[Today: Miles runs the voodoo down…]
I found a used copy of this album in a seedy Back Bay record store for $6.95 while visiting Boston during the summer of the year I graduated from college. It and a dozen dollar records that I found that day (including Dark Side Of The Moon and Traffic’s self-titled second album) formed the early backbone of my record collection. But Bitches Brew was definitely an oddity among the Doors/Hendrix/Floyd/Zeppelin pu pu platter that I was serving up musically at the time.
As that summer turned to fall, the realization that I needed to find a real job began to settle in. To that end, I made the move to Portland. This was huge for me – my first time living in a big city, and in a cool apartment right off of Burnside near Northwest Portland. The one major catch was the economy – ’92 was a tough time to be looking for a job, especially for a green young whippersnapper like myself. As the days turned into weeks I began to look beyond white collar jobs and seek out any opportunity that presented itself – fry cook, security guard, delivery man, janitor, house painter. Yikes! Nothing was happening and my money was starting to evaporate.
The one upside of this unemployment is that I had TONS of free time. And by ‘free time’ I literally mean time spent doing stuff that was free – walking around the city (Portland is beautiful and pedestrian friendly), jogging, drinking lots of water, reading books I already owned, and listening to music. Django’s – a legendary local record shop – had a 3 for $1 bin that I raided mercilessly to add some depth to my record collection (hey, 33 & 1/3 cents a pop is pretty close to free). Another bonus was an unexpected Indian summer that kept the temperatures warm through October, while Portland hosted a myriad of street fairs and celebrations.
It was by no means a great period of my life, but some of those fall evenings, with the temperatures dancing upward, and electricity hanging thick in the air, I’d lounge around that apartment with Bitches Brew languidly spinning away, and listen to the sounds of the city lilting through my open window on the slightest breeze. The car horns and laughter mingled with the horns and drums and organs on the record, and I sat there and soaked it all in and wrapped myself in the first stirrings of freedom and sophistication, and forgot about the iron fist of poverty that was knocking down my door.
Listen: Miles Runs The Voodoo Down