Thursday, December 13, 2007

Left Foot Shank

The year: 1995. The place: A record store in Oslo, Norway. I'm browsing the aisles when some very deep downtempo beats start playing on the sound system. "What's that?" I ask the clerk. She hands me a compilation titled Left Foot Shank, from an obscure British label called Oceans Eleven. As it turns out, they have just one copy of the album in stock. "It's this new thing called trip hop," she says. "Damn," I say to myself. "I gotta have this."

In the wake of buying that rare CD (which featured some pretty obscure artists), I became aware of more mainstream trip hop groups like Portishead, Massive Attack, Tricky, Morcheeba, Fila Brazillia, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Thievery Corporation, Hooverphonic, etc. But this album always had a special place in my collection -- until it was "lost" in 2000 (along with 300 of my best CDs) by the hoodlum movers who shipped my stuff from Virginia to San Francisco.

Though it was long out of print, I never quite gave up hope that I would find another copy of Left Foot Shank. And last week, after seven years of searching, I finally struck pay dirt: An outfit in the Netherlands called Black Rhythm Records had several used copies in stock -- and they were selling them for $4.86 each. Voila.

Ain't the Internet great?