There is certainly a buzz around the term Northern Soul at the moment, what with Elaine Constantine’s film named after the movement coming out in the New Year and the Northern Soul BBC2 Culture Show special that attracted almost double the normal Culture Show audience.
The media find out about my long term love affair with the genre (I first went to Wigan Casino, the erstwhile “home” of Northern Soul in 1974 when I was 13). As a result of my championing through our Vintage Festival events I regularly get contacted when they fancy a story about the subject matter and fashion element. The question normally goes something like this “What is it with the Northern Soul fashion that has made it come back ?”, to which I reply “Northern Soul has never been about fashion, at the time the prevalent youth style was wide, high waisted oxford bag style trousers, slim fitting shirts and tank tops and that is what you saw most people “on the scene” wearing and that look is not about to come back in a hurry nor is it being worn by those that are enjoying the music today. Northern Soul is about the music, a music that will never die because it transcends fashion”.
Northern Soul gets right to the heart of the concept of vintage. It is an example of something that is so good that when you experience it, it feels right, gets inside your soul and never leaves you. It is one of those rare things that transcends trends and is here forever to be discovered and enjoyed by new generations. The terms vintage and timeless are interchangeable. This concept of “timeless” manifests itself in the pattern of a classic brogue, the VW Camper, the Anglepoise lamp, The Royal Festival Hall. Northern Soul is the musical equivalent of these.
Northern Soul transcends fashion, because it was never about fashion, like the classic brogue, VW Camper et al , it is about function . The perfect Northern Soul track marries, for many, two of life’s necessities, the need for love and the need to discuss love and the need to move your feet.
The media often ask me what my favourite track is, with a collection running into the thousands, that’s not easy and such is the breadth of the genre (and the fact that new gems are occasionally unearthed) that I can always think of a couple of dozen that I would like people to listen to so that they “get” what the Northern Soul community are on about. Discipline is a good thing so here are two;
Lou Pride’s, I’m Coming Home in The Morning is a full on “up-tempo dancer”.
Whilst Mark Capanni’s , I believe in Miracles is the laid back original version of a dance music classic that makes you want to throw your hands in the air and sing the chorus out loud.