Friday, August 8, 2008

Tune of the weekend!


Back in 1988, yes that far back, when I was in school in Ireland, my boy Anthony came back from a summer in NYC with a DJ Red Alert mix-tape that he recorded off Kiss FM. It was a pretty firing mix as you can imagine and though I haven’t heard it in many years I remember a few tunes off it, “Ease Back,” by Ultramagnetic MCs, “Good Times” by Chic, “Running Thangs” by Busy Bee and the tune above, which was our favorite, I suppose, ‘cos we would dance at parties to it and recite the lyrics and giggle about them — there was a fair bit of gigglin’ done in 1988, believe me. “Small Time Huslter” by The Dismasters on Urban Rock records was the tune, though I didn’t know any of those details back then, before t’internet (as they say up north, not Detroit, but Bradford, England, where it’s grim supposedly).

Many years went by and we all parted ways as you do and as you especially did in Ireland, everyone bailed out to England, or Europe, or Australia, and the Shtates, and, of course, some stayed at home (cue mournful Celtic music). One day while sitting at my desk in 2000 at the offices of a very short lived but hopeful dance music magazine called Revolution — published by the folks who give you Future Music, they have a US office — I opened an email from Davey D, the renowned hip hop historian, journalist, deejay and community activist. I was on his mailing list and I used to check his mails regularly ‘cos he’s a smart cat and has been around for a minute.

In the middle of the mail was a competition with an mp3 link that said if you could name the tune a grand prize was all yours. So I clicked on it and there it was playing back at me after being out of my life for twelve years, the tune off that mix-tape, which soundtracked an idyllic summer in a far off place and a lost time. I emailed Davey back saying that I wasn’t interested in entering the competition but could he tell me the name of the tune, telling him its relevance to me. Davey hit me right back, telling me it was “Small Time Hustler,” by The Dismasters. The next day I was heading into San Francisco to interview Dilated Peoples for the magazine and I ran into Frank “Rasta Cue Tip,” a kick ass local hip-hop dj and producer, and one time hip-hop buyer for the Amoeba stores.

He was coming from The Independent (then called the Justice League I think) where Dilated Peoples were doing a sound check. We stopped on the street to say wazzup and I asked him if he knew the tune, and he replied, “Oh yeah, it just got repressed, I have about twenty copies at the store.” Yowza, I stopped up there that evening, scooped three copies, two for me and one for my friend Damien back in the old country, ‘cos he used to bug out on it too. When I took it home, cracked open the shrink wrap, slapped it on the platter, put the needle to the groove and closed my eyes, I was back in 1988, in Ireland and Anthony was looking at with that big toothy grin on his mug, saying, “so what do you think of that then, Chris Orr, ya critical bollocks, huh eh?”

Yeah, it took me way back, and for a minute I didn’t feel that far away at all and all the people that I hadn’t seen since the day I graduated, or the sad day I left the country, were back in the room, the music was loud, the craic was ninety and friendship was everything. Music can do that, can’t it? It can forge a bond, build a bridge, bust through the bullshit and transcend time and space. It brings you back, takes you forward, re-ignites your memories, disposes of the politics and renders love eternal. It rocks the disco tech and sets dreams in motion, oh yes. Enjoy the tunes and have a great weekend!

Orr

1 comment:

amanda said...

Wow what a great blog.Charlotte sometimes by the Cure brings back snapshots of my first girlfriend.Do you play at local clubs? If not you should.