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About Paul

  • Birthday December 10

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    People, music, sound technology, design, typography, publishing, art, literature, social history etc.
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  • Top Soul Sound
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  1. Sad and shocking news on Sunday. Lydia and the family are deep in my thoughts, as are Phil's brothers Kev and Graeme and their families. From me and my mam Rosemary and my sisters Annette, Gillian and Clare. Rest in peace Phil Joss.
  2. I voted "good" but nothing in life is all good or all bad, it isn't as simple as that. Like most DJ club spots or radio shows, it's natural that some of Ian's podcasts are more popular than others and it's even more likely that most people will enjoy one particular track more than another - and not necessarily the same one because our musical tastes differ, it's obviously subjective. The full podcast can't be good or bad, it's going to be a bit of both and somewhere in between. Equally, some people will be disappointed by one particular track or another, that's also to be expected. It might seem to be an obvious point to make but we sometimes need to remind ourselves of these things. Ian's podcasts are mostly focused on rare soul and include many tracks which are considered to be underappreciated or unknown to most people, that makes them interesting to rare soul fans, although I personally am not so obsessed with rarity and I'd just as much enjoy hearing some almost forgotten oldies and tracks which received less attention than they deserved. I haven't yet listened to Ian's most recent podcast in full but I'm always impressed by some tracks and I usually rate some others to be a bit mediocre in comparison, that's down to my own taste and I personally happen to think most rare soul DJs can focus a bit more on rarity than musical merit sometimes. I also think most of the very best soul tracks have already been heard so it's probably getting a bit harder to impress some people so often these days. That's just my opinion. But even if I was only impressed by just a few tracks in each of Ian's podcasts, that would make all of them worthwhile and I appreciate the fact that I can listen to them free of charge at home with my feet up and play the role of "armchair critic". So I can be lazy about it and I could easily be unintentionally ungrateful but this thread has reminded me that anyone who goes to the trouble of producing a free-of-charge podcast (or radio show etc) should be appreciated for their efforts. They should also be encouraged because that's what inspires and motivates people to continue and to try even harder etc. Ian may not not need as much encouragement as some other DJs because he still seems to have an enormous amount of passion and enthusiasm, he's always been like that, I sometimes wonder where he gets his energy from. That probably makes his podcasts even more interesting to many people and of course he can also be a bit controversial at times but that's the way he is and I don't expect that he'll change much now. We're all different, Ian isn't known for his tact and diplomacy as much as he is for his almost obsessive enthusiasm and sometimes overpowering single-mindedness. That may be a bit of an understatement but we all have different strengths and weaknesses. Ian can easily come across as self-obsessed or even arrogant at times, especially to those who don't really know him, but that often happens with people who have so much confidence, drive, ambition etc. People often use the strange phrase "love him or hate him" when discussing Ian Levine but I try not to hate anyone, he's certainly not a saint (none of us are) and he can even be his own worst enemy at times, but I've always had a soft spot for him because of his passion for music. He was a strong influence on me when I was a teenager, no doubt that applies to many of us. I first met him at Blackpool Mecca in late 1974. I was only 16 and a bit shy but he made me feel welcome and appreciated and on my next visit he introduced me to his guest, Herb Rooney. In 1977 I invited him to DJ at Durham City and he obliged for a very small fee at a time when he was very busy as a producer and was declining most requests to DJ at other events. I think it was a favour and it was much appreciated. Since then we've always been friendly and supportive of each other and we've done some business together but I'm well aware that other people have had different experiences of Ian and it isn't for me to defend him. He's his own man. Getting back to the music, it's not so often that I'm very impressed by many newly discovered old soul records these days. As a comparison I think the standard in general is much lower than it was in the mid 1970s, for example, but thankfully there are always exceptions because so many great tracks were overlooked and many others have yet to be heard. So I appreciate the efforts of Ian and anyone else who makes the effort and is also willing to share the music with the rest of us free of charge. Paul
  3. Hello, That's interesting, but I think you might have taken my points about cliques and status / hierarchy a bit more seriously than I intended them to be, and maybe I didn't explain myself very well but I did say these were "minor" issues. My concern is purely that some of these things may alienate some members a bit. It does seem that many people lurk but don't actually contribute, and personally I'd prefer soul source (or any forum) to be a bit more open and inviting if at all possible - especially to newcomers who may have less knowledge and experience than others. Ironically, their enthusiasm may already be just as passionate as ours and their musical taste may well be impressive enough to inspire the most experienced people. Taste is subjective, of course, but it's something which can't be bought and you don't have to be a top DJ or respected record collector to have good taste. That's what I really like about it, anyone can have enthusiasm and good taste, even those who can't afford to buy many records etc. Of course I agree that people have different levels of skills, knowledge and experience as well as different