“Are record collectors simply purveyors of popular culture or are they its greatest protectors?” That’s a question filmmaker Anthony Ladesich asks in this new short doc entitled Forty-Five: The Search for Soul. Clocking in just over ten minutes, this documentary follows Kansas City, MO DJ Johnny Starke aka Johnny 2Tone, as he goes on a search for forgotten (willfully and not willfully) soul records throughout thrift shops, record store, and the wherever old, dusty vinyl can be found. Proving straight up that this vinyl record thing is his life’s work, not just a hobby, Starke talks about his obsessive collecting, and more importantly, his mission to save these records from obscurity. Like many of us who have made record collecting a priority and do it for a living, Starke also plays the role of historian as well, putting these tunes back where they belong: on the turntable. This turntable then broadcasts to the people, and breathes new life into a piece of black gold that would otherwise been lost to obscurity. What’s really interesting about this documentary, is that it’s updated for modern times, and brings the argument (which goes on everyday in the DJ community in real life and within online communities), if you dig it up on
the internet, does it count as really digging it up? It’s a perspective that you may not have thought of, and adds a twist to the film. Beautifully shot, it is indeed a narrative on getting rare records by any means necessary to not just satisfy your soul, but expose newer generations to this music that would never have been heard if a DJ like Starke never dug it up. Starke adds “Our longterm goal is to keep adding high quality video content to the rare soul and funk world. To keep creating additional ways for us to share our love of old records and the musicians who made them.” We say right on brother, keep preserving that culture, one forty five at a time.