back street blue reacted to John Moffatt for an article, Sheffield's Darnall Horti’ Closed
It is with great regret that we must announce that Darnall Horti’ Soul Club has spun its last record. What began as an experiment, nine and a half years ago, to see if there was a market for rarer and underplayed soul music, led to many, many brilliant nights with a regular, dedicated audience of knowledgeable soul fans.
Those same soul fans have also helped raise many hundreds of pounds for various charities over the years. You have all been so generous.
But all these things have a shelf-life, and lately numbers have diminished sharply: so sharply, in fact, that maintaining the night is no longer viable.
May we thank all those who came along to make our events so very special, and, of course, to all those brilliant collectors and DJs who dug deep to find those elusive tracks that we enjoyed so much.
We hope we will see you all somewhere soon.
The Horti’ Crew.
back street blue reacted to Mark Bicknell for an article, New Manchester All Nighter Won-derful Soul Club
News all about a new upcoming Manchester All Nighter from the Won-derful Soul Club
The venue has a good vibe, sublime in-house sound system, two well-stocked bars, chill out area with leather sofas, football table, video games and a nice dance area space
Admission will be £10.00 Advance tickets and £12.00 on the door subject to availability.
Full details to follow...
Full details to follow...
back street blue reacted to Source News for an article, Local Soul Events - Going local down in...
As the weekend arrives the thinking is that a highlight of a feature of the Soul Source Event Guide may be a useful thing for those off out and about
The feature being highlighted is our 'local' soul events guide which is a built-in feature of our Soul Event Guide
It works as in...
you hit up the 'local' button and you get a listing all your local events
What 'Local' means is all up to you...
It can mean
your isp reported location (your browser ip) your browser/ (Using GPS, Cellphone Triangulation, Wifi, Router, etc) if logged in your soulmap/profile location custom range ( 50 miles is the default - members can customise) You just choose which works best for you
Anyway as the best way to find out how it works is to just give it a go, here's the link
back street blue reacted to Coolnotes for an article, Keeping a Faith
Keeping a Faith : A personal look at contemporary gospel and spiritual soul music.
Given how much influence christianity and gospel music has had on the music we all love , its surprising how little attention in gets in discussions. I sense that very “English” rule at play here , never talking about religion and politics , especially when we’ve got white labels ,demo’s and re issues available to discuss . At the risk of scaring people off I think it deserves at least some acknowledgement, without seeking to present as any authority on the subject. Nor intending to provide a sermon or seek converts. We only have to read any biography of Soul legends appreciate the influence of the church . For some it has gone hand in hand with their ‘secular’ music careers.. Aretha Franklin..Curtis Mayfield ..Al Green, for others it may have been an eternal struggle between the two. Sam Cooke , Marvin Gaye. In recent years Gospel music has long since broken out of the confines of some outdated perceptions of happy clappy spiritual choirs announcing their allegiance to God , its transgressed and evolved into a range of music genre’s which are increasingly crossing over into both mainstream charts and soul dance floors.
I suspect I wont be the only person who may have but found myself listening to music with a message that saw me me through tough times, and opened my mind to keeping a faith as well as keeping the faith. I think it would be an injustice to ignore the driving force behind their material. To me dancing to Soul music IS totally a spiritual experience . Hearing messages of pain, joy, love, hope, .. to a groove that fills me up surrounded by other ‘disciples’. Whether you absorb the message , the music or both I have tried to provide some suggestions and sources to access spiritual music which might appeal to Soul music fans like myself.
Gospel and Christian music has become a huge business particularly in the US, where it accounts for 6.6% of music sales. It feeds over 600 specialist radio stations catering to an audience of 32 million listeners. Gospel specific music draws from and is often aimed at the Black Pentecostal churches who provide a potential market of 36 million. It has achieved crossover main stream success stories such as Ann Nesby, Mary Mary , Kirk Franklin and Bebe Winians. That success comes at a price , with close scrutiny and loud condemnation on any behaviours that are deemed un godly.
1994 Vicki Winians performed her ground breaking award winning ‘Dont throw your life away’ song using backing dancers. What would be considered a harmless display by todays standards received a stoney response reported in Billboard . Vicki was accused of shaming god and turning her back on the church. So great was the shame she felt obliged to record a taped apology which was sent out to 1,500 Gospel radio stations to ask for forgiveness. This struggle between strict adherence to religious codes and a desire to achieve crossover success goes right back to Sam Cooke who was forced to release his first solo record under an alternative name to avoid the backlash.
Gospel/Spritual music has long had a presence on the Northern/Rare UK Soul scene . Here I would like to acknowledge it with some of my own favourites .
Finding a Faith: Cool Notes personal Top Ten.
Sounds of Blackness. Optimistic .
This track saw me through some ‘moody’ years - which Im sure we’ve all experienced - and help lift my spirits and opened my mind to more like it. Released in 1991 , it went to number 3 in the US RnB charts and 45 in the UK charts . Under the direction of Gary Hines and with with the unmistakable soaring talent of Ann Nesby its an anthem of survival and hope that was the pave the way for more crossover inspirational dance music .
When in the midst of sorrow
You can' t see up when looking down
A brighter day tomorrow will bring
Kirk Franklin . Looking for You .
A single taken from his third album ‘Hero” in 2005 , reaching 4 in the US Billboard chart and winning a Dove Music award. It blew me away when I heard it first at the fantastic Soul Underground in Walsall where it seemed a popular favourite that never failed to fill the floor. A fresh funky cool track with an unapologetic tribute to finding salvation. A really crisp video has seen over a million hits on U Tube. Check out his other slower but innovative material as well. He has since become the Don of modern gospel.
Donald Lawrence and the Tri City Singers. Keep on Blessing Me.
A track from his 2002 EMI album Get Your Life Back and another favourite at Soul Underground back in the day.
Eddie Kendricks . He is a Friend of Mine.
A common favourite at many Modern soul nights. Great blend of strings and brass to sustain Eddie’s homage to his greatest friend. From the 1976 Tamla LP of the same name.
BeBe Winians . Thank You .
Perhaps the most renown member of a celebrated Gospel family. It would probably easier to list what he hasn’t achieved in his long career. Since emerging from Detroit with sister CeCe he has won numerous awards and worked with an array of performers across the musical spectrum. Developed his own Radio station, record label, performed as an actor, written a book about Whitney Huston, and spent 9 years developing a stage show of his life story. Its not come without trauma that included a divorce and allegation of domestic abuse and civil suit against a former manager.
This really uplifting solid groove from his debut solo album is a classic example of how Gospel has crossed over to provide us with infectious contemporary dance tracks and an inspired message of hope.
DJ Rogers . Love Brought Me Back .
This was a club classic in my Jazz Funk days, but its took me nearly 30 years to really appreciate what the song was about. It features Keni Burke, Patrice Rushen and Denise Williams . Released on Maurice Whites Kalimba label in 1978 and found on his album of the same.Gospel singer Helen Baylor did a credible cover on her 1996 album , but I favour the original.
Rance Allen Group. I Know a Man Who. (Gospel Truth. )
1973 Early release by Gospel greats. Superb mid tempo crossover track alerting us to someone who will accept us faults and all.
Yolanda Adams We Fall Down.
I came across this on U tube clip of the BMI 2010 Gospel music awards which saw Yolanda Adams deliver a sublime priceless tribute to fellow Gospel legend Donnie McClurkin whose moved to tears in the audience. A recognition of human frailty and faults but also one of hope and forgiveness. Written by Kyle Matthews and also features on Donnie Mc Clurkin’s Live in London album but Yolanda’s version clinches it for me.
Sonya Mc Guire Joy
From her 2009 My Journey Album , a class vocal diva from a Gospel family .
Alicia Myers . I want to thank you. Former singer with Al Hudson and the Soul Partners this much sampled track was on her 1981 debut album. An unashamed message of salvation and thanks to her God, but still got to 5 in US Billboard RnB chart and was a UK club classic .
Some popular gospel floor fillers.
A few spiritual/gospel gems that have received or deserve plays at soul venues across the UK over the years.
Oldies / Northern
The Gospel Classics . More Love.
