This song shuffled up tonight on my iPod on my walk home from work tonight and I'll be damned but I forgot how much I love it. It is Sheryl Lee Ralph's "In The Evening" from 1984, but the version I have on my iPod has been remixed by Almighty for a turn of the century audience, which is also the version featured in the video below.
I had completely forgotten how I even came to know this song, but a little investigation after I got home and, as Celine Dion would say, it's all coming back to me now. It was April of 2006 and we were in Chicago for a writer's conference of Heidi's. In a web surf session, I had run across a store called Borderline Music in Lakeview, which for those that don't know is the heart of Boystown. Perusing their web site, I knew right then and there that I simply HAD to get there. So Anna and I got in the car (she was 4 at the time) and drove pre-GPS from Deerfield into Boystown on the hunt for Borderline Music. Surprisingly, we did not get lost.
Anyway, we did find it and it was, as expected, a treasure trove for someone with the musical taste I have. It's priced a little bit high which you'd expect for an independent store and there are a shit-ton of crappy quality bootlegs there which made me feel like I was shopping in Iowa City in the mid 90s, but what I love most about it are the remix compilation discs you can't get anywhere else. It was on the 2CD 30-track set Ultimate Gay Anthems that I first heard Sheryl Lee Ralph's "In The Evening." Although I had picked it up for the "Love Eviction" remix and the Abbacadabra tracks (Yes, I know. Don't mock.), it was "In The Evening" that really stood out amongst a bunch of high-NRG dance covers of 80s and 90s tracks - not that there's anything wrong with them either.
The other CD that I remember picking up on that inaugural trip to Borderline also has a good story to it. Back in the Audiogalaxy days, I had downloaded a song called "Let The Night Take The Blame" by 501s. With a cheesy early 80s guitar riff combined with an even cheesier drum machine and synth track, it won my heart immediately.
Sadly, the version I downloaded was only a partial. It probably served me right, but I vowed that if I ever found it for sale anywhere, I would purchase it, regardless of what was on the rest of the album. Well, I found it on Gay Classics Vol 11: Hangin' Out. And, just as I promised I would, I bought it. Whether or not the rest of the songs are truly "gay classics" is up for debate, but it contained "Let The Night Take The Blame" in full, so I was happy for at least 8:07. As an added bonus, Heidi thought the album cover was cute, although I'm not sure "cute" is what they were aiming for.
I've been back to Borderline Music many times since then. Pretty much every time we hit Chicago, it's a required stop. As I said, it's pricey, so I can't always buy much. The last time I was there (for the Sticky & Sweet Tour), I only bought Madonna's Confessions book, the purchase of which got me a free Hard Candy album flat. I keep waiting for it to not be there each time I go to Chicago, but it's always there without fail, selling the best in the artists the gay community embraces. And even though it's probably not the height of coolness for a 38 year-old straight married father to be listening to this stuff, well, it makes me happy and I really don't give a fuck.
Life is short. As long as you're not hurting yourself or anyone else, do what makes you happy. No apologies.