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Al Abrams - Hype & Soul, Behind The Scenes at Motown - Temple Street Publishing ISBN 9780956959300

What a fabulous job Neil Rushton has done in co-ordination the publication of Al Abrams memories into a book that is a must buy for anyone interested in the background and trivia of Motown Records. The stories and anecdotes are fabulous, the photos and memorabilia are unbelievably good, and the whole thing is expertly put together. As I said, if you have an interest in the background, history, publicity, and trivia of Motown Records (And I would guess that most people reading this will have), just go out and buy this book on my recommendation.
 

Clive Richardson - Really Saying Something, Memoirs of a Soul Survivor - Bankhouse Books ISBN9 781904 408758

 Precisely what it says on the cover. The memoirs of someone who has been involved with the enjoyment and promotion of Soul music since the very early days back in the 1960s. Clive Richardson has since a diverse involvement in Soul music that he probably had trouble getting everything into the one volume. But heís managed it, and his eloquent command of English means this is an easy read as well. Perhaps a little too much focus on what was in (What appears to be) every issue of Shout magazine, but hey, Iíve been there as an Editor, so know exactly how much it means. Overall, this is a very personal view of a lifetime spent in Soul music appreciation, by someone who is from London (and that is a key point here) that I enjoyed reading and will in all likelihood read again.

 

 

Tim Brown - The Wigan Casino Years - Outta Sight Limited ISBN 13 97809563831 2 9

 

The definitive history of Wigan Casino ? Well yes, in Timís view it is, and who am I to agrue with him. Of course, no matter how much research Tim has undertaken, there will always be people who remember things differently (Borne out by the fact that Tim couldnít actually, finally, absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, pin down the date of the last allnighter that really took place) A great read for both Casino veterans and new converts wishing to read about the hey day of the scene. Of course there are areas I would have liked to see more deeply explored, and others that I wasnít overly impressed with, but overall, with the design work from Glenn Gunton, this is the best book that is available about Wigan Casino

 

 

Mark Ribowsky – The Supremes  – De Capo Press – ISBN 9780306815867

Published last year this is the first of three reviews of books by Mark Ribowsky, and quite simply it is superb. One of the most detailed, and interesting books I’ve ever read about any Motown act. Put together by undertaking extensive interviews with family, friends, other artists, and members of the Supremes, it really is top notch research. Well written as well. My copy is an American one, so I’m not sure whether it has been published over here, but Amazon have it in stock.

 

 

Mark Ribowsky – Signed Sealed And Delivered, The Soulful Journey Of Stevie Wonder – Wiley & Sons Inc – ISBN 9780470481509

Published earlier this year, and I can only repeat what I said about the Supremes book. Fabulous detail, recognition of the failures as well as the successes, and worth every penny. Again, an American copy, but again easily available over here.

 

 

Mark Ribowsky – Ain’t Too Proud To Beg  – Wiley & Sons Inc – ISBN 978047026117

The most recent of the three, only just published in fact, and as soon as it arrived I sat down to start reading it. If anything it surpasses the previous two books. Great work by Mr Ribowsky. What I would really like to see him do next is work on some of the less well known names at Motown, he’s done the big three, so hopefully he will turn his talent to documenting in fabulous detail some of the artists like The Contours, or Liz Lands. Perhaps a compilation of artists in one book ? Who knows, it might happen.

 

 

Enamel Verguren – I’m Not Like Everybody Else, The Mod Chronicles Vol 2. – ShaMan Publishing – ISBN9780956488206

Like a Mod Scrapbook, but with interviews witrh some of the major players on the Mod scene. Now I’ve never been into Mod, or scooters, but I found this quite interesting simply because it includes interviews with people I know. So, if you want to read some social history, look at some flyers and hundreds of photos all connected with the Mod scene, this is for you.

 

 

Keith Rylatt – Groovesville USA, The Detroit Soul & R & B Index – Stuart Russell Publishing 

Truly awesome piece of work from Keith. Simply, a series of articles on some of the names behind the Soul & R & B  scene in Detroit, and then a meticulously researched A to Z of Detroit Soul labels, interspersed with lots of previously unseen photographs. If you have any interest in Detroit Soul music, you must buy this book !

 

 

Hugh Gregory – The Real Rhythm and Blues – Blanford Publishing ISBN 0713726032

 In a strange way, this book, from 1998 is a precursor to Keith Rylatt’s book, except it’s not solely about Detroit. The book is concerned with the beginnings of the R & B sound that eventually became Soul, and features artists, producers, arrangers from the Fifties and Sixties in short biographies. Well written,  it gives an insight into the early sounds that led the way for Black Music in the States. Well worth reading if you have any interest in the history of Black music.

