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I Feel Good (All Over): Dance All Weekend Long with Kent’s “Cleethorpes Northern Soul Weekender”

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Though we’ve come to expect delightful and deeply soulful compilations from Ace’s Kent label, one of Kent’s latest is a particular trip: a trip, in fact, to the Cleethorpes Northern Soul Weekender.  The 6Ts Rhythm and Soul Society has been throwing these bashes on a yearly basis since 1993, offering up plenty of dancing and some of the best names in soul music, among them Doris Troy, Barbara Lewis, Tommy Hunt, Bettye LaVette and Maxine Brown.  Kent’s The Cleethorpes Northern Soul Weekender, 1993-2012: 20 Soulful Celebrations offers a variety of songs from the performers who have made Cleethorpes, a town in North East Lincolnshire, an annual destination for Northern Soul fans.  It makes for a fine souvenir of these events, but also stands alone as an exhilarating listen that just might make you want to hit the dancefloor.

First things first, however!  If you’re not familiar with the term “Northern Soul,” you just might be familiar with its distinctive style of music.  The late journalist (and dedicated compiler of many CDs) Dave Godin is credited with coining the phrase, which he used to describe music in the mid-1960s soul vein preferred by enthusiasts in the northern part of England.  Godin told Mojo in 2002 that he had first devised the term in 1968, to help employees at his Soul City record shop differentiate the rapidly-proliferating funk style of R&B from the smoother, Motown-influenced soul of just a few years earlier.  (In The Soul Stylists, renowned DJ Ady Croasdell described the prototypical Northern Soul song as The Four Tops’ “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” although the song was too mainstream to achieve popularity in the Northern Soul scene.)  The movement championed lesser-known tracks over big hits, and it soon spread, with clubs popping up throughout the north and midlands of England.  The Twisted Wheel Club, The Wigan Casino and the Blackpool Mecca, just to name three, all became synonymous with Northern Soul.  The Kent label has kept the heavy beats, fast tempi and passionate vocals of Northern Soul alive with its intelligently curated compilations, and also given new leases on life to many of the talented, once overlooked, artists from the world of sixties R&B.  Cleethorpes Northern Soul Weekender is the latest such compilation.

What will you find on this jam-packed new disc?  Hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 6, 2012 at 09:59