SoulfulDetroit.com FORUM: Archive - Beginning April 17, 2003: Let's Talk "NORTHERN SOUL"
Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit ( on Saturday, February 22, 2003 - 04:48 pm:

For all of our UK friends, Scotland, Tiawan, and other overseas location, "Let's talk Northern Soul."

Would you explore the term, meaning, artist, and music when you say "Northern Soul."

Top of pageBottom of page   By soulie dave uk ( on Saturday, February 22, 2003 - 07:48 pm:

Hi SisDetroit, I'll try and explain Norhtern Soul to the best of my knowledge and as see it. I'm sure some of the other guys who contribute would be able to add a lot more than me.
In the UK back in the 60's American soul music really took off. The Stax/Atlantic stuff, Motown and others were very popular. It was played extensivley in the clubs, you could dance to it.
The term Northern soul was unheard of then, it was just dancable soul music.
More and more records were being discovered and played in the clubs. Ones that had sold zilch in the US or were minor local hits.
At the end of the 60's and early 70's soul records started to change. They became more funky, more disco, more psycadelic, had political messages. Great records they may have been but they were not generally liked in the soul clubs in the north of England.
Their was no need or reason to accept this new style as their was thousands of great 60's records waiting to be discovered and played in the top clubs.
The new soul releases of the early 70's were mainly played in the London and the south of England.
Before you knew it the soul scene was split, the newer funkier stuff being played in the south and the 60's stuff being played in the north. hence the term Northern Soul to differentiate it from the current soul releases and the soul records that made the charts in the 70's.
So Northern Soul is based on 60's American dancable soul music, usually by black artists, and usually quite rare records, As time went on some 70's records were accepted into the scene.
Northern Soul is most of the records we talk about on this site. Northern Soul is forever.
Hope that helps Sis. regards, SDUK.

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit ( on Saturday, February 22, 2003 - 07:57 pm:

Thanks Soulie - I guess I am a Soulful Detroit Northern Soul Sister.


Top of pageBottom of page   By Mark Speck ( on Saturday, February 22, 2003 - 10:17 pm:

It's worth noting that not all Northern soul is pure soul music.

By that, I mean a lot of pop artists have recorded songs that the Northern crowd digs: people like Paul Anka, Joey Heatherton, Joey Dee, The Buckinghams, Frankie Valli, the Spiral Starecase, among others.

Also, a number of familiar US songs have been spun in Northern clubs over the years:
"More Today Than Yesterday"--Spiral Starecase
"Don't You Care"--The Buckinghams
"Color Him Father"--The Winstons
"Too Late to Turn Back Now"--Cornelius Bros. & Sister Rose
among other songs...



Top of pageBottom of page   By STUBASS ( on Saturday, February 22, 2003 - 10:32 pm:


Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 01:49 am:

Can I add a London lads point of view here....I never went to one of those early Northern clubs but I wish I had. However, I did the next best thing and followed the scene very closely in Frank Elson's column in Blues and Soul in the 70's

However, back to those real early days...what I felt was happening was that the London scene was TOO preoccupied with what was new and what was "way out" or not the norm. The guys down here in London seemed to want to lead by being different. In the rush to be different, many songs were missed, simply because there was so much about. However, whereas the southern scene wanted to be seen to be "hip", the northern scene seemed to splinter and a new scene opened up which took a deeper look at what was being missed. By 1967/8, Motown was getting maximum exposure - the Tops and the Supremes were at number one in the album charts...then followed the re-issue phase which appeared to rubber stamp the scene into different segments. The "Northern Scene" then seemed to be a title that was tagged along to those clubs in the north that were playing the "oldies". As I understand it, there has always been clubs in the North that play the same stuff as the clubs in the South - it's just that there was more choice up North.

