Monthly Archives: March 2018

Graded on a Curve: Robert Deeble,

Singer-songwriter Robert Deeble lives in Seattle, but as a musician, he simultaneously inhabits well-trodden ground; although the man’s sizable discography has garnered deserved acclaim and welcomed the input of numerous notable guests, thus far he’s flown somewhat under the radar. With his new record Beloved, this just might change, as the 11 tracks heighten Deeble’s already substantial emotional heft through sharp writing and execution; altogether, it feels like his strongest record yet, and undeniably his most personal. It’s out March 30 on vinyl, compact disc, and digital through Mind Bomb Publishing.

Regarding musicians (and the bands they frequently constitute), the ranks of the underappreciated are considerable in number, and perpetually so. However, this unfortunate (if obviously subjective) circumstance seems especially common within the realms of the singer-songwriter. Or perhaps better said, for many practitioners of the style who’ve been saddled with the baggage of not getting enough recognition, it becomes one aspect of the overall allure; to those listeners who do appreciate the work, it can become part of the appeal.

Ah, the basis of cult status. Fred Neil, Karen Dalton, Tim Hardin, Tim Buckley, Judee Sill, John Prine, Nick Drake, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Victoria Williams, Mark Eitzel, Howe Gelb, Vic Chesnutt; the list can continue for a while, but (along with a tendency for leaving us too soon) it’s a stone cinch that this sampling would’ve preferred/ would still welcome a larger listenership to the small, intense fanbases they achieved and maintain.

It’s probably a stretch to tag Robert Deeble as a cult singer-songwriter, but it feels right to say he’s gathered a committed following, which in our crowded contemporary musical landscape is no small accomplishment. His is modest success that’s unfolded gradually. Deeble debuted in 1994 with Days Like These, a record with a few strong moments including a closing guest spot from Victoria Williams, but he made considerable strides with Earthside Down, which came out ’98, and progressed through three more full-lengths, ’03’s Thirteen Stories, ’05’s This Bar Has No One Left, and ’11’s Heart Like Feathers.

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In rotation: 3/28/18

Downtown record shops are musical treasure trove for avid listeners: Bob Berberich got into rock ’n’ roll early. Berberich, 70, had a sister who was five years older than he was, and she introduced him to the sounds of Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino and Elvis. And while rock ’n’ roll was famous for annoying parents, Berberich’s mother would hold sock hops in the living room of their Washington, D.C., rowhouse. It worked out well enough. Berberich became a professional drummer, playing in a band with future Bruce Springsteen guitarist Nils Lofgren and touring with a number of acts. Now he owns the East Patrick Street record store Vinyl Acres and serves as something of a mentor to the Frederick music community.

Record shop ties fate to downtown: It’s hip. It’s colorful. It has a logo that would hold its own in the most up-and-coming neighborhood of Brooklyn. It serves stacks of what hipsters dream of and would pair well with a craft beer, new restaurants, breweries, corn hole and some foot traffic. It’s Station Square Records, the only vinyl record store in Rocky Mount or the immediate beyond. And it’s open from Wednesday through Saturday at 301 South Church St., a colorful beacon in the middle of an otherwise sagging downtown setting. While reinforcements are on the way — a coffee shop is set for an April opening and Muttley Crew, a pet boutique to open next door, is also eyeing an April opening — along with a few other options, the shop has helped prop up the surrounding area.

Record Store Day 2018 in Nottingham – all you need to know: A never before told secret about Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band will be revealed at this year’s Nottingham Record Store Day, say event organisers. An as yet unnamed special guest will be sharing the revelation at Cobden Chambers, one of three city venues taking part in the annual nationwide event taking place this year on Saturday, April 21. Also taking part will be Stealth nightclub and music shop Rough Trade, which will be open from 6am for vinyl junkies hungry to get their limited edition fix. Last year several hundred collectors waited outside the record store’s doors to pick up LPs on sale for the event organised to promote the work of independent music retailers up and down the country. And this year there’s plenty to keep everyone happy too.

