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BabyBoyAndMyLass

The blurred line...

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Always intrigued me from my earliest days of being interested in Soul music, where do we as individuals consider the line to be between Northern Soul and Disco? Many sounds popular on the NS scene, to me, and often to the original artists themselves belong in the category of early Disco. Benny Troy being an obvious example, Benny stated in interviews that when he made IWGYT he was aiming it squarely at the Disco movement with a view to having a hit in the Studio 54 vein. Another example huge to the NS scene is Bits 'n' Pieces KORA, an obvious deviation from sounds such as The Belles, Jackie Lee, Bobby Relf/Garrett.

Interested to hear other people's personal views on where the line is drawn from Blues/Jazz/Funk/Soul/Disco obviously the term 'Crossover' was adopted from the whole 'Fusion' idea of different genres bleeding into one another, everyone is going to have a different view on this as their level of tolerance within the music will have an effect as to where their personal line is drawn, some not being fans of the other genres that combine to make the variety of music that we have termed 'Northern Soul'. Nowadays there is great variety within the canon with Delta Blues sounds coming in as well as the RnB side, a couple of examples of what can only be described as Blues that have taken off on the scene would be Hayes Cotton 'Black Wings Has My Angel' and Jimmy Frazer 'Of Hopes And Dreams And Tombstones'.

So yeah, obvs no definitive answer this is gonna be a personal take on what makes a record fall into the Disco bracket, perhaps to the point where we wouldn't want to hear it at a Soul event.

Sounds posted to illustrate the point most welcome! :hatsoff2: 

 

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The NS scene played soul but also loads of crap pop songs that you could dance to.

The MS scene played mainly class items, many having a much higher soul content than lots of NS (even if the backing on some was a tad on the disco side of things).

The Disco scene played class tracks like Philly soul but mixed them in with pure shite from the likes of the Village People, Ritchie Family, Garys Gang, Boney M, Gibson Bros, Pet Shop Boys, Madonna.

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17 minutes ago, Spain pete said:

Simple answer to a simple question from me.   no lines no barriers just good soulful music is what  it has always been, without the need to  draw any  Prejudice's from different genres , what  would the soul scene be like with them ?

With you on that one brother , ban the different categories and pigeon holing of this music we love apart from funky edged n R n B 🤣  

Steve

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22 hours ago, BabyBoyAndMyLass said:

Always intrigued me from my earliest days of being interested in Soul music, where do we as individuals consider the line to be between Northern Soul and Disco? Many sounds popular on the NS scene, to me, and often to the original artists themselves belong in the category of early Disco. Benny Troy being an obvious example, Benny stated in interviews that when he made IWGYT he was aiming it squarely at the Disco movement with a view to having a hit in the Studio 54 vein. Another example huge to the NS scene is Bits 'n' Pieces KORA, an obvious deviation from sounds such as The Belles, Jackie Lee, Bobby Relf/Garrett.

Interested to hear other people's personal views on where the line is drawn from Blues/Jazz/Funk/Soul/Disco obviously the term 'Crossover' was adopted from the whole 'Fusion' idea of different genres bleeding into one another, everyone is going to have a different view on this as their level of tolerance within the music will have an effect as to where their personal line is drawn, some not being fans of the other genres that combine to make the variety of music that we have termed 'Northern Soul'. Nowadays there is great variety within the canon with Delta Blues sounds coming in as well as the RnB side, a couple of examples of what can only be described as Blues that have taken off on the scene would be Hayes Cotton 'Black Wings Has My Angel' and Jimmy Frazer 'Of Hopes And Dreams And Tombstones'.

So yeah, obvs no definitive answer this is gonna be a personal take on what makes a record fall into the Disco bracket, perhaps to the point where we wouldn't want to hear it at a Soul event.

Sounds posted to illustrate the point most welcome! :hatsoff2: 

 

No need for  a blurred line  that's what's screwed the scene up in the first place pigeon holing the music so we end up with a few hundred still wanting new fresh sounds and everyone else in a time warp.  Not how it should be. 

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52 minutes ago, speedlimit said:

No need for  a blurred line  that's what's screwed the scene up in the first place pigeon holing the music so we end up with a few hundred still wanting new fresh sounds and everyone else in a time warp.  Not how it should be. 

