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The R & B Indies Volumes 1 & 2 – Bob McGrath - Eyeball Press - ISBN 0968644511

Two volumes of A4 size, which are about two inches thick each. They attempt to list every single release on independent R & B labels between the 1940s and 1960s. In fact there are over 4000 labels included. It's not perfect by any means, there are lots of labels missing, but of the labels included they do seem to be almost complete discographies. One feature which I think is fabulous is that Bob Mcgrath has included a copy of each label logo, and when the logo changed at a certain number in the releases, the new logo is shown at that point. Costing 100.00 from Beatin' Rhythm in Manchester these books are essential for the serious researcher / collector, and whilst they don't contain as much information as Stak-O-Wax, these books at least concentrate on the R & B / Soul / black music side of things.

Savage Lost – Jeff Lemlich - Distinctive Publishing Corp – ISBN 0 942963 12 1

The history of Garage Bands in Florida from the 1960s and beyond. Strictly speaking this isn’t even about Soul music, but it does catch some of groups and singers that we know with seventy odd pages devoted to Florida Soul recordings. That aside it is a fascinating story, told in great detail of growing up in that period. Jeff Lemlich also covers areas that other books don’t, chapters entitled: Names, Tags, Numbers and Labels (For Record Collectors Only), Transistor sister, Our Best Friend, Our Radio, are worth the price of the book alone. It’s also very readable rather than just being lists of records and artists, so I would recommend searching this one out.

The Influential Factor – Graham Lentz – GEL Publishing – ISBN 0 9542552 1 6

Just as ‘The In-Crowd’ is recognised as the book that tells the story of the Northern Soul Scene, The Influential Factor does the same for the Mod scene. Starting in the late Fifties and running right through to today’s scene this book tells the story through interviews with many of the most influential figures on the Mod scene, be they artists, trend setters, club owners, or just Mods themselves. Again, like Jeff Lemlich’s book, this is not about Soul music, but does of course cover Soul music. Rather expensive at 30, it is worth it, packed with photographs as well, from the Sixties right through until 2001. I’m not sure who is selling these, but I know Bee Cool Publishing have them, and Scootering Magazine.

The Soul Of New Orleans - Jeff Hannush – Swallow Publications – ISBN 0 96142445 8 3

Jeff Hannush's previous book was about R & B and Rock 'n' Roll, in this he follows a similar pattern in tracing the Soul sound of New Orleans back to it's R & B roots. Consequently, whilst I found the whole book interesting, I only found about half of it really interesting. That said, it's a useful addition to the bookshelf, and I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the history of the music we love. As far as I'm aware this is only published in America, my copy came from Beatin' Rhythm in Manchester who stock virtually all the books I have reviewed in the last year or so.

Ok, I wrote this one, so I've let Dave Godin do the review :-)

The Rare Soul Bible - An A-Z Of Northern Soul by Dave Rimmer (Bee Cool Publishing - ISBN 0 9536626 5 9

The main reason Bee Cool Publishing has become the front runner in the field of specialised music publications is, in my view, due to the fact that they commission the right people to write books for them, and the results SHOW! There is no substitute for passion!

Their latest book by Dave Rimmer carries on this fine tradition and is an encyclopaedic compendium of 45rpm singles that have, at some time or another, found favour in terms of spins on the Northern Soul circuit. However, Dave hasn’t just slavishly done label listings, but has arranged his entries by artist, which, as anyone who has ever compiled a discography knows, can be a mine-field with name changes, records being issued twice on the same label, or different labels, with different flipsides, and so on.

Also too, as Dave himself makes clear in the text, any such work can never hope to be “complete” since a combination of rare records surfacing and artists’ amnesia lifting, will often reveal hidden assets, hidden shame, hidden naughtiness, and, sometimes, hidden gems.

