Sunday, April 23, 2017

Northern Soul: How UK got to be groovin’ like nowhere else in the world!

From Incognito, Light Of The World and Shakatak to James Taylor Quartet, Jamiroquai, Soul II Soul, Drizabone, Lisa Stansfield, Down To The Bone and more recently, RSL, The Haggis Horns or Smoove & Turrell, UK developped a rare sense of the groove like you would find nowhere else in the world. With thanks to a whole bunch of activists (DJ’s, radio jocks, promoters) who kept the vibe alive since the early days of Northern Soul, speaking of which Elaine Constantine wrote a book and a film due to hit the screens on Oct. 17, 2014…

From Rock & Roll to Soul Music, R&B, Hip-Hop and House Music, the Americans – like it or not –  have almost invented everything as far as contemporary music is concerned, with the Brits jumpin’ on the wagon soon after and, even more, redefinin’ these genres while givin’ them their own twist along with time. Not that surprising though at the end of the day, considering the fact that music, just like humor,  is a part of their daily life. This being probably why these expression forms of theirs haven’t found any equivalent in the world, just like fashion design in Italy or cinema in France. The reason why? Culture which you only could have whenever living in or hailing from the aforementioned. In other words, something you would have been absorbed in since your early childhood, which would therefore explain why cloning attempts have never worked, just as shown whenever the execs of US record companies licensed Brit acts with the obvious will to ‘americanize’ them (ie. Loose Ends, Omar, Mica Paris, Soul II Soul), or when Hollywood came up with cover versions of European films…

Spotlight: Northern Soul - The Film (Mani, Elliott James Langridge, Lisa Stansfield, Ian Brown)
Mani, Elliott James Langridge, Lisa Stansfield, Ian Brown

How definitely lucky we are to be provided with documentaries/films comin’ up as as many elements which, put together, retrace the history of what unites us, wherever we come from, around that unique thing called the groove that we instantly feel or not. And what better words could we ever think of as the ones on the Northern Soul website itself as an appetizer to Elaine Constantine‘s upcoming film of the likes due to hit the screens by mid-October!
“This is a story of a youth culture that changed a generation and influenced songwriters, producers, DJ’s and designers for decades to come. This is the story of Northern Soul. Award-winning director Elaine Constantine has recently completed filming her first feature-length film ‘Northern Soul’.
The film tells the tale of two Northern boys whose worlds are changed forever when they discover black American soul music. Northern Soul was phenomenally popular with British youths in the 70’s, taking the North of the country by storm. ‘Northern Soul’, the film, intends to appeal to those generations of fans while attracting a modern audience who can relate to youth culture from another era. If you were there, you’ll know. If you weren’t there, you’ll wish you had been…”

“Northern Soul, a new British film starring Elliot James Langridge and Ricky Tomlinson, will tell the story of ‘the youth culture that changed a generation”, enthuses The Telegraph. A generation and way more, I’d be humbly tempted to say, referring to UK’s rich history in terms of Soul, with the successive arrivals of artists to keep this unique vibe alive from the early days until now with people such as Incognito, Brand New Heavies, Omar, Lisa Stansfield and others like The Haggis Horns, Smoove & Turrell and SouLutions firmly decided to make it forward.

“There’s Nothing Like This”, used to sing Omar back at the beginning of the 90’s, and I do confirm, remembering these days when I was livin’ in London, excited by a scene that seemed like alive and kicking 24/7, from new acts to boiling clubs and radio shows that to me were like a never ending encyclopedia (with thanks to Jeff Young and Robbie Vincent). I suppose that’s most likely how ‘Northern Soul’s newcomer Elliot James Langridge, who stars as a Lancashire teenager, felt when he discovered the world of all-nighters (with the most famous being held at the Wigan Casino), amphetamines and baggy trousers.

Lisa Stansfield, who stars as Landgridge‘s mom, described the film as “a northern Saturday Night Fever”.

The soundtrack is to be released on Sept. 15 on Harmless Records under the form of a both a 2CD’s+DVD and a 7″ Vinyl box set.
The 2CD+DVD package features:
CD1: All the key Northern Soul tracks from the film
CD2: An additional CD of specially chosen Northern Soul tracks compiled by director Elaine Constantine
DVD: Elaine Constantine interviewed about the making of the film, plus other extras.
Plus a 24 page booklet specially written by Gareth Sweeney

The 7″ vinyl box set features:
All the Northern Soul tracks from the film plus a bonus track on 14 x 7” vinyl. All vinyl is presented in picture-sleeves featuring key scenes from the film plus a 60-page hardback-bound book of film stills, all packaged in a solid collectors heavy-duty box.

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