Thursday, 8 September 2011

Can you show me the way to Temple Street?

I first had the honor of meeting Dave Godin of the Tamla Motown Appreciation Society when he visited Hitsville in 1964, and that’s when I quickly became aware of how fanatical the Brits are about Soul Music.

However, never in my wildest dreams did I think that a book about my recollections of an American musical institution would be published by Soul mad Brits rather than in the USA.

When Neil Rushton first approached me with a somewhat vague idea about obtaining permission to reproduce my archive of Motown photos, he sent me a copy of his book, Northern Soul Stories. I loved the marriage of text and graphics and that led to Neil and Bill Baker flying in to attend a Motown seminar at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor last February.

After several discussions, the idea for what has become Hype & Soul took shape and eventually became a reality. Neil, Bill and their art director Glenn Gunton have done so much to honor the Motown legacy with this labor of love.

However, I must admit that I was somewhat confused when I learned that the publishing house set up to deal with Hype & Soul had been named TempleStreet, but not as I thought in honor of being the location of a Jewish house of worship somewhere in the UK.

In reality, it was recognition by Neil and Bill of the Temple Street address in Wolverhampton in UK’s West Midlands that was the site of a long-gone iconic Northern Soul venue called The Catacombs where both were once young DJ's. It's a long way distance and culture wise from West Grand Boulevard, Detroit to Temple Street, Wolverhampton - but musically at one time not a big jump at all!

Bill has been a Motown fan since 1970 when Dave Handley, a mutual schoolmate of Neil and Bill first turned him on to the Sounds of Soul. Bill recalls that Neil & Dave were probably into Motown 18 months before him and conversely he is about 18 months older than both.

Inspired by being a young soul DJ, Bill went on to collect every single UK 45 Motown release up to about 1980, Neil meanwhile became a respected top soul DJ and promoter and this has culminated in their love of Soul & Motown in publishing Hype & Soul.

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