Summertime in New York City is a bonding experience—it’s so hot that you can’t eat, you’re dehydrated no matter how many ice cold water bottles you scoop for a dollar, and when you hit the pavement, it’s a countdown to see how many blocks you can make it before you have to take refuge by an AC.
This August, we escaped the heat by making a pilgrimage to our friend Devon Turnbull’s listening room at Lisson Gallery, and spent the afternoon playing rare test pressings from the Luaka Bop archive—as well as an even rarer tape from the Pastor Champion sessions. (For those of you who are curious, his album was recorded on a Nagra two-track reel-to-reel, in the 37th Street Baptist Church in Oakland, California.)
What a way to play hookie. It was, for some of us, a religious experience. (Here’s a glimpse of what it was like in that room.)
Ojas > Oh jass
Lisson > Listen
Luaka bop > Lew ahkah bopp
Since then, some of you have reached out to ask us what we played during that afternoon. Here was the set, for those of you who want to keep listening:
By the way, Pastor Champion has a new single out called Gettin Me Ready / Song for My Brother — put your ears on it :)
With special guests Devendra Banhart and Noah Georgeson!
Annie Brown Caldwell, of the Staples Jr. Singers, on her song “We’ve Got a Race to Run,” which appears on this compilation, and which she wrote and recorded when she was only 14.
Big thanks to Devon Turnbull for having us. And if you ever find that he’s hosting another listening room, run, don’t walk, no matter how hot it is.