"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Category: 2: Past

Quick in a Slow Way

quick

So here’s an edit from Another Fine Mess for listeners who don’t vibe with rhyming and rapping but who dig comedy and old movies and hypnotic beats.

Feel the funk, baby.

Here’s the full mix:

Round the Outside, Round the Outside

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I contributed a short essay on “Buffalo Gals” to Herc Your Enthusiam, HiLoBrow’s series on old school (pre-1983) rap records:

There wasn’t anything like “Buffalo Gals” before, nor after. Though you could categorize it as an early sample record, in the vein of “Pump Up the Volume,” it’s really a novelty record, the brainchild of British trendsetter and former Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren.

For McLaren, style was substance. After a trip to New York where he saw Afrika Bambaataa spin, McLaren co-opted New York’s hip hop scene for his next record — the dancing, record scratching, the fashion (all of which are on display in the “Buffalo Gals” video). He flew New York DJs The Supreme Team to London to provide scratches, and got Trevor Horn, a successful young British producer — he had been part of The Buggles, whose version of “Video Killed the Radio Star” was in 1981 the first video ever played on MTV — to make the record.

“Buffalo Gals” is a culture clash of stuff — samples of phone calls, breaks, a synth bass and pads, the catchy “duck, duck, duck” refrain, the title chorus taken from a Piute Pete record, the scratching: “Oh, that scratching is making me itch.” It sounds like a bunch of stuff cobbled together but it works — and for DJs it goes with other records, because there’s so much in it.

Check out the rest of the series here.

Moment of Silence

Rest in Peace, Duke Snider.

Curtain Call

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I was at the final game at Yankee Stadium and wrote a bonus piece for SI.com on what the night was like for Ray Negron:

It was just before one o’clock in the morning on Sept. 22, but the scoreboard clock was frozen at 12:21. The last game at Yankee Stadium was over, Sinatra had finally stopped singing New York, New York, and organist Ed Alstrom was playing Goodnight, Sweetheart. The home team had won 7-3 in a game that meant nothing in the standings but everything in a deeper, gut-felt way. The Yankees would not be going to the postseason for the first time since 1993, yet they had drawn 4.3 million fans, including another capacity-plus 54,640 on this night. And now, as the last of them drifted out of the ballpark, it felt like closing night for a hit Broadway show.

Now it was just the clean-up crew swinging into action and a select group of others clinging to the night — players and their families, reporters, radio and TV personalities, cameramen, front office workers, the grounds crew and cops, lots of cops. People hugged and slapped hands and talked and laughed. Players scooped up dirt and grass and put them in paper cups and Ziploc bags. Grown men had their pictures taken at home plate, on the mound and sliding into second. It was like Never-Never Land — everyone was a child. Why would anyone want to go home, knowing they were the last precious few to soak in the Stadium? They stayed, stuck between history and the wrecking ball, until the head of security announced that it was time to leave.

Ray Negron was out on the field, right where he belonged, with the players and sportswriters. Ray had seen them all — from DiMaggio and Mantle to Reggie and A-Rod. He was there when they came to play at the Stadium and he was still there when they left.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver