Northern Soul tends to conjure up images of men paying through the nose for little slabs of vinyl and talcum powder on the floor. John Moffat talks us through some of the finer, more local points.
The story of the Soul Scene is well documented, but, to those not familiar with it, I’ll start with something of a potted history. Its early incarnations, in the 60s, sprang up mainly in the North-West of England, playing a mixture of rhythm & blues, early soul and Mod sounds. Many of these venues ran all-nighter sessions, where the action would typically be from 2.00am till 8.00am. Most of the records played were rare American imports of mainly black music that had not made it commercially, for one reason or another. This rarity became a major factor in deciding what was and wasn’t played.
One feature of soul nights was the athletic and even acrobatic dance styles that evolved. Additionally, everyone danced alone (male or female), not in pairs or groups, but alone. This is an extremely important, and possibly unique, feature. You are there to meet like-minded people and to enjoy the music – either to dance to, or just listen to
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