Archive for the ‘Northern Soul Price Guide’ Category

The Vibrations

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Listen: Gonna Get Along Without You Now/ The Vibrations

According to one of my favorite books ever, THE NORTHERN SOUL PRICE GUIDE, this white label promo, in mint condition, easily goes for £50. Fun reading, but the real deal price guide these days is There you get the past several years worth of final sale amounts for any record that commanded $25 or more. According to the site, a $52 May 2012 winning bid for the wlp of ‘Gonna Get Along Without You Now’ was it’s highest in three years. That’s as far as the data goes back.

Therefore my £24 (approximately $37) win was indeed a bargain when compared to the prices set in the guide. Never mind, this single’s a bargain at £100 if truth be told.

Having tastes that always ran toward the mid chart, or better yet, flop follow-ups, likewise my parallel fondness was for the seemingly second division players. Just as Inez & Charlie Foxx sat sideline when Ike & Tina Turner were in reach, so too did The Vibrations when say, The Temptations were around. According to the mainstream that is, but in my world, I coveted any single by either.

It’s seriously hard to recollect a song attempted in more diverse styles through the years than this. Country, reggae, alternative, disco, ska, Euro-dance, rock steady and even Latin via Trini Lopez, which is version that first introduced me to the track. No idea why his was played so heavily in upstate New York at the time (’67). Trust me, it wasn’t often a #93 BILLBOARD peak meant a record got hammered by both our local Top 40′s. And it’s not like there was a Latin scene going on in subzero Syracuse that winter either.

Unfortunately, The Vibrations’ version never graced my ears while current in ’66. Years later I stumbled on it, unable to ignore any Okeh single with their Cadbury purple labels and matching sleeves. One play and boom, the amphetamine mess of an arrangement and speed pitched chorus made me a fan for life.

Norm West

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Listen: Baby Please / Norm West

In the last few years, M.O.C. Records has become a favorite when obscure soul labels haunt my brain. You know they’re worth pursuing once a few singles, all good, find there way into your life and then, even Wikipedia doesn’t shed any info on the company.

Such is the case here. From ’62 to around ’69/’70, the label was timidly distributed by London, and when my first orange swirl encounter occurred via a Big Amos title, I knew another chapter of collecting had begun.

My best find so far: ‘Baby Please’ by Norm West from early ’66, which turned out being a $50 Northern single, according to the NORTHERN SOUL PRICE GUIDE. Both sides of this one are credited to D. Bryant, and given Norm West’s two previous singles were released by Hi, I’m just guessing it’s Don Bryant.

Later, a member of the successful Stax act, The Soul Children, it’s nice to hear he ended up winning.

Marva Josie

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Listen: Don’t / Marva Josie
Marva Josie.mp3

How this clocks at £200 in THE ESSENTIAL NORTHERN SOUL PRICE GUIDE is beyond me. Not being a dancer of any worth myself, I’m probably in no position to judge. Still, this doesn’t sound easy to hully gully to, even on repeated listens. And I thought that was the whole point of Northern Soul, hence all nighters and such. Oh well, learn something everyday.

I do love a voice, rich in gospel timbre, one that could’ve easily fleshed out as a rotating member of Phil Spector’s background vocalists or Ike Turner’s Ikettes even. Marva Josie possessed just that. In fact, this has a number of passages that had me slipping into The Crystals’ ‘Little Boy’ while humming it in my head earlier today, walking from the subway along 6th Avenue to my office. I must have played ‘Don’t’ twenty times last night when ending the weekend with a healthy unboxing/filing marathon and couldn’t get it out of my brain.

Mr. Bloe

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Groovin' With Mr. Bloe / Mr. Bloe

Listen: Groovin’ With Mr. Bloe / Mr. Bloe

In keeping with my previous posts about novelty songs, I was playing this a few weeks back during the holiday break. Phil and I had a late one, basically our own Northern Soul Allnighter. It was one of the many singles we’d dug out.

To be honest, ‘Groovin’ With Mr. Bloe’ always sounded average not only to me but every one I knew when originally released years back. My Anglophile friends and I would blag or buy anything in the UK charts, and this was an immediate let down. But once blessed as Northern, the single suddenly had a new glow. The record’s even in THE ESSENTIAL NORTHERN SOUL PRICE GUIDE, so there. Phil says he always gets requests for it when DJing, in England at least.

