A Kind of Boring Story About Detroit's First Techno 12"



My friend Jared visited last weekend, from my former hometown of Portland, OR. We spent all of Saturday hitting up record shops because how else are you going to spend a day in Detroit with a visiting club DJ? (That being Jared; Jared is a club DJ.) Detroit has amazing record stores, especially if one is looking for used blues, jazz, gospel, funk, boogie, house or hip-hop. The first five times I visited Detroit I blew all of my available funds on records here. (The sixth time I visited, I was moving here — well, to Hazel Park, anyway.)

Spotting it on the wall from across the room, Jared zeroed in on an original copy of  "Sharevari" by A Number of Names, largely considered to be Detroit's first techno 12". (Yes, trainspotters, he gripped the version on Quality from 1982; he already owns the 1981 pressing on Capriccio, OK.) The song is sick, and deserves revisiting if you've not done so recently. You might also check out this excellent article on the record, which ran in the Metro Times thirteen years ago.

Listening to the 12", I realized it has a lot more sections to it than I remember. The fake French-German accent this black singer from Detroit adopts never ceases to amaze; it's audacious and hilarious — and of course it related to tracks like Kraftwerk's "Numbers," which was a huge hit in black clubs here in the '80s and '90s (just check everyone's other favorite YouTube clip of back-in-the-day Detroit dance moves, from the "New Dance Show," which came after "The Scene" — just click here to see what I mean, and you will be happy for the rest of the day even if you've watched this thousands of times).

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