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    Secret Stash Records

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    I recently was in touch with the fine folks over at Secret Stash Records. They are a small, independent label that specializes in releasing little-known gems, and upon visiting their site, I was immediately interested in what they had to offer.

    Imagine: Porno music from the 70's, funk from a failed 70's blaxploitation movie, and a Reggae interpretation of Miles Davis' masterpiece, Kind of Blue.

    I expressed my interest in their offerings, and they arranged to send me some copies of those three records. Before I received the LPs, I sent a quick interview off to their VP of sales to get a better idea of what Secret Stash is all about. Here is what I found out:

    Secret Stash Interview:

    Q: How did the idea for Secret Stash records come about?

    I spent the last five years selling CDs to accounts like Best Buy and Wal Mart as a sales and marketing consultant for various labels.  All of my clients were affiliated with large distributors of some sort, so just about everything we did was funneled through a third party.  I became fed up with the negativity that seems to drive that world.  Everyone from the accounts themselves to the distributors and even my clients were always very negative.  I must say, it’s hard to blame them for it though.  Each year they watch their business deteriorate at a shockingly fast rate.  Because the retail environment is so bad for compact discs, it would be really hard to have any level of success with obscure or extremely niche releases.  But, as a vinyl junkie, I began to notice that people shop for vinyl in an entirely different way than people buying CDs.  I realized that weird and rare releases could actually thrive in the vinyl world.  So far, it seems to be working, too!

    Q: What sort of music does Secret Stash market?

    Funk, soul, jazz, and world

    Q: How did you find the music that you ultimately released under your label?

    I have some friends in Nashville that are a great resource for this stuff…. But a magician never gives away his secrets.  Actually though, our upcoming release, Soviet Funk, Vol 1 just fell right into our laps.  The guy who owns the content saw what we’d been able to do with previously unreleased material and contacted us.

    Q: Anything new coming out soon?

    2/2/10 Soviet Funk, Vol 1 will be out.  We are very excited, not only because this is the coolest thing we’ve worked on yet, but also because this will be our first title to include a free downloadable version.  Check it out here: www.youtube.com/secretstashrecords

    Q: What sort of music would you like to see on your label in the future?

    We are having so much working with this soviet catalog.  It’d be really fun to find more rare gems from around the globe.  I’ve been in negotiations on some amazing black gospel music from the 60s as well.  Keep your fingers crossed on that one!

    Q: Why are you so committed to the vinyl format?

    Well, there are all the answers you’d expect… It sounds better, it’s more collectable, we love the full package experience, etc.  All of those are true by the way.  However, it really was the best business model for us.  There is so much stuff out there yet to be reissued on vinyl that we figured it was the best way to get our hands on some great content.  Also, it goes back to your first question.  It has a lot t do with the shape of compact disc business.  It’s not good and it’s only going to get worse.  We aren’t opposed to other formats, this is just what works for us.  Again, we are very excited to start offering download cards with our titles so that non-vinyl consumers can still enjoy our records.

    Q: How did you first become interested in vinyl?

    One of my fondest memories of childhood is my parents blasting Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall, obviously on vinyl.  It seemed like the whole house would shake from this amazing stereo they had.  My Mom would dance up a storm.  After I graduated college I picked up a turntable so I could spin a few records that had somehow found their way into my closet.  Then, one day my Mom gave me that copy of Off The Wall.  I had a CD reissue of it, but listening to it on vinyl again just set something off inside me.  An interesting side note: the day Michael Jackson passed away I took that LP and the copy of Thriller she had given me, framed them, and brought them over to her.  The same two records she gave away years ago because they’d been replaced by her CDs are now two of her most prized possessions.

    Q: Anything else you'd like to share with us? (Shameless promotion = OK!)
    I already slipped in the shameless plugs for our upcoming release, Soviet Funk, Volume 1.  See, it’s actually shameless because I already mentioned Soviet Funk, Volume 1 before you told me it was okay to shamelessly promote something.  Once you tell me it’s okay to talk about Soviet Funk, Volume 1 and the promo video for it (www.youtube.com/secretstashrecords) then it’s really not that shameless.  But me sir, I truly am shameless.  Seriously, be sure to check out Soviet Funk, Volume 1.

    As I was saying earlier, I had a chance to review most of the Secret Stash catalogue (Minus the Soviet Funk album), and after giving the following three albums a good listen, I have determined that Secret Stash is on to something good. Check it out...

    Reggae Interpretation of Kind of Blue:

    Kind of Blue Reggae InterpretationKind of Blue Reggae Interpretation Blue Vinyl

    Here's the story: In the early 1980's a group of reggae musicians gathered in a New York City studio, and under the direction of NYU music professor Jeremy Taylor, re-imagined Miles Davis' landmark Kind of Blue album. Unfortunately, just weeks after the recording session, Jeremy Taylor died, and the recording was never officially released. Fast forward to 2009, and the album is finally released on Secret Stash records.

