Where Fans of Rare Retro Soul Get Their Groove on
Matt Weingarden was running late. Clutching a box of records, he asked the couple from the window seat at the candlelit bar to relocate. He bussed a pint glass via their table, set up two turntables along using a mixer, along with set his records up on the windowsill. Switches were flipped. Knobs were turned. A green light blinked on. Finally, he put the needle down.
“I’m Drunk along with Real High (from the Spirit of God),” 1 by the little-known crooner Ada Richards, poured lo-fi, up-tempo beats into the room.
About 15 people milled about. Some snapped fingers. Some clapped hands. A group started off dancing.
Every Wednesday for the last 23 years, at around 9:30 p.m., whether there’s a blizzard or a heat wave, Mr. Weingarden, a.k.a. D.J. Mr. Fine Wine, shows up at Botanica, an unassuming bar on East Houston Street using a music-rich past. Here he plays obscure vinyl, mostly soul, via the 1960s along with ’70s. He plays seven-inch singles exclusively.
Fans along with collectors of Motown-era music come via all over to hear Mr. Weingarden spin via his collection of some 20,000 45s.
During the 1960s along with ’70s, Detroit had a “huge” underground scene, said Mr. Weingarden. Thousands of records never got picked up for distribution, so originals sat in garages or landed in random shops, along with they have become collectors’ items. Some sell for thousands.
While soul was made all over the country, much of Mr. Weingarden’s collection is usually via Detroit, where he grew up. “I like that will the best along with collect that will the most,” said the D.J., 54, who works as a copy editor at People magazine.
Mr. Weingarden is usually known for his unique mix, which includes funk, boogaloo, R&B along with gospel. His radio show, “Downtown Soulville,” which airs Friday nights at 8 on WFMU, has run for 24 years. The Village Voice in 2011 called that will the best radio show from the city.
Richard Lewis, a.k.a. D.J. Honky, arrived at Botanica using a large bag of records. He works in finance, although his passion is usually tracking down rare soul.
“Matt has stuff that will nobody knows along with nobody has heard of,” Mr. Lewis said. “that will’s the thing about soul music. You think you know that will pretty well, along with someone plays all 5 records you’ve never heard before.”
On a lucky Wednesday, for instance, you might hear Brenda Jo Harris on “Great Old Standby,” a track she cut in 1967 amid the Detroit riots. that will’s likely the only place you’ll hear that will, because, according to the record dealer who sold that will to Mr. Weingarden, that will’s one of only two known copies.
Some old friends had gathered at the end of the bar along with, with bopping heads, bantered in British accents (soul is usually big from the United Kingdom).
Adey Pierce, a record collector via Gloucestershire, England, greeted the group. Mr. Weingarden is usually huge from the soul universe, Mr. Pierce said. “He’s legendary worldwide.”
At a table near the back, Kamal Barron, 25, of the Bronx, sat with his high school sweetheart, Jasmine Rosario, 24. “His selection right currently is usually incredible,” Mr. Barron said.
“I usually don’t like bars,” Ms. Rosario said. “although I can deal with that will.”
Ben Wright danced near the D.J. table. “I come here almost every week,” said the video editor, 39, of Bushwick.
Mr. Wright said that will hearing rare music is usually therapeutic for him.
“There is usually that will sense of discovery that will, as adults, we don’t have anymore,” Mr. Wright said. “When you hear something brand-new, that will makes you young again.”
Soul Singles via Matt Weingarden’s Collection of 45s
SOULFUL TWO “Fi-Yi Dance” (Pure Soul Music)
CHYVONNE SCOTT, “I’m Moving On” (Alto)
DEE DEE BARNES, “Do What You Wanna’ Do” (Arctic)
MARVIN GAYE, “that will’s a Desperate Situation” (Tamla)
CURTIS KING, “You Took the Best of Me” (Ronze)
BROTHERS OF SOUL, “Dream” (Shock)