One of my favorite pastimes is “digging in the crates”.  That’s a New York slang term derived from the early rap era that means looking for phat beats, classic soul nuggets, lost funk treasures, and obscure rhymes in old record crates at NYC record shops.  These would be used as samples in their work.

This great pastime has been celebrated thoroughly by millions over the years and documented on several compilations.  Therefore, seeing as I spend my primary collection time digitally, I’ve used these and other self-made compilations to compile my crate collection.

Thus far, I’d say I have around a thousand songs I’ve dug up from obscurity, many that weren’t released in the US or one single and done.  Almost all have been resurrected in their full glory by these ears and, by listening to these songs, one can discern the scope and influence that would pervade the rap and hip hop sampling era.  Digging in the crates is great fun for me, and a hobby I plan on including my children

when they are old enoughI’ve found several of my favorite classic rock vinyls in old crates in Yellow Springs OH.  Place called Dingleberry’s.  Joe Walsh’s Barnstorm, Dave Mason Alone Together.  A quarter each.  Nowadays vinyls cost as much as CD’s, and some bands go strictly vinyl.  But old polished gems are out there, waiting to be found.

Here’s one from deep in the crates, circa 1976


by Thom Jurek

Expansion/Soul Brother remastered the original vinyl pressing of F.B.I.‘s one album — issued in 1976 — and put it out on CD for listeners’ edification. One listen to the soulful, spiritual, jazzed-out funky sounds of F.B.I., fronted by vocalists Root Jackson and Bonnie Wilkinson, will have you asking yourself where this record has been all your life. Like the best of the larger ensembles from the States, such as the early Earth, Wind & Fire, F.B.I.‘s sense of dynamics, texture, and rhythmic invention is original, classic, and timeless. The grooves fall hard and fast on the funky tunes such as the title track, “Talking About Love,” “The Time Is Right to Leave the City,” and “Get the Ball.” They float and drop on the listener with a chomping bassline and feisty horn arrangements. Trap drums are augmented with congas and other percussion instruments. Politically speaking, F.B.I. was in the spirit of the Gil Scott-Heron/Brian Jackson band of the time. They were community-oriented, and though their music was accomplished, slick, and full of hooks, they took no sh*t and spat out venom against hypocrisy and inequality. Heavy spiritual vibes fall around the sweet singing of Jackson and Wilkinson; when they come together, they are a two-person choir full of range, depth, and warmth. As soloists, they have original and distinctive voices that are at home in front of a large band. This may sound like an insult, but it’s meant to be a compliment: F.B.I. was every bit as fine a band as its American counterparts, erasing the insidious notion that British soul in the 1970s was somehow inferior to that of the Yank variety. This is classic and any fan of funky soul should own it.