Daptone Records' new compilation Bad Education, Vol. 1: Soul Hits of Timmion Records -- out July 19 and premiering exclusively below -- is just a case of one kindred spirit helping out another.
Co-founder Gabriel "Bosco Mann" Roth tells Billboard that Daptone (Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Charles Bradley the Budos Band, Antibalas) and Finland's Timmion have been "friends for years." The Brooklyn company got to know Timmion artist tours in Europe, and Daptone has distributed Timmion releases in the U.S. -- most recently a joint venture on Carlton Jumel Smith's 1634 Lexington Avenue -- or helped the label get distribution for other projects.
"We'd go to Helsinki and hang out with those guys," Roth recalls. "It's a pretty small pool of labels doing this kind of music and these kinds of records. There's a lot of mutual respect and stuff. We've always tried to support them and help them out in any ways we could and help them get traction over here. More and more the last couple of years we've been talking to them about trying to take on a bigger role and help them out in a bigger way, and this is part of the first step in that." Pre-order the album here.
Curated by the full Daptone staff, Bad Education, Vol. 1 features 10 songs from the two labels' combined old school soul wheelhouse, including selections, some previously unreleased, from Smith, Nicole Willis, Bardo Martinez (aka Chicano Batman), Wanda Felicia and others. "We all weighted in, and the strange thing was most of the ones that were my favorites were other people's favorites, too," Roth notes. "It's a good way for us to celebrate their catalog in a personal way, to put together a lot of our favorite records that they put out and elevate their brand a little bit and promote the new connection."
Roth acknowledges that the Vol. 1 part of the Bad Education title is a deliberate indicator of more to come -- "That's the intention," he affirms -- and while Daptone has strong distribution throughout Europe on its own he's confident the association with Timmion will benefit his label across the pond. "People who see a Timmion Records compilation coming out on Daptone, maybe it will bring them to our web site or something," he says. "We're lucky enough to have a pretty good kind of awareness, globally, of what we're doing, but we're happy to reach out to (Timmion's) base as well."
Daptone, meanwhile, has a docket full of projects in motion. The company recently celebrated the release of its 100th vinyl 45 rpm single (the Frightnrs "Hey Brother" b/w Bosco Mann's orchestral "Soul Fugue") and has releases on the runway from James Hunter, Okinawa, Antibalas and others, as well as an upcoming label compilation called Rhythm Showcase. It's also looking at an archival concert by the late Jones and the Dap-Kings from Harlem's Apollo Theater.
"I'm excited about a lot of brand new stuff we've recorded in the last month or so; We just have to put it all in line and figure out how we can get it all out," Roth says. "That's part of the challenge for us. Since the beginning we've wanted to grow in quality, not necessarily in quality. So we try not to focus on putting out more record, just better records. But we have a lot of very, very good stuff coming, from Timmion, too, so you'll be hearing from us."
The track list for Bad Education, Vol. 1 includes (stream it below):
1. "This Is What Love Looks Like!" (Carlton Jumel Smith and Cold Diamond & Mink)
2. "Tell Me That You Love Me" (Jonny Benavidez and Cold Diamond & Mink)
3. "Lost Lost Lost" (Pratt & Moody)
4. "Paint Me In A Corner" (Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators)
5. "Scorpio Walk" (Ernie Hawks & The Soul Investigators)