Our “Northern Soul’s Classiest Rarities” series seems to be settling into a familiar groove. We feature a handful of big money items, some were “cheap but have tripled in value” numbers, a pair of old school, Northern classics, some tips for the top and a couple of previously unissued recordings.
The most defining word here is undoubtedly “class”. Each track has appreciable artistic merit and the varying tempos, styles and origins of the recordings make for an edifying listening experience.
Rarity often means big price tags in the Northern Soul world. Here those are commanded by the Servicemen’s almost mellow, uptown dancer ‘Connie’, Don & Ron’s offbeat and insidious New Orleans rarity ‘I’m So So Sorry’ and a great LA stomper, Ty Karim’s ‘You Really Made It Good To Me’. That was released on Ty’s husband’s Romark label who also supplied the old Northern classic by Larry Atkins ‘Ain’t That Love Enough’. Both are taken from master tape and have never sounded better. They will be covered by Ty and Kent Harris’s daughter Karime at this years Cleethorpes Northern weekender; which should be some show.
Another disc that now commands the average weekly wage is Al McCarther’s ‘His True Love For You’. Any lover of a beautiful melody and an emotional delivery should buy this CD just for this sensitive track. It could fit on any great musical retrospective and the fact that it is on a Northern Soul CD is as big a surprise to me as it will be to you. Ted Daryll, who gave us Melba’s ‘Magic Touch’, really excelled himself writing and producing this one.
Darrow Fletcher’s haunting, brooding ‘What Have I Got Now’, uses the flute as the signature instrument. Darrow’s step-dad Johnny Haygood used his Jacklyn label to promote his son and also spotted a fine local singer in Paul Smith, whose classy beat ballad ‘I’ll Run’ is included. Speaking of which, we’ve taken the liberty of lifting the fine previously unissued ‘The Heartless One’ from the recent Brooks O’Dell Kent CD, to give Northern Soul fanciers the opportunity to savour an unknown Chicago soul beauty.
Producer David Blake and label owner Bob Callili have been incredibly helpful in getting their master tapes of soul artists to us. Consequently we’ve been able to include and extra 15 seconds or so of the Quotations magnificent ‘I Don’t Have To Worry’.
Interesting, late-60s, soul sounds come from LA’s other Frank Wilson aka Frankie Vance and a great later Motown-inspired number from Tommy Smiley. Tommy was studying in Detroit when he cut the one-off 45 for the Marquee label. Originally from Memphis he worked with the cream of that city’s black musicians. Where he ended up is an obscure and unlikely European state, the whereabouts of which you’ll have to buy the CD to discover!
We also have one of the best Mirwood sound-a-likes in the Originals Of Sight & Sound’s ‘Long Boots’; a raver of a record that Larry Williams and Johnny Watson would have been honoured to cover. An Atlanta super-rarity is featured in the girly soul sound of the Flowers’ ‘Got To Get To Know You’, the only uptown sound from Bill Haney’s great southern Chant label.
Finally we complete the CD and our reissue of Eddie & Ernie recordings with Columbia’s unfinished original of ‘Indication’. It’s a very different reading to the one that was issued on UK Jay Boy, but is very moving and emotional, like so much of that duo’s fabulous music.
By Ady Croasdell