Northern Soul Records: Album Highlights

by Administrator 8. November 2013 11:51

Overview of Vintage Northern Soul Records

Even though "Northern Soul" sounds like it's a type of music, it doesn't actually refer to any specific kind of music. For many people, though, it's a name and an icon that means everything.

According to allmusic.com, most soul music is named for the region where the music was created, or for the type of sound that the music has. Northern Soul, however, is named after where the music was played, and in the past, that was in clubs in north Britain. That's right -- 'northern soul' refers to '70s dance club music in northern Britain. During the prog rock era, a few underground clubs played '60s soul records - but they weren't just as type of soul, they were the most underground and obscure American soul music records that the DJs could come up with. The DJs were essentially obsessive collectors -- and they started a fad. And a trend was born.  

Allmusic.com put it this way:

"Usually, these records sounded like Motown, Chicago soul, or New York soul, but they were records by unknown or underappreciated performers; Major Lance was one of the biggest names on the scene. These records were dubbed Northern soul because of the clubs. Northern soul continued to gain popularity until the mid-'70s, when punk and disco stole its thunder; however, it never really faded away. Some clubs remained open and there was still a collectors' market for the singles, and many rare singles were going for astonishingly high prices. Most importantly, many clubgoers, from Marc Almond to Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs of St. Etienne, went on to form their own groups, which kept the spirit of Northern soul alive."

Some of the most prominent & collectible Northern Soul records today are:

  • Millie Jackson - "Caught Up/Still Caught Up" / the best of
  • Gene Chandler - the best of / "The Duke of Earl"
  • Jerry Butler - "The Sweetest Soul" / "Soul Workshop" / the best of
  • Syl Johnson - "Bridge to a Legacy"
  • The Impressions - "The Very Best of the Impressions"
  • Bettye LaVette - "The Scene of the Crime" / "Do Your Duty" / "I've Got My Own Hell to Raise" / the best of
  • The Dells - "Always Together: Great Chess Ballads" & many more
  • The Manhattans - the best of

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