DJ Max Glazer Makes The Music Play—Right Away!
Miss Lily’s hasn’t been around much more than a year, but the Houston Street hotspot is already an NYC institution, bringing yardstyle food, music, and vibes to Gotham City residents. When the good folks at RadioLily.com aren’t playing the people’s music (night and day) or playing host to reggae royalty that passes through Miss Lily’s restaurant (and the next-door chill spot Miss Lily’s Variety / Melvin’s Juicebar) on the regular, they’re hosting art exhibitions, publishing recherche books, and curating reggae-dancehall-soca anthologies like the oh-so-crucial Miss Lily’s Family Style Vol. 1. Peep my liner notes below, and keep clicking for a full track list and a taste of DJ Max Glazer’s murderous megamix. Audio After The Jump…
People throw the term “Family” around pretty loosely nowadays. Casual greetings like “What’s good fam?” have stripped the word of some of its luster—and that’s a shame because family isn’t just a word; it’s flesh and blood, heart and soul.
From day one, reggae music has always been a family affair. But don’t take my word for it. Just ask master bass man Aston “Family Man” Barrett, who played with his brother Carly in the Hippy Boys and, later, The Wailers. He’ll tell you it’s as true for the artistes who sing the songs—your Marleys and your Morgans and your McGregors—as it is for the people behind the scenes. Reggae music as we know it today was shaped by families like the Chins—Vincent and Pat Chin were a hip Chinese Jamaican couple who built the Kingston institution Randy’s Records, which grew into the outernational phenomenon known as V.P. Records. They and their descendants Clive and Chris and Randy and Joel got to be miles ahead in reggae music by handling their business family style.
“Daddy please I beg you put the stereo on,” Gappy Ranks once sang, evoking fond memories of Studio One 45s spinning in wood-paneled family entertainment centers, drawing together Jamaican families in chilly Great Britain through weekly shipments of hot Jamaican vinyl to reggae shops like Peckings and Dub Vendor. The same sort of scenario played out in New York households with tunes acquired at Coxsone’s Muzik City or Chin Randy’s or Jah Life. From granny right down to the likklest youths, everybody experienced the people’s music as one—soaking in the sweetest and the roughest sounds, taking the hill and gully ride together. Because that’s what families do.
Miss Lily’s has been variously described as a beach shack, a chic luncheonette, and a Caribbean oasis in the middle of downtown Manhattan. But you know what it really is? It’s a place for family. Not just any family, mind you—but a big, bad and broad ragamuffin tribe of a family, drawn together by their shared passion for Jamaica and its music and its food and most of all its style. Strategically located on the borderline between SoHo and The Village, with easy accEss to Brooklyn, Misd Lily’s has become the unofficial Jamaican embassy of lower Manhattan, playing host to all manner of Caribbean cultural luminaries. The food is first rate, the waitresses stunning, and the selections at Miss Lilys Variety are unbeatable, but what keeps folks coming back is the family vibe. As often as I come here—whether for dinner or special events or for my Monday night Strictly Boomshots show on RadioLily.com—I’ve never yet met this Miss Lily in the flesh. But I feel her fussy grandmotherly attention in all those oh-so-proper doily-edged menus, in the pungent seasoning of her escovitch (oh gosh!), and in the meticulously curated art that covers every surface of the walls and tables in her distinguished establishment.
A ginger shot and a patty from Melvin’s Juice Box is always nice, but my favorite way to dine at Miss Lily’s is family style. You pile into one of the booths in the back and your party is so big that the food just keeps coming out in spicy steaming pots. You pass around the ital stew and the rice and peas, and you get extra spoons for the banana pudding, and you make sure there’s enough for everybody. Because families take care of their own. And while you’re picking those last fish bones clean, these are the sounds you’ll be hearing above the laughter and the satiated sighs.
MISS LILY’S FAMILY STYLE Vol. 1 COMPILATION consists mostly of songs sung by Miss Lily’s friends and family. Mr. Vegas has appeared on Radio Lily countless times and held his Sweet Jamaica album release party at Miss Lily’s Variety. Konshens shot his “So Mi Tan” video at Miss Lily’s featuring our own Max Glazer on the wheels of steel. Romain Virgo launched his latest album at Miss Lily’s, singing with enough feeling to stop traffic on Houston Street. Ricky Blaze, who produced Gyptian’s smash hit “Hold Yuh,” is up in Miss Lily’s on a weekly basis. Kes was here before his big NYC show, the first time a soca artist ever headlined the Best Buy Theater. Tarrus Riley shot part of his “Come Over” music video here too. And when that video’s director, Storm Saulter, screened his first feature film, Better Mus Come, Mr. Vegas had a family style meal at Miss Lily’s before rounding up the posse and rolling over to Lincoln Center to sing at the premiere. That’s just how it is with family.
Some of these songs were sung by artists who have never set foot inside Miss Lily’s but they might as well be family. Songs like Busy Signal’s “One More Night,” which we like to classify as a classic “Rent-a-tile” selection. (A certain kind of love song that inspires you to pick one floor tile and just hug up your girl all night.) This music is the woof and warp that makes up the fabric of our lives. Life is a song, so why not sing it together? You know—family style.
Oh and if you see Miss Lily, make sure to give her a big hug and a kiss on the cheek for me.
“Right away!” Run that…[audio:https://www.boomshots.com/tunes/Miss Lily’s Family Style Mega-Mix by DJ Max Glazer.mp3]
The multitalented Romain Virgo, guest selector on the Strictly Boomshots show.
1) Just One Of Those Days – Sizzla