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blog no. 14. North end soul

Published by Lamont D in the blog Lamont D's blog. Views: 512

I wanted to write about my music taste, which is quite refined, I know what I like and I like what I know.
In fact, I have my type of music on most of the time now.
The thought of how I became to like my music is one like is quite odd and a bit weird.
If you have read my blog, you know that I grew up in the heady days of the merseybeat years.
You couldn't get away from the sound, every radio, television, music stores and all the scousers, bar a few, were singing Beatles, Gerry and the pacemakers, the merseybeats, the searchers, Cilla, etc. Was all you could hear.
Even my parents and my eldest brothers bought their records and played them to their hearts content. Having no television till '68.
I think by the time I turned a teenager in that year, I had had my fill
The solution was found in my other brother's taste in music was completely different, he enjoyed the beach boys and deep south soul, particularly Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin. I grew to like the kind of soulful tunes that these great singers put their really impressive talents to. It was that same year, that, sadly Otis died in a plane crash, with others in his backing group, which also included some of the band, Booker T & the M.Gs
This music was more satisfyingly enjoyable and I wanted to hear more different sounds, the radio became my ally in getting scouse noise out of my head.. My brother began to try and get radio Caroline on his cheap portable radio. My dad's pride and joy was illicit in our pursuit of good sounds. The stereogram, with record player and long wave and short wave radio, was polished every other day! My eldest brother dared play one of his rock records on it, my dad knew it and threatened us with the leather belt he wore, if we were to touch the needle again! Even though, he would have been upset if he caught us.
Because my brother liked his music, he was allowed to receive a 'dansette' record player for Christmas It was white with a red lid.
He started his 'collection'.
My parents never did get that music was just as important to me as my brother. So I wasn't allowed my own music, so I mainly reverted to the radio.
My favourite dj was Tony Blackburn, simply because I was getting to the age where I started to want to go to the discos that happened then, mainly in church halls. He played a vibrant fast beat with great vocalist, touch of soul, and a rythym that made your feet move. The thing I liked about this music was that it was properly produced and had proper orchestration, with brass and strings.
It wasn't just guitars. The songs meant something and you could dance to them. This was Northern Soul!
The sound came from the black areas of northern cities in the U.S.
I don't want to go on about the differences between genres, but if you want up tempo powerful songs and performance and absolute talent. Then what grew out of Detroit, Chicago and Philadelphia, you have an altogether music experience of some great artists, musicians, songwriters and producers, of course, you had to like the Motown sound and one of the most famous record labels has played an enormous affect on my life. I loved everything they did for years. The list is endless of the songs and artists that I am still listening to now, and I don't believe, I will ever tire of it!
My favourite group were The Originals. Initially signed on to be backing singers for Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross. They did the tours with them and made their own singles and albums into the seventies. My favourite song, is by them called, Baby, I'm For Real.
My favourite solo singer is the one and only, and still recording and touring is William 'Smokey' Robinson. In not only my opinion, the greatest poet and songwriter of the late 20th century. His career is exceptional and excuse the pun, record breaking. He has either sang, wrote, produced and been involved in more than 4000 published songs.
This love of this type of music paved the way to enjoying my early teen years, that made me forget, the drudge of poverty and grammar school life. All my classmates were of the opinion that I was odd, not liking the latest brit band or singer. I was a lover of black music! I was condemned.
This was totally different in the discos, where like minded teenagers enjoyed the dances and camaraderie of the mod scene.
Of course, this got me into all kinds of trouble and arguments with my 'betters'. My parents just didn't understand why I wanted to be a part of this music scene.
Even my mod short haircut got me in trouble, while the long hair and unkempt hair got away with murder. The school wanted haircuts like my grandad or Hitler, rather than the stylish, groomed look that I wore!
I was beginning to get to know all the well known bands and groups of the Northern soul scene.
I have by now heard enough of the greatest modern music and nothing compares to the composition and production of the motown, Chicago and Philadelphia sound.
My greatest symbol of ownership was called ' The Motown Story'. It was a record album collection that I bought in Berlin, at the American Base PX. It cost me $20. It was well worth the money.
It was stolen when I moved house over 22 years ago. I was so angry about that.
Getting ahead of myself!
All through my teens, I grew into the movement, the music I loved, the clothes, were smart and we were always respectful towards our friends. Everywhere you went a mod was a mod! That's it!
We had a way with making ourselves happy without the troubles that followed years later.
I remember in the summer of '71, just as the first mods began to alter to real shorter haircut styles, they still danced, grew up with, hung around with, and joined in with all races and it didn't make the slightest bit of difference, who they were.
Skinheads, the original ones, not the political biased and media loved hooligans. They were decent, smart and law abiding, not interested in politics or bovver!
I really couldn't wait to start earning a wage, to buy real mod clothes, to but a suit, tailor made from Burton's. So by the time I had been in work for about two months. I had bought my first Ben Sherman, blue gingham! My first Oxford bags, brogues, and ordered my first suit, grey! Centre vent, all tailor made to the latest style and fashion.
My love for my music and the sound took me to new and exciting venues all over the north. Been to some great theatres to see artists. Edwin Starr at the Wookey Hollow in Liverpool. Diana Ross at the Empire, who appeared with my favourites as backing singers then!, The Marvellettes. I've seen The Temps, The Four Tops, The Stylistics and many others.
My music is my go to place when I need to chill. All through my years of struggle, the one thing that really helped me cope with everything that was going on was to turn my music on and find more tunes and try and discover, sounds that I have forgotten or never heard before. I relax to it!
I don't think I could have got through it all especially when angry and annoyed, confused, when I just wanted the world to go away! When I couldn't watch the television because of the bluriness of my eyes because of the uncontrolled up and down of my blood glucose levels.
I turned to my music. When I was awake in the middle of the night, the nagging headaches, the urge to eat the fridge. It was music that helped me!
Northern Soul music is timeless and more enjoyable the older I get. I don't get to the discos no more, but I still have a spin when I'm on my own.
The genre of music is everywhere, adverts on television is full of them. The radio stations keeping getting requests and the influence on modern music from the roots is insurmountable.
Long live Northern Soul!
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