Taking us into the final quarter of the year our October releases distil the spirit of a scene and a season, anticipating end-of-year festivities and encapsulating a potted subcultural pre-history. Staunchly carrying out it’s titular premise, Soul For Dancers: Out On The Floor Firecrackers That Ignited The Northern Soul Boom, surveys the early stomping grounds of the Northern Soul sect, hallowed haunts like Manchester’s The Twisted Wheel and London’s The Scene Club, where rare soul rudiments were blasted out to an urgent and fitfully hedonistic response. Originally supposed as inauspicious places for such dancefloor abandon, they incubated and nurtured the faith’s first steps, preluding the famed gatherings held at the Wigan Casino, the Blackpool Mecca, and The Golden Torch in Stoke. Lois Wilson – who’s previous work for the label includes the widely revered soul and R&B outings Get On The Right Track, Right On and Ain’t Gonna Hush – curates the set, with a canny eye for crowd favourites and precious obscurities. James Brown, Etta James, Jackie Wilson, The Isley Brothers, Don Covay, Irma Thomas, and Sam & Dave knock up alongside connoisseur concerns like Bruce Cloud, Eloise Carter, Bunker Hill, Willie Cobbs and Mary Johnson. As a historical document it provides essential insight, as far as dancefloor fare goes – like the Northern Soul scene these sides helped foster – it’s irrepressible. The set has already attained widespread coverage, with previews in the likes of Soultracks and Modculture. An extensive 2CD, 61 track edition will be released along with a 2LP set of 32 highlights including an illustrated, annotated insert.
With Merry Christmas Box of Music! The Hits, The Rarities, The Novelties and More we offer our own slant on the obligatory Christmas compilation, departing from the accepted formula with a 3CD, 82 track set which acknowledges a wide spectrum of merriment, from cherished hits, to undersung curios, to playful kitsch. Entries in Christmas hit lore from the likes of Elvis, Johnny Mathis, Lonnie Donegan, Bing Crosby, Bobby Darin and Bobby receive their due whilst less expected inclusions from interesting past hopefuls like Jim Eanes, Tricia Marks, The Del-Vets, Barry Richards and others enliven the selection with rarer efforts. Both definitive and discriminating, it’s an indispensable proposition for those who truly like to get into the spirit.