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Directory of Northern Soul Resources

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Northern Soul, is a term used for dance records of the 1960's and 1970's made by mostly Black American singers trying to mimic the success of the Motown group of companies based in Detroit. Owing to the fact that these singers had families and jobs, the records were usually a one off recording with a few hundred being pressed and sent round the local Soul Radio stations, hoping for that magic break into the national charts. Usually these records bombed and were left on the shelves of warehouses and shops to gather dust or be sold in bargain packs. With the advent of blues clubs and progression into soul music happening around the British Isles especially in the North of England, the DJ's started looking for obscure records to play, and as the beat started getting a faster tempo, the dancers became more athletic. Tamla Motown provided the original backbone to the phenomenon, but was surpassed in the late 60's by record labels that had the right beat and music content, Chess, Okeh and Brunswick being at the forefront. Eventually in the early 70's a well respected soul fan and music journalist, Dave Godin, called the scene's music style Northern Soul to distinguish it from the differing style and music taste of the Southern Clubs. Clubs came and went through the 60's and into the 70's. With the music still being discovered, two clubs became the scene's top venues. The Blackpool Mecca, home of DJ Ian Levine, who visited the American warehouses and record shops discovering the sounds for himself, and the venue which has since passed into history as the most successful Northern Soul club in the world, Wigan Casino. This was started by DJ Russ Winstanley, and taken to another level by Richard Searling. Other clubs have carried the flag since and Northern Soul is still pulling in the crowds as clubs and promoters around the country have brought the phenomenon of Northern Soul back to prominence. The 20 year olds of the 70's have returned to their roots as 50 year olds in the 2000's, with younger people becoming fans of the strange music and dancing style.


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