What does it sound like?:
This is the third in a series of collectable packages from Chess Records. It is pitched at a niche market, the Northern Soul fan who fetishes and collects 7 inch vinyl. It is a beautiful box, with a very informative booklet and seven 7 inch singles, each side consisting of a highly desirable Northern Soul ‘stomper’ trawled from their back catalogue and that of their sister labels, Cadet, Argo and Checker. It will set you back about fifty quid but your money may be well spent even if you don’t like the content; the first package has pretty much doubled in value since its release in 2015, provided you kept it sealed.
Ady Croasdell is the mastermind and Northern Soul oracle behind it. He knows his audience well. He fell in love with the scene as far back as 1969, was involved with the 6T’s 100 Rhythm & Soul Club in London as far back as 1979 and has a long association with Kent and Ace Records. He understands perfectly the Northern Soul fan’s hunger for a rare piece of vinyl rotating at 45rpm and fully appreciates the need to include some established classics. He’s selected the ultra rare Joe Cato – I’m So Glad and Jeanette Nellis – Wait, both artists are virtually unknown and existing copies of the latter number single figures. Two tracks were only available on compilation LPs until now: Jo Ann Garrett – Foolish Me and Bobby Womack of The Valentinos – See Me Through. Many first appeared as a B side, their Northern Soul magic hidden until the likes of Croasdell revealed it: Amanda Love – You Keep Calling Me By Her Name, Gene Chandler – Such A Pretty Thing, The Knight Brothers – City Life, Harold Hutton – Lucky Boy and Johnny Nash – Love Ain’t Nothin’. According to discogs, first pressings of the Gene Chandler and The Kindly Shepherds – Lend Me Your Hand sell for over £300 a pop. Jeanette Nellis would probably go for much more but has never been put up for sale. All fourteen tracks are great floor fillers from the mid-sixties. The weakest, dance-wise, is that of the best known name, Bobby Womack, but that’s usually the case with any Northern Soul compilation.
Northern Soul was always more than a music scene, it’s a movement, a movement born of the working class living for the weekend, spending their week’s wages on dancing through the night. Many followers have kept the faith, even into their fifties and sixties. They may gather in basements in the afternoon, rather than all night in a club, and the dance moves may not be quite as spectacular as they used to be, but there is still a tribe obsessed with vinyl singles and willing to shell out significant amounts for the objects of their desire. Chess have cleverly hit on the perfect product, nicely packaged bundles of singles, wisely curated by a man in the know. The purist will still covet the original releases but this latest box hits the sweet spot for most Northern Soul fans of any age.
What does it all *mean*?
This box set should be bought for the love of Northern Soul. Investing in vinyl expecting to make a profit is incredibly foolish. You are better off with stocks and shares or bricks and mortar.
Goes well with…
A dance floor, flat shoes, sweat bands and talcum powder.
Might suit people who like…
Vinyl, Northern Soul.