 

 

Neil Rushton – Northern Soul Stories – Soulvation ISBN9780956456915 

‘Angst And Acetates, eye witness anecdotes from the ultimate dance music underground’ is the subtitle of the book, and that’s just what it is. Neil Rushton has gathered together a whole host of anecdotes from a variety of people, added his own stories as well, and then put it all together in a wonderfully presented book. My only criticism is that perhaps the presentation outweighs the actual contents, because of the use of large text and copious photographs (all of which are relevant) there isn’t actually that much reading in the book. To the point where I finished the whole thing in one day.  So, what there is, is great, I just feel there could be more, especially from someone with Neil’s background on the scene. I’d also recommend you go for the hardback as well ‘cos you get the free promotional single with it.

 

 

Terry Wilson – Tamla Motown, The Stories Behind The UK Singles – Cherry Red Publishing ISBN 9781901447316 

This is a tremendous piece of work in terms of research, it’s not however a book that you would sit down and read cover to cover. Telling the story of Motown releases in this country, by catalogue number, startring with all the Fontana, Oriole, Stateside releases, and then going right through to the last singles released with a TMG prefix. Interspersed between the singles reviews are short chapters which tell the broader story of each era, and ‘timelines’ which pick out the important things from each year in the history of Tamla Motown. Finally, at the back of the book are is a chapter which I found to be the highlight of the book for me, ‘Statistics, Facts, and Feats’ (Mind you it probably says something about the way my mind works !), followed by several appendices covering all the Motown releases that didn’t come out on Tamla Motown (ie UK Mowest), and a section for record collectors which covers the various label differences through the years, and the various company sleeves. Sadly for me, as the book is not colour, it seemed a bit of a waste showing a sleeve and saying “The Orange Sleeve”. Well worth buying though, and certainly a book I will pick up and dip into on a regular occasion.

 

 

Tim Brown & Martin Koppel – The Essential Northern Soul Price Guide Edition Two – Anglo American (One Stop) Publishing ISBN 9780953929191 

A little late reviewing this one because it came out back in 2008. Difficult to review as well, because although it is updated, and expanded from the first edition, it’s essentially the same book with extra bits added. One of the extra bits is Tim Brown’s twenty page article on how to spot bootlegs, always a welcome addition to anyone who collects records. That’s about it really, it’s not the only price guide out there, and it’s quite interesting to see where this book differs on pricing to Manship’s guide, so I would recommend that you get hold of both, if only to make those comparisons.

 

 

David Stubbs – Ace Records – Black Dog Publishing ISBN9781906155032 

The history of the label, from a market stall to the current day where Ace are regarded as the World’s premier reissue company. My own, and I’m sure many other reader’s, first encounter with Ace Records was when the subsidiary label Kent was born. Unbelievably, that was over twenty five years ago now, and in the intervening period the lable has built up a catalogue of Soul releases that cannot be bettered by any company in the world. But of course Ace Records wasn’t just about Kent, and Soul. The main focus of the label was, and still is really, Rock and Roll, Blues, and Rockabilly. Ted Carroll started out with a market stall selling singles, he eventually opened his own shop, and along the way gathered some of the premier collectors of all the above genres around him. When Ace Records was founded (Jointly between Ted Carroll and Trevor Churchill) they set in motion a thirty year quest to discover, research, and release, the best music of the Fifties and Sixties. As I’ve already said, the company is now recognised as the world leader, but still retains the air of collectors having fun, mostly because it’s still the same people involved. A great read, especially if you’re not just looking for info on the Kent label.

 

 

Ruben Molina – Chicano Soul – Mictlam Publishin ISBN 689076577274 

I was a bit hesitant about buying this book because I wondered whether it would just be a re-hash of Rubin’s first book ‘The Old Barrio Guide To Low Rider Music’. How wrong could I be ! This is a superbly presented, full colour, tour through the artists, the venues, the labels, the history of Chicano Soul. The quality of the presentation is the best I’ve seen in years, each page is so thick it’s almost card rather than paper. I can’t recommend this book enough, you might not even like the type of Soul that Rubin describes as Chicano soul, but even so, the book is still worth buying, just for it’s sheer quality. Published in the States (By I believe Rubin Molina himself), this is available through Amazon, and ‘Beatin’ Rhythm’ in Manchester which is where I grabbed my copy from.

 

 

Rob McKeever – On The Right Track, With Northern Soul DJ, Ginger Taylor – Furness  Peninsula Press ISBN 9780955328336 

This is Rob McKeever’s second book, (The first was ‘Northern Soul In Barrow’) and this time he’s focused on Ginger Taylor. It’s a good read, full of anecdotes, both on the scene, and off, lot’s of photos, and comments from people who know Ginger. Let’s face it, Ginger has been one of the op DJs on the Northern scene for years, and it’s a well deserved reputation, the book just confirms what a nice guy he really is. If you’ve got a spare ten quid, and a spare afternoon, buy the book and read it.

