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DECCA

Not the most soulful of labels, Decca, and a label that’s generally despised by collectors of American label Northern Soul due to it’s out and out ‘pop’ recordings. Still, where would we be without those pop-stompers which made the scene what it was in the 70’s? A time of fun where anything went! A time of Javells, Jason Knight, Footsee, Sea Cruise, the Spark label; in those days, I didn’t know the difference between ‘real’ Northern Soul and the records that used to be played at my youth club - I liked practically all of them and all were great to dance to. A year or so later, when I understood that Morris Chestnut was a hundred percent more right on than, say, Under My Thumb by Wayne Gibson, I still liked all the variations on a theme - if it was fast and you could dance to it, and it was good, well then what’s wrong with that? And now, 23 years on, I still have that attitude - only nobody plays those kind of records and more so you don’t get the opportunity to dance to them. It’s maddening to think that many people won’t admit to liking a particular record because it’s pop - crikey, how many people can honestly say that they don’t like Ray Merrell’s Tears Of Joy - or if they don’t like it, at least appreciate it for what it is, an absolutely authentic Northern Soul dancer. Which brings me round to the Decca label, and it’s multitude of pop/soul dancers. The likes of The Bats, John E.Paul, Frankie & Johnny, Fearns Brass Foundry, Mickey Moonshine et al are not everyone’s cup of tea, but in a catalogue of Northern Soul released on British labels, they just have to figure somewhere - besides, blasted out of giant speakers late at night, they sounded great - especially your John E.Pauls and Frankie & Johnnys, which were both played alongside Adams Apples, Yum Yums, Bernie Williams etc with no complaints from the Wigan faithful.

The label itself had been, along with the EMI group, a British institution since the 20’s. Always tagged as a ‘dinosaur’ label, Decca was presumed to be a bandwagon jumping label, singing up beat groups with a vengeance after originally rejecting The Beatles in 1962. Hence many little known artists made one-off singles for Decca and it follows that several of these sold very poorly - Decca’s promotion of artists is also said to have been lacklustre, though they certainly sent out demo copies in abundance.

Labels are dark blue with Decca in an arc in silver at the top of the label. In 1967, the logo was placed in a rectangular box at the top of the label. Demos began as one sided blue labels, then follow along similar lines to London, with central silver A labels used in the early 60’s, changing to the familiar dark blue with silver outer up until 1968. From 68 onwards demos are on a white and blue label. These continued until the mid 70’s, by which time Decca was dying on it’s feet. Incidentally, some Decca demos come with demo labels and no artists or titles; the details are usually hand written on in dark biro, but I have seen many with no artist information whatsoever.,

Anyway, here’s a rundown of some excellent Decca releases which you may like to check out

12041 Steve Aldo & The Challengers - Can I Get A Witness. A gutsy vocal and big backing for this fine mod version of the Marvin Gaye classic. The Liverpool born artists only other single, a version of The Apollas You’re Absolutely Right for Parlophone, was even better than this one.

12067 Adrienne Poster - He Doesn’t Love Me. Diminutive actress who appeared in To Sir With Love with Sydney Poitier after changing her surname to Posta. Adrienne cut some smashing records in the early 60’s, sadly her version of Margaret Mandolph’s classic Something Beautiful isn’t one of them, though many collectors have it on their wants lists. My advice is to hear before you buy. However, check out the flip side of her version of The Temptations’ The Way You Do The Things You Do for a lovely bouncy dancer entitled He Doesn’t Love Me, currently bathing in undeserved obscurity.

12210 Catherine Parr - He’s My Guy. This 15 or 16 year old singer was, according to the press release, a distant relation to the ex-wife of Henry VIII of the same name. Well, after hearing this effort most listeners would be screaming "Off with here head"! How this ever got past the audition stage I’ll never know as Catherine hits more off key notes than you could shake a stick at, but despite all that, this record absolutely oozes such naieve charm that you can’t help but like it. It’s a 4/4 beat, 2 chord stomper, with a little girl lost voice at the forefront. hardly essential but interesting, and so quaint!

