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BELL

EMI owned label which released a whole host of good soul music from it’s US parent label, it’s own subsidiaries such as Mala and Amy, and smaller but no less important licensing deals with the likes of Goldwax and Elf.. Bell released some fine soul music, mainly in 1968, from artists such as The O’Jays, Chris Bartley, The Masqueraders, and Solomon Burke. Most commercial success came with The Box Tops and Reparata’s oddball This Is The Captain Of Your Ship - the follow up of which was the Northern Soul classic ‘Panic’, albeit as a B side to the non-hit Saturday Night Didn’t Happen. By 1970, although some soul music was still on the menu such as the classic three volumes of Bell’s Cellar Of Soul and some success with The Delfonics proto-Philly Sound smashes, Bell was moving into pop with a number one hit for Edison Lighthouse and early successes for Dawn and The Partridge Family. By 1972, glam rock had arrived and it is this period to which the Bell label will always be associated with, notably Gary Glitter and Hello.

One or two soul sides did creep outduring the glam rock years; a reissue of Al Wilson’s The Snake made the lower reaches of the charts due to Northern demand, and Bobbi Lynn’s Earthquake, previously released on Stateside, also sold well.

Northern Soul releases of note include four good releases by James & Bobby Purify including the ever-popular Shake A Tail Feather and the underrated Wish You Didn’t Have To Go, Moses & Joshua’s Get Out Of My Heart, a popular Twisted Wheel sound, The O’Jays’ I’m So Glad I Found You, Bobbi Lynn’s uptempo Earthquake, Bob Kuban & The In-Men’s commercial but very good dancer The Cheater, and a very late release from Shirley & The Shirelles, Look What You’ve Done To My Heart, which was a big ‘youth club’ record in the early 70’s. Top release is the aforementioned Panic by Reparata & The Delrons which, although a record of it’s particular time (1973-75) has just about everything you could want in a Northern dancer - except possibly the ‘soul’ content - but in those days no-one used to worry about the ‘Right On’ qualities of a record, indeed, if this disc was discovered today it would still be a smash.

The original Bell label carries one of the most attractive designs of all British labels but is very difficult to describe. It has a blue/green background which is covered in tiny silver Bell logos which are almost 3D in appearance, giving the impression of the worlds’ first hologram. Superb. Demos are somewhat disappointing, being the standard late 60’s green and white EMI style. In 1970 the design changed to a black label with silver lettering, and then in 1971 to the well known silver label with black writing, though black labels were occassionally used throughout the 70’s.

BLL 1005 DELFONICS I can't get over losing your love / La la means I love you 3/5

1007 FLASH & the BOARD OF DIRECTORS Busy signal / Love ain’t easy 4/6

1008 JAMES & BOBBY PURIFY I was born to lose out / I can remember 4/6

1011 OSCAR TONEY JR. No sad songs / Never get enough of your love 4/6

1014 REPARATA & the DELRONS Panic / Saturday night didn’t happen 15/30

1018 MOSES & JOSHUA Get out of my heart / They don’t want us together 6/12

1020 O'JAYS I’m so glad I found you / Look over your shoulder 8/15

1023 MASQUERADERS I ain't got to love nobody else / I got it 5/8

1024 JAMES & BOBBY PURIFY Help yourself to all my lovin' / Last piece of love 5/8

1025 BOB BRADY & the CONCHORDS Everybody's goin' to the love-in / It’s been a long time 7/12

1027 BOB KUBAN & the IN-MEN The cheater / Try it baby 6/10

1031 CHRIS BARTLEY I found a goodie / Be mine forever 8/15

1043 JAMES & BOBBY PURIFY Untie me / We’re finally gonna make it 5/8

1044 SAM HUTCHINS Dang me / I’m tired of pretending 6/8

1047 SOLOMON BURKE Uptight good woman / I can’t stop 6/8

1049 SHIRLEY & the SHIRELLES Look what you've done to my heart / A most unusual boy 6/10

1053 TOYS A lovers concerto / Baby toys 5/8

1056 JAMES & BOBBY PURIFY Shake a tail feather / Let love come between us 5/10

1060 LEE DORSEY Ride your pony / Get out of my life woman 5/10

1067 JAMES & BOBBY PURIFY Wish you didn't have to go / Do unto me 5/10

1105 ELLIE GREENWICH Ain't that peculiar / I don’t wanna be left outside 5/8

1165 DELFONICS I can’t get over losing your love / La la means I love you 3/4

1168 BOBBI LYNN Earthquake / Opportunity Street 5/6

1188 AL GREENE Don’t leave me / Back up train 4/5

1436 AL WILSON The snake / Willoughby brook 3/4

1494 FEATHERS Lost summer love / Instrumental 2/3

 

