When it comes to antisocial, overly obsessive fans, Trekkers seem to get all the credit. But if there's one thing that we learned from High Fidelity, it's that record collectors can be just as bad. Case in point: Phillip Lehman and Jeff Silverman, the heads of New York City's funk-revivalist Soul Fire Records. These guys will spend days in damp basements, digging through sagging boxes of dusty old 45s, looking for original pressings of obscure classics like "Tighten Up" by Billy Ball and the Majestics' "Funky Chick."
Lehman, who is originally from France, moved to New York in 1995 and started Desco Records with partner Gabriel Roth, releasing limited edition funk-soul-boogaloo recordings from '70s survivors like Lee Fields, Sharon Jones, and Neal Sugarman.
After Desco dissolved in late 2000, Lehman linked up with Silverman to form Soul Fire. The label continues in approximately the same direction as Desco, shepherding well-pedigreed funk musicians into their studios and recording hard-hitting James Brown-inspired jams. Needless to say, when it comes to recording, these guys put a huge emphasis on lo-fi, analog quality in order to get the roughest, most authentic sound possible. Check out the results at Nitty Gritty, a monthly event at Touch that debuts this week, with Lehman and Silverman blazing through a set that's sure to include some Soul Fire cuts and plenty of funk and soul classics.