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  • Top Soul Sound
    Percy Sledge 'Heart Of A Child'

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  1. ThinkSmart

    Prisoner Soul

    This was mentioned earlier but worth linking to
  2. ThinkSmart

    Precisely what is it...?

    Instrumentals are tricky as another current thread shows. How can a pop MOR track such as Mike Vickers 'On The Brink' be Northern Soul? Leaving that example behind.... I do believe instrumentals can be soulful - take the vocals off Al Green's Hi Records or the backing track instrumentals from Detroit by Darrell Banks and J. J. Barnes (to name but two) and they still have that space and warmth of soul. 'Feel' is perhaps one of the hardest things to explain. The Sky TV programme on drumming is a good example at present, there were endless rock drummers pounding it out then Bill Withers' drummer came on and his groove, economy and feel were the essence of soulfulness. That set of shows has had on Bernard Purdie, others from Motown and James Brown still alive - who really demonstrate that the feel of Soul is evident even in one instrument. Feel free to disagree, this is just third-coffee Sunday waffling.
  3. ThinkSmart

    News: Lucinda Slim - New Album

    I'll go check it out. It's only £5.99 which is surely worth a pop to support the work involved.
  4. ThinkSmart

    northern soul - the current state...?

    I went out solidly every week for over twenty five years, even when my kids were young. I'd return from nighters and doze off while looking after my young kids. How I did that, I don't know. Now I'm older and at peak of my work, there's almost no choice but to do what I can over the next few years and then ease off as I go through my fifties. I'm supporting one of our kids at uni and the other is about to go. That comes first obviously, In my head I'm always thinking about soul music and listening to it (not just Northern Soul), it's constantly present but life gets in the way from getting out and about. It happened before that people 'left' the scene and it happens now, it's just that we don't have to disconnect entirely now and can still carry on a more active enjoyment of the music. The company I helped grow that was fifteen of us is now nearly four hundred and we're responsible for a lot of people's lives. Like others I work hard, travel constantly both in and out of UK so when back home in Nottingham, weekends are for family, catching up with my now older kids and generally relaxing. I've overdone it travelling a couple of times and ended up with severe pneumonia or shingles before, so not going to travel for Northern Soul now in addition to work. Next week Monday to Friday is Berlin, Nottingham, Bristol and London then back home so I'll be shattered by the end of the week and need to relax. Many of the events I would like to attend such as So Soulful 70s are in Leyland, Buckshaw type area where our office is. So I'm not travelling to where I am in the week if not out and about. When back in Nottingham at the weekends, it's hard to find the time or energy to go out when it all starts again on the Monday. Like many I have this idea of 'getting back to it' as my work level declines over the next few years. However Northern Soul is my main enjoyment outside work and family, I'm constantly collecting, listening, reading books about soul, writing here and other groups. I listen to many soul radio and podcasts without fail every week , find new tracks and then go on the hunt for them. I'm not 'on the scene' anymore but I'm still spending a load on it every month. If I ever start collecting vinyl again, I'll be in real trouble I'm sure! I realised that for me and to use a cliche it is 'all about the music' - I like the Northern Soul scene, the people, that sense of underground scene mystery, but I'm most happy with the music and if at this stage I can't go out all the time, that's enough. I do feel there is a rich seam of great soul music being found, released from the archives and today. I balance my searches to support both old and new soul music and put some money back towards the artists where I can. Musically, I'm very happy and constantly still finding new songs to surprise me in Northern Soul. I have lots of friends who have become 'festival Northern Soul' fans. They don't buy or listen to it, other than getting tickets to Blackpool Tower and other similar festival type events, They treat it like a music festival 'greatest hits' set and for them that IS Northern Soul. I envisage for a more casual set of people, that will be their way forward, which it is in gigs for younger people generally. When everything is so expensive (tickets, travel, accommodation, food) then I can't blame people wanting maximum return for their money once or twice a year. But that doesn't support any kind of scene, maybe the very nature of scenes will fade away in the next online-first era. My older kids see their mates, love music (including NS) but don't have any scenes as they can blend music, drinks, computer gaming, films, socialising all at one - with all that, who needs a scene? Scenes seem to spring up to bring people together and fill the time in the absence of other things, they need boredom if nothing else to get them going. I'm torn, Northern Soul is by now in my DNA I'm sure, yet there's a nagging bit of me that still wants to get out amongst it, even though for time and health reasons that's probably not a good idea. If I felt more motivated then I'm sure nothing would stop me, but with the music to enjoy - for now that is enough. I know that the nights, niters, dayers and weekenders are the lifeblood of what keep it going. I'm grateful others have more time than me to do that. I know I'm now not part of the 'state of the Northern Soul scene' in terms of going out, but I'm perhaps part of the wider evolution of Northern Soul as it goes beyond the going-out scene into something more broadly encompassing that many here mentioned too.
  5. ThinkSmart

