G4E3 – Northern Soul & Disco – Middle Era

Featuring Maxine Nightingale, The Exciters, L J Johnson, Tommy Hunt, The Javells

Welcome pop pickers.

This is based on stuff like what I like, there will be various bands and artists to try and cheer you up and kick-start your weekend.  Hopefully for many of you, to bring back some fond memories and get your foot tapping.

This week we are back to Northern Soul and Disco.  This is what we heard at the Youth Club in the early 1970’s through to the late 1980’s, when most nights were party nights, men were men and girls were girls and you met on the dance floor.  Happier times.

Thank you to Wiki and Top of the Pops.

Curtesy Wiki:

A variety of recordings were made later in the 1970s that were specifically aimed at the northern soul scene, which also went on to become UK top 40 hits. These included: the Exciters’ “Reaching For the Best” (UK No. 31, October 1975), L. J. Johnson’s “Your Magic Put a Spell on Me” (UK No. 27, February 1976), and Tommy Hunt’s “Loving On the Losing Side” (UK No. 28, August 1976). “Goodbye Nothing To Say”, by the white British group the Javells, was identified by Dave McAleer of Pye’s Disco Demand label as having an authentic northern soul feel. McAleer gave acetates to Wigan Casino DJ’s Russ Winstanley, Kev Roberts, Richard Searling (a Wigan Casino DJ and promoter), and the tune became popular among the dancers at the venue. The song was also the subject of potential legal action against the writers of Maxine Nightingale’s “Right Back Where We Started From“. Disco Demand then released the song as a 45 rpm single, reaching UK No. 26 in November 1974. To promote the single on BBC’s Top of the Pops, the performer was accompanied by two Wigan Casino dancers.

In at least one case, a previously obscure recording was specially remixed to appeal to northern soul fans: the 1968 recording “Footsee” by Canadian group the Chosen Few was sped up, overdubbed and remixed to emerge as the 1975 UK No. 9 hit “Footsee”, now credited to Wigan’s Chosen Few. In addition, the northern soul favourite “Skiing in the Snow“, originally by the Invitations, was covered by local band Wigan’s Ovation, and reached No. 12 in the UK Singles Chart. These versions were not well received by the northern soul community as their success brought wider awareness to the subculture.

The Tunes:

Just before the arrival of Disco music, came Northern Soul.  Northern Soul itself came out of the Motown sound.

The featured track is one you will know, if not the singer:
Maxine Nightingale – Right Back Where We Started From • TopPop

She did have another hit, then again she has a lovely voice:
Maxine Nightingale – Lead me On, a rather pleasant little ditty.

Here she is again on some German show, back to proper Northern Soul now:
Maxine Nightingale – Love Hit Me

The Exciters – Reaching For The Best – I used to dance to this in the youth club.  Not very good at dancing, did stop me from stabbing people though.

LJ. Johnson – Your Magic Put A Spell On Me – not heard this for years, brings back memories.

Tommy Hunt – Loving On The Losing Side (1976).  Great Northern Soul, could easily be a top Motown song.  Well worth a listen.

Nosmo King & The Javells – Goodbye Nothing to Say (Top of the Pops 1974).  Northern Soul breaking into Top of the Pops.  If I remember it was just The Javells doing this, then some non entity, but great voice Nosmo King (geddit) joined for this quite big hit.

Now I do remember this well, at the time, and to be perfectly honest, jolly good dancing:
Wigans Chosen Few – Footsie.  No laughing at the back, it was of its time,

Researching this I cam across a couple of awesome songs, from people I had never heard of, again worth a play:

The Sapphires – Gotta Have Your Love

I leave you with this classic, pretty sure you may remember the name, maybe not the tune until the chorus:
Archie Bell & The Drells – Here I Go Again

Next time, we move into a bit of Disco.  Glad rags on time, Ladies, handbag at the ready to dance round please.

Singalong, enjoy and be happy!

Links to Origins Series:

Genre 1 Episode 1 – Motown – The Beginning Genre 1 Episode 2 – Motown – The early Days Genre 1 Episode 3 – Motown – The early Days Part 2
Genre 2 Episode 1 –Glam Rock – The Beginning


Genre 2 Episode 2 –Glam Rock – The early days Genre 2 Episode 3 –Glam Rock – The early days Part 2
Genre 2 Episode 4 – Glam Rock – The beginning
Genre 3 Episode 1 – The Singers


Genre 3 Episode 2 – The Singers – The early Days Genre 3 Episode 3 -Origins of the Singers  -Later time
G4E1 – Origins of Northern Soul & Disco – The Beginning  G4E2 – Northern Soul and Disco – Early days  
G5E1 – Origins of Rock ‘n’ Roll – The Beginning G5E2 – Origins of Rock ‘n’ Roll – Early Days  
G6E1 – Those different ones like what I like G6E2 – Those different ones like what I like – Part 2  
G6E3 – Those different ones like what I like – Part 3    

Featured image: NCRV, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL, via Wikimedia Commons

© Phil the ex test manager 2023