71-75 New Oxford / Mr. Bloe

Listen: 71-75 New Oxford / Mr. Bloe

Mr. Bloe Press Release

A collaboration between Mr. Bloe, who were actually Hookfoot in disguise, and Elton John, ’71-75 New Oxford’ became a follow up single one year later. Titled after the address of the DJM Records office, it’s pretty valuable nowadays, both sides being Elton John’s only instrumentals. Luckily, this copy, from Tony King’s collection, still retained the original press release (above).

Dean Courtney

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

DeanCourtneyNeedYou, Dean Courtney, RCA, Northern Soul

Listen: I’ll Always Need You / Dean Courtney

‘I’ll Always Need You’ could almost pass for the mold used to make Northern Soul. I had a few odd Dean Courtney records, a later album on some Columbia distributed label, and a few singles but none of them can touch this. It’s been floating around the house for a while, got it with Tony King’s collection a couple of years back.

I always knew a few of his RCA’s were sought after, but didn’t expect this to be one somehow, figured that was too good to be true. Instead, indeed it happens to be his most valuable single, according to The Northern Soul Price Guide. Even if it weren’t in monetary terms, it has to be in musical ones. I gave it a spin last night, and my eyes bugged out. Whoa. This is fantastic, made just a little bit better by being able to watch that ‘A’ label go round the turntable.

The Quotations

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Listen: I Don’t Have To Worry / The Quotations

Sifting, separating. Everyone’s favorite thing to do with records.

In this particular case, I’m referring to the 45′s. Really making headway, immersing some big collections I’ve acquired into the master library, and finding doubles. Always a joy. Every so often a box is partially jammed with “where the hell did this stuff come from” items. Not via the aforementioned collections, but most likely garage and estate sales, church rummages and one of my favorite places for Northern and obscure soul, Academy Records in Williamsburg.

I’ve covered my love for the place previously, and never walk out with less than one gem, usually for $1 or lower.

So tonight, Phil came by for several hours of spinning and filing. We stumbled on a big pile of soul and Northern stuff, most likely from Academy, and found some real shockers. Like this one.

No sooner than ten seconds in, we were pawing through THE NORTHERN SOUL PRICE GUIDE, knowing surely it’d be there. Not wrong, The Quotations’ ‘I Don’t Have To Worry’ listed loudly as very, very desirable. And not without justification.

It isn’t often we repeat a single more than once when faced with a box that needs playing. This one got three spins.

No idea where these guys are from, nor do I know wack about their origins.

Judy Freeman & Blackrock

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Listen: All We Need Is A Miracle / Judy Freeman & Blackrock JudyFreemanUSA.mp3

I spent most of Labor Day in my garage, which is not unlike an episode of Hoarders, because when it comes to records, that’s what I am.

It’s actually a fascinating storage space that I allow only a very few select friends near. I had it shelved out about twelve years ago. One day, a light went off in my head, and I just thought hold on, I can fill that whole garage with all my doubles and triples and collections I’d been buying yet never having time to file. Besides, the aforementioned were starting to envelop a lot of our home, and Corinne was getting pretty cranky.

Within days, I had industrial library shelving fitted and installed then hired some movers to put all those extras from the house into my new kingdom. Even though it’s about a 12 foot walk from the backdoor, it cost me $2000 to have the stuff packed and shifted, to give you an idea of how crazy it had all gotten. Presently, it’s hard to even move in there. Crazier indeed.

But now I was on the loose, grabbing as many records as I could find: church sales, rummages at the Jewish centers, yard sales, you name it. Even our local garbagemen started bringing me boxes that they’d find after seeing what was inside my trove one morning, still do. I always cover them with Dunkin Donuts on many a Tuesday. And Vicki Wickham started pimping around the UK for me, hitting up former music biz types eager to dump their singles from the 60′s and 70′s.

So yeah, it’s all in there under heavy lock and key. This morning Corinne says, “Why don’t you chill out in the garage today, try to dump some of that stuff.”

“Yes! Score!” It was actually my secret plan, but not sure if it would fly.

And that’s just what I did. Separated easily 500 singles that I can definitely part with, in some sensible fashion. What exactly that process will entail is yet to be decided.

More importantly, I dug deep, pulling out boxes I haven’t look into for at least ten years, and ended up adding easily 50 titles to the permanent indoor master library. This Northern gem was one of them.

