By Fred Dintenfass   Published Sep 30, 2004 at 5:38 AM

{image1}"Everybody falls backwards into soul," says DJ Flavor Dav (Dave Monroe), host -- along with his rotating lineup of guests DJs -- of the Soul Hole on Monday nights at Riverwest mainstay, the Foundation.

"The beauty of the night," Monroe says, "has been that everybody seems to have soul records, or at least be familiar with them." Stop by Monday and get a whole lot more familiar as Flavor Dav and friends dig deep into "the unmined recesses of the golden age of black dance music."

The Soul Hole started last winter when Monroe was a resident guest at the Super Noble Brothers' long-running, but now defunct, Mod Night at Mad Planet. After a short time at the Foundation, Monroe began bringing in a recurring range of guest stars including local rock, funk, hip hop, Jamaican and even country and western DJs, collectors and musicians (I am sometimes one of these guests).

Monroe plays almost entirely 45s, obscure and underappreciated gems from "the 'long sixties' of soul music, from roughly, 1957-'73." Monroe doesn't mind an occasional "hit"' and he welcomes requests so long as, he says, "people understand that no one brings out every possible record on any given night." He will do his best, though, searching through his records for something, "like it but better."

Part of the Soul Hole's unspoken dual agenda is to broaden our understanding of soul music and of the music we listen to now. Monroe and most of the guest DJs worked their way "backward" towards soul music from '60s rock, mod, reggae and hip hop. The connections go well beyond samples, although Monroe plays a number of tracks sampled by hip hop artists (like Freddie Scott's soul classic "(You) Got What I Need," which became the basis for Biz Markie's hip hop hit "Just a Friend").

People enjoy recognizing samples and covers and Monroe has quite a collection of what he calls, "unexpected covers of familiar favorites," like the wrenching version of "Gimme Shelter" recorded by Stones backup singer Merry Clayton or Etta James' romp through Sonny and Cher's "I Got You, Babe."

But as Monroe points out, the connections lie even deeper.

"The history of American, Anglo-American, and transatlantic (think also Jamaica, Cuba, Brazil) popular music has in large part been the history of the metamorphoses and hybrid vigor of African music in the Americas and Europe and beyond."

Monroe sees '60s soul as a touch point for all these diverse musical cultures and years of Billboard charts back him up. Bob Marley was heavily influenced by the r&b and doo wop coming out the United States in the '60s; the Rolling Stones were notoriously fixated with Sun Records and the musical traditions of the American South from blues to r&b; even Duane Allman recorded as a sideman for Atlantic Records (he lights a fire under Wilson Pickett's "Hey Jude"). Monroe adds, "think of how many Motown numbers the Beatles covered."

Flavor Dav's current Faves with his comments:

  • Marlena Shaw, "Let's Go Wade in the Water" ("perhaps the single coolest track ever recorded")

  • Etta James, "Seven Day Fool" ("a riot grrrl classic, avant la letter")

  • Maggie Thrett, "Soupy" ("Thrett was one of 'Mudd's Women' in the 'Star Trek' episode of that title and De La Soul sampled the song for 'Jennifa Taught Me'")

And of course...

  • Henry Lumpkin, "Soul is Taking Over"

That's a good thing.

The Foundation is located at 2718 N. Bremen St. The Soul Hole is every Monday from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. There is no cover. For more info call (414) 374-2587. Monroe's upcoming guests are Little Rock (Sept. 27), Prince Ruff (Oct. 4) and Trail Boss Tim Cook (Oct. 11).