Greg Wilson's Northern Renaissance

 

Tuesday 10th December 2013
gw-by-ian-tilton

Greg Wilson is a DJ from Merseyside. Starting out in 1975, he stopped for almost 20 years between 1984 and the end of 2003, at which point he started again.

With strong roots in the early 80s electro scene in Manchester, he begun his career as a club DJ at the age of 15, playing funk, soul and disco records, eventually becoming a resident at Wigan Pier and iconic Manchester venues including Legend and The Hacienda, making his mark as an electro jazz-funk specialist.

As well as being a legendary DJ and remixer, Greg Wilson has established himself as a successful record-prodcuer and music writer/blogger. His personal website, www.GregWilson.co.uk, has a recent blog Greg wrote called 'Northern Renaissance' in reference to the current focus of attention on the British Subculture Northern Soul - the music and dance movement that emerged in Northern England in the late 1960s from the British mod scene. 

Read Greg Wilson's 'Norhern Renaissance' blog in full over on his website, or read on for excerpts.

'The Northern Soul movement has marked 2 significant anniversaries this year – the launch of the weekly All-Nighters at the scene’s most famous venue, Wigan Casino, in 1973, as well as the opening of its foundation club, Manchester’s Twisted Wheel, 10 years earlier. 

A new book, ‘Northern Soul – An Illustrated History’ was recently published by Virgin Books, its co-author, Bury-born Elaine Constantine, also the director of the upcoming film ‘Northern Soul’. The book has been well received by Northern aficionados, Constantine (and Gareth Sweeney) congratulated for their insightful overview of the movement, which is enhanced by the anecdotal offerings of some of the DJ’s, dancers and collectors who epitomized Northern Soul.'

'But what exactly is Northern Soul, and what sets it apart from Soul in the traditional sense?

It all stems from the British love of Detroit’s Motown label, and its subsidiaries, including Tamla, Gordy, Soul and VIP, which eventually served to instigate this subculture of dancers and vinyl diggers. These records were released under the umbrella of Tamla Motown in the UK, the label becoming hugely successful in the process, something of a British institution, spawning hit after hit after hit. The Motown sound was originally, along with Ska, and other R&B / Soul releases on labels like Stax and Atlanic, the music of the Mods. Whilst Mod originated in London’s Soho during the late 50’s / early 60’s, by 1967 the club scene in the capital had moved more towards the psychedelic direction popular music had veered off into.... Mod, however, continued to hold sway up North, with the weekly All-Nighters at Manchester’s Twisted Wheel, a magnet for the scooter-riding hordes.'

'As Funk came to the fore in the early 70’s, there were a significant amount of people who didn’t move with the times, but clung onto that 60’s Soul vibe. This trend had been spotted a couple of years previously by Dave Godin, a champion of black American music since the 50’s who was largely responsible for the formation of the Tamla Motown label in the UK. It was Godin who coined the term Northern Soul in reference to the type of music Northern football fans who stopped off at his London shop, Soul City, might buy on the trips to the capital in the late 60’s. After visiting the Twisted Wheel, where Godin, also a writer for Blues & Soul magazine, eagerly enthused about the energy of the scene up North, becoming one of its biggest advocates, the movement began to gain greater profile.' 

'I’ve put together an epic 3 hour 20 minute podcast selection of records that I hope will reflect Northern Soul in its wider context, from the nailed on classics to those with more nominal status.' 

Read Greg Wilson's Northern Renaissance article in full over on www.gregwilson.co.uk/2013/11/northern-renaissance

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