Yashiv Cohen is both Men of North Country’s lead vocalist and the man behind Tel Aviv Soul Club. The DJ and bandleader has been living in Tel Aviv for 15 years and it was there that the story of his seven-piece group began. Having been overheard singing along to a 45 he was playing, Cohen was encouraged to front a group. He got together with his peers, put a couple of demos together and before long, had attracted the interest of Acid Jazz records.
Their Rock ‘n’ Soul sound is one that harkens back to the heyday of Northern Soul and mod culture. It’s a groovy, danceable brand of R&B that has caught the attention of tastemakers in high places – funk connoiseur Craig Charles being one of them! Having played a soothing, stripped-back session for BBC Radio London yesterday, Yashiv hits us with something heavier this morning: a playlist outlining the sound of Tel Aviv soul club.
Addressing their live set at this month’s Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club, Cohen says, ‘Oh my, Manchester. We’re so excited to come and play the Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club. Of course it’s Craig’s home base, which makes it extra special, but first and foremost, to us, it’s the birthplace of Northern Soul and home to the legendary Twisted Wheel. Northern Soul has always been our musical beacon. How can you not love a culture that is based on the love of the underdog, recognizing that it is much more truthful and indeed lively than anything else?’
Walking us through his selections, Yashiv expresses his feelings on the importance of the instrumental, as well as contemporary takes on Northern Soul. ‘Here’s a playlist of some of the classics that we keep going back to, mostly on the Tel Aviv Soul Club nights. From the dark soul perfection of Betty Harris to the stomping yet saddest lyrics of Carl Carlton. From a cheeky Ramble to a Memphis Bar-B-Q, it’s all there. Four class-A instrumentals (nothing beats a good instrumental), the two greatest vocalists ever (Bland and Stubbs, it’s a tie), a soon-to-be-covered classic, and our sister-band closing the set. Hope you enjoy and get your dancing shoes on!’