Bit daft comment, if you didn't somehow classify it, how would you know you weren't going to a 'normal' disco or niteclub?

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As is clear from threads like this it's almost impossible to separate music from 'politics' in a social sense.

Adventurous collectors and DJs bring a track to your attention, it might be bang on the most typical type of music that is broadly accepted as Northern, or it might be quite an extreme tangent but just kind of still seems 'ok' to you when you hear it - the crucial thing is you hear it in a context that encourages you to give it some space and to listen and put your normal preferences on hold for a bit. 

It can be anything from the old tape-swopping to hearing a track you don't know at a venue where you're enjoying the atmosphere through to just finding a 45 you've not heard of while out record-hunting and getting it home and thinking "it's got something, it could sort of get played out". But for all of these you might hear the exact same record at a moment when you're just not ready for it, and you shut down and ignore it.

Personally I love the feeling that I can tell what I consider to be 'Northern' (and for me that doesn't just mean oldies / '60s) and yet haven't got a clue how to express that here or to people I know who are interested in "So what is this Northern Soul stuff?"

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7 hours ago, BabyBoyAndMyLass said:

Bit daft comment, if you didn't somehow classify it, how would you know you weren't going to a 'normal' disco or niteclub?

Not wishing to be adversial in any way Baby boy, but Chalky and Speed limit are on the money this time. Firstly if you need a poster or a label to tell you you're in the right place you probably shouldn't be there. And secondly, absolutely the best thing about Stafford was that just about anything could be played, and often was.

If it feels good and all that...

Edited by Rich B

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16 minutes ago, Rich B said:

absolutely the best thing about Stafford was that just about anything could be played, and often was.

If it feels good and all that...

Cat and pigeons here but the Casino got slated for playing just about anything but it was ok for Stafford  ? :wicked:double standards or what. Who's going to be the first to take the bait. 🦈

Steve 

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This subject has been debated continuously for donkeys years. I remember Richard Searling posted his modern soul top 50 in about 1982 and the words disco music were fired at him. His reply was that the club djs of the day would have rejected 49 of those tracks on dance beat alone with only Arthur Adams "You got the floor" being accepted.

Mark C😜

Ps...True Image always reminds me of Gonzalez - I haven't stopped dancing yet....

Edited by professorturnups

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It’s all a bit of a blur to me. Once we called the 70’s sounds ‘Newies’ but now we call it ‘Crossover’. Disco sounds or rather commercial nightclub music can be soulful hence it being appreciated by those with the gift of good taste. There’s Rare Soul and commercial soul but both have their merits and of course their weaknesses. The genres offer some context, if only for conversation - not all soul music is the same so pigeon holes help to differentiate things. The main thing is though, if it’s soulful, it’s good and that’s what really counts.

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4 hours ago, Winsford Soul said:

Cat and pigeons here but the Casino got slated for playing just about anything but it was ok for Stafford  ? :wicked:double standards or what. Who's going to be the first to take the bait. 🦈

Steve 

Me!

I'm sure from some of the posts that you missed the part where I said I'm a big fan of Disco music...I love it.

My question was where the individual draws the line, it wasn't a love it or hate it thing an individual opinion I sought. The records I posted both soul plays, technically both pure disco, I love 'em. 

As the soul music progressed it bled into a new movement, the uptempo 4/4 dance stuff that we eventually called Disco, does anyone consider Disco aint got no soul? I doubt that.

It's all dancin' muzak.

Maybe because I'm a musician with an insight into the mechanics of it, I'm misunderstood, but if you're assigning a designation to a type of music you have to have reasons for calling it such, maybe I should ask what makes you differentiate between a soul track and a heavy metal track? What does 'Soulfull' mean? Etc, but I don't.

So where does the line come between soul and Disco?

And if this subject has been put to bed, please enlighten me as to where that line is? Please.

For the record for those who don't fully read threads, I love Disco, just where does the line start? Is Earth Wind and fire soulful? I'd say so. Is the Commodores? I'd say so, does it just all bleed in together? What about jazz/Blues/RnB...?

I know I'm playing games now, but it was an individual answer I wanted, no one can state categorically what the answer is, if they think they can they're delusional.

