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The Media-Part II


 

 

Right, here is the concluding part of my look back to the halcyon days of the Northern scene. This takes us up to the start of 1976. Hope you enjoy it, don't ask me to do this again cos it took a total of 4 hours to prepare this article! NORTHERN SOUL - BLACK MUSIC MAGAZINE Onto September 1974 now, and a great letter from Alf Billingham of Cleveland: "Russ Winstanley states that soul people would complain if pressings were to STOP.. Russ obviously doesn't credit soul fans with any principles and integrity if he thinks this is so. He argues that because an artist like J.J.Barnes received little financial reward from Ric-Tic then the bootleggers are justified in pressing records. It just doesn't wash Russ". Pye Disco Demand had got off to a great start, with the soul chart showing the Casualeers at 14, Jerry Williams at 15, Frankie & The Classicals at 25 and the Fuzz, at 32. All good stuff, but beware the Javells! The Rare Soul column was dissapointing with reviews of Donnie Brookes-Satisfaction Guaranteed (Decca) (which didn't go big til the Stafford era!) Koffie-Stay Here With Me (Bell), Towanda Barnes-You Don't Mean It (A&M) and a spotlight on the De-Val label. Very little in this months Hot Stuff apart from Brother To Brother-In The Bottle (Turbo), but there were quite a few new UK releases including the Casualeers,("Is it soul? Is it pop? Is it any good?" what sort of review is that BM?), Soul Brothers Six-Thank You Baby ("Paunchy agrression"), Little Johnny Blair-Momma's Gone and Blilly Butler-.Right Track. IOOO Giants included the Fantastics, Fascinations, Flamingos, Formations,. Bobby Freeman, the Fuzz, Mamie Galore and Kenny Gamble. Sounds Around Records (who?) of Nottingham were selling copies of Jo Ann. King--Let Them Love And Be Loved (Fairmount), Case Of Tyme-Manifesto (Legend), Larry Atkins-Ain't That Love Enough (Romark) and the Soulful Hounds-Why Did You Leave Me Girl (Magic -City), while Groove City Records (a.k.a. Soul Bowl) had Bobby Foster, Nat Wright and Arnold Bryant at 70p each. Dave Godin took a trip up to Wolverhampton to check out the Inter City SC gig at the Club 67. He complained about the prices (20p for a cheese sandwich!) and the poor atmosphere, but was impressed by the enthusiasm of some of the younger members. (N.B.What Dave didn't know was the fact that the 67 Club was in the middle of Wolverhamptons' red light district and was very rough, that's why I never went!). Godin also reviwed Popcorn Wylie's Rosemary What Happened (Karen) and somehow managed to draw an analog with African music of thousands of years ago, and also Big Maybelles version of ? & The Mysterions' 96 Tears (Rojac). Onto Black Music 11, November 74, and another dissapointing Ian Levine column with reviews of obscure discs by Jackie Montre El, Mary Alice McCall, Jimmy Hudson, Cleveland Eaton and Spice (not the UK outfit) plus a look at the Ambers. A few new UK releases this month, notably another winner from Pye in the shape of Al Wilson-Help Me plus Robert Knightls Branded and a remake of Right Track by Major Lance. Apart from a rather low-key Dave Godin column dealing with UK companies cashing in and bastardising Northern Soul music, and a DJ profile of John Vincent (easily the best dj at Wigan around 76), there's little else in this issue to concern readers, although there's a good interview with Gloria Jones who reveals that she sang backing vocals on Brenda Holloway's Classic Every Little Bit Hurts with Brenda's sister Patrice helping out, that Sandy Wynns real name is Edna Wright and Gloria herself sang backing on Touch Of Venus. Wot, no Tainted Love? New pressings on the market included Steve Karmen-Breakaway, Tony & Tyrone.