The instrumental has always been an integral part of the Northern Soul scene, right back to its very earliest days. Not everyone likes them, but they’re so ingrained into the culture of the scene that it’s hard to imagine life without them. Certainly enough people do like them for us to have been approached by those who have wondered why the Kent catalogue has never opened its arms to embrace a whole CD of Northern instros – especially considering how many of them there actually are.
Those who have, need wonder no more. After much thought and planning, we can finally lift the lid on Kent’s first ever overview of nearly a decade’s worth of floorfillers and all-time anthems that, between them, provide a comprehensive overview of what happens in a dance when the singing stops and the music takes over.
“Double Cookin’” brings together two dozen wordless wonders, the majority of which have proven their worth time and again as a means of filling a Northern Soul dance floor quickly. The vast majority of the titles on show will need not one word of introduction to the faithful. Indeed the popularity of some, such as the offerings of Hugo Montenegro and Bill Black’s Combo, date back to the very early days of the Northern Scene. For others, memories of the Mecca, Torch or Catacombs will be conjured up as soon as the intros to ‘Cigarette Ashes’, ‘Tracks To Your Mind’ and ‘Hey America’ come blasting through the speakers. Original and born again Wiganites will get their kicks out on the floor to our title track, ‘The Spy’ and the instrumentals to ‘Before It’s Too Late’, ‘The Same Old Thing’, ‘Turn Back The Hands Of Time’ and ‘Lay This Burden Down’ – all four of which were originally stripped of their vocals for play at the Casino. We’ve even thrown in a couple of newly-mixed instrumentals of proven vocal favourites that are exclusive to this CD, and that would have torn any dancefloor up had they been around during the instro’s peak years of popularity.
“Double Cookin” does not set itself up as high art. “Dave Godin’s Deep Soul Treasures” it most certainly is not. Wizened commentators will not have a field day sitting around discussing the subtle nuances of ‘The Champion’ or ‘Sliced Tomatoes’ because they don’t really have any. Future archivists of the scene will probably not be writing 2000 word essays on the importance of ‘Danse A La Musique’ or ‘Thumb A Ride’ to the development of Northern Soul. They and the other 22 tracks on this CD are here to enjoy, not to analyse.
These records have no power to change anyone’s life. What they do have is the power to propel anyone in the direction of their nearest dance floor in pursuit of maximum pleasuring of the feet, augmented by soul clapping where appropriate…
…Now where did I put that talc?
By Tony Rounce