I can’t remember where I heard this played but its two and a half minute stand out 60’s dancer from their 1968 Chess debut album ‘You’ve got to join hands ‘ Copies fetching up to £70 tells you of its popularity on the Northern scene.
Robert Banks Mighty Good Way.
I believe this Levine favourite was originally released on Verve and became a favourite at The Torch, and was latter released on MGM in 1967 .
Wade in the Water .Ramsey Lewis Trio.
Some might favour Marlena Shaws vocal version of one of the oldest Gospel spiritual songs that goes back as far as Fisk Jubilee Singers, which highlighted the ordeal facing escaping slaves fleeing north, but also references the baptism ceremony. For me this version edges its with raw piano sound underplayed with brass and the hand clapping tambourine.
Martha Bass . Since Ive Been Born Again.
This is another gem from the Soul Gospel 2 collection, delivered by the Mother of Fontella Bass in a no nonsense revival church style but with a distinct RnB riff . It can also be found on her Chess Checker LP ‘Rescue Me , featuring the gospel roots of her daughters classic hit.
Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes . Prayin.
1979 release on Source and a firm favourite on the Northern circuit Unmistakable rich vocals, infectious clap along rhythm and the Philly call for universal love. Whats not to like. !
Terry Callier . Be a Believer .
From his 1978 Fire on Ice album.
“If you find you’ve got to climb a mountain and you’ve never seen a mountain quite so high,
You can’t let that stone wall block your vision. Move up till your horizons touch the sky . Be a believer . “
I might be pushing my luck on citing this a dancer and a christian message but another gem from a musical genius who career shone with anthems to positivity, spiritual reflection and social change.
Mildred Clarke . Keep on Trying
This 1978 release on ABC can also be found on the Soul Jazz Compilation ‘Soul Gospel 2’ and as soon as it kicks in you know its made to be a ‘Crossover’ dance floor classic. It has shades of Ann Clark (No relation) and its no surprise to hear it was played by Richard Searling.
Finding Your Soul..
Miracle Of Love Nanette Welmans.
This woman has a remarkable talent and deserves much more exposure. She came to the UK from East Africa in the 1960’s . Her mother was an opera singer but Nanette want on to embrace big band and mellow jazz until she found her faith. She presents a lush blend of soulful jazz with a spiritual message . Vocally reminiscent of Kylie Audlist or Lisa Stansfield. Check out her LP’s “Come into my life ‘(1992) or “Its Personal ‘ (2005) which contain a few potential crossover dancers.
Ted Winn . Balance.
Former US Airman who went on to duet with Sheri Jones Moffet before developing his solo career . He achieved early success with Donald Lawrence Tri City Singers , but it was his joint efforts in ‘Balance’ from the 2009 album of the same name that saw him achieve real crossover status. A compassionate call to press pause on life and find a natural balance. A message ever more relevant in the age of Trump.
“Take some time to reflect , some time to reminisce . Appreciate the present, the future is a gift . Live your life with balance. “
Rance Allen Group Turn it around
Everything about this group screams class and distinction. Rance was preaching and performing since the age of 9 in his home state of Michigan . He and his 3 brothers went on to form the RAG in the late sixties and they went on to record for the Stax Gospel outlet with productions by David Porter .That brassy deep soul Stax influence has been evident in much of their work which went on to win numerous awards and Grammy nominations . Their 2 Live Experience albums have become gospel classics. “We care a lot” a track from their ‘Live Experience 2’ LP is pacy dancer which could hold its own at any Crossover event, as could ‘Smile’ from their Best of .. 1969 album on Truth Records . Also check out ‘I know a man who’ superb crossover dancer. I think this gospel ballad perhaps best shows off the richness of their talent , offering Gods hope to those in need.
Norman Hutchins . I Really Love You.
Another artist who was active in his Delaware church from the age of 12 and ordained by 21 . One of 12 children raised by a single mother he has gone on to achieve Master's Degree in Biblical Counselling and a Doctorate in Church Administration as well as 10 albums his his 20 year career. His faith saw him through a 6 month period of total blindness and renewed his commitment to God.
‘I Really Love You; comes from his 2014 ‘Where I Belong ‘ album on JDI records .
A simple unapologetic homage to God, but it hasn’t stopped it getting played by many Modern/Crossover Soul DJ’s . There is a clip on U Tube of the crowds reaction when Roger Williams played it to close his set at the Morecambe weekender which I was privileged to witness a real ‘hands in the air ‘ moment that Soulful gospel music can provide us if we allow it into our hearts.
Courtney Wilson .Worth Fighting for .
“You came because Im worth so much more.. I am your child and Im worth fighting for” . This comes from his 2nd album of the same name released on Motown’s Gospel label. Its won a Grammy nomination in 2015 and a Dove Gospel award and has clocked up 8.5 million U Tube hits at the time of writing.
RnB. / Neo Spiritual Soul
Avery Sunshine . I Got Sunshine.
Another child performer from the age of 8 , Denise Nichol White went on to train in Jazz and Classic music and perform in her home in a Philadelphia suburb. This track is off her debut self titled album released on Big Shine Records in 2010. Its unique quality reminder of how we can come through the darkest days with hope.
“If you're working every day
Two jobs for getting no pay
I know it's hard to see the light with darkness in your way
But listen let me tell you
What you outta do
Open up your mind and know the sunshine is in you “
Mary Mary Shackles.
Their debut single on Columbia Reached number 4 in the UK charts . At the time of writing had scored 14 million hits on U Tube and was considered a ground breaking event for what has been labelled Urban Gospel and helped open the crossover doors for the likes of Kirk Franklin.
Jamie Jones U Gonna Be Alright .
Neo Soul Gospel - A musical collaboration of Old school soul meets gospel music. 2004 Illuminate LP. A class act joining the dots between Curtis Mayfield and Jahiem .
Cynthia Jones. Love Jones .
Fom her 2008 Gotta Soul album on Kingdom Records . Given the orthodox expectations of the US churches I was surprised this sultry neo soul number slipped the net. The phrase ‘Jones’ alone refers to a “yearning” which has its roots in a New York back alley favoured by Beatniks heroin users . Non of this should detract from a solid Gospel pedigree coming from a church family, and an active involvement in charitable work and has won numerous Gospel awards. She’s also a passionate Biker and formed a Christian motorcyclist group called .. what else but ‘Soul Patrol’. !
When house music emerged it seemed a natural fit to deliver a spiritual message. Its roots in soulful dance , disco and often drawing vocalists from a church background. There is a popular strain of Soulful house that delivers inspired anthems of hope , change and inner peace without ever pledging any christian allegiance and which will help lift you through tough times.
Then there is Gospel house providing an unashamed homage to christ and the christian faith. Many a dance track will have a ‘Gospel Mix’ which offers nothing more than a nod to the influence and inspiration of the music. Devotional gospel house has proved an invaluable conduit to take the message to a wider audience and also offer their followers a chance to groove to Gods message. Here are just a few of my favourites.
The Goodfellas Feat Lisa Millet - Soul Heaven
This 2000 house track comes with minimal message but maximum groove to a promise of a Soul Heaven. Appears to be a UK/Italian production involving David Picciioni and his Azuli label which was later swallowed up by Defected Records.
Alexandra O Neal . Lord (Bah Samba Mix )
BKO’s 2006 Soulful House release reminded us of the quality of eighties legend Alexandra O Neal
Candi Staton - Hallelujah Anyway.
There are a number of mixes of this song. They all have some merit but I favour Frankie Knuckles Directors Cut released on Defected.
UK gospel , even more than its cousin on the Soul scene ,has had to live in the huge shadow cast by the clout of the US gospel industry . A leading website (www.britishgospel.co.uk ) is up for sale. Few past winners of the coveted MOBO Gospel awards have not achieved commercial crossover , others have been been marked by, disillusionment (Jahaziel) tragic death (Lavine Hudson) or retirement (Behive and Nu Life) . More recent winners appear to reflect the competing forces in the UK Gospel scene .Living Faith and Faith Child from the African tradition and The Guvnor and Victizzle popular on the the Reggae Gospel Sound systems .