I was looking for the emotional line because lets face it, I have been to enough allniters where the punters have said 'the music is shite' to know that this mindset does exist. 

It's a great thread because it's subjective there is no answer the interest for me and the reason for starting it is an interest in the individual's point of view as it simply can't be categorised but everyone has an opinion on this. Better answers required.

One good answer was the Earl Young one, but with respect, that was the only half decent one so far! 

The records so far have been great! 

 

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Interesting to see that a lot are basically saying 'if I like it, it's modern soul, if I don't it's disco' - if it's 70s and danceable it's ALL aimed at a disco of one sort or another (as was 60s essentially) and is therefore 'disco'. Don't forget that Gloria Scott came out on Casablanca - the most 'notorious' of all disco labels.

The problem is that people are conflating REAL disco with the cash-in pop garbage by the likes of the Bee Gees, Abba and Cliff Richard - when straight white folks jumped on what had been a pretty hardcore mainly gay and/or black and/or latino scene with more in common with Northern Soul culturally (and musically in terms of the early 70s clubs like The Loft) than it did with Saturday Night Fever.

Dx

Edited by DaveNPete

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Whilst Disco is derived from the French discothèque it isn't a simple as saying everything is aimed at being played in a disco, that isn't what the disco we refer to is.  Whilst disco of which we refer to was played in the clubs it is a genre of music in its own right and not about the place.

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11 hours ago, professorturnups said:

This subject has been debated continuously for donkeys years. I remember Richard Searling posted his modern soul top 50 in about 1982 and the words disco music were fired at him. His reply was that the club djs of the day would have rejected 49 of those tracks on dance beat alone with only Arthur Adams "You got the floor" being accepted.

Mark C😜

Ps...True Image always reminds me of Gonzalez - I haven't stopped dancing yet....

true image and gonzales have `yet` in the song and the title is sung in a similar key but thats where the similarity ends i think

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41 minutes ago, Winsford Soul said:

Wasn't the Casino voted best disco in the world in 1978 taking the title from studio 54 in New York.  

Steve 

Kev Roberts reckoned the 'vote' was simply based on claimed membership numbers and the assumption that the huge membership meant it was the best 'disco' - though I've also heard that it's actually just another RW invention and that that 'vote' never happened at all.

Chalky - you're assuming I even dumber than I am - I FULLY understand what disco is (between me and Pete we own as much in the way of GQ, BB&Q, D Train, New York Port Authority etc as we do Northern and Motown), my point here is that WE are pigeonholing into genres that don't really exist to separate what we think of a 'quality' modern versus disco dross - it's just good soulful disco and nasty pop disco - you may hate it, but you can't argue with the fact P&P and Patrick Adams not only produced something as gloriously soulful as Daybreak, but also did In The Bush.

In the same way the only real definition of 'Northern Soul' that works is 'music played at venues that consider themselves Northern Soul venues', 'Disco' is merely music played at 'discos' which (as in the original Discotheque in Paris) are simply dance clubs that play music from records rather than having live bands - at various times that's been Motown and the like, Philly, New York Disco, plastic pop sh*te and house.

Dx

 

 

 

Edited by DaveNPete

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It wasn't aimed at you personally Dave 😂  I fully agree with you regarding the unnecessary pigeon holing.  I said earlier that it didn't happen not so long ago, Soul wasn't even mentioned yet we knew what we were getting and everything was played under one roof in one room.  I think most of the pigeon holing is dealers exploiting the particular in sound of the moment.  It should all come down to if it is good or bad!

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44 minutes ago, Winsford Soul said:

Wasn't the Casino voted best disco in the world in 1978 taking the title from studio 54 in New York.  

Steve 

Billboard allegedly but there is no written evidence of this in Billboard ( I went through them all for that time) or anywhere else...all in Russ's head if you ask me.

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24 minutes ago, chalky said:

It wasn't aimed at you personally Dave 😂  I fully agree with you regarding the unnecessary pigeon holing.  I said earlier that it didn't happen not so long ago, Soul wasn't even mentioned yet we knew what we were getting and everything was played under one roof in one room.  I think most of the pigeon holing is dealers exploiting the particular in sound of the moment.  It should all come down to if it is good or bad!

Karl.  As you know mate. It's what's in the groove that counts regardless of who or what pigeon hole someone wants to place it in.