    OTIS RUSH.............R.I.P

    Sad news, I've enjoyed his songs through my life.
  6. ThinkSmart

    Precisely what is it...?

    The variety of instrumentation and quality of musicianship are definitely aspects that add longevity to my enjoyment of the music. That's along with the vocal parts, the orchestration, the arrangements, the heartfelt songwriting - there is an endless variety under the banner of Northern Soul to me. The core soulfulness extends across a range of genres encompassing on various songs aspects of blues, funk, disco, country, pop, garage rock, latin, doo-wop, psychedelia, MOR, orchestral music, gospel and much more. The focus of the music always draws back to soulful dance, creating something unique I think. Other dance music forms get more specialised and narrow but ours evolves, extends and grows without losing the soulful core that we all appreciate and return to. It can't always be the variety of instrumentation though, a song such as 'Sister Lee' barely has any instruments at all but is definitively Northern Soul. On the other hand many Big City soul epics or 70's Philly songs are masterpieces of arrangement and instrumentation. I like that Northern Soul is ultimately based only fundamentally on words 'rare dance soul' - we might not all like the forms incorporated into Northern Soul, but over time they find their place whether it is 1980s synth based soul, late 1950s popcorn, 1970's funk or 1960's sunshine pop. Each has had songs that become part of Northern Soul, enjoyed by some and rejected by others. There are instruments closely identified to Soul, especially Northern Soul and I'd call out the Vibes as a good example of that.
  7. ThinkSmart

    Sandy Nelson

    Leap Frog got some plays and was compiled by Kent on the 'Right Back Where We Started From L.P..
  8. The Richard Searling compiled 3CD set is out. Some of the usual tracks but also some only on the 7s sets or on the earlier Motown vault CDs or CD artist boxsets. Sound quality seems good. Price excellent. Although available a bit cheaper still at that Amazon place, here's a link to it as NSD. https://www.northernsouldirect.co.uk/the-essential-motown-northern-soul-3cd-various-artists-3x-cd-spectrum.html
  9. ThinkSmart

    New Book

    Thanks. Will go take a look.
  10. ThinkSmart

    RIP Aretha

    Music 'Legend' is thrown around too readily. Aretha is. Not just the obvious Atlantic songbook, there is so much before and after too. I've been buying a lesser Aretha album a month for the past year and been delighted at how much great music there is. Imagine the harmonies now the sisters can sing together again!
  11. ThinkSmart

    Poll: Version Battle - The Chase Is On

    It's time to hit the poll vote button at the top everyone. Artistics for me.....
  12. ThinkSmart

    Another Poll version battle.

    I'm easy either way on this one. Need a third choice.
  13. Wow! Kent's curation of non-obvious Motown is great. I look forward to this immensely.
  14. ThinkSmart

    Summer listening - some unreleased stuff

    Nice! I'll go add that to my Mixcloud queue.
  15. Pre-ordered CD arrived from Ace today a couple of days ahead of formal release. I look forward to playing it tonight.


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