Most Wanted! Guy Cuevas – Obsession (Nassau Mix) (Island)
Disco would be American, it would be Italian, it would also be French! Nothing could seem to stop it back in the day, with appealing venues florishing in the capitals of the world…
Paris made no exception with Le Palace, where so many (future) luminaries happened to come. From Madonna to Prince or Kid Creole & The Coconuts to name but a few! The reasons of its success: its design in a former theater, its sound system. And also its resident DJ, Cuban-born Juan Guillermo Cuevas Carrión, whom Fabrice Emaer brought as the master of ceremony.
Guy Cuevas (as one used to simply call him) had without a single doubt a real magnetism whenever spinning. He only released a couple of singles though. One of them which Masters At Work included on their ‘House Masters’ compilation for Defected. Meanwhile, the aforementioned would become another form of ‘Obsession’ along with time for the rare groove hunters…
As a matter of fact, I gotta say how its concept sounded kind of progressive. If not futuristic for the time being. A jam blending Latin and Funk vibes with fragments of spacey Ambient and subtle dubby effects along with Spanglish lyrics. With remixing work courtesy of Steven Stanley. B and François K and visual concept by the likes of French famous designer Jean-Paul Goude. A brilliant early illustration of the French touch, don’t you think?
Born in Havana, Cuba in 1945, Guy Cuevas showed an early aptitude as a writer. He got awarded a scholarship to a playwriting workshop launched on the heels the 1959 revolution. He eventualy released a collection of short stories, “Ni un Sí, ni un No”, on Ediciones El Puente. Then soon after, he migrated to France where he continued writing for some time.
Alternating little jobs, he got his first DJ gig at club Nuage. His big break arriving soon after Fabrice Emaer discovered him prior to hire him as a DJ at Club Sept, his restaurant-discothèque located at 7 (sept) Sainte-Anne street in Paris.
Le Club Sept was only a appetizer for what was to come… Le Palace, a venue that embraced the arrival of Disco. Somehow inspired by NYC Studio 54, with Emaer willing to have every goer feeling like a superstar. Be it for 5 minutes! Our man eventually launching a second Palace at Cabourg’s casino in Normandy. An event which attracted 2 trains full of clubbers during its opening night back in Summer 1979. With everybody dancin’ – including yours truly – until the morning comes!
Working at Le Palace happened to be more demanding for Cuevas. Leaving him less space for improvisation as opposed to established hits. Tired with the repetitiveness, he switched to the exclusive downstairs club, called Le Privilège. This before leaving the venue for good in 1982.
Strangely enough Cuevas never got himself into remixing activities. Although he would manage to release 3 singles. With all of them standing as as ultra rare treasures in the collections of music connoisseurs from all over the world. Beginning with ‘Ebony Game’, his first offering back in 1982. An infectious gem which not only showcased the richness of his Latin Soul Jazz culture, but also his aptitude to caress the hearts and souls with his falsetto tones. Its follow-up – ‘Obsession’ – receiving the remixing treatment courtesy of François Kevorkian. Then, 2 years later, ‘Gallo Negro’ with instantly identifiable sleeve artwork by the likes of Jean-Paul Goude.
Cuevas would be seen afterward as an artistic director. First of the club Bains Douches on rue du Bourg l’Abbé in Paris. Then at the Barrio Latino on rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine.
Meanwhile, Fabrice Emaer never made money for himself from his activities. Reinvesting everything in refurbishing his places and organizing parties.
He sadly passed of a cancer on June 11, 1983, aged 48. He is remembered as “The Prince of the night”.