Top of pageBottom of page   By acooolcat ( on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 02:54 am:

Hi Sis,
Ritchie and David both have great articles about Northern Soul - which you may have already read.
Many people now want to distance themselves from this term as it conjures up a dated image of uptempo dance records. People are now dancing to a slower tempo - they're older!
Nowadays folks often prefer titles like "Rare Soul" as this reflects the fact the records were not hits and that "Northern Soul" is no longer simply played in the north of England, but is global.

Top of pageBottom of page   By MEL&THEN SOME ( on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 03:21 am:

The term Rre Soul was the norm way back at the Mecca around 1972,as the uptempo dancers were just that,'Rare Soul'.
The name of rare soul changed when Dave Godinwas writing his articles and paid a visit to the north,then terming the now legendary phrase of 'Northern Soul'.
The reason why people like to distance themselves from the term rare soul was because it was harder to find that obscure dancer after years of finding them it had tostop sometime.
And this is why today on the scene,the sounds are slower.Gone are the days of visiting the states and coming home with a case full of rarities.

As I will always call it Rare Soul as that is what the scene was all about.I have a poster of the Blackpool Mecca from 1971 just after the Wheel closed down,and as on a lot of posters at the time,emblazoned in huge print,'Rare Soul'sounds and 'Rare Soul'nighters etc.So all this about the punters being older and distancing hemselves from the original term of 'Rare Soul'is total news to me Graham.
The scene I started on was The Rare Soul Scene,and I started around 1972/3.That was the exclusivity about such a scene,the fact that Rare obscure soul was hard to find but was and played.Today the scene has turned full circle,regards no more dancers and returning to the slower ones,simple fact is that the well ran dry after years and years of people getting over and finding the gems.

I think of an all-nighter,even to this day,and I still go to a few,being a fast,frantic and very lively atmosphere,So graham,I Totally disagree with your comments mate(for what its worth).
Mel(The Rare Soul Stomper)
a mate just returned from the states,a guy on the scene since 1968 and has found and visited the states a lot.And he came back this time with around 50 records that could be played as a rare soul obscurity,dissapointed to say the least,and he has a lot of contacts.This just confirms that if theres sounds there then its harder than ever.
He even walked into a shop and the guy had a Manship guide to rare soul etc.
Unheard of years ago.

Top of pageBottom of page   By soulie dave uk ( on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 05:15 am:

Mark, Sis, I was 13 when the Beatles, The Stones, The Searchers etc started to dominate the pop charts. I suppose like any 13 year old kid I was in awe of all these groups. I did not know at the time that their initial success was based on covers of American RnB records. I did'nt know what RnB was and had never heard the real thing.
By the time I was 15 or 16 Motown was breaknig through and pretty soon a lot of the records in my collection were on the Tamla Motown, Stax, and Atlantic labels.
Soul records had a lot of chart success in the late 60's and early 70's but I wanted to hear more and you could if you went to the right places.
The Beatles And the Stones still dominated the charts and were as popular as ever as the 60's closed.
The suppose the soul scene back then and today has allways been a minority thing over here. I did'nt conciously regect main streem pop I just prefered Soul Music, RnB, Blues, and there was plenty of stuff to discover and enjoy.
The scene still survives after all this time. There is a bit of a revival going on at the moment with new soul nights starting up all over the North East of England, where I live. The many CD compilations now available i think have helped to spread the word.
acoolcat is right some people frefer to call it Rare Soul these days.
Some soul events may have different rooms or different themes.
There may be a Northern room playing mainly 60's Oldies and Motown.
There maybe a Rare Soul room.
There maybe a Modern room, playing 70's,80's even 90's.
There maybe an accross the board music policy where you get a bit of everything and slower mid tempo stuff is now very popular. I guess we're all getting older.
One thing is for sure Motown still fills the dancefloor after all these years. Regards SDUK.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 06:01 am:

At the risk of alienating myself by saying this, I've never actually considered myself a "Northern Soul" fan, for the past thirty-odd years. I'm a Soul fan from the North (Manchester), as opposed to a fan of "Northern Soul". I prefer the term, "Classic Soul" - as I also love Stax, Deep Soul and of course Motown. I have loved Soul music ever since the mid-sixties when it could be heard on the pirate radio stations every day. (The BBC were NOT on the case at all!)

