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A track about an African king recorded in the back of a car wash commands $1,600.
At the makeshift Man-Ray Studios in Akron, Ohio, where barrels of soap
were rolled away to make room for recording, guitarist Wilbur Niles and
his then-girlfriend — keyboardist Machelle McNeal — recorded “Ja Ja.” It
was titled after King Jaja of Opobo in Nigeria, who lived during the
19th century, rising from slavery to become a wildly successful broker
of palm oil.
Niles learned about Jaja as an undergrad majoring in history; humid and
dreamy, it would lead off the pair’s first and only album together,
1979’s rawly-produced Thrust. It begins with an elliptical little
electric-piano hook by McNeal, an accomplished musician without much
jazz experience, accompanied by wind sounds. The effect is of sparkles
of sunlight through an otherwise dense sheet of fog.
Thrust exists in that blurry, liminal space between jazz, funk, soul,
and R&B; ‘70s-era CTI comes to mind, but the unpolished vibe sloughs
off that comparison, too. Even when “Summer Fun” goes for a
four-on-the-floor feeling, the mid-fidelity production renders it
diaphanous. The more strident “Punk Funk” is a nod to Devo, whose road
crew ran Man-Ray. (“They’re punk; I’m the funk!” Niles explained with a
laugh, on the Sounds Visual Radio podcast.)
You’ll swear you’ve heard Thrust sampled somewhere in the hip-hop
sphere; pull up “Ja Ja” on YouTube, and you’ll see a comment to that
end: “Pete Rock sent me here.” (Google comes up short on that one, but
WhoSampled cites the following track, “Summer Fun,” as appearing in
Canadian house/electronica producer Daphni’s “Hey Drum” and British
techno/house DJ and producer Trus’me’s “At the Disco.”
311-B Jefferson St. Lafayette, LA 70501
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*SEALED* Jacket still sealed in shrink original wrap; disc sold ungraded or "as is."
NM (Near Mint) Appears unplayed and will bear no marks, sleeve scuffs, or scratches.
EX+ (Excellent) May have one or two visible imperfections (i.e. sleeve scuffs, faint scratches, or other superficial marks) that will not affect playback.
VG+ (Very Good+) A few visible imperfections. These may include sleeve scuffs, light scratches, or other superficial marks.
VG (Very Good) Similar imperfections found on VG+ records but in slightly greater numbers. Records graded VG and above will typically not have any scratches that are deep enough to be felt with a fingernail.
VG- (Very Good-) A number of visible imperfections; the presence of a considerable number of light scratches will force a VG- grade, as will the presence of significant isolated defects such as scratches deep enough to be felt with a fingernail.
G (Good) Record can be played without skipping, but will have significant surface noise, scratches, and visible groove wear. G+ and G- are used to indicate stronger and weaker copies within this range.
*SW/DNAP* Slight warp, does not affect playback
*QUAD* Quadraphonic Sound, similar to today’s surround sound
All records are visually graded by our experienced staff, using a bright lamp and an Audio-Technica ATLP-120 turntable.