Anyone who has seen the movie “High Fidelity” knows that most independent record store owners secretly wish they were musicians.
Andy Noble was no exception. While running a record store in Milwaukee that specialized in obscure soul music, he met a forgotten soul singer from the 1970s named Black Wolf. Soon they got to recording together, forming Kings Go Forth. Things took off quickly from there, with the band getting signed to Talking Heads frontman David Byrne’s record label and touring nationally.
amNY spoke with Noble.
How did you get to know Black Wolf?
We met through my store. He was friends with so many people from Milwaukee who were involved with R&B from the ’60s and ’70s. I told him I could make him money if he’d help me find old records.
Why is old-fashioned soul music making such a comeback right now?
It’s because of the Internet. There were all these disconnected scenes around soul music, like the Northern Soul scene in England. When the Internet came out, Americans found out about them. I think the energy appealed to kids in America who grew up with rock music. It also formed the template for modern hip-hop. It’s funny that this music had to go all the way around the world to come back to us.
Kings Go Forth is often described as “retro.” How do you feel about that?
Some of the groups that open for us [are] retro bands: They wear ’60s suits and don’t do anything a ‘60s band wouldn’t do. They try to re-create that era. We’re not trying to take anyone back in time. I don’t want to copy James Brown — I just want to play good music.
Where are good places to find old soul singles in New York?
The best shops are in the Village: Big City Records, A1 Records and Good Records.
If you go: Kings Go Forth are at Southpaw on Saturday at 9 p.m., 125 Fifth Ave., Brooklyn, 718-230-0236