 

 

Tommy Hunt – Only Human – Bank House Books  ISBN 9781904408420 

An interesting book which deals with many aspects of Tommy Hunt’s life in intricate detail. And that’s what the book is about, Tommy Hunt’s life as a performer, so much so the recording side of his life is covered in a very scarce fashion. Perhaps it’s the anorak in me, but I’d like to see far more details on the studio sessions, who played the instruments, who was the engineer on the session, things like that. It is a good book though, and certainly worth buying because it does tell a wonderful story of what can only be describe as a triumph over adversity. There’s even an almost full discography that appears to have been 'borrowed' from the Soulful Kinda Music site (because it still contains the errors that I have since corrected !). Never mind, Tommy Hunt has paid his dues, and deserves respect for that alone.

 

 

Bob McGrath - The R & B Indies (Second Edition) – Eyeball Productions ISBN0968644538 

I’ve had the Second Edition of this set of books for ages now, but have never got round to reviewing them. Well, it’s an awesome piece of work. Doubled in size from the First Edition, there are now four books that contain almost all you would ever want to know about Black music recordings on independent record labels. It’s not cheap, especially with postage from the States, but it’s worth every penny.

 

 

Soul Men – Dimension 1000092

Comedy ? Yes definitely. Musical ? Well, no, not really, but it is about music. The Sam And Dave story ? No, although there are some similarities. It’s difficult reviewing a DVD, because you want to say what the film is about, but that just spoils it for anyone reading the review. So all I’m going to say is this isn’t full of special effects, great soulful performances, but it is one of the most enjoyable films I have watched in the last couple of years. I have to say Bernie Mac and Samuel L Jackson put in a couple of great performances that make this into a film that I laughed out loud at. So, either get yourself down to the pictures to see it, or buy the DVD, because there are loads of extras on the DVD, including an excellent tribute to Isaac Hayes who also appears in the film.

 

 
Galen Gart & Roy C Ames - Duke Peacock Records Records - An Illustrated History With Discography -  Big Nickel Publications - ISBN 093643312 4

A book that had become the Holy Grail for me ! Published in 1988 it's taken me twenty years to get hold of a copy, and that's thanks to Richard Pack in Canada ! I'd even contacted Galen Gart to see if he could help me, and he couldn't.

Quite simply, the book is a history of Duke . Peacock Records, with a discography of the two labels. More descriptively it' sthe story of Don Robey, the guy who ended up owning both labels, and all the artists he recorded through the Forties, the Fifties and the Sixties.

As I said, it's taken me twenty years to get a copy, so you will be extremely lucky if you find one for sale (Although there is a copy of Amazon for sale at $1899 !!!!), but this is really worth searching out.

 

 
Alan Govenar - The Early Years Of Rhythm & Blues - Schiffer Publishing - ISBN 0764319833

Almost a companion volume to the Duke /Peacock book, because this book focuses on the photographs of Benny Joseph, who became the top photographer of Black artists in Houston in the Forties, fifties and Sixties. Which means of course that artists recording for Duke and Peacock are quite heavily featured in the book. There are a series of full page photographs, which are either live on stage, or posed publicity shots which I've never seen before, and photographs, of artists who I've never seen photos of before.

This one at least is reasonably available only being five years old, so a search of the internet should soon turn a copy up. It's also a very large book, and wouldn't actually all fit on my scanner, which accounts for why the edges are truncated in the scan.

 
Randall Wilson - Forever Faithful ! Florence Ballard & the Supremes - Renaissance Sound And Publications - ISBN 0943485037

Originally written as a Degree Thesis, this is a slim volume that is not only quite readable, but also goes into great detail about the life, and times, of Florence Ballard during her tenure as on of The Supremes.

It's also written in a way that has to be considered favourable to Florence Ballard in that it does much to redress the balance about who actually was the best singer in the group (And it wasn't Diana Ross by a long way). Trials and troubles also beset her life, these are also covered.

Costing less than a fiver on Amazon, another value for money buy !

 

 

 

 

John Manship - Manships USA Rare Soul Price Guide 5th Edition

An increase in size of about 30% from the last edition means that John has almost reached the limit in terms of one book. Surely the next Edition will have to come as two volumes ? As always, John is quick to stress that the prices given are only a guide, and I’m sure that you, like me, will find some prices that you believe are way off the mark, but that’s the point, the prices are only a guide. Given that, John is probably the most successful Rare Soul record dealer in the world via his website, so he does know what he’s talking about. 

Talking of which, for the first time this edition also includes the bootleg guide (Not only that, but there are also label scans of most of the bootlegs where there is a visible difference in the label) and whilst the Price Guide is extremely useful to anyone who buys and sells Soul records, the bootleg guide is essential and worth the price of the book on it’s own if you spot a record you are about to buy as a bootleg before you buy it. 

Of course the downside to the guide is that, especially with the Pound against the Dollar currently at less than $1.50, all the American dealers now have copies and know the proper value of all the records we used to buy for cents. It had to happen anyway with the internet, so although it’s meant that records have got more expensive, information is available about a whole lot more records than ever before. Swings and roundabouts really.
I’ll leave it up to you whether you buy this 5th Edition, but as I’ve already stated, it’s bigger than ever, and with the inclusion of the Bootleg Guide, better than ever.

