Welcome back again to the Bluffers Guide, and this time we're picking up the pace from Soul and looking at Northern Soul, a genre that has its own amazing energy...

I think of my own Da, and how important his co-workers were in the factory, he couldn't hold a note that fella. He loved music and just like the factory and mine workers in the North of England; they loved uptempo soul music. We're talking about a specific time in the early '70s in places like Manchester's Twisted Wheel, Wigan Casino, even the torch, Tunstall in Stoke-on-Trent.

Want to know more? This documentary on the history of Northern Soul is a great start...

Jackie Wilson in 1962

By bus or car with changes of clothes in weekend bags, covered in badges of honour, sometimes with 45s to trade, they travelled to dance. Looking sharp, speed, backflips and shuffling when there was space to do so - and those were the girls. The end of the night never seemed to arrive, song after belting song. This list is a very emotional set, as each one of these came from DJs I know and situations I found myself in.

I hope you can hear what I'm talking about; these tunes are all anthems for an excellent reason, let them into your heart...

Jimmy Preacher Ellis / I'm Gonna Do It By Myself (1966)

Dandelion Sargeant played this in The Globe upstairs one Monday night at Strictly Handbag, and I nearly fell over running to find out who it was. Without Dandy, the Northern scene in Dublin would be missing so much history. Traditionally, Northern Soul DJs don't like sharing this info (the big boys in the UK would redesign labels to confuse the nosey) but she would always tell me what was what, in more ways than one. The breakdown and chord change in the middle section is incredible, Never mind the Preacher's big vocal, all the way from Foreman, Arkansas. 

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While you're at it, listen to Dandelion's set in the Globe, around summer 1998...

Ann Sexton / You've Been Gone Too Long (1972)

Well known for another song, You're Gonna Miss Me, this B-side is the track that moves floors. So downstairs underneath The Globe, I played in Ri-Ra for 8 years, and I would have played this at the start of the night purely for myself to get into the mood with something inspirational. This has a big vocal from Sexton, who hailed from Carolina, didn't perform live for 30 years till 2007 and quietly worked under her married name of Burton in a music school in New York. These days, the original Impel record fetches 150 euro...

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Rita & The Tiaras / Gone With The Wind Is My Love (1967)

With a haunting vocal and an amazing intro, this completely obscure record didn't do well when released, but that's the attraction for Northern Soul collectors, who like to revive a song and who'll pay 800 quid sterling for the original Dore Records 45, if you can find it... I've heard Liverpool Pete play this in The Globe on Sunday nights - a boss DJ with a fine collection.  

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Sam Dees / Lonely For You, Baby (1968)

Featured in Elaine Constantine's film Northern Soul, this really gives me the shivers... All the tracks here do, but this, this is heartbreaking, more known for writing songs for others like Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Gladys Knight and the Pips, Sam Dees is still going strong near Stoneacre in Compton, California. Try and find this on original plastic...

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Marie Knight / That's No Way To Treat A Girl (1964)

Sometimes the universe shows you the way, and this is because you're always switched on, waking up sometimes with a song in your head, which is great fun. I walked into a shop selling vintage gear in London - I think I was in Brixton to see Morrissey - I hear the song in the shop, and then the following day back in Dublin my friend Maxi McCann is playing this belter. "Why did you show me there was so much heartache in this world?"

Joanie Sommers / Don't Pity Me (1965)

The next two songs remember the brother Mark Kelly down in Charlotte Quay, he introduced me to these. We were buying records in Madrid after doing a soul set in Segovia, and he spots Dean Parrish (see below) in a box, and It took me a year or so to find my own copy. In Ukiyo downstairs on a quiet Sunday, he plays this Joanie Sommers thing, big vocals all round, the brass section is immense, but it pulls at the heartstrings. And the loafers on your feet.

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Dean Parrish / I'm On My Way (1967)

Dean sold a million records and didn't make anything near that, he had no idea that there was a revival of his song on the other side of the water and in the early '70s was a session musician alongside Hendrix, Santana, and Bob Marley. This song famously was the last piece of music played in the aforementioned Wigan Casino.

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Terry Callier / Look At Me Now (1962)

Somewhere in between Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and 4hero there's the distinctive vocal range of Terry Callier - he was smoother, and this release is way more funkier, on an Acid Jazz tip. He's embraced by all music lovers for his smooth delivery.

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Jackie Wilson / Because of You (1972) 

A troubled soul with an amazing style both vocally and sartorially (always in a suit), Jackie had an enigmatic presence and recorded over 300 songs for Brunswick Records, including this go-to anthem. From the guitar and brass intro up to a massive string section, I'm seeing this one on 45 with the beautiful Brunswick logo. Very big in Wigan Casino.

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Major Lance - Investigate (1966)

Signed to Okeh records mainly on the recommendation of Curtis Mayfield, Lance was originally a baseball player with a beautiful vocal style. During the Northern revival, he became a legend once again, especially in the UK where he recorded a live set at the Torch in Tunstall.

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Wade Lemons / Jeanette (1967)

Signed to the extremely rare V-Jay and Ramsel labels, as a teenager from Coffeyville Kansas (I want to go there) Wade was already an accomplished musician, releasing some powerful songs and ending up as a vocalist with Earth, Wind and Fire in the early '70s.

NB: It's not on Spotify yet, but if you're in the doo-wop mood try this...

The Precisions / If This Is Love (1967)

The Precisions were actually a doo-wop R&B outfit from Detroit Michigan, with members Arthur Ashford, Michael Morgan, William Rodney Prince, Dennis Gilmore, and Robert Lowe. Billy Brooks was also around and may have blended with them on their recordings for D-Town. They tried to emulate the success of Motown but faded. Here's a cover by Northern Soul Kiwi outfit Jamie and The Numbers...

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For a deeper dive, here are some Northern Soul playlists to 'keep the faith' with...

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And then there's The Bible: Kev Roberts' Northern Soul Top 500 (as compiled by The Soul Cellar)

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