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Most 'northern' Motown hit..


Joesoap
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Okay, this isn't a thread about 'what's your fave Motown northern soul record?' It's about which of their records that was a big hit, influenced the sound that which we know as 'northern soul' now.

The success of Motown is surely, undeniably the number one, key factor that led to the records being made that later got championed by and made the northern soul scene. Motown was the breakthrough and had loads of success and then loads of other people tried to make records that sounded like Motown records, right?

My question is, which of Motown's hits had the biggest influence on the sound we love? Commentators often cite, 'I Can't Help Myself' but I'm not sure about that. It's a good record but a bit polished and 'poppy'...My vote would go to 'Nowhere to Run' -it's got that harder, relentless impetus, a breathtaking tempo that gets you going, a really committed vocal and some ragged edges that add to its beauty (the wayward piano, tinkling in and out of the mix towards the end). Very sophisticated piece of work but sounds totally non-contrived and spontaneous. I can imagine aspiring artists hearing it at the time and thinking 'We can have a go at doing something like that!' Its stamp is all over loads of classics of the rare soul scene.

Am I stating the obvious here? Wouldn't be the first time. Any other suggestions or thoughts? (..and 'Frank Wilson' is not a valid answer, for what I hope are obvious reasons!)

:-)

 

Edited by JoeSoap
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I think you probably have to look at the Motown stuff which was played in the late 60's and early 70's in youth clubs and the "soul" clubs, when the "northern scene" was in its infancy.  None of it was especially rare, nor were there any obscure album tracks or unreleased items. From around 1970, the ones which I remember most vividly are:-

4 Tops      Reach out, Can't help myself, Something about you.

Temps.     Ain't too proud to beg

Smokey etc.   Whole lotta shakin

Tammi.      This old heart of mine

Marvin.   Little Darlin

Supremes.   Back in my arms again, Nothing but heartaches

Earl V Dyke.   Six by six

SR Strings.   Festival time

Kim Weston.  Helpless

Elgins.   Heaven must have sent you

Martha & Vandellas.  Nowhere to run, Third finger...., Jimmy Mack

Velvelettes. Needle in a haystack, These things will....., He was really saying something 

Mary Wells    My guy

Stevie W   Uptight, Nothing's too good for my baby

fast forward to '72 or '73, and you can include the likes of Tell me it's just a rumour, I ain't going nowhere, and Ain't no sun since you ever been gone by Gladys and the Pips. 

probably lots of others that I can't remember due to being too tired right now!

All pretty common and fairly commercial sounds, most of them also top twenty hits. But, to me, they were the ones I remember being played, and whichever way you look at them, they all have that certain "something" that most quality "northern" sounds have. Feel free to tear me apart if you wish!

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No, it's all good. My question was about the influence Motown records had on other less successful records. But I suppose it is a bit chicken and egg - the ones that influenced the northern sound are also the same ones that subsequently got played and influenced our tastes!

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Chicken and egg? Yeah, true! 

Its pretty well documented about how the "Motown Sound" influenced many other labels and studios, who hoped to replicate their commercial success. Then again, you can look at certain other areas of the USA back in the 60s, and it was a very different sound indeed. Still had a major influence on what some kids in the north of England danced to.

All the Motown records which I feel influenced our scene were just common or garden general release discs. Some sold a handful, some millions.

Motown records really did influence the early northern scene, as did completely different sounds such as the Stax-Atlantic stuff. But those sounds are now viewed as incredibly common. You'd be just as liable to hear 6x6 and Soothe me at the Wheel as you would the rarer tunes. 

Just my two penneth, for what it's worth, and I'm sure many will disagree, or have a completely different take on it!

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I had, nowhere to run in my head as soon as I heard the title of the thread. Good call it about sums it up for me in terms of a northern motown sound. I I think stevie's ''uptight' deserves a mention for its sheer ferocity,  as does juniors 'Road runner' reminds me of a lot of the wheel stuff. 

