Houston Music

Syrupy Surprises: Random Selections From DJ Screw's Personal Vinyl Collection

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7. Led Zeppelin, Coda: Zep's least essential album by far, Coda was released in 1982, a full two years after drummer John Bonham's death effectively ended the group's run together. A collection of studio outtakes and unused material from the band's '70s heyday, the LP basically included everything that the band still had in the can. It's a little-loved record by one of the biggest rock bands of all time, making its inclusion in Screw's collection a bit of a mystery.

Was he a Led Zep completist, or was there a specific beat on this record that caught his ear? Or was it simply accumulated as part of a big lot of vinyl that made it into Screw's 5,000-strong collection over the years?

6. Laid Back, "Sunshine Reggae:" Laid Back was a Danish duo that's probably best remembered today for its 1983 club hit "White Horse," a funky, druggy little synth number. "Sunshine Reggae," though, from the same year, is exactly what it purports to be -- sunny reggae. Could it be a relic of Screw's days spinning riddims at the Caribana?

5. Johnny "Guitar" Watson, : Native Houstonian Johnny "Guitar" Watson was a pretty massively influential musician and songwriter across two genres. After pioneering the use of feedback and reverb on his 1950s jump-blues records, Watson moved right into soul and funk in the '60s and '70s.

"What the Hell is This" is a massive slab of funky rock, rife with the kinds of riffs and beats that were used to cobble together early hip-hop tracks. It's the perfect soundtrack to the block party you wish your neighborhood would throw.

4. Nirvana, Nevermind Limited Edition: It was a cool surprise to run across this album among Screw's massive collection of hip-hop, funk and dance records, but it makes sense. Nevermind was one of the biggest smashes of the '90s, the grunge masterpiece that practically everybody owned.

Julie Grob says that one of Screw's loved ones told her that the legendary DJ was a confirmed Nirvana fan. If that's true, he didn't fall in love with the band listening to this particular disc -- it was still sealed in its packaging. A collector's item, perhaps?

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Nathan Smith
Contact: Nathan Smith