Saturday, October 20, 2007

Northern soul at the Forum

The Kent Records 25th anniversary show at The Forum brought back a taste of the sixties soul package shows that used to visit fairly regularly a couple of decades ago. Five Northern soul acts had 45 minutes on stage each and the result was an action packed evening of high class soul music. I missed the first act, Winfield Parker but was there in time for Mary Love. I saw her a few years ago in the more intimate surroundings of the Jazz Cafe and she was excellent. She was great this time as well, although the sound quality was less than perfect. He Northern favourite Lay My Burden Down really got the crowd going.
She was followed on stage by The Flirtations (sometimes known as the Gypsies) who took the music up a notch with a professional set. Most of their best records were recorded for Deram and I think all three of them have lived in the UK for many years. The same applies to Tommy Hunt, described by the MC as the King of Wigan in honour of his popularity at the Wigan Casino in the 70s. Tommy told the crowd that he's 75 but he didn't look it and his slim figure, black hair and pencil moustache and excellent vocals belied his years. A former Flamingo, he ran through some of his better known numbers, including The Worksong, Human and Crackin' Up looking cool in a white drape jacket.
Final act and the star of the show for me was Maxine Brown, looking so good that it's hard to believe that her first record All In My Mind was recorded as long ago as 1961. She was fantastic on hits like One In a Million, Oh No Not My Baby, One Step at a Time and Torture. She finished with It Takes Two in a duet with Tommy Hunt and they were joined on stage by the other acts. Great work by Ady Croasdell in getting the show together. Some wonderful sixties soul from a great group of artists.


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