-Please Operator, Coasters-Crazy Baby (which had recently been massive covered as Freddie Jones-My hearts wide open), Laura Greene-Moonlight, music & you, and Spiral Starecase-More Today Than Yesterday. Groove City were selling originals of the Gems, Bobbettes, Mighty Shane and United Four at 75p each., But, if you wanted to be the trendiest guy on the block you could buy a Soul Star t-shirt of JJ Barnes, Marvin Gaye or Northern Soul (wonder what he looks like?) in either white, canary or turquoise, all with a fashionable scoop-neck! On the venue front it was a very busy time. The Northern Soul Club based in Whitchurch were running a Soul Train - literally I mean - picking up at Crewe, Stoke, Wolverhampton and Birmingham and ending up in Reading for an all-dayer. Andy Peebles was live at Newcastle Tiffanies, Sale Mecca had Levine and Curtis and there were ICSC gigs at Walsall, Sheffield, Malvern and Bristol. Top sounds at Wigan Casino in November 1974 were Eddie & Ernie, Fabulous Blades, Dena Barnes, Joey Dee, Detroit Soul and Michael & Raymond. Issue l2, November 74, kicks off with another Mr.Angry type letter from David Cole of Cleveland...".The Northern Soul scene is the most insincere, pretentious scene in the whole of British music. The constant one-upmanship which seems so rife when someone has found a rarity and the fact that discs are covered up so no-one else will latch onto them is to me appalling. No TRUE soul lover would do such a thing. The enjoyment of soul music is something to be shared as any genuine soul lover who found a new or rare sound would want to turn as many people onto it as possible. (Yes, but the whole reason that discs were covered up in those days was because no sooner had they been uncovered that they were bootlegged, and consequently dropped from the playlists. However, the points made in David Cole's letter do apply nowadays though because dj's cover-up simply to have sole ownership of the rarest sounds even though there's practically no chance of the sound being bootlegged). The letter continues.."I've been to Northern clubs and I've been sickened by the sight of a high percentage of kids (and I do mean 'kids') doped up to the eyeballs on any kind of pills they can get their hands on. Could it be that those pills make the Northern sounds so palitable, as to my non-stoned ears 90% of Northern raves are nothing but badly produced soundalikes". What a dickhead! Everybody knows you,don't get "doped" or 'stoned' at all nighters - you get smashed or blocked! Anyway, some hot new sounds out in the States this month included Alpaca Phase III-I Like To,Party (Atlantic), Bill Harris-Uptown Saturday Night (Warner Bros) and the great Hundred Pounds Of Pain by Lenny Welch (Mainstream) which was massive 12 months later. Levine's Rare Soul column looked at noted singer/ producer/composer/arranger George Kerr, and a group called the Icemen. New UK releases included the VelVets-I've Gotta Find Me Somebody ("A nondescript girl group") and the Exciters lacklustre remake of Blowing Up My Mind ("A good disc"). Selectadisc's top pressings were Roy Hamilton-Cracking Up, Elsie Strong -Just Ask Me and the Adventurers-Easy Baby, while 1000 Giants featured Marvin Gaye, Berry Gordy Jr, Rex Garvin, Glories, Earl Grant, Dobie Gray and Garland Green. This months Dave Godin column dealt with the controversy surrounding' the Javells-Goodbye Nothing To Say which Pye had been circulating to Northern jocks on white labels under the pretence that they were a black group from US Roulette Records, when in fact they where white session musicians. There's also a Godin report on the Aquarius Soul Club in Retford where the big sounds included Dee Dee Sharp What Kind Of Lady, Bobby McLure-You Got Me Baby, Lester Lanin-Dizzy and Jo Ann King-Let Them Love. Onto the venues and there were Northern nights at Oswestry, Newcastle, Bristol, Southampton, Shrewsbury and what looks like it must have been a goodie in Bournemouth with sounds like Del Larks, Velvet Satins, Master 4, Dena Barnes and Little Rose Little. December 74 now, issue 13, and BM's first anniversary. As far as the N.Soul afficionado was concerned the magazine had been, on the whole, excellent and there was no reason to feel that this large-scale coverage couldn't continue. However, midway through 1975 the Soul bubble burst and Northern Soul was back underground again. The record companies lost interest, and so did Black Music. That was to come however. The anniversary issue kicked off