Laura was preparing a bag of clothes to drop off at Value Village, and encouraged me to look for contributions of my own. Things I no longer wore, that might be serviceable to someone else. Make a little space for myself.
There are a set of shelves in the bedroom, over the staircase, where I “file” clothes–the kinda things I rarely wear. Truth be told, some of these still have the tags on them. More than a few were Christmas presents, of the sweater/polarfleece sort. Gifts from family, true, but they had sat untouched for years, and it was easy to fill a big paper bag, the kind people use when they place yard waste at the curb.
Because the shelves are over the stairs, they get deeper as they rise. The top shelf is about three feet deep, and as I diminished the pile, I could see the back of the top shelf, for, possibly, the first time since we moved into this house, more than a decade ago. And at the back was a big surprise: a stash of about 100 seven inch 45s. Yikes!
Right at the front was Beat Happening’s Our Secret, from 1984. Their first single, I think, and with the terrific refrain: “That’s why we’re running away, I had dinner with her family”. Great diy punk-style cover, consisting of a folded piece of paper and including xeroxed photos of the band members. Took me back, sweetly. And the bulk of this stash of treasures took me trippin’ further still.
Forty-nine reggae 7-inchers from the early 1980s. Burning Spear, Bunny Wailer, Alton Ellis, Hugh Mundell, Augustus Pablo. Peter Tosh’s wonderful-and-pointed Bombo Klaat. Three Ini Kamoze singles, two on Taxi (which ended up on his excellent, hard-to-find 1984 Island debut), produced by Sly and Robbie, and an earlier Mogho Naba single, Mer-tel-ler, which is a companion to the others. Hard to find today, unless one looks in the correct closet…..
There was another favorite in the pile: Under the Tree, by The 4th Harmonic. A gorgeous, guitar-based cautionary tale, produced by Sir Niney, with a telling chorus:
“So many slip between the cup and the lip
If only I’d taken the tip
Then you’d be with me
Then you’d be with me”
I have lots of 7-inchers in the room where I keep my other vinyl, and it’s not impossible to miss the fact that 100 singles weren’t there. I even have two copies of Under the Tree. But it was a very cool surprise to find these old friends from a couple of decades ago. We’ll be pulling their companions off the shelf downstairs, where the turntable sits. I’m sure someone else will get some pleasure from all that polarfleece.