We're gonna start our new Meet the Collectors series with one of the nicest, sweetest, most humble soul lovers you could ever have the pleasure to meet. Kev and myself met up the first time in person when he invited me to play some tunes at his Sweet Deep & Soulful All Dayer in the UK, alongside Anthony 'Akro1' Perez from Cali and UK heavy hitters Chris Huggins, Andy Etheridge, Pete Foster, Gaz Simon and of course Kev himself. What a day and night that was. The tunage was insane and beers flowed like water. These dudes can drink! Kev was vibing and singing along, giving everybody cuddles on every occasion (basically each song), telling how much he loved us and shedding a tear when the deepest of songs stung him in the heart like a dagger. That my friends, is true love for the music and a seldom seen passion. So without further ado, let's have a chat with this fine gentleman...
Introduce yourself good man :)
Kev Cane, from Aycliffe Village, County Durham in the beautiful North East of England.
I am a co founder of the Sweet, Deep and Soulful All Dayers in the UK. Our aim is to showcase rare Sweet Soul, Deep Soul and Group Harmony Soul, making it the main event instead of being confined to a non prime slot or a token gesture in a side room.
Tell us a bit about how you got started with loving and collecting soul music Kev. Take us through your journey?
Started collecting Soul records around 1976, I remember buying an Isaac Hayes "Golden Hour" album, a Barry White album and the immortal "What's going on " Marvin Gaye album.
Even before that, 1972, 1973 etc, I remember the charts were awash with great records from Motown and Philly, I remember liking, and still do, Billy Paul "Me and Mrs Jones", Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes "If You Don't Know Me By Now, Stylistics "You Make Me Feel Brand New", Spinners "Ghetto Child" and Marvin and Diana "You Are Everything". My mates were all into Glam Rock, I didn't know the term "Soul" at the time, but my taste was developing.
Newton Aycliffe was a massive Northern Soul town during my formative years. I frequented the regular local nights and All Dayers in the region, a few visits to Blackpool Mecca etc, but my trips away weren't so frequent as my mates. I was embarking on a footballing career, so for a lot of years kept myself right. By the time I was 16 I was listening to Deep Soul, a lot of Womack, Sam Dees, Don Covay, Loleatta Holloway, Laura Lee, Jimmy Lewis and the likes.
My pro football career ended, I was playing semi professional from 1982 onwards. The scene was changing for the better in my opinion by the mid 1980s. Wigan and several big Northern Soul nights finished. We missed the iconic Stafford nighters which was massively influential in changing the concept, mid tempo Group Harmony soul was in. We started frequenting the 100 Club, Guy Hennigans Empress Ballroom nighters at both Blackburn and Mexborough. The sound, concept and appreciation of the slower stuff was clearly evident, right up my street! No 100mph stompers and pop records. Eventually, as time went on, the well in my opinion had dried. By about 2012 I was looking on YouTube, I was going on the channels of the West Coast guys in California; Sleeps, Duke of Soul, Sigs, Rene Ruelas, Vic Vasquez, Angel Garcia and Sal Perez. I was absolutely blown away. I thought to myself, WHERE THE FUCK HAVE I BEEN all these years! Completely changed my concept. Even though I was well into Sweet Soul, Deep Soul and Group stuff, this was a different league. A different level in fact. I regularly speak to these guys with awesome taste and collections, I am so glad and grateful I found them.
What's in your opinion the greatest, most moving soul song of all time? The one that hits you straight into the heart?
That's a tough question, there's literally thousands, and I don't exaggerate in saying this, but there's 4 Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, album versions of both "I Miss You" and "Be For Real".
Sam Cooke, "A Change Is Gonna Come. George Perkins "Keep On Trying".
Love it that you name fabulous songs that any soul enthusiast can get for cheap on vinyl instead of something ultra-rare which you could have easily done given your collection. On that note, tell us about your collection. How many records do you own? And how do you organize them?
I honestly don't know how many records I have you could possibly gauge by the photo. I try to file in categories: "The rarer Sweet, Deep and Group stuff", "The not so rare Sweet, Deep and Group stuff" plus 60s, 70s and Crossover stuff. As for albums, I reckon 400 upwards.
How do you source your records? In the field (stores, record fairs, flea markets) or online?
Digging is difficult in the UK for Sweet Soul and Group Harmony, imo. In the 80s and 90s every man and his dog went to the States looking for stuff, mainly to supply the dance driven if divided scene over here. All the good stuff that wasn't deemed feasible, danceable for the scene was left behind, the Stateside collectors have cleaned up. I remember before the internet, it took me 10 years to find a copy of The Voice Masters "Two Lovers" on Frisco. Obviously it came from the States via Discoveries magazine. Stuff like that wasn't really available over here, so buying now is obviously via internet for me.
Are there any records you are tired of hearing? That are played to death?
There's none I am tired of or played to death. I can pull something out after month's, even years and enjoy it all over again, I do it regularly.
Is there a record you have been trying to find for years that you still haven’t found? What’s your biggest want?
As far as wants go, ironically, after a seven year search I acquired The Big Daddy Graham Trio "Pretty Little Girl of Mine" on CAM. So, now I'd love a copy of Joe Walker's "We Need Each Other" on Sing Song and X-Cessors "Silent Weapon" on Lu Tall.
Collecting deep and sweet soul records has become quite popular over the last years while before it was limited to certain regions or subcultures. How do you feel about that? What do you think about the state of the scene?
I can only speak for the UK. The Sweet Soul, Group Soul scene, imho, is practically non existent over here. Just a handful of serious collectors. In fact, I include the whole of the European scene in that. A bit cynical I know, but if I said otherwise, then I wouldn't be telling the truth. Soul collectors over here will spend shed loads on so called big dancefloor records, but the same people who say they like the Sweet and slower stuff wouldn't pay out serious money for stuff they couldn't play out at a gig. As for the price of stuff going through the roof, I think there's increased interest Stateside, in a lot of cases, records that weren't that much not so long ago, because of only a minority being interested, we're finding that perhaps there's not enough to go around, there's fewer copies about than initially thought, simple case of supply and demand.
Can you share a cool story related to your record collecting? Something that happened while looking for records? A special moment?
An outstanding memory I have comes from when myself and my fellow collector mate, Gaz Simon were digging for stuff at Martin Koppells unit in Toronto, Canada. We were covered in dust going through the mountains of boxes. 3 black guys who were DJs in the New York area had come to buy Soul records from Martin. He had a player on the counter and was playing stuff for them they didn't know. They were very enthusiastic. Then from out of the speakers came the horns of the intro to Darrell Banks "Open The Door To Your Heart". These guys, after about a minute, were whooping, high-fiving and hugging. Me and Gaz looked at each other, we both said, "aye, what a fucking brilliant record". It's right, we take so much for granted. The thrill those guys got from a soul record they'd heard for the first time, will never forget that.
What are the top 10 records you currently have in heavy rotation in your soul cave?
Big Daddy Graham Trio "Pretty Little Girl of Mine"
Loveseed "Being Alone"
George Campbell "So Much Love"
Sly, Slick & the Wicked "Turn On Your Love Light"
Final Seconds "Lost On A Highway"
Ultimate Blacks "I Like To Be"
Epics "Walk In The Limelight"
Charles Swain, David Tolbert & the Black Liberation Band "I Still Love You"
Religious Souls "Sinner Man" (the 45 version)
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