2 Shades of Grey

Songs from the soundtrack of your life

Leave a comment

Northern Soul record is world’s rarest

MI0002369168A copy of “Open the Door to my Heart” by Darrell Banks is up for sale.

Northern Soul fans have spent 50 years looking for this single 45 rpm record. Now a pristine copy of this vinyl record has been discovered.

It was recorded on London American but released in the UK by EMI. Decca, which owned London American had already pressed some promotional copies which it then destroyed.

So this one must have been “liberated’ by a Decca worker and traded to a collector.

Darrell Banks recorded two albums before he was killed by an off-duty policeman who was having an affair with Banks’s girlfriend in the 1970s. This record, backed with “Our Love” was his biggest hit.

The record is being auctioned on the RareSoulMan site and bids have already reached over £10,000 with a week to go.

The previous record for a Northern Soul record was£25,000 for a copy of “Do I Love You (Indeed I do)” by Frank Wilson seen here on Youtube

Other vinyl records which have fetched fancy prices include: The Beatles’Love me Do” demo disc on Parlophone which fetched £11,000; the Sex Pistols’God Save the Queen” on A&M which fetched almost £13,000; The Quarrymen’s acetate of “That’ll be the Day” which fetched $200,000; and John Lennon & Yoko Ono’sDouble Fantasy” which was Mark Chapman’s signed copy which fetched $400,000.

Northern Soul fans are well-known for their fanaticism when it comes to their music.

Leave a comment

Chris Rea sings about Xmas

SCAN0099Chris Rea, singer and blues/slide guitarist, has recorded 24 albums, released 70 odd singles and had over 30 UK hits.

He’s also written many memorable songs including “On the Beach” “Stainsbury Girls” and “Road to Hell“. Plus a few songs about Christmas.

This one,  “Winter Song“, was recorded in 1991 and it reached No 27 in the UK charts.

This particular copy of the 7” 45 rpm  vinyl is unusual in that the cover has been produced as an Advent Calendar.

SCAN0100The back of the sleeve shows a miniature shot of the cover of the Auberge album from which it was taken.

There were two other tracks on the record; “Footprints in the snow” and “Tell me there’s a heaven“, so quite a Christmas/religious theme to this particular release.

Here’s the song taken from Youtube


The Shadows – more than instrumentalists

Except they were called the Drifters at that point – until the American vocal group The Drifters objected. They only became the Shadows for the first time on Cliff’s sixth single “Travellin’ Light”.

The group had started recording and performing with Cliff Richard and released three singles in their own right in 1959. These are the vocals “Feeling Fine“/”Don’t Be A Fool With Love” recorded as the Drifters, the instrumentals “Jet Black”/”Driftin’” as the Four Jets – to avoid litigation, and a further vocal release under their new name the Shadows  “Saturday Dance“/”Lonesome Fella . These all failed to chart.

Here is my well-played copy of “Saturday Dance/Lonesome Fella” which shows a marked improvement in the guitar playing, singing and production generally (perhaps Hank had got his Fender Stratocaster by then?)









In later years, in the 1970s, they tried again as a vocal harmony trio called Marvin, Welch & Farrar with singer/songwriter/producer John Farrar (who wrote “I know what you want” and other hits for Olivia Newton John) but by then they had achieved fame as The Shadows and that’s what fans wanted to hear. Here’s what MW&F sounded like on “Lady of the Morning

FYI neither Hank B Marvin or Bruce Welch played on Cliff’s first big hit and outstanding British Rock n’ Roll record “Move it”  which was released as Cliff Richard and the Drifters. So that twangy guitar intro is not Hank but a session player!

1 Comment

Another great soul single from my attic

SCAN0072This classic soul song from Percy Sledge – “When a man loves a woman” – recorded by him in 1966,  made number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B singles charts.

It was later covered by Michael Bolton in 1991, whose version also reached number one on the U.S. pop and adult contemporary singles charts .

The song has also been recorded by Jerry Butler, Art Garfunkel, Luba, and the Spencer Davis Group.

Sledge’s version was also a top ten hit in the UK peaking at number four on its initial release and peaking at number two in 1987 after it was featured in a Levi’s Jeans advert.

I have two copies both of which are clearly re-issues judging by the 501 Levi logo on the sleeve. On the original release the B side was “Love me like you mean it” but on my two copies the B side or side 2 is “Warm and Tender Love” which was the follow-up single. So two A sides for the price of one.

The two copies I have have identical data on the them but have different coloured labels as you can see below.SCAN0074 SCAN0073

If you need a reminder of how good it was here it is on Youtube.

Leave a comment

Another double value soul single

SCAN0052Another vinyl nugget from my attic and another single with two different artists. This looks like a promotion for the film Dirty Dancing although a similar combination was recorded as part of the Tamla Motown 50th Anniversary series.

SCAN0047On one side The Contours sing their classic “Do You Love Me” from 1962. This was much copied and Brian Poole and the Tremeloes had a tepid cover version which went to No 1 in the UK. The song lyrics reflect all the dance fads of the day and I wonder how many you remember?

The story goes that Berry Gordy wrote the song for the Temptations but for some reason they didn’t show up at the studio. He found the Contours hanging about desperate for a hit record after a couple of flops. They recorded it and the rest is history (although they never had a big hit again).

SCAN0048On the other side is another R&B/soul classic “Money” by Barrett Strong. It was Tamla Motown’s first hit record in 1960.





Double value soul single

SCAN0051Another piece of vinyl from my attic – this time a 45 with two different artists on it.

This was a special promotion relating to the film Good Morning Vietnam and was released in 1988.

SCAN0049On one side w’eve got the James Brown 1965 classic and his highest charting single (and favourite opening number of the Uptown Band) “I feel good”.



And on the other side Martha & the Vandellas’ “Nowhere to Run” also from 1965 which was the follow-up single to “Dancing in the Street”


Leave a comment

Nina Simone, soul sister

Amongst my records from the attic was this much played EP from 1965 by Nina Simone. It only has three tracks, Work Song and Gin House Blues on side one and the title song Just say I love him on side two.SCAN0041

Also from the same year, what must be the best double-sided single ever, she’s singing “I put a spell on you” on the A side and “Please con’t let me be misunderstood” on the B side.SCAN0042SCAN0043

These must be two of the songs most covered  by British R ‘n’ B  and soul groups.

Nina Simone was a great artist who devoted a lot of her energy to the civil rights movement.