BUDDAH

A sister label to Kama Sutra which began life around 1967. It’s major UK hit was the gospel classic Oh Happy Day by Edwin Hawkins Singers, though it’s most popular artist was the pleasant folkie Melanie. Not too many Buddah releases really made it on the Northern scene; Lou Courtney, The MVP’s, Curtis Mayfield, The Stairsteps and lesser knowns like Eve Of Eden and Timothy Wilson spring to mind. However, there can surely be no-one reading this book who hasn’t either danced to or sang along to Curtis Mayfield’s Move On Up at some point. Paul Weller certainly did, as The Jam regularly played the song live.

There’s little to interest the Northern collector amongst the early black label releases, with The Stairsteps’ Stay Close To Me being about the best release. The Northern Soul scene made a hit out of The Trammps’ Hold Back The Night, which was an album track that had found popularity as an instrumental entitled Scrub Board on the flip of Sixty Minute Man. When the vocal was released due to demand, it crashed into the top 10 and also spawned a hit cover version by Graham Parker a couple of years later. The M.V.P.’s had a Northern Soul monster with Turnin’ My Heartbeat Up, originally a Blackpool Mecca spin this brilliant 60’s sounding 70’s release (January 71) was one of Wigan’s biggest records of late 1976 thru to mid 1977 when Buddah reissued the track and it made the bottom end of the charts.

Original releases are black with silver lettering and were manufactured by Polydor, so it would appear that there are no demo copies. This was followed by a very shortlived psychedelic label which is impossible to describe here, consisting of blurred rainbow colours and a black Buddah logo, very trippy. When the label switched to Pye, it became somewhat more conservative and changed to a brown label with black lettering and a cartoonish Buddah logo at the top. Demos have a black A in the centre and the wording Not For Sale plus release date. If it just has the A and no wording, it’s not a demo.

2010 26 FIVE STAIRSTEPS Stay close to me / I made a mistake 5

46 MAJOR LANCE Gypsy woman / Stay away from me 4

56 HOLLY MAXWELL Suffer / No one else 4

70 FIVE STAIRSTEPS Little young lover / We must be in love 4

2011 059 FREDDIE WATERS Singing a new song / I love you, I love you, I love you 4

070 FIVE STAIRSTEPS Little young lover / We must be in love 4

080 CURTIS MAYFIELD Move on up / Beautiful brother of mine / Give it up 6

092 STAIRSTEPS Stay close to me / I made a mistake 5

118 NEW MONITORS Fence around your heart / Have you seen her 5

BDS 410 CURTIS MAYFIELD Move on up / Give it up 4/5

415 TRAMMPS Scrub board / Sixty minute man 2/3

418 VAN McCOY Soul improvisations / Part 2 2/3

437 TRAMMPS Hold back the night / Tom’s song 2/3

439 ARTHUR ALEXANDER Every day I have to cry / Everybody needs somebody to love 2/3

455 AQUARIAN DREAM Phoenix / Once again 2/3

469 M.V.P’s Turnin’ my heart beat up / Every man for herself 5/7

488 AQUARIAN DREAM Phoenix / East sixth street 2/3

 

B & C

B & C was owned by Lee Gopthal, who was then manager/part owner of the mighty reggae label Trojan. B & C also owned the Action label and had a publishing company too (B & C Music). The actual B & C label is something of a half hearted effort which originally specialised in reissues from artists such as Bob & Earl and James Carr. This label was black with silver lettering. It changed to black with a green logo and silver lettering in 1971 and ran for another year when it became Mooncrest Records. The odd B & C release appeared from time to time, indeed I’ve seen a Winston Groovy (reggae) release dating from as late as 1979.

Nothing to get too hot under the collar about here, though the two releases credited to Arnold Corns are David Bowie under a pseudonym and always fetch a good price.

