Thursday, February 01, 2007

Some Records That Are Nice

I got home tonight and thought that, as I'd posted a track from a new Soul Jazz compilation earlier, I should redress the balance by proving that, y'know, I've had their back for years. I suppose it could be argued that wantonly posting another one of their tracks - albeit from deep catalogue - might not be the best way to show love, but, hell, my heart's in the right place. Honest. Oh, and I blatantly stole the picture on the right from Stones Throw too. Sorry!

Eddie Russ: The Lope Song 2 (Soul Jazz, 1990)
So, Eddie Russ. I know nothing about Eddie Russ and don't really care much to be honest. But 16 years ago I thought, with good reason, that Soul Jazz (as the record shop in Ingestre Place, W1 was called then) was about the coolest record shop I'd ever been in. No CDs, no singles, no new releases, just racks and racks (and nice wooden racks too) of US cut out vinyl and old warehouse finds. You can buy this stuff in your local HMV now, but back then this was rare, rare shit. Looking back, I suppose much of it was rubbish, but I was enormously impressed. Too impressed to actually speak to anyone in there, despite being a fully paid-up record shop wonk myself.

Anyhow, some short time later we got these Soul Jazz 12"s in. Number 1 was some king of bootleg (allegedly) - I can't remember what of - but Number 2 was this fantastic Eddie Russ flute-jazz masterpiece. It perfectly summed up the sort of stuff I was into at the time, a bit of a potential hip-hop loop, a bit of funk, a bit of jazz, made a long time ago by someone no normal people have ever heard of. You know how it is. Anyway, I've posted the B-Side, version 2 mix as I clearly still think I've got something to prove. Like anyone cares!

Lenny Dennis: Lovin' You (Conscious, 1992)
I think it's safe to say that Lenny Dennis has heard of Barry White. I used to love this record so much for two reasons. The bassline - it sounded so HUGE through the record shop speakers - and the chopped up, trebly break. This is actually quite an odd record, veering off from straight breakbeat soul into a sort of bleep-dub middle-eight before reigning it all back in again. The lyrics are brilliant too, particularly the bit where Lenny says you can trust him, he's reality, "not fact or fantasy". But, hang on! If you're not fact, then how can you etcetcetcetc...

Hustlers Of Culture: Southside (Dub) (Hustlers Of Culture, 1992?) This record is, actually, beautiful. I used to listen to this over and over and over again just to hear the way the horns were dropped and echoed out over the pitched-down Apache break. I hesitate to use the phrase "breakbeat science" because it's not 1992 and I'm not wearing a puffer jacket or trying to palm flyers off on passers by, but it is a tremendously assured, pungent and wonderful record. Christ alone knows what ever became of them, but their old phone number - 081 (very old-skool London number) 698 1152 - just seems to ring out. Perhaps they're doing something else now?



Anonymous said...

what rob's not telling you here is that he knew only too well not to attempt "i'm familiar with my deep funk onions" conversation with the counter-jocks at soul jazz... as a self-confessed record shop drone himself, he'd handed out so much flannel and undisguised disdain of his own to (ahem) enthusiastic punters from the backstage side of the till that he was painfully, acutely, innately, telepathically aware of what would be heading in his direction if he had the gall to strike up a chat about (say) grant green vs johnny guitar watson... not to mention the merry litany of shame that would be invoked in his name for at least 20 minutes after he left the premises, ears a-burn and eyes welling. i know these things because i was right there at his side for 2 hilarious years, where the mundanity of being given... a) constant gratis access to all the decent music you could shake a tone-arm at, b) guest list places for just about any hot ticket show or club happening withing a 50 mile radius, and c) more free t-shirts than anyone should be allowed to own by law... could only be broken up by inventing bands each week when the nme phoned for the indie chart places, and mercilessly deriding the clientelle (many of whom were lovely people who dropped insane money day after day). we had a good excuse though - the pay was shit. as anyone who has ever served time in a "hip" music store will tell you, the customer is ALWAYS wrong because whatever they want, even if they camped out all night to be the first person in town to get it, you had it first and you're already bored with it. hey rob, remember what we used to say about the lad who collected the ultimate breaks & beats lps and always wanted to talk about the latest mixtape from dj cheese... whatever became of him?

Rob said...

I remember him well. He worked in a VW parts centre and would arrive in the store in the height of summer sans shirt to better display his muss-kulls.

Did we suggest he was a twonk? Because he really wasn't. He was actually very nice. Invited me to his wedding, you know!

I lied about not being able to go :(

Rob said...

What I should also add about anonymous - he's called Bill - is that I mentioned feeling bad about stealing the Stones Throw picture as it was Bill who introduced me to Ethan Stones Throw from said in a rubbish pub near Waterloo many years ago. The same rubbish pub he's just invited me back to.

Phil said...

Not sure if you are that interested, but in reference to what became of the Hustlers of Culture, Southside (Dub) was part of the debut single from 1992. We went on to have several 12" singles and two subsequent LPs, the second on Wall of Sound. That led to money issues, boring record label stuff and arguments and the rest is history. Last output was about 1996/97.

Cheers for keeping the sound alive though, and that's one tune of ours that didn't ever really get any props and was actually recorded in one take at about 4am in the morning whilst quite blunted! You can hear the tracks being clicked on and off and we couldn't be bothered to tidy it up the next day.

Rich(ex Hustler of Culture not Credit) said...

Boring record company stuff indeed!!
The only arguement here is where did the money go. I'd say if it meant that much to you at the time
we would have seen you at the front of the queue pressing for some answers. Guilty, period.