with yet another this-is-crap-no-it's-not debate and who said what to who letters page. Two Northern sounds released this month, Ila Van's Can't Help Loving That Man (with controversy over the word "that" being printed as "dat" in a very condescending manner) and Danny White's Cracked Up Over You on MCA. Roy Hamilton featured in 1000 Giants, and Selectadisc's hot new pressings included Mylestones, G1oria Jones, Sounds Of Lane, Carl Henderson, Dirty Hearts and Gypsies. Godin deals with the politics of the scene but apart from that there's very little in this for the Northern crowd. However, in January 1975 things hot up, beginning with round three of Godin vs Pye in which our hero reveals that soul fans were polled to see which monster sound they'd like to be released on Pye. They picked Wally Cox, but this turned out to be the worst seller of the lot (which was hardly surprising considering A) it has already been pressed, and B) it's rubbish). Malc Burton from Doncaster writes to complain about bias towards kids on the scene, something which happened an awful lot in those days and something I had to put up with myself (I was 15 in 75) but now, thankfully, age isn't important. This months new releases included Bettye Swann's Make Me Yours, and the unfortunate Footsee, soon to appear on Top Of The Pops with a supporting cast of dancers fron Wolverhampton and Dudley (including Jethro). Anyone got a video of it? In the USA, Snoopy Dean's Shake & Bump and King Sporty's Music Maker were released, both becoming big sounds. Levine was back with his rare soul column, becoming more and more 70's orientated all the time, but the real meat of this months issue was another Northern Soul 'expose' entitled 'Northern Soul Revisited'. Once again, Tony Cummings was the intrepid reporter. Today he would probably be classed as a Sun reporter. The feature is basically yet another Wigan slag-off: "Spinning kids moving to the sounds spun by Richard Searling ... Lenny Williams-I Couldn't Find Nobody, Nancy Wilsons The End Of Our Love, Gloria Jones-Tainted Love, all discs first spun at the Blackpool Mecca and all now firm favourites". So, in the very first sentence, Cummings insinuates that Wigan simply plays Blackpools cast-offs. He then goes on to describe the soul fans desire to dance to discs such as Soussans home-made instruental versions of Devil With The Blue Dress etc., which sets, the tone for the whole article, which is that Blackpool is IT, Wigan is where the divs go. Cut to an interview with bootlegger supreme Simon Soussan. For the younger readers who may not remember Soussan, he is the guy responsible for the bootlegs on the Soul Galore label, many of which were performed by the man himself and did the reputation of the material played at Wigan an awful lot of harm. Having said that, Soul Galore also released a few crackers such as Doni Burdicks Bari Track, Jimmy Mack-My World Is On Fire. To his credit, Soussan also managed to get hold of Randy Wood, owner of the legendary Mirwood Label, who gave all his masters to him resulting in previously unheard instrumentals of the Furys, Jackie Lee, Olympics and Belles. But it was the custom made discs that were the bone of contention here, and Selectadisc were eventually busted for selling Soussan's product. Russ Winstanley... "We are not going pop at, the Casino, but we are determined to keep playing the fast type of records which Northern Soul has always been, about. It's the places like Blackpool which are selling out, they are playing slower, funkier types of records which aren't true Northern Soul. We are trying to keep the Northern Soul scene truly Northern.". If you think rationally about it, Russ was right because although the Mecca did keep finding great sounds like the M.V.P.'s and Lou Edwards, their musical policies took them away from 'real' Northern Soul and into a new scene built around the likes of Doctor Buzzard, Brass Construction and their ilk. In years to come when people think back and discuss Northern Soul - as we are doing now - it will be Wigan that remains fondest in the memory simply because of what the Mecca eventually