The UK Gospel scene is equally struggling with the balance of its artists achieving commercial success without straying from the a righteous path of ministry.(Which all too often will mean the Pentecostal church). Former Gospel singer ,journalist and champion of UK Gospel Juliet Fletcher , provides an astute understanding of this in her blogs.
She describes a ‘simple exchange‘ in terms of paying for entertainment and a ‘Divine Exchange’ which is the add-on. Taking listeners beyond the pleasure of artistic experience into a power of a spiritual experience with God and Jesus. Despite all these tensions and obstacles there are some that feel in percentage terms the UK Gospel scene is matching if not exceeding its US counterparts in sales. It hosts annual awards, radio stations, regular concerts. It has progressed to its own sound systems and even club nights. All of this provides an almost parallel source of christian entertainment and provides a valuable conduit for those artists wishing to progress beyond the ‘divine exchange’
Some of those UK Soul artists who have their roots or inspiration in the church. These include Ruby Turner, Shaun Escoffery ,Corrine Bailey Rae and Beverley Knight . For those of you into Soulful-Gospel House I would recommend Lisa Mayers ‘Not Only Human’ . A more contemporary UK Gospel artist with huge cross over potential is Rachel Kerr whose talent can be found on her Soulful dance tracks ‘Surrender’ and ‘Stand Strong’ on Gridlock’d Records.Even this does not do justice to her versatility and range. It can be found in ‘All for You’. ‘Hold my Hand’ (Back to Music ) “Love Reign” where she reverts to what I guess are her gospel roots but with a modern spin.
News and views
Some websites both UK and international. I have to stress I do not endorse some of the often fundamental beliefs of the ministries behind some of these sources , which can sometimes vere from the unchristian as far as I understand it to outright bigotry and intolerance, particularly towards Gay people.
Juliet Fletcher is a veteran UK gospel singer and a leading commentator on all things gospel via the Keep the Faith web site. She has provided informed and invaluable analysis of the UK Gospel scene , and appears to be an advocate for taking the ministry to a wider audience. Her columns examine the tensions thrown up by these issues which are spiritual and commercial.
Gospel / Spiritual Soul Radio Shows.
Solar Radio Sunday 6 - 8 am .
This show has been running for a number of years and used to have a presenter who threw in news and debate on current spiritual issues as well as interviews with artists. Sadly this was dropped for a wall to wall recording of across the board spiritual music with no DJ , which allows listeners to embrace just the message or the music or both. Word the play list is put together by veteran Solar DJ Tony Monson who drops a mini gospel selection on his mid morning shows. The Sunday morning playlist provides a great mix that includes gospel house and soulful dance, RnB/Neo spiritual Soul and Jazz influenced gospel , and a few hand clapping classics from the musics roots. You really couldn't ask for a more extensive and innovative selection which has helped inform this feature. Ive long pleaded with Solar Radio to provide a play list to help promote these artists but have resorted to the invaluable Shazam app to deliver the details.
Premier Gospel UK
The Gospel Selection Theo Manderson and Soul Food with Nigel Ipinson- Fleming .
Premier Christian Radio has been running for 20 years . It broadcasts on MW across Greater London and Surrey, nationally on DAB, and on Freeview channel 725.and also via the internet with podcasts if you miss a show. They are aligned to the evangelical wing of the church but claim no formal links with a particular denomination and do not take a position on controversial issues but provide a platform for others to.
Greg Belsons Divine Gospel Show .
Greg Belson British DJ based in California. From his early residences in Surrey and South London playing rare soul and funk he went on to team up with Keb Darge in 1994 , Kingsize Records 1997 before moving to LA where he has established a reputation for unearthing rare vintage gospel/spiritual soul/funk records . He has also brought these records to clubbers in the US, Europe and the UK . Including tent events in Glastonbury . He has recently released a compilation the US Culture of Soul label.( Greg Belson's Divine Disco: American Gospel Disco 1974-1984 ) He also has a U Tube channel and Podcast of his radio shows. There’s no denying that he has unearthed and given prominence to previously obscure artists and songs in a similar way to the Northern Soul scene. The difference is the original Northern Soul records were rarely produced or inspired by a spiritual connection that appears absent from Greggs involvement .
Finding as well as keeping a faith.
Finding a faith is a sensitive and often very personal and complex issue which will be based on personal choices , circumstances and values which will evolve over different stages of your life. Spiritual soul music has provided me with a growing sense of strength and hope for the future. Its a journey that is still a work in progress and I am not going to suggest one path or faith is superior to another , or condem anyone who rejects a spiritual path. I have been inspired by Quakers who balance a belief in “something of God in everyone “ with a commitment to social justice . https://www.quaker.org.uk/about-quakers/our-faith I choose to attend my local Church of England services , who put Jesus’s message into practice locally and internationally, and a a kindly lot in need of a good tune. https://www.churchofengland.org/about-us.aspx
I have to make a loud recommendation to the books of radical London vicar Dave Tomlinson who adopts an inspiringly fresh and down to earth approach to christianity which touched a chord with me. You could do worse than to start with How to be a Bad Christian (and a better human being) or The Bad Christians Manifesto (Reinventing God)
Keep the Faith on all fronts. Peace and Love . Cool Notes.
back street blue reacted to ady croasdell for an article, A Personal History Of Northern Soul by Ady Croasdell
I first went to a rare soul all nighter in early 1969. It was in a solitary disused railway station about half a mile from the hamlet of Kelmarsh in north Northamptonshire, 5 miles from my home town of Market Harborough. I knew the big soul acts of the day whose records had made it to the UK - Otis, Wilson Picket, Carla Thomas, Temps, 4 Tops, Supremes, Fontella Bass, Brenton Wood Etta James - but the records I was hearing at the nighter were by the Esquires, Tony Clarke, Homer Banks and the American Poets who I had never heard of. The small function room soon filled up with 100 skinheads most of whom were dancing in groups or solo, so being on my own I felt comfortable to get up and move to the music. The crowd seemed intense but friendly despite my hair being longer than all the other blokes combined.
I told my mod/skin mates in Harboro about it and soon there was a crew of us going over, getting the pills down our necks while dancing to this alternate type of soul which we referred to as Old Soul. Who knew Tamla singer Kim Weston had recorded an uptempo soul mastepiece in ´Helpless´ or the Velvelettes had cut one called ´These Things Will Keep Me Loving You´? We made friends and recognised some of the other attendees as characters from Kettering, Corby and Wellingborough whom we´d normally avoid but here in this secret meeting place it was all cool and we had a shared love of the music and the speed.
It turned out there were outcrops of similarly minded youths around the country in Leeds, Wakefield, Manchester and Derby. Even handier for an impoverished student like me a bloke called Dave Godin wrote about it in the Blues & Soul magazine; complete with playlists and tips and recommendations of places to go to hear these secretive sounds. Eventually Dave would dub the scene Northern Soul in his Blues & Soul column and the name would stick.
The clubs were keenly watched by the dedicated drugs squads of the local police. Northants was supposedly one of the most serious in the country and they were getting pissed off at the number of chemists that were getting broken into around the county.
The raids they conducted eventually closed Kelmarsh and I mentioned it to Harboro´s local dance promoters who ran the Frollickin´ Kneecap nightclub. They started to run all nighters at our town centre venue, renaming it the Lantern for those dances and making it a dedicated members club to get around the restrictive licensing laws. The scene was so small yet dedicated that there would usually be only one or two nighters on in the country at any time and when the Twisted Wheel in Manchester was finally raided early one Saturday night, the blocked up youths made the 100 mile drive down to Harboro to dance their blues away; in all senses of the word. The Wheel had been the brand leader and the epitome of cool, style and sounds and its demise was a major blow to young go-getters across the country. Like the Lantern a handful of other nighters would spring up and be closed down as the drug taking soared and the squads clamped down.
The next venue to become the undisputed Mecca for the nighter goers was the Torch in Tunstall, Stoke On Trent. It was bigger than the traditional 100-300 clubs that had previously been host to the scene but the 6-800 capacity old music-hall, complete with balconies and theatre boxes, was ideal for the rapidly expanding clientele. Also it was dark as hell, dripping with atmosphere and sweat and the DJs were moving away from the classic mid to up tempo Chicago and Tamla beat to seriously stomping sounds that could keep pace with the drinamyl-induced pumping hearts of the mainly teenage audience. DJs, collectors and record sellers were finding more and more ways of getting their hands on the vast number of mid 60s soul releases that had not reached our shores before. Johnny Sayles, The Younghearts, Mamie Galore, The Fuller Brothers and the Cooperettes seemed to be even more glamorous soul names, none of which had ever got close to an English release.
