Hong Kong Beat mobile disco skating and backdropping, again, with northern soul

As the resident DJ at the Swindon’s Bird Nest club sometime back in 1975, I started spinning northern soul tracks on a Wednesday night for a few months, for a bunch of lads that came in from Newbury, Oxford, Salisbury, Reading and eventually further afield as news spread, until the manager took a dislike to their style of, as he called it, “poofter dancing” because they didn’t dance with girls, or in fact anybody but the music. Troglodyte, although that isn’t what I called him at the time.

For a while at least, it was a little piece of the northern soul scene in the south …

This mix set is fairly representative of the tracks I played back then, though I’ve added a few I didn’t know at the time, like the brilliant John Leach ‘put that woman down’, but would have been regular floor fillers if I’d had them back then.

The quality of some tracks is not great as they are 40-50 year old vinyl!

Keep the Faith.

Hong Kong Beat mobile disco presents the New Soul Men

Many people regard the 60s and 70s as the era of the great soul men – Wilson Pickett, the Reverend Al Green, Barry White, Marvin Gaye… And certainly it seemed that during the next couple of decades, R&B moved away from soulful tunes and voices in the main, although the advent of neo soul kept an undercurrent alive.

However the past 10 years or so has seen a resurgence in the popularity of great soul music with some new neo soul male artists, notably D’Angelo and of course John Legend, who’s voice seems to be popping up everywhere from his own albums, to Tarantino movies, to dance tunes, to hip-hop. But they are not alone in reviving the feeling that only a silky tenor or baritone can bring to a set of heart grabbing soulful lyrics.

So for Soulful Saturday this week, Hong Kong Beat presents a selection of some of the New Soul Men in the Millennium.

What’s going on, indeed.

Hong Kong Beat mobile disco’s 80s soul weekender, part 2

Heading into Soulful Saturday with part 2 of Hong Kong Beat’s 80s soul weekender.


Hong Kong Beat mobile disco with contemporary soul sisters for Soulful Saturday

The nice thing about soul music is that it’s a gift that keeps on giving. One generation influences the next, and in turn builds on the last.

Presenting contemporary soul sisters who grew up listening to the likes of the great classic soul sisters: Aretha, Etta, Dionne, Martha, Diana, Whitney, Gladys… But who have brought their own thing to the party, with great voices tuned to classic licks infused with funk, swing and hip-hop.

It doesn’t get much more soulful than these ladies.

Hong Kong Beat mobile disco grabs more 45s from the male soul vocal group crate.

There were just too many great soul groups to include in last week’s offering and left out so many great voices like Harold Melvin, Smokey Robinson and Curtis Mayfield, so this week Soulful Saturday continues with Part 2 of the great male vocal soul groups.

Hong Kong Beat mobile disco doing the Soul City Walk with soul vocal groups

When people reflect on 60s soul they often think of the great vocal groups of Motown, male and female, but Motown represented only a partial, though definitely successful, contribution to the genre, as there were key vocal groups before, after the 60s, and from outside of Detroit, like The Dells, The Impressions, The Chi-Lites and The Blue Notes.

This week for Soulful Saturday, here is part one of a selection of great vocal groups of the 60s and 70s, smooth in their sharp-tailored matching suits, clicking their fingers, stepping and harmonizing, including a shout to The Pips who backed Gladys Knight so expertly for almost four decades.

So, let’s do the Soul City Walk…

Hong Kong Beat mobile disco presents sixties soul sister girl groups

Continuing the 60s Soulful Saturday theme, this week it’s the turn of the phenomena that was the rise of the R&B girl groups.

Everybody’s heard of Diana Ross & The Supremes, probably Martha Reeves & The Vandellas too, but it wasn’t just about Motown. Phil Spector brought about the Ronettes and the Crystals, while many minor, as well as major soul labels like Chess and Atlantic, had their share of girl groups as well.

Kicking this set off with a cover of a Beatles cover of a Smokey Robinson song by, perhaps, the best known of the girl groups, and finishing with one of the first (credited anyway) successful girl groups, with some well-known and some not-so well-known tracks in between.

Get your beehive on…

Hong Kong Beat mobile disco presents the soul sounds of the 60s Mods

Apart from love of cafĂ© culture, beat music, and scooters with lots of shiny mirrors and lights, the UK’s 1960s Mods were into the sounds of American soul that had inspired so many of the UK beat artists, like the Animals, Kinks, and Small Faces. Sounds from Motown, Chess, Stax, Atlantic, and other great soul labels, found there way into, predominantly, white UK youth culture.

Here’s just a small selection of kind of, for that time, alien tunes that would have been heard on jukeboxes along the south coast and everywhere on the road between Croydon and Brighton in those days.

Hong Kong Beat mobile disco spins 60s Soul Sisters for Soulful Saturday

This week , Hong Kong Beat turns back to the finger snapping and toe tapping sounds of Sixties soul sisters for Soulful Saturday. Try saying that with a mouthful of blancmange…

Get your beehives on!

Hong Kong Beat mobile disco puts on its skating shoes for Soulful Saturday, with some beating Northern Soul tunes

UK’s Northern Soul, to those that knew the scene, was one of the most exciting and exhilarating music scenes in the 70s and 80s, and is enjoying a revival in UK on the heels of TV documentaries and film, recording the memories of its now aging fans for posterity.

It was the depressed state of Britain in the 70s that gave rise to one of the most exciting working class sub-cultures of the time. Similar to the 60s mods in the love of blues and soul music, but it was more about the dancing and release from life’s daily grind, and spawned legendary clubs and events, like Manchester’s Twisted Wheel, The Wigan Casino, Blackpool Mecca and Camden all-nighters, that eventually drew fans from all over the country.

Coach loads of young men and women would travel 2 or 3 hundred miles, even further, for a Saturday night release in venues that, in most cases, had seen better days, and listening to tunes, in many cases, by artists who had never been heard of much at home in the US, never mind across the Atlantic. Consequently, a number of artists found their careers given a boost of post career fame by the scene.

In my residencies in The Bird Nest, and Carriages in Swindon at the time, I spun northern soul almost exclusively on a Wednesday night to bring in the nearby fans, and regularly dropped short sets into the Thursday, Friday and Saturday gigs.

Accidentally termed ‘northern soul’ by a London record shop owner, because of the requests by football supporters visiting London from predominantly the Midlands and north of UK, alongside well known artists and sounds from Motown, where obscure US R&B and, in some cases, well known blue-eyed soul artists who had recorded music with just the right kind of beat to express yourself out on the floor…