Cleethorpes Northern Soul Weekender 1993-2012 – Various Artists CD (Kent)
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15 June 2012 sees the 20th 6TS Cleethorpes Northern Soul Weekender. The most important and longest-running event in the Northern Soul cosmos runs annually and over the past two decades has displayed an amazing line-up of authentic 60s and 70s US soul talent.
From Aretha’s musical arranger H.B. Barnum to Little Ann, a singer who only had one side of a US Ric Tic 45 released at the time, all levels of success and failure are embraced by a crowd who are only interested in how good a recording and artist sounds.
Several of the acts have now died and their appearances for the 6TS has turned out to be their poignant swansong. New York legend Hoagy Lands died a few months later, Willie Tee after suffering the hardships Hurricane Katrina caused to New Orleans, forcing him relocate to the east coast. Doris Troy, who counted the Beatles and Pink Floyd among her personal friends, sadly died in 2004 and Little Ann was not able to capitalise on her latter-day celebrity.
Though Cleethorpes is primarily a Northern Soul weekender the acts are encouraged to perform their very best songs and, if they are ballads, they are very much appreciated too. Spencer Wiggins wowed the crowd with ‘Take Me Just As I Am’, Sandi Sheldon aka Kendra Spotswood delivered the captivating ‘Jive Guy’ and the Diplomats showcased their vocal group pedigree with the magnificent ‘Here’s A Heart’.
It’s worth buying this CD for a few tracks alone – Derek Martin’s previously unreleased acetate ‘Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire’ has been a holy grail for Northern Soul collectors for many years. Melvin Davis’ early Detroit disc is catalogued at a grand and his surname-sharing singing partner of 2009, Jesse gives us the stunning Sherlie Matthews song ‘Gonna Hang On In There’ which appears on CD from master tape for the first time.
The weekender saw second careers launched for artists of the calibre of Maxine Brown, Darrow Fletcher and Dean Parrish. Frank Dell stunned the audience with his intense deep- baritone and Betty Lavette shook the joint with her deep soul wailing.
Every act had a story to tell or an event that happened to them on their journey from the USA to Cleethorpes and back. Many of the best are recounted here in a 12,000 word story wrapped in a deluxe package with lavish photos of all the acts who have appeared.
Compiled and annotated by Harboro Horace himself. – Ace Records