HERBIE GOINS AND THE NIGHTIMERS: No. 1 In Your Heart (Label: Zonophone)

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Nowadays (sadly, I think) too may people take soul for granted. Even the rarest, most esoteric music’s available at the push of a button and without any real effort made in getting the sounds, I maintain that we don’t cherish them quite as much as we should. In the sixties it was different – everything was. Soul was a real rare commodity in the UK and soul fans had to work to seek out their treasures. Soul was a genuine underground movement served chiefly by the big city mod clubs where live music was preferred to the recorded kind (in the early and mid sixties, at least). With few authentic American stars visiting the UK, the club goers had to be satisfied with home grown artists like Zoot Money, Cliff Bennett, the Action, Chris Farlowe and Georgie Fame all peddling their distinctive versions of soul, jazz and blues. Better still were the few real American singers who’d made their homes in the UK. The best known, of course, was Geno Washington who sold out clubs everywhere he played, but Florida-born Herbie Goins ran him a very close second. Like Washington, Goins had come to Britain as a serviceman but after demob he decided to stay and try to make a living as a club singer. He first worked with people like Chris Barber and Alexis Korner before leading his own band – the Nightimers. With a high energy, brassy brand of soul, the outfit soon became mainstays on the UK mod circuit and in 1965 they signed to Parlophone. They cut a number of singles of which ‘No. 1 In Your Heart’ became something of a mod anthem. It forms the centre piece of this generous 22 tracker – a collection of all the group’s Parlophone recordings, including seven previously unreleased cuts. The songs are a mix of soul covers and originals but good though it all is (try the pacey version of Burt Bacharach’s ‘Any Day Now’), if you were there in the ’60s, you’ll know that these recordings lack the magical energy of the Nightimers’ live shows. Still as a testament to a great ‘honorary’ British soul pioneer, it’ll do very nicely. Ironically, too, the label has decided that the album is only available as a digital download – your usual outlets will be able to oblige.
(BB) 3/5