I well remember getting together with friends around 1970 and comparing the singles we'd picked up. Most were older records on import, as opposed to new releases. My mate "Soul Brother Dave" expressed an active dislike of the Funk sounds that were coming out of the US, and much preferred the straight 4/4 "dancers" - and the faster the better.

We now know there were many more folks at that time, all over the country who were looking back into the sixties in search of that 'classic' sound. It certainly was not only fans in the North who had a liking for these sounds - but those who did, tended to be in pockets outside the metropolis, where of course the mass media was based, and all the "trendy" clubs were. Perhaps it should also be noted that there was not a blanket rejection of all current sounds. At one club I used to frequent, the deejay would happily play new and older records side-by-side. Thus, you might hear the Four Tops' "Keeper Of The Castle" alongside the Platters' "With This Ring", with no-one batting an eyelid. I suspect it was only later when the "Northern scene" became more recognised self-conscious, that the frantic search for obscurities and exclusives began, with its associated practice of "cover-ups". To this day, if I find a tune that excites me, I'll happily own up that it's... Wilbert Harrison, as opposed to saying it's by Frank Pseudonym and the Obscuretones.

PS - Thanks Graham for mentioning my and David's online articles on the subject. I published mine in answer to the many email queries I received, (mostly from the US) asking "please could you explain.. what IS Northern Soul?" David's can be found on the main SD site, and mine - with contributions from Dave Godin - can be found on my site at:

Top of pageBottom of page   By soulie dave uk ( on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 06:35 am:

Well put Ritchie, I guess classic soul sounds about right. I too love all sorts of soul music though you could say I'm a best before 1970 man. Clay Hammond, James Carr, Arthur Alexander, Stax, Detroit. The list is endless. Regard, SDUK

Top of pageBottom of page   By MEL&THEN SOME ( on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 07:56 am:

Hey Fellas,
Dont think that I am in any way just a Rare/Northern soul fan,and thats it.I know it looks that way regardsmy piece,but I have been into early Jazz/Blues(ie)1920'S bessie Smith,as well as the later blues/R&B,Soul,Doo-Wop(to a degree),Ballads,Ska/Reggae,and with a still strong passion today for Rare/Northern Soul as this was my very first taste of actually attending venues and listening to amazing sounds.

In fact I have in my personel record collection a full across the board range of what I have just mentioned.Although I can never ever list any all time top artists/records,as there are so many,I do if push came to shove,would rate as my overall top people as Bessie Smith,Esther Philips,Big Maybelle and Howling Wolf.

I Just feel so passionate about the scene,be it whatever you call it.Different strokes for different folks,and all I was airing was just my (be it)blinkered views regards our topic.

If it wasnt for Stax,Motown,Sue,Atlantic etc I would never of got into the all-nighter scene to begin with.So please fellas,I know I am totally biased about this,but please dont think that all I know about is just northern soul.

I listen to various music for my various moods,but if I am at an all-nighter then stompers all the way.Dont forget guys this is just a personel comment from someone who was a bit later on the scene regards you all.
I hope this clears things up a little with you all,I like music in all there guises.
Mel(mr music man,not just a northern man).

Top of pageBottom of page   By douglasm ( on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 12:33 pm:

This may or may not be directly on point, but my brother and I were discussing this the other night.
What started the R&B/Blues "craze" in England in the early '60's? Was it a counter reaction to Sklffle, that is, an effort to find something new and different?

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit ( on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 12:35 pm:

This is really deep.

For those of you haven't done so, please look at the top menu, and take the Northern Soul Tour. Among other outstanding photos, you will see DMeikle at the Twisted Wheel in Manchester, England. Extraordinary!

