Listen: South African Man / Hamilton Bohannon BohannanAfrican.mp3
In the late 80′s, the Record & Tape Exchange in Notting Hill Gate was just giving away records. Yeh, they had that second level, higher priced collectables floor, but all the £1 DJ and average, common ones on the ground floor were an awesome deal. In fact, for a while, they took over an empty store front a few doors down and opened a 10p shop. Everything was 10p, seriously. There was a lot of garbage, but also a lot of gems. Even more so for an American becoming more obsessed with owning everything on a UK pressing as well as the US one.
I couldn’t wait to get there – and usually would head over as soon as I’d land at Heathrow. Started staying at The Pembridge Court Hotel, just off Notting Hill High Street – an outrageously convenient block away. What a great place, with the two orange cats that’d come to your room and sometimes stay the night. It was a pretty popular place, Kate Hyman turned me on to it. The downstairs bar was a well known but secret hangout, Annie Nightingale came by one evening. Talk about a treat. What stories.
I couldn’t resist those Brunswick Hamilton Bohannon 7′s. They were forever in that £1 ground floor bin. He’d basically passed me by when current, especially the later disco and 80′s stuff. But these early/mid 70′s singles are really worth finding. ‘South African Man’ is probably my favorite, and I must have half a dozen UK pressings of it. I couldn’t leave them behind, they were such a bargain.
Listen: Dance Your Ass Off (Edited Version) / Hamilton Bohannon BohannonDance.mp3
Anything that sounds great in the jukebox gets a leg up. Bohannon’s endless grooves always fit the bill. In fact, nothing much really happens on a whole lot of his tracks but that endless groove, especially ‘Dance Your Ass Off’, not until the very end. Makes me want the long version, as those strings had to go somewhere. With a song title like that back in ’76, you were sure not to get radio play, and this didn’t, being one of his few Brunswick singles to not chart in the US.