became. And before anyone asks yes I did attend both venues (though I must admit, I only went to the Mecca once as opposed to Wigan more or less every week). But staying with the article in question, there's a nice piece concerning 'Soul Supply' mainman Kev Roberts which basically says that while Russ is raking in 150 per spot, Kev gets a measily 15 and is banned from playing Mecca stuff such as Bobby Franklin and Snoopy Dean. It also adds that Kev has a more dubious sideline - Emidiscs. (My first was Lou Pride b/w Reggie Garner - what was yours?) Enter Ian Levine to add his two pence worth... "Half the clubs and disc jockeys and kids follow Wigan, in other words stomp stomp dancers - some of which are pop records; and half follow the Mecca and are into rare, uptempo but black soul". Ian Levine now makes a living producing hi-NRG records for gay clubs. Well, we're in early 1975 and the top Mecca sounds are King Sporty, Boby Franklin and the Perception Strings. The epitomy of the Northern Soul sound, I don't think so. On the other hand they're playing stuff like James Fountain and Life, great records but still 70's releases. Thus ends Blackpool Mecca's involvement in Northern Soul

The big split took place in February 1975 and the scene would never be the same again. Onto our next issue of BM, and there's no let-up in the media coverage of Northern Soul. "How far have we really come from the bad old days of rip-off and plagiarism when the only 'Northern Soul' records to rake a big impact on the pop chart are by second rate British acts, while the black originators remain in obscurity'' protests the editorial in BM 15. Two pages are devoted to readers letters concerning the expose in the previous issue. Martin Clark of Sheffield accuses Tony Cummings of deliberately starting a feud between Blackpool and Wigan. John Maddock of Nottingham accuses Russ Winstanley of playing only sounds that he likes himself. A certain Dave Evison pleads for the return of the harmony that's always surrounded the scene, and John Vincent corrects several innacuracies which make last months article look very silly indeed. Alan Rhodes protests at being called a 'second rate dj (i.e. anyone who isn't Winstanley, Levine or Curtis) and Ian 'Frank' Dewhurst puts forward the cases for both venues. The months new UK singles included a belated release for Snoopy Dean's Shake And Bump, a reissue of Jackie Lee's The Duck (why?) and Sister Sledge's pop dancer Love Don't Go Through No Changes On Me, while in the States there were new releases by Graham Central Station - Feel the need in me, Margo Thunder-Expresway To Your Heart and one of the biggest sounds of the years newies, Paul Humphrey's Cochise. 1000 Giants Of Black Music featured Leon Haywood, Hesitations, Donald Height and Monk Higgins. Samantha's in Sheffield was now running regulars all-nighters, and there were dayers in Coalville and Nottingham. Current big sounds were Mandrill, Billy Prophet, Gary Lewis, and Eddie & Ernie. New pressings from Selectadisc this month included Laura Greene, Los Canarios and Soussans Love Sitars. March 75 kicked off with a letter from an angry young lady from Birmingham who pleaded that Northern Soul should be kicked out of the magazine because 'the people at Wigan and the Mecca are a bunch of hypocrites and false prophets whose only aim is to exploit black artists". There were several new singles this month in the UK including Eddie & Ernie, Lada Edmund Jr, Sons Of Moses, Steve Karnen, Rex Garvin and Jimmy Breedlove. There was an interesting piece on Frankie Crocker's Ton Of Dynamite (my second Emidisc,by the way b/w I'm Your Pimp-Skullsnaps) in which the real truth behind the disc is told i.e. Crocker sings on the A side whereas Dynamite is in fact by Lonnie Youngblood with Willie & The Mighty Magnificents. Soul Sam wrote in to call BM's recent N.Soul feature 'biased drivel' while Ian Levine actually reviewed some decent records in his 'Sounds' column including 'Harold Melvin, Topics, Marvin Holmes, Modern Redcaps and George Clinton. Just out in the States, Prince Johnny 'Robinson-That Girl Is Rated X, and Gwen