The Torch lasted for little over a year but had accelerated the scene´s growth and demand so that when the next big all nighter started in 1973 it was more than big, it was massive.
Wigan Casino was a similar ancient music hall / dance emporium but about four times the size and more of a complex than a venue; you could house a small town in its many rooms. Early attendances were adequate but the place was far from full and in fact seemed a bit too big for purpose when I went to one of the early nighters. A few months later on my next visit it was rammed to the rafters, using the Torch´s blueprint of non-stop stompers its reputation had spread across the country and youths across the whole breadth of Britain, disaffected with both the teeny bopper and pompous undeground of the UK’s pop scene had become die-hard soul fans overnight. It was admittedly a certain style of soul starting at 85 mph and going up to 140 in extreme cases, sometimes the soul quotient was forgotten about. What the hell, there were thousands of stunning sounds out there in good ole black America just waiting for jaw-grinding scruffy UK youths to hop on an aeroplane and rescue them for their own personal kudos and wealth and for the edification of 2,000 kids moving as one, hand-clapping in just the right places. The scene was so big it could accommodate other big all nighters at places like Cleethorpes and Yate near Bristol as well as the big and influential evening events at the Blackpool Mecca and elsewhere. The Northern Soul weekend experience was so intense it would incorporate big Sunday all dayers so that reprobates need never see their parents between Friday morning and Monday tea.
It continued as a big noise throughout most of the 70s but the alternate punk, jazz funk and disco scenes creamed off many attendees and offered alternatives for potential new recruits: the scene was becoming jaded. In London in 1979 the mod revival was underway and a small club called the 6TS Rhythm ‘n’ Blues Society was showing those style converts what the original mod soul music was about.
After 18 months of moving around the capital, the 6TS ended up at the 100 Club slap bang in the middle of Oxford Street where it still runs in that distinguished basement club today. In a way it was back to the roots as a venue as well as musically and the classic dingy, smoke-filled, basement club was ideal for the nutters and fanatics who have slunk down those famous stairs over the last four decades. Musically though it started out as classic club soul with a dash of R&B, it reverted to the more standard Northern Soul formula once the all nighters were established around 1981. There was even a period when the rare 70s soul scene made an equal contribution to the musical playlist but that was reduced drastically when the club took up the gauntlet handed down by the 60s Mafia DJs of Stafford’s Top Of The World All nighters around the mid1980s.
DJs Keb Darge and Guy Hennigan in particular were fed up with the staleness of constantly played oldies and reckoned there were still a lot of records, hardly known by the public let alone collectors, that could turn the scene on its head. Keb had a devoted band of followers who he would give cassettes of his new finds to so they would know his playlist when it was debuted at Stafford. They would rush to the floor to dance to records that otherwise would only have had interested looks. Guy was similar and mixed up the tempos a bit more than stompy Keb. He was the prime mover in big beat ballad scheduling and records like Tommy Navarro’s ‘I Cried My Life Away’ and Romance Watson ‘Where Does That Leave Me’ became massive. Keb also DJed at the 100 Club and Leicester nighters and soon the word was spreading. I was converted by the Latin sound of Bobby Valentine and spun a few down the 100 Club as well as big beat ballads like Johnny Maestro, Kurt Harris and the Trends ‘Not Too Old To Cry’. However what really put the 100 Club on the map, and helped the newies revolution, was finding some magnificent previously unreleased 60s soul tracks from the record company vaults. Melba Moore ‘Magic Touch’, Maxine Brown ‘Torture’, Chuck Jackson ‘What’s With This Loneliness’ started it and the Pied Piper RCA finds of Kenny Carter ‘What’s That On Your finger’, Willie Kendrick ‘She’ll Be Leaving You’, Lorraine Chandler ‘You Only Live Twice’ and Sharon Scott ‘(Putting My Heart Under) Lock & Key’ took it to a new level.
With the newies scene now established the super-rare scene started driven by one of Keb and Guy’s gurus the Stoke DJ Butch who had the best rare soul collection in the world and possessed records and later acetates so rare nobody could come close to him for 20 years (ongoing). It’s the territory of “how many of these are known in the world?”; the answer is usually less than five.
Stafford closed but the 100 Club kept on and new venues like Lifeline, Rugby, Burnley, Prestwich, The Dome, and others had their deserved moments in the spotlight. The 90s saw many returnees to the scene but a lot of those were happy to dance to the tunes of their youth and the rare scene has struggled in recent years. However the 2010s has seen an influx of new young faces and they are as keen on the new as the old, so there are signs of a revival in all areas and attendances are on the up again. A great new film on Northern Soul has been made by a Bury lass who has been a 100 Club regular for twenty years and the impact of that is eagerly anticipated.
this article submitted by Ady C has also just appeared in the latest issue of Nutsmag and also ties in with The Crossfire oldies allnighter in London on this Easter Bank Holiday Sunday
further info via http://www.newuntouchables.com
Comments below are from the original comments posted at the original time of publication
Peter99 Apr 18 2014 06:54 PM
Nice read Ady.
Thanks for putting it together and sharing.
AGENTSMITH Apr 18 2014 09:45 PM
compact yet concise in its many elements...does adey croasdell do it better than carlsberg.....probably!
binsy Apr 18 2014 11:31 PM
Great story, really well balanced.nice one
Jim Elliott Apr 19 2014 12:28 AM
Succinctly put Mr C.
I'm biased being a home grown Northants boy, obviously.
Jim, Earl of Irthlingborough.
dthedrug Apr 19 2014 10:57 AM
Well what can I say ADY them early years were something, I remember Chris G taking me to some of these places Earls Barton Bletsoe Kelmarsh, Black Horse Leighton Buzzard however I can recall those great nights at Wigan with Pete Wid & M ick Smith there is so much you should of written,
I personally believe that the 100 Club original's kept the scene alive and your work with ACE RECORDS bought a few people back to the scene,
I have always looked upon you & Mick as mentors, I think you should fill in the many gaps in your story.
RESPECT KTF DAVE K
Russ Vickers Apr 20 2014 01:11 PM
Makes me proud to be part of a proper Rare Soul Scene....great article Ady, thank you...
arnie j Apr 20 2014 02:27 PM
good stuff,i enjoyed reading that,cheers ady
whereismy record Apr 20 2014 02:39 PM
Really good read Ady enjoyed reading it now just to wait for the book...
little-stevie Apr 20 2014 04:25 PM
My regards to Ady, You still strive to " keep it real " and command the respect of so many... A respect that some others will never get come close to... No matter how much they blow their own trumpet....
You gave many of us some of the best times of our life and still life in the old dog yet...
You made a lasting impresson on me with your events and taste in music......
Your fashion sense at times did not have the same effect but who in this world is perfect..
Hope to catch up sometime and its your round, i don't tend to send love letters and big up many blokes...
Byrney Apr 20 2014 05:39 PM
Now that's history, cracking Ady.
Jim Cafferky Apr 21 2014 07:24 PM
Great article from a great guy
So many tracks I have come to know via Ady and Kent - rare or just plain top quality
Many thanks for all the contributions you have made and the great tracks I have managed to hear via Kent
richo991 Apr 22 2014 07:31 PM
Thank's Adie ,I enjoyed reading Your artical. which gives a fair account of the soul scene,With regards to the music, my only gripe is that a lot of the music that was played ,is rarely heard due to either its rarity, or where you were at the time.I have come across some guy's with fab collections,which you can come across now & again but due to the amount of clubs now running its rare unless you happen to be at a weekender when there on I find that some of the afternoon sessions are the best
whats your oppinion on how the scene is musical.
itsthebeat Apr 28 2014 07:59 AM
An excellent read!!
manusf3a Apr 29 2014 05:36 PM
AS above excellent read,one of the very best on here thats for sure.
