Especially for lovers of vinyl, 14 of the best Northern Soul tracks from the Detroit producer’s catalogue.
Dave Hamilton’s extensive tape collection continues to edify and amaze. We have been releasing his tracks on CD since 1998 but this is our first vinyl album. Finnish company Timmion have done well with individual LPs on Little Ann and O.C. Tolbert but this is the first various artists collection.
The track that started our soul saga off, ‘What Should I Do’ by Little Ann, also leads the way here. It is followed by two Topper singles that found favour on the Northern Soul scene in the 2000s. Tobi Lark’s ‘Sweep It Out In The Shed’ and Dottie & Millie’s ‘Talking About My Baby’ are unusual records for the scene. ‘Sweep It Out In The Shed’ is dark and features a lyrical theme alien to most of its European fans and probably Americans too. ‘Talking About My Baby’, on the other hand, is light with a clip-clop beat rarely heard out on the floor since the early years of Northern. O.C. Tolbert’s ‘I’m Shooting High’ is soul perfection while his ‘You Got Me Turned Around’ is the definitive take on the ‘Sweep It Out In The Shed’ backing track. Tobi Lark was the class act of the small set-up. She began as an accomplished jazz chanteuse and went on to record for national labels Cotillion and Mala. Her ‘Challenge My Love’ is a highlight of Dave Hamilton’s writing and production.
Records by James Lately and the Ravins are now so scarce they must have sold in tens rather than hundreds, but their quality is exemplary and has earned them scary price tags over the years. Danny Cobus is only known through unreleased tracks despite his ‘The Two Of Us’ being a marvellous piece of music. Chico & Buddy were originally members of the Tokays but threw their lot in with Dave, who they remember as a father figure who inspired respect and loyalty throughout Detroit’s musical community. ‘You Won’t Miss The Water’ is a catchy late 60s dancer with just a hint of funk that has made it very popular. J.T. Rhythm’s ‘My Sweet Baby’ is the epitome of effortless mid-tempo soul infused with a memorable melody. Dave’s vocals were at best charismatic and confined to the call and response of tracks such as the catchy ‘Shoop Doop’; fortunately he excelled elsewhere.