Arranged alphabetically by artist surname, I was also pleased to see that some of Dave’s excellent writing on the Soul scene has been included, particularly his valuable piece, the marathon titled, “Can 7-Inch 45rpm American Soul Singles Be Considered To Be Of Significant Historical Value? A Reasoned Argument”. And of course, it goes without saying that they can, and Dave’s reasons are compelling, sound and significant too! This essay alone is an essential read.

Some artists have biographical information, but where this work is of particular value is with those footloose artists who record all over the place! Barbara Jean English is a good example, and here we have her listed not only in her own right, but with The Clickettes, The Rinky Dinks, The Avalons and The Fashions and all label name permutations in between!

Again, if you take a name like Tony Middleton, it is amazing just how many records (with various label name credits) this guy has been involved in. And Ike Turner’s various involvements cover more than eight pages! But just flipping through the book is like looking at a directory of old friends. And not just old friends who have made records, but our friends who spin them too, with club reports and various play-lists from those who have never given up on keeping the faith.

Quite simply, this book is a must for anyone who has ever felt that thrill when the opening bars grab you, and you want to know more about whoever it was who has had the power to cast such an aesthetic spell upon you. And it proves too my oft repeat point that Black America quite simply managed to produce so many darned brilliant records that the market just couldn’t absorb them all at one go. So, probably one of the most valuable services that the Northern Soul scene ever did was to get around to each and every one of them bit by bit, and spread the magic over several decades so that no worthy talent ever really got lost.

Of course there is no substitute for the aesthetic rush that so many of these records deliver, but, once you’ve come down a bit, it’s nice to know just who it was who was hitting on you so hard! And it’s all here for the perusing. Great stuff.

Dave Godin

Guitars, Bars, And Motown Superstars - Dennis Coffey - Bee Cool Publishing – ISBN 0 9536626 4 0

 Dennis Coffey is a legend in his own lifetime, unfortunately, until the publication of this book, very few people realised it. As a recording artist he has had his own spectacular successes, especially with the million selling single 'Scorpio'. However, that's not where my own interest lay. As a session musician he worked in Detroit throughout the Sixties and Seventies, and it's his contribution to records on Ric-Tic, Smash, Golden World, and Motown, and so many others that was of real interest. His book covers these recordings, and being the anorak that I am I'd have liked even more detail than he has included. The book is easy to read, fairly comprehensive coverage of his career is outlined, and there are lots of interesting photographs, making this an essential purchase for any fan of Soul music.

Musichound R & B Albums – Visible Ink Press –
ISBN 0 8256 7255 4

 An American book that attempts to recommend the best recorded output by R & B artists from the '50s right up until the late '90s. As such, some of the choices are rather interesting, especially as it seems to concentrate on CD releases rather than original vinyl. That said, the biographical details given on each artist, are despite being short, quite accurate and useful. Weighing in at a hefty 766 pages, this makes a worthwhile addition to any ones reading material. There’s even a free CD with six rather uninteresting tracks from the Mercury catalogue

Love Unlimited - Barry White with Marc Eliot – Virgin Books – ISBN 0 7535 0566 5

 The Lurvvve Walrus writes his autobiography. Whilst I was expecting a tale of lavish expenditure and ridiculous stories, the early years when Barry White was producing records and recording Sixties tracks makes very interesting reading. In fact the whole book kept me entertained right through to the end. This only cost me a fiver, so it's worth picking up if you see it cheap.

Soul – 100 Essential CDs – The Rough Guide – Peter Shapiro - ISBN 1-85828-562-3  

Priced at 2.99 this really is an essential buy. Whilst I might not agree with all the choices because it covers the Sixties through to the Nineties, I found this little book quire entertaining. Peter Shapiro, the author, either knows his stuff or has taken excellent advice on board from other people. Just as a taster, these are the top ten CDs:
BLACKstreet – Another Level
Bobby Blue Bland – Two Steps From The Blues
Mary J Blige – My Life
Booker T & The MGs – The Very Best Of
James Brown – 20 All time Greatest Hits
James Brown – Foundations Of Funk
James Brown – Live At The Apollo
Roy Brown – Good Rockin’ Tonight
Cameo – The Best Of
James Carr – The Essential James Carr  

Last Night A DJ Saved My Life – Bill Brewster & Frank Broughton – Headline Press– ISBN 0-7472-6230-6.  