12349 Tom Jones - Stop Breaking My Heart. Tom gets a lot of unfair stick from Northern fans who, whenever hearing the latest cover-up from some big voiced but obviously white singer tend to label it a "Tom Jones soundalike". This may be true, but that term should not be deemed derogatory as Tom possesses one of the best sets of lungs in the business and is a truly excellent singer. It’s just his Las Vegas style material that sucks. Stop Breaking My Heart is an absolutely thunderous uptempo dancer which surprisingly failed to chart on it’s original 1966 issue and is quite hard to find (though the track easily can be found on a 1969 reissue). Interestingly, the flip of this record, Never Give Away Love, somehow came to the attention of White Cliffs Records in the USA who cut a version which has been a recent Northern biggie on the collector’s circuit. By the way, Tom Jones also has a few decent tracks hidden away on UK LP’s of the 60’s including a version of Dance Of Love, though his version of Doctor Love, good as it is, is not a version of Bobby Sheen/Whispers.

12373 Truly Smith - My Smile Is Just A Frown Turned Upside Down. Fabulous, smooth version of a wonderful Carolyn Crawford Motown single, price rocketed from 3 to 25 in a matter of weeks following my reviewing it in 1990! Truly’s other Decca single of interest, I Wanna Go Back There Again, is a strong version of Chris Clark’s US hit which was covered by several UK artists in 1967. It seems she bowed out with a final single for MGM in 1968, This Is The First Time, which has a small following on the collectors scene. A French Decca EP also exists.

22376 Frankie & Johnny - I’ll Hold You. Discovered by Mick Smith in 1977 (according to Mick Smith!), this is one of the best ever UK soul productions, due mainly to the superb vocal performances by this male/female duet. Relegated to a B side by the pleasant but unsensational I’m Never Gonna Leave You, the duo also recorded unsuccessfully on Parlophone (I Wanna make You Understand), but this one-off Decca single really is the business. It’s a beat ballad of the highest order with Decca stretching the budget to provide a full orchestral backing. What’s confusing about this single though is it’s catalogue number. 99% of Decca releases have a "12" prefix, whereas this one has a "22" prefix. I’m sure that this signifies that it was an export issue, but I was told by the person I bought my copy from that he bought it when it was released (!) from his local high street record shop. Hmmm.

Anyway, for anyone interested, ‘Frankie’ was Maggie Bell, a super Scottish vocalist who came to fame with the hard rockin’ Stone The Crows in the early 70’s. ‘Johnny’ was Johnny Curtis who cut a terrific beat ballad entitled Our Love’s Disintegrating for Parlophone which should be tracked down immediately. Bizarrely, I’ll Hold You was also issued in the US on Hickory, though look out for counterfeit white demos which are in abundance.

12378 Stevie Kimble - All The Time In The World. First off, Stevie is a girl, not a guy, ok. This is one of my favourite UK records and one which should have had at least a little attention paid to it because it doesn’t deserve it’s collectors only status. Uptempo Northern with a very strange echo-laden production, this brassy beater incredibly came out as a B side to a very inferior A, but I’d love to get hold of a copy of this again. Again, a one-off single by an artist who subsequently disappeared.

22534 Bats - Listen To My Heart. An Irish group who recorded for Columbia before arriving at decca and cutting three flop singles. Listen To My Heart is an absolute stormer of a record with a very distinctive piano riff which got a few spins in late-period Mr.M’s but remains typically obscure. This really is a pounding dancer which would do untold damage to leather soles everywhere if exposed. Interestingly, this disc also has a ‘22’ prefix - an export to Ireland perhaps! N.B. This got a US release on Parrot, as did several other decca 45’s.

