The magic of DJ-ing for an audience is very similar to the art of preparing food for guests. Both disciplines require an understanding of ingredients, be it in the form of music or flavors. They also require the chef/selector to mix them in a way that consumers can enjoy and remember. Just imagine a medley of good tunes that warm up a dancer’s groove in the same way that appetizers open up a diner’s hunger. Or perhaps how a deep cut record satisfies a frenzied dance floor in the same way that the main course sends communal tastebuds into culinary orbit. Food can give to the stomach what music gives to the ears, tantalizing sustenance. Think good eats and good beats. That’s what we were thinking when deciding to combine a trip to one of my favorite record shops—Moodie’s on White Plains Road in The Bronx—and some local Jamaican cuisine to accompany.
Of course, moonlighting as a vinyl DJ certainly served as a huge influence on this idea. So did the fact that the Wakefield and Williamsbridge neighborhood of the North Bronx is home to a large Jamaican population, full of culture, business, community, and certainly food. Just amidst a five-block stretch on White Plains Road, underneath the 2 Train, lie four restaurants that provide Jamaican culinary options for locals and visitors alike. There’s Richie Rich Express on 222th, Golden Krust on 220th, Golden Star on 219th and Rocatone on 217th. And then there’s the epicenter of Reggae and Soul music flavor, the legendary Moodie’s Records located at 3777 White Plains Road.
DJ-accomplice and photographer, Budd, joined me on the mission. We went right to work by visiting Moodie’s, picking out records and memorabilia, and chatting with owner Earl Moodie Sr. about the selections. Afterwards, we went out to one of the local restaurants and paired it all up with menu items. The following photos and details are the result of that trip. Your writer and photographer went on a local excursion for authentic tunes and tastes. We wound up finding both and so can anyone else willing to spend a Weekend At Moodie’s.
Moodie’s Records first opened its doors in 1982 and has since become an irreplaceable and iconic staple in the community. Collectors and DJs from around the globe as well as across The Bronx flock to the shop for rare records and grooves. Speaking with owner Earl Moodie Sr. is like conversing with an encyclopedic wizard of sound and soul. If you’re lucky, not only will he tell you about the history of a particular record, but also its impact in reference to his own journey with music.
Soul music and Reggae music go together like a beef patty and ginger beer, or maybe a main dish and rice and peas. Once we made our music selections at Moodie’s we headed across the street to Gold Star Restaurant. You’ll note some Al Green alongside Sussex Record’s artist Zulema’s 1972 self-titled debut. You’ll also see a 12” of the late Frankie Paul, a Reggae legend who happened to pass just a day prior to our trip. Accompanying those records are the smaller 45’s of singles by Rose Royce, Jimmy Castor, and Roots Reggae star Hugh Mundell. As for the food, we selected Curry Coconut Shrimp, a hearty Gungo Pea Soup, Spinach Rice with a side of Steamed Cabbage and Carrots, an extra special piece of dark Rum Cake, and a Sour Sop Lime beverage to drink it all down.
Written by: Rainey Cruz
Photo Credit: Buddy Niederhoffer