Steve 

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On 11/10/2018 at 16:27, DaveNPete said:

I tend to agree - whilst I LOVE proper disco  - it's synth drums, electro beat etc that I utterly detest.

Dx

Its not as simple as that for me i love some synth based sounds, italo disco and euro disco can sound really underground and were really experimental for the time . They were also crucial in the synthesis of house music, without them soulful house and true garage just wouldnt have happened. 

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Isaac Hayes - Disc Connection

Vicki Sue Robinson - Turn The Beat Around

Donna Summer - Spring Affair

Esther Philips - What A Difference A Day Makes

Disco ? All played at the Mecca amongst other venues!

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On 11/10/2018 at 16:22, WoodButcher said:

The thing that tips 70's soul over into unlistenable disco to me is that horrendous synth laser drum sound ... that used on Anita Ward's  "Ring My Bell" and such like.

Like fingers down a blackboard to these ears and has me scurrying outside for a fag-break every time .

You mean this ?

 

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When we first got into Northern (1980) the most memorable sounds at our local venue Brum Locarno were ‘Casanova’ by Coffee, ‘Janice’ , ‘keys to the city’ by Omni , ‘your song’ by the Dells all played alongside classic northern oldies. I remember ‘Casanova’ was in the charts at the time and was played next door in the Bali Hai !

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3 hours ago, dave pinch said:

just gonna leave this here

 

I heard this at the Manchester Soul Festival at the end of August, I'd forgotten how much I like it. Must try and find it on a 7 inch single.

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 Loads of great modern amongst this list (spins attributed to Dave Thorley at Stafford) from Soul Underground website. Some could be described as disco sounding but all soulful to my ears and wouldn't mind hearing any of them getting a spin today.

 Manhattans - Crazy - CBS/Columbia
Jewel - Paradise - Jewel (Late Yate/Early Stafford)
Bobby Womack - Trying To Get Over You - Beverley Glen
Richard "Popcorn" Wylie - How did I Lose You - ABC
Bobby Womack - So Many Sides Of You - Beverley Glenn
Jessie Henderson - I Did It Again - Land Of Hits/Lasso
Johnnie Taylor - What About My Love - Beverley Glen
Earl White Jnr - Very Special Girl - Cygnet
Mel Williams - Sweet Girl Of Mine - Buddah (came from Tim Ashibende and Butch)
Rochelle Rabouin - This Is My Year - Cygnet
Sir Henry Ivy - He Left You Standing There - Future Dimension (came from Mick Godfrey)
James & Truitt - What's Wrong With It - Juca
Memphians - South Memphis - Bluff City (late Yate/Early Stafford)
Whispering Shadows - Stop The World - Mr D's
21st Century - Your Smallest Wish - BeeGee
Wali Ali - (Oh i) Need Your Lovin' - Jobete
TSU Tornadoes - What Good Am I - Atlantic
Guitar Ray - You're Gonna Wreck My Life - Shagg (came from Tim Ashibende and Butch)
Bobby Sheen - Something New To Do - Warner Brothers (came from Tim Ashibende and Butch)
Soul Brothers Inc - Pyramid - Golden Eye (Mel Britt c/u)

http://www.soulunderground.co.uk/page21/page9/

Edited by autumnstoned

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On ‎13‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 06:46, DaveNPete said:

 the cash-in pop garbage by the likes of the Bee Gees

First I were like...OMG did I really just see that?

On ‎13‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 06:46, DaveNPete said:

 pop garbage by the likes of the Bee Gees, Abba 

Then I saw this and nearly fainted, good job I was already sitting down...

Dissing the mighty Brothers and following through with, I can't bring myself to type it out!

I'm gonna retire to regroup while I decide what I'm gonna do about this.

And to think...It happened here!

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Just now, BabyBoyAndMyLass said:

First I were like...OMG did I really just see that?

Then I saw this and nearly fainted, good job I was already sitting down...

Dissing the mighty Brothers and following through with, I can't bring myself to type it out!

I'm gonna retire to regroup while I decide what I'm gonna do about this.

And to think...It happened here!

Sorry babyboy but one of my total dislikes is , can't even bring myself to type it, maybe something to do with a song contest? 

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