VARIOUS: Northern Soul Classiest Rarities Volume 5 (Kent)

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As the title patently proclaims this is the fifth instalment in Ace/Kent’s collection of Northern rarities and as with the first four volumes, chief complier Ady Croasdell is sufficiently experienced and savvy to know that what is dubbed “Northern” can be all things to all people.

Scene outsiders blithely believe that Northern soul consists of pacey, racy 100 mph dancers and sure that type of sound is a keystone of the genre and there’s plenty in here that fits that description. Try Mel Davis’s ‘Just Another Smile’, The Soul Brothers’ ‘Lover Man’ or scene legend JJ Barnes’s’ ‘It’s Alright To Cry Sometime’… they all fit that particular bill. The Barnes tune, by the way, is a previously unreleased song that he recorded for Detroit’s’ Ring Records in 1964 and will be cherished by collectors.

Latterly plenty of “Northerners” have found a fondness for funk and authentic R&B and those tastes are catered for here too with tunes like The Webb People’s ‘I’m Sending Vibrations’ and a fabulous tune from R&B/jazz legend Joe Tuner. His contribution is a cut from 1970 called ‘Two Loves Have I’… so simple and so effective.

There’s also plenty on the 24 tracker that illustrates the more melodic side of Northern soul . In fact the album opens with a great example – a real gem too, ‘When The Boy That You Love (Is Loving You)’ from Nashville girl group The Avons. We’re told its all ultra rare… ditto Terri Goodnight’s ‘They Didn’t Know’ and Mary Saxton’s ‘Losing Control’.

As ever, with Kent albums, the sleeve notes contain everything you need to know about every item and if you’re a proper soul collector you’ll discover lots here to enjoy. This isn’t just for “Northerners”.

(BB) 4/5