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Tracks of my years – welcome the prodigal funk track

Down the side alley by the covered bit of Portobello market there used to be a dude selling mix tapes. He had a panama hat, one speaker turned up quite loud, and would whack away on a tambourine whilst purveying the purest funk and rare groove. He looked a bit like Norman Jay (maybe it actually was him).

In 1994 I bought a tape off him. Not just any old tape either. It had some serious belters on it, including one funk track that was well over 10 minutes long. I put it in my auto-reverse Walkman when I left on my travels, backpacking around the world. I listened to it on Samosir and by lake Maninjau in Sumatra, I cruised to it in Waihi and dozed to it in Fiji.

And then one day, a few years later, the tape disappeared. With it went the song. Echoes of it stayed with me – I’d hear it at the oddest times, bouncing round and round in my head, a real ear worm.

Until just now when I typed the lyrics into Google (which I’d tried every so often for years) and it turned out that last year some absolute genius had added them to a lyrics database, and HEY PRESTO, Tim Maia sings “Rational Culture”. Not the full version but a good 9.57 of it. The cycle is broken, I’m free of the ear worm at last! Sometimes I just LOVE the internet.

Listen to it. It’s marvellous. Turns out poor Tim Maia died back in 1998, but he was a goody, and he deserves to be played as much as possible.

EDIT – Here’s another version, this time with the intro. Doesn’t seem to be a full one up there:

If you find yourself with a quiet ten minutes…

…walking in the park, or maybe at home just lying down and thinking, listen to this and see where it takes you. And then at the end when he finishes…the silence afterwards as the real world slowly filters back into your awareness. Beautiful.

Andras Schiff is the pianist in this, Schubert’s Impromptu in F minor no.1. Don’t skip through it – the end doesn’t make sense without the beginning. Which is kind of true for many things.