What sort of guilty secrets, exactly, could the Northern soul scene harbor? Did someone kill and bury a man at an all-night dance party in a heated argument over a particularly rare '60s soul 45? The secrets this compilation expose, however, turn out to be much more benign. Much of the Northern soul crowd is noted for its purism, but it seems that some unhip tracks -- many with only tenuous connections to soul, and some not even performed by African-Americans -- achieved some popularity at Northern soul events, at least before the guardians of good taste got wise to what was going on. This compilation gathers a couple dozen of the prime offenders, including songs by a surf combo (the Rumblers), a British blue-eyed soulster (Kiki Dee), a psychedelic garage band (the Seeds' "Pushin' Too Hard"), an Elvis Presley imitator (Ral Donner), girl group-styled singers, and pop/rockers with the mildest of soul tinges (Jay & the Americans, Keith). There's even some disco and, of all things, a 1966 hit by Bobby Goldsboro, a star one might think as far removed from soul of any kind as possible. The rhyme or reason as to why most of these songs picked up spins on Northern soul dancefloors remains elusive; by and large, they had good beats, but so do many other tracks that fall outside of Northern soul's rather strict parameters of rare, uptempo vintage soul sides. The result is, perversely, an anthology that might appeal to the general rock and soul fan more than the average generic Northern soul collection (and there are many such collections on the Kent label alone), even as it invites scorn from Northern soul diehards. It's really not that great a listen, and it's uneven, but it does have some good cuts, some of them quite rare and few of them very familiar, the hits by the Seeds and Goldsboro excepted. Though much of this is somewhat gawky white '60s pop/rock with a mild dash of blue-eyed soul, it has a the charm of guilty pleasure, at times sounding like a collection of songs that could have been hits with a different singer (like Johnny Vanelli's 1968 single "Seven Days of Loving You" and Mary Saenz's soulful 1964 girl groupish outing "Would She Do That for You"). Some of the artists are actual respected soul singers (Rodger Collins, Garland Green), but it's really the ones who seem like they got slipped onto a Northern soul turntable by mistake that make this interesting.
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