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Various - The Scene Club, Ham Yard, London 1963-66

  by Tony Gaughan

published: 8 / 6 / 2015

Various - The Scene Club, Ham Yard, London 1963-66
Label: Charly Records
Format: CD


Excellent compilation of both obscure and classic Northern Soul and R and B tracks, which first came to prominence at the influential Scene Club in London between 1963 and 1966

The Scene Club in the cobbled Ham Yard in London's West End was the coolest club in town in 1963. DJs such as the incredibly gifted Guy Stevens, whose knowledge of R&B was as formidable as his record collection, used to play there. Stevens is noted as being the very first R&B DJ certainly in this country and he went on to be an influence on the Rolling Stones and the Who among others. He was also the producer shortly before his death of the Clash's 'London Calling' album. If one looks overall at the Northern Soul 'scene', some might think that it was more synonymous with hip 'fashion'than the music itself. Indeed a visit even to this day to a Northern Soul night can often be more about oneupmanship . This record, which spawns twenty-eight of the best songs of the years 1963 to 1966, is clearly a labour of love. It is beautifully compiled and comes with an exceptionally informative and inspiring booklet, which covers the history and the roots of proper R&B,not today's hijacking of the genre by warbling repetitive one hit wonders. Every song is worthy of attenion from the opening Betty Everett's 'I Got a Claim on You', to Ike and Tina Turner's 'A Fool in Love' and Jimmy Reed's wonderful 'Ain't That Loving You Baby', to Wilbert Henderson's much covered 'Let's Stick Together', which was a real floor filler in 1963. There are just so many gems on this disc that when you get mid-point to Chris Kenner's classic 'Land of 1,000 Dances', which was covered by Wilson Pickett four years later you can't imagine it getting much better, but it does with the Upsetters 'Jaywalking', Sonny Night's version of 'Confidential' and closer Betty Banks' 'Go Now', a fitting finale to a fantastic collection. You must own this record if you enjoy R&B or Northern Soul.

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