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Can Soul Singles be of historical value

Northern Soul Is Dead

A Great Allnighter

Llandudno & Prestatyn Weekenders

The Dudley Chronicle

Cover Ups


The Green at Darlaston

Over time newly discovered tunes, or their nearly cousins, those inspired revivals of some forgotten oldie or former three spin wonder appear, and are taken to the hearts (and dancing feet) of our scene. They are at the most basic level, the very lifeblood of our scene.

These tunes have two basic routes to Niter glory. Either they come through by virtue of being in the hands of the right DJ, or they build slowly from the soul nite scene, sometimes taking a couple of spins, other times taking maybe five years of repeated playing. Of course there are always exceptions to this but they are few and far between.

I can't speak with any real authority on other regions but in our part of the world we have an overlapping track record going back to the early years, of clubs who are either totally dedicated to the cause of finding and breaking, or those who did so less aggressively, but still made a valuable contribution (We also have developed in the last twenty odd years an equally

obsessive nostalgia circuit, but let's not go there !)

Every soul fan knows that wonderful, almost religious, experience of being grabbed by a new tune. The particular shade of soul is irrelevant. The fact is that when it hits you, it hits you in a way like nothing else does, and is something a bunch of us have talked about for so long we all know our parts of the conversation better than a West End actor knows their lines. We're told it's the same as the high religious fanatics get, an adjustment to brain chemistry, but felt somewhere approximately three feet lower. I don't know who first coined the phrase " a ' bit of skin' tune", but what they were referring to was how, for some strange reason, some men feel this pleasurable feeling in the region of their perineum, the tissue that occupies the space between ' front and rear outlets ' for want of a better expression :-) I've no idea if women get this, those female soul addicts I've asked have always given me a blank look, or worse. The feeling isn't reserved for purely new tunes, just great ones, but it's definitely at it's strongest with the first few hearings or when you haven't heard it for ages. It's only enemy seems to be familiarity, and probably explains why some of us get really angry when a former 'tingler gets revitalised and then played to death. One of my old tinglers was the Young Brothers. In it's hey day for me it was equivalent to applying a nine volt shock to the sensitive region, but a few months back the luck of the draw meant we heard it every time we went out for months on the trot. Now it's like getting up in the morning and finding your cars battery is flat. The sparks have all gone, but don't despair people because like some batteries, if left alone for a while they seem to find a small charge again. It's never like it was, but it's enough to notice.

Sorry, wandered off the point of the article, again. Friday night saw our latest incarnation of the chase. Currently held at The Green in Darlaston, it follows in the long line of local legendary clubs like The Wheatsheaf in
Walsall and The Wagon & Horses in Wolves etc, and in terms of profile takes up where the Cross Keys in Hednesford left off. Sometimes you come across a tune you think fits the bill. Your best efforts lead you to believe that it's a virtual unknown. Now comes the hard part. You're obviously impressed enough with it, but is it instant enough to drop into a set at a major venue ? There's no real way of knowing until you hear it through a big system for the first time. At home I've tried many a time muting the speakers and lamping up the volume through the headphones, which seems to be the nearest type of sound that replicates a venue, but even that is a poor excuse. We all have things which we love at home that just don't sound right in a club, and vice versa. So what do you do ? In most cases you either bite the bullet and play it at the first opportunity, or carry it around for months in your box waiting for the right nite, the right crowd, etc.

