amison runs his excellent music blog, Flea Market Funk, which is…. all about funk and soul and jazz.
When we talked on the phone I shared with him my recent feeling about photographing records, and people with records. I got to a certain point in this project where I ask myself “How could I make a difference? how can I not repeat myself?”. I asked Jamison to try and think about the shoot and come, so we could both come out with something new. He answered me with confident and reassurance “Don’t worry man, come here, we’ll have fun, listen to music, and be creative”. these words and attitude excited me and gave me a rush of motivation. It’s always fun to photograph a person who digs what you do and is willing to give his time & energy to make things happen.
I took the train to meet Jamison on Asbury Park, NJ. 2 hours ride south of NYC.
He lives in a nice loft apartment, colorful and neat with his dog Brina and his cat Coltrane.
where a dog and a cat peacefully shares the same house, you know it’s a fine house.
so, without many words, please welcome Jamison Harvey, a dedicated and creative digger.
he started pulling out and play some rare 45s, and while playing them he just could not stop talking about the music, and what it makes him feel.
Q: What was your first album? How did you get it? At what age? Can you describe that feeling? Do you still have it?
A: I remember friends of my parents giving me the Rolling Stones Englands Newest Hitmakers on London when I was very young, maybe 8 or so. After that my Uncle bought me a copy of the Police Syncronicity and a Devo 45 of Whip It. I can remember getting a copy of Eric B. Paid in Full 12” Remix in of all places K Mart, and the Beastie Boys Cookie Puss 12” at some mall in South Jersey. Whenever I got music, especially vinyl at a young age (I used to sneak listens to my Dad’s collection on my little all in one stereo), it always excited me. I get the same feeling today when I dig. I also still use that Eric B. record today.
Q: What prompted you to start collecting? what age did you start ?
A: I was always into music. I suppose it was my father, who wasn’t a collector per se, but a great appreciator and fan of different genres of music that got me into it. At any given time the man could be listening to Doo Wop, Soul, Rock or Funk, and I just followed suit. He had this best of Booker T. and the MG’s he got while he was in Vietnam that I remember hearing on this old Panasonic stereo system he brought back with him. I always collected music, for as long as I can remember. I got serious about collecting vinyl in the mid 90’s
Q: Do you remember the day when you switched from being a record listener to a record collector?
A: When I discovered the beats behind Hip Hop music. I’m still looking to collect those records (of course I will play them all out…..)
Q: Why vinyl? Is it the sound of it ? or maybe the archival qualities? Or other romantic reason?
A: It’s a combination of the sound, the way you can hold it, and the album cover artwork. I fell in love with the whole look, sound and feel of vinyl. That feeling will never go away.
at this point I would like to mention how I enjoy photographing these black vinyl rounded things. I am falling in love with the physical characteristic of it, the reflections, the grooves and how it lies perfectly in your hand ( talking about 45s). Thanks to Mr. Finewine to give such a great description of that feeling, that made me see what he feels. (Eilon)
Q: How many LPs? 45s?
A: 2500-3000 Lps, roughly 1000 45’s. Not big numbers by collector standards, but my collection is definitely meaty. I’d like to think that I have some great stuff that I spent years standing in dusty basements and outside in the middle of the cold Winter or hot Summer to get. I’m proud to say that most of my collection was found at flea markets or garage sales. That’s how Flea Market Funk was born.
Q: Do you travel to find records?
A: In the warmer weather, I dig at “The Spot” 2 times a week here in NJ. I try to get on the road about once a month to hit up some places I haven’t visited before. I used to be a DJ in a band on a major label, so travelling on someone else’s dime to get records was a thing I did for about 3 years in the early 2000’s. It’s a great feeling to wake up in a new city every day and go search for vinyl.
Q: How do you organize the collection?
A: As best as I can, ha ha. My Lp’s are divided by Hip Hop (12” and Lp’s), Jazz/ Funk/ Soul, Reggae, Rock, Soundtracks, and Spoken word. It’s all alphabetical. My 45’s are in bins alphabetically by Funk and Soul, and a small bin of Latin and Reggae, plus Rock and Hip Hop. Whatever else I have lying around like Gremlins 45’s or seminars about Prejudice and Instructions on Morse Code.
Q: Any “Digger’s wars” stories?
A: At “The Spot”, it gets competitive. For a long time, I was the only guy who had a portable that was digging for Funk, Soul, and Jazz. All of a sudden there are thirty guys with portables asking me what do I think of this Soul label, and is this good, etc. I haven’t battled physically, but I’ve definitely gotten into verbal arguments with dealers or other diggers who kind of step over the line (like digging through the same crate your in). I believe in some digging etiquette. I’m sure if you ask any one of my close digging friends they will tell you that they like to laugh every time we dig because I’m always sparring with someone verbally about records.
Q: Tell me a crazy story over a certain record.
A: I once went with DJ Prime Mundo to dig in a snowstorm at some couple’s house. They claimed to have 10,000 records (a gross under estimate) and fought about what records they would sell. The climax was the husband yelling about his Black Caesar record and how there was no way he was giving it up. JB had just died and he swore it was worth thousands. Here’s one you have to print: Any story involving Stinky Steve..ask around, the stories are all crazy.
Q: What’s your partners’ reaction to this obsession?
A: Let’s just say the records have won out over many women, but my current relationship is very supportive, which is a relief. Music and records are a huge part of my life.
Q: How much is worth your most expensive record? I don’t really care about how expensive a record is. I dig for records to play. I know I have some Soul that is pricey, but I got into records really to play them (whether live, on my mixes, or to review on FleaMarketFunk.com). I never was that guy that was comfortable hanging a piece on the wall. I’d rather have 1000 dollar records of quality that I dug up as opposed to 1 record that is a grand. I need to play what I find, this music has to be preserved and heard.
Q: Out of your collection, which ones you like going back to at any given time? What makes them so special for you?
A: As far as Lps go, I have a few. King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown is a record I could listen to every day. Curtis Mayfield Live! and Marvin Gaye What’s Goin’ On are definite records I pull out to listen to while I’m writing. On the 45 tip, my most favorite record is the TNT Band “The Meditation” on Cotique. Latin Soul with a huge drum break.
Q: Dirtiest, Sexiest , Filthiest album cover you know or own?
A: I don’t own many, but the Most Requested Rhythm Band’s cover of “Got To Give It Up” record sleeve leaves something to the imagination.
Q: and what about some ridiculous covers?
A: This one speak for itself…
Q: This is your question…. Anything you want to say, add, observe, criticize ?
A: Compliment…Big Ups to The Asbury Park 45 Crew: DJ Prime Mundo (thanks for putting up with my shit all these years buddy), Jack the Ripper, DJ Bluewater, M.Fasis, Larry Grogan (the big bro I never had) and all of the guest DJs that came through who inspired me to dig deeper.
well, That is it for now.
you can catch up with Jamison @:
* Asbury Park 45 Sessions @ Asbury Lanes, A Bi-Monthly Event
* The Get Down, Friday Nights @ Mattison Park in Asbury Park, NJ
* Tasty Beats on Wednesday and every other Saturday @ the Annex in Asbury Park, NJ
Hope you enjoyed. please write down your comments, praises, complaints, advices, requests here in the comment section.
I’ll finish with a small gem that came out of Jamison’s mouth while talking about records..
“Music is meant to be heard. What good is a record if you don’t play it, and who hears it if you just play it for yourself?”
Thanks you Jamison for another amazing experience.
here is a small experiment we did with the video capabilities of my camera
trying to catch up