This postcard came from Chris Sand, who recorded and performed music for many years under the name Sandman, and later expanded that moniker to Sandman the Rapping Cowboy.
I first met Chris in 1994 in Olympia, WA, where he performed at the same musical open mics as me and my sister. Accompanied solely by his acoustic guitar, he rapped classics like the Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” – which, for you non-musicologists in the crowd, is often considered the first rap or hip-hop song. He mixed in some folk tunes and a song composed for his gramma which, if I recall correctly, was modeled after a letter he wrote to her. And of course, who could forget “Talkin’ Hormel Chili Blues” in which he recounted the story of putting a can of chili in the microwave. DO NOT TRY IT. It’s dangerous! It made sense for him to pay tribute to the form of “talking blues” as a rapper. Despite Sugar Hill Gang’s claim to producing the first rap, talking over music was common much earlier in the 20th century among folk singers like Woody Guthrie.
Chris later moved away and became a truck driver, but continued to perform at local festivals, events, and house shows. A couple years ago, he even had a documentary made about him! Recently he got married and had a baby, and music performance has taken a back seat to life’s other great creative endeavor – raising a human being.
A couple years before that happened, we found him again on Facebook and corresponded. He sent us this postcard along with a really wonderful and well-produced album The Black Hole from Outer Space. You can find it – and much more by Sandman – easily on Amazon or iTunes, and at Loner Records.
The Black Hole from Outer Space was produced by Timezone LaFontaine, and independent hip-hop artist whose work we have come to love as well. Timezone made a ton of recordings available at no charge on his website, and some new ones at a “pay what you can afford” rate. We recommend you start with 2008’s The Slink. Explore some hip-hop that is a several cuts above what you might hear on the radio these days!