Nuyorican Soul's "Runaway" Sends Tim Green Rushing Back into the Past
A laid back New York classic takes TG back to the halcyon days of early electronic exploration.
In the Heartbreakers series, we look at the dance floor tearjerkers that make your night special, whether that's at the height of your high or the plateau. Electronic music has the power to break hearts and this is an appreciation of the songs that do that. For this edition we asked Disc Over Music main man and UK mainstay Tim Green to transport us back to those innocent adolescent days of old.
The track that always takes me back is Nuyorican Soul's "Runaway". The original is a Salsoul Orchestra tune that features Loleatta Holloway on vocals. This one's by Kenny Dope and Louie Vega, aka Masters at Work. Every time I listen to their version I'm taken back to the exact moment I first heard it.
I was 12 in 1996 when it was released. I remember hearing it on the radio at home. Me, my brother and his best mate were messing around with a video camera, just filming ourselves dancing to songs on the radio and flipping between channels and stations when "Runaway" came on. I fell in love with it instantly but being young I didn't think to listen out for who it was by. I was just there in the moment, entranced by it. Typically, the video recording cuts out at the exact moment the DJ is about to announce who it was by. This was way before Shazam so I was left in the dark.
"Runaway" was the first song I remember hearing, and liking, that could be classified as dance music. It was one of those early forays into forming my own musical taste outside of family influences. My dad has a massive vinyl collection and through him I grew up listening to soul, jazz and disco. "Runaway" is influenced by all those sounds. Only it was by two DJs, two electronic artists.
A few years went by and I went to college and up until then, I was still playing guitars in bands and electronic music hadn't really had much of an impact on me. I met my best friend there and he started playing me all this stuff. As these things seem to go, he ended up giving me the Nuyorican Soul album. As soon as I heard "Runaway" I was like 'Fuck! It's that track!' Looking back now, I realise that was my introduction to the whole dance music world really. Six years of waiting and wondering and there it was – I was hooked.
In a way, I miss the difficulty of trying to find a record. We all think that technological advances make life easier, which they do, but they don't necessarily make it better. That longing and yearning for a lost record made you appreciate it even more on finding it. It was weird: I'd only watched that video maybe once or twice in that chasm between my childhood and being reunited with it as a young adult but I knew the melody off by heart, it came flooding back. The song never left me. Someone who has access to the entire Nuyorican back catalogue in 20 seconds might not have the same interest and excitement I did.
Nostalgia is incredibly powerful, a genuinely potent emotional force. I'm the type of person who's always asking his parents about those weird early memories, the memories that are half real, half informed by other people. I'd love it if someone heard one of my own productions, or a track I've played out and it had the same effect on them as "Runaway" had on me. I've always tried to avoid fads, always looked to make something lasting. As attention spans get shorter and shorter, I've become even more concerned with making music that has longevity.
I listened to "Runaway" again last night and the memories still came rushing back. No matter what I'm doing, no matter where I am when I hear it, I'm brought back to when I first heard it.
Tim Green plays Fabric with Tiefschwarz, Cosmin TRG and Lucy on 17th January