This has been around for quite a while now but I just never got round to buying it. It's a look at the history and current perspective of the DJ. The chapter on Northern Soul is, whilst being quite brief, reasonably accurate, and concedes that the Northern scene is the Daddy when it comes to Dance music. Written from the perspective of two writers who are into Dance music as opposed to Soul music I find it quite amusing though that the Northern Soul scene is viewed as history !. Worth looking out for because it’s only eight quid anyway.

Ladies Of Soul By David Freeland – University Press Of Mississippi – ISBN 1-57806-331-0  

What a wonderful idea for a book, and how well it was done. David Freeland has chosen to profile his seven favourite female Soul singers of the Sixties in this book, and I can’t fault him with his choice either.   Well written, the author uses interviews with the subjects, recordings by them, and varying other sources to build up a picture of their lives in the Sixties as they tried to forge ahead in their chosen careers. Interestingly he has not chosen the world famous divas who did make it into international Soul superstars, but has decided to write about seven singers who he adored, and thought should have made it to the world stage. So, who are these seven female divas who deserved better ?  

Step forward for the roll call of honour: Denise LaSalle, Ruby Johnson, Carla Thomas, Bettye LaVette, Barbara Mason, Maxine Brown, and Timi Yuro.  

Of course, I would guess that the readers of Soulful Kinda Music already own several recordings by all these ladies, because we already knew they were stars in our minds anyway. That doesn’t detract from this book though, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it from cover to cover. An essential buy.

Calling Out Around The World A Motown Reader by Kingsley Abbott – Helter Skelter Publishing – ISBN 1-900924-14-5

Here’s another good idea for a book. Kingsley Abbott has collected what he felt to be the best pieces of writing on classic Motown from the Sixties and gathered them together for this book. Most had previously been published previously in some format and are reproduced in their original format here. Some, like the piece I contributed, were updated specially for the book, and others were written specially for the book. Overall though, the articles are good, and make interesting reading, especially as the authors come from both sides of the Atlantic. Look out for this book because it is another essential buy.

Manship’s Price Guide 2001/2 – Rare Soul 45s.  

I’m always hesitant about price guides because they tend to become the asking price when people are selling records, and I like cheap records, who doesn’t. I also happen to think that John Manship is one of the more expensive record dealers around, so I thought this would lead to an increase in the prices of records generally.  

I’m happy to admit I was wrong. John has been sensible about the guide and gone for what he feels in a fair price for the records listed. There are several examples where I know he has sold records for considerably more than he has them listed in the guide, which is because he thinks they are worth the amount in the guide. If people are willing to pay more at auction for a record, good luck to John Manship.  

So what does the book actually contain. Simple really, in alphabetical order by artist it lists the singles that have been big by them on the Northern Soul scene, A side, B side, label, catalogue number, and price. I haven’t counted all the titles but there are reckoned to be over 10,000 singles listed.  

What makes it fun as well is looking up the records you own and comparing what you value them at, compared to what John values them at.   Finally, I have been unable to find an ISBN number for the book so I’ll give you John Manship’s telephone number instead: 01664 464526 0r email . Priced at 25.00 the book is not cheap, but it’s worth every penny.

The Northern Soul Top 500 by Kev Roberts- Goldmine Publishing
ISBN 0 9539291 0 8

Over the years that the Magazine has been running I've always tried to review all the books about Soul music that I could get my hands on.  Recently the titles about the Northern Soul scene have been coming thick and fast. This is the latest.   The best book over the last few year has been by far 'The In Crowd' by Mike Ritson and Stuart Russell. Whilst 'The In Crowd' concentrated on the scene itself as much as the music, Kev Roberts has done himself proud by concentrating on the music. The title only goes part of the way to explaining what the book is about though, there is so much more in there that I'm going to go through it in sections.  

