Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | TOC: Keepin It Real
LOST & FOUND: REAL R&B AND SOUL
Compiled by Keb Darge and Paul Weller
soul \sõl\ adj + jump•blues \jəmp-blüz \ n + ret•ro \re-trõ\adj
For DJs who are as much historians as they are floor fillers, tracing club music to its roots is an obsession. For jocks of this ilk, the catalog of BBE Records, known for its reissues, is like a wet dream. With the label’s latest, London duo Keb Darge and Paul Weller praise new batches of noteworthy dusty grooves.
Darge almost single-handedly spearheaded the Northern soul resurgence in the U.K., unearthing rare U.S. funk, soul and R&B since the early ’70s. For his latest in the Lost & Found series, the Scottish DJ is joined by Paul Weller, frontman for the Jam and a cornerstone of the mod scene—and a rock star who boasts an enviable soul collection. Both 51, the pair found kindred spirits in each other, joining forces for Darge’s Lost & Found parties at London’s Madame JoJo’s.
Following the first edition’s rockabilly and jump blues, the attention turns to R&B and early soul. Darge and Weller’s mission is clear: to prove the worth of lesser-known talent stretching beyond the familiar voices of Motown. Hearing the aching soul of “You Don’t Love Me” from the Epitome of Sound or the yearning melancholy of “Come on Back” from the Brothers of Soul, you’d never know you weren’t listening to the Philly soul of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes or the Detroit doo-wop of the Temptations.
When not discovering new artists, Darge and Weller uncover obscure B-sides from names we know, like Bobby “Blue” Bland, whose “Honey Child” has him sounding like a male version of Nina Simone, or the Tijuana Brass soul of “Wear It on Your Face” by Chicagoans the Dells.
It might be hard to imagine the masses stomping and swinging to soul music on a Saturday night at Crescendo, but Darge and Weller’s parties often swell to upwards of 500 people. This collection shows why.
—Joshua P. Ferguson