Living as a Mod in the 21st Century

Monday, January 21, 2013

Top Ten Northern Soul and RnB Parka Avenue Finds of 2012

With the New Year now in full swing, it's time to recap the best Soul and RnB 45s I managed to put my hands on last year. You can check out last year's list here. Some of these had been on my wish list for a while and with enough patience, dedication and luck, they found their way in my record collection. Others were welcomed discoveries. It's my favorite type of find. You sift the Internet for more information about the title and you can't believe that the record is virtually undiscovered or underrated. I love that feeling!

Some of these were dirt cheap while others I had to pay a full night's work as a DJ to acquire. No matter what the story is behind them, it was all worth it in the end because I can turn to them at any time and know that they will get a dance floor going.

I searched high and low for these little gems: eBay, fellow collectors, road trips, flea markets, record shops. No stones were left unturned. I think this is the perfect opportunity to promote the Parka Avenue Podcast. Listen to this list on Mixcloud. So now, instead of clicking on each individual YouTube video in this blog post, you can listen to it as a complete mix. It's also the perfect companion to pass the time while you wax your favorite pair of Weejuns, iron you nicest button-down shirt or shine the miroirs of your Lambretta SX.

1) Slick Chick - Vernon Harrel - Lescay

I'm really getting more and more into this mid-tempo New Breed stuff. I believe that just the politically incorrect title is worth the high price this record is fetching.

2) Blowing Up My Mind - The Exciters - RCA Victor

I have to thank my friend Derek See at Derek's Daily 45 for this one. I already had a few Exciters 45s but this one is by far the best one. You'll see, it'll blow up your mind!

3)  'Cause Your Mine - The Vibrations - Epic

A Northern Soul classic that has stood the test of time. This 1968 track was a hit at The Blackpool Mecca. Here's an interesting fact about The Vibrations. Did you know that in 1961, they also recorded the hit Peanut Butter, another favorite of mine, under the name The Marathons?

4) Since I Found My Baby - The Metros - RCA Victor

Speaking of Northern Soul anthems, this one also falls in the classic category. I often have very up-tempo, fast paced DJ sets so this one is a welcomed breather. I bought this gem at People's Records during a road trip to Detroit.

5) The Way I Feel About You - Bonnie & Lee - Fairmount

I'm not a huge fan of duets but I just love everything about this song. Especially the way it makes me feel. Ironic, isn't it? It puts a smile on my face every time. It's the musical equivalent of chocolate.

6) I Need Somebody - Little Milton - Checker

What would be a Mod's Top Ten without some RnB action? I found this little number in Chicago. Actually my friend Sir Eric Colin from famed MODchicago did and as soon as he played it for me, I offered him more then 3 times what he payed for it. It's worth 12$, don't you think?

7) We're Gonna Party - The Portraits - Tri Disc

This is the perfect exemple of a track that is definitely underplayed. It's also cheap as hell! Can you think of a better title to get the dance floor going? The thing about this song is that even if it's virtually unknown, people will chant to it. Have a listen and tell me I'm wrong.

8) All Right - The Grandisons - RCA Victor

This 1963 party starter has been covered by The Searchers. I was first introduced to this track by the Canadian band The Guess Who. Their 1966 version is pretty good but this one takes the cake.

9) Clap Your Hands - The Ambertones - Newman

I have to thank the knowledgeable DJ Ty Jesso for turning me on to this one. Why would I put a Garage band from LA in a Soul Top Ten? Once you have listened to the song you'll understand why. This 1966 party hymn has no deep and meaningful lyrics, no complex arrangements, no sophisticated melody. But for a DJ, this is a powerful weapon! I think that the title says it all.

10) Ain't That Terrible - Roy Redmond - Loma

I think I kept the best for last. This is the type of song that people will come up to me and ask me what it is. It has all my favorite elements: a driving beat, a powerful voice and a couple of drum breaks. The Capitols' version doesn't even come close to this 1967 killer.

Have you ever noticed this? You can cross Soul 45s off your wish list on a regular basis but the list never seems to get any shorter. How is that possible? Humm... This is what I call the DJ paradox.

Now I can't wait to see what next year will bring!


  1. Man, that Exciters track has been a fave of mine for so long!

  2. The bass line in that Exciters track is FANTASTIC!

    All these tracks are great. I am really going to have to come out to one of your DJ nights some time soon. (I'll make sure to bring my dancing' shoes for sure.)