12685 John E.Paul - I Wanna Know. A crazy stomper from the halcyon days of 1976, this one absolutely packed the floor for nearly 12 months before a legal repress from decca took the wind out of it’s sails. A country and western singer from Liverpool, this was the flip to the dour Prince Of Players - a bigger contrast between two sides of a record could not be found anywhere else. This one leaves me cold now, but just over 20 years ago I - and others - would have paid to get into the Casino just to hear this record!

12923 Billie Davis - Nobody’s Home To Go Home. Bizarre, incomplete title - there should be another "To" on the end - but a bittersweet record from someone who’s probably lived the lyrics she’s singing. Billie had more than her fair share of problems in the 60’s, stormy relationships, car accidents, and missing out on the charts by a whisper on several occasions. This is a 1968 B side which is known to but a handful of collectors, and it really is a beautiful beat ballad to midtempo item with some bizarre lyrics ("Yesterday’s coffee is losing it’s taste now that you’ve left me" - ?) but it’s beautifully sung and there’s a smashing string arrangement too. There is some sort of rumour that the Moody Blues may have been involved with this record (or at least with it’s A side), and it’s easily Ms. Davis’ hardest disc to come by.

13555 Mickey Moonshine - Name It You Got It. A surprise Northern ‘smash’ in 1975, this was practically a new release when first played. It’s striking guitar intro had an immediate effect and this was one of those records that people would literally run to the dancefloor to boogie down. Nowadays it would send people scurrying in the opposite direction as this harmless slice of 70’s stomp has long since had it’s day. Still, it was good while it lasted and on the very rare occasion that it does get a play at oldies nights, it holds its own. The artist was said to be a guy called Chris Rainbow who released several singles in the 70’s - this may be true, but Rainbow is not a very good name to begin with is it? Bizarrely, at the peak of it’s popularity, Name It You Got It was reissued by the ever-on-the-ball Decca who proceeded to issue the B side, Baby Blue, as a Part1/Part 2 double A side and forgot to press Name It You Got It At All until a 1976 reissue came along to quell the demand.

Anyone confused by Decca (and it’s Deram offshoot) reissues need only follow this simple test; look at the catalogue number on the right of the label; above this, in small print, will be the mattrix number. If this is upside down, or ‘inverted’, as the posh people say, then you’ve got an original. If it’s the right way up, or ‘upright’, as no-one says, then it’s a reissue. There aren’t many of these about, in fact the only ones that I know of are as follows:

John E. Paul - I Wanna Know (Decca)

Mickey Moonshine - Name It You’ve Got It (Decca)

Danny Williams - Whose Little Girl Are You (Deram)

David Bowie - The Laughing Gnome (Deram)

The last one is obviously not a soul record but it’s the most common of these represses that people attempt to pass off as originals. Having said that, the instrumental backing track stomps a bit.....!

ORIGINAL VERSIONS OF THOSE DECCA COVERS

11819 - Beryl Marsden = Supremes (When The Lovelight Starts Shining)

11875 - Louise Cordet = Mary Wells (Two Lovers)

11928 - Elkie Brooks = Barbara Lewis (Hello Stranger)

11978 - Lena Martell (& 12119 - Eleanor Toner) = Dusty Springfield (All CriedOut) 12030 - Bobby Patrick Big Six = Major Lance (The Monkey Time)

12041 - Steve Aldo = Marvin Gaye (Can I Get A Witness)

12061 - Elkie Brooks = Temptations (The Way You Do The Things You Do)

12067 - Adrienne Poster = Temptations (The Way You Do The Things..)

