Graham Reid | | 2 min read
For a very short while I played DJ in a fashionable bar for a few hours a night, about once a fortnight -- or a month -- or something like that.
You can guess from my lack of enthusiastic recall I found it a desultory and pointless experience: standing in a corner playing records to a bunch of people who just wanted to drink and talk loudly at each other.
I spent everything I was paid on drinks just to make it interesting for me.
As a point of difference I would play classic or just plain excellent reggae, and quite a lot of African music. Some people came up and said complimentary things, but one night -- and this was typical -- a young drunk girl came up and demanded something she and her legless friends could dance to. I said this was African music night as advertised and if you can't dance to this . . .
She reeled off and returned about half an hour later with the same demand, just as some slippery Sunny Ade was beating out of the speakers and people were nodding and tapping their feet.
I sent her to a bar down the road and told her they played a lot of hip-hop and chart songs (I doubt they did, every time I passed they had the Eagles Greatest Hits on repeat) so she and her pals happily trouped off to annoy someone else.
I was glad when, after a few months, the bar stopped inviting me back. It was boring . . . and irritating when some earnest hipsters would come up and ask if they look through my "crate" (a hideously yellow plastic box bought from a $2 shop) to see what "rare grooves" I had.
For me, the notion of “rare grooves” smacks of smarter-than-thou DJs trying to outdo each other in the obscurity stakes.
So those purists and obsessives must get irritated when they see catch-all collections like this, a 19 song collection pulled from various diverse sources (all undated which seems a massive oversight) and thrown onto an eclectic and sometimes erratic single disc.
DJs must be livid when they -- having searched all over Buenos Aires for it -- find here Do You Want to be Free by Gilberto Sextet (which owes a debt to Twist and Shout and soubnds like B-grade US garageband pop from the late Sixties).
This slapdash collection will certainly throw your ears sideways as you get down with some seriously funky and urgent bass-heavy sounds from Piper Pimienta and his orchestra, then are flung into a weird soundtrack-type thing called Black Shadow by Orchestra Dee Jay.
Aside from the apparent/alleged rarity of these sounds – and the Latin thread – there is little which ties this stuff together.
So expect outer-space Farfisa organ as much as crisscross percussion.
But that is actually the mad fun of it. You can imagine samplers will be all over this.
The bonus disc is Let My People Boogaloo! by Spanglish Fly (aka Jonathan Goldman), a grab-bag of remixes and rarities by the New York big band which is more cohesive but equally energetic.
I imagine if you played this at that bar I was once in, people would love it but some young drunk girl would come up and . . .