The enclosed sixteen page booklet for You Got the Power: Northern Soul 1964-1967 begins with Ady Croasdell’s description of northern soul music in England, “Teenagers who had fallen in love with the classic mid-1960s Motown sound decided they did not want to move with the U.S. soul scene and go ‘funky.’ Instead they chose to root out records with that classic up-tempo dance groove that had not been played in mainly mod clubs before.” In Manchester and northern British towns, this musical craze was happening much like the U.S. counterpart from Virginia Beach to Myrtle Beach called beach music. The Cameo-Parkway family of labels, including Fairmount, were based out of Philadelphia, therefore many of the artists on this compilation are from the City of Brotherly Love, sharing a collection of danceable love songs.
In his 2019 Goldmine interview Chip Taylor stated, “Al Gorgoni and I wrote several songs together back in the 1960s and we also produced Evie Sands.” From those sessions, Evie’s steady and powerfully sung “Picture Me Gone” is included.
Producer Jerry Ross said, “The 81 was a line dance where the entire room rocked with choreography, which was popularized by Philly DJs Hy Lit and Jerry Blavat. The song and the trio, Candy & The Kisses, were successful in Philly, Baltimore and New York, too.” Jerry co-wrote “The 81” with Kenny Gamble. Fans of Martha & The Vandellas will enjoy this selection. The recording is filled with hand claps and brass and is the highest charting pop single on the compilation, reaching No. 51 in 1964. Most of these rare songs did not chart.
There are also five flip sides featured, including a song that Eddie Holman sang and co-wrote called “Eddie’s My Name,” where he hit high notes at the end of the recording, similar to what we would hear a few years later on his pop one-hit wonder gold single “Hey There Lonely Girl.”
Bunny Sigler’s “Girl Don’t Make Me Wait” has a driving beat on par with The Four Seasons’ Top 40 hit “Beggin’” and was written by Leon Huff. Vickie Baines’ “Country Girl” has a Phil Spector inspired sound. Hattie Winston sounds like early Dionne Warwick on “Pass Me By,” written by Arthur Ross and Thom Bell. Tari Stevens’ “(Your Love Was Just a) False Alarm” shares the bounce heard on The Reflections “(Just Like) Romeo & Juliet.” Jerry Jackson’s “It’s Rough Out There” has an engaging rough vocal quality and Lonnie Youngblood’s vocal delivery on “The Grass (Will Sing for You)” captures the essence of General Johnson of The Chairmen of The Board. “S.O.S. (Heart in Distress),” the debut single for Christine Cooper, and the finale, “You Didn’t Say a Word” by Yvonne Baker, are among the standouts.
As a gift, You Got the Power, would make for a nice holiday surprise for the record collector in your life, who constantly seeks rare gems, and as a gift for yourself, in a year where musical escape is very welcome.