J. Walter Negro--Not His Real Name, Apparently
Wittgenstein or another early 20th Century nabob?
Unlike the other posters on Thrifty Vinyl apparently, I spend a lot of time at boot fairs as well as charity shops; all the while looking for a Butcher Cover version of the Beatles Yesterday…and Today. Like every one of my previous attempts, now surely numbering in the thousands, today’s search, at a boot fair in Wincheap, near Canterbury, has ended in failure.
But, it was a noble failure, as you will see.
First up, “Shoot the Pump Parts 1 & 2” by J. Walter Negro and the Loose Jointz. Straight away I suspected “J. Walter Negro” was a pseudonym. Early 80’s New York- based hip hop/disco with ties to graffiti/street art. All the signs pointed to Arthur Russell. Russell, I knew, traded under several different names, including Loose Joints, if not the more urban Jointz (sic).
All these clues proved a veritable kettle of red herrings. I was right, J. Walter Negro was a fake name, but not for Arthur Russell, rather a New York graffiti artist known as ABI. Indeed, it’s his charmingly amateurish work which graces the cover. The music is a pretty ambitious blend of latin disco and proto hip hop with a lashing of OTT rock guitar. As a rapper, however, ABI makes a pretty good spray painter; J. Wlater’s flow is better than fellow downtown scenester Futura 2000’s (who is name-checked on the sleeve), but that’s not saying much. The amusing shaggy dog story about mischief making in NYC with fire hydrants may or may not be a metaphor for tagging. Part 2 and the Instrumental version on the flip side are the better listens.
Is it Ludwig Wittgenstein on the cover of the A Certain Ratio Do the Du (casse) ep I picked up for 50p? I don’t know, but I do know that “Shack Up” sounds uncanily like Joy Division, only with chops and a horn section. By that I mean it’s good.
I also bought a picture disc of “The Arms of Orion” by Prince for £2.50. Yes, I know, a bit pricey for these parts, but it does add to a three-quarters complete collection of Prince 12″ up to and including those associated with the Batman soundtrack. The stall where I made this purchase was all records, including collectables, i.e. an 80’s commercial/semi-legit release of an early acetate version of The Velvet Undergraound and Nico called Unripe or something for a tenner, a £5 12″ of “Marquee Moon” (mono mix!) and a gorgeous copy of Dillinger’s Bionic Dread for £29. It was a great browse and if everything on the stall had been £1, I would have had the lot.