The first section is the top 100 Northern Soul singles. I'm not sure how Kev decided which records made it into the top 500, let alone the top 100, so I'm not going to argue with his choices, and who could really argue with the number one: Frank Wilson. There because of it's rarity on original label, it's recent selling price, and the fact that it's a bloody good dancer that has stood the test of time. There are lots of other records which I would have expected to be in the top 100, some which surprised me, and some which I personally would argue against.  Whatever you feel, there is a nice label scan and a bit of blurb from Kev, and a quote from a varying group of Soul fans about the record.  

The second, and largest single section of the book are the numbers 101 to 500. Virtually the same format, but two records to a page this time. Again, like me you will agree with the majority of choices, think some shouldn't be there, and think of some which should be there.  

That's partly covered by the next section which is the top 100 which didn't make it into the top 500 (Eh ?).You'll know what I mean when you read the book.  

Then it’s onto the Top Tens, lots of them, from what were the big records each year, to what were the worst records, to what is the best magazine (Not surprisingly Togetherness comes in at No. 1, but I’m pleased to say that SKM came in at No. 2 !). 

The Top Tens are interspersed with pages of colour label scans as well as some black and white ones.   Anyway, why are you reading this… could have gone and bought the book by now ! Just go and buy it !!!!

Casino by Dave Shaw – Bee Cool Publishing – ISBN 0 9536626 2 4.  

Firstly I must apologise for the lack of cover on the book, but as you’ll see this is a review copy and the cover has not yet been finalised (Wow ! My first white Demo of a book !)   The fun aside, this is Dave Shaw’s recollection’s of a certain venue in Wigan. He’s originally from Wolverhampton, and grew up with a lot of the lads I see nowadays in  the Wolverhampton area, and in fact Dave is still active on the scene, and still seen out and about at nighters.  

That I think is crucial, to the success of this as the third book on the Casino. Russ Winstanley’s was littered with inaccuracies, Pete McKenna’s was littered with drugs, but Dave’s is littered with references to the one thing which drew us to the scene then, and still does now…..the music !  

Consequently Dave is able to present a well balanced light hearted book about his memories of the Casino. The book doesn’t pretend to be anymore than that, it’s not the ‘Official History’ but again doesn’t need to.   Well written, by a knowledgeable collector and dancer this far outweighs the other two attempts on the Casino.

Reasonable priced, this will I think go on to be a really good seller. If you were there you’ll recognise the events, the people, the records. If you weren’t this will give you a good insight into why there still exists such a fascination with Wigan Casino, nearly twenty seven years after it opened.

'Too Darn Soulful, The Story Of Northern Soul' by David Nowell - Robson Books ISBN 1 86105 270 7

The last couple of months have seen a scramble to get books about Northern Soul published. Last year we only had two, Pete McKenna's awful story of drug abuse and Russ Winstanley & David Nowell's rather biased effort on Wigan Casino. Here we are twelve months on and 'The In Crowd' made it first, then a novel, and now this book by David Nowell.

It's very difficult when reviewing two books on the same subject, and it's a subject that you are reasonably knowledgeable about yourself, not to draw comparisons, but I don't want to compare 'The In Crowd' to this book. Whilst they are both similar in content, they are not the same, and I'm just grateful that both books are there.

Much, much better than the flawed 'Soul Survivors', 'Too Darn Soulful' gives a very frank and honest view of the Northern Soul scene, as it was, and as it is.

David Nowell has chosen to use other people's words to tell the story, and added a narrative himself throughout the book which is both informative and accurate. More to the point, David's story brings us right up to date on the Northern Soul scene as it is now. I would have preferred a little more coverage of the non oldies revival niters, but at least they all get mentioned. I particularly like the way that David has spent time talking to people about why they run venues, one thing that comes across with nearly all the interviews is that it's not done for the money, just for the love of the music, and that's what this book is all about really. I'm sure that David's intentions are to make money, after all, he's put a lot of work into the book, but he wrote it because he loves the music, not because he wanted to make money, and it shows !

