Early in this blog, our friend Mark from Burton on Trent (known as Edge78a on this blog and YouTube) provided a list of twenty tracks as a study guide to help me understand the beat of Northern Soul. That playlist appears in Northern Soul (Part Three).
Recently he provided some additional information in a comment on this blog, noting that Americans often find the tracks Northern Soul devotees play from Motown and its subsidiary labels disconcerting, especially since some of the tracks are virtually unknown in the the United States. He offered a list of twenty from this category, which I have hyperlinked to YouTube postings below.
While most of the artists are well known to me, many of the recordings are new, with the big exceptions being Marvin Gaye’s “Can I Get A Witness” and “Love Is Like An Itching in My Heart” by The Supremes. I have never been a big fan of Gaye or The Supremes, but ironically, these very cuts are among the few I really like from him and them. (Maybe I have some latent affinity for Northern Soul after all?)
Some of the other artists, such as Marv Johnson (the singer Berry Gordy hoped could steal Jackie Wilson’s audience), the Tops, the Temps, Junior Walker and the All Stars, and Martha and the Vandellas, are ones I’ve liked for years, but only “Shake and Fingerpop” was among my faves on this list. (Do not miss the Shindig! live version.)
I’ve always been one of those unfashionable people who thinks Stevie Wonder is pretentious and admits to loathing most of his repertoire. Anything recorded after “Little” Stevie Wonder got big gives me a headache, so my cutoff point has always been “Fingertips.” Thanks, Edge, for the introduction to “Contract on Love,” which I had never heard until I looked it up for this list. It’s clearly “Little” Stevie Wonder stuff, and it’s wonderful stuff.
I’ve alphabetized Mark’s list by artist.
- Campbell, Choker, “Come See About Me“
- Gaye, Marvin, “Can I Get A Witness“
- Gladys Knight and the Pips, “If You Ever Get Your Hands on Love“
- Johnson, Marv, “So Glad You Chose Me“
- Junior Walker and the All-Stars, “Shake and Fingerpop” (Live on Shindig!)
- Martha and the Vandellas, “No One There“
- Nero, Frances, “Keep On Loving Me“
- Randolph, Barbara, “I Got A Feeling“
- Ruffin, Jimmy, “Baby You’ve Got It“
- Starr, Edwin, “I Want My Baby Back“
- Taylor, Bobby, “Oh, I’ve Been Bless’d“
- The Contours, “Just A Little Misunderstanding“
- The Four Tops, “Ask the Lonely“
- The Hit Pack, “Never Say No to Your Baby” (begins at 2:45 mark)
- The Originals, “Suspicion“
- The Spinners, “I’ll Always Love You“
- The Supremes, “Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart“
- The Temptations, “Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue)“
- The Velvelettes, “These Things Will Keep Me Loving You“
- Wonder, Little Stevie, “Contract on Love“