Northern Soul’s Classiest Rarities Volume 6.

Label: Kent Dance.

Nowadays, Northern Soul compilations are two a penny and hardly a week goes by without yet another Northern Soul compilation being released. That has been the case for the last few years, and nothing has changed during 2017. Most of the compilations are third-rate, and are nothing more than hastily compiled cash-ins, where labels old and new jump on the Northern Soul bandwagon, which has been rolling along for many years, and shows no slowing down. 

It’s a similar case with the disco bandwagon, with record companies clambering aboard ever since the latest resurgence of interest in the genre that once sucked. This has resulted in the release of countless disco compilations, including compilation of bloated remixes by DJs who have spent the last forty years playing the same set. Just like the record companies who have jumped on the disco bandwagon, the remixers rehash the same tired songs that they pass off as ‘classics.’

Sadly, the same fate has befallen many Northern Soul compilations, with the same tracks being rehashed on numerous compilations. Especially those compilations that feature the words: “featuring songs played at the Wigan Casino or Blackpool Mecca. With these compilation it’s a case of caveat emptor. After all, not every track played Wigan Casino or Blackpool Mecca was a classic. Far from it, it’s a case of: “don’t believe the hype.”

There’s several ways to separate the wheat from when the chaff, when it comes to Northern Soul compilations. Who compiled the compilation is hugely important, and so is the label that released the compilation. Some labels have established a reputation for releasing quality Northern Soul compilations, while others are just jumping on the bandwagon, looking to make a quick buck. They neither care about the music, nor the people that made it. However, labels like Ace Records care about Northern Soul and the about the people who made it.

That has been the case for the last three decades. Through their Kent imprint, Ace Records have been releasing Northern Soul compilations for over twenty years. Their most recent Northern Soul compilation, was Northern Soul’s Classiest Rarities Volume 6, which was released by their Kent Dance subsidiary. It has everything you could want in a Northern Soul compilation. 

That’s not surprising as Northern Soul’s  Classiest Rarities Volume 6 was compiled by veteran compiler Ady Croasdell. He’s a man with an encyclopaedic knowledge of all things soulful and is steeped in the Northern Soul scene. Ady Croasdell has put his knowledge of Northern Soul to good use when compiling Northern Soul’s Classiest Rarities Volume 6, and combines classics and collectors items with future classics, hidden gems, obscurities, rarities and five unissued tracks. The result is Northern Soul’s  Classiest Rarities Volume 6, which is a welcome addition to the Northern Soul’s Classiest Rarities’ rarities series.

Opening Northern Soul’s Most Classiest Rarities Volume 6 is Peggy Woods’ Love Is Gonna Get You which sounds as if it was recorded at Motown, in Detroit. Instead, it was recorded in Nashville in 1966 for Modern Records. Sadly, the song lay unreleased until 1988 when a version of Love Is Gonna Get You was released as a single by Kent to celebrate the 100 Club Anniversary. However, the single featured a different backing track to the original version. This has been rectified and for the first time, the original version Peggy Woods’ Love Is Gonna Get You can be heard. With its brassy horns, stomping beat and coquettish vocal, it epitomises everything that is good about Northern Soul.

Former Soul Stirrer Johnny Taylor signed to Stax in 1965, and three years later in 1968, enjoyed the biggest hit of his career with Who’s Making Love which topped the US R&B charts. In 1970, Johnny Taylor was still trying to replicate the success of Who’s Making Love. When he released Friday Night in 1970, it reached number three on the US R&B charts. Tucked away on the B-Side was Friday Night which features a vampish vocal and funky arrangement that would find favour with DJs and dancers on the British Northern Soul scene.

In 1970, Betty Everett from the Windy City of Chicago released I Got To Tell Somebody on Fantasy. It was arranged by Donny Hathaway and produced by Calvin Carter, who played their part in the sound and success of the single. When it was released, it reached twenty-two on the US R&B charts. That is no surprise as it’s über soulful and dancefloor friendly and is the perfect showcase for Betty Everett’s talents as a vocalist. 

When The Hyperions released their debut single Why Do You Wanna Treat Me Like You Do on Ruth Conte’s Los Angeles based Chattahoochee Records in 1965, they must have hoped that this was the first of many singles the group would release. Sadly, Why Do You Wanna Treat Me Like You Do an impassioned, uptempo dancer that is punctuated by washes of swirling Hammond organ was The Hyperions’ only single. However, fifty-two years later, this classy rarity is still a favourite within the Northern Soul scene.

DiFosco was the musical vehicle of Big Dee Irwin, who wrote Sunshine Love which he arranged and produced with Frank Clark. It was released on the Earthquake label in 1971, but failed to find an audience in America. However, when Northern Soul DJs started playing Sunshine Love this soulful dancer soon became a favourite amongst dancers. 

