Friends of Sound Records is an old school, classic, neighborhood record store tucked away in South Austin. Cyrus Dayani is the manager…and he also happens to be the DJ for our ‘Soul Summit’ version of Dell Dall: Dance Hall this Thursday at 7pm.
I was enchanted with music from the beginning. My mother jammed records as often as she could, and I have idyllic memories of her listening on our family room couch during free afternoons in the summer. Music was her way of stopping to smell the roses and, though always entertaining, music was also a means for her to dive-in and process emotions that must be felt before they can be described. I started buying CDs in the early 1990s, I’d rake the leaves for a few hours and use my payout and hard work as leverage for an immediate trip to the CD store. I always had trouble deciding what album to buy. When I was 9 years old I bought my first CD in U2’s The Joshua Tree. Later I bought all The Beatles CDs I could, Abbey Road and Rubber Soul were my favorites back then. I still remember getting the chills when I first heard Jimi Hendrix’ cover of All Along the Watchtower in the back-ground of a movie, I asked my mom what song it was and she told me. Months later I asked her to borrow the extra $5 needed to buy the $21.99 2CD compilation that had that song. I listened to it for hours. It was so powerful, one of the more magical and intense things I’d ever experienced in my childhood. I’ve had many similar memories ever since, exact moments where time and place were made perfect by music. Years later, I can still recall finite details about those moments in time.
In college my interests were nebulous at first: jazz music, new indie rock and rap music, art history, film, literature, american studies, media studies, education, etc. Later I applied to the college radio station (KJHK, 90.7FM) at the University of Kansas and found an outlet on the airwaves. Every week I over-analyzed my 2-hour set, it meant so much to me. It was my statement to the people of Lawrence, KS and at the time music was one of few things I saw myself fit to have a say on. Towards the end of college my academic interests honed-in on one idea from many courses: the haves and have-nots. By then my favorite books, films, and visual arts were all critical of the establishment and so was I. During my 5th year in college I discovered Archie Shepp and James Brown, I had no idea that at age 22 just a couple of records and DJ mixes would blind-side my perceived “future” and take me to a new path that merged my spirit for the arts with a more objective mind for culture and history. It’s since then been a steady progression. After college I worked a few soul-sucking jobs to stipend my passion for music. Years later I got by as a full-time DJ and record hustler. Today, I manage Friends of Sound Records in Austin and I’m working to someday own a record store. I’ve looked for records in 15 states, I’ve had almost half a million 45s in and out of my hands, I’ve DJ’d in front of 1000 people in Chicago, and I’ve had a number of hard times along the way. The passion’s still here and I’m happy to say that I’ll be here for a long time. The chance to play records at the Long Center, especially with respect to this music’s history, is another great opportunity for me and I hope to be a great Thursday evening for y’all too.
I’m happy to represent Friends of Sound Records for this month’s installment of the Dell Hall Dance Hall Series at the Long Center. This Thursday we’ll run the gamut of soul and funk music in our nation’s history. We’ll start with R&B’s place as race music in the 1950s, we’ll touch on its derivation from blues music and its place on the dance-floor. We’ll dance to iconic songs from Motown Records afterword, we’ll discuss the label’s iconic sound and its successful integration into the (white) mainstream. We’ll highlight civil rights anthems from the late 1960s and early 1970s, we’ll dance to music from Curtis Mayfield, James Brown, and Aretha Franklin. We’ll even move onto disco music towards the end and highlight its diverse origins in the mid 1970s. Do join us this Thursday night if interested, stop and smell the roses with a night of meaningful entertainment and appreciate this wonderful music in the context that it came from.