School of Music, Media & Performance
Popular Music Research Centre
Rare Records and Raucous Nights: Investigating Northern Soul
Robert Powell Theatre, 4 November, 2010; 1-5 P.M.
A spirited examination of dance culture, record collecting, and the perpetual British love for American Rhythm & Blues
1:00 Tim Wall, Birmingham City University
“Northern Soul: There’s Nothing Northern About It (And While We’re At It, It Isn’t Soul and the Dancers Aren’t Break Dancers”)
1:30 Nicola Smith, University of Wales Institute Cardiff
“Dancing Alone, Together: Pleasure, Competency and Competition On The Northern Soul Dancefloor”
2:00 Screening “The Wigan Casino” (Tony Palmer, 1977)
2:30 Panel Discussion of visual representation of Northern Soul
3:00 Lucy Gibson, University of Manchester
“Nostalgia, Symbolic Knowledge and Generational Conflict: Contentious Issues in Contemporary Northern and Rare Soul Scenes”
3:30 Ady Croasdell, Ace Records
“Acquiring Rights and Righting Wrongs: The Copyright Clearance of Northern Soul”
4:00 David Sanjek, University of Salford
“Over & Over & Over: Repetition, Reanimation and Northern Soul”
4:30 Open Discussion
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Ady Croasdell went to this first “Old Soul” all nighter in 1969 and now bosses the longest running Northern Soul club/all nighter of all time (31 years and counting) at the 100 Club in London’s Oxford Street. He has worked for Ace Records since 1982 compiling Northern Soul LPs and CDs for their Kent subsidiary. He oversees the production of these from concept to product and actively seeks and negotiates deals with the US owners.
Lucy Gibson is a temporary lecturer in Sociology at the University of Manchester. Her doctoral research explored popular music and the life course, which included ethnographies of Northern Soul and rare soul, rock music, and electronic dance music scenes and interviews with over 70 adult fans. She is particularly interested in how ageing shapes participation in music scenes and music taste and is currently working on publications in this area.
David Sanjek is a Professor of Music and Director of the Popular Music Research Centre at the University of Salford. Previously, he was Archives Director of Broadcast Music Inc., the performance licensing agency. He has advised many organizations, including the R&B Foundation, the Blues Foundation, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Library of Congress and the Experience Music Project. He is currently readying a collection of essays (Always On My Mind: Music, Memory and Money), a special issue of Popular Music & Society on copyright in sound recordings, and a conference collection on music documentaries for publication.
Dr. Nicola Smith is Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Popular Culture at the University of Wales Institute Cardiff. Her doctoral research explored the British Northern Soul scene and she writes widely on ageing music cultures, adult-frequented music scenes and the performance of identities within fandom and popular dance. Her current research is aimed at convincing people that popular music is not just for the under-25s.
Tim Wall is Professor of Radio and Popular Music Studies and Director of the Birmingham City Centre for Media and Cultural Research at Birmingham City University. More importantly, he’s been dancing to Northern Soul since the early 1970s, even if it is a little less energetic these days. He’s written widely on the relationship between African American and white popular culture, including an analysis of Northern Soul dancing. He may play some Northern records, but he won’t be dancing himself today.