Northern soul continues to prosper, with every passing yaer finding newly unearthed and previously ignored gems joining what is now a large body of work, much of it worthy of wider appreciation. This two-disc set includes acknowledged classics of the genre – Tobi Legend’s Time Will Pass You By, Barbara Acklin’s Am I The Same Girl et al – and adds the more recently championed tracks such as I’m Waiting by Bill Bush and Strange, a storming, previously ignored track from a deleted 1969 Gladys Knight & The Pips album, that starts out like Get Ready but quickly establishes its own distinctive, driving groove, and boasts a very strong vocal from Knight with nice support from her colleagues.
Blues & Soul
Album Of The Fortnight
Here’s the first big Northern compilation of 2006 and as is the nature of these things the quality and breadth depends on the issuing label’s licensing power. Here Music Club/Demon have pushed the boat out and gone after some of the scene’s biggest labels, most notably Motown and Brunswick. As gratifying is the fact that compilers Mike Ritson and Nick Washer have gone fore some lesser known items from those labels. For instance, Motown is represented by the likes of Gladys Knight’s “Stranger”, Martha & The Vandellas’ “Love Guess Who” and David Ruffin’s totally sublime “Rode By The Place”. The Brunswick selections offer the same quality and similar imagination in their selection, with Erma Franklin’s version of “Whispers” and The Lost Generation’s take on “Gimme Just A Little More Time” taking honours. Interestingly, we also get both Barbara Acklin’s “Am I The Same Girl” and Young-Holt’s “Soulful Strut”. From other sources, there’s stuff like Gwen McCrae’s “Lead Me On”, Barbara Lynn’s “This Is The Thanks I Get” and Al Green’s “Keep On Pushing Love”. Yes, I know the anoraks might argue that this is “modern” soul, not “Northern”, but I’d say “bollocks”, it’s just “great” soul, like almost all the 40 or so cuts here. Let’s hope the rest of the year’s Northern sets will be up to this high standard; somehow, thought, I doubt it. BB