NORTHERN SOUL’S CLASSIEST RARITIES VOLUME 7.

Northern Soul’s Classiest Rarities Volume 7.

Label: Kent Dance.

Format: CD.

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 recently.

The compilations can be described as the good, the bad and the ugly. Sadly, many of the compilations that are released are third-rate at best. They’re 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 continuing to clamber 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 many of the compilations that are advertised as: “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,  and in many cases 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 and 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 was Northern Soul’s Classiest Rarities Volume 7, 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 7 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 the latest addition in the series. It combines classics and collectors items with future classics, hidden gems, obscurities, rarities and unissued tracks. The result is Northern Soul’s Classiest Rarities Volume 7 which is a welcome addition to this long-running and critically acclaimed compilation series.

Opening the compilation is Carolyn Crawford’s Ready Or Not Here Comes Love. It was recorded for the Stevenson International label in 1971 but lay unreleased until it made its debut on a single released by Kent Records in 2019. This soulful stomper makes welcome return and is a reminder of a truly talented vocalist who is best know for her 1965 hit single on Motown My Smile Is Just A Frown (Turned Upside Down).

Kim Weston’s It Takes A Lotta Teardrops is one of the unreleased tracks on the compilation. It was written by  Motown staff writers Vicci Bassemore and Leon Ware who later worked with Marvin Gaye. The song was  recorded for the Stevenson International label in 1967 and makes it debut on Northern Soul’s Classiest Rarities Volume 7. This hook-laden hidden gem has been influenced by the Motown sound and is a dancefloor filler in waiting.

By 1968, Rocky Gil and The Bishops were signed to Huey P. Meaux’s Tear Drop label.  They had already released a single when they entered the studio to record their Soul Party album. One of the tracks they recorded for their debut album was It’s Not The End. It epitomises e everything that’s good about Northern Soul and is a tantalising taste of what’s now an incredibly rare album which was one of just three released by Tear Drop. 

Little Nicky Soul recorded You Said which was written Lucille White and Sydney Barnes who produced the single. It was released on the short-lived label Shee Records in 1964 but failed commercially. Nowadays, it’s a favourite of DJs and dancers on both the Northern Soul and rare souls scenes.

In 1968, the Night Owl label released a fifteen track compilation entitled Badger A Go Go. One of the tracks that featured was You Don’t Care which was written by Betty Moore and had recorded by The Esquires earlier in the sixtes. By 1968, they were a successful group and You Don’t Care had never been released. It features a vocal full of hurt and emotion on a track that sounds as if it’s been influenced by the Harvey Scales recordings for Cuca.

I Need Your Love  was recorded by Brothers Of Soul for Galaxy in 1969 but was never released until now. It’s a soulful hidden gem with a soul-baring vocal from frontman Fred Bridges who cowrote the song with Bobby Eaton and Richard Knight. 

I’ll Fly To Your Open Arms was written by  Jack Ashford and George Rowntree and in 1976 was covered by The Family Brick for Just Productions. However, this recording lay unreleased until 2019 when it featured on  Jack Ashford’s Just Productions. Two years later and this funky, soulful dancer with a feelgood sound makes a welcome return. 

Lee Young produced Love Is Such A Funny Thing for  John Wesley and The Four Tees which was released on Melic in 1966. It features a stunning bass line on a track that’s sure to test the stamina of even the fittest dancers. 

The tempo drops on Crazy Things which was the B-Side of Joe Douglas’ single  Something to Brag About when it was released on the Playhouse label in 1965. The vocal is wistful, emotive, heartfelt and always soulful.

Love In My Heart was recorded by Cats ‘n’ Mouse for the Antler label in 1967 but never released. It’s a tale of betrayal with of soul-baring vocal full of hurt and heartache. 

One of the best known names on the compilation is Major Lance  who contributes Girl, Come On Home. It was produced by Don Davis and was his debut single for Stax imprint Volt in 1970. It features a needy, pleading vocal on another of the hidden gems on Northern Soul’s Classiest Rarities Volume 7.

Closing the compilation is Under The Street Lamp by The Exits who were based in LA. It’s a beautiful and uber soulful single that was released by the Gemini label in 1967.

There aren’t many compilations are still going strong after seven volumes. By then, the compiler is usually struggling to find new material that warrants another instalment in the series. However, that isn’t the case with Northern Soul’s Classiest Rarities Volume y which literally oozes quality, It features album tracks and collectors items rubbing shoulders with future classics, hidden gems, obscurities, rarities and unissued tracks. They play their part in what’s a must-have compilation 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 7 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. His knowledge of Northern Soul and all things soulful has been put to good use when compiling the latest instalment in this long-running and successful compilation series 

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 version of the 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 seventh  instalment in the 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 discovery within a record company’s 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 spend a lifetime searching for. Ady Croasdell puts in the hard yards and spent hours, days, weeks and months searching for the twenty-four tracks that feature on Northern Soul’s Classiest Rarities Volume 7 which is one of the finest instalments in this long-running compilations that has long been a favourite of dancers and DJs.

Northern Soul’s Classiest Rarities Volume 7.

2 Comments

  1. Yes, Derek there are far too many Northern Soul compilations. I don’t profess to be an expert but I know what I like. A lot of soul which is now classed as Northern Soul was just soul and there was/is some dire stuff out there. I for one could not stand a whole night of Northern Soul the beat on some of the dance numbers are tediously repetitive. I prefer the ballads. However I will check out this compilation it looks very interesting.

    • Hi Bernadette,

      I thought I’d replied to your comment. Maybe I didn’t press send? Sorry about that.

      There’s way to many Northern Soul compilations even though there’s a lot less that a few years ago. I enjoy the Kent compilations but have come across some dreadful stuff over the years. Many were just cash-ins by compiled by DJs looking
      to make a quick buck.

      A Northern Soul night isn’t for me. Musically I like to mix it up and can’t listen to four of five hours of one genre.

      This is a really good compilation. I’ve enjoyed the series. I hope you do too.

      Kind Regards,
      Derek.

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