Def Leppard Announce ‘Volume One’, The First Of Four Planned Career-Spanning Box Sets: Legendary hard rockers Def Leppard release the appropriately-dubbed Volume One, the first salvo in their projected, four-volume career-spanning box set series, through Bludgeon Riffola/Mercury/UMe on 1 June. This first volume of the band’s complete recorded output comes in both limited edition 180g heavyweight vinyl and CD box sets, each featuring Def Leppard’s first four studio albums — along with some choice bonus live and studio material — all spread across 8LPs and 7CDs, respectively. The Volume One collection includes bonus material including Live At The LA Forum 1983, originally released as a bonus disc in the deluxe CD version of Pyromania, making this the first-ever vinyl offering of the complete show. This 2LP version comes with a new sleeve and inner bags.

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Russ Solomon Interview: In a Web exclusive, we are reprinting an interview with late Tower Records and Video founder Russ Solomon, who died earlier this month. The interview appeared in the November 1990 issue of Video Store Magazine, under the headline, “A Towering Presence: Last month, Russ Solomon celebrated Tower’s 30th anniversary and made the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans. What’s he do for an encore?” “As near as I can figure, I’ve been in this business longer, continuously, than anyone I know of,” Solomon says. “Almost 50 years – jeez, it hardly seems possible.”

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TVD Live Shots: Michael Schenker Fest at City National Civic, 3/24

When legendary guitarist Michael Schenker decides to put his name on a fest, he sure as hell goes all out. The touring Michael Schenker Fest featured a whopping 2 hour and 45 minute career-spanning set that featured four different singers (Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, Robin McAuley, and Doogie White) who rotated through the set, sometimes even trading off vocal duties on the same song. It was great to see them all having a good time on stage together.

Schenker was in top form, all smiles and showing no sign of slowing down as the crowd rocked along to their favorite era. The backing band of Chris Glen (bass, who at one point thanked “San Antonio” for having him), Ted McKenna (drums), and Steve Mann (guitar) held it all down, giving Schenker and vocalists plenty of room the shine. The guitar solo during UFO’s “Rock Bottom” was truly inspired and underscores the influence that Schenker has had on the world of heavy metal and hard rock.

While it was a treat to hear the new material live (Michael Schenker Fest studio album Resurrection in stores now), it was the encore of UFO tunes that really got the room singing along. Overall a great night of music.

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TVD Radar: Jeff Buckley manager Dave Lory’s book in stores 5/29, summer/fall tour dates

VIA PRESS RELEASE | For the first time since Jeff Buckley’s tragic death on May 29, 1997, his manager Dave Lory finally talks about what it was like working with one of the most revered and critically celebrated artists in rock and roll history with the release of his book, Jeff Buckley From Hallelujah To The Last Goodbye (Post Hill Press/Simon and Schuster; May 29, 2018; written with Jim Irvin).

This summer and fall, Lory will travel to cities across North America and Europe with his open forum offering a behind the scenes look at the book and inside the manager/artist relationship titled: A Q&A With Dave Lory, Jeff Buckley’s Manager and Author, Jeff Buckley From Hallelujah To The Last Goodbye. Lory’s talk will cover the journey of Buckley’s rise to success from the release of his EP “Live at Sin-e,” his debut album Grace, and the subsequent three years including that tragic week when Jeff Buckley disappeared into the murky waters of the Mississippi river and Lory got the call… “Jeff is missing.”

The show will consist of three thirty minute segments that will include questions from the audience at the end of each and Lory will be on hand to sign copies of the book at each venue. “I am so excited to meet with Jeff Buckley’s fans worldwide and interact with them about what it was like working with this iconic artist,” Lory exclaims.

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French Quarter Festival full schedule is out now, TVD returns as Media Sponsor

For the seventh year in a row, The Vinyl District is a media sponsor of the French Quarter Festival, which is scheduled for April 12–15. The festival continues to grow and attract new talent, boasting the debuts of over 30 artists. Here’s a preview of what’s to come. Stay tuned to TVD for daily previews and reviews.

Of all of the new artists performing for the first time at the fest, I am most excited about Chocolate Milk. This 1970s-era New Orleans R&B/funk band were contemporaries of the Meters and actually released more major label albums than their more famous peers.

