Sunday, September 02, 2007

Northern Soul Story Vol 1-4

Yesterday I thought there was no way to match the intensity of the motown set. This morning I opened another big package, and out popped these four CDs. These are also compilations, and impossible to select one song to represent the entire set, so I’ll just shoutout all 4 hours of this set.

Collecting the Northern Soul releases of the past few years has been a hobby of mine, and I have a part of my being that loves the soul of the 60s and early 70s. The Northern Soul releases have been sorta underground here in the US, always needing to have a friend mail them here from Europe because the copyright laws here are different. And although they weren’t exactly bootlegs, they are not on large labels either. Many are lovingly put together by the DJs from the Northern Soul movement and were literally recorded from their copies of old 45’s. So, obviously the quality was always hit and miss.

Which brings us to this 4 CD set, released on Sony BMG. This is a major label release, and the sound quality is superb. Another major surprise is the selections for all 4 CDs are also excellent. So, whether you are an old-time collector of the Northern Soul collections, or brand new to the phenomena, this set is a must-have. Sony has chosen to put these out separately instead of as a box set, so purchasing a portion at a time is not a financial burden.
In the US soul music sorta disappeared from public consciousness, but in the UK there were clubs dedicated to keeping the music alive by having a DJ play them. 4 of these clubs are represented in this set: Twisted Wheel, Golden Touch, Blackpool Mecca, and Wigan Casino. The music is soul at its finest. There’s a few ‘hits’, but that’s not the emphasis. The emphasis is on dance and fun. You can click on the links below and see all the fine artists and the selected cuts. Quickly, you’ll hear The Triumphs, Roy Hamilton, Lou Johnson and many other fantastic artists who remain obscure in the general consciousness. There are also more familiar artists represented, James & Bobby Purify, Little Richard, Lee Dorsey, Shirley Ellis, James Carr – but again, not the huge hits that made them household names, but the songs that were played at parties and in clubs to help people dance and enjoy themselves.

You cannot help but feel good when this music is playing, and if you have a music loving friend, here is another highly recommended Christmas gift. There’s not a bad cut here, so it’s easy to simply put the cd on and join the dancing yourself if you’re the DJ at your party. Expect many smiles and lots of dancing.

Vol 1 Twisted Wheel
Vol 2 Golden Torch
Vol 3 Blackpool Mecca
Vol 4 Wigan Casino