20 Years ago the Groove Merchant record store opened its doors on Haight Street in San Francisco. The rare funk, soul and jazz emporium became a mecca for collectors, DJs, music fans and producers.
It was also the birthplace for the Luv N'Haight and Ubiquity Record labels.
To celebrate this anniversary, Groove Merchant Record store owner Chris Veltri is collaborating with Luv N’Haight and has compiled a tasty selection of 14 musical treats that range from soulful disco to dusty funky folk, and beyond. The forthcoming full-length album will be packaged for release on CD, and super limited edition 7 x 7” box set with an exclusive poster by Props/Wax Poetics designer Freddy Anzures.
Liner notes will be by Oliver Wang of Soul-Sides.com
, who says, “It’s no surprise that the GM has become far more than a retail space. Especially on weekends, you’re likely to find a small block party of disc junkies in attendance; all you need is a BBQ and lemonade stand on the corner of Haight and Pierce to make the cipher complete.”
With Veltri at the helm, this anniversary compilation takes off into unexpected directions. Whether you’re listening to the cozy soulfulness of April Fulladosa’s folk tune “Sunlit Horizon” and the bouncy, handclap groove of Numonics’ modern soul jammer “You Lied” or the uber-chill, moogy mellowness of September’s stump, the diversity reflects just a sliver of the surprises to be found within the GM’s curated crates. Frankie Gee "Date with the Rain" is a nice funky disco version of the song also covered by Eddie Kendricks (a Dimitri from Paris fave) and Lois Johnson "Be Mine" is an obscure and uplifting Bay Area soul 7" that could be mistaken for something new by Alice Russell.
The point of the album (and the store) isn’t just to be obscure, or to present only super-expensive jams (although many are included.) The point is to put together a compilation that presents the eclectic outlook of a friendly, well-stocked record store, which is run by music enthusiasts. This is a shop where the only “in-store” you’re likely to catch is a conversation about dope psychedelic Korean funk jams, fueled by a pack of Negro Modelos. That free-flowing, easy-going vibe carries over into the selections on this album.
Within a year of opening, the small Groove Merchant record shop had built a reputation the world over as a place to find rare records and learn about new sounds. Within a year of opening, the small Groove Merchant record shop had built a reputation the world over as a place to find rare records and learn about new sounds. Collectors, DJs, and producers came in to look for soul jazz, musical obscurities, and break beats, and the Groove Merchant even earned a toast on the Beastie Boys song "Professor Booty", "This one goes out to my man the Groove Merchant, comin' through with the beats that I've been searchin'," rapped Mike D. on 1992's Check Your Head album. With a few dollars and little knowledge of the record business, the Luv N' Haight record label (named after the Sly and The Family Stone song) was launched from within the store. In 1993 the company incorporated as Ubiquity Recordings releasing an instant hit-record from a then unknown DJ called Greyboy.
Long live the Groove Merchant!