 

 

Andrew Wilson - Northern Soul - Music, drugs, and subcultural identity - Willian Publishing - ISBN 978184322087

Originally written as a thesis for his PhD, Andrew Wilson, with this historical ethnography (And I had to look it up in the dictionary what a historical ethnography is !) has certainly covered his subject well. This is a heavyweight book ! Although the subject matter is related to the Northern Soul scene throughout because that’s where Andrew drew his research from, this isn’t a book about the Northern Soul scene, or even Soul music for that matter. It’s a serious piece of research into the why’s and wherefores of how and when , and what consequences, drugs have had on the cultural groupings of people who were into Northern in the Seventies. In all honesty, if you have been around the Northern scene for any length of time, you will recognise some of the scenarios discussed, perhaps not from personal experience, but you’ll have heard of someone in those situations..There are light moments of humour as well, in particular, I love the quote where the author is interviewing a friend from the Seventies and asked him “When did you first take drugs ?”, and the reply was “When you gave me some !”. Classic ! Because this is really an academic piece of work it isn’t cheap, and if you buy it through the Publisher it will cost you £40. However, if you email Andrew on a8drewson@googlemail.com, I’m sure he can come to some arrangement with you that will be a little bit less.

 
 
Paul McDonald - Do I Love You ? - Tindal Street Press - ISBN 978 0 9551384 8 5 - 2008

What a fabulous novel this is. Written by someone who has obviously been on the scene at some stage, but in a style of humour that made me laugh out loud on several occasions.

Basically it revolves around a returnee to the scene and all his new found enthusiasm and the disasters that beset him over the course of a few weeks. The way the book pokes gentle fun at the ridiculous things we all do, and think they are normal, is wonderfully constructed though, and I'd recommend this as one of the best £7.99 you could spend on a book in this day and age.

I would assume this will be available from the publishers direct at http://www.tindalstreet.org.uk/

 

 

John Manship – Manships USA Rare Soul Price Guide 3rd Edition – ISBN 0 9541007 2 7

In some respects John Manship has done collectors a favour, you have a rough guide as to what a record should cost. In others, it means the days of bargains from the States have all but gone now, because all the American dealers use the guide. Two things I don’t like: The first is that John has quoted the price of records sold on his auctions as being worth that much. Now I’m not disputing that is the price he sold the re cords for, but it doesn’t mean they are worth anywhere near that much. Secondly, although this book is thicker than the last edition, the font size used is also much bigger, so it probably doesn’t contain that much new information. Still, it’s available now, buy it if you want it.

 

 

Sharon Davis – Stevie Wonder, Rhythms Of Wonder – Robson Press ISBN1 86105 608 7 - 2003

I don’t know what it is, but I just don’t like Sharon Davis’ writing style. There’s nothing wrong with the information in the book, and there are some nice colour photos that I’ve not seen before. So it is a perfectly good book about Stevie Wonder, the performer and the man. I just found it terribly hard work to read, it certainly wasn’t a book that I couldn’t put down shall we say.

 

 

Frankie Gaye with Fred Basten – Marvin Gaye, My Brother – Backbeat Books ISBN 0 87930 742 0 - 2003

 
An American book from last year this is Frankie Gaye’s tribute to his brother Marvin. In a way you have to feel slightly sorry for Frankie. As a singer and songwriter he was no slouch, bu t how do you overcome the fact that your brother is Marvin Gaye for God’s sake. It wouldn’t have been surprising therefore to find that Frankie was slightly jaundiced by Marvin’s success. Not at all. This is a touching heart felt tribute to a brother than he obviously adored. Obviously they had fights, all brothers do, but what shines through is that Frankie loved his brother and still misses him.

 

 

Pete McKenna – Who The Hell Is Frank Wilson ? – Twisted Samurai Publishing – ISBN not given.

 Remember Pete McKenna, the guy who wrote ‘Nightshift’, well he’s back again, but with a novel this time. Of course it revolves around the Northern Soul scene, and the search for the holy grail, but there are different threads running throughout the book, gangsters, a love story, and humour that only people from the scene would understand. It’s not a literary classic, but I don’t think even Pete would claim that, but certainly is worth buying to pass a few hours reading it.

 

 

The Goldmine Standard Catalogue Of Rhythm & Blues Records. – Krause Publications – ISBN 0 87349 435 0

 This is the American magazine Goldmine of course, and it's an imported book. 40,000 records listed and priced (But of course it takes no account of UK demand). But the American definition of R & B is so broad these days that this stretches from the Fifties right up to the current day. Well put together, and easy to read it’s worth buying if you are a record anorak though.  

(As with nearly all the books reviewed in the mag, this copy came from Beatin’ Rhythm in Manchester.)