12069 - Patrick Kerr - Lou Johnson (Magic Potion)

12140 - Birds = Eddie Holland (Leaving Here)

12145 - Barry St.John = Freddie Scott (Hey Girl)

12171 - Bern Elliott = O’Jays (Lipstick Traces)

12192 - Eleanor Toner = Shirelles (Will You Love Me Tomorrow)

12194 - Golden Apples Of The Sun = Major Lance (The Monkey Time)

12233 - Hi Numbers -= Martha & The Vandellas (Dancing In The Street)*

12329 - Adrienne Poster = Margaret Mandolph (Something Beautiful)

12371 - Cyan Three = Temptations (Since I Lost My Baby)

12373 - Truly Smith = Carolyn Crawford (My Smile Is Just A Frown)

12513 - Dave Berry = Evie Sands (Picture Me Gone)

12522 - Signs = Paul Newman (Ain’t You Got A Heart)*

12643 - Billy Forrest = Dreamlovers (You Gave Me Somebody To Love)

12645 - Truly Smith = Chris Clark (I Want To Go Back There Again)

12767 - Al Torino = Spellbinders, Sonny Childe (Inside Outside Upside Down)

12783 - Bobby Hanna = Gladys Knight & The Pips (Everybody Needs Love)

12795 - Tony Newman = Shirley & Lee, Bunny Sigler (Let The Good Times Roll)

12849 - Tam White = Okaysions (Girl Watcher)

13145 - Susan Shiffrin = Edwin Starr (25 Miles)

