[SOUL ON WAX] Growing up in a predominantly black area of Memphis, Tenn., Casey Minatrea was born with soul music practically coded into her DNA. Needless to say, moving to Portland in 2003 was a bit of a culture shock. "No one danced," she says. So when she began spinning obscure soul and R&B records once a month at Rotture five years ago under the name Beyondadoubt, there was little indication the night would become a hit. "I thought me and my 70 friends from North Portland would be the only ones there," she says. "Then it got bigger and bigger."
On Thursday, Dec. 8, the popular I've Got a Hole in My Soul monthly celebrates its fifth anniversary, expanding to two floors and welcoming three guest DJs (WFMU's Mr. Fine Wine; Make-Up frontman Ian Svenonius; and Jonathan Toubin, host of the New York-based roving dance party Soul Clap and Dance-Off). Willamette Week asked Minatrea, 32, about some of her favorite 45s to drop on audiences over the last five years.
"I'm Not Your Regular Woman," Lucille Mathis
"Social commentary-wise, it's a mind-blowing song. It's about this woman, and I can't tell if she's the man's maid or if she just has that role because she's the woman, but she's like, 'I'm not your regular woman/ You just keep me to do your day work/ I'm just a little girl who loves you/ Employed to do your day work.' I always think of it as a theme song, because I'm not like a regular woman at all."
"You Don't Care," Leon Gardner
"It has this haunting R&B quality. I remember when I met [WFMU DJ] Mr. Fine Wine, he asked me, 'What's your favorite song?' I told him that one, and he was like, 'Do you pitch it up at all when you play it?' And I was like, 'No, I play it at this speed.' You lose some people when you drop the tempo, but whatever. Maybe they need a break, or to get a drink."
"The Get It," Bo Dud and Johnny Twist
"It's one of those songs one of my friends in Memphis turned me on to. They'll do a soul night in Memphis, and no one will go, but there will be some old guy who'll sit in the back and listen all night. When my friend gave the record to me, he said a guy came up and thanked him, because he played on it. That's another thing being from a town that has roots in that music: You're playing for the people who made the music over 40 years ago."
"Can You Win," Charlene and the Soul Serenaders
"I put it on every mix I've made for the past two years. Some of my friends in Memphis are serious record guys, and they went to her house. She gave them two of the private press ones and three of the ones from Volt. Those are the guys who I wanted to impress when I started the soul night. I want Memphis to be proud of me. Everything I do has to live up to the standard of where I'm from."
SEE IT: I've Got a Hole in My Soul is 9 pm Thursday, Dec. 8, at Rotture and Branx, 315 SE 3rd Ave. $5.