 

 
The R & B Indies Volumes 1 & 2 – Bob McGrath - Eyeball Press - ISBN 0968644511

Two volumes of A4 size, which are about two inches thick each. They attempt to list every single release on independent R & B labels between the 1940s and 1960s. In fact there are over 4000 labels included. It's not perfect by any means, there are lots of labels missing, but of the labels included they do seem to be almost complete discographies. One feature which I think is fabulous is that Bob Mcgrath has included a copy of each label logo, and when the logo changed at a certain number in the releases, the new logo is shown at that point. Costing £100.00 from Beatin' Rhythm in Manchester these books are essential for the serious researcher / collector, and whilst they don't contain as much information as Stak-O-Wax, these books at least concentrate on the R & B / Soul / black music side of things.

 
Savage Lost – Jeff Lemlich - Distinctive Publishing Corp – ISBN 0 942963 12 1

The history of Garage Bands in Florida from the 1960s and beyond. Strictly speaking this isn’t even about Soul music, but it does catch some of groups and singers that we know with seventy odd pages devoted to Florida Soul recordings. That aside it is a fascinating story, told in great detail of growing up in that period. Jeff Lemlich also covers areas that other books don’t, chapters entitled: Names, Tags, Numbers and Labels (For Record Collectors Only), Transistor sister, Our Best Friend, Our Radio, are worth the price of the book alone. It’s also very readable rather than just being lists of records and artists, so I would recommend searching this one out.

 
The Influential Factor – Graham Lentz – GEL Publishing – ISBN 0 9542552 1 6

Just as ‘The In-Crowd’ is recognised as the book that tells the story of the Northern Soul Scene, The Influential Factor does the same for the Mod scene. Starting in the late Fifties and running right through to today’s scene this book tells the story through interviews with many of the most influential figures on the Mod scene, be they artists, trend setters, club owners, or just Mods themselves. Again, like Jeff Lemlich’s book, this is not about Soul music, but does of course cover Soul music. Rather expensive at £30, it is worth it, packed with photographs as well, from the Sixties right through until 2001. I’m not sure who is selling these, but I know Bee Cool Publishing have them, and Scootering Magazine.

 

The Soul Of New Orleans - Jeff Hannush – Swallow Publications – ISBN 0 96142445 8 3

Jeff Hannush's previous book was about R & B and Rock 'n' Roll, in this he follows a similar pattern in tracing the Soul sound of New Orleans back to it's R & B roots. Consequently, whilst I found the whole book interesting, I only found about half of it really interesting. That said, it's a useful addition to the bookshelf, and I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the history of the music we love. As far as I'm aware this is only published in America, my copy came from Beatin' Rhythm in Manchester who stock virtually all the books I have reviewed in the last year or so.

 
Ok, I wrote this one, so I've let Dave Godin do the review :-)

The Rare Soul Bible - An A-Z Of Northern Soul by Dave Rimmer (Bee Cool Publishing - ISBN 0 9536626 5 9

The main reason Bee Cool Publishing has become the front runner in the field of specialised music publications is, in my view, due to the fact that they commission the right people to write books for them, and the results SHOW! There is no substitute for passion!

Their latest book by Dave Rimmer carries on this fine tradition and is an encyclopaedic compendium of 45rpm singles that have, at some time or another, found favour in terms of spins on the Northern Soul circuit. However, Dave hasn’t just slavishly done label listings, but has arranged his entries by artist, which, as anyone who has ever compiled a discography knows, can be a mine-field with name changes, records being issued twice on the same label, or different labels, with different flipsides, and so on.

Also too, as Dave himself makes clear in the text, any such work can never hope to be “complete” since a combination of rare records surfacing and artists’ amnesia lifting, will often reveal hidden assets, hidden shame, hidden naughtiness, and, sometimes, hidden gems.

Arranged alphabetically by artist surname, I was also pleased to see that some of Dave’s excellent writing on the Soul scene has been included, particularly his valuable piece, the marathon titled, “Can 7-Inch 45rpm American Soul Singles Be Considered To Be Of Significant Historical Value? A Reasoned Argument”. And of course, it goes without saying that they can, and Dave’s reasons are compelling, sound and significant too! This essay alone is an essential read.

Some artists have biographical information, but where this work is of particular value is with those footloose artists who record all over the place! Barbara Jean English is a good example, and here we have her listed not only in her own right, but with The Clickettes, The Rinky Dinks, The Avalons and The Fashions and all label name permutations in between!

Again, if you take a name like Tony Middleton, it is amazing just how many records (with various label name credits) this guy has been involved in. And Ike Turner’s various involvements cover more than eight pages! But just flipping through the book is like looking at a directory of old friends. And not just old friends who have made records, but our friends who spin them too, with club reports and various play-lists from those who have never given up on keeping the faith.

