band's "Everyday," which builds an instantly likable soul song around a sample from the cult boogie artist Marta Acuna. Yolanda Wyns' "I Know You, I Live You" is an excellent cover version of the Chaka Khan classic. Likewise, Doug Willis's "Get Your Own" is a house rework of Ruben Wilson's deep jazz-funk cut. What's remarkable about these songs is how Lee keeps the feel of the old records in his music. He uses his references respectfully and, thanks to a rotating cast of top-notch sessions musicians, often retains that elusive sense of funk.
Perhaps the stand out of House Masters is the Joey Negro remix of "Backfired," one of the few times a remixer has improved a Masters At Work original. In fact, one could argue that Joey Negro's mixes of Blaze's "Wishing You Were Here" and Erro's "Change For Me" are among the best house remixes ever; they're certainly two of the most loved. These tracks are full of catchy hooks mainstream producers would kill for.
House Masters is a solid overview of a great artist's best work. The only gripe for hardcore fans will be that there are too many familiar songs here. I would have liked to seen more of Lee's obscure productions included. Some of his disco edits from compilations like The Kings Of Disco are absolute dynamite and criminally underrated. And it's not like Joey Negro's music hasn't been compiled before: in the last decade there have been at least five compilations that could be considered greatest hits releases. This is perhaps the most definitive, but it's hard to say the ground hasn't already been well covered. Nonetheless, there are very few producers who can do classy soulful house as well as Dave Lee can.
Wed / 4 Feb 2015
01. Masters At Work feat. India - Backfired (Joey Negro Club Mix)
02. Joey Negro feat. Taka Boom - Can’t Get High Without U (Joey Negro Philly World Mix)
03. Erro - Don’t Change (Joey Negro Club Mix)
04. Simphonia - Can't Get Over Your Love (Dave Lee's Full Length Mix)
05. Joey Negro & The Sunburst Band - Garden of Love (Joey Negro Club Mix)
06. Candido - Dancin' & Prancin' (Joey Negro Disco Blend)
07. Extortion - How Do You See Me Now (Joey Negro Club Mix)
08. Doug Willis - Get Your Own (Joey Negro Club Mix)
09. Doug Willis - Begun 2 Luv U (Joey Negro Original Mix)
10. Joey Negro & The Sunburst Band - Everyday (Full Length Album Mix)
01. Patrice Rushen - Haven’t You Heard (Joey Negro Extended Disco Mix)
02. Blaze - Wishing You Were Here (Joey Negro Extended Mix)
03. Yolanda Wyns - I Know You, I Live You (Joey Negro Club Mix)
04. Joey Negro - Do What You Feel (Expanded Mix)
05. The Reese Project - Direct Me (Joey Negro Disco Blend Mix)
06. Akabu feat. Linda Clifford - Ride The Storm (Joey Negro Club Mix)
07. Joey Negro presents Jakatta - American Dream (Joey Negro Club Mix)
08. Joey Negro & The Sunburst Band feat. Donna Gardier & Diane Charlemagne - The Secret Life Of Us (Joey Negro Extended Mix)
09. Raven Maize - Forever Together (Forever United Mix)
10. Joey Negro - Must Be The Music (Joey Negro Club Mix)