Top of pageBottom of page   By MEL&THEN SOME ( on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 02:30 pm:

Hey Graham,
I hope your still talking mate.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 03:03 pm:

Douglas -

I'd suggest that what attracted UK kids to R&B was as an alternative to the bland pop music of the day - pretty much similar to the Rock'n'Roll revolution of the 1950s - a reaction against the Frankie Laines and Doris Days. (By the early sixties, Skiffle didn't come into the equasion. This was a very short-lived craze around 1957, which died out very rapidly. By the early sixties it was as archaic as Glenn Miller!)

The British pop charts of 1963 were rather a tame affair, with home-grown heroes like Cliff Richard rubbing shoulders with the post-Army Elvis. Much as the US music industry had remodelled Rock'n'Roll in its own image, with 'teen idols' replacing the original rockers, the UK scene was remarkably similar. (We had our own Bobby Vee clones too.) I the 50s, the "beatniks" had turned to Jazz, but that was too cerebral for sixties kids who just wanted to dance, so they looked for more down-to-earth music. This they found in Rhythm & Blues, and what would become known as "Soul." You'd find teenagers checking out Slim Harpo and Little Walter alongside the early Motown and other US Black music of the time. They also adopted - to a lesser extent - Jamaican music: Ska and Bluebeat. Both were non-mainstream, and gave the listener a feeling of being far away from the dull world of Denmark Street pop (England's version of Tin Pan Alley). All of these styles were 'meatier' than the safe pop songs played on the BBC's 'Light Programme' - the family network which dominated British radio till the late sixties. The "pirate" stations which broadcast from 1964-1967 were champions of Soul music, originally an 'underground' music, and helped many Soul records into the pop charts.

By the late sixties, when Motown and Soul music became commercially accepted as part of the pop mainstream, it was no longer 'cult' music. Fashionable clubs took on "progressive" rock (often called "underground" music back then), and Soul became too 'pop' to be considered fashionable. Meanwhile, up in the north... (which brings us neatly to the roots of "Northern" Soul!)

Top of pageBottom of page   By STUBASS ( on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 03:19 pm:


Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 03:38 pm:


I'm not sure the Beatles enter the equasion. By the time the Northern Soul movement was starting to form (even though it was never a conscious "movement" - just something hapening at grass-roots level, which spread)around 1968-70, "Beatlemania" was over. The group had stopped touring, so there were no scenes of mass-hysteria any longer. I'm not sure that there was anything specifically "anti-Beatle" in being a Soul fan, though, it's possible that the Stones had more fans who were Soul lovers (being possibly more R&B-based) than the Beatles did.

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit ( on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 04:05 pm:

Great, great, interesting.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Mark k ( on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 04:29 pm:

Re your post regarding the Beatles and Northern Soul i dont think the fact that the clubs in the north of England played this type of music was due to a beatles backlash as by this time as previously mentioned the beatles were winding down. The clubs in the north tended to play the uptempo motown mid 60s stompers i.e. Contours 'Just a little misunderstanding'
Barbara Randolph 'I've got a feeling'
Edwin Starr 'Backstreet'
I can remember these tracks being played at Wigan
Casino 1970-71 before the first all nighter there in 73> as Wigan at this time played mainly Motown and 60s stompers as opposed to funk etc that tended to be played more in the Southern clubs.
If I was to pick one song the sums up the feel of Northern Soul with emphasis on Motown then it would be: DO I LOVE YOU BY FRANK WILSON
absolute class from start to finish!!
Mark K

Top of pageBottom of page   By David Meikle ( on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 05:03 pm:

I got involved in Soul Music as a result the Mod Scene.

It was a cult in itself. Short hair cuts, mohair suits and Soul Music or Ska. The scooter also played a big part.

I distinctly recall looking at images of African Americans at the time and thinking that we were trying to copy them.

At the Wheel people were even dancing with black
driving gloves on. You can see the image on one of the ads I posted the other day. A black driving glove in a Black Power salute. Naive, but a definite sense of affinity to African Americans.

There was a time when I would have been horrified to buy a record that was by a white artist. Naive again, but I was only a teenager.

