Sunday, July 18, 2010
Jay Berliner - "Stickball"
Hello all! It's still hot and disgusting in New York today so today's post is for all my fellow men and women who've been suffering through the stifling heat of the city. Hopefully you have some way to stay cool, or if not you've enjoyed yourself a nice cool beverage, a beer preferably, and found a slight reprieve from sweating like a dog.
Days like yesterday (I meant to post this yesterday but the stolen internet would not cooperate) fulfill my romanticized idea of what summer in the big city should be like: kids busting open hydrants and getting into other forms of mischief, ice cream men making their rounds peddling their cool treats, loud raucous music blasting from cars and apartment windows, and pickup games of basketball, baseball, and stickball. I have the perfect song for these days: Jay Berliner's "Stickball." If anyone would be able to create a song to provide a soundtrack of sorts for days like this it's Jay Berliner. Brooklyn native and guitarist extraordinaire. This track oozes and sweats tough swagger. The guitar tone on this song is killer and Berliner's playing is phenomenal. He totally rips it apart on this one. I don't know what's up with that bit reduction effect towards the end of the song but it works really well. Totally funky track to compliment the totally funky heat of the summer.
What's even cooler about this very particular copy is that it's marked with a sharpie with the name "Flowers." Flowers stands for Grandmaster Flowers, Brooklyn native and very early and influential pioneer of Hip-Hop. Google the name and see what comes up, the man practically gave birth to DJ culture and is often credited as one of the first DJ's to create mixes by playing different records sequentially effectively giving birth to the mix as we know it today. He opened for James Brown at Yankee Stadium and often threw block parties on the streets of Brooklyn where he would spin records, like the one today, and provide a killer soundtrack to some summer bashes. I have a handful of 45s that belonged to him and I love the history correlated with them in addition to the original music. Here's a live recording of a mix that Grandmaster Flowers did in 1979. Hope y'all dig the tune and the history.