I didn't get exposed to soul music the way a lot of the people I hang out with did. It's not from all the years of being around mods or skinheads. It's not from listening to a lot of Brit Pop that's rooted in Northern Soul influences. It's not even really from legendary films like the Blues Brothers or the Commitments (although I love those films). I grew up on soul music. My mom controlled the music in the house growing up, and she passionately loved (and still loves) the music that she grew up on. She lived in a pretty prudish and somewhat oppressive household, discovering rock and roll music in the late 50s and 60s and, I imagine, finding escape in it. The music stayed with her, and in the 70s and 80s, my mom hauled around a pretty gigantic collection of tapes, most of which were made for her by DJ friends who loved the same stuff. It was well known that if the house were burning, my mom would escape from it with only her tapes, or she would not care to escape.
Mom loves her some girl groups, that is for damn sure. The ladies had a massive representation in what was played around the house. Groups like the Supremes were held in as high regard as the Temptations. I liked these songs a lot too.
One such cut that's been with me all these years is "Do The 81" by Candy & The Kisses. I'd all but forgotten about this track until a couple of years ago, when a new friend in Seattle came out to spin records with Marc and I. He played this song and I was immediately dancing. It's gritty and stompy, which is how I likes my soul music.
Speaking of Marc, he was in San Francisco this last weekend, and introduced me to Amy Winehouse. She's a UK artist who was apparently born in the wrong decade. She's producing really awesome Northern Soul music that's worthy of the legendary Wigan Casino dance floor. Check it out.
Originally posted on pop.vox.com