Soulful Kinda Music

Magazine & Web Site

Just click on the link back to the main Artist Discography page if you want to check another one out. Or click on the link for the home page for access to other pages.

Dave Godin Page

Home Page


The Times Obituary

Dave Godin
Critic and record-shop owner whose devotion to soul music led him to form two influential record labels in the UK

Tuesday October 26, 2004
The Times

DAVE GODIN was a writer, record label owner, publicist, vegan and animal-rights campaigner, but it was as a single-minded and devoted enthusiast of American soul music that he will be best remembered.

In the early Sixties, when soul music was unknown to all but a hip minority of the record-buying public in the UK, he championed the cause of Tamla Motown and helped to build it into a force on this side of the Atlantic.

He also founded his own record label, Soul City, and coined the phrase "deep soul" for the more adult-sounding and grittier examples of the genre that he helped to discover. It became the name of another label he owned and, in recent years, it graced a series of various artist CDs that drew huge critical acclaim. The fourth in the series came out only a few months ago. He was also attracted to the grassroots following that the faster, more danceable, forms of soul music in clubs in Manchester, Blackpool and Wigan during the Sixties and Seventies and named the music 'Northern soul' - a name that is now enshrined in popular culture.

He also took the blame for introducing the joys of black music to a boy who was a few years below him at grammar school called Mick Jagger.

Dave Godin was born in Lambeth and raised in Peckham. His father was a milkman. During the war his family moved to Bexleyheath, Kent, and he gained a scholarship to Dartford Grammar School. It was while at school that his interest in black American music first developed. He and a friend visited an ice-cream parlour that had a jukebox. While there, he heard the record Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean by the rhythm and blues singer Ruth Brown and was hooked.

"I'd never heard a record like that before," he recalled. "It was so earthy, so real and the words were so adult."

He began to collect the few blues and R&B discs that were issued in the UK, and through letters to the music press met other enthusiasts. He also developed a small coterie of friends at school, including Mick Jagger, although he recalled that Jagger's mother disliked blues music intensely.

He started work in an advertising agency and as a committed pacifist refused to do National Service, even though his father had once been a professional soldier. In 1957 he travelled to Canada and then made his way into the States where he saw such stars as Lavern Baker, Fats Domino and Clyde McPhatter.

"Maybe that''s where I got that slight missionary zeal in me," he said later. "I thought it wrong that there was so much talent here, and hardly anybody had heard of these people."

Back in England, Godin began to champion the record labels formed by the Detroit entrepreneur Berry Gordy Jr and took the name of two of the labels to name the new Tamla Motown Appreciation Society. It was the first time anyone had linked the two names and it was to become the name of the label that, under the auspices of EMI, issued the company's product in the UK.

But before that happened, Godin had, in 1964, been invited to Detroit by Gordy, who welcomed his views on soul music. He met Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Martha and the Vandellas but recalled that the Supremes were not originally invited to meet him because they were not considered important enough.

He opened the first exclusive soul music record shop in Britain, Soul City, in Deptford, South East London, in 1967, before moving to Monmouth Street, where he lauched the now highly collectable Soul City and Deep Soul record labels. One of them, a reissue of Gene Chandler's Nothing Can Stop Me, even manged to break into the charts. He also began writing for soul music magazines and developed a strong and loyal following After the business and the labels eventually failed, he went back into record promotion, but gave it all up in the late Seventies to take a degree in film history at Sheffield Polytechnic.

He still championed the soul music cause with occasional articles and personal appearances, before masterminding the series Dave Godin's Deep Soul Treasures Taken from the Vaults, which started appearing on the Harlesden-based Kent label in 1997. He also oversaw a series of CDs called The Birth of Soul for the same label.

Reviewers who took kindly to the releases were sent handwritten notes by Godin thanking them for their efforts. His contibution to the popularity of soul music in Britain remains immense.

Godin, who never married, died of lung cancer.

[Dave Godin, writer and critic, was born on June 21, 1936. He died on October 15, 2004, aged 68.]