I first met Mark “Snowboy” Cotgrove in the early 1990s when I became his A&R man at Acid Jazz. Mark is an exceptional percussionist who led his band the Latin Section through a series of thrilling albums. I’d first heard of him a few years earlier when he released a version of ‘A Night In Tunisia’ on a new Ace Records subsidiary called BGP, so it is entirely appropriate that this compilation, a soundtrack to his club night in Soho, sees him back on that label.
Madame Jojo’s in an outpost of old Soho where Snowboy wears his DJ hat, is where he runs his weekly club night, the Good Foot. In the past, this centralLondonarea was known for its bohemian nightlife and shady characters. Most of that has gone now, replaced by modern life’s big brands and identikit shops, but step down the velvet-lined stairwell into Jojo’s subterranean space and you’re into a lost world where the music played by Snowboy and his guests keeps an audience of enthusiastic dancers glued to the club’s sunken dancefloor.
The Good Foot plays the best of 60s soul, R&B and latin with a touch of funk, and Snowboy always looks to find a perfect blend of classics and records that you are unlikely to have heard in a club before. Our compilation attempts to recreate the feeling of a night at the club, and features many of the tunes that have become signature plays there. Snowboy has been especially good at playing those previously unknown records that have been released on CD in recent years. These are represented by Etta James’ ‘Can’t Shake It’, the Contours’ ‘Do The See Saw’ and Luther Ingram’s outstanding ‘Oh Baby Don’t You Weep’. The 60s R&B sound is delivered by future Raelett Dorothy Berry with ‘I Say You’re Driving Me Crazy’, the Ikettes’ ‘Don’t Feel Sorry For Me’ and Little Willie John’s ‘Don’t Play With Love’. There’s storming mid-decade soul from Z.Z. Hill and James Carr, and the crossover into funk is handled by one of the night’s top anthems, Little Eva’s Motown medley ‘Get Ready/Uptight’. James Brown is represented by his mid-60s winner ‘Bring It Up’ and his production for the Brownettes’ ‘Baby, Don’t You Know’. There is a touch of latin from Mongo Santamaria and Hank Marr, and established classics such as Willis Jackson’s ‘Nuther’n Like Thuther’n’, the Dynamics’ mod favourite ‘Misery’ and the Shirelles’ ‘Boys’, one of the most visceral girl group records ever put to vinyl.
By Dean Rudland