Genre geeks can tell you all about “POPCORN”. For the uninitiated, they’ll describe how popcorn is a style of music popular on the Belgian underground club scene. In some ways it can be likened to Northern soul… a scene that grew from the bottom upwards and where the aficionados revere the rarest of the rare. The geekiest of geeks, though, will go a little further and assert that popcorn isn’t a genre per se. They’ll argue that popcorn is actually a tempo… a mid tempo in fact, with an after beat that can be sexy, drowsy and strangely uplifting. The name itself comes from the club where it all started… “The Popcorn” which opened in 1971 in a village just outside Antwerp. The club originally functioned on a Sunday afternoon and was named after James Brown’s ‘Mother Popcorn’ – a favourite with the DJ, Gerry Franken. Gerry was a soul fan but he didn’t confine his spinning to soul tunes…. anything with that slinky, slow jive Sunday afternoon flavour was up for grabs.
So a whole scene was born and you can learn more about it via a wonderful new 24 track album on Jazzman Records, ‘Follow Me To The Popcorn’.
The album offers plenty of rare, vintage soul like Gloria Grey’s ‘It’s A Sweet World’, Barbara Simpson’s ‘Waiting For My Baby, Baby’, Johnny Guitar Watson’s ‘Wait A Minute Baby’ (based on ‘Wade In The Water’) and Sam Fletcher’s perennial ‘I’d Think It Over’ alongside plenty of esoteric, left field stuff that’s never less than intriguing.
The set comes with full liner notes that include interviews with the scene’s key players and plenty of archives pictures and, as befits the music, the album is available as a double LP as well as in CD and digital formats.