F 11751 JEAN MARTIN Ain’t gonna kiss ya / Three times three is love 5/8

11788 SHIRLEY JACKSON Broken home / No greater love than mine 8/10

11790 DOUG SHELDON Mickey’s monkey / Faling in love with love 5/8

11819 BERYL MARSDEN When the lovelight starts shining / Love is going to happen to me8/12

11854 JOHNNY CARR & the CADILLACS Respectable / Remember that night 8/12

11875 LOUISE CORDET Two lovers / Don’t make me over 4/5

11928 ELKIE BROOKS Hello stranger / Something’s got a hold on me 8/12

11961 LADY LEE I’m into something good / When love comes along 4/6

11978 LENA MARTELL All cried out / I’m a fool to want you 4/5

11983 ELKIE BROOKS Nothing left to do but cry / Strange though it seems 10/15

12030 BOBBY PATRICK BIG SIX The monkey time / Sweet talk me baby 6/8

12041 STEVE ALDO & the CHALLENGERS Can I get a witness / Baby what you want me to do 15/22

12061 ELKIE BROOKS The way you do the things you do / Blue tonight 12/16

12065 JOHNNY HOWARD BAND El pussy cat / A tune called Harry 4/6

12066 RONNIE JONES My love / It’s all over 8/12

12067 ADRIENNE POSTER The way you do the things you do / He doesn’t love me 8/12

12069 PATRICK KERR Magic potion / It’s no trouble to love 8/15

12119 ELEANOR TONER All cried out / A hundred guitars 5/8

12126 GOLDIE & THE GINGERBREADS The skip (inst) / That’s why I love you 5/6

12137 HIPSTER IMAGE Can't let her go / Make her mine 30/40

12140 BIRDS Leaving here / Next in line 15/25

12145 BARRY ST. JOHN Hey boy / I’ve been crying 5/6

12150 STEVE STEPHENSON SHOWBAND He’s a stranger / Pencil and paper 5/7

12151 LARRY WILLIAMS Slow down / Sweet little baby 10/15

12171 BERN ELLIOTT Lipstick traces / Voodoo woman 5/7

12192 ELEANOR TONER Will you still love me tomorrow / Between the window and the phone 5/6

12194 GOLDEN APPLES OF THE SUN The monkey time / Chocolate rolls, tea and monopoly (unissued)

12210 CATHERINE PARR He's my guy / You belong to me 12/15

12218 SONNY CHILDE Giving up on love / Mighty nice 12/20

12233 HI NUMBERS Dancing in the street / My heart belongs to you 20/30

12292 TOM JONES Key to my heart / Thunderball 4/6

12295 NEW BREED Friends and lovers forever / Unto us 5/7

12318 ST. LOUIS UNION Respect / Girl 5/7

12329 ADRIENNE POSTER Something beautiful / So glad you’re mine 8/12

12337 DAVE BERRY If you wait for love / Hidden 4/5

12349 TOM JONES Stop breaking my heart / Never give away love 7/15

12356 NEWS The entertainer / I count the tears 6/8

12371 CYAN THREE Since I lost my baby / Face of a loser 7/8

12373 TRULY SMITH My smile is just a frown (turned upside down) / Love is me, love is you20/30

22376 FRANKIE & JOHNNY I'll hold you / (I’m) never gonna leave you 100/150

12378 STEVIE KIMBLE All the time in the world / Some things take a little time 15/25

12392 SENSATIONS Look at my baby / What a wonderful feeling 6/8

12435 DAVE BERRY Walk walk talk talk / Mama 3/4

12451 NEIL LANDON I still love you / I’m your puppet 5/6

12463 MARTELLS Time to say goodnight / The cherry song 5/6

12469 GAME Gonna get me someone / Gotta wait 30/40

12501 RAY GATES Have you ever had the blues / It’s such a shame 5/8

12513 DAVE BERRY Picture me gone / Ann 6/10

12522 SIGNS Ain't you got a heart / My baby comes to me 8/10

22534 BATS Listen to my heart / Stop, don’t do it 8/15

12542 NASHVILLE TEENS Words / That’s my woman 5/6

12643 BILLY FORREST You gave me somebody to love / Hallo lover 4/5

12645 TRULY SMITH I wanna go back there again / Window cleaner 5/7

12650 CHANTS Wearing a smile / A lover’s story 6/8

12662 BARNEY J. BARNES It must be love / Can’t stand the pain 6/8

12685 JOHN E. PAUL I wanna know / Prince of players 15/25

12695 BOBBY HANNA Goin' where the lovin' is / Blame it on me 5/7

12721 FEARNS BRASS FOUNDRY Don't change it / John White 15/25

12755 PETE KELLY’S SOLUTION Midnight confession / If your love don’t swing 6/8

12767 AL TORINO Inside, outside, upside down / Can’t nobody love you 6/8

12781 EDWIN BEE Callin' for my baby / I’ve been lovin’ you 6/8

12783 BOBBY HANNA Everybody needs love / Written on the wind 6/8

12795 TONY NEWMAN Let the good times roll / Soul thing 8/15

12816 BUGALOO BRASS Grazing in the grass / Once upon a time 6/8

12823 BILLIE DAVIS Suffer / I want you to be my baby 5/6

12833 BOBBY HANNA To wait for love (is to waste your life away) / Is it wrong 4/5

12849 TAM WHITE Girl watcher / Wait till the night 10/15

22888 GLEN SOUTH Too late for tears / Pasadena 5/6

12899 JIMMY JUSTICE There goes my world / Running out of time 6/8

12909 RONNIE ALDRICH Ride my seesaw / Romance on the North Sea 6/8

12923 BILLIE DAVIS Nobody's home to go home to / I can remember 10/15

22937 SATIN BELLS I stand accused / Sweet darlin’ 5/7

12967 DAVID ESSEX The day the earth stood still / Is it so strange 15/20

13041 TONY NEWMAN Let the good times roll / Soul thing 6/10

13061 TOM JONES Stop breaking my heart / I (who have nothing) 3/5

13145 SUSAN SHIFFRIN 25 miles / To love 3/5

13555 MICKEY MOONSHINE Name it you got it / Baby blue 6/15

13556 CHOCOLATE BOYS Voltaire pier / El bimbo 5/6

 

DEEP SOUL

A very short lived label from 1969, helmed by journalist Dave Godin and running in conjunction with his Soul City set up, Deep Soul only stretched to six releases. The label had possibly the most distinctive design of all UK labels - a purple and white affair using a handwritten style of lettering and strange symetrical patterns all over the label, looking a little like the rsults of someone doodling whilst talking on the phone. Sadly, the music wasn’t quite as distinctive, though Jean Stanback’s If I Ever Needed Love is a powerhouse Sure Shot dancer, and I myself have been lavishing praise upon The Emotions superb, dreamy Somebody New, teen angst at it’s very best. All of the Deep Soul releases are hard to come by, and I can’t ever remember seeing a demo copy. If any exist, these are probably white label test pressings.

