Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1087

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Review

Mr M's Northern Soul Oldies Room 1974-1981

NS1

9

6.1

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UK release date 08.12.2017

Let's face everybody loves a bit of northern it's just so goddam breezy and puts you in a good mood.American soul music adopted by the north of England and one such place Wigan, is synonymous with this great golden era spanning here from 1974-1981.This cracking 50 track compilation churns out all those great vinyl memories that energetic kids danced too all night long week in week out, all chosen by the original DJ's who spun those magnificent wheels of steel in the first place.

There's rarities too, as well as first time on CD rock solid gems such as the barnstorming Ike and Tina Turner inspired 'Country Road’ by High Voltage, ‘Everybody Dance Now’ by Little Caesar & The Empire, ‘Poor Dog’ by Little Richard, ‘Green Door’ by Wynder K. Frog, the original GM Records U.S. version of ‘Compared To What’ by Mr. Floods Party and the popular UK-only single ‘Game Players’ by Dooley Silverspoon (cut from the original master tapes).

Part one gets off to a terrific start with the punchy almost rock and roll sound of Mickey Lane's 'Hey Sah Lo Nay' and the same vibe comes again in the shape of Wynder K Frog swing sixties style with 'Green Door' and it's good to see Gene Chandler's 'There Was A Time' a souped up James Brown cover - wow this stuff is so infectious! Soul don err Don Covey,turns in a belter too with his Staple Singers inspired 'I'ts Better To Have ( And Don't Need) straight out of the church!

I'ts fascinating to hear all the diverse influences that made up Northern Soul a term that originated here! It was first publicly used in Dave Godin's weekly column in Blues & Soul magazine in June 1970. A sound made up of Motown,R&B and Latin touches here and there too,all driven by propulsive drumming, yes a heavy, syncopated beat and fast tempo with heart wrenching singers adding to the overall scintillating emotions that these records generate and it's great there's a few instrumentals here too. Doni Burdock's 'Bari Track' is a killer barping all over the place and the Temptations inspired 'Baby Boy' by Fred Hughes' hits the zeitgeist of the times - he definately was part of a new generation that lives on through these magnificent offerings.This my friends,is top drawer quality material and I'm not even half way through!

Not all the acts are obscure either,Joe Tex pops up with the classic "Show Me" who also wrote the song.The single was Joe Tex's fourteenth release to make the US R&B Chart. "Show Me" went to #24 on the R&B chart and #35 on the hot 100.All good stuff! Likewise,Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons epic 'The Night' which was originally released in 1972 failed to chart when first released, it became a popular track on the northern soul circuit, which led to a successful UK re-release in the spring of 1975 when it reached #7 in the charts - indicating some serious cross fertilisation going on here !

Part 2 keeps the party in full swing mode too, with the explosive 'Everybody Dance Now' by the fab 'Little Caesar & The Empire' and the bubbling bass of ''Devil With A Blue Dress On ' keeps it all ramped to the max with the follow on and feverish 'C'mon And Swing' by the urgent sounding Bobby Freeman and it's good to see the woefully underrated soul singer James Carr ( some say the greatest ever) on this impeccable bag of gems.I could wax lyrical for further but I think you are getting the picture and the general excitement I'm enthusing about- suffice to say Dave Evison (a man whose shoes are still veritably full of old soul )has done you all you proud curating this veritable tome giving us a perfect representation of a golden era - check out his interview too on disc three.This is stunning - I'm speechless (well not quite!)
Words Emrys Baird

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