Music never stops. Not for me at least. Not when I’m spinning my cranks all on my lonesome. A good song ingratiates itself, driving the rythymn of the ride, the extent of the effort. I watched a movie recently, ‘Northern Soul’, a great film and love letter to a youth movement with its heyday in the early 70s. I was a nipper when these songs were filling Northern dance floors. But you can see why they did. It’s real, proper, earthy, heartfelt, soul. Not the pap that’s passed off as soul these days. This was music with heart and intensity and feeling. Take ‘I’m comun’ home in the mornin’ by Lou Pride for instance.
Heading up the Garth mountain this song was stuck in my head. It wouldn’t shift. Every time the needle danced around the end of the groove, it pulled up, returned and started again. That ‘boom, boom, boom, boom/boom boom boom boom’ of the bass forced my quads to rise and fall. Lou Pride’s voice made my concentrate on the middle distance. The chaos of the horn players threw descending caution to the wind. It’s still there now. I can hear the chorus, the bridge and the mayhem. Am I alone in this? I suspect not. If music is important to you – as it is to me – it leaves an imprint. Tim Buckley in the sun. John Martyn for the slow grind uphill. Terry Callier in a headwind. Solo time trialling to Joe Smith. But When I need to clear the head, cut loose or both, Lou’s going to be back. I just know it.
Northern soul DVDis available here. Northern soul dancers and Lou Pride below. Top image: My turntable, playing Portishead’s ‘Dummy’. But that’s another story altogether.