DS 9101 JEAN STANBACK If I ever needed love / I still love you 10

9102 AD LIBS Giving up / Appreciation 7

9103 NICKIE LEE And black is beautiful / Faith within 6

9104 EMOTIONS Somebody new / Bushfire 12

9105 JIMMY & LOUISE TIGG A love that never grows cold / Who can I turn to 6

9106 ROY HAMILTON The dark end of the street / One hundred years 7

 

DOT

A famous American label which had it’s own imprint for 3 or 4 years in the 60’s. Nothing to get excited about for soul collectors here, though it’s worth picking up Barry Young’s Show Me The Way which is a semi-known dancer by a vocalist who sounds like a half-cut Dean Martin. You can also find Not Too Long Ago by Joe Stampley, but be mindful that this is definitely not the same version that came out on Pye as The Uniques featuring Joe Stampley.

The label was originally distributed by Pye and used a five figure numbering system and the typical Pye-style white demos. Issues were black with gold lettering. It then moved to EMI where it used a black label with white lettering and the Dot logo in a box at the top. Demos are green and white.

 

DS 16756 BARRY YOUNG Show me the way / One has my name 8/15

DOT 106 AMERICAN BREED Ready, willing and able / Take me if you want me 4/6

DOT 146 JOE STAMPLEY Not too long ago / Soul song 3/4

 

DIRECT

This was a very short lived label owned by Doctor Bird Records, a ska/rocksteady label. There were only four releases, and only one of those is of any interest to us; DS 5002, The Hoop by Errol Dixon is an excellent R & B dancer. Note that the flip, I Don’t Want, is not to be confused with Dixon’s similarly named I Want.

DS 5002 ERROL DIXON The hoop / I don’t want 8

 

DIRECTION

Direction was CBS’s soul label, set up in 1968 and running until around 1973, by which time releases had long since stopped and soul releases switched to the new Epic label. Several Direction singles were still on catalogue in 1975, Brooks & Jerry and The Spellbinders to name but two. Releases were mainly culled from US labels such as Date, Phil L.A. Of Soul, Arctic, Rojac, Epic and Columbia, with the odd rogue UK production such as Gene Latter or Jackie Edwards thrown in for good measure.

The label was yellow with a distinctive ‘arrow’ logo and black lettering. Demos are very similar but have a small black A on the centre of the label and often, but not always, the release date above the title.

Because CBS’s distribution was so good, and perhaps because the labels’ lifespan coincided with a boom time for soul (or ‘discotheque’) music, most of the releases on Direction are relatively easy to find. The main exception is Big Maybelle’s 100mph stormer Quittin’ Time from US Rojac which has always been an in-demand record. Barbara Mason’s Ain’t Got Nobody is an excellent midtempo dancer from US Arctic and has gained a few plays recently. The effervescent I Got What It Takes by Brooks & Jerry was a Twisted Wheel classic which still sounds great today, one of those records which always manages to brighten up dark nights. Sly & The Family Stone’s breakthrough record Dance To The Music made the charts on Direction, weeks after it had been issued and then withdrawn by Columbia. The Columbia version is a different mix to the better known Direction version.

Barbara & Brenda’s Never Love A Robin is another veteran on the soul scene but copies are getting scarcer as the years go by. Ditto The Spellbinders’ Help Me, a true Northern classic, and as a bonus it has the almost-as-good Chain Reaction on the flip.

Finally, Flavor’s Sally Had A Party is a note-for-note copy of Spencer Davis Group’s Gimme Some Lovin’ with different lyrics. Excellent stuff.

Nothing on Direction, apart from Big Maybelle, should cost you more than a tenner, and I predict that many of the later releases will one day become collectable as there must be several ‘crossover’ type sounds tucked away on those obscure B sides.

