|Soulful Kinda Music
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1936 – 2004
Sadly, on the morning of 15th October, 2004 Dave Godin passed away following a long illness.
Dave’s achievements were so diverse, and spread over such a long period that I could never hope to do the man justice in any sort of obituary. In fact I have had such great difficulty in writing this that it has taken me almost a week, and several aborted attempts.
Suffice to say, without Dave Godin, I don’t think this magazine would exist, and I don’t think Soul music would exist as such an admired art form as it does today.
Dave’s love of Blackamerican music started in 1953, having heard a Ruth Brown record on a Juke Box. That love of Blackamerican (and that is how Dave himself used the word) continued to burn with such a passion for the next 51 years that he literally changed the world. What would have pleased Dave more than anything as a committed pacificist, he did it with words alone !
He was responsible for putting the words ‘Tamla’ and ‘Motown’ together for the UK label which started so many of us off on this route. He put the words ‘Northern’ and ‘Soul’ together, and probably his greatest achievement was placing the words ‘Deep’ and ‘Soul’ together. All three terms are now recognised worldwide, and it’s testament to the man himself that having coined the phrases, he went on to argue so passionately for the music behind them.
Words were of course, Dave’s forte. His columns in Blues & Soul were breathtaking journalism for a music magazine. They were so cutting and forthright on occasions that the politics he fought for came through shining like a beacon. He moved to Black Music, then back to Blues & Soul. A column in ‘Voices From The Shadows’ led me to approach Dave to see if he would like to write a column for ‘SKM’. He said he would be delighted, on one condition: “That I didn’t edit anything out of his copy”. I immediately agreed, and for almost five years when his health permitted it, Dave wrote a column in every issue of Soulful Kinda Music.
On a purely personal note that was probably my proudest moment with regards to ‘SKM’. Dave Godin was writing for my magazine ! Having grown up reading his columns in B & S, here I was twenty five years on, and he was writing for me. I’ll never be able to thank Dave enough for agreeing to write for me, but it gave me an even better gift. I actually got to know the man behind the words as well.
Our conversations on the phone often ran on into the early hours of the morning and usually drifted well away from the original subject that we started talking about. This revealed to me that Dave was passionate about everything in his life. Films, (and Dave was a world recognised authority on the subject) being a vegetarian, his politics, far, far, far left of my own, but he still tried to convert me,…….. everytime ! His love of animals, being an atheist, Esperanto, and always fighting injustice wherever he saw it, on what ever subject, but we always returned to Soul music.
It wasn’t of course just words. He took action as well. The ‘Tamla Motown Appreciation Society’ was his baby, and he nurtured it and it grew to the point where he was invited to the States by no less a person than Berry Gordy Jr himself.
His Soul City shop, and label were the first of their kind in the UK, and did so much of a positive nature to promote Soul music that they are still legendary today. The fact that they were not a financial success is due more to Dave’s dislike of the business side of things than the quality of the releases.
I’ve read elsewhere that his greatest legacy will be the series of ‘Deep Soul Treasures’ CDs that he compiled for Kent records. A fitting tribute ? Perhaps to people around the world it is.
However, to people in the UK, Dave Godin’s legacy is the spark in all of us that he fanned into flames. Our love of the music of Blackamerica. For that, I, and thousands of others owe you a debt we can never repay, and I thank you, and will always remember you.
I’ll finish this Obituary with another phrase that Dave Godin made his own.
Keep the faith, right on now.
Having had several attempts at writing this, I still feel it is a totally inadequate tribute to such a truly great man. Very few of us will change the world in the way he did.
So I’ve added links to the other Obituaries for Dave that have been published.
I've also added through the links on the left, Dave’s column’s for Soulful Kinda Music.