Forgive me , I’ve been listening to northern soul for 35 years. It was hammered down our throats at our local youth club in old Trafford when what we really wanted was Roxy music and Bowie , I even went to Wigan Casino once back in 1980 to the hostile glares of the Soul fraternity who looked at me and my mates dressed in our Quadrophenia style mod boy outfits and scorned our naive fashionista behinds out of the building. As a teenager I listened to Wigan Casino oldies DJ Dave Evison on Piccadilly Radio in Manchester on Mike Shaft’s Taking Care Of Business playing tunes like Eddie Parker -I’m Gone and The Montclairs – Hey You as i struggled through my Physics homework.
In 1982 when I presented my first radio show on BBC radio Derby I immediately recruited Dave Evison to present a regular 20 minute slot every week and attempt to make a novice like me understand what the Soul scene was all about – when Dave took his talents and record collection off to Signal radio in his native Stoke-on-Trent I recruited Guy Hennigan , 60’s mafia man extraordinaire on to the radio and was mesmerised by the sheer soulfulness of his weekly selections. I was grateful when Guy Hennigan followed me to Key 103 in Manchester in 1989 , so we could at least play Garnet Mimms at least once a week alongside the likes of The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays, it was somehow apt. When I moved to Sunset Radio in early 1990 , the UK’s first official Black Music station , I was followed on air every Sunday by Richard Searling who guided me in the direction of some great songs as well. Since then I’ve always played northern soul on my radio shows, it’s the roots of club culture , its truly underground and it’s all about the music , the passion and that soulful feeling. I remember wowing Steve Lamaque’s producer on 6 music when I played Darryl Banks Open The door to your heart on that station at 11am when I was filling in for Gideon Coe for a week.
As far as Northern Soul is concerned I’m an admirer and a fan , but sadly and in even more ways gladly , after 35 years of listening and learning from some of the best and interviewing the late Richard Popcorn Wylie amongst others I’m still an outsider in every way on the edge of a scene that is and will be forever triumphantly private. So apologies to the true believers who’ve kept the faith for this list of my favourites from my limited ,yet loving, admiration for your scene. Don’t worry there will be more added so don’t fret if your favourites aren’t here
Rather than just simply list 100 song titles I have put them into a Spotify playlist to share with you. Not all the tracks are available, (so some are linked to iTunes for you to sample & some I am still trying to source)