Splash FM Website of the Day, 1st August 2005. Be Impressed.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Dave Godin’s Deep Soul Treasures Volume 1.

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Shortly before the death of John Peel last year came the less widely reported death of Dave Godin. Even though he wasn’t as famous as Peel his influence was huge. He is one of the main reasons that soul music, despite being neglected for many years in its homeland, is kept alive in the UK.

I wouldn’t usually cover reissues on here but the release of Deep Soul Treasures Volume 1 in 1997 is too big to ignore. Unlike most compilations they were put together with a reckless disregard for commercial potential. The artists are largely wilfully obscure (Zerben R Hicks anyone?) to the extent that even Godin knows little or nothing about some of them. Nevertheless, thanks to Godin impeccable taste, idiosyncratic liner notes and the extraordinarily intense songs, the albums began to sell and picked up a large cult following.

Godin was a bit of an all-round nutcase. He was an anarchist, a vegetarian, a Jainist, a believer in Wilhelm Reich’s loopy orgone theory (which also found supporters in Patty Smith, Frank Zappa and, most famously, Kate Bush) and he once compared David Blunkett to Stalin. All this, as well as him looking like an anaemic geography supply teacher, made him an unlikely champion of the music of black America. But he was obsessed with soul music to the exclusion of all other genres – once he even claimed he couldn’t name a single member of The Beatles. This dedication lead to him becoming the leading authority and taste maker of soul music in Britain through his writing, his advice to record companies and his own record labels devoted to releasing rare soul records in the UK. He is also credited as being creator of the terms ‘Northern Soul’ and ‘Deep Soul’.

But it is the Deep Soul Treasures series that represent Godin’s life’s work; he even referred to them as being his babies. Deep Soul is a subgenre of soul which is gritty, intensely emotional and uncompromising. Musically it is usually, although not exclusively, slow in tempo and heavily influenced by the blues and gospel. Godin, in his unique style, says, “Deep Soul strives to help us understand what our heads alone cannot always accommodate, and delineates the vicissitudes of the human heart as it searches for what it so desperately yearns for, and what it fears it may never find or secure.” The genre reached its peak in the late sixties and was shamefully killed off with the rise of disco in the 70’s.

Jaibi’s You Got Me was Godin's favourite record of all time and it’s not difficult to hear why. He wrote of this song, “You Got Me is a Deep Soul side of almost indescribable beauty and poignancy. Mannered, stylised, and with a cascading and vertiginous unfolding, it is, quite simply, the ultimate expression of what Deep Soul music is all about at its most stunning and majestic, with a mood that is both ambivalent and mysterious, and an atmosphere that is suffused with all that is good and worthwhile about being human, and being capable of love for other human beings.” I think that means he likes it.

Keep the faith – right on now!

Jaibi – You Got Me

Buy Dave Godin’s Deep Soul Treasures Volume 1


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