Black American musical heritage, and it's appreciation everywhere but black America.

So to begin with.

Obvious musicology facts. The Stones and the Beatles were really influenced by the switch from blues to rhythm and blues. Not the only ones but the most high profile ones. Aexis Corner who would go on to have the worldwide hit with the group CCS and 'Tap Turns On the Water' is just an example one could pick from many. We could add the Spencer Davies Group who's anthemic hit 'Gimme Some Loving' is lifted from a Homer Banks track. 'Shout' by Lulu was a copy of an Isley Brothers track from before they joined Motown and had their own T Neck label. The list is Endless.

However here in the North of England we did not go for these erzatz renditions as much as the rest of the country seemed to do.

Why? Well to tell you the truth that is something that employs our minds as well.

My thoughts on the subject tend me towards a feeling of zeitgeist. In such a small but powerful country the concentration of power tends to be more obvious. So therefore in the North of England we are geographically so close to the centre but a world apart.

So as you have this growth of self expression in America we were beginning to have it too, but somewhat delayed. So we had mature American black people talking about aspirations they felt they had begun to realise, talking to a bunch of teenagers, (I was 15/16 when I went to my first allnighter) whose aspirations were only just beginning to take shape. The optimistic outlook black American music gave us I feel was invaluable.

Maybe I can say that the music scene in America then was 'Blue collar' an aspirational 'middle class' as we would view it. Although our 'scene' as we call it, is largely viewed as working class, hence we get a little of the derision you did just for liking what you did. It must have to an extent have been, and still is what America would perhaps term 'Blue Collar'. How else could the people that went to Ameriaca dug out and presented to us the tunes we now recognise as Northern Soul. What is recognised as our most desirable 45 is a Motown single that there are only three copies of, the last time I heard of one of the copies being sold it fetched a price of somewhere around £32,000  (well over $52,000 US) and that was some years back. Rcords, like ones on the Okeh label are popular regularly fetching between £500-1500 ( over $700 to nearly $2.500 US). Hardly to be seen as the 'poor white boy sings the blues'.

In a comment I saw recently they assessed that somewhere upwards of 80% of many of the records I speak of are in UK or other hands. This includes works by Homer Banks, Bobby Bland, Williams and Watson, Van McCoy, Little Richard; Lorrainne Chandler, Jo Armstead in fact the whole pied piper group from Detroit. The Terra Sherma studios from Detroit, Mirwood a little further South the Uptown label from New York. We know the fact many of the Williams and Watson tracks issued on the Okeh label out of Chicago were in fact recorded on the West Coast. Chicago, don't get me started about the Dells, What about the Muscle Shoals studios going south again, Willie Mitchell! Booker T, and I even know at least enough of black history to know who he is named after, one of the first black educationalists!

So how come a bunch of Northern Soulies know more about your musical heritage than most black Americans do?

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Replies to This Discussion

If you cannot appreciate the fact that Gloria Jones is not the version with the most integrity what the hell are you doing claiming you like black music. Whether or not one likes the record, oh! audience of one, it is by far the best version.
All I have done Bill is post records I like. You really do seem to have some sort of iniquitous attitude of superiority.
So the records, many of them in the same remainder bins you spoke of, you like are OK cos Bill likes them but not if we do!
When I mentioned that I was "a black man trapped in a white man's body" it had nothing to do with race, it had to do with explaining my musical taste. So once again you are "off the handle" as we say over here.
Well over here we call such statements bullshit.
Why? That really is childish Bill, how churlish of you. This is the first time i've seen you acting like this. Thought we liked music an' all, you do reaise that with your last statement.................well, deary me.
You are the one that started the insults Bill, what I like in a way can be seen as the DNA of black music in America. So to say that we are just 'a bunch of northern kids' looking back in retrospection may have some merit.
Yet I feel that such a personal insults to me is, in a way, disingenuous.

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