Posted by: Necci – May 14, 2012
The Soulpower parties are all about rare Soul and Funk records that never became hits. “We focus on the lesser known, even obscure artists that never got their big break back in the day and are mostly forgotten today,” DJ Pari says. One of those artists is Washington D.C. native Sir Joe Quarterman – who enjoys the status of a legend in the scene of rare Funk collectors, but is little known in music mainstream.
Quarterman, who earned the title “Sir” in high school, formed his group The Free Soul in the late 1960s and played in the same local music circles as Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers. In 1973, he released his biggest hit to date, the incredibly funky “(I Got) So much Trouble In My Mind,” which reached the R&B Top 30 in 1973, and is a must-have record for every serious Funk DJ. Sampled numerous times over the decades, “Trouble” was also released on the soundtrack for the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. After this hit, Sir Joe Quarterman released a number of follow-ups and retired from the music business in the late 1970s to pursue a career as an architect.
In 2009, he teamed up with DJ Pari's Soulpower booking agency, and has toured Europe several times since – he'll return to play some more dates in England, Germany, and Italy next month. He has also enjoyed recent success as a songwriter, penning “No Time For Dreaming,” released by Charles Bradley on Daptone Records.
All this makes him the logical choice to perform at Soulpower's anniversary party in RVA. Guests at Balliceaux have danced to his hit “(I got) So much Trouble on my Mind” - on May 19th, they can dance to the real deal!
In time for the Soulpower Anniversary Celebration Weekend, Sir Joe Quarterman chats with RVA Mag.
It's safe to say that every Funk DJ in the world has played your hit record "So Much Trouble In My Mind" at least once, but probably many more times after that. How do you feel about that?
It makes me feel good to know that my “son,” "(I Got) So Much Trouble In My Mind" is still appreciated after all these years (40 years). I have been to clubs and parties and the DJ would break out my song. I was in Philly last year at a club where the DJ (Fat Joe, I believe) heard I was in the house. He then asked me to sing along with the recording, live on air, and we briefly spoke on the air afterwards. It was really thrilling.
You're considered a Funk legend, but most mainstream music listeners probably don't know who you are. What is Sir Joe Quarterman all about?
I have fun with music. I love it when the musical parts come together in sync and when the words get married to the music. I'm a music minister; I marry music to poetry. I consider myself a writer first, a producer second, and a singer third.
After your hit records in the early 1970s, you took a long break from the music business... but now you're back in the game. Have people re-discovered the Funk?
I took a break from the music business to be with my family. I'm back now to finish what I started. I only gave the world a taste of my music. There is so much more to come. I do not believe people have "re-discovered" the Funk; I believe it is something they never got enough of. For the new generation, it is something like they never had before, they can't understand it, but still they want some more.
You're from Washington D.C., which is almost in the neighborhood. Have you ever performed in Richmond before, and if yes, what was it like?
In the mid 1960's I attended Virginia State College in Petersburg, VA, [now Virginia State University] and I had the opportunity to play in Richmond. I was a trumpet player. I played with a band called the Magnificent Seven and we played concerts with other acts in Richmond, Roanoke, Charlottesville, and [at] small dance halls and clubs in the vicinity. It was, of course, a different crowd then.
On May 19th, you will perform with the Funk Ark at Balliceaux to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Soulpower in Richmond. What is your association with Soulpower?
Soulpower has revitalized my soul by having faith in me and booking me internationally; I'm thankful. It is a delight that they have invited me and The Funk Ark to perform at their fifth anniversary celebration.
To those who haven't yet decided to come to Balliceaux, what would you tell them what they can expect at your show?
For those who need a reason to come out and have a good time, this is it. You can expect to be entertained with genuine, real, funky music, that will make you want to dance and hang loose.
Sir Joe Quarterman will perform on Saturday, May 19 at Balliceaux (203 N. Lombardy St.) as part of the Soulpower Five Years In RVA Celebration Weekend. Also performing will be The Funk Ark, Grits N' Gravy DJ Team, DJ Lord Thomas, and Mike Murphy. Show starts at 10:30 PM; tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. For more information on this event and Soulpower's entire Celebration Weekend, click HERE, or visit Soulpower's website HERE.