I was in Richmond last week and I went record shopping. I checked out Deep Grooves, a nice little vinyl-only shop in the Fan, and picked up a couple of jazz records. I had thought Plan 9, my old haunt, had closed down, but the Deep Grooves owner told me it was still open, barely.
For about 7 years, Plan 9 in Carytown was my spot. When I lived in Greensboro, N.C., we used to drive up to Richmond to see Julie’s family, and every time I would work in a Plan 9 trip. Later, when I lived in Richmond, I was there all the time. The basement was all vinyl and it was unreal, so many great records in great condition for very little money. The staff down there were the biggest collector nerds of all time. They knew everything. They had a couple of turntables, so you could listen to things you were interested in. I bought many hundreds of records there over the years. But you know, hard times for records stores, so they’ve since declared bankruptcy and closed the basement. They’re hanging by a thread, but it was nice to stop in for what could be my final trip to the shop at this location. While there, I bought the Crown Heights Affair’s album Dreaming a Dream, which is where this track is from originally.
This song makes me so happy. I know it from its inclusion on Larry Levan’s Live at the Paradise Garage. In that brilliant mix, which is packed with so many great moments (like Cher’s “Take Me Home”), the Crown Heights Affair song is the one that really gets me going. Something about the way Levan brings it into the mix, those cymbals, the drums come in, then that funky guitar gives a strong feeling of “Oh shit, here we go!” And my lord, the timbre of that synth. For me, it all conveys perfectly the feeling of a super-positive party, people having a fucking ball and loving each other.
I like having a vinyl copy of this album (which I haven’t listened to yet beyond the first track) because the artifact itself seems to have some history to it. This looks like an original pressing, which means I’m holding in my hands something from 1975, a record that has, possibly, been present in rooms of varying sizes where people were having a very good time. Maybe a DJ owned it. The cover is worn and the vinyl looks like it has been been played plenty, but it’s also in pretty decent shape noise-wise, which suggests to me that someone cared for this record. I plan on doing the same.