I was recently privileged to have been interviewed and asked to put together a guest mix for the excellent Grooves Crew forum and Podcast from Russia.
They host an informative site which brings together collectors and DJs from across the globe!
After conversing with host, Igor Trick, my contribution has finally hit the interwebs!
You can spot the original post HERE, but if like me your Russian isn't quite up to scratch you can catch the English translation below!
Ben Gibson (Mo' Soul) - Guest Interview & Mix For Grooves Crew (Russia)
Could you please tell a few words about yourself and your Mo' Soul project?
My name is Ben Gibson and I've been collecting records for over 25 years in one form or another. I have also been involved in DJing and hosting several nights around London including "The Hook & Sling", "Better Days" and most recently "Shake!".
My side project/blog, "Mo' Soul" is my small corner of the Internet that I use for sharing mixes, videos, news of up and coming nights and artists as well as oddities and any other things that take my interest. All loosely connected to Soul, Funk, Blues & Breaks.
When did you start collecting records? Why Vinyl? What records are you listening to right now?
As a teenager I was obsessed with collecting Indie CD singles and amassed a collection of several thousand, after saving up for my first set of turntables I started collecting Hip-Hop records and then through an interest in where the samples came from started digging backwards into Soul, Funk and R&B.
More recently my collection has expanded into Blues and early 50s Rock & Roll. At present I mainly collect 7" singles. At last count my collection was over 3000 45s plus LPs and 78s.
Could you please tell about London soul scene today? What kind of parties do you run?
The nights I run and am involved in and especially my website Mo' Soul are all about sharing the music I love with other people. Far too many people on the collecting scene focus on rarity and overlook a massive amount of great records because of this!
For me it is about enjoying the music regardless of rarity or price. If it's good and gets the dance floor moving it gets played!
I quite often see posts about live gigs on your blog. Could you please tell us about this part of London's night life?
London has an amazing music scene especially when it comes to Funk, Soul & Blues. I like to share news and reviews to help keep this scene alive!
Several parts of London are undergoing change, especially in and around Soho where iconic venues like "Madame Jo Jo's" and "The Buffalo Bar" have been closed down already so it's important to keep what we are lucky enough to have here going!
What bands have you seen on stage? What was the most amazing act?
I've been lucky enough to see some great shows whilst I've been living in London including James Brown, Lyn Collins, Lee Fields, Charles Bradley, Sharon Jones and Marva Whitney to name just a few.
Recently I caught St. Paul & The Broken Bones in Camden who were fantastic live and also up and coming soul singer, Leon Bridges who is definitely someone you should look up!
Do you have any records that you have been playing for many years? What was your first record? Do you still play it sometimes?
There are many records within my collection that I regularly return to. Ike and Tina Turner - 'It's All Over' on Warner is a firm favourite as are most of James Brown's massive output.
I'm a bit of a binger when it comes to my listening habits and will find a record I like and listen to it over and over again, picking up on all the small changes each time round, much to the annoyance of my poor Wife!
My Mothers record collection had a huge influence on me when I was young as she collected a lot of Motown and Invictus 45s which I played regularly. These are all now in my own collection and I still pull them out for a listen every now and then.
Have you ever tried to collect the whole catalogue of any label? Or perhaps all records of a particular artist/band?
For the past several years I've been working my way through collecting all of the People Records discography. This was James Browns side label that he used to showcase artists like Lyn Collins and The JBs who were associated with him.
The label features several classics that form the building blocks of modern music like Hip Hop and Breakbeat, stuff like 'Think (About It)' and 'Cross The Tracks' as well as some lesser known stuff which is equally interesting due to James Browns excellent production skills.
Best record shops in London? Your recommendations to travelling record diggers?
Soho still has a fairly thriving record shop scene. 'Sounds Of The Universe', 'Reckless Records' and 'Sister Ray' are all must visit spots with a nice selection of original LPs and 45s as well as newer release stuff as well! There are lots of fantastic records being released by modern bands.
Do we observe a revival of soul music? What are you favourite modern funk bands?
The scene is as vibrant as ever with great new stuff being released nearly every week so I would agree we are experiencing a revival at the moment.
The renewed interest in the vinyl format is definitely encouraging that! I am a big fan of "The Impellers" and "Smith & The Honey Badgers", both are definitely worth checking out!
Do you listen to any radioshows or podcasts related to soul music?
Breakin' Bread, God's Eternal Jukebox, Anne Frankenstein's Honey Dripper, Gail Smith, Larry Grogan's Funky 16 Corners, Kieran Lockyear and of course Grooves Crew to name just a few!
There's just so much great stuff out there especially on Mixcloud and Soundcloud!
How would you describe that moment when music gives you maximum pleasure?
Nothing beats that feeling a great record produces! Music is a totally emotive experience that affects people in ways that nothing else can!
My record collection says more about me than I could ever manage to put down in words!
What's your current Top 10?
These have all been favourites on regular rotation recently!
Leon Bridges - Better Man
Frankie Beverly & The Butlers - If That's What You Wanted
Prince Buster - Shaking Up Orange Street
Bobby Womack - Love Is Gonna Lift You Up
Menhanan Street Band - Home Again!
Saun & Starr - Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Shirley
Jean & The Relations - If I'd Had A Man Like You
George Benson - My Woman's Good To Me
Billy Hawks - O Baby (I Do Believe I'm Losing You)
Lee Fields - Magnolia
Ben Gibson (Mo' Soul) Guest Mix For Grooves Crew
Leon Bridges - Better Man - Columbia
The Googie Rene Combo - Smokey Jo's La La - BGP
The Young-Holt Trio - Wack Wack - Brunswick
Julie Driscoll - Save Me (Pt1) - Polydor
Ray Sharpe With The King Curtis Orchestra - Help Me (Pt1) - Atco
Unknown - Out Of Sight - White Unknown Label Test Pressing
Al Reed - 99 44/100 Pure Love - Axe
Buddy Lucas - That Thang - Mohawk
Louis Prima With Sam Butera & The Witnesses - Beep! Beep! - Capital
The "5" Royales - Right Around The Corner - King
Little Willie John - I'm Shakin' - Out Of Sight Records
Shirley Jean & The Relations - If I'd Had A Man Like You - People Records
Wee Willie & The Winners - I Don't Know What You Got But I Know What You Need (Pt1) - Shotgun Records
Thunder & Lightning - Bumpin' Bus Stop (Pt1) - Private Stock Records
Buddy Cantrell - You Ain't No Good - Now-Again Records
Ernie & The Top Notes, Inc. - Things Are Better - Fordom
Gwen McCrae - Rockin' Chair - Cat
Gangsters - Strung Out On The Boogie - Heat Records
Clausel - Let Me Love You - Up Right Records
Suan & Starr - Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah - Daptone
The Staple Singers - If You're Ready (Come Go With Me) - Stax Records
Bill Withers - Lean On Me - A&M Records