Incidentally, The Vibrations’ Cause You’re Mine which was a massive in-demander in the mid-70’s and again in the early 80’s, was originally available on a Vibrations Greatest Hits album on UK Direction.

58-2712 INEZ & CHARLIE FOXX I ain’t goin’ for that / Undecided 4/6

3084 GLORIES (I love you but) give me my freedom / Security 4/6

3192 INEZ & CHARLIE FOXX 1234567 count the days / A stranger I don’t know 4/6

3267 BROOKS & JERRY I got what it takes / Part II 5/8

3300 GLORIES Sing me a love song / Ooh baby that’s love 4/6

3312 BIG MAYBELLE Quittin' time / I can’t wait any longer 15/20

3382 BARBARA MASON Oh how it hurts / Ain’t got nobody 8/143415 PEACHES & HERB I need your love so desperately / Let it be me 4/6

3511 VIBRATIONS Love in them there hills / Remember the rain 4/6

3518 CLIFF NOBLES & CO. The horse / Love is alright 5/6

3520 BANDWAGON Baby make your own sweet music / On the day we fall in love 4/6

3568 SLY & the FAMILY STONE Dance to the music / Let me hear it from you 3/5

3574 VIVIEN REED I wanna be free / Yours until tomorrow 4/5

3597 FLAVOR Sally had a party / Shop around 7/8

3603 PALMER JONES Great magic of love / Dancing master 4/6

3646 GLORIES My sweet sweet baby / Stand by (I’m coming home) 4/5

3670 BANDWAGON Breaking down the walls of heartache / Dancing master 3/5

3678 BRENDA & the TABULATIONS Baby you're so right for me / To the one I love 4/6

3707 SLY & the FAMILY STONE M’lady / Life 3/6

3721 JAMES BOYS The mule / The horse 3/5

3738 CLIFF NOBLES Judge baby I'm back / Horse fever 3/5

3799 BARBARA & BRENDA Never love a robin / Sally’s party 8/10

3816 INEZ & CHARLIE FOXX Baby drop a dime / Come on in 4/6

3854 GLADIATORS Girl don't make me wait / Can’t get away from your heart 6/7

3865 CHAMBERS BROTHERS I can't turn you loose / Do your thing 4/6

3970 SPELLBINDERS Chain reaction / Help me 5/7

4059 MASKMAN & the AGENTS One eye open / Y’all 4/5

4097 SCREAMIN’ JAY HAWKINS I put a spell on you / Little demon 5/6

4212 UDELL T. ANDERSON Love ain't love / Funky walk 4/5

4308 GLADIATORS I'll always love you / Waitin’ on the shores of nowhere 5/6

4430 MONGO SANTAMARIA 25 miles / El tres 5/6

4450 TYMES Find my way / If you love me baby 3/4

4507 GLADIATORS As long as I live / Everything 3/4

4675 STEELERS Get itfrom the bottom / I’m sorry 3/4

4816 MARY WELLS Dig the way I feel / Love shooting bandit 3/4

4969 VILLAGE SOUL CHOIR The cat walk / The country walk 3/4

 

DERAM

An innovative attempt by Decca to throw of it’s dowdy image and move with the times by launching it’s own ‘progressive’ label, Deram got off to a fantastic start with hits for Cat Stevens and Procul Harum, but underfunding and lack of promotion kept it’s profile to a minimum. It’s roster of artists was probably the most eclectic collection anywhere, and it may have been this diversity that finally sent the label back to whence it came. The label is now much sought after for it’s album releases, many of which easily reach three figures due to extremely poor sales on original issue. Surprisingly, inbetween the psychedelia, whimsy, white blues, music hall and Martins Magic Sounds, there are a few decent soul cuts to look out for, of which more in a moment.

Deram issues are white with a brown top which contains a white Deram logo. Demos were surprisingly unlike the rest of the Decca group: instead of utilising the ‘slatted’ edge effect, they are instead a copy of the issues, but with the brown replaced by a very attractive blue/green colour, along with release date details. These are scarce!

