Groove Me: Dancing to the Discs of Northern Soul
David Sanjek† [+]
This chapter, first published in Transatlantic Roots Music: Folk, blues and national identities (eds. Terry & Wynn 2012, University Press of Mississippi), examines the phenomenon of Northern Soul, addressing four main issues. First, what is the composition of the discography constituted by Northern Soul advocates, and how does it demarcate a particular portion of the rhythm & blues repertoire as innately superior to better-known and publicly popular recordings? Second, what relationship is projected between the two nations of the United States and England, and how is the geography from which the music originated imagined? Third, how has the Northern Soul community integrated issues of race, and what determination might be made about the kinds of bonds that elude and perhaps eradicate lines of potential hostility that can originate through the acquisition and acclimation of commercial products? Finally, what specific ideological statements might be intertwined within particular acts of pleasure, and might something be emancipated on the dance floor other than the inhibitions of the audience?