Friday, July 11, 2008

A Tune For The Weekend 'Cos It's The Weekend!

I know that this one will be a bit too obvious for those of you who will only give a tune a second glance if it was unearthed with the Dead Sea Scrolls by Larry Levan's joint roller, or is a super rare, limited pressing jack track, which was buried four hundred feet below a railway line near Vladivostock. However, for some of us acid house casualties — there are also acid and acid jazz casualties — this one holds a special place in our hearts. Todd was, is, and always will be god; a god of slick sampling, rocking beats that fused house, hip-hop and freestyle, and the purveyor of many gorgeousful remixes. I first heard this at a soul club in Ireland in 1988. I was just back from a long 1987 stint in Sarf London and was Phutured and Model 500ed out the ying yang. The dj at this club was a dude name Derrick Murray and he would drop in some cool cutting edge stuff along with the '60s and '70s soul and r&b standards. He used to play "Starpower" by Sonic Youth, then jump into something like Patrick Cowley's mix of "I Feel Love" and then play "Sympathy For The Devil" by the Stones. It were a right Balearic do I'm telling ya,and the entire club had a bad case of Balearia. Plus there were no purists stroking their chins in disapproval, everyone was too busy getting down and having the craic, as they say in the old country. The club was called The Soul Solution but we used to call it the Skull Pollution. Go figure.

One night in the spring of '88 Derrick dropped a tune that decked all of us. I remember my late — and unbelievably hilarious — buddy Vinnie turning to me and saying, "Jaysus, this is f@#$ing brilliant." We had the dj drop it two more times and each time it got better. Derrick showed us the sleeve, the song was called "A Day In The Life," it was on Champion Records, and was by a group (it was all groups back then) called Black Riot. Brooklyn was indeed in the house, and Todd Terry was the man to watch. And watch him I did, over the years until the mid-90s. Later on, in the summer of '89, Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock sampled it for their "Get On The Dance Floor" single which I believe came out the same week as "Pump Up the Jam" by Technotric. My buddies and I were watching the vids on Top Of The Pops, while taking a break from the Model 500, Separate Minds, Mr. Fingers, Geto Boys, Stetsasonic and Eazy E records that had been scooped by crew members who had been stateside that summer.

Halcyon days perhaps and many years later in 2000, while writing for a short lived dance music magazine called Revolution I interviewed Todd Terry, and had him sign my copy of "A Day In The Life." I'm sad, I know. And he told me something that I will never forget, he told me that the thing that saddened him the most was turning on the radio in New York and not being able to hear his own music, which was a product of New York. Well, you can hear "A Day In the Life" today at the end of this column and in a more just — and less greedy — world, tunes like this would be in heavy rotation beside all the hip-hop classics. House may well be a feeling (though one should never talk about it when one is having a discussion about feelings) but it is also an urban music form. One that has been much maligned and ignored by the US mainstream. It may well have had its day, but it is, as Frankie Knuckles said, "disco's revenge." What's next for disco's vengeful children you might be inclined to ask. Who knows but enjoy "A Day In The Life" in a day in your life.


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