Owens-You Better Watch Out, while in the UK Selectadisc had pressings of Rita Dacosta, Wombat, Carstairs, AI Wilson and Dean Courtney. The next issue had a batch of replies to last months 'hypocrites' slur, but more importantly it carried the first ever advertisement for 'three button high waisted cord baggies with 30 inch bottoms'! Two of the worst records ever played on the scene came out on Pye, the Fugitives-Human Jungle and the diabolical Kenny Bernard-What Love Brings. Disco Demand's Solid Soul Sensations album was reviewed this month and received a three star rating, and Ron Holden, Holidays, Cissie Houston and Eddic Holman were among this month giants. The newly established 'Northern Soul' page featured Johnny Bragg and Lada Edmund Jr, and also had an interview with Kenny Bernard whose best quote was "I saw Wayne Gibson on Top Of The Pops and i thought, man, wouldn't it be great if I could get an oldie release like that...and now I have". Tough luck Ken, should've tried to get CBS to reissue Pity My Feet. Ian Levine described Diane Jenkns' Towaway Zone (Creative Funk) as "the record to end all records", and also reviewed Robby Lawson-Burning Sensation (Kyser), Stingers--I Refuse to Be Lonely (Stax), plus 70's stuff from Johnny Robinson, the Virtues and LTG Exchange. Hot stuff saw new releases from Na Allen-Open The Door To Your Heart and the dreadful Marc Copage double sider Who Can I Turn To/Will It Be Me, Plus Bataan's instrumental of The Bottle. Again there were no shortage of soul do's, with places such as Burnley Circulation Club, the fondly remembered Halesowen Tiffs, Derby Cleos, Yate Sterling Suite (with dj 'King Kojak') and a dayer at Leicester with Paul Rudzitis at the decks. Onto May 1975 and BM 18, and this months Selectadisc specials showcased their new Black Magic label, kicking off with a double sider' from Paula Rousell/ Bob Relf, and the infamous Sharonettes-Papa Ooh Mow Mow. If you thought those were bad, this month also saw the release of Wigan's Ovation's Skiing In The Snow, and I had the misfortune to see them play live at a Northern night at W'ton Civic at the time. Levine was there that night, I wonder what he made of them? There were loads of new singles this month including Mitch Ryder, Dean Courtney, Devonnes, J.J.Barnes, Sax Of Soul-Sea Cruise (I bought that one!) and the nausiating Sliced Tomatoes by Sounds Of Lancashire. Disco Demand had a busy month because they also released the album Great Disco Demands, a compiation of some of their singles. New singles in the US included Major Harris' After Loving You and Lily Fields-Love Has So Many Meanings. The Northern Soul Page carried an interview with 'Cochise'man Paul Humphrey, and Ian Levine Amazed everyone by writing another good column with reviews of Holly Maxwell, Symphonics, Al Gardner, Tony Hester, Little Dooley and finally The Trip by Dave Mitchell and the Sceamers of which Levine wrote.."If only Wigan could get their hands on this". (Which they did almost immediately). June 1975's new releases: and this was bad; a disco version of Dance Dance Dance by a group called Liquid Smoke on Roulette, plus an answer version to Prince Johhny Robinson in the shape of Ann Byers' This Man Is Rated X. There was also the latest abberation from Disco Demand with the Sha-Na-Nettes version of Just Like Romeo & Juliet and a newie/oldie from the Exciters with Love You Baby. Sandra Phillips, whose disc World Without Sunshine had been huge a few months earlier, was featured in the Northern Soul column, along with the 'other' George Clinton of Please Don't Run fame. Levine's choices this month were the brilliant I'm Spellbound by Tamiko Jones (Golden World), Leroy Britton- You're Never Too Young (Sound), Jimmy Mack-My World Is On Fire (Palmer), Free Form Experiment-There Will Be Light (Inner Ear-same label as The Crow), plus the Anderson Brothers-I Can See Him Loving You (GSF), Melvin Carter-Midnight Brew (Trip Universal) ex Johnny Jackson Experience-Let's Shing A Ling At The GoGo cover up; and finally Ernest Mosley's Stubborn Heart (La Cindy). Hot Stuff carried a review of a current biggie, the Brothers-Are