strengths and weaknesses etc, that makes it more interesting and it makes communities stronger and more diverse, but the equality point I made was more to do with each person's opinions being equally valid. It's also natural that anyone with particular high musical (or other) talent, knowledge or experience will probably be more listened to and maybe more admired than others, that's okay, and myself I do respect and admire musical talent in particular, but I sometimes feel that some people are considered (by themselves and / or others) to be more "important" or "superior" than others here, and not necessarily because of any particular talent or achievement, but sometimes simply because they happen to own a particularly rare, expensive or in-demand record, for example. All well and good for them but some people are more interested in (and impressed by) simple enthusiasm, musical taste and character etc. Soul source is obviously a northern soul forum, with its focus mostly on the "rare soul" thing, and I respect that but it's obvious from many of the postings that many members have wider musical interests than just northern / rare soul and not everyone is fascinated by how many copies of a particular rare record are known (or thought) to exist. But, thankfully, as I said, soul source has many other forums and freebasing which make it more interesting to more people. As for people trying to sell themselves, I really don't think that applies to everyone (or even very many) here on soul source - or on facebook etc. Some obviously are but many are just enjoying communicating, debating, learning, sharing, helping etc. Most people like to feel as if they're part of a community and they feel good to be wanted, needed, appreciated etc. We're all different. With me, it just happens that I tend not to admire or look up to people just because they own an expensive record (or live in a mansion on the hill) or because they might be "famous" or a member of the "in crowd" or whatever, but I find it very easy to admire people for their efforts, enthusiasm, musical taste, warmth, modesty, humour, etc. It's just the way I am. Having said that, I suppose it's probably those very same differences that help make soul source (and facebook etc) so interesting. The main thing which brings us all together in the first place is our shared interest in soul music and that has enabled quite a diverse bunch of people to be part of an online community which includes young and old, black and white, rich and poor, gay and straight etc. Many of us don't actually know very much about each other at all, other than our "screen names", it isn't always necessary. Best wishes, Paul P.S. By the way, I didn't actually say (or even imply) that hierarchy is "some sort of fascist principle" so I assume you're referring to someone else, and if it's a "cop out for people who can't accept that they're deficient", again I've no idea who you're referring to but I happen to be a basic / general socialist at heart and I don't feel as if I'm any more deficient than anyone else here. Others are welcome to disagree, of course.
  4. That's a great pun, Jordi, you should be writing headlines for The Sun. Sometimes I think my interest in design and typography etc is a "bit sad" but it's nice when it comes in handy (such as on this thread) and it's also part of my work anyway. It's a lot like our interests in music history etc, it gets to the point where we can remember the catalogue number of a particular 45, or what plant it was pressed at, but we have trouble remembering our National Insurance number or what we had for breakfast this morning ! It's odd how some obscure facts seems to be stuck somewhere in our brains but at least I suppose it means our brains are still working to some extent. Best wishes
  5. I'm glad it's sold, Adam, it's a very nice 45, and two of Herby Rooney's very best Songs. Paul
  6. Well done, The HDH catalogues are timeless and it will be nice to have such a complete collection, even for those of us who already have most of the individual tracks on various 45s, LPs and CDs etc. Many of the Invictus and Hot Wax things were red hot when I first got hooked on soul music as a school kid and they still sound fresh and vibrant so they always bring back a lot of great memories. But those catalogues have always been even deeper and richer than many people realise so this will be a great opportunity for a lot of people to discover some absolute gems. I don't know what the retail price will be but I've no doubt it will be a bargain. Best wishes, Paul
  7. Hello Adam, Looking at the photo of your copy I've no doubt that it's an authentic original vinyl issue from the Specialty plant. I compared the typesetting (mainly the fonts and tracking) with an image of the repro and your copy uses two old Univers fonts, unlike the repro which uses Swiss type fonts which may seem similar at a quick glance but they're not quite the same - not quite as condensed on the artist name and title - and they're also spaced closer together (auto tracking set at zero on computer rather than old-style setting). The more I compare them, the more differences I see. Another obvious difference is that on the label address line, which runs around the lower edge of the label, the SP original issue uses a narrow Trade Gothic font (almost certainly TradeGothicBoldCond20) but the repro uses just two fonts for all text: Swiss 721 Cn BT and probably Swiss 721 Md or 721 BT and there are very noticable differences on some characters more than others. More obvious, the artist name, title and catalogue number are set in Univers Cond on the original, it's a distinctive font and was used a lot by Specialty. And, maybe most obvious of all, the font used for the Sunburst logo is much heavier on the repro - as you said. I hope that's good news for you and Jay. Best wishes, Paul
