The name Keb Darge has been a synonym for vinyl record culture for the past four decades. The outspoken Scotsman, responsible for starting more than his share of music scenes for the past 40 years, knows all too well the ups and downs of a record collector. Having owned and sold many of the world's rarest records in his lifetime, he has seen the many of these leave his record box more than once, without regrets. Credited for discovering unknown records and bringing them to the public, Mr. Darge has been adamant about one thing: the music.
Sometime in the 1990s, I walked into Jack's Records in Red Bank, NJ and bought Blow Your Headphones by The Herbaliser without even hearing it. I had been turned on previously to them from some other music lover that passed it on to me. I dug it. Their brand of funk, soul, and jazz filled with samples and superbly crafted hip-hop beats had me nodding my head before, so I was sure they wouldn't let me down this time. They didn't.
As a young photographer shooting and devouring music in the underground clubs of Tel Aviv in the late ’90s and early 2000s, I became acquainted with the DJ Food record Kaleidoscope. I listened enraptured to its jazzy, sophisticated sounds, particularly the track “The Aging Young Rebel.” I didn’t know whose deep voice was captivating me so much, but it stuck with me.
When a window opens in Questlove’s schedule—even if it’s very last-minute and on July 4—you take it. As drummer for the legendary hip-hop band the Roots, bandleader for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, professor at New York University, and round-the-clock DJ, Questlove rarely gets a break in his schedule.
I first met Billy and Miriam of Norton Records and Kicks Books at one the Big Ten Inch parties that ran out of Brooklyn, spinning mostly old 78 RPM records. We then got to know each other even closer when hurricane Sandy hit their warehouses in Red Hook and flooded their entire stock. I was living a few blocks away and immediately ran over to help them salvage the records, recruit other volunteers, and bring my camera along to film the disaster.