2011 has been a busy year on the record-collecting front. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit some great cities to go crate diggin’. Chicago, Memphis, Boston and Miami have served me well.
My own city was also generous in offering some real nuggets thanks in part to some great record shops and flea markets but most notably because of my friend Ben Shulman who I affectionately call my “Record Pimp”. This kid is a record pickin’ god. He knows more about 60s music at 19 that I will know in a lifetime. I’m glad that he considers me his number one customer.
Swaps amongst fellow DJs, the ever-present eBay were also a great source for searching those missing gems from my expending 45 collection.
So here is my top ten list of my favorite Northern Soul and RnB singles I have acquired throughout the year. Some are rare while others are classics. A few I paid top dollars for but most were less then 20$. You'll notice that most of those songs have been club classics since the 60s, but there are a bunch that are not . They are definitely worth a closer look, having the potential to become part of the circuit. They all have 2 things in common. They all came out in the 60s and they can pack a dance floor!
The titles are listed in no particular order.
1) Knick Knack Patty Wack – Lou Lawton – Wand
This is one example of a single I was ready to part my hard earned cash for and it was worth every penny. I already had Wrapped in a Dream from this Savannah, Georgia singer but this is the single to have.
2) I’m the Man – Chris Jones – Goodie Train
I found a mint example of this funk masterpiece at a local record shop. Chris Jones can go toe to toe against James Brown anytime with this tune. Why? Because he’s the man!
3) Clap Your Hands – Memphis Slim - Fontana
I dare you not to clap your hands on this one. Interesting fact, the backing band on this record is Les Lionceaux, a French group that recorded a lot of covers in the 60s.
4) Rubberneckin’ - Elvis Presley – RCA Victor
This is the only song by Elvis that can be labeled as Northern Soul. Why it wasn’t more popular? I have no idea. It’s the perfect track to get a crowd going.
5) Landslide – Tony Clarke - Chess
This Northern Soul staple is readily available as a UK pressing. The original US single is getting harder to find. Thank you eBay for this one!
6) You Shot Me (Trough the Grease) – Georgia Soul Twisters - Mainstream
I knew nothing about this group when I picked it up at my friendly neighborhood record shop. And I’m still clueless to this day! All I know is that it’s damn good! I can’t believe nobody snatched it up before me.
7) Find My Baby – The African Beavers – RCA Victor
With a name like The African Beavers you would expect a great Garage band, right? Not so! Little is known about the group and this up-tempo early gritty RnB track. The song is credited to Wayman Glasco better know as blues great Buster Brown.
8) My Baby Likes To Boogaloo – Don Gardner – Tru-Glow-Town
This tune will grab you instantly with its powerful guitar lick. Everything is great about this song: the guitar, the horns, the organ, the crazy drums, Don Gardner’s wailing voice, EVERYTHING!
9) That Thang - Buddy Lucas – Mohawk
I don’t have much info on mister Lucas but that doesn’t keep me from wanting to jump up and move every time I hear this! It has a great little Latin feel to it that is undeniably infectious.
10) Hit & Run – Rose Batiste – Revilot
As I was rounding up my top ten, I realized that I had no female singers. Let’s rectify this right now with this classic Northern Soul dancer by Detroit native Rose Batiste. It’s a shame that this talented singer didn’t make it big.
Next post: my top ten favorite Garage record purchases of 2011.