One for Friday: Small Factory, “Suggestions”

I would be deeply negligent if I didn’t begin this week by offering up fresh gratitude to Steve, Wayne, Jon, Colin and Andrea for their exemplary efforts filling in for me last week. The array of guest stars exceeded my high expectations, provided a set of completely unique perspectives in this space. These are definitely people who’ve influenced me greatly over the years, and they all managed to do so again with their respective approaches to the feature.

That naturally got me thinking about how this weekly feature generated in the first place. At the time I hung an “open for business” sign on this Internet outpost, I was simply cross-posting material that had its initial home across the digital way. But Fridays carried a recurring feature that I didn’t think would translate well, in large part because I didn’t want to cause any confusion over the proper place to respond given its participatory nature. Clearly I needed something different that could post exclusively here to commemorate the end of the working week.

Wanting to stick with music, I thought about my own time wandering the blogosphere. In particular, I remembered when I discovered the blog Little Hits. I knew immediately what the title of it meant; it hearkened back to a clear sensation from my college radio days. There were always those songs that were smashes at the radio station and total obscurities outside of our airwaves. There are still those offerings that shuffle up on my iPod and it takes me a moment or two to remember that the song isn’t an enduring classic for everyone. The blog largely focused on the era that inspired the most nostalgia for me, unearthing otherwise forgotten gems from the nineteen-eighties and nineties. Individual songs were posted along with reminiscences that read very familiar to me, about dusty record stores and the camaraderie of shared discovery.

Little Hits was one of the first online sources that I downloaded music from, and I did it with fervor, going through the archives like an intrepid explorer, hunting down unknown treasures. Occasionally, it would hit upon a band I knew, even knew well, but for the most part it was like getting freshly acquainted with secret corners of my old beloved college radio station music library. As I was just getting used to the idea of having a digital music collection, Little Hits helped me build it with material I would have otherwise never acquired. And some of those songs now stir the same reflective fondness as the pillars of my own college radio days.

It’s been some time now since the proprietor of Little Hits decided to call it quits. As far as I can tell, all of the links to the songs have expired. The write-ups are still there, and well worth reading. The intense love of music comes through. That’s what I was going for with “One for Friday.” On my best weeks, I think I get there, or at least get close, somehow replicating the sort of overexcited yammering you might have been subjected to have you walked into the radio station studio twenty years ago, precisely after I had just found one of those songs which inspires the exultation “You’ve gotta hear this!”

This week’s song is one I discovered on Little Hits. It sounds exactly like the sort of song I would have fallen immediately, helplessly in love with twenty years ago, mustering up all my willpower to not play it each and every shift. I’d describe the song, but, honestly, Little Hits already did it better.

Small Factory, “Suggestions”

(Disclaimer: Amazon lists two albums credited to Small Factory, neither of which appears to be in print and neither of which contains this song. I’m therefore assuming that it is unavailable for purchase in a way that will provide due compensation for the artist as well as the owner of your favorite local, independently-owned record store. The song is posted here with that understanding, although I’ll gladly remove it should someone with proper authority contact me to make such a request. I hope the person who originally posted it on Little Hits doesn’t mind that it’s here. Now that I’ve broken the seal on that part of my library, I may wind up posting a few more of those tracks in the future.)

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