Speaking of the Meters, Cyril Neville who provided vocals and percussion for the band during the tail end of their heyday, has a new band called Swamp Funk. The group features a bassist who has a deep pedigree in New Orleans funk. Daryl Johnson was a member of the Neville Brothers during their 1980s period of world domination.

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UK Artist of the Week: Rebecca Lou

Having only begun writing songs in 2015, Danish artist Rebecca Lou has already been garnering a reputation for her energy-fuelled live shows across her homeland and has supported rising rockers Velvet Volume on tour. Now, she’s beginning to make her mark in the UK with her two latest singles “Bitch U Look Good” and “Under The Moon.”

A tribute to self-love and celebrating your own worth, “Bitch U Look Good” is a riotous offering, fuelled by a thrashing energy and force. With shades of Joan Jett or Riot Grrrl pioneers Bikini Kill, it’s an instantly infectious and undeniably raucous slice of stimulating rock ‘n’ roll.

“Under The Moon,” on the other hand, veers into a more indie-pop sound. Inspired by poems she wrote when she was just 16 years old, it showcases the sweeping power of Rebecca’s vocals beautifully, as whirring hooks flow with an emotion-strewn splendour and twinkling musicality.

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Graded on a Curve:
Bud Powell,
The Essen Jazz
Festival Concert

A giant of bop piano, Earl Rudolph “Bud” Powell was also stricken by events that adversely affected his art and directly led to his early passing. As a result, many have shied away from his later recordings, and particularly those spotlighting him in performance, but as The Essen Jazz Festival Concert makes abundantly clear, that’s a faulty approach. Featuring bassist Oscar Pettiford, drummer Kenny “Klook” Clarke, and a guest appearance from swing-to-modern sax titan Coleman Hawkins, it captures Bud in fine, consistent form. It’s out now everywhere on standard black vinyl, with white and green swirl wax available as an independent store exclusive, through ORG Music. Don’t sleep on it.

While not overtaking his stature as a jazz groundbreaker, the crimes committed against Bud Powell; specifically, racism, police brutality, forced hospitalization, and electroshock therapy, have surely led many to stick to the consensus masterpieces in his ample discography. And without a doubt, The Complete Blue Note and Roost Recordings are indispensable; if a listener desires an introduction to Bud, that collection is the place to start.

It should be complemented by the ’47 Charlie Parker Savoy session that found Bud in a group with Miles Davis, Tommy Potter, and Max Roach (included in The Complete Savoy & Dial Master Takes), and the ’53 live recording Jazz at Massey Hall, which documented him on a Toronto bandstand with Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach (the complete recording is preferable; it was released on 2LP by Prestige as The Greatest Jazz Concert Ever).

The thing is, some just stop right there in investigating Bud, and frankly, that’s a ludicrous act of omission. If the ’50s material corralled by Verve is not as massive, it still offers heights (The Genius of Bud Powell and more) that hardly any other jazz pianist achieved (there are also lows, as it was a tough period). Furthermore, his two RCA albums are often underrated, and the same is true of his pair of ’61 LPs for Columbia, A Tribute to Cannonball (with saxophonist Don Byas) and A Portrait of Thelonious.

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In rotation: 3/27/18

CDs and vinyl are now MORE popular than digital downloads thanks to the rise in popularity of subscription services like Spotify and Apple Music: CDs and vinyls [“Vinyls” is an incorrect usage of the plural for vinyl—which is vinyl. —Ed.] are outselling digital downloads for the first time since 2011 thanks to streaming services, industry figures reveal. Apps like Spotify and Apple Music have seen an astronomical rise in popularity in recent years and this has all but destroyed the digital download market. As more people choose to stream music rather than own it, sales of physical media are now falling at a slower rate than their digital counterparts. This has been driven, in part, by a resurgence in vinyl sales among audiophiles, who prize the format’s unique sound.

The Yorkshire record shop enjoying a vinyl revival: The singer-songwriter Richard Hawley once said of Sheffield’s Record Collector: “It turns my brain to mush and I end up walking out with things I didn’t even know existed.” Opening its doors in 1978, the Broomhill shop is now celebrating 40 years of stocking genre-spanning music and in Yorkshire it is at the forefront of the vinyl revival. “It’s been a labour of love,” says Barry Everard, who has been behind the enterprise ever since it opened its doors one Saturday morning. “It’s filled with incidents of pop stars, stories, accolades and interesting things.” Previously working as a manager at Virgin Records in the city, Everard decided to open up his own shop in the student-heavy area of the city.