ZootSuit May 09 2014 01:35 PM
'69 Kellmarsh, my first nighter, great read, brought back ALL the memories....more like a floodgate !!!!
alfranco Jun 06 2014 08:43 AM
Brilliant read even though I only went my 1st all nighter at Wigan 77 I was hooked 4 years before with my older sister going to VaVa's in Bolton and other Soul nights still am
back street blue reacted to Kolla for an article, The Road To Wigan Casino
The Road To Wigan Casino By Vivien Goldman
Originally published in NME Date of publication: 11 October 1975
Up T'NORTH, they don't like London journalists snooping about. Still, this was a special occasion at the shrine of the " Northern Soul Scene." So it was that VIVIEN GOLDMAN took... THE YOUNG boy sitting cross-legged on the edge of the stage looked as if he was about to throw up. It was 4:30 a.m. at the Wigan Casino. He looked as if he should have been in bed hours ago, but here he was, gazing plaintively up at slick cabaret master Tommy Hunt, as if the suavely dressed black man held the answer to all of adolescence's traumas. You see, the jam-packed Edwardian-style venue that is the Wigan Casino has seen many, many events in its time, but nothing as strange as the weirdo phenomenon of Northern Soul.
Where in many youngsters, mostly of Anglo-Saxon origin, assemble at 12.30 on a Saturday night/Sunday morning, intent on forgetting the frostiness of an existence which in weekdays consists of a boring dead-end job, or no job and no money. They forget it all, submerge their sorrows in a whirlpool of high-energy activity, dancing the night away to singles long since forgotten by everyone except possibly the artists concerned. Singles which, good or bad, are the losers of the record world. They are resurrected from the moldering vaults of warehouses in Chicago or junk shops in Bury, Lancs, to live again as the focal point in the lives of thousands of Northern working-class kids. And the Wigan Casino is the temple of the hopes and desires of this race who seem (at least to this outsider) to find little or no satisfaction outside the steaming world of the dance floor.
It all begins in the fish and chip shop next door to the Casino, facing the Wigan ABC probably the only chippy in the country to open up for custom at 11.30 and shut again at 2.00 a.m. It's crammed full of youthful Wigan-ites, and the atmosphere is electric over the Hall's meat and potato pies. Also served is that peculiarly Northern delicacy, squashed processed peas in gravy. Even in the interests of journalistic science I didn't bring myself to have a bash at the peas. But the peas are good. There's a small fortune to be made for some enterprising bag manufacturer wanting to break into the Northern Soul market. Everyone, but everyone, lugs around hefty portmanteaus emblazoned with badges and stickers with mottoes like 'Major Lance' 'The Torch Lives' and other cryptic codes. You need them if you've hitched from Huddersfield or Reading, if not for a change of undies, then for the singles you hope to sell, swop, or merely hear blasting over the speakers in a glow of possession. All the fans are extremely smartly dressed, no matter how far the journey or how uncomfortable the pilgrimage. Fellas are invariably kitted out with a singlet to sweat through, a pully to put on to prevent double pneumonia when you leave the Casino dripping hot into the nippy Wigan morn, and, judging from the traditional aroma, at least three spray cans of Brut. Tonight, the excitement is particularly intense.
Two years ago to the day, the first ever Wigan allnighter was held, designed to fill the gap left by the closure of the allnighters at the legendary Torch in Stroke, and the equally legendary Twisted Wheel in Manchester. The fact that the Casino took off a bang is borne out tonight by the number of punters prepared to queue for hours in a remorseless drizzle on the off-chance of getting one of the 500 tickets left for door sales " the other 1,500 sold out a fortnight before. The representative from Spark Records (one of the only companies geared wholly to Northern Soul, and proud possessors of Wigan's Ovation), himself a Northern singles producer, said with awe: "They murder each other trying to get in." A comment like that is like a red flag to a bull for an ace cub reporter, isn't it? I immediately charged for the entrance, only to be pushed back by a solid horde of lads who once out of the rain were in no way going to be manoeuvred in the direction of the street. A surly bouncer gave me the once over " "An' wot do you think you're doing?" etcetera so playing safe I nabbed an unsuspecting youth. "So tell me, what's it like out there?" I ask conversationally. "Are they murdering each other to get in?" "Not at all, nothing like that", responds the fresh-faced lad. Then, suspiciously " "Are you a journalist?" I'm forced to concede. And he produces an N.U.J. card of his own. Would you believe, a journalist who's also a Northern Soul fan! Who actually lives the life! In the company of my new-found guide I check out the upstairs cloakroom, a secluded spot where a steady stream of bedraggled Young England is forcing its way in to the Casino free of charge via the roof, in a spirit of adventure worthy of Biggles himself. Got to admire the initiative of these young people. They all seemed to be suffering mild abrasions of one sort or another, but spirits rode high despite all. "Well, you don't want to pay do ya?" explains a well-turned-out youth. "I've been coming here ever since it first opened. Stopped coming here mind, when all those journalists from London came down and it all got commercialised. And look at them now (gesturing at a hapless youngster) ' he ought to be home in bed! Can't be more than fourteen!' The inference appears to be that he knows everyone has to be fourteen once, but this is ridiculous.
BACK AT the dance floor, a steadily shifting mosaic of dancers is already glowing and blossoming strangely in the ultra-violet light. Each dancer is moving in a private pattern of his/her own, staring fixedly at the stage where a top Wigan DJ like Russ Winstanley or Richard Searling is spreading the word. Basically, tonight is like every soul night at the Wigan Casino. As soon as the last rock fan from the evening rock session (featuring heavy English rock) has filed out, an army of cleaners descends and makes all pristine for the 12.30 invasion. And then the kids seethe in. And then they dance. That's the regular pattern of the evening, and that's what it's like tonight but more so. 'Cos there's gonna be surprise appearances. "Y' know, like the peas!" as some wag roguishly exclaimed. Who is it to be? Those in the know are confidently anticipating the Chi-Lites dropping in on their way home from a nearby gig. Well, I was waiting for the Chi-Lites more than eight hours, and they weren't there when I was, that's for sure. But there was a goodly number of people there that night who couldn't have cared less, either way. Among them were the "VIPs" safely ensconced in the VIP Room with lots of booze, lots of nosh, and generally lots of room for a fascinating display of the noisome infighting, bitchiness and backbiting that the individuals who consider themselves to be the controllers or guides of "the Northern Scene" love to indulge in. This particular night saw tensions in that cosy room which led to near fisticuffs. Producers, journalists, deejays, music biz types, all circled each other warily, occasionally lunging in for a quick snap and then retreating to eye one another and lick their wounds. This intriguing parade of human behaviour took place quite independently of the spirit of Northern Soul, which as we all know is to be found on a few feet of parquet flooring. IT'S REFRESHING to pop back and forth between the two environments.
The main dancing body of the enormous Casino building is divided into three main parts: The most important is the central dance section, with its stage and gilded balcony running right round. Walking into this central section has the same kind of impact as strolling into the tropical rain forest from an air-conditioned limo. H-O-T. And WET. The actual walls are sweating, great drops of condensation beading every surface, backstage as well. Every move is a struggle, and attempting to cross from one side of the Casino to the other means an exhausting and dangerous voyage, comparable to circumnavigating Piccadilly Circus tube station at the height of the rush hour in a sweltering heatwave. For six hours. Section the second is Mr. M's. That's where I spent the first part of the evening under exceptionally bizarre circumstances. My colleagues and I were ushered into this slightly smaller dance area, also with a balcony complete with tables. This was when the regular patrons of the Casino were indulging in their Saturday night knees-up. As we walked in, a burly Wigan-ite was laying into an ugly looking bouncer "...paid my money and now they won't even serve me at the bar!" With surprising patience the bouncer explained that there was only waitress service, and two peroxide beauties led the placated blunt Northerner to his plush chair. If you diverted your attention from this real-life drama, your attention was bound to be caught by a personage exchanging risque banter from the dais with the assembled Wigan punters. This was a performer in the great British tradition, a drag artiste. And a dirty drag artiste. Quite frankly, there was such a crush in the hall, that it took me five minutes to decipher from whence came those naughty wise cracks. By the time I adjusted my vision to peering through people's elbows and slightly to the left of their beehive hairdos, the Drag Queen was slowly beginning to go through the motions of a strip. Off comes the long glove, to delirious shouts of "Get 'em off!".... Cut to the same room, two hours later. Every figure in the room appears to be straining to dance in the face of opposition of sheer numbers. The room is now "Mr. M's", the oldies area of the discotheque, where by popular demand DJs like Davie Evison spin "oldies"; faves on labels like Okeh, Ric-Tic and Mirwood " now-defunct labels that specialised in a quasi-early-Motown sound.