All of Deram’s Northern releases were recorded in the UK, even those by American artists. Perversely, records by Yanks such as Clyde McPhatter and The Flirtations were then released on US Deram. McPhatter, approaching the end of an ‘interesting’ career and shortly before his tragic death, cut a storming dancer in the shape of Baby You Got It, a very underrated record, whilst the Flirtations were very popular in the UK on the chicken in the basket circuit whilst never translating this success into record sales. They released at least four singles and a couple of albums on Deram, best cut being Nothing But A Heartache. Danny Williams’ Whose Little Girl Are You made a sudden impact when first spun at Wigan in around May 77, but by July it had been repressed and was dropped from the playlists. Shame, because this was a terrific britsoul dancer and a very catchy tune to boot, albeit if only a B side to a schmaltzy version of Never My Love. Both Eyes Of Blue singles are excellent, Heart Trouble being a fine version of The Parliaments, and the absurdly titled Supermarket Full Of Cans being a Martin-Coulter number. The latter was also released on US Deram. They later cut two sought after albums for Mercury before splitting. The Quick cut three singles for the label including the Mod monster instrumental Berts Apple Crumble which is highly sought after and features some terrific hammond organ work. Both Timebox singles are good, as are there other Deram releases and those for previous label Piccadilly. The Fantastics were, according to legend, previously known as The Velours (whose I’m Gonna Change has been a Northern staple for decades). Finally, just to clear up a long-running misunderstanding, Deram 101, Where The Good Times Are, is absolutely no relation to the record of the same title on US 20th Century by Beverly Wright. The Beverly on the UK version is Beverly Martyn, wife of guitarist John Martyn, with whom she was part of a folky duo.

A few years ago Kent released an album of decca/Deram tracks entitled Rhythm & Blue Eyed Soul, a rather strange concoction of ballads, Northern, pop and soul, including Mickey Moonshine, a couple of Flirtations dancers, Danny Williams, Fearns Brass Foundry’s very soulful Don’t Change It, John E Paul, The Quik and Timebox among others. At the time of writing, this is one of the few Kent albums still available, but the question must be...why?

N.B. Surely I don’t need to point out that the labels’ name is a very obvious anagram of ‘Dream’ do I?

DM 106 EYES OF BLUE Heart trouble / Up and down 15/25

114 EYES OF BLUE Supermarket full of cans / Don’t ask me to mend your broken heart10/18

121 QUIK Berfs apple crumble / Love is a beautiful thing 30/40

125 OUTER LIMITS Just one more chance / Help me please 15/20

133 JON GUNN I just made up my mind / Now it’s my turn 6/9

149 DANNY WILLAMS Whose little girl are you / Never my love 6/15

165 DOUBLE FEATURE Handbags and gladrags / Just another lonely night 5/7

194 TIMEBOX Beggin' / A woman that’s waiting 5/10

195 FLIRTATIONS Someone out there / How can you tell me 5/6

199 DANNY WILLIAMS Everybody needs somebody / They will never understand 5/6

202 CLYDE McPHATTER Only a fool / Thank you love 5/6

216 FLIRTATIONS Nothing but a heartache / Christmas time is here again 8/12

219 TIMEBOX Girl don't make me wait / Gone is the sad man 6/10

223 CLYDE McPHATTER Baby you got it / Baby I could be so good at lovin’ you 6/10

252 FLIRTATIONS What’s so good about goodbye my love / Once I had a love 5/6

283 FANTASTICS Ask the lonely / Waiting round for heartaches 5/6

319 JOHNNY GOODISON A little understanding / One mistake 5/6

327 BROTHERHOOD OF MAN Reach out your hand / A better tomorrow 5/6

351 FLIRTATIONS Need your loving / I wanna be there 5/6

383 COLIN AREETY One night affair / I don’t want to be right 3/4

(c) Pete Smith 1998

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Copyright M Fitzpatrick
mickfitz@koan.de