Movin’ On Blues: Gentrification and Relocation Inspired Jams From Your Relocated DJ

FullSizeRender (1)Did what I had to do. This is the first thing I’ve written as DJ Larsupreme of Portland, Oregon. After 35 years of calling the Bay Area home (if you’re keeping record, that’s been my whole life) I packed up a Cadillac full of records, clothes and cameras to give life another go in a place that has been a second home for the heart of this decade.

Between leaving a job, ever escalating housing costs and the anxiety of seeing abject poverty all around me, worried for my own financial security in that environment, I took the advice, the smiles and the hugs I get in Portland as hint to give up, get on with life and not to go all out and move 2,500 miles across the country to Baltimore.

It all started with me venturing to DJ in the Queer Safe Space that is Sugar Town hosted by DJ Action Slacks. It continued with my mother’s relocation here, and me continually finding second homes with a rag-tag bunch of people living on the shores of The Willamette and Columbia River mightily meeting more than 500 miles north of the rivers and the lakes that I’m used to. Whatever is to be said about Portland’s own points of escalating housing costs and Gentrification, there’s still a space for me, approaching my late 30’s, to seemingly carve out more of a sustainable existence and do more of my creative passions.

portland-oregon-old-townI gotta admit it’s been perhaps the toughest two weeks of my life. Of course I’ve had my own dreams and hopes about how Easythought this would be. Into ever open arms I thought, described in some of the songs I’m including here as processing prayers. It’s also full of profoundly empty moments filled with silence and hidden tears. I’m great with rationalizing things as a survival technique, I wanna have faith that I haven’t made a terrible decision.

Where else would I turn but to music to find some comfort? I’ve definitely have had more energy to go out and immerse myself in art in the short period since I left. And now I get to think of 25 songs that inspire and comfort me in this process. If you’re thinking of the same moving on to somewhere, maybe you can find some clues of why you’re making that transition in the celebration and commiseration of City Life, Country Living and Suburban Striving found in all of these tunes.

I wish you blessings with your journeys in 2018 as I ask for the same.

1) Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford – Son My Son
2) Carmen McRae – Big Town
3) Jackie Wilson – No Pity (In The Naked City)
4) Barbara Lewis – Come Home
5) Cleo Randle – Big City Lights
6) Wade Flemons – That Other Place
7) Audrey Freeman – Three Rooms
8) The Cookies – On Broadway
9) The Drifters – Only In America
10) Lou Johnson – Park Avenue
11) Barbara English – Chasing My Dreams All Over Town
12) Jackie Shane – In My Tenement
13) Aretha Franklin – One Room Paradise
14) Marva Josie – I Love New York
15) Jimmy Ruffin – On The Avenue
16) The Vogues – Magic Town
17) Dionne Warwick – Paper Mache
18) Verdelle Smith – Tar & Cement
19) The Miracles – A Fork In The Road
20) Rosalind Mason – Neighborhood Girl
21) Toni Carroll – Welcome Home Baby
22) The Toys – On Backstreet
23) Margie Hendrix – Packin’ Up
24) Billy Vera & Judy Clay – Country Girl, City Man
25) Gladys Knight & The Pips – I’ll Be Here When You Get Home

One Comment Add yours

  1. says:

    feeling this. i ended up landing in pdx when i didn’t expect to, post-leaving oakland after 16+ years–you’re far from the only one who’s headed north. thanks for all your music and care!


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