Wrigleyville memorabilia shop brings history to life: Tom Boyle can’t help but poke through his shelves. He’s in search of a movie poster that only he can visualize. It’s somewhere among the newspaper clippings, the vinyl records, the buttons and the books. “Let me see,” he says, furrowing his brows and shuffling through his inventory. After searching for a few minutes himself, he sends his colleague over to the other corner of the store, hoping he can help find it. Poking and prodding through the posters, the pair finally pull it out of the pile: “A Stratton Story.” Their eyes glance over the picture depicting the 1949 film about an injured baseball player. They notice the faded red-and-white hues and the way James Stewart embraces June Allyson. “This is it,” Boyle says with a smile.

Crate-digging millennials are seeking out classic East African music at Nairobi’s vinyl master: Tucked between butchers and hair braiders in Nairobi’s Kenyatta Market is the Real Vinyl Guru, a shabby stall that has become a mecca for vinyl lovers. James ‘Jimmy’ Rugami has sold second-hand records from stall 570 since 1989. In the cramped space, hundreds of seven and 12-inch vinyls are tightly packed. Among hit Motown albums is a veritable trove of East African music. Among them is the Kenyan-based Tanzanian duo Simba Wanyika and the recently re-discovered “Sweet as Broken Dates: Lost Somali Tapes from the Horn of Africa.” They’re all mementos of a bygone era, when Nairobi’s record presses created a hub for the regions musicians in the 70s and 80s. Many flocked to Nairobi to lay down their tracks and stayed to become part of a vibrant local scene.

Doc’s Records returns in a funky space at The Foundry that’s a perfect fit: After a long run in west Fort Worth, Doc’s Records & Vintage — the city’s largest record store — closed its doors, with plans to reopen in a new location in the fall of 2017. Music fans waited as fall came and went. Now Doc’s has finally reemerged — bigger and weirder than ever — in an enormous, colorful warehouse at 2632 Weisenberger St. in the Foundry District. The new space is jam-packed with records, CDs, and cassettes — along with an interesting collection of turntables, speakers, and other used stereo equipment for sale. There are mannequins populating the aisles, along with a bizarre collection of T-shirts and posters that all seem to be at least 20 or 30 years old. And of course, there are shirts, stickers, and bags with that disturbing logo of a man in a wheelchair, getting his fix from an IV that is somehow hooked up to a vinyl record — a not-so-subtle representation of people who are addicted to buying records.

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TVD Live Shots:
Flogging Molly, Jon Snodgrass, Scott Biram, at the Catalyst, 3/20

This year’s St. Patrick’s Day may have come and gone, but with Flogging Molly in the house the party never ends. So it was on a rainy Tuesday night that The Catalyst in Santa Cruz opened its doors for a rare 21 and over show that sold out the room, kept the beer flowing, and the pit circling.

Openers Scott Biram and Jon Snodgrass & Friends squeezed themselves into the spare space on the small Catalyst stage and whipped the crowd into a celebratory mode. But when The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” starting blasting over the PA, the room smooshed forward and cheered in anticipation of Flogging Molly. And then it was on.

It didn’t really matter to the crowd as they raged through the hits, a new tune (“The Days We’ve Yet To Meet” with bassist Nathan Maxwell on vocals) as well as a ripping guitar solo by Dennis Casey for “Black Friday Rule” which found him alone on stage bathed in red. Truly epic.

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TVD Radar: Jazz Dispensary’s Soul
Diesel Vol. 2
in stores
for Record Store Day

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Jazz Dispensary is set to release their next limited-edition title, Soul Diesel Vol. 2, exclusively for Record Store Day’s main event on April 21st.