Quite simply, this book is a must for anyone who has ever felt that thrill when the opening bars grab you, and you want to know more about whoever it was who has had the power to cast such an aesthetic spell upon you. And it proves too my oft repeat point that Black America quite simply managed to produce so many darned brilliant records that the market just couldn’t absorb them all at one go. So, probably one of the most valuable services that the Northern Soul scene ever did was to get around to each and every one of them bit by bit, and spread the magic over several decades so that no worthy talent ever really got lost.

Of course there is no substitute for the aesthetic rush that so many of these records deliver, but, once you’ve come down a bit, it’s nice to know just who it was who was hitting on you so hard! And it’s all here for the perusing. Great stuff.

Dave Godin

 
Guitars, Bars, And Motown Superstars - Dennis Coffey - Bee Cool Publishing – ISBN 0 9536626 4 0

 Dennis Coffey is a legend in his own lifetime, unfortunately, until the publication of this book, very few people realised it. As a recording artist he has had his own spectacular successes, especially with the million selling single 'Scorpio'. However, that's not where my own interest lay. As a session musician he worked in Detroit throughout the Sixties and Seventies, and it's his contribution to records on Ric-Tic, Smash, Golden World, and Motown, and so many others that was of real interest. His book covers these recordings, and being the anorak that I am I'd have liked even more detail than he has included. The book is easy to read, fairly comprehensive coverage of his career is outlined, and there are lots of interesting photographs, making this an essential purchase for any fan of Soul music.

 
Musichound R & B Albums – Visible Ink Press –
ISBN 0 8256 7255 4

 An American book that attempts to recommend the best recorded output by R & B artists from the '50s right up until the late '90s. As such, some of the choices are rather interesting, especially as it seems to concentrate on CD releases rather than original vinyl. That said, the biographical details given on each artist, are despite being short, quite accurate and useful. Weighing in at a hefty 766 pages, this makes a worthwhile addition to any ones reading material. There’s even a free CD with six rather uninteresting tracks from the Mercury catalogue

 
Love Unlimited - Barry White with Marc Eliot – Virgin Books – ISBN 0 7535 0566 5

 The Lurvvve Walrus writes his autobiography. Whilst I was expecting a tale of lavish expenditure and ridiculous stories, the early years when Barry White was producing records and recording Sixties tracks makes very interesting reading. In fact the whole book kept me entertained right through to the end. This only cost me a fiver, so it's worth picking up if you see it cheap.

 

Soul – 100 Essential CDs – The Rough Guide – Peter Shapiro - ISBN 1-85828-562-3  

Priced at £2.99 this really is an essential buy. Whilst I might not agree with all the choices because it covers the Sixties through to the Nineties, I found this little book quire entertaining. Peter Shapiro, the author, either knows his stuff or has taken excellent advice on board from other people. Just as a taster, these are the top ten CDs:
BLACKstreet – Another Level
Bobby Blue Bland – Two Steps From The Blues
Mary J Blige – My Life
Booker T & The MGs – The Very Best Of
James Brown – 20 All time Greatest Hits
James Brown – Foundations Of Funk
James Brown – Live At The Apollo
Roy Brown – Good Rockin’ Tonight
Cameo – The Best Of
James Carr – The Essential James Carr  

 

Last Night A DJ Saved My Life – Bill Brewster & Frank Broughton – Headline Press– ISBN 0-7472-6230-6.  

This has been around for quite a while now but I just never got round to buying it. It's a look at the history and current perspective of the DJ. The chapter on Northern Soul is, whilst being quite brief, reasonably accurate, and concedes that the Northern scene is the Daddy when it comes to Dance music. Written from the perspective of two writers who are into Dance music as opposed to Soul music I find it quite amusing though that the Northern Soul scene is viewed as history !. Worth looking out for because it’s only eight quid anyway.

 

Ladies Of Soul By David Freeland – University Press Of Mississippi – ISBN 1-57806-331-0  

What a wonderful idea for a book, and how well it was done. David Freeland has chosen to profile his seven favourite female Soul singers of the Sixties in this book, and I can’t fault him with his choice either.   Well written, the author uses interviews with the subjects, recordings by them, and varying other sources to build up a picture of their lives in the Sixties as they tried to forge ahead in their chosen careers. Interestingly he has not chosen the world famous divas who did make it into international Soul superstars, but has decided to write about seven singers who he adored, and thought should have made it to the world stage. So, who are these seven female divas who deserved better ?  

Step forward for the roll call of honour: Denise LaSalle, Ruby Johnson, Carla Thomas, Bettye LaVette, Barbara Mason, Maxine Brown, and Timi Yuro.  

Of course, I would guess that the readers of Soulful Kinda Music already own several recordings by all these ladies, because we already knew they were stars in our minds anyway. That doesn’t detract from this book though, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it from cover to cover. An essential buy.

 

Calling Out Around The World A Motown Reader by Kingsley Abbott – Helter Skelter Publishing – ISBN 1-900924-14-5

Here’s another good idea for a book. Kingsley Abbott has collected what he felt to be the best pieces of writing on classic Motown from the Sixties and gathered them together for this book. Most had previously been published previously in some format and are reproduced in their original format here. Some, like the piece I contributed, were updated specially for the book, and others were written specially for the book. Overall though, the articles are good, and make interesting reading, especially as the authors come from both sides of the Atlantic. Look out for this book because it is another essential buy.

