Upstairs at Larry's: Lawrence Welk Uncorked

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  • Upstairs at Larry’s: Lawrence Welk Uncorked is perhaps the most clever remix attempt ever produced—if nothing else, it’s the most unique. Imagine Mr. Welk’s big band orchestra, and all the square-safety of the 50’s, revamped into a swanky, funky, dubby, house-music mix CD? Sounds impossible, but the result is so good, you’ll have to buy a copy and decide for yourself. Upstairs at Larry’s is not a cover album, nor is it a thud-thud-boom-boom dance album; but rather, it’s exits somewhere quite inexplicably in between the two. And it’s done in such a way that eighty year old grannies will love it just as much as the too-cool twenty-something lounge set. Larry’s includes announcements from the Lawrence Welk show as well as promotional bits and samples-- such as in Dex Dubious’ remix of “Bubbles in the Wine.” The quirky audio sample instructs us on the proper manner which one should drink champagne. The producers cleverly alternate these bits with house-influenced dub, funk, and minimalist remixes. Some of the tracks, like Joy & The Spider’s remix of “You Are My Sunshine” are pure genius. Who would have imagined that Guy & Ralna’s acid house vocals could turn “Sunshine” into such a modern, dance floor hit? Other stand-outs sure to peak on your iTunes playlist are Q-Burns Abstract Message remix of “You Can Dance,” Boston Tea Boys’ take on “Honey,” Greens Keepers’ “Green Sheik of Araby,” and Smitty’s hauntingly swirly remix of “Blue Velvet.” Overall, the production value is extremely high—Larry’s is a feat well accomplished. The square sounds of Welk seamlessly blend with swanky horns, rumbling basslines, mysterious Middle Eastern riffs, and the occasional minimalist treatment. The beauty of this disc is that it maintains its freshness through multiple listens. What may seem like an utterly preposterous notion (remixing Lawrence Welk for dance music headz?) becomes a sexy-loungey, come-hither compilation. And you don’t even have to be a Welk fan to enjoy it—I certainly wasn’t. Cheers to luscious experiments in the campy arena.