  8. I bought it as a new release, on Sunburst and also on UK Contempo, and I admit I overlooked 'Synthetic Substitution' for some years because I loved 'Reward' so much. I think it's fair to say that most people overlooked both sides. It was quite an easy record to find at the time (but forty years ago now, let's not forget) and for many years it was probably difficult to sell for more than a pound or two because sadly there wasn't very much interest in it - not until the intro of 'Synthetic Substitution' was first sampled and looped etc. Suddenly a demand existed. I've had several US issues (and promos with 'Reward' on both sides) on both vinyl and styrene. There were several original vinyl issues (using different plants) but most vinyl copies were pressed at the Specialty plant in Olyphant, Pa., and the labels have a SP suffix after the matrix number. The recent repros tried to emulate that style but on closer inspection they used some incorrect fonts in places. I'm pretty sure I also once had a vinyl copy which was pressed at NAMI (the company which took over the former Capitol plant in Scranton) and that's even easier to identify because of the different label typesetting and even more because of those distinctive interlocking serrations near the edge of the labels - as commonly seen on most UK 45s until the late 1970s but only seen in the US on Capitol and NAMI pressings. The styrene copies were pressed at Bestway in New Jersey and they are easy to recognise as typical Bestway pressings, the labels also having a BW suffix after the matrix number. If in any doubt about authenticity, the styrene copies from Bestway are safe to buy (because bootlegs are almost always on vinyl these days) and of course the UK Contempo issue is authentic but I think it's also quite easy to spot an original vinyl issue from Specialty or NAMI. Paul
  9. Mike, it's natural that some people will go a bit quiet on soul source and some might leave from time to time, for whatever reasons, it can't always be interesting to everyone but I doubt it's because of facebook in many cases. There are times when I've found soul source to be a bit samey or too focused on rarity or DJs for my own liking, or I might have too many other things going on in my life, but usually there's something of interest and, if not, I know another day is likely to be different. Once or twice I've taken a back seat for a few months, to be honest I didn't think I missed it much but when I got active again I soon remembered what a nice community it is. And on soul source I don't really notice the numbers but I assume quite a lot of people are lurking and reading posts but not joining in (for whatever reason). I only wish more of those people would contribute because it would make it more interesting and it might also help to make any of the cliques or hierarchy things less obvious. As I said before, I think those things can alienate other members sometimes. Paul
  10. I didn't realise that, Mike, but that's not a bad thing, it's interesting that we agree. I was just expressing my own thoughts, I reckon most people wouldn't chose between one community and another when they can enjoy both (and others). Paul
  11. There has always been several soul scenes and factions of scenes and even more people who don't associate much with any particular scene but who take the music seriously and get a lot of pleasure from it. I think the only true "underground" movement in this country ended when the Tories closed the coal mines. And coal miners didn't go underground to support any particular cause, they did it to make a living. But variety is the spice of life.
  12. Thanks, I remember when I bought that as a new UK release, after hearing it on a friend's pocket radio at school, and finding the brilliant 'Right On Brothers And Sisters' on the flip side. Great value for money, great music, great memories. And I really should have attended school a bit more often.
  13. Why the comparison? Facebook and soul source are very different things and both are useful in different ways for different reasons. Facebook obviously became the main platform for joining or creating your own community (or multiple communities, to be precise) and is essential for staying in touch, instant messaging, chatting, sharing news etc. Some people think facebook is too "main street" but it depends on how you use it. It has many side streets and back alleys and the number of interesting and useful facebook groups for soul music is growing all the time. Look at Dave Turner's deep and sweet soul page, just for example, it's so fast and easy to upload audio, images, links and comment etc, and of course it's great for renewing old friendships and making new friends with similar interests. And with the news feeds and automation features it's almost impossible to miss a friend's birthday, a cry for help or a sudden death etc. Facebook is an excellent thing, if used right, and I don't see any point in comparing it with a more subject-specific online forum or members group such as soul source etc. Soul source is equally useful in more specific ways, obviously if you're a soul fan of course (and in particular if you're a northern soul / rare soul fan because that's what the emphasis is on) but it's different and is probably more important to some than others. I would find it a bit too narrow with too much focus on the rare soul aspect but, thankfully, there are enough sub forums and off-topic things to keep it interesting for me - not to forget the essential freebasing section which is what I tend to look at most often. I joined facebook six or seven years ago and have thousands of "friends", the majority of whom are soul fans and music lovers (and many are also soul source members anyway) but some are mates, neighbours, relatives etc. It isn't a question of which community is best, both are interesting and useful. My only criticism of soul source, and it's a minor thing, is that there seems to be some little cliques which can alienate other members, and sadly there's a bit of a status thing which I suppose is only a reflection of the hierarchy which exists on the rare soul scene. But, as in real life, all I can do is chose my friends, ignore those who ignore me and avoid those who seem to think they're superior. I'm a socialist so I believe all people are equal, in fact I usually find that the most "ordinary" people are the most fascinating. Yes, it would be better if a few soul source members would lighten up a bit and take themselves less seriously but, thankfully, the majority of members are fantastic people - friendly, helpful, humorous, modest, considerate and informative etc. Paul

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