Oldies DJ's have a tendency to regard themselves in a rather pompous light, as educators of the youth of the Casino, with a sacred trust to turn them on to the grand old "oldies" and open their eyes to the inadequacies of modern manufactured Northern Soul sounds such as Simon Soussan's Moog instrumentals (Soussan is a big name in the Northern Soul. A former major bootlegger, he now produces artists like the Sharonettes, released on the Black Magic label). One advantage of being an "oldies" DJ is financial. Most DJs simply couldn't afford to emulate Blackpool's Ian Levine " who comes from a wealthy family and may be said to have independent means " and make regular trips to the States and dig out their own fresh new Northern Soul sounds. Mr. M's keeps itself to itself, and the fact of the second anniversary doesn't seem to make much difference to the oldies freaks, except there is more of 'em. And now, on the third sector of the Casino, the area backstage. This isn't like a concert-hall backstage; it's another regular meeting-place for the DJs and the more long-standing fans. IT WAS there that I met the gentleman who proved to be the only live entertainment of the soiree. It must be a surprise to Northern Soul freaks of long standing that it was Tommy Hunt who appeared on that momentous anniversary, because Tommy has never yet had a Northern Soul biggie. Hunt is most commonly known for having sung the original version of Bacharach's I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself. He also sang in The Flamingos, who cut a classic version of I Only Have Eyes For You (currently riding high in the charts once more by A. Garfunkel). Since those hits, Hunts has, in this country at least, been a fine performer on the cabaret circuit, where he was singled out by Mike Walker, manager of the Wigan Casino and associate of Wigan's Ovation, and Barry Kingston, the producer of Spark Records. Hunt has a single released on Spark, a re-recording of a big Northern Sound by the late Roy Hamilton, Crackin' Up. It is definitely among the more mediocre Northern singles. Tommy Hunt is a superhiply skinny dude with a neat, if familiar line in argot, "You from the NME? Groovey! This sure is a groovy place" et al. As soon as he hits the stage, he does a couple of neat backdrops, a few flips and contortions here and there, just to show the kids he knows where he is. And that's when I noticed the fat little boy on the edge of the stage. He seemed to me to sum up so much of the mood of the Wigan Casino that night; a surfeit of energy, just waves and waves of untrammeled force aimed at the stage. For this lad in particular, the emotion seemed to be more than he could comfortably handle. So he looked as if all this energy was going to churn and churn inside, till it found the most convenient way of expelling itself from his body " through the mouth. Tommy's set wasn't designed to do this boy's digestion any favours. It was one of those wham-bam-thank-you-ladies-and-gennulmen acts that doesn't leave you room to think. The relentlessness of its flow was geared to match the metabolic rates (mostly artificially induced) of his audience. With lots of encouraging asides to his excellent band, e.g. "This is it brothers give me a hand and we're gonna tear this place up", Tommy galloped his way through everybody's favourite black music standards " Walk On By, Get Ready, My Girl, Hang On In There Baby, and so on. The musicians moved as if wired up to an invisible metronome. The crowd was utterly, uncritically receptive as The Man delivered what sounded as if it was his regular cabaret act speeded up.
The feeling of the show was very different from the last live spot I saw there, when Herb and Brenda Rooney " the Exciters " were on " the sense of mutual adoration on that occasion was almost insufferably intense. It was more like visiting Lourdes than going to a soul nite. Meanwhile, Tommy has discarded as many layers of clothing as complies with decency, ("Now I feel cool!") has flattered the audience, ("This is where it's all at!") and delivered Never Can Say Goodbye (Esther Phillips' current Northern hit) in fine voice. Then a shock. Hunt sang an exquisite Help Me Make It Through The Night. He actually apologised before starting " "I know you kids like the fast songs, but let me do one slow one, and then I'll get back to your favourites." All of a sudden, here was a SOUL singer. The difference was alarming. It made me feel sad that such a talented performer should be scoring financially through the more second-rate aspect of his talents Hunt's gift is more suited to bringing out the depth in a ballad-style, emotional number than to injecting expression into a fast Northern stomper. When the ecstatic audience finally let Hunt leave the stage, he staggered on his knees, towards his buddies. The Fantasticks waiting for him in the dressing room. Jesting (I trust), he gasped "I shoulda stayed in cabaret!!"...
THE NEXT, and final high point of the evening's entertainment (apart from the touching moment when various feuding soul bigwigs gathered on the stage, temporarily reunited, to cut the cake decorated with "Heart Of Soul") was the DANCE COMPETITION! This took me back to my youthful days watching Ready Steady Go, when the best and brightest of The Cromwellian would challenge their equivalents from some other hip niterie. In this instance, the winner was such a foregone conclusion it was ridiculous " a dryad-like slip of a lad with curly blond hair and a gamin expression. Rather like the Death In Venice youngster, this budding heart-throb instinctively upstaged everyone by hogging the front of the stage with his startling, gravity defying twirls and spins. Instead of just being very quick and accurate as they all were, he managed to combine that incredible speed with lots of expression and feeling. His stylised fluttering hand movements alone marked him out instantly. (Hey, any of you out there Come Dancing fanatics too?) THE WINNER! This prodigy, in case any of you wish to seek him out (and I wouldn't blame you in the slightest) is named Danny Daniels. He asked me not to reveal his age, and he works in an engineering firm, which he thinks is "Great". Did he expect to win? "No, not at all," replied the boy with heart-wringing modesty. This lad could go far. And that, with special mention to Dave Duncan for doing well, is that. By now, it was 8.00 a.m. On a regular night, the Casino would be packing up, but today, the festivities were to continue till 10.00. But for those of us with a journey to London ahead, enough was sufficient.
Quite a few fans had complained to me that they reckoned a lot of people there that night came just to say they'd been THERE. Well, so what really... it was a massive, hot, and steaming event. A celebration of two years of staying up late, grooving all night long, and keeping the soul flag, flying up there in the freezing North. All I can say is MAZEL-TOV, which translated from the Yiddish means, roughly, jolly good show.
SELECTED SECOND ANNIVERSARY PLAYLIST
Ton Of Dynamite " Frankie Crocker (Turbo)
You Sexy Sugarplum " Rodger Collins (Fantasy)
Ooh Baby " Nolan Porter (ABC)
I Thought You Were Mine " Fantastic Four (ABC)
This Love Of Mine " Carol Waller (USA)
Let Me Make You Happy " Billy Woods (Sussex)
Do The Pearl Girl " Matta Baby (Penny)
Just Having Your Love " The Moments (Stang)
© Vivien Goldman, 1975
back street blue reacted to tone5446 for an article, How to do Northern Soul Properly - The Book
HOW TO DO NORTHERN SOUL PROPERLY - A Handbook for the 21st Century by Tony Ellis - now available
With my tongue planted firmly in my cheek I take a none-to-serious look at the Northern Scene
Have you ever thought that sometimes we take our scene a little bit too seriously? After all this seriousness is not apparent when we go to a soul night, there has always been a large amount of piss-taking and general larking about in and around the scene. However this hasn’t been reflected in the literature of Northern Soul - until now. I was inspired to write “How to do Northern Soul Properly” by a book for cyclists called “The Rules” in which the many unwritten rules and traditions that apply to life as a roadie were collected and laid down as a set of rules. There is a convention that dictates that the valve of a tube should always line up with the logo on the tyre, which in turn must line up with the logo on the wheel. This may sound poncey but you’ll always know where the valve is! It was while I was reading this that the connection between the soul scene and cycling occurred to me; until recently cycling was an obscure sport with no media interest, the same with the soul scene, every few years we become trendy and the media and punters start taking an interest and like cyclists we have a set of unwritten rules & conventions that you learn as you go on. Seemingly trivial things like when to clap during a record, dancefloor etiquette, how to navigate across a flooded toilet and not get your beer towel wet, why the Chinese connection theory is bo***cks and many more snippets of useless information. The book itself has evolved into more than just a book of rules, it’s part autobiography, part fiction and all tosh. There are chapters on dance lessons, health matters, a potted history, what to wear, taking gear, what record dealers descriptions really mean, what we want from our DJs and much more.
