It’s an archive that other diggers have also been culling—see Toronto’s Invisible City, and their 2012 mixtape, Possibility of an Island. As a record label, Cultures of Soul took the rediscovery approach one step further by properly licensing all the tracks. That process led Deano to Charlie’s Calypso City, a record store and recording studio on Fulton Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, that boasted a thriving record label during the ’70s and ’80s. It proved a particularly reliable source of quality material. “Anything that had a Charlie’s Records sticker, I pulled it,” Deano said.
But in most cases, the tracks remain the musician’s intellectual property. That fortuitous outcome meant both an easier process for a small, independent label and the opportunity for Deano to engage directly with many of the artists. “A lot of these guys are still active musicians, still hustling,” he explained in a nod to the album title’s double meaning, a gesture to both the era’s iconic dance, and these Caribbean artists’ hardworking ethic.
A second Tropical Disco Hustle volume, featuring tracks from Barbados, St. Lucia, and elsewhere, is now in the works, with a planned release in spring 2015.
Tropical Disco Hustle is available on CD and double LP, as are selected 12”s from the compilation, here.