Living as a Mod in the 21st Century

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Top Ten Northern Soul and RnB Parka Avenue favorites

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.


  1. Excellent selections! In the Bay Area, "Rubberneckin'" is a popular tune on dancefloors. My other Elvis dance favorite is "Little Less Conversation."

    That Don Gardner track is another local fave!

    Great stuff, and since I'm waiting for my wife to get ready for tonight, I'm gonna piggy-back off this idea!

    1. Go ahead my friend! GO A-HEAD!

      Looove A Little Less Conversation! Have you ever watched the video of JLX's remake of A Little Less Conversation? You clearly see a Mod dancing at the 3 minute mark. You only see him for a few seconds but he's the best dressed dude in the video AND the best dancer!

  2. mmm,,,elvis wouldn't be played in MOD clubs in england....and it definitely would not be classed as northern soul and i don't think it would even be classed as r and b.....still a great song though....

    1. It's funny you say that because a Northern Soul DJ from Leeds, David Smith, turned me on to Rubberneckin'. He certainly classifies it as Northern Soul and has played it a few times on his radio show.

      But I certainly get your point when you talk about the link between Mod clubs and Elvis. It is kind of a stretch.

  3. perhaps he just loves good m

    i can see why ....perhaps its snobbery on my behalf !

  4. My grandpa was a member of the Georgia Soul Twisters and that is him singing. Glad to know that you like it.

    1. Really! Let me tell you that you had one talented grandpa!

  5. Pat, Another great blog - Great minds think alike as ive played that Elvis track in this weeks podcast as i think it has a great northern soul feel.
    If you dont mind im gonna play a track in the podcast from this list & that is Hit & Run – Rose Batiste - which ill give you a nice shout out havent heard that before its great!!


    Dean Stickley