The Hot Spot

Jack Nitzsche with John Lee Hooker, Miles Davis et al

The Hot SpotI bought this in Fopp, in its original incarnation in the tiny unit at the top of Renfield Street, now, depressingly, a newsagent. After East Kilbride Central Library, Fopp was the main source of many of my musical infatuations. It was the unknowing dealer in my addiction, and a frequent bolthole when I was skipping lectures or dodging the rain.

I picked up the cassette before I had even heard of the film it’s the soundtrack to. I was in the throws of a deep Miles Davis listening binge. The album got a bit of press for its unique collaboration between Miles and John Lee Hooker, who was in the charts at the time. As well as being the soundtrack to the film which bears its name, it soundtracked my bus journeys to and from university in winter 1991-92.

Hearing it again, I still find the album has the same elusive, enigmatic quality I remember from 25 years ago, possibly something that’s to do with it being made to accompany (unseen) images. There’s a definite warmth to it, the kind of spice warmth you’d get in a bowl of gumbo. Which is at odds with the memory I have of listening to it, through of all those evenings in the rain, walking down Renfield Street and waiting for the 18.

I watched the film on telly years later, a weird, forgettable modern noir-ish bit of pulp starring Don Johnson and directed by Dennis Hopper that is considerably less than the sum of its parts.