From now and in perpetuity, April 1, 2016 will be known as Larry Gold Day in New York City. The official proclamation was signed, sealed and delivered by New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio and was celebrated at SOBs where virtually every genre of music has had a showcase.
At the abbreviated home of Sounds of Brazil, the first citizen of the city presented the honor to Gold’s 26-year-old son, Jordan during a fundraising event for listener-sponsored, WBAI-FM radio station.
Accompanied by his wife Chirlayne McCray, the mayor relayed how during their dating years they stopped into the cultural showplace to catch a concert by an African superstar.
He recalled partying to the music of Nigerian juju musician Fela Kuti when the infectious band jammed inside the tropical night spot.
Who knew that one of the tallest politicians in NYC government snapped his fingers, moved his body or reveled to African soul sounds.
DeBlasio admitted his party days and lavished kudos on Gold for making SOBs the home of a variety of music. He lauded the club owner for being perceptive enough to diversify presentations in NYC and to respond to the needs of a variety of music lovers.
“SOBs has been the place we can depend on,” for diversity, the mayor said.
As he spoke, the next generation Gold, a 26-year-old look-alike to his father watched as if he had missed the most historic concert staged inside the intimate restaurant / club.
If only he could have been there through the decades, since the early 1980s, to see numerous celebrities popping in and out of the Varick St. location to see virtually every reggae act of note. Celebrated Caribbean talents on their own turf were able to broaden their realm from a tiny stage crowds ventured to witness.
They arrived in limousines, yellow taxis, gypsy cabs, and the number 1 train stopping at the Houston St. station.
Considering that Yellowman, Peter Broggs, The Mighty Diamonds, Brigadier Jerry, Freddy McGregor, Gregory Isaacs, Sugar Minott, Sean Paul, Buju Banton and Shabba Ranks all stepped up to the small stage making an imprint on the reggae legacy and the landmark that continues to enhance and influence entertainment in NYC must have been awe inspiring for the dead-ringer to the owner.
SOBs nourished a culture.
Nostalgia recalls the sugarcane vendor, the peanut seller and street promoters lingering long to hand out flyers to the next reggae attraction.
It was not all reggae though, a myriad list of performers represented jazz, hip-hop, rhythm and blues, salsa, samba, zouk, hi-life, soukous, calypso, soca, pop, spoken word and other genres.
The mayor acknowledged Gold’s Midas’ touch in promoting music and inside the same night spot revered for intimacy and carnival paid tribute to the club owner.