I'm sure, like me, you'll have heard some of the tales before, but don't let that detract from the fact that this is a good book. It's easy to read, accurate, and enjoyable, and at 17.95 an absolute bargain.

If you didn't get a copy for Christmas, go out and buy it now, you won't be disappointed.

'Soul Harmony Singles 1960 - 1990' by Jeff Beckman, Jim Hunt, and Tom Kline - Three On Three Publishing - ISBN not listed.

What an absolute bible this is. The book attempts to list every known US released 45 by a black vocal group (ie at least three voices can be heard on the record) between the years 1960 and 1990. Each listing gives the 'a' side, the 'b' side, the label, the year of release, and many listings also give group members, and cross reference each member with their previous groups, if you know what I mean.

So, as a research tool this book will become invaluable, however, that is where the difficulty lies. For Soul harmony groups the book is invaluable, but if a singer made records which didn't have a group backing them as well, it's not listed, hence the discographies, in may cases, simply by the definition of the book, are incomplete. Therefore, whilst being wonderful at filling in some details, the book also misses others out. For example, the book has the same discography for the Soul Brothers Six as I do on the site, except only one of two solo singles by John Ellison are listed in the book.

There isn't an ISBN number listed so you may have difficulty ordering the book, so I'll give you the Publishers address in the States: Three-On-Three Publishing, P O Box 9190, Bayway Station, Elizabeth, NJ 07202. The book is priced at $39.95 in the States.

'Crackin' Up' by Maxwell Murray - Moonshine Enterprises ISBN 0 9536440 0 6.

Whilst in the past I've reviewed all sorts of autobiographies and reference books, this is the first time I've reviewed a novel that is based around Northern Soul. Set in the early Seventies the book tells the story of Keny Roberts' late teen years, and centres around the major passions of his life in those years. They just happen to be his scooter, Northern Soul, and sex. Sound familiar ? Read On.

Very similar in style to the old skinhead / sueudehead novels by Richard Allen, 'Crackin' Up' is obviously written by someone who has been there, done that, worn the T shirt. There are probably more song titles mentioned in the novel than there were in Russ Winstanley's supposedly factual history of Wigan Casino, even the chapter headings are all song titles.

I won't spoil the story for you, but I wonder how many readers would be able to say I remember doing that ! There's even a twist in the tail right at the end.

Available for 6.99 direct from Moonshine Enterprises Ltd, Studio 2, Wingerworth, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S42 6NW. At that price it's got to be worth buying a copy.

The In Crowd - Mike Ritson & Stuart Russell - Bee CoolPublishing Ltd ISBN 0 9536626 16

I can't get over how good this book is. It really is the definitive story of the Northern Soul scene from the late 1960s to the early '80s (This is just Volume 1) the book gives a totally unbiased narrative set over interviews with key figures of the scene.

The text alone is superb, but when you balance that with the memorabilia, and the photographs of artists, clubs, records, and punters at those clubs you begin to realise what a work of art this book really is. Virtually every page has a photograph on it, the vast majority in colour, and not the same old photos of artists you normally see either.

I cannot recommend this book enough, it is almost the bible of the Northern Soul scene, I read mine almost non-stop until I had finished it, then I started again. My compliments to the authors, the time they put in recently on the scene talking to people has obviously paid off (Although both authors have a long association with the scene anyway) and have resulted in this book.

At over 300 pages, with literally hundreds of photographs, to me it is an essential investment, it's not cheap to buy, there again it's not a cheap and tacky book either, so was well worth the purchase price of 29.95.

Full details: 'The In Crowd' available at 29.95 plus 5.00 p & p (UK), 10.00 rest of the world, from



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