It’s 2am on a gloomy Sunday night. Across the UK the streets are quiet, save for one town where teenagers, sporting a uniform of Fred Perrys, baggy trousers and brogues, march to a local nightclub for it’s first all-nighter. The town is Wigan, the year 1973 and the club is soon to become known as the home of Northern Soul.
Deriving its name from the location of thumping dance floors in Wigan, Stoke and Blackpool where the scene first erupted, Northern Soul offered young people an escape from the strikes and power cuts of the 1970s in the form of black American music.
PHOP contributor, Barry May, tells how growing up dancing to Northern Soul has led to a lifetime of collecting classic records.
I remember I was generally very much a ‘bus home’ type kid after Wigan. It was cheaper, dropped me off virtually outside my house and didn’t involve dealing with too many people the morning after. The bonuses of leaving for the early bus were liberating a pint of milk and a paper from the knotted packages left outside the newsagents in the Arcade.
The older we get the more authentic and original we want our precious vinyl records to be. Although I collect original vinyl, I still have a place in my heart for the bootlegged record as it is a part and parcel of our chequered scene – unscrupulous Soulies have the in vogue and most expensive tracks being played at the time bootlegged…they then sell them at a much cheaper price.
Nowadays people all over the world collect Northern Soul classics….it’s not just restricted to the UK shores anymore.