Mike is my dude. We have a lot in common. Came up in collecting through the golden years of Hip-Hop and still loving it, the breaks and the samples, jazz, rare funk 45s, rare soul 45s... Such a dope, knowledgeable and humble guy. Killer deejay too. Love his #sevensonly Instagram page full of crazy mixes little mixes where he blends rare soul and funk 45s with rap acapela's and other turntable wizardry. This weekend Mike is showing us the deeper and sweeter side of his soul playbox, taking over the stream for a bit. Details on the homepage. Expects serious records being dropped. Stoked he took some time out to answer a few questions for us and share his story; something I know a few of you have been waiting for. Save 1, the stage is yours...
Tell us a bit about yourself Mike?
I am from North Providence, Rhode Island. I became interested in records at an early age. My parents had lps like Sly Stone - Dance To The Music, Beatles - Sgt Pepper, etc. I would play those albums over and over. Around age 12 my cousin gave me a crate of 80’s Hip-Hop singles, and that was around the time I asked my parents for turntables and a mixer. Around 93’ i started spinning records at school talent shows and friends bday party’s and college radio stations. Besides Hip-Hop 12’s, I started buying used soul and jazz records. I’d read everything on the back cover of rap records, primarily the print that said ‘contains a sample by’. The sampled tracks became another mission to find those old records. I have played many live shows over the last years for acts like George Clinton, KRS One, The Gza, etc. I’ve spun a night called Soul Power in Providence from years with a friend that was all sevens which was uncommon for Dj’s around my way. Besides locally I have been invited to dj at Soulelujah in Cambridge , Mass., Mr. Finewines weekly soul night at Botanica Bar in NYC, Bump & Hustle in St. Louis, and Asbury Park 45 Sessions with Dj Prestige to name a few.
Do you remember the first record you ever bought?
The first record I ever bought was Run D.M.C self titled album around 1986 i was 9 years old.
What's your fave record of all time. The one that moves you the most?
Greatest moving soul song I Jimmy Castor Bunch "It’s Just Begun". It keeps the dance floor moving and it brings back memories from my childhood from seeing people breakdance to it and hearing it in movies.
Surprising answer. Thought you would come with some of that deep stuff you love so much but yea, feeling you, that's a seminal record for a lot of us. Tell us a bit about your record collection?
I currently have around 1000 45’s and 2500 lps and 12’s. At one point I had double the amount I currently have, but i got tired of moving them around and I was never listening to certain things so I let them go...
Any records you are done with and can never put on again? Played to death?
I can’t say I’m ever done with a record, but if I don’t hear Lee Moses "Reach Out" for a while, I’m fine with it. I played that track hundreds of times and got over it, that I sold off the few copies I had.
What ranks high on your wants list nowadays?
There are two sevens I’ve been trying to lock down for years, Stone Coal White "Who Knows" on Shur N Tel which is a psych ballad from Ohio and The Ultimate Blacks "I Like To Be" Hitstown out of Maryland. A few years back I was offered a copy of The Ultimate Blacks and I thought it sounded awful, I didn’t realize all the copies were poorly pressed and I haven’t seen another one since.
Where do you source your records from? Online or in the field?
I started off diggin in the field for records, that is how I built my collection, finding records cheap, sometimes stock and selling or trading. As I grew older it was tough to get out a lot and a lot of spots have been picked over. Today I mostly buy off private lists or occasionally record websites. I’m not really into eBay. I can’t deal with the weight of an auction because most times I end up losing at the last minute. But nothings like grabbing a stack of records and looking through them for something that somebody may have missed that you are up on.
Both of us have been collecting 45s for 20+ years and we often chuckle about the prices nowadays. Especially on those records we got for a few bucks that we see go for hundreds. What do you think about this new craze for deep and sweet soul records?
The deep, sweet soul scene has grown a lot in the last few years, which is nice because you can learn something from everyone and it’s nice to see people appreciate the same music you do. The down side is that the demand has driven prices to levels that I refuse to pay. I’m sure the people that came before me felt the same way though, everything works in cycles.
Share a cool story related to your record collecting or deejaying?
Around 2010 I posted a Marshal guitar amp online for sale. Bili Sparrow from the Original Black Sheep (of the family) in West Medford, Massachusetts contacted me about it. Bili was surprised to hear that I was trying to locate him a couple years earlier for a copy of his rare seven inch release of "The Forest" b/w "Love Song (So Long)". We set up a time for the following Saturday for me to head down to his house with the guitar amp and he told me that he’d have some records present. When I arrived at his house he had a small box of records there were 8 unplayed copies of The Original Black Sheep ( of the family) record I as looking for and 2 copies of a record Bili co -produced - Forest Terry "Branch-In-Out" b/w "Satellite Love". Bili really wanted the amp and I wanted the records even more. I was offered all the records for the guitar amp, but I felt guilty so I left with the records and a few weeks later I returned with a stack of cash from the remainder of the Black Sheep 45s I sold to collectors. I informed Billy that there were a lot of people interested in those two singles and if he found more I could move them. Bili never did locate anymore records but I thought we could do a reissue of each record. In 2011 I worked out a deal with Kay-Dee Records of the Black Sheep single and in 2015 I was able to get the Forest Terry seven reissued through Athens Of The North.
Good stuff Mike. To wrap up our Q&A... Name 10 records you always keep in high rotation?
Them Two "Am I A Good Man" on Deep City
Pamoja "Only The Lonely Know" on Keiper
Reuben Bell "It’s Not That Easy" on Murco
Spoilers "Sad Man’s Land" on Turbo
Darling Dears "And I Love You" on Flower City
Forest Terry "Satellite Love" on Lost
The Sweet & Innocent "Cry Love" on Active
Doris & Kelley "You Don’t Have To Worry" on Brunswick
Helene Smith "True Love Don’t Grown On Trees" on Deep City
Joe Brown & The Soul Eldorados "Vibration Pt.2" on F.F.A.
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