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From The Digital Sweatshop
The Music, Art and Travels of Alan D. Oldham a.k.a. DJ T-1000.

DJ T-1000 - Old School Mix: The Playlist

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I was back in Detroit recently for my grandmother's funeral and being in her house again put me in mind of the my high school Prep days. "Preps" were the cool kids, as opposed to "Jits," who would be considered thugs today. Preps formed clubs with names like Snobbs, Charivari, Courtier, and Gables (I was in Gables) and threw parties with DJs.

This mix has a few tracks that were big back then. Click here to listen.

Lenny White - Theme For Astral Pirates (1978)
This was one of my favorite albums as a kid. I think it was Lenny's third for Elektra after "Venusian Summer" and "Big City." It was a sci-fi concept album with gatefold artwork by comic artist Mike Kaluta. My grandmother worked at Wayne County Community College and got records from the school paper after they were done reviewing them and gave them to me. I used to sit and draw to this record. When I later got to know Mike Banks of UR, it turned out he was a fan of this record, too. Also my program director hired me at WDET because I knew who Lenny White was. Lenny's on my Top Friends so say hi.

Rick James - Give It To Me Baby (1981)
This was off "Street Songs," Rick's fourth (I think) album. "Street Songs" also features a little song I'll bet you know; "Super Freak." Only the real heads remember "Give It To Me Baby," though.

Prince - Let's Work (1981)
Off his third album "Controversy." Prince was still underground at this point. He didn't really blow up until "1999," and then of course, "Purple Rain." I remember seeing Prince open for Rick James at Cobo Hall back in the day, after his first single "Soft and Wet" came out. Nobody knew what to make of Prince, cats in my school thought he was gay. I liked him because he was black (mixed) and played rock. Prince couldn't get signed today if he was a new artist.

The Time - Cool (1981)
This is off their first album. "Cool" was the big hit in my neighborhood. The Time didn't really take off nationally until their second album, "What Time Is It?" Cats used to get the process hair and wear suits and Stacy Adams shoes trying to be sharp like Morris Day. Now they look like they just got out of prison. Sad.

Cameo - I Just Want To Be (1979)
From their album "Secret Omen." Of course, all most people know of Cameo today is "Word Up" and Larry Blackman's codpiece. But real funk lovers know better.

Herbie Hancock - Ready or Not (1980)
This roller skating jam was way before "Rockit," which everybody knows. This song was actually written by Ray Parker Jr., who was red-hot at this time with his group Raydio (who I saw open for Bootsy's Rubber Band at the old Olympia Stadium in Detroit; my dad took me). Of course later he'd go on to write the "Ghostbusters" theme and make millions. Ray used to come into Northland when I worked there (at the Art Works poster shop). Jeff Mills worked right across the hall at the wicker place.

Twennynine feat. Lenny White - Peanut Butter (1979)
After four jazz fusion albums, Lenny went commercial with Twennynine. Everybody was doing funk or disco at this time, including other jazz cats like Roy Ayers, George Duke and Stanley Clarke, so he followed suit.

Weather Report - River People (1978)
This is off the album "Heavy Weather" and an Electrifying Mojo favorite. He'd play this track every night. Detroit heads know what's up when that synth stab comes in. I was really into fusion growing up. It was grown folks' music. Weather Report, Pat Metheny, Jean-Luc Ponty, Michael Franks. When you wanted to feel grown and cool you listened to jazz or jazz fusion.

Kano - I'm Ready (1980)
When I hear people today call trance music "progressive," I have trouble keeping a straight face. This is what we called "progressive" back in the day in Detroit. Only later did this kind of music come to be called "Italo Disco." This one was big with the high school party crowds.

Kraftwerk - Numbers/Computer World (1981)
Of course, everybody knows this track. With all the more obscure tracks I thought I'd put in a crowd-pleaser. Plus I had fun editing it. Unlike a lot of stuff which took a while to catch on, it was big almost from the time it came out. I bought my copy new from Professional's Records on 7 Mile and Evergreen in Detroit and still have it with the sticker on it.

Gino Soccio - Dancer (1980)
Another little-known disco gem from back in the day. They used to play this on WLBS, which started as a disco station around 1978, then switched to New Wave in '81-'82. People are always falling all over Mojo, but there were plenty of other influential stations and DJs in the Detroit area in the late '70s and early-to-mid '80s.

Skatt Bros. - Walk The Night (1980)
Another hit from the old high school club days. This was considered "New Wave," which was coming in at this point. I remember cats like Delano Smith (who I went to St. Cecilia with) used to play this at the old parties at the YWCA on Witherell in Downtown Detroit. Don't bother looking for this old venue, though; the new Tiger Stadium stands there now.


-AO :: 3:08 PM ::


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