I always remember telling my Mother that I loved this Black music because I could hear every word with clarity. The voices were also so powerful, so beautiful and uplifting. The Black voice so cool!

The dancing at the Twisted Wheel was definitely an attempt to copy the way Black people danced.

Many were extremely good at it, contradicting the theory that white people couldn't dance, excluding of course Fred Astaire, Anne Miller etc :-)

I used to come home from the 400 mile round trip at the Wheel telling everyone about these amazing dancers who were as close to Fred Astaire as you could imagine (over the top to say the least, but this was so unique in this country it had to be described.

Look at the dancing images on the Northern Soul Tour. That somes it up. Later, there used to be dancing contest too which had prize money associated. The whole evening would stop while we watched those who could truly crack it.

They would be dancing to those lost American Soul records too. Quite amazing.

It is also amazing how many American 45's are in this country too.

How did Northern Soul start?

We were simply going to a club in the Northe of England where we could hear records that we couldn't hear any where else. We were dancing to sixties Soul music, which was uptempo. The acrobatics on the dancefloor, the rare records, the camaraderie of meeting like minded people from all over the UK, the fact you could dance all-night thru to 8am, the amphetamines which many took....not condoning that BTW....these were the things which made the scene so attractive.

So attractive we had crowds like this 5 years later.....no apology for showing this again.

Top of pageBottom of page   By David Meikle ( on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 05:08 pm:

I should also mention that the scene continues to be very much alive today.

Check out this incredible listing of upcoming events....all playing rare soul music from the halcyon era.


Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit ( on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 05:49 pm:

DMeikle - I could feel the excitement and soul as you were describing it. That is the way to express one's self, don't hold back anything. I believe I remember you posted about an all night event you went to a few months ago. Am I right?

Thanks for keeping the "soul" alive.

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit ( on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 05:55 pm:

Another thing DMeikle - In the 60's and early 70's, there were so many clubs in Detroit, and each one had great live entertainment and dancing. Each club was filled to capacity. You would leave one club and go to another, from eastside to westside. From "Phelps" to "The (Detroit) Emeralds Lounge", to Ben's or Mr. Henry's or Mr. Kelly's, and up and down 12th. We called it "bar hopping."

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit ( on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 06:41 pm:

Ritchie - I was looking at your top list for Northern Soul. I do remember the name Leon Haywood quite well, I just can't remember the song.

As you say on your web page "It's all in the Groove."

I often visit your site on the early temptations. And I just love your humour.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue ( on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 10:10 pm:

Interesting stuff.

Sis is right, here in Detroit there was a lot of dancing to live music ...

There was also dancing in clubs to records ...the Aorta on 7 Mile used to have Motown night, and I'd go with girlfriends ... we'd dance all night with anybody and everybody. It wasn't a successful night unless you were soaked through at the end. Then we'd have eggs at Ted's on the Park!

In the '70s Madonna used to go dancing at Menjo's, the gay club on McNichols, they played some Motown but a lot of funk and disco too ...

Top of pageBottom of page   By soulie dave uk ( on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 02:00 am:

Sis, Leon Haywood, "Baby Reconsider"

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD ( on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 02:16 am:

Though Motown and other popular soul sounds are lumped with Northern Soul, I agree with Mel that Rare Soul is a better tag.

The most sought after and played of these records in England clubs were usually non entities in the States. The tracks on a typical Goldmine northern soul compilation draw blank stares from most Americans. Who are these artists...these songs? I've never been able to play a whole NS collection, or even a few songs, before rudely being asked "don't you have anything else?"

The movement, however, made many artists feel better about themselves and their minor contributions (in the grand scheme of things)to the music scene; almost like a sense of closure...finally, they felt respected and appreciated.

J. J. Barnes, Otis Leavill, Frank Wilson, Jack Montgomery, the Cautions, Cleveland Robinson, Lou Johnson, Emmanual Laskey, Steve Mancha, Sam Dees, Lou Ragland, Paul Kelly, the Lovelites, Ray Pollard, the Servicemen, and others get ink in northern soul zines and the iggy button in the States.

Many are unknown in their own communities (and even relatives)..."I didn't know Uncle Robert made a record"; but are respected by northern soul fans and collectors in Europe, Japan and other faraway places.

Record labels like Shrine (owned by Eddie and Raynoma Gordy-Singleton) never produced a local hit in the States but is treated royally by northern soul writers because its output is so rare. I never heard of Shrine Records until the '90s and have never held an actual Shrine 45 in my hand (they didn't release an album); and I'm a guy who made regular trips to flea markets, goodwills and oldie record stores looking for rare 45s and albums cause I always knew that radio stations couldn't play everything.

Like or dislike, the northern soul movement is documenting obscure and popular American soul recordings of the '60s and the 70s. And writers are doing their best to bio these obscure artists, often from bits and pieces gathered from from various sources; especially if the artist(s) has passed or can't be found for questioning.

The late Jack Montgomery, a Detroiter, is a classic example of a day late, dollar short; when soul sleuths finally drew a bead on him they sadly discovered he had passed some years ago. sed.

Top of pageBottom of page   By acooolcat ( on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 03:16 am:

I've been busy this past weekend so haven't been online - there's certainly no offense taken.
Of course the records that most collectors and DJs want are rare - but the term "Northern Soul" is the most popular, freuently used term and what Sis asked about; I don't think many people write in to ask about the "Rare Soul Scnene." I honestly can't remember people using this term back in the early 1970s, which is when I too got into the allnighter scnene, by going to clubs such as The Torch. And before that by buying 45s from an older Mod-DJ friend was was selling his record collection. But maybe you're right, my memomry isn't brilliant.
The other point I wanted to make was that "Northern Soul" is also associated with records that are not very soulful; the fast tempo was the most important thing. Ritchie has outlined this point.
Like you - my music library is pretty varied. I obviously focus on Detroit Soul but also have classical, jazz, pop, reggae, African, Asian and various other CDs that I enjoy to listening to.
Cheers, Graham

Top of pageBottom of page   By David Meikle ( on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 03:45 am:

My Blues and Soul magazine filing system isn't too hot but I know that there is a photograph in one issue from 1971 showing Dave Godin standing next to a billboard at Blackpool Mecca.

The sign says "Rare Soul '71". That was the first time I noticed the term. I later saw that billboard on a number of visits to the Mecca.

Wish I could find the pic. Anybody?

Top of pageBottom of page   By douglasm ( on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 10:27 am:

I'm still a little confused. Did the Beatles, Stones, Yardbirds etc. help start the soul boom? When they started, they were blues and soul cover bands, weren't they, playing songs like "Chains", "Please Mr. Postman", "Baby It's You", "Hitchhike" and the like. Or were they just following a trend in the early '60's?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Mick D ( on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 02:40 pm:

David M

Re: Blues & Soul/Dave Godin,

is this what you are looking for? Apparently it also happens to be the same article where, Mr Godin first used the term Northern Soul in print.



Mick D

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit ( on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 02:55 pm:

This is truly deep!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Davie Gordon ( on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 03:14 pm:


You asked about the Beatles and other sixties
UK groups' involvement in the soul scene.

My take on that is that if they hadn't been in
groups they would've been among the people
collecting soul records and attending clubs.
The fact that they were actually playing and
touring tended to distance them from the scene
but it's obvious from the number of cover versions
on their early records that they were definitely
fans at the start. As they years went on and they became more proficient on their instruments and
started writing predominantly their own material
they grew further and further away from their early roots.

Something you have to take into account is that
most UK groups were almost completely ignored by
soul fans, they were at best an irrelevance at worst a bunch of plagiarists taking the best of
black music and profiting from it to the detriment
of the original artists. David mention that he when he was a teenager he wouldn't even consider
buying a record by a white group - that was a very
common attitude then and there are still people around who think the same way.