    It's pressed on blue vinyl (nice), which definitely feels heavier than a typical pressing. They don't market it as a heavy vinyl pressing, but it's nice to see that they spent some $$ to press this album right. The cover art is reminiscent of the original Kind of Blue cover, and symbolizes what you'll hear on the album: It's Kind of Blue for sure, but it's different.

    So, how is it? I loved this album! It's faithful to the original, although some of the songs are shorter and less improvised. Of course, the style is more reggae, but still retains the jazzy mood of Kind of Blue. It's more modern, and has a bit more of a tropical and festive feel, but it's still very chill. This is a good one to throw on when you're just chillin out. It's also great for people who like to work with music on in the background.

    I admit that I didn't know what to expect before putting the album on, but I can say that this album will delight anybody who enjoys reggae, jazz, and the original Kind of Blue album. Enjoy!

    Links:

    Kind of Blue Reggae Interpretation at Secret Stash Records

    Porno Groove: The Sound of 70's Adult Films

    Porno Groove RecordPorno Groove Pink Vinyl

    The 1970's are considered the "golden age" of adult entertainment because at that time, budgets for some porno movies were on par with what was being released in Hollywood. These big budgets allowed for excellent quality sets, cinematography, costumes, and most importantly (errr, sorta) music. The music on Porno Groove is exactly that: music from 1970's porn; more specifically, adult movies released by Fantasy Productions. The story goes that Fantasy Productions had produced a massive catalog of content, some never before seen. When the founder and CEO of Fantasy Productions died in 1985, much of the intellectual property was tied up in various legal battles. Eventually, the son of the founder regained control of the entire Fantasy Productions catalog, and discovered a massive amount of unreleased music.

    Enter Secret Stash Records, and the Porno Groove album is released. Similar to the Reggae Interpretation of Kind of Blue, it is pressed on heavier than average vinyl, this time on hot pink vinyl. The cover features artwork from some of the Fantasy Productions movies, which of course features attractive 1970's-era ladies.

    So, how is it? Another excellent score for Secret Stash! This album is pure funk, with a little rock and jazz mixed in. It is definitely the stereotypical 70's porno music (although I did not hear much of the typical wah-wah sound that is synonymous with 70's porno music), but if you didn't know much better, you'd think this was a straight funk/rock album. I must admit, I really like this album. I feel a bit strange saying that since the music was originally intended for porn, but what the hell? Good music is good music! One thing is for sure, this music will take you back.

    So, what's the final verdict? If you're feeling nostalgic for a 1970's vibe, give this record a spin. If you like funk, you'd probably enjoy it too. Of course, if you like old school 70's porn, now is your chance to get the music part...in hi-fi!

    Links:

    Porno Groove: The Sound of 70's Adult Films at Secret Stash Records

    Mad Dog's Hustle Original Motion Picture Soundtrack:

    Mad Dog Hustle RecordMad Dog Hustle White Vinyl

    Mad Dog's Hustle is a failed 1970's blaxploitation movie that was produced by the people behind Fantasy Productions (see above). The story of this album goes that Fantasy Productions was looking to produce a more mainstream movie (and earn a mainstream audience), and Mad Dog's Hustle is what came from those efforts. Unfortunately, the movie had many financial problems during production, and was never released to a wide enough audience (6 theaters for 3 weeks in 1974) to achieve the notoriety that was hoped for. Fortunately, the Fantasy Productions people had a great ear for music, and Secret Stash was able to release the soundtrack. It's pressed on heavy white vinyl, and the cover art is pure blaxploitation: A sexy lady in a halter top with an afro, and a bad looking bald dude with a big gun. Nice.

    So, how is it? Well, if you love that gritty 70's era blaxploitation funk (think SuperFly), you'll love this album. It has a very hard-edged urban, yet soulful sound. The music helps visualize the social problems that ran rampant in the inner-cities, especially New York, during the 1970's. This album is a funky, yet emotional ride through the world of a man living on the rough edges of a society that doesn't respect or support him. Of course, it wouldn't be blaxploitation without such a premise. Despite the film's failure, the themes are very well represented in the music. This album is a bit more heavy, more emotional than the other Secret Stash albums, but I think has a bit more of a message. Overall, this album makes you think, much like the classic soundtrack for SuperFly, and is worth listening to.

    In conclusion, I'd recommend this album. It may not be as light and fun as the other two Secret Stash albums, but the quality of the music is excellent. It's funky, soulful, and visualizes the hard life of living in poverty in the inner-city. If this kind of music interests you, you gotta check it out!

    Links:

    Mad Dog's Hustle Original Motion Picture Soundtrack at Secret Stash Records

    In conclusion, the fine folks over at Secret Stash Records are doing something really cool, and if you're in to funk, soul or jazz, you should head over there now and check out what they have to offer. You may have never heard of what they release, but I am sure that you'll like what you find.

    Enjoy the music!

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