I have decided to include three songs in this post. One reason is that I found it too hard to choose an example, and the other is that I would not want to publish three posts about similar songs, from the same genre. I have briefly mentioned Northern Soul previously on this blog. By the early 1970s, this small movement had grown, and had come to notice nationally. The devotees would pack venues in the north of England on Saturday nights, dancing to lesser-known soul records from America, until late the next morning. It came with a fashion style all its own, and a noticeable racial tolerance and general good humour. These clubs also served as markets, where fans could buy and exchange rare recordings to play at home. Young people would travel from all over the country, to fill places like the Wigan Casino, or the Blackpool Mecca.
Although it originated in the earlier Mod scene of the 1960s, Northern Soul aficionados did not continue with the same music from the Tamla-Motown stable, or Atlantic and Stax. They sought out smaller labels, and relatively little-known recording artists to dance to, as long as their music provided the distinctive sound that they loved. I could never claim to have been involved at that time. I was too old by then for one thing, and I would never have been comfortable in the baggy trousers and singlets favoured by the energetic dancers. For me, the attraction was simple. I knew the music. In some cases, I owned the records, and knew the recording artists’ work well. I had bought them the first time around, up to ten years earlier, when in my early teens.
It has never really gone away. Despite the closure of most of the iconic venues, the spirit lives on. In the following decades, other groups began to cover Northern Soul classics, giving them a new audience. Notable here are Soft Cell, who covered ‘Tainted Love’, and Dexy’s Midnight Runners, who included ‘Seven Days is Too Long’ on their debut album. Some of these younger fans sought out the originals, and club nights began again. There are still ‘weekenders’, held in various places around the country, and a diehard army of fans, old and young. Their motto is, ‘Keep The Faith’. It is a faith worth keeping.
Regrettably, I am unable to cut/paste links from You Tube to this post. I have no idea why, perhaps they have disabled this facility. It has always worked before. So, if you are at all interested, they are easily found there. If this continues, my posts in the music and film categories are destined to look very boring, I’m afraid.
*I have managed to get the tracks into the comments, please see below for links.
Open The Door To Your Heart. This solid song from 1967 was recorded by Darrell Banks, and written by the talented Donnie Elbert. Banks had a very short career, as he was shot dead in 1970, aged just 32.
Seven Days is Too Long. As mentioned, this song was covered by Kevin Rowland in 1980. I had the original single by Chuck Wood some ten years earlier. Although more commercial than some, it is rightly considered to be a Northern Soul classic.
Do I Love You (Indeed I Do). This was a Tamla Motown release from Frank Wilson in 1965, and was considered sufficiently obscure for the Northern Soul scene. It has exactly the right beat, and overall sound, to illustrate perfectly just what they all loved about this kind of music.