Soul Seven

Now-Again | Oct. 18, 2008 | News | , ,

In 1969, at a small historically black school called Bishop College in Dallas, Texas, an Assistant Band Director had an idea for six students he led in the school’s Ambassador Marching Band – why not record two of the hardest-hitting funk songs of all time? Wendell Sneed, a jazz drummer par excellence who caught the funk bug around 1967 from soon-to-be bandmate Mike McKinney, assembled The Soul Seven from a multi-talented bunch attending Bishop on music scholarships. With the help of old friend Roger Boykin, another Bishop alumnus (1963), Sneed released his project on the fledgling Soultex label.

A third song from the session – a heavy duty cover of the Stax/Volt stalwarts’ “Grab That Thang” retitled “Southside Funk” – didn’t find a release until 2001, as Now Again Records’ parent company Stones Throw seven inch and as part of The Funky 16 Corners compilation. “We would take someone’s song and put our own twist to it,” trombonist and on-stage leader Charles Hunt remembers. Distilling the Soul Seven experience into one sentence, he adds, “We wanted to put out the funkiest music possible and hopefully get some gigs.”

While The Soul Seven certainly achieved Hunt’s goal, their live performances were often recorded – if at all – using one microphone, with a 1/4” reel to reel moving at the slowest speed possible. Thankfully Boykin and Sneed booked The Seven at their independently financed and produced South Dallas Pop Festival on the evening of June, 22nd 1970, and hired a professional recording engineer to document the night’s proceedings. Alongside friendly rivals The Apollo Commanders and The Black Maffia, The Soul Seven revue turned out an intense set that highlighted guests Eddie Purrell, Monica Harris and The Voices of Time and Mama Dee… and of course found the band doing what they did best – rocking the show with heavy, heavy funk.

Texas Funk, Soul, Jazz, Disco and Boogie – Soultex Records

Now-Again | Oct. 2, 2008 | Licensing | ,

Dallas’s Soultex Records, founded and run by the multi-talented Roger Boykin, has released records for the past forty years. Many of Boykin’s releases have seen reissue – or issue – on Now-Again. Now-Again represents both master and publishing on Boykin’s extensive catalog of funk, soul, jazz, psychedelia, disco and boogie music.

The SOUTH DALLAS POP FESTIVAL 1970

Egon | Aug. 22, 2003 | News | , ,

Introduced by the the Soul Seven’s Charles Hunt, who nicely sums up the last, lost thirty years by proclaiming how great – and underrated – South Dallas’s musical community was, the South Dallas Pop Festival 1970 is one of American soul and funk music’s crowning moments. From the Marchel Ivery Quintet’s funky stab at Cal Green’s rare-groove classic “Trippin” with festival promoter Roger Boykin on guitar, to the Soul Seven’s cover of “Kool and The Gang” to the heady psychedelia of the Black Maffia to the show-stopping Apollo Commanders’ rough, rugged James Brown medley of soul diva Marva Whitney’s “I Made A Mistake” and JB’s own, burly “Low Down Popcorn” – the Festival provides a glimpse into the late 60s and early 70s club nights that would have been the stuff of legend had archivists such as Boykin not chosen to document the proceedings. An incredible archival trawl.