I don’t pay much attention to individual records. This subject is covered better than I could hope to do in many other publications. This was and is a light-hearted look at the Northern Scene through the eyes of someone (me) who has been loitering around the Northern Scene since 1972. The book is more suited to the reader who has been around for a while and seen the changes, both good and bad, that have taken place over the last 40 or so years.
The book 102 pages x A5 wire bound (by me), full colour photos and illustrations. It costs £ 11.50 inc postage from me.
You can Paypal me at
or send a cheque to
37 Thornhill Rd, Surbiton, Surrey KT6 7TN
Both John Manship and Derek Mead at Soulmine Records also hold a stock of the book.
Here’s what some readers have said about HOW TO DO NORTHERN SOUL PROPERLY.
Its Tony’s comedy take on Northern Soul behaviour over many decades. If you are a newcomer or have a loose connection to NS, it may not suit your palate, for those who have lived it since its inception it’s a real rib tickler.
Totally brilliant lolled my head off thanks Tone x
One of the best books (On Soul) I've read.
So that’s what you used to get up to.
A must read for all real northern soul fans (nsf). Incredibly witty & spot on!
back street blue reacted to Dave Rimmer for an article, Young Soul Rebels - Book Review
Stuart Cosgrove Young Soul Rebels - A Personal History Of Northern Soul - Polygon Press - ISBN 9-781846-973338
Stuart Cosgrove is a world acclaimed author, journalist, and broadcaster on both radio and TV. In fact, in 2012 he won a BAFTA for Channel 4’s coverage of the Paralympics. He’s been Broadcaster Of The Year in Scotland, and held several executive positions at Channel 4 (And was responsible for signing the show ‘Friends’ to the Channel in the UK.), and hosts a weekly show on Radio Scotland about his passion for Scottish football. But that’s just a disguise he wears for the day job, because in reality, he’s one of us !
To use a phrase currently in vogue, Stuart is one of the ‘Children Of The Night’, and has probably devoted for more time, thought, and energy to his lifelong passion; Northern Soul, than he has to any of his jobs over the last forty years.
As I said when I reviewed Gethro Jones’ book, it’s hard to do a review of a book like this without giving the whole game away, so I’m going to use some quotes from Stuart to illustrate how the book covers his involvement in the scene.
In fact, the very first sentence made me laugh out loud. This is how to get the attention of your readers;
“Nothing will ever compare to the amphetamine rush of my young life and the night I was nearly buggered by my girlfriend’s uncle in the Potteries”
I can see why nothing would ever compare to that Stuart ! However, to reach that point Stuart describes his upbringing in Perth, and how he was first introduced to the music of black America, and how much it would hold sway over the rest of his life. The opening sentence refers to his first visit to The Torch allnighter in Tunstall, but I’ll let you read whether he survived this predicament yourselves.
I’m also rather impressed by the way that Stuart has woven short biographies of artists into the story, songs that reverberated round the Torch by Tony Clarke and Darrell Banks lead to a couple of pages of detail about the two artists.
There are also links to events in the wider world that tie into the scene in the book as well. The Miner’s Strike (Especially as Stuart was living in Yorkshire at the time), gets a lot of coverage, as does Leeds Central Club, both of which were important to Stuart, and the chapter about the Yorkshire Ripper is particularly poignant.
A theory about why Northern Soul Clubs became popular in old fashioned coastal towns stands up to examination as well, and never having thought about this, what Stuart says is absolutely correct.
“The story of Northern Soul could be told without ever leaving England’s decaying coastal towns: Blackpool, Cleethorpes, Scarborough, Bridlington, Morecombe, Whitley Bay, Southport and Prestatyn, each in their own way played host to rare Soul venues.”
Having lived in the North of England, both Lancashire and Yorkshire Stuart’s day job takes him down to London, and with it, the opportunity to visit the States (and even study there for a while), but throughout, the Soul Boy inner core burned bright. His description of finding a copy of ‘Hey Boy’ by the D C Blossoms is sheer poetry:
“It was there, in the segregated south, in a tightly packed wall of discs, some of them splattered with grey paint, that I finally found it. For some reason, unfathomable, and beyond geographic logic, there was a copy of The D C Blossoms.”
I realise that I’m skipping whole portions of the book, by ignoring Stafford (But there again I didn’t mention Wigan either), Allanton, and The 100 Club, all of which get quite extensive mentions, but I want to focus on two more things before I end this review.
A lot of the book covers people that Stuart knew well, some of whom who are no longer with us, so it’s nice to see Bub, and Pete Lawson, getting several pages each. Not many people would have been able to write so eloquently about two of the scene’s biggest characters, both different, but both equally essential to the history of the scene, so it is nice to see them remembered in this way.
The final chapter of the book talks about how Northern Soul is thriving today, and making use of the new technologies to do so, Facebook, YouTube etc however, Stuart’s views are similar to my own on this subject:
“The media is interested again, but I remain unsure that Northern Soul wants the attention that currently shines on its rituals. It is at its best as a ‘secret’ underground and should always maintain a healthy distrust of the false promises that the media brings.”
It’s funny, although I know nearly all the people Stuart talks about in the book, with the exception of the early years. I think I only met him twice, although I know we were in the same venues quite a few times, so I think that has allowed me to be fairly objective in my review. This really is a good book, it truly is a personal history, but it weaves its way through my own history as well, (I even get a name check on page 139) and I’m sure that is how most of the people reading the book will also feel.
That just leaves me with two things to say: Buy the book, you won’t regret it, and check out Stuart’s other book about Soul Music and social history ‘Detroit ‘67’.
Dave Rimmer. May 2016
New Releases, Popular Music & Culture Imprint
Polygon Pub. Date
19 May 2016 Format
Paperback (also available as an ebook) Status
Available for Sale Publisher
Birlinn Ltd No of Pages
Illustrated throughout Young Soul Rebels: A Personal History of Northern Soul by Stuart Cosgrove
Available to purchase via the usual suspects
back street blue reacted to mike for an article, The Soul Source Favourite Motown Song Result
Back in March this year, the newspapers reported that ITV plans to show a programme titled The Nations Favourite Motown Song in the UK. Based on a poll of select motown songs.
Here on Soul Source it seemed a good idea to sound out members on their own favourite motown song by having our own informal poll to find out just what is the 'Soul Source Favourite Motown Song'...
After an extended voting period, the votes have been counted and we are at last in a position to announce the results....
In an attempt to build up excitement on this midweek morning, will firstly pass on the most nominated artists...
The Artists with the most votes (total amount of votes for various songs) are…
1. The Four tops
2. The Temptaions
3. The Miracles
4. The Originals
5 Marvin Gaye
and now onto to the favourite song results…
The Top 3 Most voted songs in Soul Source Favourite Motown Song Poll are…
in reverse order...
3. The Elgins - Heaven Must Have Sent You
Very very difficult shout, but I'll have to go with the Elgins-Heaven must have sent you....
2. The Originals - Suspicion
it's a record which has it all
and the winner....
The Soul Source Favourite Motown Song is
1. The Four Tops - Ask the Lonely
not only Motowns finest for me also one of the greatest soul records of all time too
I can listen to this song a hundred times in a row and still find something new in it such is the power of the emotion when Levi sings !
..reduces me to tears ...
Not a great surprise to many I imagine, but am sure most if not all of you will agree it is a worthy winner!
Thanks to all you members who took part and made this a worthwhile thing, appreciated.
The forum poll thread can be viewed here
and will post the full summary of all votes later
Look forwards - next week trying something similar but different...
Peter99Jun 11 2014 10:43 AM
Nice one Mike
Really interesting piece of work.
