Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Vincent The Soul Chef

I am honoured to have Baltimore's Vincent The Soul Chef as my latest guest castaway, washed ashore on a lonely island in the sea.
Who is The Soul Chef ?

"I'm just a cratedigger who broke into the game way too late as I've said many times before. Although my musical education began with a stack of 45's given to me by my mom and uncles some four decades ago, there are still so many more lessons yet to learn. That first box of records I got as a kid brought so much joy for many years until I finally wore them out...

...and then I started to buy my own records.

I would spend my weekly allowance buying the latest soul 45's from the local department store. It was a ritual that would serve me well for many years to come. Whenever I would go to someone's house, I would always ask if they had records. If they did, I would gravitate toward the collection and study them like textbooks, looking at all the information contained on the labels and covers. I soaked it all up like a sponge, waiting for the golden opportunity to go to the stores and buy my own copies of what I saw.

...then I needed a quality record player.

My mother gave me her old Panasonic. It was a start, but then my uncle came home from the service with his amazing Pioneer components which he still owns to this very day. He boasts about the fact that he hasn't turned them off in decades and they still perform as good as they did when he first took it out if the box way back in the 70's. I would beg him to let me use it, but he said no. Being young and stupid, I would sneak a play or two in when he wasn't home. Of course I got caught, and I got in trouble to boot...

...the education got serious.

I learned those lessons well. I saved my money and bought some better equipment, and of course, I bought more records. At this time, MTV was a brand new invention which opened my eyes and ears to a wealth of new sounds... I learned about New Wave, and surprisingly, I went back in time and discovered the classics, rock and jazz to be specific . My taste in music matured, and subsequently my record collection grew. Even better, the public library turned out to be a valuable reference point where I could borrow lots of vinyl and make good use of the "try before you buy" credo. Eventually, I got a part time job which allowed me the luxury of buying way more records than my small bedroom could handle comfortably. I didn't care though, I wanted the records, and they sounded great on my equipment. Of course, as luck would have it, I had to have better. I started to learn how to mix records like the Hip Hop DJs I saw on television. Sadly, I only had one turntable at the time, but that would soon change...

I bought my first kit...

I started off with two mismatched decks, a cheap mixer and a reasonably powerful system, most of which was secondhand or donated. My taste in music had continued to evolve by this point. I had all the tools necessary to do it just like the personalities I heard on the radio, and I also frequented the nightclubs too, so I quickly became fascinated by watching the DJs up in the booth... I discovered more new and exciting genres, especially Gothic and Alternative, thanks to the circle of friends I hung out with at the time. Compact discs were also coming into their own, so as luck would have it, I grew a huge collection quickly. It didn't hurt that I had landed a dream job working at a record store! I learned about even more different types of music as a result of that experience; it certainly helped that I could afford buying all these new sounds because I got a great discount.

When digital recording became affordable...

I immediately bought a machine. I had been making cassette tapes for over a decade by this point. Tapes sounded great, but when I heard my first mini disc recording... WOW! I could manipulate the recordings after they were done to make them sound just right, too?!? Before, if I made a mistake on a tape, I had to start over. That was so frustrating. I am so glad that someone took the time to develop the technology that would carry me into the new millennium and the future...

Here is where all of my hard work finally pays off...

I finally learned about the power of computer technology, and how to use that power to make my music sound even better by restoring scratchy records and creating high definition audio files, and that subsequently led to crafting high quality mixtapes. That elevated my game in ways I couldn't have imagined just a few years prior, Surprisingly enough, the internet also gave me the opportunity to come full circle, meaning that my music tastes evolved to the point where I rediscovered the old sounds that I loved so much as a kid. That of course is largely due to the countless number of blogs that I had found and continue to follow wherever possible... Not only was I able to restore most of the old records that I destroyed back in the 70's, but I was privileged to meet a whole lot of good people from every corner of the globe who have the same common goal as I do.

That brings me to right here and now. After close to seven years of blogging, learning and sharing, here ( is my lasting contribution to the cause; a hopeful legacy that I am extremely proud to have built from scratch. I sincerely hope that you all enjoy the content found within the pages as it is truly a labour of love."


"Call me an armchair DJ, yes. Call me a lover of music, definitely. I've been collecting music in many and varied formats seriously since I was fifteen, but my real education began when I was five. I've told that story more than once, and will tell it again in its entirety very soon. For all intents and purposes, and to seriously limit myself to five records, I will try to choose one tune from each decade that just floored me and changed my life."

Gladys Knight & The Pips - Got Myself A Good Man 

"In the 70's the one disc that got me started on my quest would have to be 'Got Myself A Good Man' by Gladys Knight & The Pips. It was just one of the many 45's that were handed down to me by my mom and uncles back in 1973. The funk that emanates from this side still just does things to my soul after all this time. The other side may have been the hit ('The Nitty Gritty'), but good God almighty... "

Cocteau Twins - Lorelei

"In the 80's, the amount of music I was exposed to was so varied that it is really hard to pinpoint just one tune. New Wave and Goth permeated my very being during this period, so I will have to choose one of my all time favourite tunes featuring my all time favourite singer, Liz Fraser. At that time the Cocteau Twins were basically all I listened to, so 'Lorelei' has to be the obvious choice. From arguably their best album 'Treasure'."

Spanky & Our Gang - Like To Get To Know You

"In the 90's, I met a woman who introduced me to what we now know as golden oldies. The local station at the time forced me to spend a grip on reissue 45's, all of which I still treasure to this day. The one that stands out above all the rest has got to be Spanky & Our Gang's "Like To Get To Know You". It could have also been "Pretty Ballerina" from The Left Banke, but that would go against the format... "

Rotary Connection - Respect

"At the turn of the century, I was still enamoured by the oldies, but it was then that I discovered and started to acquire Rotary Connection albums and 45's. Without a doubt, the most important track from this grossly underrated Chicago outfit has got to be their cover of Otis Redding's 'Respect'. This version fits in right nicely with the Neo-Soul tunes that were also dominating my listening time, and rightly so since I still contend that the late Minnie Riperton is the unnamed godmother of the movement."

Lyman Woodard Organization - Creative Musicians

"Finally we come to the present day, and my current collection of rare Funk and Soul 45's are basically all I play anymore. There's no conceivable way that I can narrow it down to one favourite track from the assortment of records I've bought since 2003, but if it were an all or nothing decision, I would have to choose 'Creative Musicians' from The Lyman Woodward Organization. Hands down, it is the embodiment of what makes rare funk 45's so appealing in my opinion, plus it has such a wonderful organ groove... "


If you have enjoyed Vincent's distinctive music choices, then you will love picking up on his mixtapes... click on the banners below to visit some of his excellent sites :

The Soul Chef's Fufu Stew on Mixcloud

The Fufu Stew Blog

Vincent The Soul Chef on Facebook