I'm like Ritchie in that I don't consider myself
a "northern" fan - I love sixties soul music
there's far too many records played and described
as "Northern Soul" which have nothing to do with soul. Too many uptempo pop records - not even good
pop records - being referred to as "soul" devalues
the term. And as for the obsession with the rarity
of records being played at "northern" events.
US readers - just try to imagine a "soul" night where you wouldn't hear the Temptations because
any Tom, Dick or Harry could buy the record.
However if it's a one-shot by a group nobody's
heard of and it's fast enough ....

I have contradictory feelings about the whole
northern business - love the music for the most part but have real problems with many aspects
of the "scene"

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 03:19 pm:

Hi Douglas

I think the "Soul Boom" was the culmination of many factors. We in the UK have always been aware of American music, much more so than vice-versa, and a huge amount was released which never made the charts. Scanning our charts of the early sixties would give the impression that early Motown/proto-Soul was unknown over here. The "beat" groups were certainly aware of it, as evidenced by the many cover versions of US songs which never charted here. That includes the Beatles, and the Stones - to a lesser extent - though both covered early Motown songs, and expressed admiration for the artists. While it's more than likely many folks checked out the originals after the Beatles "recommended" them, I suspect the groups were just part of a growing awareness of the Black sounds that were coming across the Atlantic.

Top of pageBottom of page   By STUBASS ( on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 05:05 pm:


Top of pageBottom of page   By David Meikle ( on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 05:07 pm:

Thanks to Mick D for the pic I was looking for!

I think that the relatively small amount of pop records that were played on the scene, began to die out in the early eighties,in England anyway.

Virtually all Soul records that could and should have been played on the scene, HAVE been played on the scene.

They are now down to searching master tapes.

The scene must receive great credit for keeping the music alive.

Despite it's faults, and every facet of life has it's faults, there can be no greater accolade.


Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit ( on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 05:15 pm:

SoulieDave - Thanks! I looked up "The Best of Leon Haywood" (Produced by HW), and listened to some bites. But I couldn't listen to "Baby Reconsider."

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit ( on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 05:16 pm:

You are very kind DMeikle.

Top of pageBottom of page   By David Meikle ( on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 05:18 pm:


I hope you read the article by Dave Godin which Mick D sent in. Yes it's deep, only those who have experienced it at it's best can give an insight to it's glory.

I'll tell you more in the Big D.


p.s check out the front page of the Night Owl website (very cool) and the tributes to one of the scene's best dee-jays, Martyn Ellis. That will give you a feel for the camaraderie.

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit ( on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 05:55 pm:

Thanks DMeikle - I went through Night Owl Club for about 30 minutes, and I have saved it to my favorites. I looked at some of the Soul Stars. Great pics for Jackie Wilson, JJ Barnes, Baby Washington, which I had not seen before, and a couple more great photos I had not previously seen anywhere else. I will definitely be going back.

It's always good to see information on Frances Nero and the Metros.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 06:25 pm:

To David Meikle & my UK brothers & sisters:
I have to tip my hat to you because you have shown a passion & appreciation for American R&B that is almost unequalled. Speaking for myself, I thought that "northern soul" was just another marketing name made up to sell R&B music. After researching the history of this phenomenon, I've grown to respect those who have participated in its rise. Why? First of all, I became exposed to great R&B music that I had never heard before and may never had heard unless I invested in a northern soul compilation. Second of all, the careers that have been saved and resurrected via this trend would fill a telephone book (from Tommy Hunt to my dear friend Tony Drake). Finally, the N.S. genre has reminded us here in the USA of the great music that came from the world of American R&B and that we should recognize our music as an art form that is as rich as anything from a classical composer.
David, Mel & company - this S.D. family member thanks you.
Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By acooolcat ( on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 09:24 pm:

Mick D, many thanks for posting the link to Dave Godin's article that explains, as Mel has stated, that "Rare Soul" was used before Dave coined the term "Northern Soul."

