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Keepin’ the funk alive

Soul Fire Revue host talks about his set lists so far this year

By Jeff Listerman 

During my last show I played a set of killer 2004 re-mixes of the sessions that Quincy Jones did with Bill Cosby in 1969, and when the “Pelando” remix by Los Amigos Invisibles hit a heavy drum break I mixed in a coupla intense Afro-Cuban drum songs from another CD that I just started listening to —¨Drums of Cuba Afro-Cuban Music From the Roots¨ by Grupo Oba-Ilú on the Soul Jazz label.  Now, I’ve heard all kinds of drum and percussion albums, from jazz to different African and Jamaican stuff, but these are some intense, complex and hypnotic rhythms. All at once, complex, minimalist and repetitive. They almost sometimes remind me of Terry Riley or early Kraftwerk. One of the drums has a beautiful high-ringing tone that reminds of an old school synth or electric piano. Anyway, they get into some intense and funky cross-rhythms and so I mixed in a couple tracks before shifting back to a couple more Quincy Jones-Bill Cosby remixes.

Which all is to say that I try to stretch-out and play more than just the classic American soul and funk genre….. HOWEVER, that genre is the heart of the show, and to that end, I’m always looking and listening for new stuff that is a cut above.

I have been an OBSESSIVE music collector and have amassed somewhere around 5,000 CDs in all genres – from experimental electronica and noise rock to classic country and hillbilly bop to jazz to world music to, of course funk and soul.  Anyway, after  years of going back and forth with myself, I’ve started selling off quite a few.  If I can get ‘er down to 1,000 it’d be good — most just sit packed in boxes anyway.  So, in selling over a hundred per week at current pace, I’m takin’ a chunk of the return in store credit so I can keep feedin’ the beast and keep bringin’ new stuff onto the Revue (not to mention excavating old gems that I forgot about, buried in boxes for years.)

This was the way I got a few new re-issues of some killer Ann Peebles albums at the Love Garden last week… re-issued recently on Fat Possum label. Ann’s so good, last night I played her classic “Come to Mama” and a deeper track that I didn’t have on my big compilation of her music, “Stand by Woman”.  Also with my copious credit, I picked up a copy of Betty Davis’ “Is it Love or Desire”, cut in ’76 and never released.  Def not the level of her stellar self-titled debut, or ¨They Say I’m Different¨ albums, but some interesting stuff here from the former Mrs. Miles David, perhaps the wildest woman in funk music. Last show I played the title track and somethin’ crazy called “Bottom of the Barrell”.  In that song she shouts and growls the hilarious line, “Take of that Disco and put on some good music!! …We’re tired of listening to that rinky-dinky stuff!!”

So, these were just a couple of discs I got last week that I played last night and I’ll be continuing to regularly funnel new funk into my collection and onto the airwaves. Otherwise, I’ve been getting a lot of good feedback and requests on shift, but for y’all that ain´t tuned in yet here’s a partial list of some faves that you´ll hear over the weeks and months on The Soul Fire Revue:

Sly and the Family Stone, D’Angelo, Angie Stone, Bobby Womack, the funky Meters, New Orleans piano wizard James Booker, Grace Jones, Howlin’ Wolf, Isley Bros., Funkadelic, funky Lee Dorsey, Marvin Gaye, electric sax-man Eddie Harris, Bill Withers, Ike and Tina, the Stones, Nu-Yorican Soul revolutionaries Willie Colon and Hector Lavoe, the wicked Wilson Pickett, the superhuman force-of-nature they call Rahsaan Roland Kirk, the Staple Singers, etc…..  you get the picture….

I´ll just say that while all of these artists are among my favorites, I’m always lookin’ and listenin’for the most funky, sexy, and soulful of their catalog to deliver on the air.


Soul Fire Revue airs every Saturday from 8-10 p.m.