CB 101 JAMES CARR Freedom train / That’s the way love turned out 3/4

102 BOB & EARL Dancin' everywhere / Baby it’s over 3/4

105 JACKIE LEE & DELORES HALL Whether it’s right or wrong / Baby I’m satisfied 3/4

106 CLYDE McPHATTER Tell me / Denver 3/4

107 AARON NEVILLE Why worry / Tell it like it is 4/5

110 DON FOX Once in a while / You belong to my heart 3/4

119 FORUM The river is wide / I fall in love 4/5

 

BEACON

Yet another independent label which issued an eclectic mix of sounds and styles between 1968 and 1972. There are four label designs to look out for; firstly, a white label with a red swirl and a torch logo. This may have only been used once, on the first issue of The Showstoppers’ Ain’t Nothin’ But A Houseparty. This then changed to a yellow label with black lettering with a smaller Torch logo on the right hand side. This was quickly followed by a white label with black lettering and a new logo at the top and left side. Finally, a green label replaced the white one, still utilising black lettering but with a single logo at the top. No demos would appear to have been issued. In it’s final year(s), the label was distributed via EMI. There were two numbering systems which ran concurrently: BEA prefix and 3 prefix.

The Showstoppers’ Houseparty must be one of the best known discotheque tracks of all time, having been reissued countless times and charting at least twice. I remember meeting the ‘Stoppers when they played at Wigan Casino. None of them were in the band who recorded Houseparty! I’m sure they remember me, I cracked them up by talking non-stop for about an hour backstage. Happy days, happy pills!

Bobby Wells’ Let’s Copp A Groove must have had a large following at the time of it’s release as it sold very well. It pales in comparison to the same artists’ Be’s That Way Sometimes though. Highlights from ‘white’ Beacon are provided by The Chi-Lites and Paula Parfitt. The Chi-Lites disc comes from their pre-Brunswick hits era, dated 1969 but sounding earlier. It’s a ferocious stomper of the old school type from the US Darren label and is hard to find on UK. It’s flip, Pretty Girl, is a midtempo beauty which someone should give airtime to. Paula Parfitt’s single was a one-off by a hitherto unknown artist. Despised by the purists, in it’s time it was a massive Northern sound, first spun at Va-Va’s in Bolton circa 1973 but really making it’s presence felt at Wigan in 1976/77. This is the rarest Beacon single by a long chalk - it just never turns up. Beware of ‘no centre’ counterfeits though.

The remaining Beacon sounds are UK produced pop-soul dancers. The Zenith Band’s instrumental So Far Away was a one-time cover up and Bobby Bridger’s You’re In Love is a happy-go-lucky dancer which also came out under the name of Erroll Sobers.

3-100 SHOWSTOPPERS Ain't nothing but a houseparty / What can a man do 6

BEA 100 SHOWSTOPPERS Ain't nothing but a houseparty / What can a man do (re-issue) 5

3-101 SONS & LOVERS Feel alright / Help me 4

3-102 BOBBY WELLS Let's copp a groove / Recipe for love 6

3-105 JON & JEANNIE Lovers holiday / Something you got 4

3-106 SHOWSTOPPERS Heartbreaker / Shake your mini 3

BEA 108 RAM JOHN HOLDER I just care to get my baby / Yes I do 3

BEA 110 ROOT & JENNY JACKSON Please come home / Lean on me 3BEA 114 BARRY DAVIS I wish it would rain / Strange days 3

3-119 CHI-LITES Love bandit / Pretty girl 15

3-135 PAULA PARFITT Love is wonderful / I’m gonna give you back your ring 50

BEA 136 ROOT & JENNY JACKSON Let's go somewhere / If I didn’t love you 3

BEA 142 JEANNIE DEE Come see about me / Don’t go home my darling 4

3-158 ZENITH BAND So far away / So far away (by Root & Jenny Jackson) 4

BEA 159 BOBBY BRIDGER You're in love / Sugar Shaker 5

BEA 159 ERROL SOBERS You're in love / Sugar Shaker 5

 

BIG T

Another short-lived semi-indie label which was part of the Transatlantic set up, known mostly for it’s folk releases. Quite how they came to issue Chuck Wood’s Seven Days Too Long is a bit of a mystery, but in doing so they quelled demand for a song which was, and still is, a Northern Soul giant. In 1974 it sold 100,000 copies - though only as a B side (to ‘Footsee’!)

