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Rebel without a trumpet

I was listening to this radio mix on ninjatune=solidsteel (get in quick because it’ll only be there for a few more days) marking 25 years since Public Enemy released the album, “It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back”. It’s pretty good. There’s some interviews in there with (I think?) Terminator X—I didn’t know he could speak…

Anyway, I was washing the dishes at the time and it got me thinking down memory lane. Vague as the memory is I did actually buy that album back in 1988. We, the family, had travelled up to Geelong from our country station one saturday and I was looking around in Brashes (remember Brashes?). Rather uncharacteristic of me, I slammed down my hard-earned pocket money for the cassette of ITANOMTHUB without ever having heard it, or knowing who Public Enemy were or even what kind of music it was.

PublicEnemyItTakesaNationofMillionstoHoldUsBack

I just liked that cover and the name ‘Public Enemy’ sounded really cool. And I liked the little silhouette in the crosshairs logo, which on the back was connected to the phrase ‘public enemy no. 1’ I think.

Anyway, upon getting it home and listening to it I found that I didn’t like it at all! There was too many repetitive loop samples and I didn’t know what the hell was going on. I actually took it back to the shop the next week. The usual practice with tapes like this is that there is no returns because, you know, you could just dub it to a blank tape—and that’s like stealing music, but I guess I must have had such a genuine disappointed confused look on my 14y.o. face that I did get an exchange for something else (fucked if I can remember what now).

These days I do appreciate PE’s place in history but not enough to listen to whole albums of their stuff on a regular basis. And a quick look at the track listings of It Takes A Nation, and its successor, ‘Fear Of A Black Planet’, the latter really does have a lot of classic hits on it.


I really like this mash up of Rebel Without A Pause with a bit of Herb Alpert

But I think my favourite PE track is one that Flava Flav takes the front for, Can’t do nuttin’ for ya man. I like his sing-song delivery. I’m going to try and learn how to play this one on the Telecaster.

, — YS @ 10:38 am, August 6, 2013

2 Comments

  1. good story. just Wa-a-a-lk This Way.
    PE embedded in my head forever due to crossing the pacific with my 14-y-o in 1987, and hearing the tape she had bought playing continuously for 10 hours, but just ‘the tops’ due to her earphones.

    are they the band where I had to go to a volksy dealer to buy her a damn VW badge to wear around her damn neck?

    offtopic, but re ‘station’: I am obsessed with WD bluestone and have a 22-page sortable database of every building, founder, architect, other owners, and which other stations they married into. obsessed.

    Comment by iODyne — August 10, 2013 @ 10:50 am
  2. Lolz, no that was actually Beastie Boys that did the VW thing.
    That’s interesting about the Western District stuff. You should put it online! I have to admit I do not at present have a car or P-driver’s license so I haven’t really got out of town much since I’ve been back in Aus. but when I do, through places like Cressy my curiosity for the history is definitely piqued.

    Comment by YS — August 11, 2013 @ 10:37 am

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