 

Manship’s Price Guide 2001/2 – Rare Soul 45s.  

I’m always hesitant about price guides because they tend to become the asking price when people are selling records, and I like cheap records, who doesn’t. I also happen to think that John Manship is one of the more expensive record dealers around, so I thought this would lead to an increase in the prices of records generally.  

I’m happy to admit I was wrong. John has been sensible about the guide and gone for what he feels in a fair price for the records listed. There are several examples where I know he has sold records for considerably more than he has them listed in the guide, which is because he thinks they are worth the amount in the guide. If people are willing to pay more at auction for a record, good luck to John Manship.  

So what does the book actually contain. Simple really, in alphabetical order by artist it lists the singles that have been big by them on the Northern Soul scene, A side, B side, label, catalogue number, and price. I haven’t counted all the titles but there are reckoned to be over 10,000 singles listed.  

What makes it fun as well is looking up the records you own and comparing what you value them at, compared to what John values them at.   Finally, I have been unable to find an ISBN number for the book so I’ll give you John Manship’s telephone number instead: 01664 464526 0r email info@raresoulman.co.uk . Priced at £25.00 the book is not cheap, but it’s worth every penny.

 

The Northern Soul Top 500 by Kev Roberts- Goldmine Publishing
ISBN 0 9539291 0 8

Over the years that the Magazine has been running I've always tried to review all the books about Soul music that I could get my hands on.  Recently the titles about the Northern Soul scene have been coming thick and fast. This is the latest.   The best book over the last few year has been by far 'The In Crowd' by Mike Ritson and Stuart Russell. Whilst 'The In Crowd' concentrated on the scene itself as much as the music, Kev Roberts has done himself proud by concentrating on the music. The title only goes part of the way to explaining what the book is about though, there is so much more in there that I'm going to go through it in sections.  

The first section is the top 100 Northern Soul singles. I'm not sure how Kev decided which records made it into the top 500, let alone the top 100, so I'm not going to argue with his choices, and who could really argue with the number one: Frank Wilson. There because of it's rarity on original label, it's recent selling price, and the fact that it's a bloody good dancer that has stood the test of time. There are lots of other records which I would have expected to be in the top 100, some which surprised me, and some which I personally would argue against.  Whatever you feel, there is a nice label scan and a bit of blurb from Kev, and a quote from a varying group of Soul fans about the record.  

The second, and largest single section of the book are the numbers 101 to 500. Virtually the same format, but two records to a page this time. Again, like me you will agree with the majority of choices, think some shouldn't be there, and think of some which should be there.  

That's partly covered by the next section which is the top 100 which didn't make it into the top 500 (Eh ?).You'll know what I mean when you read the book.  

Then it’s onto the Top Tens, lots of them, from what were the big records each year, to what were the worst records, to what is the best magazine (Not surprisingly Togetherness comes in at No. 1, but I’m pleased to say that SKM came in at No. 2 !). 

The Top Tens are interspersed with pages of colour label scans as well as some black and white ones.   Anyway, why are you reading this…..you could have gone and bought the book by now ! Just go and buy it !!!!

 
Casino by Dave Shaw – Bee Cool Publishing – ISBN 0 9536626 2 4.  

Firstly I must apologise for the lack of cover on the book, but as you’ll see this is a review copy and the cover has not yet been finalised (Wow ! My first white Demo of a book !)   The fun aside, this is Dave Shaw’s recollection’s of a certain venue in Wigan. He’s originally from Wolverhampton, and grew up with a lot of the lads I see nowadays in  the Wolverhampton area, and in fact Dave is still active on the scene, and still seen out and about at nighters.  

That I think is crucial, to the success of this as the third book on the Casino. Russ Winstanley’s was littered with inaccuracies, Pete McKenna’s was littered with drugs, but Dave’s is littered with references to the one thing which drew us to the scene then, and still does now…..the music !  

Consequently Dave is able to present a well balanced light hearted book about his memories of the Casino. The book doesn’t pretend to be anymore than that, it’s not the ‘Official History’ but again doesn’t need to.   Well written, by a knowledgeable collector and dancer this far outweighs the other two attempts on the Casino.

Reasonable priced, this will I think go on to be a really good seller. If you were there you’ll recognise the events, the people, the records. If you weren’t this will give you a good insight into why there still exists such a fascination with Wigan Casino, nearly twenty seven years after it opened.

 
'Too Darn Soulful, The Story Of Northern Soul' by David Nowell - Robson Books ISBN 1 86105 270 7

The last couple of months have seen a scramble to get books about Northern Soul published. Last year we only had two, Pete McKenna's awful story of drug abuse and Russ Winstanley & David Nowell's rather biased effort on Wigan Casino. Here we are twelve months on and 'The In Crowd' made it first, then a novel, and now this book by David Nowell.

