Detroit to Wigan: A complete guide to Northern Soul courtesy of The SoulTrain

The SoulTrain are considered by many to be the premier Northern Soul band in the country, with a repertoire few can rival and an on-stage energy few else can muster. The tunes they play are ones which they and many individuals from the North of England feel a great affinity with, given the history of the Northern Soul scene and the nostalgia many have for it. We’re chuffed that the group have taken the time to assemble this all-encompassing playlist, delving deep into the music’s U.S. roots and explaining what went down when it arrived at its home from home, the legendary Wigan Casino.

The band kick things off in Detroit, with Jackie Wilson, Detroit born and raised and two more Detroit crackers from the Motown label, a key piece of the Northern Soul story…

Jackie Wilson – (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher

 

Junior Walker – (I’m A) Road Runner

Four Tops – It’s The Same Old Song

The SoulTrain:Crossing towards Atlantic Records, The SoulTrain’s horn section, “The Union Pacific Horns” are named after the Railroad company of Western America”.

Arthur Conley – Sweet Soul Music

Wilson Pickett – Land of 1000 Dances

The SoulTrain: “Next, on to some unknown and undiscovered soul artists from the U.S. who found an audience in the working class towns of Northern England”.

Chuck Wood – Seven Days Too Long

Billy Butler – Right Track

The SoulTrain: “Through the late ‘60s and ‘70s, clubs in Northern England like Wigan Casino, The Twisted Wheel and Blackpool Mecca to name but three, had DJ’s that sourced recordings that hadn’t had mainstream commercial success. Many of these tunes are now extremely well known and are even having a resurgence today with many tunes being used in radio and television commercials. Here a few of those!”

Bobby Angelle – It’s Just Gotta Be That Way

Just Brothers – Sliced Tomatoes

The SoulTrain: “The people who went to the soul clubs had very distinctive styles of dress: polo shirts, oxford bags, brogues etc.. The dance moves were also very distinctive; some of the later dance moves were inspired by martial arts moves! As this underground Northern Soul movement gained popularity, some British acts also found a piece of the action. Artists such as…

Wayne Gibson – Under My Thumb

… and Southport’s own

Timebox – Beggin’

…became floor fillers at venues across the North of England.”

“Each of the soul clubs had particular favourite songs (signature tunes) but most famously would be the last three tunes played at the end of each Northern Soul “All Nighter”.

Tobi Legend – Time Will Pass You By

Jimmy Radcliffe – Long After Tonight is All Over

Dean Parish – I’m On My Way

The SoulTrain:Northern Soul even throughout the digital age of music has been religiously played on vinyl with many purists accepting nothing else! As a result many 7” vinyl singles are still collected and exchanged. One single of which there were reportedly only two copies sold for £25,000 in 2009. This tune is a Northern Soul anthem, currently used on a TV commercial, and a mainstay in The SoulTrains set, the brilliant…”

Frank Wilson – Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)