Soul Diesel Vol. 2 is the second installment from the Soul Diesel “strain,” a distinctly potent brand of smoldering soul-jazz made popular by 2016’s Record Store Day box set offering, Jazz Dispensary: Cosmic Stash, in which varying styles of jazz (e.g. soul-jazz, jazz-funk, fusion, etc.) were compiled to compliment the effects of Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid cannabis strains. The latest offering in the ongoing series boasts searing grooves and expansive audio remastered from the original analog tapes, pressed on smoking hot 180-gram opaque orange swirl vinyl.

This limited-edition RSD-exclusive release features original, psychedelic paint-marbling artwork by fine artist Danielle Garza aka Ellierex and packs a sonic punch with huge drum breaks, breakneck grooves, and rare and long-out-of-print tracks from the Prestige and Galaxy Records vaults making their return to vinyl.

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TVD Premiere: Joachim Cooder, “Country Blues”

Joachim Cooder first learned music at the foot of his famous father Ry, and eventually joined him as percussionist on projects as big as The Buena Vista Social Club. He’s made his name as a film composer for movies from The End of Violence to Riding Giants, and has produced albums for his wife Juliette Commagere and Carly Ritter (granddaughter of Tex).

Following a solo album six years ago, on which he was composer and instrumentalist backing others, he’s back with an EP out March 30 called “Fuchsia Machu Picchu” on which he also handles vocals for the first time.

Cooder conjures an alluring sound, blending thumb piano and other bright, tuned percussive tones to his unusual and compelling voice. For Cooder, it’s all a result of a charmed childhood, “influences I’ve had since I was really young, growing up around people like Ali Farka Toure or seeing John Lee Hooker live at a really young age,” he told Billboard magazine. Those two influences are especially felt in the one cover on the EP, which we’re proud to be premiering here at TVD.

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TVD’s Press Play

Press Play is our Monday recap of the new and FREE tracks received last week to inform the next trip to your local indie record store.

The Fretless – Jenny Bear (Live)
Jodee Lewis – Buzzard’s Bluff
Sleepspent – Something
Mickelson – No Such Luck
Echo Bloom – Song For Steven
PBG The Prince – Movie Star
M3tymes – The Life & Tym3z of a Hustla
Marz Money – Lying

Nina Díaz – For You

Oberon Rose – A Place In The Sun
The March Divide – Get In Line
Fawns of Love – Something Stupid
Peelander-Z – Yeah Yeah Yeah
Words In Flight – The Ravenous Affair
Youth in a Roman Field – I Saw You
No Name Hotel – Blood on Sky
Noble Son – Aces

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Graded on a Curve:
Going for the One

On Yes’ 1977’s Going for the One, the title track serves as what your espionage types call a honeypot; its insidious purpose is to seduce you into buying the album, only to learn you’ve been had. In short it’s bait, carefully adorned in bright red lipstick and pushup bra to make you think you’re getting a new and better Yes (they almost sound like Led Zep!) when in fact what you’re getting is the same old pompous progrock Yes of yore. And not even the same old pompous progrock Yes of yore at their best.

And talking about honeypots, Going for the One even comes complete with a Hipgnosis front cover (out were Roger Dean’s fantasy scenarios; in was a sort of futuristic realism) featuring a pair of naked male buttocks in all their glory. Are they there to seduce? Or is Yes subliminally inviting us to kiss its collective ass? Nah. That would be funny, and one thing I would never accuse Yes of is a sense of humor.

Many welcomed Going for the One as a return to form, insofar as it eschewed the very long Yessongs of 1972’s Close to the Edge, 1973’s Tales from Topographic Oceans and 1974’s Relayer in favor of the (and I’m speaking relatively; brevity is hardly the soul of Jon Anderson’s wit) shorter and punchier material on 1971’s The Yes Album and 1972’s Fragile. And it’s true. The double LP, four-song Tales from Topographic Oceans in particular is a classic example of progressive rock song bloat, and anywhere who can swim the length of its turgid seas has stronger ears than I.

But repeated listens to Going for the One reveal its myriad shortcomings. Jon Anderson’s lyrical conceits are as muddleheaded as ever; the only concrete lines to be found are on the title track, where the mystical one comes face to face with his own limitations, to wit, “Now the verses I’ve sang/Don’t add much weight/To the story in my head/So I’m thinking I should go and write a punchline/But they’re so hard to find/In my cosmic mind/So I think I’ll take/A look out the window.” Never has the cosmic mind taken such a nakedly honest look at itself.

