Northern Soul's Classiest Rarities Various Artists (Northern Souls Classiest Rarities)


Northern Soul
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Northern Soul's Classiest Rarities, LP (£20.13)

The general equation runs something like this: rare, in Northern Soul parlance, is generally qualified by the number of known copies of each 45 being in single figures. Ergo, demand far outstrips supply and the ensuing clamour between the cognoscenti of hardcore collectors & DJs usually creates a price far beyond the means of mere mortals!

In the 70s and 80s it was considered a result just to obtain the desired side on tape which you would swap with other like-minded souls at the Allniters or via the pages of the dedicated soul fanzines. This activity is still prevalent today and it's virtually impossible to put into words the sheer thrill and delight on hearing a quality 'new' side on tape which leaps immediately to the top of your 'wants' list and you spend the next twenty years in the fervent hope that one day you WILL unearth a copy!

Whilst there can never be a substitute for owning the original 45s (anyone with a spare copy of Dan Folger for sale?!!)...a CD such as this goes a long way in easing and catering for that desire, and all without having to remortgage the house!

Breaking away from the general Kent tradition of same label / subsidiary label compilations, Classiest Rarities consists of a dozen or so labels from all corners of the USA. New York, LA, Detroit, Memphis, Nashville, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and Norfolk are all represented here.

But that's enough geographical information, as Billy Harner would say, What about the music?"

Well, whatever your bag, be it big beat ballads, floaters, footstompers, modern, cross-over, R&B, girl groups... it's all catered for here. Space dictates that I cannot wax lyrically about the merits of each track, so here is a selection of four that I've deemed worthy of special attention.

Turning tradition on its head and commencing with an 'ender', and a side that was first spun by Randy Cozens at the very early 6T's sessions and also championed by Eddie Hubbard via his Slow And Deep column in Shades Of Soul, Dan Folger's - The Way Of The Crowd is a real gem. Well-produced, heavy on sentiment and nostalgia it is a positive delight of strings...things...and everything else that makes for a resplendent and emotive big beat ballad. First time on CD too.

Another 'ender', and indeed the final track on this esteemed CD, is the previously unissued Audrey Matthews - I Have No Choice, a superior version of the Johnnie Mae Matthews' issue on Big Hit. Plays from acetates have already stirred hearts and legs all over the country, where the discerning have been suitably impressed by the superb vocals and ingenuous, sublime delivery.

First time on CD too for Karmello Brooks' Tell Me Baby and it's been well worth the wait. Originally issued on legendary jazz label, Milestone, the combination of the catchy, uptempo vocal, enhanced by the full-blown orchestral back up, renders this an undisputed classic and inspires reverence the length and breadth of the country. Regular spins by respected Northern DJs and an unfavourable ratio as regards known copies and prospective buyers has seen price increases more commonly associated with property in London.

Finally, an outstanding side that was first played at the Casino by Richard Searling, originally covered-up as Maurice McAllister and then eventually revealed as Mr Soul, What Happened To Yesterday. Quite simply, it's a work of art, structured around a highly-addictive backbeat and complemented by a infectious saxophone along with some compelling guitar work. Throw in the imploring vocal, with some key changes that are reminiscent of If I Fell by the Beatles and you have a truly gorgeous side that thoroughly deserves its legendary status. Unequivocally a master of its genre.

These four sides, combined with the calibre and talent of the Imaginations, the Diplomats, Joe Simon, Eddie Whitehead, Bettye Swann, Johnny Wyatt, the Delfonics, Unique Blend et al create an unparalleled collection of sides that will surely enhance your life.


Special mention in dispatches for Barbara Redd's I'll Be All Alone, which potentially may raise a few eyebrows.

By Dave Timperley


Track listing


Side 1

  • 01 Preview Just Your Fool - Eddie Whitehead

  • 02 Preview I've Got To Keep Movin' - Charles Lamont And The Extremes

  • 03 Preview Strange Neighborhood - The Imaginations

  • 04 Preview Why Would You Blow It - Claude Huey

  • 05 Preview Yes I'm In Love - Unique Blend

  • 06 Preview And The Rains Came - The Millionaires

  • 07 Preview Tell Me, Baby - Karmello Brooks

  • 08 Preview You'll Get Enough - The Delfonics

  • 09 Preview Ain't No Danger - Clifford Curry

  • 10 Preview Do It - Pat Powdrill

  • 11 Preview I Think I'm Falling In Love [Fast Version] - Bettye Swann

  • 12 Preview Don't Tear Me Down - Charlie Rich

  • 13 Preview I Wouldn't Change A Thing About You - Johnny Wyatt

  • 14 Preview Cards On The Table - The Diplomats

  • 15 Preview The Yesterday Of Our Love - Jimmy Seals

  • 16 Preview Raining Teardrops - The Rockmasters

  • 17 Preview I'll Be All Alone - Barbara Redd

  • 18 Preview I Have Feelings Too - Denita James

  • 19 Preview What Happened To Yesterday - Mr Soul

  • 20 Preview I See Your Face - Joe Simon

  • 21 Preview My Heart's On Fire - Lil' Bob

  • 22 Preview The Way Of The Crowd - Dan Folger

  • 23 Preview This Love That I'm Giving You - The Joytones

  • 24 Preview I Have No Choice - Audrey Matthews

Delivery & Returns


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We use Royal Mail First Class for UK deliveries and standard Air Mail for all other territories, very large orders will usually be sent via parcelforce. You may cancel your order at any time prior to your order being dispatched by emailing us at ensuring that you quote your name, address and order reference number or by telephoning +44 (0) 208 453 1311 between 9am and 5pm GMT/BST, Monday to Friday. Please note: As music downloads are dispatched immediately after purchase, there is no possibility of cancelling these orders.

In the event that any products supplied to you by us are damaged or defective, we agree to replace or repair the damaged or defective products or refund the amount you paid for such goods (including postage & packaging) providing you notify us (either via post at or e-mail: ) and return the goods within 28 days of purchase. Physical goods should be sent back to us in the same condition you received them to: “Returns” Ace Records, Such Close, Letchworth Garden City SG6 1JF, United Kingdom. Music downloads should be returned to us via the e-mail address above including a copy of your notification.

You have the right to cancel your order within seven days of purchase, or seven days of receipt of the goods (whichever is the longer). If you choose to cancel your order, full payment will be returned to you. Returned items should be sent to: “Returns” c/o Ace Records, Such Close, Letchworth Garden City SG6 1JF, United Kingdom. Music downloads should be returned to us via the email address: including a copy of your notice of cancellation and order number.

Press quotes


Every track is nothing short of superb.

Record Collector

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