VARIOUS: Goldwax Northern Soul (Label: Kent)

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VARIOUS: Goldwax Northern Soul

Quinton Claunch and Rudolph Russell’s Goldwax label was one of THE great southern soul set-ups. Best known in the UK for smouldering, searing ballads that told tales of love, lust and cheating at the dark end of the street, music cognoscenti have long placed the label in the deep soul Pantheon. Claunch and Russell, however, weren’t quite so esoteric. They were businessmen first and foremost and made music right across the genre spectrum, ever-hoping for the big bucks. They knew too well that up-tempo dancers could be as profitable as the emotion-wrenching ballads and their artists regularly worked on rug cutters. Now Kent main man Ady Croasdell has collected together 24 of those tunes and he feels (with well-argued justification) that each and every one will satisfy the most demanding Northern soul fan. Indeed, one cut – James Carr’s mighty ‘That’s What I Want To Know’ has long topped the bill at many a Northern function. Its beats and sentiments provide a perfect Northern template and there are lots more here that are built to the same blueprint. The Ovation’s ‘They Say’, Percy Milem’s ‘Call On Me’, Philip and the Faithfuls’ ‘Whatcha Gonna Do’, Percy Wiggins’ ‘Let’s Talk It Over’, Ivory Joe Hunter’s ‘Every Little Bit Helped Me’ and many more will satisfy back-spinners everywhere. The great thing about this collection, though, is that Croasdell has been on the scene long enough to know that Northern fans have broader tastes than some outsiders imagine. So his compilation includes a goodly smattering of delicious floaters and ballads with a distinct uptown flavour. Amongst the best are – The Vel Tones’ ‘I Do’ (check the beautiful tinkling piano), the Lyrics’ ‘So Hard To Get Along’ (a feel of the Impressions’ ‘I’m The One Who Loves You’), George and Greer’s ‘Tell Me It’s Storming’ (redolent of ‘My Girl’) and the best of the lot – Wee Willie Walker’s ‘I Don’t Want To Take A Chance’ . That one’s a real soul delight and its universality defies any categorization. Ace/Kent unearthed the gem in 2004 and if you don’t have it already, don’t hesitate now. Even if you have, the album’s still worth serious checking out since it offers seven items that have never been issued before – including the sweet group ballad ‘Now Girl’ from the Lyrics.
(BB) 4/5