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CD Review: The Trip (Navigated by Joey Negro)

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I wonder how many dumpsters could be filled with crappy compilation “mix CDs.” It truly boggles the mind…

Thankfully, noted DJ, producer, and disco/house-savant Joey Negro (a.k.a. Dave Lee, Jakatta, and lots of other things) seems determined to offer up something more than just a pair of overpriced aluminum coasters with his eclectic two-CD journey The Trip

Things get off to an atmospheric start with some John Barry 007 soundtrack music, followed by Nancy Wilson‘s ass-shaking rendition of “Call Me,” Laurie Johnson‘s irresistible theme to The Avengers (a.k.a. “The Shake”), and the criminally catchy “National Express” by The Divine Comedy in rapid succession — three tunes I guarantee you won’t be able to get out of your head for weeks.

Next thing you know, Joey dips into the “Where are they now?” file with “Ride Like the Wind” by Christopher Cross — something you probably thought you would never want to hear again, but now it sounds like a pretty good song for some reason. You’ll also hear the Dave Lee production “You’re Not Alone” morph into its source material, the pre-techno soundtrack masterpiece “The Chase” by Georgio Moroder.

Then, at least for me, things start to get a little too 1980s and tedious… the plodding 4/4 beats, cheesy synths, and cheesier vocals start to wear a little thin, but if you’re a big fan of the Pet Shop Boys, Jan Hammer, and/or the B-52s, you will probably disagree with me.

The second CD begins in a tranquil mood with the all too brief Dave Lee/Jakatta original “Inside Life,” but the party resumes in short order, this time in more of a funky 1970s groove with the likes of the Isley Brothers, Kool and the Gang, the Dells, and disco-era Sergio Mendes. Several lesser-known goodies are sprinkled throughout as well, including the provocative “Do You Have Any (Do Ya Know Where I Can Get Some)” by La Pamplemousse and the killer string section riffs of “Strung Out” by Gordon Staples. And yes, Virginia, there is a Jethro Tull track…

The Trip comes to a mellow, classy conclusion with Glenn Miller’s “Moonlight Serenade,” followed by the return of “Inside Life” and the sound of traffic fading into the distance.

While these tracks have been tastefully “mixed” into each other, I get the impression that we’re usually hearing the complete songs rather than heavily edited snippets (most are between three and five minutes long.)

Overall, Joey Negro’s The Trip is like a 120 minute mix tape from your hippest buddy, eager to impress and amaze you with his favorite obscurities, early influences, and guilty pleasures. You may want to fast forward past a few things along the way, but there are enough pleasant surprises and nostalgic amusements to make for an enjoyable ride.

Short of making your own mix CDs, this is about as good as they come — so The Trip is hereby spared from the dumpster!

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