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Most of what I would have picked are already listed. I think these deserve a mention-

1) Contours- "Just A Little Misunderstanding"

2) Isley Brothers- "This Old Heart Of Mine"

3) Kim Weston- "Take Me In Your Arms"

4) Martha & the Vandellas- "Dancing In The Street"

5) Marvelettes- "I'll Keep Holding On "

 

Edited by the yank
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Three or four that I think helped the northern scene along.

six by six.... E Van dyke

Uptight...Stevie wonder.

Tell me its just a rumour ...Isley Bros.

Behind a painted smile...Isley bros

and the Four Tops something about you baby all regular plays in early soul clubs

Edited by PeteSi
wrong title
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Cant disagree with any already mentioned a few more are

Contours Baby Hit And Run

Francis Nero Keep on Loving Me

Edwin Starr Backstreet, Agent Double O Soul

Isley Bros I Guess I'll Always Love

Temps (Girl) Why You Wanna Make Me Blue

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I think we definitely have to include some of Edwin's early stuff, but if I had to pick one which had an influence on the very early days of the late 60's scene, it's be Stop her on sight. Closely followed by Headline News. Then again, do we class Edwin as Motown during this period, as Ric-Tic was still an independent company, and all his UK releases were on Polydor? 

"Tell me it just a rumour" I'd disagree with, as I would with Gladys's "Aint no sun...." Both, if I remember correctly, were broken by Levine in '72, the Isleys at The Torch, and Gladys was a biggie at the Mecca. Both were also album tracks at the time, I think. The timing of these is at odds with what the OP was on about....I think! BTW, I used to play that Gladys track at the Magnet in Oldham in '74. Went down a storm when sandwiched between the O'Jays Looky Looky and Mitch's Devil with a blue dress. Don't think we'd see many dancing at 100mph to those three, one after the other, nowadays! (Sorry, found a tangent there, and ran along it for a while :-))

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Aah, the Magnet. 1974 was a very good year! Tales to tell, but probably not on a public forum 😂😂😂😂😂

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Read My Lips , I am sure original poster Joe Soap ,like me would be screaming!

The Question was , Which motown USA, hit influenced record producers of the era e.g. 65 and nowhere to run etc, not a plethora of 6by 6,s ,rumour ,etc played by uk  Dj,s'.

My Answer, None! directly, the Black Record Music Industry ,Like the Pop equivalant ,would have noted market trends ; The supremes had 5 No 1,s ,Uptempo Soul dance music was happening ,baby,motown was the most Prolific and succesfull. So other indy producers followed the dollar, and yes produced similar sounds to have the dreamed of Hit!

 

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I wouldn't call "Festival Time" a "Motown hit".  It had no sales in North America on Ric Tic, and none on Gordy.  Same for "6 By 6" on Soul.  The OP asked for Motown hits.  Maybe they would count as Motown hits if their Tamla-Motown releases were high on the charts in The UK.  Were those 2 really "big hits" on the Pop charts in The UK?

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Guest Spain pete

Strange one from me , blue eyed , R dean Taylor , ghost in my house.   , marmite record  s\ w\ n \SOUL🎶

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Ghost.... is more often than not absolutely slaughtered by people. But, in the summer of 74, it was an absolute monster at the casino. No-one, and I mean NO_ONE, had a bad word to say about it. Anyone who was there at the time, and now says that its no more than crappy pop record, is forgetting that they loved it as much as anyone else. Definitely a part of Northern history, so in many ways, not a strange choice at all.

 

However, if we're talking blue eyed Motown, then I'd probably have to go back a few years further than the early days of the Casino. Debbie Dean's "Why am I loving' you" at The Torch, or what about Chris Clark "Loves gone bad" before that.

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How about the underdogs version of love's gone bad, OK not a UK hit,  did it get a UK release? but common enough on vip, and so must have done OK US. Thinking  of records like the deadbeats and some of the currently popular garage influenced records its definitely left an impression. 

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Pretty sure it was never released in the UK.  Not even sure about its commercial success, or lack of, in the 'States.  Positive I never heard it played back in the early seventies though. Saying that, had it been played, I could easily have seen it being fairly well received. Stands up well next to much of the blue eyed stuff such as Dean P, Mitch R, Rufus L, Wayne F, Spencer DG, Dusty etc. 

