BAY AREA FUNK DEUX


Soft Touch: Plenty of Action
From 7″ (Sundance, 1976)

Project Soul: Ebony
From 7″ (196/7?)

Both available on Bay Area Funk 2.

I meant to post about this weeks ago but lost it in the shuffle. Following up on the excellence of the first Bay Area Funk compilation, the folks at Ubiquity/Luv N’ Haight went out and commissioned a second volume. This new one, in particular, was curated with help from my good friend Justin Torres so I knew the selections would be built on insanely rare – and insanely good – slices of local Yay soulfulness and funkitude.

The Soft Touch was something I had never heard before – love the vocal touch on it by this mid-70s Oakland group. Singles like this always always intrigue me – it’s the only thing the group ever released – you wonder what other potential might have been lurking there.

As for the Project Soul…it’s a crazy Holy Grail 45 in the Bay Area. I first learned about it back in the late ’90s when a friend of mine had found it whilst digging and that set off a lot of interest in tracking down more copies since it’s 1) unfathomably obscure and 2) the high school students (you read that right) playing on it eventually grew up to form ConFunkShun. As good as that back story is, I also enjoyed what Justin told Soulstrut in regards to how he managed to track down his copy:

    “Here’s how I got this record: 1) Went to Vallejo to track down a copy. 2) Tracked group to their Elementary School. 3) Which lead me to the High School that the band attended. 4) Tracked down Felton Pilate’s music teacher. 5) Got mothers phone number from said music teacher and called her. 6) Mother gave me Felton’s cell phone number. 6) Felton doesn’t have record…and the search starts over from the beginning. After a year of research and talking to most of the band members a copy surfaced and landed in my homeboy’s hands. After two weeks of tough trading, the record arrived on my desk at work. Mint, played twice, and now has a home among my other local 45s.”

By the way, for my folks in the Bay – there’s a record release party for the comp tonight at the Elbo Room. Three of my fave DJs: Cool Chris, Vinnie Esparza and Kitty are spinning.

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