On May 10th, Truth & Soul Records/Fastlife Music presents The Majestic Collection: The Best Of Soul Fire Records. This double disc album provides the final chapter in the three year story of The Soul Fire Label, whose brief life span produced an impressive range of releases including seven vinyl full-length albums, three CD collections and over thirty singles (45s and 12").
The Soul Fire label was created in 2000 by Phillip Lehman, who amassed a deep collection (rumored to be 20,000 +) of jazz, funk, soul and afro-beat vinyl. Lehman had a vision to produce new recordings of raw, straight ahead music that would be a testament to the records he's discovered. He wanted these recordings to stand out against the tepid attempts being made by contemporary neo-soul-whatever bands and nostalgic funk revues.
After Lehman hooked up with Jeff Silverman and Leon Michels ("permanent-guest" DJs on WKCR's influential "Across 110th Street" radio show"), they assembled musicians (including Michel's band, The Might Imperials) for non-stop 24-hour recording sessions. Recording in Lehman's Manhattan living room on a four-track cassette recorder, the musicians created a classic sound learned from 60's and 70's masters but with some new ideas and influences. Even with better equipment and semi-official studios to use, the recordings were taped live and unpolished, going to 1/2" tape on reel to reel before getting edited. The space and energy in the records reflect the process and provide a signature.
This retrospective spotlights best-of, hard-to-find and previously unreleased tracks compiled for the first time together on CD. Its two discs span everything from hard funk, soul vocals, psych rock, afro-beat, break-beats, Latin jams and boogaloo and everything in between. Highlights include Lee Fields' "Problems" and "Honey Dove," The Whitefield Brothers, Massak "B.L.A. Pt.1," and tracks by El Michels Affair, JD & The Evil's Dynamite Band, The Fabulous Three and Bronx River Parkway.
The Majestic Collection is the documentation of a small, independent label that provided a unique creative space for bands and new recordings to exist under the wide canopy of soul music and outside the matrix of the mainstream record industry.