Back On The Streets

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Back On The Streets was probably the longest running regular night I DJ’d at. It was in King’s Cellars, a long, pitch-black basement room under a college, whose walls and ceiling would be dripping sweat by the end of the night. Fresh from DBA, Saul set up the gig (claiming the territory before King Robin could plant a flag as I recall). Together we’d squeeze into the tiny DJ booth that sat like a large cupboard at one end of the room – viewed from the other end of the room, it looked like the DJs were on a giant old TV – and try not to short out the decks as the condensation fell onto the records from above and cigarettes were hastily cast aside in time for for slip cues.

Back On The Streets was every Tuesday. Monday was the big night (house music, courtesy of Anu Pillai), and nothing had ever really worked on a Tuesday. So we gave it a go, with a flyer (thanks Angus) ripped off from one of Heavy Usker‘s nights (pre-Photoshop plagiarism I felt less bad about since Rob himself had himself copied it from a Don Patterson LP), which we’d hand out at weekends in various local bars and colleges. We played Funk 45s, Soul Jazz, a few ‘new’ tunes…and lots and lots of soundtracks. If the sound of the Jazz Rooms was congas, the sound of Back On The Streets was wah wah guitars. It started out with me and Saul. When Saul left, Neil joined me in the booth to ‘fuck with everyone’s heads’, and when he skipped town McDisco swapped the dance floor for the decks. We thought of it as a funk night, but as Neil pointed out once, most people probably came because it was the night ‘they play that weird music’. I guess that’s what happens if you keep ending the evening with the Theme From Monkey or the Superstars music (Heavy Action, aka ABC’s sound of Monday Night Football).

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A few months in we were getting as many people on Tuesday as they got on Monday. A load of King’s regulars always showed up, among them Robin fresh from his Sunday Social, friends who ran the cellar (shout outs to Jenny and Maria), and various others, among them Tamara from Freeform Five and a young Zadie Smith. Jankster always brought a load of people, including McDisco (then “70’s Man”), to demonstrate hip drops, head touches and leg jerks. The three sharp fisters Love Lee, El Grito and the Turk appeared with Mr George and their entourage occasionally to hurl abuse at their fellow dancers (“Whore!”, she cried..), while sporting back-to-front denim and creative facial hair. Most importantly though, there were a bunch of people I’d never met before at the time but have been friends with to this day.

The first mix below epitomizes the sound of Back On The Streets and could have been called a tribute to the wah wah. Inevitably heavy on blaxploitation records, the mix starts with the Bar-Kays at Wattstax (for anyone who didn’t know where Tim Simenon got the sample for Beat Dis or Chuck D for Caught, Can I get a Witness?), followed by the late father of Go-Go Chuck Brown’s Soul Searchers and a few classic soundtracks and funk instrumentals. It wouldn’t be a Back On The Streets mix if it didn’t include a couple of dodgy charity shop tracks; so I also put in Funky Fever, which showed up on the ubiquitous Sound Gallery compilation of the time, and Jack Parnell’s take on Enter The Dragon (Dennis Coffey’s version appeared in an earlier mix).

  1. Son of Shaft (Live) – The Bar-Kays
  2. We The People (Part 2) – The Soul Searchers
  3. Rated X – Kool & The Gang
  4. Hot Wheels – Badder Than Evil
  5. Willie’s Chase – J. J. Johnson
  6. 99 Baseball – Profile
  7. Gangster Boogie – Chicago Gangsters
  8. Zombie March – Nat Dove & The Devils
  9. Funky Fever – Alan Moorehouse & His Bond Street Brigade
  10. Punch Ball – Alan Parker
  11. Down Underground – The Spirit of Atlanta
  12. Moving On – Dynamic Soul Machine
  13. Vampin’ – Willie Hutch
  14. Hunter Street – The Spirit of Atlanta
  15. Enter The Dragon – Jack Parnell & His Orchestra
  16. Un Homme Est Morte – Michel Legrand

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photoWe reprised Back On The Streets at various other events – Enter The Mingle, The Man From Mingle, Mingle Strikes Back, etc. – and got a bunch of other other gigs as a consequence. The next mix is a really old one from that time, hastily slung together on someone else’s decks (Paul?) and dubbed to about 40 cassettes we sent out as promos to people who might give us DJ work. It was funny to occasionally hear 2nd-generation copies in bars/houses where we didn’t know anyone. This one’s a mix of more soundtracks, classics from the earlier rare groove era, some big breaks and a couple of big cut-ups towards the end. The ones that stick in my mind are Tuane (later ripped off by Galliano as Hungry Like A Baby) and the Sergio Mendes version of Superstition, which always seemed to make everyone go crazy on the dance floor. Vinyl Vultures and Catatonic K wouldn’t forgive me if I didn’t also mention the contribution from Norwich’s best private press, Another Bite of Plimsoll Sandwich.

  1. It Began In Africa (Intro) – Urban All-stars
  2. Shaft In Africa – Johnny Pate
  3. Moment of Truth – Earth, Wind and Fire
  4. The Chase – Merl Saunders
  5. Stepping Stones – Johnny Harris
  6. Dance To The Drummer’s Beat – Herman Kelly and Life
  7. The Champ – The Mohawks
  8. EVA – Jean-Jacques Perrey
  9. Blow Your Whistle – Soul Searchers
  10. Pick Up The Pieces – Plimsoll Sandwich
  11. There’s Only So Much Oil In the Ground – Tower of Power
  12. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf – Jimmy Smith
  13. Superstition – Sergio Mendes and Brasil 77
  14. Hammer – Tuane
  15. You Can’t Even Walk In the Park – Johnny Pate
  16. 33% God – The Beastie Boys
  17. Lesson 3 – Double D and Steinski
  18. I Believe in Miracles – Jackson Sisters
  19. It Began In Africa (Outro) – Urban All-stars

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~ by ricardosevere on 02/16/2014.

5 Responses to “Back On The Streets”

  1. I see Saul has some memories of King’s Event here.

  2. […] Bomb The Bass’s Beat Dis is constructed around the wah wah intro from Son of Shaft (heard in my Back On The Streets mix). The much better B side of Chad Jackson’s dreadful Hear The Drummer Get Wicked A side uses a […]

  3. […] only time I really played any drum’n’bass out was at Flava 2 Sava. A regular at Back On The Streets, Jankster had created the night with a similar recipe, drafting me in as replacement for Mukatsuku […]

  4. […] Gilberto’s Holiday ’69 LP (first heard when Ethan came up from Soul Jazz and played at King’s). After Musica Popular Brasileira, there are a back-to-back versions of Edu Lobo’s Upa […]

  5. […] Crosby, Stills and Nash’s Dark Star at sunrise, Neil playing the NBC Nightly News Theme at Back on The Streets, and the hilarious Mark Moore spinning Rupert The Bear at the Mud Club. At its worse, it’s […]

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