Eccentric Soul: The Outskirts Of Deep City [Vinyl]
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When Willie Clarke picked me up at the Fort Lauderdale airport in June of 2005, I had no idea what I was getting into. I had never been to Miami, and my knowledge of its celebrated soul history was informed by just a stack of TK-related 45s, sixty pages of Jeff Lemlich's Savage Lost, and a rough discography of the Deep City and associated labels. As Willie's sun-baked Nissan Sentra merged onto I-595, I popped in the ''Deep City Sound'' mix tape I'd made for the trip, and for the next few hours we drove around Overtown and Liberty City, glimpsing stray dogs everywhere, listening to that cassette over and over, me filling the pages of a little blue notebook, while Willie gushed a fountain of nicknames, places, gangs, songs, girls, money lost, Florida Marlins stats, traffic patterns, and expletives. We hit all his old haunts: corners, nightclubs, strip joints, flophouses, the barbeque joint where Johnny's Records used to be, and Helene Smith's house around back. We were supposed to be making a record, but instead we were just hanging out. An odd friendship was forged that weekend, one that would have my phone ringing at all hours of the night and eventually lead us into Deep City's distant outskirts. The tale of the misfits of FAMU's Marching 100 band was told in great detail on 2006's Eccentric Soul: The Deep City Label, and other than a few names, a dozen photos, and a handful of tracks, that story remains largely intact. Left unexplored, though, were so many side quests and side labels, those narrow roads leading out from the center of Deep City and into the suburbs: the Reid, Sun Cut, and Lloyd labels. Outside that urban sprawl, arrowed road signs sent us to Concho and Solid Soul (Population: 1), and the highway narrowed from four lanes to two. Way out there, inside a closet that time forgot, a box of tapes was waiting. Willie had mentioned these mysterious tapes to me on that first trip, and my mouth watered at the possibility of visiting his ex-wife's place
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