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9 hours ago, Joey said:

Pretty sure it was never released in the UK.  Not even sure about its commercial success, or lack of, in the 'States.  Positive I never heard it played back in the early seventies though. Saying that, had it been played, I could easily have seen it being fairly well received. Stands up well next to much of the blue eyed stuff such as Dean P, Mitch R, Rufus L, Wayne F, Spencer DG, Dusty etc. 

I'm sure that The Underdogs' "Love's Gone Bad" didn't chart nationally in USA, and probably only got local sales in Detroit because they had a local following in Detroit's Garage Band scene.  They played locally at The Hideout, and a few other venues, and were quite popular from 1966-68.  But, their national sales were likely minimal. They didn't even get play in Seattle, which had a thriving "Garage scene" (Sonics, Wailers, etc.).

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40 minutes ago, carty said:

Barbara  R andolph , I   Got a Feeling , another youth club/ early northern  sound .

Never remember the 4 Tops being played at my old youth club, always the Barbara Randolph version. Quality tune.

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On ‎02‎/‎02‎/‎2018 at 00:15, Joey said:

I think you probably have to look at the Motown stuff which was played in the late 60's and early 70's in youth clubs and the "soul" clubs, when the "northern scene" was in its infancy.  None of it was especially rare, nor were there any obscure album tracks or unreleased items. From around 1970, the ones which I remember most vividly are:-

4 Tops      Reach out, Can't help myself, Something about you.

Temps.     Ain't too proud to beg

Smokey etc.   Whole lotta shakin

Tammi.      This old heart of mine

Marvin.   Little Darlin

Supremes.   Back in my arms again, Nothing but heartaches

Earl V Dyke.   Six by six

SR Strings.   Festival time

Kim Weston.  Helpless

Elgins.   Heaven must have sent you

Martha & Vandellas.  Nowhere to run, Third finger...., Jimmy Mack

Velvelettes. Needle in a haystack, These things will....., He was really saying something 

Mary Wells    My guy

Stevie W   Uptight, Nothing's too good for my baby

fast forward to '72 or '73, and you can include the likes of Tell me it's just a rumour, I ain't going nowhere, and Ain't no sun since you ever been gone by Gladys and the Pips. 

probably lots of others that I can't remember due to being too tired right now!

All pretty common and fairly commercial sounds, most of them also top twenty hits. But, to me, they were the ones I remember being played, and whichever way you look at them, they all have that certain "something" that most quality "northern" sounds have. Feel free to tear me apart if you wish!

Hi JOEY , Sometimes Tracks Have An Older Side Than Is Generally Known ? , E.G. Soul Venue In 1967 "Redfearns - HYDE " Used To Play " Isley Brothers - Tell Me It's Just A Rumour "  From The L.P. " Soul On The Rocks " The Follow Up L.P. To " This Old Heart Of Mine " ( Old School ) .

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Never went to Redfearns. Way too young! Have heard mention of the place though, many, many years ago. I never knew that Tell me..... had been played on the scene prior to 72 when Levine played it at the Mecca and Torch. Still one of my all time favourite Motown tunes.  I actually had the album prior to that, one of the first Motown LPs I ever bought. Second hand from a stall on Oldham market.  

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On ‎03‎/‎02‎/‎2018 at 19:12, Joey said:

Ghost.... is more often than not absolutely slaughtered by people. But, in the summer of 74, it was an absolute monster at the casino. No-one, and I mean NO_ONE, had a bad word to say about it. Anyone who was there at the time, and now says that its no more than crappy pop record, is forgetting that they loved it as much as anyone else. Definitely a part of Northern history, so in many ways, not a strange choice at all.

 

It was! Ghost In My House was massive everywhere in '74, even "common" nightclubs :yes:

Always loved the UK B side - "Let's Go Somewhere Baby". That was also hammered around the clubs in '74. Shame, but don't think I heard it played out ever since then until, lo and behold, a Spanish dj spun it at Cleethorpes Weekender on the Saturday afternoon international dj session :ohmy::thumbup:

Edited by Stubbsy
correction
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1 hour ago, KevH said:

Gladys - Just walk in my shoes.

