Ray "Pinky" Velazquez - Vice-President of Legends of Vinyl
Ray Velazquez was the & A & R man and Disco consultant for Vanguard from 1979 to 1984.
His incredible spinning abilities and award wininning City College NewYork WCCR AM progressive radio format, as music director, helped him land the job at Vanguard. Ray was hired by owners Seymour and Maynard Solomon who originally started the Vanguard Recording Society in the 1950's as an outlet for jazz, folk and classical music. Around 1977 Vanguard jumped on the Disco bandwagon and began releasing 12 inch Disco singles by The Player's Association, Poussez!, Frisky, and others in large part through the efforts of Danny Weiss (producer) and Mark Berry (engineer). Despite being a small independent label Vanguard made an impact on the Disco and dance scenes right on up through the 1980's. In 1979 Ray was brought on board to help promote and scout for talent since he was a local working Disco DJ and knew the New York club scene. The nickname "Pinky"; as in "little" came about to distinguish him from his dad with the same name. . This along with his upbringing in Manhattan's "Spanish Harlem/El Barrio" during the '60's and '70's exposed him to many styles of music, along with plenty of urban street music. Ray listened to everything at home from classical to Top 40 pop hits like Elvis Presley's "All Shook Up". Ray says, "The piano line" on "All Shook"I've always loved the sound of the piano playing those low base type notes and I've incorporated that onto records that I've mixed. It's very R & B, and very commanding. When asked which records he worked on best demonstrate this piano focus he replies, Fonda Rae's " Over Like A Fat Rat" and Carol William's "Can't Get Away From Your Love"- there's always room for the funky & "nasty" haunting piano. He cites early "house" music and gospel oriented tracks like "Mighty High" by the Mighty Clouds of Joy as a general piano example, and current house music award winning club dj Frankie Knuckles' house mixes on radio shows to further verify his point on the piano. Despite Ray's love for music and certain instruments he admits he can't play or read music and that this had made it a little harder for him to express what he would like done in the recording studio despite knowing exactly what he heard in his mind --was the finished product.
Ray had also signed Public Enemy to the Vanguard label in 19 under the group name of Spectrum City with their debut single entitled "LIES" backed with "CHECK OUT THE RADIO" Both tracks were produced and mixed by Ray. Check out the radio was a featured track in the 1992 Oliver Stone movie and soundtrack "South Central". Ray also mixed another Public enemy track entitled "DO THE WOP" on Profile records by solo Public Enemy artist Aaron Allen.
Demonstrating versatility with reggae , Ray was involved in the dance mix of Eddy Grant's "Walking on Sunshine" the 6:20 minute edit on the CBS /EPIC label along with Denroy Morgans "TOO MUCH TOO SOON" on the Buddah Sutra label.Ray firmly believes in reggae fusion has large roots into the dance music culture..
The Ipanema Discotheque The Ipanema was a very popular Brazilian restaurant / nightclub / discotheque owned by Brazilians and catering to a Brazilian crowd. It featured a hearty dose of Disco and Brazilian carnival music and competed with another Brazilian club called Tropicalia. The Ipanema soon evolved to Disco music on most nights including Friday and Saturday, Brazilian on Sundays, R & B on Thursdays and Latin Salsa on Tuesdays. Not only did Ray spin Disco, but he also did the all-Brazilian Sunday nights and the Thursday R & B nights. Ray also got to meet many radio personalities like Barry Mayo from New York's Kiss-FM, Frankie Crocker from WBLS-FM and Paco from WKTU-FM ,who would frequently ask for Ray's playlists to assist the local radio station expand on the dance movement. Ray stayed at the Ipanema up till around 1978, when he branched out to other styles of dance music and moved to the Upper West Side to an after-hours rock/funk club called Cartune Alley. He stayed here till 1982 and played everything from the Clash to the Romantics, APB, New Order dance rock tracks mixed with Disco, R&B, funk and Motown.. Ray also did guest spots at Studio 54 and Le Mouche, The Attic (in the Hamptons) to keep him busy. He credits David Mancuso and Eddie Rivera, 2 record pool founders for assisting him build a vast record library and inspiration to proceed with a legendary dance music career.
The Ring - Savage Lover At Studio 54
Fonda Ray - Over Like A Fat Rat
Carol Williams - Can't Get Away (From Your Love)
Twilight 22 - Electric Kingdom
Spectrum City - Check Out The Radio
Eddy Grant - Walking on Sunshine A Ray "Pniky" Velazquez Mix 6:12
Twilight 22 - Siberian Nights
Frisky - You've Got Me Dancing In My Sleep
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