Up From the Vaults Volume 1:
The Soul Fire Collection of Funk Singles
Funk. This is the third collection of singles released by Soul Fire records. Soul Fire (like its predecessor Desco) seeks to re-create the sound of the hardest funk songs from the late 60s and early 70s. The broad influences are things like James Brown, the Meters, Dyke and the Blazers and so on, but with a much rawer garage sound. Also, label owner and founder Phillipe Lehman has begun to include influences from his love of Afro-Beat and Latin Funk in the singles put out on this label. There are a lot of people out there fakin' the funk so to speak, however I can say that the stuff on this label is both authentic and highly original, and as such this gets my strongest recommendation for lovers of funk (and everyone else). Start with tracks 7 and 12 for straight funk, or track 1 for Latin funk, or tracks 9, 13-14 for Afro-Groove. PS--Don't believe the promo sticker, all of this stuff has already appeared on vinyl--the rare and unreleased stuff will be on Up From the Vaults volume 2.
1) **Medium tempo groovin Latin boogaloo with a dope electric piano hook.
2) *Down-tempo Latin instrumental with percussion and bass
3) Very lo-fi down-tempo instrumental with guitar and organ
4) *Down-tempo straight funk instrumental, again featur
5) *Moody mid-tempo afro-beat instrumental featuring guitar, muted horns
6) *Part 2 of track 5, includes a flute solo.
7) **Crashing up-tempo instrumental organ jam with a hint of afro-beat from the Whitefield Brothers (AKA the Poets of Rhythm)
8) *Waddling mid-tempo instrumental with a hard wah-wah guitar rhythm
9) **Cute female vocals over modified mid-tempo "Give It Up Turnit Loose" grove.
10) *Mid-tempo organ and horns instrumental with a long drum break
11) *Up-tempo male vocal
12) **Part 2 of track 11, vocals replaced with party sounds and guitar
13) **Great song! Straight up Fela style afro-beat with a crazy syncopated intro
14) **Part 2, with Fela style rapping and call and response with female chorus.
15) *Mid-tempo, tinny horns with some heavy analog reverb and youthful exuberance filling in the gaps of pure musicianship.
16) *Part 2 of track 15. I'm somewhat reminded of the Kashmere Stage Band, although these guys are not as good.
17) *Groovin' and building mid-tempo soul jazz (the kind popular among the acid jazz kids in the early 90s). This track is a little longer as it was originally off of a 12" single.
18) *Part 2 of track 17.
Tom Purcell, February 2003