By 1968, twenty-four year Detroit born Jock Mitchell already had twelve years experience of the music industry and had released several singles. His career began as a twelve-year-old, when he recorded four songs for Chess Records as Jake Mitchell. None of these songs were ever released, and Jock Mitchell returned to Detroit where he would later founded his new label Golden Hit Productions which also owned a recording studio. That was where Jock Mitchell with The Fabulous Agents recorded Nomad Woman, which was released in 1968 on Golden Hit Productions. Despite Jock Mitchell’s hurt-filled, soul-baring vocal the single failed commercially. It’s a soulful hidden gem and a welcome addition to Northern Soul’s Classiest Rarities Volume 6.

Maxine Brown’s released One In A Million on Wand in 1966, and later, it became a Northern Soul classic. Over fifty years later, One In A Million is still a favourite of many dancers and DJs within the Britain Northern Soul scene. However, they won’t have heard the version of One In A Million on Northern Soul’s Classiest Rarities Volume 6. It’s one of five recently discovered alternate takes of One In A Million that Maxine Brown recorded prior to recording her Northern Soul classic

In 1965, Jackie Day recorded Naughty Boy which was written and produced by Cyril D. Roberts Jr at Modern Records’ studio. Joining Jackie Day was a band that featured some top musicians. However, when Naughty Boy was released on the short-lived Phelectron Records, the single sunk without trace. It wasn’t until two decades later that the horn driven, driving soul of Naughty Boy, which features an accusing vocal from Jackie Day found an audience on the eighties Northern Soul scene.

J. J. Barnes has long been a favourite of both dancers and DJs on the UK Northern Soul scene. This included his 1964 single Poor Unfortunate Me (I Ain’t Got Nobody), which was produced by Fred Brown and Joe Hunter. It was released in November 1964, on the short-lived label, Ring Records. Its only release was Poor Unfortunate Me (I Ain’t Got Nobody) which features J.J. Barnes at his most soulful as he delivers a heartfelt and hurt-filled vocal.

When The Detroit Emeralds released their debut album Do Me Right on Westbound Records in 1971, it featured Long Live The King. While it wasn’t released as a single in America, Long Live The King was released as a single by Pye International in Britain. With It’s a truly timeless track that was one of the highlights of Do Me Right in 1971, and Northern Soul’s Classiest Rarities Volume 6 in 2017.

In 1972, Alabama born soul singer OC Tolbert made his way to Dave Hamilton’s Detroit studio, where he was about to record (Marriage Is Only) A State Of Mind. It had been written and produced by Dave Hamilton, and O.C. Tolbert hoped the song would be his next single. Sadly, (Marriage Is Only) A State Of Mind was never released and record buyers never got the opportunity to hear OC Tolbert’’s soul-baring vocal. It’s by far the best of the unreleased tracks and one of the compilation’s highlights.

Closing Northern Soul’s Classiest Rarities Volume 6 is Carla Thomas’ Little Boy, which was recorded for Stax in 1961. This was the same year Carla Thomas enjoyed a hit with Gee Whiz. However, Little Boy which is a beautiful ballad, was the one that got away for  The Queen Of Memphis Soul. It wasn’t released until 1994, when it featured on the compilation Hidden Gems. Now twenty-three years later, this beautiful hidden gem returns for a well-deserved encore, and closes the compilation on a high. 

There aren’t many compilations are still going strong after six volumes. Usually, the compiler is struggling to find material for a sixth instalment. However, that isn’t the case with Northern Soul’s Classiest Rarities Volume 6 which literally oozes quality, It finds classics and collectors items rubbing shoulders with future classics, hidden gems, obscurities, rarities and even a quintet of unissued tracks. As a result, Northern Soul’s  Classiest Rarities Volume 6 which was recently released by Kent Dance, an imprint of Ace Records, will be a must-have for anyone with a passing interest in Northern Soul. There’s a reason for this compiler Ady Croasdell.

Just like previous instalments in the series, Northern Soul’s Classiest Rarities Volume 6 was compiled by veteran compiler Ady Croasdell. He’s a man steeped in Northern Soul, and has an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of all things soulful. Ady Croasdell’s knowledge of soul and specially Northern Soul has been put to good use when compiling Northern Soul’s Classiest Rarities Volume 6.

While other compilers are happy to rehash the same tracks for the umpteenth time, Ady Croasdell knows that there’s still mountains of soulful delights awaiting discovery and that it’s just a case of discovering them. Like a musical man from Del Monte, Ady Croasdell goes in search of hidden gems for the Northern Soul’s  Classiest Rarities series. Some of these make a welcome appearance on the sixth instalment in this long-running and successful series. 

The success of Northern Soul’s Classiest Rarities series is down to its compiler Ady Croasdell. He knows that in the cutthroat world of compilations that competition is fierce, so  digs deeper than other compilers of Northern Soul compilations. 

Often there’s a myriad of delights awaiting discover within a record company vaults. Ady Croasdell knows that a hidden gem could be hidden in a mislabelled tape box. Within that box, could be a killer track, that crate-diggers find a lifetime searching for. Ady Croasdell knows his way around record company vaults, and has spent hours, days, weeks and months searching. That takes patience and dedication and yet again, this has paid off on Northern Soul’s Classiest Rarities Volume 6 which is one of the finest compilations of Northern Soul released during 2017.

Northern Soul’s Classiest Rarities Volume 6.


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