Some years ago, someone released a lengthy DVD box set called ‘The Strange World Of Northern Soul’. Even those with just a passing acquaintance with the scene will, we’re sure agree and acknowledge that the scene   can, at times, be “strange” – even bizarre and weird. I guess most cults are like that!

Whatever, to add to that this “strange” assertion you may want to  check out a new album simply called ‘Northern’ from “The Mint 400”. We’ve learned that the “artist” is Mancunian veteran muso, Paul Ashley Wheatcroft who is also know as Hakim Jamal. He was a key player on the so-called Manchester “Industrial Funk” scene and has worked with people like the Happy Mondays and the Inspiral Carpets? Confused? Well, it gets more confusing .

The Mint’s ‘Northern’ album is a 11 tracker of, yes, Northen soul sounds. But here’s the thing. The backing tracks are all taken from reasonably familiar Northen mainstays like Rita and the Tiaras’ ‘Gone With The Wind Is My Love’. They’ve been re-recorded and given new lyrics to create a whole new song. Clever or what? Thus, the MVPs ‘Turing My Heartbeat Up’ becomes ‘Gimme Some More’ and so on! The vocalists on the project are Rachel Maxann from Memphis and Fliss Mitchell who’s from the soul hot bed that is Gloucester!

Purists and the heads-in-the-sand conservatives will of course baulk at this – even get periplectic – that’s their prerogative – but, we say, at least , give it a chance.

Thanks to Mark Turner of Soul Strutter for sourcing this one. Learn a lot more about it @

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