Saturday, June 03, 2006

What We're Gonna Do Right Here Is Go Back

... was my original title for the feature I wrote available here. It's about the continuing process of soul music's recontextualization down through the years to a wider audience than its original base. My original title refers to the bedrock breakbeat that is the Jimmy Castor Bunch's "It's Just Begun". But the vocal snatch is actually from Castor's bigger hit (at the time) "Troglodyte", which was cut and pasted to the version that I originally heard - on an Ultimate Breaks and Beats compilation, discussed at length in the piece.

I had a great time doing the interviews. Speaking with Rick Wojcik from Dusty Groove was a tremendous eye-opener in terms of the world of music retail and itshistory. Oliver Wang, from Soul Sides, was every bit as gracious, erudite and enthusiastic as his rightly celebrated blog. And Dee Jay Nav is someone I've known for a long time, and has been a mainstay of DJ culture in Toronto behind the decks, on the radio, and in retail - I was very happy to have the opportunity to officially pick his brain.

Despite all this, I've never been so ambivalent about anything I've ever written. Why? Cause it's a book-long subject, and the article itself doesn't address every possible point of contention. Mainly though, I just wanted to convey that soul music has undertaken a unique journey in the annals of popular music. I used to be something of a crate digger myself but quickly got tired of spending too much money on one style of music, wonderful though it is, when the music itself led me into further exploration. More power to those who do, though; they are modern day archeologists; and sometimes they unearth records which can make a tremendous difference to artists who never got a taste in the first place. That's the crux for me, it's important to share whatcha got so that a wider audience gets a better sense of the musical links all around them.

I don't have the deepest collection by along shot, but I feel I can speak this universal language of soul with people all over the world - and speaking many languages is always a plus. With that in mind, I'd like to give some shout outs to my soul music tutors "way back":

Paul E. Lopes who continues the vital Bump and Hustle nights every year, he was possibly the first DJ to bridge UK soul sensibilities with hip hop fundamentals in Toronto.

Chris Compton, former host of "Swear To Tell The Truth" the best blues/soul/country/gospel show ever to grace CIUT, who introduced me to Stax records and the writings of Rob Bowman. His near-Marxist analysis of the economy of soul music made a huge impression.

Mr. Pete Snell, still going strong at the Dance Cave. My first exposure to someone with a deep and wide soul and funk collection, and a major inspiration on how to combine seemingly disparate styles of music together.

And finally, Johnbronski, the original big brother of the Master Plan show on CIUT, gave me more insight into the diversity of African diasporic music than anyone. Although his djing style is, um, ruff... I learned more about selection and pacing a set from him than anyone else.

...there are many more. you know who you are. There's more to come on this subject since Light in the Attic is comping my town....

In the same issue, check out my writeup on Rob Mazurek's exciting Sao Paolo Underground


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