THE RARE SOUL BIBLE - A NORTHERN SOUL
A - Z
by Dave Rimmer (Bee
Cool Publishing / 288 pages / £25)
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.
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
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
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.