This is part of The Shadow League’s Black Music Month Masters series celebrating the vibrating musical excellence within our wide cultural tapestry.
I remember the first time I heard it. I mean really felt it within the marrow of my bones. I was 15 at the time, working behind the counter at Martha’s Deli, which had previously been known as Russo’s, on the corner of Greene and Grand Avenue in Brooklyn. My job was to work the cold-cut slicer while making customers their preferred hero sandwiches. Among my other tasks were working the register, cleaning, sweeping and ensuring that the cold beer was always in the front of the fridge.
Old man Eddie had worked there for decades, and I can still hear him yelling at the neighborhood kids who came in making a ruckus before they could plop some nickels and dimes down for their favorite candy: “Aaaaahhhhh, GET THE HELL OUTTA HEEYAH!”
When Old Man Eddie wasn’t around, we’d turn the music up on the radio, rocking to KISS-FM or WBLS for a few minutes before he’d shuffle back in from whatever he was doing to curse us out, yelling for us to turn “that noise” off. He tried to get me fired every day, telling the owner with regularity, “Gaaaahdammit Bill, that gotdayumn Ali don’t do shit around here but drink up all the gotdayumn Miller High Life nips!”
We had the radio on one day, and I heard it.
“AYO! Alejandro!!! Pump the volume!!!”, screamed my man and co-worker African George. “That’s my joint!!!”
It’s hard to describe, but I fell in love with that jam, Hangin’ On A String, from the very first listen.
“You never told me you were waiting, contemplating.”
I couldn’t get that outta my head. As soon as I got paid, I walked downtown to cop that Loose Ends cassette, A Little Spice, and my world has been altered immeasurably ever since.
One of the top British dance and urban contemporary trios that blazed on America’s R&B charts in the mid to late ’80s, Loose Ends rose out of London to provide the foundational soundtrack of my high school and college years. Today, as we kick off The Shadow League’s homage to Black Music Month, I bring you the Loose Ends playlist that is shaking the walls in our office today.
To this very day, whenever I hear one of my favorite Loose Ends pieces, I channel my inner Old Man Eddie and scream out, “Gaaaaahdammit!!!”
NIGHTS OF PLEASURE
DON’T BE A FOOL
STAY A LITTLE WHILE CHILD