You Ready For This (RCA) and described it as "a couple of fragments of tape salvaged from the Sigma Sound waste bin". Also out in the States was a similar sounding instrumental effort by 3rd Time Around-Soon Everything Will Be Alright (Denine). More letters concerning BM's anti-Northern attitude kicked off issue 20 (July 75). Dane Smith from Northants: "Why do you not include sounds like the Philly Devotions, Johnny C, Capitols and Deon Jackson under the Northern section of your new releases? Is it because you like these records? And why include records like Sounds Of Lancashire when you darn well know that we Northern Soul freaks don't dance or listen to such crap?" Good point, and oddly enough this months singles were given much better reviews. The Temprees-At Last was "Marvellously swaggering", Jimmy James'Help Yourself 'belts along", Tony & Tyrone-Please Operator was "lovely, noisy, tinny, vintage mid-60's soul.", Lorraine.Chandler-Love You Baby was Black Magics best yet" (not too difficult a task) and Gene Latter's Sign On The Dotted Line was "Among the best of it's type". Tony Cummings wrote a short biography of Lorraine Chandler for the Northern Soul column, and Ian Levine reviewed some obscure newies with the exception of George Benson-Supership and Diane Jenkins-I Need You. The Other Levine sounds were by Crossfire, Barrett Strong, Cortez Greer, Chris Campbell and Kevin Drinkard. Feature of the month however was a special on Van McCoy, then currently high in the charts with the excrutiating Hustle. The article mentioned his work with many Northern favourites including Chuck Jackson, Shirelles, Drifters, Jay & The Americans, Barbara Lewis, Sweet Things, Spellbinders, Sandi Sheldon, Chris Bartley, Jackie Wilson and Brenda & The Tabulations. Incidentally, did you know that the lead singer from the Sweet Things, Francine Baker, teamed up with another Northern favourite Herb Ward to become Peaches & Herb? You did? Oh well. August 1975 kicked off with a full page ad for three new UK Capitol releases from Earl Wright ("Back in the shops due to fantastic public demand" - it had never been in the UK shops before!), Jodi Mathis and the Reflections. Top sounds pressed by/for Selectadise were Don Thomas, Nanette Workman, Capreez Ede Robin and Debbie Fleming. Black Magic released their next two singles, Dobie Gray-Out On The Floor and another Soussan recording, the abysmal Runaway by the Chantelles. Of the aforementioned Capitol releases, Thumb A Ride was described as "put together in five minutes by a bunch of tired West Coast session men". This was in stereo and slightly remixed. Jodi Mathis' Don't You Care Anymore was pressed with the slowie b-side "mama"as the A-side! Chuck Jackson's brilliant Chains Of Love was described as "painfully dated and lacking in grace and subtlety" but Maxine Brown's One In A Million, T.D.Valentine-Love Trap, and the Cooperettes-Shing A Ling all got surprisingly unbiased reviews. The Fabulous Blades-Jerk Baby Jerk and Lenis Guess-Just Ask Me also got belated UK releases. Over in the States there were Northern spins for new releases by Esther Phillips-What A difference, Boogie Man Orchestra-Lady Lady Lady, Eric Mercury-Pours When It Rains, and the Superlatives-I Still Love You (that's what it says here anyway, August 75's Hot Stuff lists the Superlatives on Uptite as a new release. Maybe it was a legitimate repressing?) Bob Relf and George Benson featured in Northern Soul this month, and Levine's new spins were as follows: Tobi Bowe-Groovy Feeling (Patheway), Vessie Simmons-Shiftless Shady (Simco), David Lenyard-It Could Have Been You (Flying Eagles), Black Truth Band-Butter Nut (Black Truth), Nat Fross-Too Many Skeletons In The Closet (How Big) (cover-up I think), Creative Funk-Moving World (Creative Funk), Famous Chromes-Teach Me (Drive), Jessie Fisher-You're Not Loving A Beginner (Way Out), and finally Scott Brothers-We Like Girls (Zachron). Certainly looks as if Levine had decided to almost 100% 70's newies by this time. The Yate allnighters were well established by this time, primarilly run by the Inter City Soul Club who also had gigs