Northern Soul

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GoogaMooga
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Northern Soul

Postby GoogaMooga » 24 Dec 2020, 04:12

What it is about Northern Soul that is so fascinating? The sweaty all-niters? The talc on the floor to facilitate slides and other nifty dance moves? Frank Wilson's "Do I Love You"? The motto "Keep the Faith"? Northern Soul is indeed a fascinating subculture. When I first came across that term, I thought it must be Northern Soul as in soul from the Northern states. Turns out it was Northern England, and its epicenter, Wigan Casino. Northern Soul was about 45's, B-sides, the more obscure the better, dance music which attracted both the anoraks and the more athletic clubbers. Dave Godin is the spiritual father of Northern Soul and the man who named it. Outside of the UK, this subculture is not very well-known except among the most avid collectors and soul fans.

1975 at Wigan Casino

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Re: Northern Soul

Postby Walk In My Shadow » 24 Dec 2020, 09:50

So. Northern Soul is nothing but obscure Soul?
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GoogaMooga
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Re: Northern Soul

Postby GoogaMooga » 24 Dec 2020, 11:50

Walk In My Shadow wrote:So. Northern Soul is nothing but obscure Soul?


...from the 60s and 70s, with at least 100 bpm
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Re: Northern Soul

Postby 50 Shades Of Blue » 24 Dec 2020, 20:13

Walk In My Shadow wrote:So. Northern Soul is nothing but obscure Soul?


That was certainly the music side of it.
Four on the floor stuff.
To be fair they found some great music that would never have otherwise surfaced for folk to enjoy.
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The Modernist
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Re: Northern Soul

Postby The Modernist » 25 Dec 2020, 12:34

You're right Dave Godin named it, but describing him as "the spiritual father" of the scene is very misleading given he was based in the south of England (he's actually from Dartford originally and was in the same school class as Mick Jagger!) and never dj'ed at any of the famous Northern Soul clubs.

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Re: Northern Soul

Postby The Modernist » 25 Dec 2020, 12:36

Walk In My Shadow wrote:So. Northern Soul is nothing but obscure Soul?


More or less, but it was soul from the Northern cities. Southern soul, Stax or Muscle Shoals say, almost never got played.

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Re: Northern Soul

Postby GoogaMooga » 25 Dec 2020, 13:09

The Modernist wrote:You're right Dave Godin named it, but describing him as "the spiritual father" of the scene is very misleading given he was based in the south of England (he's actually from Dartford originally and was in the same school class as Mick Jagger!) and never dj'ed at any of the famous Northern Soul clubs.


I don't see why he would have to be based north of Watford to qualify as spiritual father. One of the world's foremost authorities on reggae is British (forget his name now). Godin rightly observed that a scene was forming up North, with a common theme.
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Re: Northern Soul

Postby The Modernist » 25 Dec 2020, 13:46

GoogaMooga wrote:
The Modernist wrote:You're right Dave Godin named it, but describing him as "the spiritual father" of the scene is very misleading given he was based in the south of England (he's actually from Dartford originally and was in the same school class as Mick Jagger!) and never dj'ed at any of the famous Northern Soul clubs.


I don't see why he would have to be based north of Watford to qualify as spiritual father. One of the world's foremost authorities on reggae is British (forget his name now). Godin rightly observed that a scene was forming up North, with a common theme.


Because other than give a name to it in his column in Blues and Soul , he had nothing to do with it! The scene began and flourished without any direct involvement from him.
Incidentally the name you're probably thinking of re: reggae is David Rodigan.
Also it's a bit inaccurate to suggest that Northern Soul had to be fast, ballads did get played, Ray Pollard "The Drifter" to give one of many examples. However, it is true that what we bring to mind when we think of Northern Soul is fast, hectic 4/4 stuff.
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Re: Northern Soul

Postby Samoan » 25 Dec 2020, 14:07

Samoan wrote:You could do worse than watch some movies to get more of a sense of it and absorb the vibe.
Soulboy is good as is Northern Soul and there's lots of documentary footage out there on Youtube.

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Re: Northern Soul

Postby GoogaMooga » 25 Dec 2020, 14:10

David Rodigan, yes, that's who I meant. He's got an excellent autobio out, on my shopping list.

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Re: Northern Soul

Postby GoogaMooga » 25 Dec 2020, 14:12

Samoan wrote:You could do worse than watch some movies to get more of a sense of it and absorb the vibe.
Soul Boy is good as is Northern Soul and there's lots of documentary footage out there on Youtube.

Toodle pip!


I wasn't aware of any films, will check, thanks!
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Re: Northern Soul

Postby Hightea » 29 Dec 2020, 15:22

ha didn't think this was a discussion about The Verve's album.

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Re: Northern Soul

Postby Deebank » 01 Jan 2021, 11:39

Northern Soul had quite a reach in the 70s.

All the lads in my village in Anglesey were into it (pre- and some post - punk) and a few claimed to visit WIgan Casino etc on a regular basis IIRC. School discos would have a NS interlude as well as a punk / new wave section. But the clothes looked very dated pretty quickly - soul bags' were highly risable by 1978, although there was a high risk of getting your head kicked-in if you took the piss too openly.

I remember a couple of toughs keeping the faith well into the 80s. It's easy to forget quite how out of place and funny a massive pair of 'bags' looked in 1981.
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Re: Northern Soul

Postby The Modernist » 01 Jan 2021, 12:47

Don't think you ever saw them "down south".

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Re: Northern Soul

Postby Deebank » 01 Jan 2021, 18:42

The Modernist wrote:Don't think you ever saw them "down south".


The kind of high-waisted bell-bottoms you can see in the pic above. They always looked wrong to me, especially in an era when flares were verbotten by Yomp and the punk elite. We also used to snigger at their amateurish spinning and back dropping dance moves too. 'Puffs' we would have said, 'dancing with girls!' :lol:
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