Searching for the Perfect Spin: Revisiting Northern Soul w Dave Godin, Darrell Banks, Dena Barnes, The Salvadores &tc.
But Northern Soul is great because it comes up from below; that's the music, the musicians, and the fans.
My sole Northern Soul intervention happened in 1975, when I still at school, and held down a Saturday job selling singles on a stall outside Alan Fearnley Records on Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough (I might add, the legendary Alan Fearnley Records…). I was at my post when a large consignment of USA cut-out 45s arrived from the States. Stylistically diverse, the 45s were mostly old; all had been previously mouldering away in one of those mythical warehouses that could be found in the USA in 1975 and are virtually extinct today. I was told to mark the records with the price Al Fearnley thought appropriate - variously 5p, 15p and 28p – and he gave me a thick marker pen to carry out the task. The word spread, and soon Northern Soul collectors descended from all points to pick through this treasure trove. I still have conversations with ageing Soul Boys who say things like, "with hindsight, the 5p's were probably better than the 28p's," before chastising me for scrawling on the labels of their most treasured 45s with an ungainly hand. (Lofty, I mean you.)