Various Artists

Northern Soul From the City: 30 Legendary Northern Soul Anthems

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Northern Soul From the City assembles 30 cuts from the formative years of Britain's Northern Soul club culture, and fittingly, all of the material included herein first appeared on Soul City, the enormously influential label founded by Dave Godin, the unrivaled godfather of Northern Soul who died in late 1994. Soul City began in 1967 as a London record shop, the first European retailer of its kind to specialize in black music; from there, Godin began writing a popular, thoughtful column in the fledgling magazine Blues & Soul, often noting the number of Northern-based customers frequenting Soul City in search of little-known Motown knock-offs -- his 1970 article "Up-North Soul Groove" even gave the genre its name. The Soul City label was one of the earliest imprints devoted to giving proper British release to would-be soul classics left for dead in their native America -- accordingly, the sound here is uniformly energetic and upbeat, each and every cut wonderfully emblematic of Northern Soul in its embryonic stages. The inclusion of ultra-rare cuts, lavish packaging and insightful liner notes only sweeten the deal. Highlights include Dennis Edwards' "Johnny on the Spot," the Ad-Libs' "New York in the Dark" and Barbara Lynn's "Trying to Love Two."