Vincent The Soul Chef

I love music... any kind of music... as long as it's groovy.

After a decade of trial and error, here is the official website where I attempt to chronicle my forty year obsession with all things vinyl. I dedicate this endeavour lovingly and respectfully to each and every single cratedigger the world over who has offered me education and inspiration either directly or indirectly. Without you, this site, much less my record collection, would cease to exist. Thank you and enjoy.

Who is the Soul Chef?

I'm just a cratedigger who broke into the game way too late as I've said many times before. Although my musical education began with a stack of 45s given to me by my mom and uncles some four decades ago, there are still so many more lessons yet to learn. Here is the Readers Digest version of my life-long obsession with vinyl.

The story begins with a very young and impressionable 4-year-old who loved it when his mother and uncles played records on the family hi-fi. For those who are too young, they are huge pieces of furniture that house a high powered stereo system, usually a record player, radio and speakers. I still have one, although I took all the old components out and plan to replace them with more state-of-the-art stuff at some point; the speakers are still original though. I loved watching the records spin on the turntable until I would get dizzy. It was then that my life changed forever. I began a never-ending journey to find and eventually own all the music I could get my hands on. That first box of records I got as a kid brought so much joy for many years until I finally wore them out...

...and then I started to buy my own records.

I would spend my weekly allowance buying the latest soul 45s from the local department store. It was a ritual that would serve me well for many years to come. Whenever I would go to someone's house, I would always ask if they had records. If they did, I would gravitate toward the collection and study them like textbooks, looking at all the information contained on the labels and covers. I soaked it all up like a sponge, waiting for the golden opportunity to go to the stores and buy my own copies of what I saw.

...then I needed a quality record player.

First, it was a little Fisher Price model, which ironically enough is used by many and varied crate diggers to this very day. Personally, I own a Numark portable. Let's not forget the Kenner Close N Play phonograph, which I'm sure you've all had at one time or another in your lives... Then, my mother gave me her old Panasonic. It was a start, but then my uncle came home from the service with his amazing Pioneer components which he still owns to this very day. He boasts about the fact that he hasn't turned them off in decades and they still perform as good as they did when he first took it out if the box way back in the 70's. I would beg him to let me use it, but he said no. Being young and stupid, I would sneak a play or two in when he wasn't home. Of course I got caught, and I got in trouble to boot...

...the education got serious.

I learned those lessons well. I saved my money and bought some better equipment, and of course, I bought more records. At this time, MTV was a brand new invention which opened my eyes and ears to a wealth of new sounds... I learned about New Wave, and surprisingly, I went back in time and discovered the classics, rock and jazz to be specific . My taste in music matured, and subsequently my record collection grew. Even better, the public library turned out to be a valuable reference point where I could borrow lots of vinyl and make good use of the "try before you buy" credo. Eventually, I got a part time job which allowed me the luxury of buying way more records than my small bedroom could handle comfortably. I didn't care though, I wanted the records, and they sounded great on my equipment. Of course, as luck would have it, I had to have better. I started to learn how to mix records like the Hip Hop DJs I saw on television. Sadly, I only had one turntable at the time, but that would soon change...

I bought my first kit...

I started off with two mismatched decks, a cheap mixer and a reasonably powerful system, most of which was secondhand or donated. My taste in music had continued to evolve by this point. I had all the tools necessary to do it just like the personalities I heard on the radio, and I also frequented the nightclubs too, so I quickly became fascinated by watching the DJs up in the booth... I discovered more new and exciting genres, especially Gothic and Alternative, thanks to the circle of friends I hung out with at the time. Compact discs were also coming into their own, so as luck would have it, I grew a huge collection quickly. It didn't hurt that I had landed a dream job working at a record store! I learned about even more different types of music as a result of that experience; it certainly helped that I could afford buying all these new sounds because I got a great discount.

When digital recording became affordable...

I immediately bought a machine. I had been making cassette tapes for over a decade by this point. Tapes sounded great, but when I heard my first mini disc recording... WOW! I could manipulate the recordings after they were done to make them sound just right, too?!? Before, if I made a mistake on a tape, I had to start over. That was so frustrating. I am so glad that someone took the time to develop the technology that would carry me into the new millennium and the future...

Here is where all of my hard work finally pays off...

I finally learned about the power of computer technology, and how to use that power to make my music sound even better by restoring scratchy records and creating high definition audio files, and that subsequently led to crafting high quality mixtapes. That elevated my game in ways I couldn't have imagined just a few years prior, Surprisingly enough, the internet also gave me the opportunity to come full circle, meaning that my music tastes evolved to the point where I rediscovered the old sounds that I loved so much as a kid. That of course is largely due to the countless number of blogs that I had found and continue to follow wherever possible... Not only was I able to restore most of the old records that I destroyed back in the 70's, but I was privileged to meet a whole lot of good people from every corner of the globe who have the same common goal as I do.

That brings me to right here and now. After close to seven years of blogging, learning and sharing, here is my lasting contribution to the cause; a hopeful legacy that I am extremely proud to have built from scratch. I sincerely hope that you all enjoy the content found within these pages as it is truly a labour of love. Thanks for your time, enjoy, have fun(k), and as always, please be safe.

Peace and blessings. 

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