Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Guest post – 500 Words of Summer – Stevie Grainger

The second in OTR’s 500 Words of Summer series comes from Cork DJ and vinyl enthusiast Stevie Grainger on why the 45 is his weapon of choice. As a vinyl lover obsessed by the little black things since I was …

Mon, Aug 9, 2010, 14:00


The second in OTR’s 500 Words of Summer series comes from Cork DJ and vinyl enthusiast Stevie Grainger on why the 45 is his weapon of choice.

As a vinyl lover obsessed by the little black things since I was about 12, it’s no suprise that I have a particular fondess for 45s (or 7 inches/singles). In soul music and reggae, two of my favourite genres, the 45 is the preferred format and, through extensive re-issuing (by many tiny labels who operate mainly for the love of music), many of the great tracks of those genres are now readily available on 7″. Of course it would be great to have strictly originals, but as a vinyl freak who once had over 30,000 records, I draw the line at paying big money for particular records. I buy a record to listen to it or play it out rather than to simply have; the fact that it’s the only copy in existence is not a game breaker for me; though of course I respect my peers who operate under these terms!

My own obsession is curious as I am equally obsessed with the pop records I got when i was a kid, as much as the sought after gems that are worth so much. These records, by the likes of Edie Brickell, The Cure and Tears for Fears served me well no matter what the crowd, and gave my hip-hop sets a different angle too.

Returning to my collection properly during an extensive clean-up operation recently was great fun. Since I can now play digitally or from only CDs or 12 inch vinyl, I started to realise once again how much I love spinning the 45s. And I remembered the story each record told.

I started looking at the the empty sleeves of a few too with mixed emotions. When I was first buying disco in the early 90s, chasing a copy of “Inside Out” by Odyssey was a challenge. I was delighted to buy it blind in Leeside Music, only to return home with a dodgy copy of “Ebony and Ivory”.

Pre-internet, digging for tunes was a challenge and I remember sitting for hours covered in dust on floors in the dodgy back rooms of not only record shops but pretty much anywhere where I got a sniff of black wax. I wouldn’t swap any of those moments – those who have been there, and still go, know the feeling of utter elation when a great discovery is made. I didn’t get a portable player till recent years, but part of the fun is knowing that the “Ebony and Ivory” could just as easily be a rare soul or disco nugget too.

I remember literally shaking with jealousy looking at the jukebox scene in Tarantino’s “Death Proof” and thinking that maybe someday, I too will have a vintage jukebox lining up my 45s with such care and love. We can dream! Pop music has the ability to create perfect art in three minutes and the sight and sound of a 45 spinning on a turntable or jukebox, still creates magic for me!

The credits: Stevie Grainger (Stevie G) has DJ’d all around Ireland for many years and now co-runs The Pavilion nightclub and venue in Cork and presents a specialist soul music show on Cork’s Red FM every Saturday night from 7pm. Just last week, he did a seven hour 7” inch set of some of his favourite 45s. If you have a spare jukebox you know who to call.

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