The label was orange with black lettering and it’s Big T logo taking up a lot of the label space. Demo’s are yellow, and look to be very much in the late 60’s Pye style.

The label was discontinued in 1970 though the main Transatlantic logo appeared irregularly over the next two decades.

BIG 104 CHUCK WOOD Seven days too long / Soul shingaling 6/18

106 ROYALETTES River of tears / Something wonderful 4/6

107 CHUCK WOOD I've got my lovelight shining / Baby you win 4/6

120 1984 I've got to have your love / Here we are 4/6

 

BRIT

An Island subsidiary which only ran to four releases. There are no demos. Issues are white with the left side of the label in red with a vertical logo. Just the one item of note here: the first issue of Incense by The Anglos which was a 60’s club staple and saw several different issues. Fontana picked up the Brit release as it had better distribution but chart success still eluded it. See under Fontana for more details.

WI 1004 ANGLOS Incense / You’re fooling me

 

BOULEVARD

This was a budget label which released albums of cover versions in the main. Mac Kissoon’s Wear It On Our Face is the only known single on the label, and this may have been an in-house pressing as the track was actually released on Youngblood, although Kissoon did have an album released on this label.

(No number) MAC KISSOON Wear it on our face / In a dream (demo only) 8

 

BRUNSWICK

A sadly disappointing label which released only a minute fraction of it’s superb American soul output in the UK. Brenda Lee and Len Barry were the label’s biggest sellers, but there are a couple of interesting obscurities to keep the select few happy.

Sam & Bill’s I’ll Try made a surprise UK appearance on Brunswick, and this is the pick of the label’s UK output. A nice Sam & Dave type dancer which is hard to find.

The late Earl Grant made his swansong with a groovy hammond instrumental of Stand By Me, a quite collectable mod sound.

Len Barry had several decent dancers in the style of his mammoth hit 1-2-3, all of which are fairly easy to pick up.

Even Brenda Lee got in on the act, cutting a couple of uptempo dancers, neither of which are worth writing home about.

All in all, a very disappointing label, though it must be noted that several items that you would have expected to find on Brunswick actually came out on UK Coral (see there for more details).

The label was black with silver lettering. Demos are maroon, in the Decca style, though early 60’s demos are both white and pink. Expect to find 50’s demos on two single sided discs. By the way, early Brunswick singles from the 50’s with gold lettering are highly collectable and include some of the rarest 7" ever issued in the UK (e.g. Bobby Charles ‘See You Later Alligator’).

05 904 RUTH BROWN What happened to you / Yes sir that’s my baby 8/12

940 LIZ SHELLEY Make me your baby / You made me hurt 8/12

942 LEN BARRY 1-2-3 / Bullseye 3/15

945 EARL GRANT Stand by me / After hours 10/18949 LEN BARRY Like a baby / Happiness 3/8

953 LIZ SHELLEY I can’t find you / No more love 8/12

955 LEN BARRY It’s a crying shame / Somewhere 4/8

962 LEN BARRY It’s that time of the year / Happy ever after 4/8

966 LEN BARRY I struck it rich / Love is 4/8

967 BRENDA LEE Coming on strong / You keep coming back to me 5/8

973 SAM & BILL I’ll try / I feel like cryin’ 16/25

976 BRENDA LEE Where’s the melody / Born to be by your side 5/8

BR 18 JACKIE WILSON I get the sweetest feeling / Higher and higher 3/5 22 COOPERETTES Shing a ling / Don’t trust him 5/6

23 JACKIE WILSON Whispers (getting louder) / Reet Petite 3/5

26 BARBARA ACKLIN Love makes a woman / Am I the same girl 3/5

30 GENE CHANDLER / BARBARA ACKLIN From the teacher to the preacher / Little green apples 3/5

37 FRED HUGHES Baby boy / Purple haze (by Johnny Jones) 4/6

39 GENE CHANDLER There was a time / I’m gonna miss you (by The Artistics) 4/6

41 ALVIN CASH Ali shuffle / Doin’ the feeling 1/2

42 ADAMS APPLES Don’t take it out on this world/

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Copyright M Fitzpatrick
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