Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1099

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The Frank Elson Northern Soul Column - Checkin' It Out (November)

The Frank Elson Northern Soul Column - Checkin' It Out
The Frank Elson Northern Soul Column - Checkin' It Out Marvin Gaye - Motown 1963 Dean Parrish Lamont Dozier: Black Bach (Righteous)

I was listening to Marvin Gaye's âLittle Darlingâ and it got me going into âCan I get a Witnessâ; âWherever I Lay My Hatâ (I can NEVER forgive Paul Young for having a minor hit with that, so that the ignorami don't know it was originally a Marvin song) and âHeard It Through The Grapevineâ. This morphed into Marvin and Tammi, âYou're All I need to Get Byâ, then âThe Onion Songâ and a long hot morning of great soul songs. ...and I wondered, am I the only person in the universe who prefers Marvin Gaye's early stuff over his âWhat's Going Onâ output? Probably.

* I wondered, in print on Facebook, if there was a category for the most anniversary events for a closed down Northern Soul Club in the Book of World Records. It seemed that everyone and his uncle was running one this year. Still, an all, I went to the one organised by Russ Winstanley at the DW stadium in Wigan itself.

What can one say about the great Dean Parrish apart from the fact that he's still a trooper, still has a strong voice and can still hold an audience enthralled. I liked one of his comments: âMy grandaughter would never believe this,â as the crowd chanted âDeano, Deano...â Hee hee, mine would, she could easily have come along that night.

Apart from a great set by Dean - I'm fairly sure he sang something like âI'm On My Wayâ - Russ obviously had to do a spell, seeing as he was the guy who got Wigan Casino up and running all those years ago. Rather apt was one of the first; Eddie Holman, âThis Could Be A Night To Rememberâ, 'cos it most certainly was; Dana Valery âYou Don't Know Where Your Interest Liesâ; Jimmy Radcliffe, âBreakawayâ; Contours, âBaby Hit and Runâ.

My old friend Faye Jones (and when I say âoldâ, we've known each other for forty years or so), from Oldham, started off with The Tripps, âTheres That Mountainâ; and proceeded with tracks that included: The Gospel Classics, More Love; Edwin Starr, My Weakness Is You; Lou Johnson, Unsatisfied; The Shakers, One Wonderful Moment; and The Intrigues, In A Moment.

Brothers Neil and Stuart Brackenridge will be familiar to many of you as they did their bit in Mr M's all those years ago under the Soul Twins banner. Their set on the anniversary included: Holly St James, That's Not Love; Lainie Hill, Time Marches On; Donnie Burdick, Bari Track; Garnett Mimms, Looking For You; and Johnny Caswell, You Don't Love Me Anymore. Obviously this was an excellent night of soul memories. Some of us do seem to live a lot in those days of the Casino, the Torch and the Casino, and if you were around then you'll know what I'm on about.

We were young and immortal and immersed on a weekly basis amongst some of the finest recorded music ever to grace a turntable.
It doesn't go away you know. The Shakers' One Wonderful Moment still thrills, still gets the extremities twitching, and that play down of the backing after Dana Valery sings You Don't Know Where Your Interest Lies still slows the heart by one beat (or two!).

If you were there cast your mind back, to those hot sweaty nights in the Casino; the chatting; the wide pupils; the dancing... but overall, the music. The strains of one of your all-time favourite âsoundsâ died away, the deejay gabbled something incomprehensible and... off you spun again to yet another all time favourite.
Now don't you ever forget, Russ did that for you...

* It was great to see another old friend, Bolton's Brent Howarth, at the anniversary with his teenage son, Ethian who is no mean dancer. In fact, I told Brent that his lad was better than he had been thus putting Brent into the strange position of trying to keep his own pride up whilst naturally supporting his son as a proud dad should. He failed!

A lot of the old brigade on the Northern scene like to make much of the few young people that attend events. I liked the comment as a pretty young thing walked past a group of âmatureâ men: âLeave it out, you probably knew her mother...â But on a serious note it is said that it's good for the scene to have new blood coming in. Why?
As far as I can see the Northern Scene is busier today than it has ever been. Every weekend there are events up and down the country, half a dozen all-nighters, nice local nights, and throughout the week as well.

This scene appears to consist of mostly the elderly. A broad age spread from the early 50s to the mid-sixties. Many of this crowd can still dance and most of us can afford to get out and about a fair bit.
We're still buying the music and we're what is keeping the scene alive. Of course, without the new blood it will die out one day, but by that time we'll all be dead as well. So why should we care?

* It was great to read the interview with Lamont Dozier in B&S 1002. Did you know that he recorded the greatest album ever? It was called âBlack Bachâ and around a thousand years ago I told B&S readers that I was going to mention it in every column I wrote for a whole year as I was determined every last one of them had to buy it. I bought another spare copy (as well as the demo I had been given). I recorded it on a cassette, then copied that. Then, in later years I burned it onto a CD (last time I looked it was still not officially released on a CD, what a travesty that is) and finally on to a memory stick and my computer hard drive. It's still the greatest album ever recorded.

Frank Elson

Please feel free to contact me at with any Northern Soul news that you feel would benefit others - Thank you.

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