It's very difficult when reviewing two books on the same subject, and it's a subject that you are reasonably knowledgeable about yourself, not to draw comparisons, but I don't want to compare 'The In Crowd' to this book. Whilst they are both similar in content, they are not the same, and I'm just grateful that both books are there.

Much, much better than the flawed 'Soul Survivors', 'Too Darn Soulful' gives a very frank and honest view of the Northern Soul scene, as it was, and as it is.

David Nowell has chosen to use other people's words to tell the story, and added a narrative himself throughout the book which is both informative and accurate. More to the point, David's story brings us right up to date on the Northern Soul scene as it is now. I would have preferred a little more coverage of the non oldies revival niters, but at least they all get mentioned. I particularly like the way that David has spent time talking to people about why they run venues, one thing that comes across with nearly all the interviews is that it's not done for the money, just for the love of the music, and that's what this book is all about really. I'm sure that David's intentions are to make money, after all, he's put a lot of work into the book, but he wrote it because he loves the music, not because he wanted to make money, and it shows !

I'm sure, like me, you'll have heard some of the tales before, but don't let that detract from the fact that this is a good book. It's easy to read, accurate, and enjoyable, and at £17.95 an absolute bargain.

If you didn't get a copy for Christmas, go out and buy it now, you won't be disappointed.

 
'Soul Harmony Singles 1960 - 1990' by Jeff Beckman, Jim Hunt, and Tom Kline - Three On Three Publishing - ISBN not listed.

What an absolute bible this is. The book attempts to list every known US released 45 by a black vocal group (ie at least three voices can be heard on the record) between the years 1960 and 1990. Each listing gives the 'a' side, the 'b' side, the label, the year of release, and many listings also give group members, and cross reference each member with their previous groups, if you know what I mean.

So, as a research tool this book will become invaluable, however, that is where the difficulty lies. For Soul harmony groups the book is invaluable, but if a singer made records which didn't have a group backing them as well, it's not listed, hence the discographies, in may cases, simply by the definition of the book, are incomplete. Therefore, whilst being wonderful at filling in some details, the book also misses others out. For example, the book has the same discography for the Soul Brothers Six as I do on the site, except only one of two solo singles by John Ellison are listed in the book.

There isn't an ISBN number listed so you may have difficulty ordering the book, so I'll give you the Publishers address in the States: Three-On-Three Publishing, P O Box 9190, Bayway Station, Elizabeth, NJ 07202. The book is priced at $39.95 in the States.

 
'Crackin' Up' by Maxwell Murray - Moonshine Enterprises ISBN 0 9536440 0 6.

Whilst in the past I've reviewed all sorts of autobiographies and reference books, this is the first time I've reviewed a novel that is based around Northern Soul. Set in the early Seventies the book tells the story of Keny Roberts' late teen years, and centres around the major passions of his life in those years. They just happen to be his scooter, Northern Soul, and sex. Sound familiar ? Read On.

Very similar in style to the old skinhead / sueudehead novels by Richard Allen, 'Crackin' Up' is obviously written by someone who has been there, done that, worn the T shirt. There are probably more song titles mentioned in the novel than there were in Russ Winstanley's supposedly factual history of Wigan Casino, even the chapter headings are all song titles.

I won't spoil the story for you, but I wonder how many readers would be able to say I remember doing that ! There's even a twist in the tail right at the end.

Available for £6.99 direct from Moonshine Enterprises Ltd, Studio 2, Wingerworth, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S42 6NW. At that price it's got to be worth buying a copy.

 
The In Crowd - Mike Ritson & Stuart Russell - Bee CoolPublishing Ltd ISBN 0 9536626 16

I can't get over how good this book is. It really is the definitive story of the Northern Soul scene from the late 1960s to the early '80s (This is just Volume 1) the book gives a totally unbiased narrative set over interviews with key figures of the scene.

The text alone is superb, but when you balance that with the memorabilia, and the photographs of artists, clubs, records, and punters at those clubs you begin to realise what a work of art this book really is. Virtually every page has a photograph on it, the vast majority in colour, and not the same old photos of artists you normally see either.

I cannot recommend this book enough, it is almost the bible of the Northern Soul scene, I read mine almost non-stop until I had finished it, then I started again. My compliments to the authors, the time they put in recently on the scene talking to people has obviously paid off (Although both authors have a long association with the scene anyway) and have resulted in this book.

At over 300 pages, with literally hundreds of photographs, to me it is an essential investment, it's not cheap to buy, there again it's not a cheap and tacky book either, so was well worth the purchase price of £29.95.

Full details: 'The In Crowd' available at £29.95 plus £5.00 p & p (UK), £10.00 rest of the world, from

BEE COOL PUBLISHING (BCP) LTD, PO Box 16924, London, SW18 4ZU

 

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