Now a lot of folks prefer ‘Hold On’, but ‘All We Need Is A Miracle’ is easily my favorite of Judy Freeman’s singles.

Do you know how many times I’ve bid on this and lost? Had it the whole time. What else have I bought that’s already in one those boxes. Shudder to think.

The Eyes Of Blue

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

Listen: Heart Trouble / The Eyes Of Blue

THE ESSENTIAL NORTHERN SOUL PRICE GUIDE describes this one as ‘Pop Northern Soul’, proceeding to, well, split hairs, describing it and them as “pop records by pop artists (usually white) that have the necessary beat and are recognisable as being non-soul singers”. Huh?

One of the things I loved about this single was Gary Pickford-Hopkins’ soulful voice, sounding not unlike Darrell Banks to me. But no worries, I live by that price guide and I recommend it highly. It’s the good book you curl up with in front of the fireplace during a blizzard, but then that’s just me.

I got ‘Heart Trouble’ upon release, specifically because it was on Deram. Predictably, the record was very English, due in part to the backup vocals and was produced by Deram in house guy, Noel Walker. He had a sound that I liked a lot.

In ’72 I got to meet Gary Pickford-Hopkins and talk with him about The Eyes Of Blue. By then he was the vocalist for Wild Turkey, Glenn Cornick’s band after leaving Jethro Tull. Regrettably named, they were good live and I loved their first album, BATTLE HYMN. I think I may have been the only person on earth who did, or at least admitted it. That night Wild Turkey were supporting Black Sabbath and not unusually, I was more into the obscure opening UK band than the headliner.

Nowadays, both Eyes Of Blue Deram singles are Northern Soul collectables, listing for $40-60 each. I bought many copies back in the 70′s, all for less than a dollar. In fact one for a mere penny off of Tom Kohn’s Bop Shop. He gave me change for my nickel.

I just couldn’t pass them up though. The lesson here is, you can never have enough spares, plus one day…they may be worth something.

JJ Barnes

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

Listen: Sweet Sherry / JJ Barnes

There’s a fantastic double cd anthology, THE IN CROWD – THE STORY OF NORTHERN SOUL that instantly moved my interest and knowledge in the genre forward exponentially. I became insatiable and was somewhat content to find that many of the classics I already had in my collection. But it didn’t stop my quest for all the others. The cd was issued with an accompanying book, equally great. It’s pretty funny to read the quotes by various DJ’s and journalists centric to Northern, all militant about having the final say, or getting the ultimate credit, on a record. Still, it’s great music and loads of fun to collect.

JJ Barnes had a few moderately successful singles in the 60′s.

But it’s ‘Sweet Sherry’, originally an LP track from RARE STAMPS that, without being released as a single, became a big deal in the Northern Soul clubs of England and subsequently, bootlegged. Or maybe kind-of-officially released after the fact, it’s findable as a 7″, I think.

The Brotherhood Of Man

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Reach Out Your Hand / The Brotherhood Of Man

Listen: Reach Out Your Hand / The Brotherhood Of Man BrotherhoodReach.mp3

No question about it, THE ESSENTIAL NORTHERN SOUL PRICE GUIDE is one of the best books ever. It’s my idea of what to read by the fireplace on a snowy winter afternoon. But I really do have one complaint. This single is not included. Clearly authors Martin Koppel, a particularly nice fellow who ran Toronto’s Kop’s Collectabiles for ages nd Tim Brown know what they’re talking about. I know Martin is English, as I’ve bought many a single from him through the years, and I guess Tim is too. So understandably, sometimes the Brits have their heads in spaces other than their own backyard, yet all is forgiven. Basically, this fits really nicely into any mix of Northern I’ve ever done. Plus it’s on Deram. I like anything on Deram, even the schmaltziest stuff, which The Brotherhood Of Man would dependably deliver on a regular basis. Keith Mansfield was involved in this one, he did some great stuff for The Love Affair too.

If you’re in New York, go now to Bleeker Street Records. There’s a ton of 7″ warehouse fresh finds in the basement 3 for $1.00. Mike Goldsmith alerted me to them. Been twice, between the two of us, we’ve lightened their load by a few hundred. Returned today and picked up three more copies of this, and plenty are left. Have fun.