It sounds dramatic to say that this CD was Dave Godin’s last musical request, but then Dave wasn’t afraid of drama and was prepared to do almost anything to promote his beloved causes. So: Dave Godin’s last words to me before he left this mortal coil were "Make sure that Larry Banks tribute CD gets done".
Many UK soul fans knew Dave’s work from his championing of the early days of Northern Soul. He loved the concept, the fanaticism and passion and its independence from a music business which he thought cynical and more in love with the pound than the music. Later soul fans were able to share his ultimate passion through the Deep Soul tracks that adorned the four CD volumes of "Dave Godin’s Deep Soul Treasures". Dave often said that these were his proudest achievements. If we look at the front cover of the very first volume (he didn’t really expect it to sell enough to warrant a follow up), we see the first of the selected artists names was Larry Banks. That was a conscious decision to give pride of place to the work of Larry and his two wives, Bessie and Jaibi, who also shine out from that momentous CD cover. Their music was a constant and rewarding chapter in Dave’s musical enlightenment.
He quickly realised that Larry was more of a behind the scenes’ musician than a performer and so took a great interest and pleasure in the songs and productions that Larry was involved with throughout his life. That led to the discovery of such accomplished and often inspired acts as Kenny Carter, the Dynamics and the Geminis.
Kent and Dave had a mutually beneficial relationship and it was nice that we could repay Dave’s faith in us by uncovering more of his heroes’ music in the form of unreleased master tapes. At roughly the same time that Dave’s Soul Treasures, vol 1 came out we issued Rare Collectible And Soulful Vols 1 & 2. These featured unreleased RCA masters including great finished productions of Larry’s songs on Kenny Carter, the Cavaliers and the Metros. There were others that we saved for this project, notably the Kenny Carter and the Cavaliers ballads and the Geminis fast and funky dance numbers.
Getting even closer to the source, we made contact with GWP Productions, for whom Larry had been the main soul A&R man in the 60s. Though some of his work ended up at RCA there were also terrific independent productions on the Devonnes and an unknown male group called the Shaladons. Even better for Dave was the discovery of extra Jaibi tracks including her original demo of You Got Me, which, with a superior tape copy of Go Now and Kenny Carter’s original unreleased take on Lights Out meant this CD met Dave’s highest standards.
Not being limited to Deep Soul meant that I could unleash Northern Soul dancers like Milton Bennett (Larry’s Go Now co-composer)’s What’s One More Lie, the Dynamics’ My Life Is No Better, the Devonnes’ Doin’ The Getting Up and the Shaladons superior take on the Hesitations’ We Can Do It. Larry’s own vocals often matched up to those of his pupils and his Select 45 Will You Wait was a recording Dave had championed since the 60s. His quirky Spring single is absolutely captivating in this setting, whereas when I originally picked it up I just thought it was good but unclassifiable soul.
Bessie Banks’ moving tribute to Dave at his funeral showed that here was more than the usual critic and musicians relationship. Dave had become a regular correspondent with several members of the Banks family and their contributions to this CD have been invaluable, taking us back to that most creative period of the 1960s, when sublime soul music was being created. Even though it’s taken forty years to access and appreciate some of it ; it’s been well worth the wait.