Over the next few weeks, to mark the release of our volumes in Continuum’s 33 1/3 series, we are featuring a series of guest playlists from friends, critics, and fellow music lovers. Given that both our books focus on New York in the 70s, we’ve asked contributors to curate lists along the lines of a loose theme: “favorite NYC records.” What constitutes a “NYC record” is left to their discretion.
Some of My Favorite New York Records
Laura Nyro: New York Tendaberry (1969)
Laura was a Jewish/Italian girl who grew up singing on the streets of the Bronx — oh, and one of the greatest white soul/R&B singers of all time. New York Tendaberry is her most New York record.
Moondog: More Moondog (1956)
Blind composer, percussionist, and all-around eccentric Moondog was a fixture on the streets of upper Manhattan from the late ’50s through the ’80s. This is one of the earliest and best recordings of his music.
Various Artists: No New York (1978)
At the time, my musician friends and I barely considered these midwestern art-school transplants (Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, the Contortions, Mars, and DNA) to be real New Yorkers, but even we were eventually influenced by what they were doing, and so were many many others. In retrospect it’s hard to imagine this tortured racket being made anywhere but the grim, industrial Lower Manhattan of the late ’70s.
Eddie Gale: Eddie Gale’s Ghetto Music (1968)
I happened to meet fellow Brooklynite Eddie Gale through a mutual friend when I was a teenager, but I never actually heard his music till many years later. It’s hard to believe that this brilliant soul-jazz was being made just a few miles away from where I lived, but I suspect I wasn’t the only white kid who was unaware of it at the time.
Robert Fripp: “NY3” (Exposure) (1979)
On top of a blistering prog-metal instrumental backing, this track loops an all-too-real audio recording of a familial screaming match captured on tape somewhere in Hell’s Kitchen. Mother to daughter: “You’re carrying a baby, and you don’t know whether it’s a nigger, a spic, or a white baby!” Lovely.
What’s on your New York playlist?