Her best, regardless of what anyone may say.  Big, big sound back when. Epitomises exactly what a "northern" Motown sound is.

Edited by Guest
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I If we're talking early influences on the American music scene as it pertains to our little corner would you have to go back to Money and Barrett Strong, especially considering his other contributions, very R&B but thats the overwhelming influence.

 

Was going to suggest Smokey's GTOGG but on a double check it's '65 but still no doubt an influence, would also agree on ntr by Martha. Isn't the rumour that Barrett Strong dragged chains across the studio floor till his knuckles bled?

Edited by jam66
Darn autocorrect
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In the Complete Motown Singles- 1964, they write about  Ivy Jo Hunter dragging the  chains across the floor for "Dancing In the Street".

The chains are used  again for "Nowhere..." and  they were said to be  Ivy Jo's idea.

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On ‎08‎/‎02‎/‎2018 at 00:11, Joey said:

Never went to Redfearns. Way too young! Have heard mention of the place though, many, many years ago. I never knew that Tell me..... had been played on the scene prior to 72 when Levine played it at the Mecca and Torch. Still one of my all time favourite Motown tunes.  I actually had the album prior to that, one of the first Motown LPs I ever bought. Second hand from a stall on Oldham market.  

Also Played At Readfearns in 1968  " Ghost In My House " R. Dean Taylor And " Take A Chance On Me Baby " - Eddie Holland From The U.K. Issued L.P. Motown Memories ( The One With A Black Cover And Photos Of Houses With Cadilacs Parked Outside ) Supposed To Be Owned By Motown Artist !

Other Lp's Played Darrell Banks " Arrives " & " Is Here "  Atco/Volt , Freddie Butler " A Dab Of " Kapp , Alvin Cash " Twine Time " Mar-v-Lus  , Great Times 

IMG_0940.JPG

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2 minutes ago, earlvandykes6 said:

Also Played At Readfearns in 1968  " Ghost In My House " R. Dean Taylor And " Take A Chance On Me Baby " - Eddie Holland From The U.K. Issued L.P. Motown Memories ( The One With A Black Cover And Photos Of Houses With Cadilacs Parked Outside ) Supposed To Be Owned By Motown Artist !

Other Lp's Played Darrell Banks " Arrives " & " Is Here "  Atco/Volt , Freddie Butler " A Dab Of " Kapp , Alvin Cash " Twine Time " Mar-v-Lus  , Great Times 

IMG_0940.JPG

When I was doing a little DJing back in 74, I found it difficult to build up much of a box to use. Reason being, back then, I only collected British labels. The first "imports" were being sold just about everywhere, even in High Street record shops, but no-one really had a clue as to whether they were kosher or not. Turns out, they weren't! So, buying UK originals, was, in my opinion, the only way to be absolutely sure of a records provenance. I had a pretty good collection, which would be worth quite a lot nowadays, (probably running into six figures), but many people wanted to listen and dance to the current Wigan sounds, rather than quality/underplayed oldies. My solution was to try to play one or two unknown album tracks in every spot. To do this, I also built up quite a nice collection of LPs. Again, I knew they were legitimate, as no LPs were ever booted. I actually played quite a few tracks that went on to become fairly big ten to thirty years later, (Jackie Wilson "Because of you" immediately springs to mind), but back then, they bombed! Not fast enough probably! BTW, "Twine Time"? Haven't heard it in decades if I'm honest. Must track it down on YouTube later!

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22 hours ago, the yank said:

In the Complete Motown Singles- 1964, they write about  Ivy Jo Hunter dragging the  chains across the floor for "Dancing In the Street".

The chains are used  again for "Nowhere..." and  they were said to be  Ivy Jo's idea.

Cheers, knew I'd heard something along those lines another Chinese whisper perhaps as I had it in my mind that Barrett was who'd done it. Think I've added to the whisper by quoting it elsewhere. Oops!

Edited by jam66
Grammar
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