Banana Nutrament

Humming the Classics

Many years ago, when I worked in London, I heard something I was dying to get an identification on. We were passing through the many food stalls of the Notting Hill Carnival when I heard a sharp organ riff repeated from a distant soundsystem. At that point the many competing sounds, smells, and tastes got in the way from me dashing off to get a better listen. Luckily, not two weeks later some travel program on BBC used the exact same song before ad breaks, yet at the end of the insipid show there was no licensing info. At that point I had pretty much given up on it though the chorus melody was indelibly seared on my brain. In my last few weeks before returning to the States my flatmates and I hit up the Camden market

Harry J All Stars - Liquidator
*Buy it from Smoke CDs*

and I noticed the multitude of record dealers hawking vintage reggae vinyl. I went up to a vendor asking that I wanted to buy something which I would try my best to describe. Words failed, so as expected I had to put on an impromptu performace of whistling and falsetto humming. Much like my baby watching me sing, it only elicited a laugh and a "better luck next time". As we finished bumping through the throng of incense dealers and hippie tchotchkes I welled up my courage yet again and approached a kindly looking dealer who immediately recognized my butchered rendition as "Liquidator" by the Harry J. All-Stars. I didn't pay too dearly as it was on a reissued compilation, and I returned home a happy man.


This next ID wasn't too difficult as I had presence of mind to remember the chorus vocals. A friend and I hit Central Park early one Saturday to get in line for the free Body & Soul performance at Summerstage. The whole day was great, stellar classic soulful house tracks dropped steadily throughout the day, with the high point being a hyperanimated Francois Kevorkian dancing stageside through another DJ's set only to accidentally bump the decks, causing the music to skip and eliciting simultaneous groans and gleeful hysteria from the crowd. Later in the day the sun began to hit a zenith directly above the treeline and the entire tea party got bathed

The Beginning Of The End - Funky Nassau
*Buy it via Tigersushi*

in the warm sunshine. Somewhere around then the DJ threw on this classic which caused the crowd to erupt in hands throwing and reinvigorated dancing. The next Monday I hit up my officemate Ron for an ID. Ron was an old mainstay of the original 70's and 80's NYC club scene and had worked as a bouncer through the Limelight club kid scene of the 90's. He had been a habitue of the Paradise Garage but didn't have many good stories about it, he mostly liked to wax on how he snuck into Studio 54 when he was 18. I didn't have to do much singing when I told him about the Funky Nassau chorus, he let me know who it was but his face betrayed disappointment that I didn't know my R+B charts better.