post-punk gems, v. 59 — Kurtis Blow

I’ve got upcoming gigs in Roxbury, NY (3/21) and Amherst, MA (3/25), so I’m thinking about The Clash more often than I usually do, as I put together my talks. Of particular interest is the band’s May-June 1981 residency at Bond International Casino–17 dates of sold-out shows, lots of exposure for uptown bands like The Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, and a host of others.

Kurtis Blow DJ’ed alongside Grandmaster Flash in Harlem and the Bronx in the late 1970s, and was the first rapper signed to a major label in 1979. His second single, “The Breaks” (after “Christmas Rappin'”), must have captivated Joe, Mick, and co., with the west African rhythm guitar, Blow’s flow on the mic, and plenty of drums.

In August 1982, among the final performances with Jonesy still onboard, The Clash The Akron Civic Theater 17 August 1982The Clash played the Akron Civic Theater and introduced Blow to a whole new market, one that couldn’t even get his name spelled right on the marquee. (Thanks to Don Frederick for sending this image–not his–my way.)

If anyone knows the guy flexing guns below the marquee, let me know: I’m happy to give him a shout-out.




Author: stealingalltransmissions

CA ex-pat loving life in Northeast Ohio. Like most of you, I write stuff.

2 thoughts on “post-punk gems, v. 59 — Kurtis Blow”

  1. lol! “These are the breaks! Haven’t heard this since I was a kid! Funky time warp for a few minutes..
    Reminds me of another old school one hit wonder from this era the hook was “Crack killed Apple-Jack! He jumped in and never jumped back…” Can’t remember who did the song. Might’ve guessed kurtis blow. Don’t think its grandmaster flash…

  2. I was at that show. My memory of Blow is that he didn’t do any of his standard numbers, but extemporaneously rapped about the event. I clearly recall the opening line, “Well, The Clash had me down to Akron today…” and off he went. I also remember Strummer stopping the show during the Clash’s set to engage with some skate punks who were somehow allowed to enter the theater with their boards. Strummer quipped something to the effect that, “In Birmingham they’re wearin’ one on each foot!”

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