going in Newquay, Leeds Cats Whiskers and Leicester Palais. In September 1975 Dave Godin launched his Right On label and kicked it off with a couple of goodies, the Jelly Beans-You Don't Mean Me No Good and the Crow- Your Autumn Of Tomorrow, a record which was unfortunately too far ahead of it's time in 1975 to be massive but has certainly grown in stature over the years - due for revival maybe? Major Lance's Live At The Torch was released and Black Music described it as "the ultimate insanity" but awarded it two stars for "important historical value". Doni Burdick, Dave Mitchell and Ollie Jackson were all pressed this month, while Rita Dacosta got a belated UK release on Contempo. There was a mild controversy over the new single by comedy trio the Goodies, the chorus of which went somethinig like 'Black pudding Bertha, she's the queen of Northern Soul" - it had come to this! The Mecca playlist around this time included Mistura-Life Is A Song Worth Singing, Loletta Holloway-The World Don't Owe You Nothin', Conquistadors-Sadness and Madness, 35th Street Gang-I Spy, Tax Free- Love Has Gone, Ballads-LovinYou Isn't Enough and Wade Flemons-Jeanette. Over at the Casino however, they were spinning Frankie Crocker-Ton Of Dynamite, World Column-So Is The Sun, Jeanette Harper-Put Me In Your Pocket, Willie Mitchell-Champion, Jades-I'm Where It's At, 8th Avenue Band-Whole Thing and even Billy Woods-Let Me Make You Happy. Tony Cummings reported on Black Magic act the Sharonettes and asked "exactly who are they" Well, first reports (from Simon Soussan actually) said that the Sharonettes comprised a 17 year old Soussan discovery named Paula Roussell, plus Northern heroines Patrice Holloway and Clydie King, with Sherlie Matthews thrown in for good measure. It eventually transpired that the group really consisted of Sherlie Matthews, a girl called Becky Lewis and Carolyn Willis, whose That Beat And Rhythm had been a hit for Soussan using the old Cigarette Ashes backing track. Both Sharonettes discs, Papa Ooh Mow Mow and Going To A Go Go, made the UK charts. BM October.1975, and new relases from the States which got plays on the scene Were Revelation-Get Ready For This, and the Men From Macon-Salvation. In the UK, releases included Jackie Lee-Shotgun & The Duck, Mike Post-Afternoon Of The Rhino, Mr.Floods Party-Compared To What, RB Freeman-I'm Shaft and Debbie Fleming-Long Gone. Ian Levine's tips included True Pages Of Life-Truth And Love (Creative Funk), Val Palmer-Back In My Arms Again (Twin Hits), Rising Sun- You're Never Too Old To Learn (Kingston), Jaywalkers-Can't Live Wihtout You (Swan), Carlena Williams-I Won 't Be Completely Happy (Erica), Joseph Moore-I Still Can't Get 'You (Marvlus), Jimmy Burns-I Really Love You (Erica)(which didn't go big til late 77) and Shelley Fisher-Girl I Love You (Dalya. The latest batch of Soul Galore releases featured Gloria Parker, Jimmy Mack and Keanya Collins. September 1975 saw Wigan Casino's second anniversary take place, with guest stars Tommy Hunt, the Chi-Lites and Otis Leavill booked to appear . Northern Soul-After The Goldrush was the title of BM's final big expose on the world of N.Soul, written basically because all the fuss from January's piece had died down, and no doubt circulation had fallen! First off, the customary visit to the Casino, and the first put-down: "Rail workers from Crewe, packers from Preston, steel workers from Sheffield and factory hands from Burnley.." - suggesting that everyone who attends Wigan is a thick manual worker. No doubt there are a few brain surgeons dancing at the Mecca meanwhile. After the usual white stomper slag-offs and drug references, there is a lengthy piece concerning tailor-made Northern sounds, and the relative merits of Soussan, Pye, Spark and Ian Levine. No prizes for guessing who comes out smelling of roses! Now it's over to the Mecca where Cummings explains just why Blackpool had to switch to obscure new releases rather than keep plodding along with the old type suunds, but then totally blows the piece by quoting the latest Mecca biggie as being the Idle Few -People That's Why (a cover of a PJ proby LP track). Cleethorpes is next on the agenda, and the place actually gets a good write-up, maybe because it provides a happy medium between Blackpool and Wigan. Biggest sounds over on the East Coast were Danny Monday-Baby Without You (Modern) , Five & A Penny-You Don't Know Where Your Interest Lies (UK Polydor), Rodger Collins-You Sexy Sugar Plum (Fantasy) and Len Jewell-All My Good Lovin' (Pzazz). The Inter City Soul Club held a soul convention in Blackpool, spread over three days. For 29.50 you got hotel accomodation, a soul exhibition (?), and a soul dance night, followed by a five-a-side football competition the next morning and a soul forum with guest speakers Mary Chapman (Cleethorpes organiser), Dave Godin, Andy Peebles and Tony fucking Cummings. At 8'o'clock, a soul concert featuring the Armada Orchestra, Chris Bartley, Fantastic Four, Tamiko Jones, Bessic Banks, Otis Leavill, Sam Nesbitt, Oliver Sain and Ultra Funk (in other words, the Contempo roadshow). Did all this actually take place, I can't remember. If any reader attended this weekender maybe they could write in and tell us what it was like. Here's one for you: did you know that Little Dooley of You Better Be Ready fame was the same guy who did Game Players as Dooley Silverspoon? Just one of the interesting facts in BM October 75. Very little new product released in the UK this month: Johnny Williams - You're Something Kinda Mellow, Sisters Love-Learning To Trust My Man and Tommy Hunt's cover version of Cracking Up Over You. In the States There was Barnaby Bye - Can't Live This Way, Anacostia-All I Need and the Miracles- Love Machine. On the pressings front, Terry Jackson Soul of Leicester had copies, or one copy as the case may be, of Robbie Lawson, candi Staton, Flower Shoppe, Three Degrees, Bunny Sigler and Al Foster band. On the fashion front, no soulie was without his three button, high waist, side pocket 30" Karma Ghia cords along with bowling shirt and leather bomber jacket. I know - I was that soulie. Well it's now December 1975 and we come to the last Black Music to be featured in this article. In fact, this issue is perhaps the most interesting to record collectors as it contains a discography of every Northern sound currently available at that time in the UK. According to the uncredited writer of the feature all of the following discs were played on the scene At some time: 5000 Volts-I'm on fire, Chantelles - Runaway, Offenbach-Judy In Disguise, Northern Soul Inc-Something Keeps Calling Me Back, Jezzabells-Tainted Love, Spix'n'Spax-Follow The Leader, Etta Thomas-Just Ask Me, and many more of the same calibre. Here's the pick of the reviews: Shakers-One Wonderful Moment(''Dire stomp stomp"), Jackie Lee-Temptation Walk ("The epitome of Northern Soul"), Graham Bonney-Supergirl ("Thoroughly obnoxious pop disc" - here, here), Earl Wright - Thumb A Ride ("Repetitive, mindless"),Lada Edmund Jr-La Rue ("Absurdly stereotyped"), Sons Of Moses-Soul Symphony ("Inept"), Danny White-Cracked Up Over You (''Primitive''), Mr. Floods Party-Compared To What ("Dull instrumental"). That just goes to show how well they listened to these records, the fact that Compared To What is a vocal track! The list goes on anyway. Just think though, in December 1975 you could have gone into any major record shop and picked up records of quality by Sapphires, Soul Brothers Six, Dobie Gray, Hoagy Lands, Williams & Watson, Major Lance, Sheila Anthony, Dean Courtney, Ila Van, Yvonne Baker, Incredibles, Bettye Swann, Dean Parrish, Homer Banks, Poets, Bunny Sigler, Lada Edmund, Jerry Williams, and on and on and on. It certainly was an exciting time to be discovering Northern Soul as I well remember, with new records to hear every week, new venues and new friends. I hope you've enjoyed reading about the monthly life of the Northern Soul scene in 1974-75.

 

Thanks for reading! Pete Smith

pete.smith@tesco.net Northern Soul

45's/cd's bought and sold website: http://members.tripod.com/~planetrecords/

PLANET RECORDS  

www.raresoul.co.uk Northern Soul 45's bought & sold   Please send your lists of 45's for sale Wants lists welcome