It’s certainly been a while since we delved into the back stories of someone else’s favourite finds. Luckily, Deano Sounds of Cultures of Soul was more than up for the challenge.
In the vinyl game, it could be said that the field is split into those that love records and those that LOVE records. They are the guys (and girls) who live and breath music, who constantly dig for those rarities that often elude the majority and are always willing to share their knowledge for the greater good of their collection. Then there are the few who start record labels to present their passion to a wider audience and in the process help older artists get a new lease of life, forgotten songs to be rediscovered and whole catalogues of long out of print music to be revitalised.
It seems fair to say that Boston’s Deano Sounds may well fall in to all of the categories above. A consumate cratedigger with a skill for DJing, Sounds has been collecting vinyl for more than a decade. Back in 2008, as a conduit for his burgeoning passion, he started the Cultures of Soul radio show where he sought to bring an eclectic and international menu of lesser known, dancefloor ready tracks to the airwaves. The Cultures of Soul imprint soon followed and taking its cue from Sounds ear for a good tune, it has quickly amassed a sizeable catalogue of rare and adventurous releases representing artists from around the world. Ranging from the reissue of seldom seen albums from Evans Pyramid and Stanton Davis, through to compilations that bring together the finest in outernational sounds, the label is certainly not afraid to take risks to dig deep and bring lost musical treasures back to the surface.
As a DJ, Sounds has put his record collection to good use, appearing as a recurring guest at Boston’s premier soul night ‘Soulelujah’ as well as holding down residencies at some of the hippest venues in the Boston area. He’s also been given the opportunity to play further afield, taking in stops at established nights in Pittsburgh (Title Town Soul and Funk Party), Los Angeles (Funky Sole) and Brooklyn (Let’s Boogaloo), as well as numerous events in our own fair city of London.
With the recent summer release of the label’s latest offering Tropical Disco Hustle now complete, Sounds is turning his attention to following up this year’s other popular compilation Bombay Disco with a second volume. While we wait for that to arrive, you can dip into a few of his historical tales of true diggers luck!
#1: Mickey Larry and the Exciters “Stranded In the Middle of No Place”
I was taking a trip through a rural area that was heavily populated with antique stores and at first I didn’t think too much of a hand made sign that said “Fruit, Hay, And Collectibles” But then it occurred to me that it was worth a shot so I turned the car around to go back. I pulled up to what was literally a fruit stand, a barn full of hay and horses, and a small shelter filled with antiques and junk. In one of the back corners there was a metal tin that was full of 45s. Included were some garage 45s from the Detroit label Hideout Records, a rare local psych 45 by a group called the Shadows, a handful of R&B 45s on the Vee-Jay label including the Rhythm Aces, the Spaniels, El Darados, and this 45 on the coveted Twinight label. These records were stranded in the middle of no place!
#2: Lord Rhaburn Combo “Bird’s Isle Is Forever”
There used to be a decent record store not too far from where I lived. It’s now closed and I’ve since moved away. I’m usually a pretty thorough digger and I try and look through all of the sections a store has to offer from world to soul to disco to jazz to rock. But I am really glad I looked through the world section that day! What I found wedged in between an Israeli folk LP and Polka music from Greece was, the Bird’s Isle Is Forever LP by the Lord Rhaburn Combo that contains the killer “Disco Connection” track. I think I did a double take twice! The cover was just so unassuming placed between those run of the mill international LPs. How could this rare Belizean disco LP be in a store in Cambridge, MA and how come no one else picked it up? It was only $5.99! Also of note is that the drummer for Mission of Burma used to work in that store!
#3: Smith Whitaker and Company “Don’t Play No Games with My Love”
Here is one of my favorite scores, from many moon’s ago when I was still relatively new to the game of record digging. It was at a local radio station’s record fair which I almost didn’t even go to because the station at the time mainly played folk music and I don’t really collect folk records per se. But it turns it the station had a pretty popular smooth jazz program on in the early 80s. Hence they had an amazing collection of disco 12″s and LPs which they were purging at the time. When I first walked into the fair there was an area with more pricey Jazz LPs so I went there first thinking there may be some interesting Blue Note or Prestige LPs. But no luck. Then I saw a section labeled R&B Records priced at $1 a record. And that’s where the really good stuff was! Man that really built my collection back then! I’m talking Don Blackman, Logg, Trilark, Sparkle, Hypertension, Sylvia Striplin, and every classic Salsoul 12″. I was smart at the time to just pick up anything that looked like it might be interesting or pressed in small numbers. It turned out the biggest prize was the Smith Whitaker and Company 12″ on Platinum Gold Records.