Clubbing and nostalgia ain't what they used to be, says one standfirst in the collection of Catch the Beat: the best of Soul Underground 1987-91. Luckily nostalgia still is around, and two-decade-old memories of soul, dance, hip hop, jazz and more are, too. The book was published this month and my copy arrived from Amazon only this morning. It's a collection literally reprinting the pages of what started as a fanzine ("produced in a haze of furious energy … with some big sheets of card, yards of copy and a lot of Spray Mount" as editor David Lubich says in the introduction) and morphed into a magazine.
I've picked up my copy of the book because I was a small-time contributor. One cover feature that I photographed appears – on Hank Shocklee, most famous for producing Public Enemy. I was in New York and stopped by his offices to take the pictures of both him and his aspiring new project, The Young Black Teenagers (a group of white rappers). They didn't make the impact that Hank himself has. Truth be told, in the intervening years, although I certainly remember Hank Shocklee (smart and courteous, and, for me, his reputation preceded him) I'd forgotten that I'd also photographed The Young Black Teenagers on that job until I saw the reprinted magazine page in the book. It prompted the memory of trying some shots outside in a NY alley, where one passerby asked of them, "Are you the Beastie Boys?"
Nostalgia: good thing it's what it used to be.
Top, one of the photos from the shoot in colour; above, from the book