Thanks for putting the time in.
soulhawk1960Jun 11 2014 01:52 PM
The winner is justified.
A wonderful work of art that has given me so much pleasure over the years.
staceys dad likes this Like
SoulStuJun 11 2014 06:09 PM
I love this stuff! - must be the trainspotter in me.
Any of the nominated tunes would have made me happy if they'd been no. 1
Thanks Mike - another reason why SS is THE place for true soul fans.
scenemanJun 11 2014 09:37 PM
understandable its got so much going for it .
dramatic tune that raises the rafters
look at the B&W video on youtube and who were the dancing dollies in the background ?stunning and of the period
Top Quote Edit Hide Delete Report
mikeJun 11 2014 09:55 PM
kev jones passed on this image
mr blue and Kevin Bruce like
mid tempoJun 12 2014 11:18 AM
Great poll & much deserved winner.
turntableterraJun 12 2014 02:04 PM
motown................. well desereved top tune. and as we saw there are so many more
jazzJun 12 2014 07:32 PM
Justice done the the best singer to ever walk on this planet god bless you levi sing with the angels sir and show them how it should be done
Winsford Soul, Henry and fragiledancer like Like
ashy1Jun 15 2014 10:59 AM
love, love motown, ask the lonley , ahhhhhh, what can you say,,,,worth the no1 spot, only ever heard it played once, i,ve asked plenty times !!!!!!
Winsford SoulJun 16 2014 02:03 PM
Brings tears to my eyes every time. Simply a stunning record in every way. there will never be another singer to match the flawless Levi
fragiledancerJun 16 2014 02:49 PM
What an emotive tune, just have to stop everything and listen even though I know I'll be teary eyed throughout....can't sing along to it with the lump in my throat. Says something about Levi when my teenage son can recognise a Tops tune just from his voice.
little glynJun 18 2014 11:30 PM
winner is such an emotional record each word is sung with such feeling and there is not a single place during the record that you can,t sing comfortably along with
little glynJun 18 2014 11:40 PM
when you play and listen to Suspicion - The Originals and view the video that goes with it it makes you realise how fortunate we were to be brought up on this quality of music and artists that went with it !
back street blue reacted to mike for an article, Win! Lay This Burden Down - Mary Love - Kent Cd
After a day of fun and games with the site here we go with news of yet another quality CD release from Kent
Looking at one that was pushed out earlier this month, this Kent Cd release features an artist who you could say almost became synonymous to those early kent lps back in those far off days... Mary Love
Lay This Burden Down - The Very Best Of Mary Love [Original Recording Remastered]
Release date 3 Mar 2014
After reading the track listing, Ady C's release notes and the quick lets have a look video, you may be pleased to know that this cd features as the members prize for this wees member comp.
All you have to do is "like" this article using the Soul Source like system (the green one!) at the bottom right of this article.
Then next week all those members who have 'liked' this article will be put in the soul source hat and a oh so lucky member will be drawn out.
A quick clip of Kents release notes ...
Mary Love’s music was the foundation of our Kent label. Her recordings opened and closed the first two vinyl LPs and various artists CD, as well as appearing on the A-side of the initial Kent 45. She headlined the bill at the premier Cleethorpes Northern and Rare Soul weekender and helped Ace and Kent mark their 25th anniversaries, appearing at the celebratory live gigs. Her death in 2013 was a very sad day for us and her many fans.
This career overview CD features all Mary’s pivotal Modern sides, re-mastered from the original tapes. Nine of those 13 tracks are from the multi-track tapes and are therefore presented in their best sound quality ever. They are followed by both sides of Mary’s Josie hit, ‘The Hurt Is Just Beginning’ and ‘If You Change Your Mind’, and her wonderful Elco 45, ‘Born To Live With Heartache’, a major deep funk play in the last decade. The people involved with those recordings include Arthur Wright, Frank Wilson, Richard Parker, Miles Grayson, Ray Charles and Marc Gordon — as talented a bunch of Los Angeles musicians...
Kent Records Page - visit for the full release notes and more images
You Turned My Bitter Into Sweet
I'm In Your Hands
Hey, Stoney Face
I've Gotta Get You Back
Let Me Know
Move A Little Closer
Think It Over Baby
Lay This Burden Down
Baby, I'll Come
Talkin' About My Man
Dance, Children, Dance
Is That You
The Hurt Is Just Beginning
If You Change Your Mind
Born To Live With Heartache
There's Someone For Me
When We Start Making Love
Power Of Your Love
I Can't Wait
Because Of You
Come Out Of The Sandbox
As you may guess the packaging is up to a high standard and the release includes a detailed booklet which includes career info and fresh never seen before photos
The video below shows all these things
See above for the competition details
Like to win!
all entries via the like as the time of this posting are listed as below
99 in all!
to pick the winner a number was generated via this page (1-99)
it was ..
so the winner was the 71st person listed below...
so if John can pm me a postal address a copy of this fine cd will be winging its way on monday to him
thanks to all who entered, keep an eye out for next weeks one
JOBICUS Apr 03 2014 05:07 PM
Yorkie Pud Apr 01 2014 12:48 PM
forzaitalia Mar 31 2014 07:53 PM
Alison H Mar 30 2014 10:30 PM
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back street blue reacted to mike for an article, Vice Mag - Poor-Man's Speed: Coming Of Age In Wigan's Anarchic Northern Soul Scene
18 months ago featured this via Paul Mason
here's a longer more featured piece on Vice Mag site
POOR-MAN'S SPEED: COMING OF AGE IN WIGAN'S ANARCHIC NORTHERN SOUL SCENE
back street blue reacted to mike for an article, Northern Soul - An Illustrated History - Out Now Competition
A dual post just to pass on two soul related news items
First is that today see's the official release of Northern Soul: An Illustrated History
This has been mentioned on here a fair few times over the last year or so and today see's the official release day arrive.
A more detailed site article will follow in a day or two, but for now here's a few images and some release text from the publishers
The story of Northern Soul is one of practically total immersion, dedication and devotion, where the plain concept of the 'night out' was elevated to sacramental dimensions. Where devotees pushed their bodies, their finances and sometimes their minds to brutal and unforgiving extremes. For those who went through that involvement every test of faith or endurance was worth bearing.
- From Northern Soul: An Illustrated History.
'It was a drugs scene, it was a clothes scene. It was about dancing. It came out of this thing. It was about pills that made you go fast. To go fast to make the scene happen.' - Chris Brick
In the late 1960s, a form of dance music took a feverish hold on the UK, finding its heart in the north of England. The music of 1960s-70s black American soul singers combined with distinctive dance styles and plenty of amphetamines to create what became known as Northern Soul - a scene based around all night, alcohol-free club nights, arranged by the fans themselves - setting the blueprint for future club culture. Northern Soul tapped into a yearning for individual expression in northern teenagers, and exploded into a cultural phenomenon that influenced a generation of DJs, songwriters and designers for decades to come.
Acclaimed photographer and director Elaine Constantine has brought the movement to life in her film Northern Soul - and that film was the starting point for this book, Northern Soul: An Illustrated History.
However, what started out as a project largely comprising of Constantine's stunning on-set photography, featuring her young, talented cast and highly authentic production, has turned into a unique illustrated history of Northern Soul. In its final form, the beautiful new photography holds the book together thematically, but its real depth lies in the material from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s that Elaine and Gareth have researched and pulled together.
Available now at ...
The Second bit of news is that thanks to the publishers Soul Source can offer to all members a chance to win 1 of 3 fresh copies of this new release.
3 Copies of Northern Soul: An Illustrated History to be won!
Each day for the next 3 days the site will be holding a daily draw open to all members of Soul Source
All you have to do is to like the daily post (link below) and after midnight each day a winner will be drawn from all those who have liked the comp daily post that day
The normal Soul Source competition rules apply, all you have to do is "like" the actual competition post using the onsite "like" feature - and you be in
This will open shortly with a link to todays competition being placed right here very shortly (which you then need to like)
Here's the day one link
day two now so here's the current link
day three is now so here's the link...
as said, to enter just go here and then just "like" the post!
all over - see later post for complete list of winners!
Good luck now
soul source team