This is where venues like The Green really come into their own. They are if you like " the third way ". Sometimes referred to as collectors clubs, or more slanderously as chin strokers societies, they offer you a chance to try out these sounds to an audience not chomping at the bit for handbag Oldies and youth club sub disco fodder. The promoters of The Green actively pursue the policy of " Play the tunes here that you don't play elsewhere ", which can mean digging out that rare gem that you always mean to play that gets lost amongst all the requests for today's popular sounds that fill the floor. Equally it can mean it's a near perfect platform for that B side you've always thought deserved some attention, or an album track that gets cruelly ignored because of our love of the 7" single. As you're reading this last couple of sentences I'm guessing that for some folk certain tunes are jumping to the forefront of your brain, potential choices you'd like to try on the deck. If they are, the good news is that unlike the more formal " gotta get 'em dancing " clubs, the route to dj'ing at The Green is quite open. They even put it on the flyers, saying if you think you've got something worth sharing with the rest of us just come down and have a word with Woody & Lou. If they agree you'll find pretty soon after, you'll be given a chance. Considering how many folk pointlessly pester the promoters of the major venues for spots, I'm staggered at how few folk can see that they'd be much better spending their time building a reputation through clubs like The Green. After all most good promoters are much more impressed with word of mouth recommendations from folk they trust based on actual recent sets, or maybe I'm wrong ? Two things I feel I ought to mention. Clubs like this are always on the borderline of financial viability. They need the support of collectors and fans alike, so don't make a prat of yourself by going up to Woody at some other venue and asking for a set. Paying your measly few pounds admission is not only the first step to getting the chance to play some tunes there, it's a key factor in keeping clubs like this alive. Remember that the other lads and lasses that get up to play their tunes want some feedback, and they are the same folk who will listen to you when it's your turn. The second thing is if you're worried about somebody jumping on your new sounds and you missing out, I for one will make it known that you were the person who first spun them, and I can be quite loud about such things. If it's gonna happen, it's gonna happen where ever you play them, and the folk who go to the Green ain't those sort of folk. There's no recording equipment hooked up to the decks, no portable tape decks positioned by the speakers. We all know how hard it is to find the things, so we treat others how we want to be treated ourselves.

On Friday Max and I did our stint (a miracle in itself after Kev Spittle had crush fractured nineteen bones in my hand half hour earlier - made all the funnier by Ken Onions saying with a totally straight face " Er, don't think he knows you've got brittle bones, that's how he shakes hands with everyone" :-) alongside Woody and Col Kidson who provide the back bone of the club. I guess that the bravery building effect worked. We played four or five tunes the following nite at The New Century Niter that otherwise we would have had in the category of " shall we risk them or not". We can't know for sure, but having heard them loud, and seen the reaction from fellow devotees, it certainly bolstered our confidence in these tunes.

For those who like this sort of thing, here's our plays, or at least the ones I can remember, a mixture of acetates, cover up's, forgotten oldies, album tracks and tunes we don't often get a chance to play, plus a few Staffordy dusties at the end, for them wot like that kinda thing and fancied a bit of a boogie before Zebedee said time for bed ! the ones that are unlikely to be known too well I'll add a little description so you can get the idea of the broad reach of this magic little club

D. B. Productions - Messing With My Mind (vocal) - unissued. DXM Studio powerhouse traditional NS styled dancer. the inst. flip is phenomenal like the detroit insts that GH played at TOTW, like Michigan move etc, and is the one we more often play.

Laura Lee " - Never Gonna Be The Same – unissued similar to the Detroit classic 'Way You Been Acting Lately'

Unknown female - Clock On The Wall - unissued Bell Sound acetate sorta '100 club meets Stafford' type thing, 60's builder, from known Detroit writers.

J. B. Willingham - Don't Wanna Be Hurt No More - unissued Associated acetate sort of big cityish bb builder, this has a lovely quality to it, a haunting catchy melody with superb vocals, when I first heard this I thought I'd heard it before, maybe there's another version to it ?

John Lucien - We Got Love - Columbia Music acetate (poss. unissued) not to be confused with the other newie being spun with the same title, that's Teddy P, this sounds more like an Okeh Major, Billy Butler or Walter Jackson, deceptively somewhere between mid pace and uptempo.

Johnny Henley & Weirdest - Ooh Baby - cover up one we've been playing for a while, known to some, so time to uncover soon, usually a dance first time you hear it tune, imagine a cross between ‘Cant Get Over These Memories’ and that Aussie version of ‘I'll Be Around’

Teddy Randazzo - Young Girl - cover up the artist name says it all, similar to most of the stuff he produced on all

the artists he worked with, nice bouncy midpacer.

Bettye Swann - I Got The Love - cover up girlie vocal dancer, catchy as crabs, bears a resemblance to BS recent

biggie, but it's better than that !

Fabulous Peps - Gypsy Woman - Premium Stuff s/s wdj known but great version of the classic Curtis Mayfield song, done in a Detroit style, complete with quaint slightly off key moments :-)

Detroit Five - The Heart Of Town - cover up nicked an old TOTW cover up name, that's how much I rate this probably

Detroit gem. we think it's the bizz !

Gene Redd prod - Do You Really Think He Cares - Media Sound acetate almost ditto, 'cept this is a female answer to Corsairs

artist unknown - It Really Hurts Me Boy - white label alternative unissued version of Carstairs Hurts Me Girl
Ted Taylor - Somebody's Always Trying – Okeh

Jock Mitchell - I Got To Know - Impact wdj
perfect RnBish Detroit, deserves attention that it's not getting, at least

we've not heard it anywhere, maybe you know different ?