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit ( on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 - 03:51 pm:

Mick D - It was Dave Dogin's article caused me to post "This is truly deep." I re-read it, and Wow. Thank you!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Dave Rimmer ( on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 - 05:17 pm:

Just thought I'd throw a bit more info in.

The connection between Soul music in the UK and the Rolling Stones is stronger than most people know. It was Dave Godin, the writer who coined the phrase 'Northern Soul' who taught Mick Jagger to play harmonica, apparently he's regretted it ever since :-)

If any of the US readers want a little bit more, well, in all honesty, a lot more information on the UK's Northern Soul scene try my website.


There are histories of several clubs, venue reports of current clubs, an event listing, DJ playlists, and even the interview in which it was discovered that Jack Montgomery was dead. Plus loads of other things you might find interesting.

Dave Rimmer.

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit ( on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 - 05:22 pm:

Thank you so much Dave. This is great. I learn more and more. I can understand better now some of things mentioned on this Forum.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Mick D ( on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 - 07:58 pm:


Regarding your posting about the Dave Godin article. It was my pleasure. But if you really want to thank anybody, I believe you need to look a bit closer to home.

Namely the countless artist's, producers, Arrangers, Musicians, writers, label bosses and studio owners whose dedication has given all of us here in the UK something which we shall cherish for the remainder of our days.

Quite simply without them Dave Godin would have had little to write about.

Despite the fact that the whole Northern/Rare soul thing was initially a British phenomonon, it wouldn't have existed without those forgotten peices of Vinyl form the States.

It was KevGo who likened this music to an art form. It is more than this, it is a part of America's musical heritage, your musical heritage, one which you must rightly feel proud of.

Best Wishes

Mick D

p.s. if you are interested in listening to some Northern/Rare Soul, there is a show on Sundays hosted by Kev Roberts on Solar radio at around 18:00 GMT (I would guess that is about mid day US time). Check it out, it should make the whole issue of Northern/Rare soul a little clearer.


Top of pageBottom of page   By Mark Speck ( on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 - 10:44 pm:

Sis, you should also check this link out:


Dozens upon dozens of RAs of Northern soul tracks to listen to and enjoy!



Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit ( on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 - 10:52 pm:

Oh yes, Mark. I've been there, and have enjoyed every moment of it. Carolyn Crawford, Belita Woods, Chuck Jackson, Carl Carlton. And you are right, dozens of those songs that I had not heard in years and was happy to have been referred there.

Thanks Mark!

Top of pageBottom of page   By David Meikle ( on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 03:37 am:

Thanks to Mick D for putting things in perspective.


Top of pageBottom of page   By R&B ( on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 09:50 am:


Top of pageBottom of page   By Ade ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 04:36 pm:

Hi everybody
My favourite subject! the funniest thing about "northern" soul (apart from the prices of the records - boom boom) is how universal its become. I've just returned from the states, and on the plane from manchester with over 100 scooterists going to (of all places) las vegas. two guys about davids age (!!) are sat behind me and start talking about Northern soul. i pointed out to them that there were about 100 other kindred spirits on the plane and they couldn't believe that we were all still interested in the tunes they danced to in the late 60's at the Wheel!. We got to vegas and had a bit of a rally, and I got talking and dancing with a great young Californian lad called Justin who (apart from being a fantastic dancer) was also in regular contact with Dean Courtney! If this wasn't enough, I get home and see a video for a new single (currently no.10 in the british charts) which is a blatant pastiche of the "this england" documentary footage from Wigan Casino, complete with northern soul dance moves and fashions (Moloko's "familiar feelings", if you're interested). crazy world.

Top of pageBottom of page   By David Meikle ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 04:50 pm:

Hi Ade

Good story.

Where did you stay in Vegas?

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 06:55 pm:

My "World Wide Soulful Brothas and Sustas." This is definitely a univeral soul meeting going on here.

"SOULFUL DETROIT" is soulful.

Add a Message


  You must enter your name or nickname into the "Username" box.
Your e-mail address is optional.