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Published on Feb 9, 2010
"Northern Soul has been described as the longest running fad in the history of UK music culture. What began as an underground 60s mod scene in unlicensed, no-frills clubs in the north of England is still very much alive and kicking in the twenty-first century.
This peculiarly British phenomenon, entailing all-night dancing and a love of fairly obscure music, has confounded its critics by surviving and maturing into a movement whose followers share a passion for the music of black America unrivalled anywhere in the world.
So what is Northern Soul? In simplistic terms, the phrase was coined to describe the type of soul music that was preferred by dancers in underground venues in the north of England in the late 60s and early 70s.
Now the phrase has come to mean a style of rare soul music that is enjoyed by fans not only in the north of England, but throughout the UK and overseas.
The Northern Soul scene is so full of contradictions and inconsistencies that it is almost impossible to generalize the genre. A typical recording loved by the slightly eccentric followers of Northern Soul will certainly originate from America. It will probably date back to the mid-60s.
It will certainly be danceable, and it will almost certainly be rare in its original format (although the advent of CD has put previously unobtainable recordings into thousands of households). An alternative to the super-rarity of a disc might be that it never made the pop charts, or that it is a little-known b-side."