Jackie Beavers - You Can Have Her - SS7 wdj old Catacombs spin, driving R'nBish edge to it, worth reviving we think

Cleo Randle - You Got Everything - Sta Set quite well known but not often enough heard imo, an always mean to play,
typical 'better out loud than at home' sound, what we used to call a 'firestarter ' :-)

Lou Rawls - Dead End Street – Capitol Had a U.K. '66 series without the spoken intro since I was a kid but always wanted the spoken intro one on 45, and thanks to Mike Hughes I recently got this one with the intro so thought we'd try it as we know there's some that like the wordy beginning tunes

Keanya Collins - It Ain't No Secret - Blue Rock wdj another old Cats powerhouse stomper that got flipside plays later, cruelly

ignored, so we've put it back in the playbox

Patron of Arts - True Patron of The Arts - Page One former yate spin in the 70's, this is gonna go again, GH just got a copy,

you have been warned, sounds like a powerhouse Detroit inst. US copies have different credits, as the queen city band, so that's what it's known as, better at +4 :-)

Teddy & Fingerpoppers - Soul Groove ( part 2) – Arctic virtually forgotten, former floor packing stomping inst flipside to pants vocal.

Ty Karim - Only A Fool – Roach better flip to I Aint Lying. where IAL sounds like an early years spin, OAF is musically much more suited to plays amongst the 80's sounds of totw etc.

James Shorter - Ready For The Heartbreak - La Beat Staffordy sounding Detroit mover

Lovelites - My Conscience – Lovelite

Supremes - Stoned Love - Tamla Motown
Alternative 4 minute version, spoken intro, big brass middle break, dunno if anybody noticed it was different, except the dancers who had to dance longer :-)

Girls & Diana - Fall In Love With you Again - cover up an old Albrighton cover up that we'd forgotten about, came to the fore on the back of the Diana & Her Girls one that broke out big (wonderful to me)

Kay McMurray - Girl With A Broken Heart - cover up another old Albrighton cover up, played for Mr. Onions, instant 70's floor tune

Four Tops - You Got To Forget Him Darling - Tamla Motown brilliant album track, had spins in Scotland a few years back, don't think anybody's ever persevered with it down here. although released in '72 sounds mid '60's

Luther - Don't Wanna Be A Fool – Cottilion

Wee Gee - Remember The Love – wdj
two nice 70's oldies that got revived at Albrighton, don't hear too often now

Joyce Lawson - Love Uprising - Mutt & Jeff the ' party mix' version, happy bouncy version of the NS classic tune, spun
for one punter who unbeknown to us hadn't come this nite (we thought he was in !)

Eddie Parker & Lorraine Chandler - Love You Baby not a dodgy 'stuck together in a studio' mixture of their two versions but a genuine duet. when Lorraine's vocal comes in it's a real 12 volt tingler !!!

Hoagy Lands - Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand – Atlantic classic tub thumping Cats 60's stomper, that Roger Banks sometimes spins at mod doo's, so he told me recently ( not that I go to any you understand :-o)

Ron Baxter - This Is It – Ole the start of the 'send em home sweaty' crop of old faves and requests

Isonics - Sugar – Kammy

Bobby Valentin - Use It Before You Lose It – Fania both above played 'cause "somebody" doesn't get the latin totw stuff ;-)

Stewart Ames - Angelina - J & W wdj

Timmie Williams - Competition – Mala

Little John - Just Wait & See - Go Gate

Jades - Where It's At - Nitelife wdj

Thornton Sisters - I Keep Forgettin' – Cuppy

Matt Lucas - You Better Go - Go – Karen

Vince Apollo - I Bear Witness – Pentagon

"Steve 'God' Mancha" - Since You've Been Gone similar to his Groovesville slower sides, this is a gorgeous ender from THE man, though credited to the group - at plus 10 :-)

Deneice Williams - Cause You Love Me Baby – CBS one I used to end with years back, sounds better now than it ever did, could now be played mid set and might go if a few more tried it, big budget mid tempo, magic production with mega vocal talent to boot !

(just thought, had Carl Holmes Soul Dance No. 3 in my hand, dunno if it got played, not that it's important but this one lad asks me every time I see him, and I keep forgetting :-( )


John Pugh

Footnote: - Sadly The Green at Darlaston is no longer running as a venue for the moment. - Dave