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In rotation: 3/26/18

CDs and vinyl are outselling digital music downloads: Digital music downloads began to outsell physical media since 2012. It took four more years for digital music revenue to surpass those from physical media as well. Then streaming happened, and last year generated more money in the US than all the other formats. Now, digital downloads are coming in dead last, with fewer sales than CDs, vinyl or other physical media, according to the latest annual report from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Even though shipments of physical media dropped 4 percent to $1.5 billion, digital download revenues fell 25 percent to $1.3 billion in 2017, putting CDs and vinyl back on top of non-streaming music formats.

The Future of Downloads, Accelerating Growth & Vinyl Vinyl Vinyl: 5 Takeaways From the RIAA Year-End Report: The “vinyl revival” has been one of the industry’s favorite underdog storylines of the past decade, after the format averaged 38 percent growth from 2012 to 2015. But after growing just 3.7 percent in 2016, there were signs that the revival was stuttering into a more even lane, and may be nearing its peak. Yet in 2017, the numbers perked back up again, as revenues from LPs got a 10 percent boost over the year prior, to $395 million. It’s not the type of roaring growth that it was, but it’s heading back in the right direction, with many fans still seemingly bent on having that physical piece of art to call their own.

Local radio personality making vinyl great again: PHOENIX – A classic radio station in Phoenix is bringing back vinyls. (“Vinyls” is not a word. —Ed.) Yes, those discs with the circular grooves that play music. Russ Egan, who is KSLX-FM’s weeknight radio personality, wanted to add a different element to his evening show. So, he decided to spin things up, and bring back vinyl records. “I thought let’s play a vinyl album side, ’cause I’ve done that at stations in the past, and enjoyed stations in the past that have done that themselves,” said Egan. The team was immediately on board with his idea. Soon after, Egan dug up a turntable and his old vinyl records. He says it was like a trip down memory lane. “It’s like opening up a book,” said Egan. “You can smell it. You can feel it. You remember so many things from the last time you listen to the record.”

Vinyl Revolution: New Brighton Shop Set To Celebrate Its First Record Store Day: Brighton based independent record store Vinyl Revolution will be hosting its first
Record Store Day, next month, and will be providing its customers with access to exclusive vinyl releases, as well as numerous live performances outside the store in Duke Street. The store is the brainchild of musician Simon Parker – whose musical career has its roots and cultural inspiration in Brighton – and his business partner, Rachel Lowe. “Buying records in a supermarket is soulless, but too many record stores are unwelcoming and quite blokey – even my musician friends, who really know their music, say they have felt unwelcome or intimidated,” explained Simon Parker.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Tonight you’re mine, completely / You give your love so sweetly / Tonight the light of love is in your eyes / But will you love me tomorrow / Is this a lasting treasure / Or just a moment’s pleasure / Can I believe the magic in your sighs / Will you still love me tomorrow / Tonight with words unspoken / You say that I’m the only one/ But will my heart be broken / When the night meets the morning sun / I’d like to know that your love / Is a love I can be sure of / So tell me now and I won’t ask again / Will you still love me tomorrow

Today I’m celebrating love for a childhood friend. (Shit, I’m learning as I get older to hold those special friendships dear.) There was a day when I was carefree—I’d get home from school, lace up my Pro Keds, and head out. My spot; a pair of tucked away basketball courts located behind the 86th Street crosstown in Central Park. Yes, it was “schoolyard ballin,” New York City, ’70s style. Before Air Jordans and leather sneakers there was Connie Hawkins and Julius Erving (better known as “The Doc”).

Between games (as we called it, “run”) we played frisbee. Before we tossed “the disc” we rolled joints in ’em. In those days weed was a weed with TONS of seeds, so the frisbees had a duel function. Rolling papers, a quart of beer, and a basketball was all we needed. We didn’t really give a fuck about anything other than music. It was the age of the concerts and going to a rock show at age 14 in NYC in the 1970s was like venturing into JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth. There was fun, beauty, and sometimes great danger.

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