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Baker's Dozen

You Got Soul: Norman Jay's Favourite Singles
Yousif Nur , January 20th, 2016 10:42

After releasing his latest Good Times compilation last year, the DJ talks Yousif Nur through the early musical experiences that shaped his taste, from northern soul nights to crate-digging for 7"s, in picking his top 13 records


Crown Heights Affair – 'Dreaming A Dream'
This was a big southern and northern soul, as well as a big London, tune. It crossed over so well because it had that regimented backbeat that white British kids love. It's almost akin to a march! The dance is quite complicated because they move on the one. Any record that doesn't have that beat, they feel they can't dance to it. It's a totally British phenomenon. And even though there are pockets of these scenes we've mentioned earlier all over the world, they're very small and are not accessible. The people that drive these scenes are record collectors and not real DJs. I've been a DJ for the best part of 50 years and that's not how it works. That's why they've never been able to play beyond the little club they played in. It's also at odds with the dichotomy of the scene as a whole. They play songs that don't get the credit it deserves, but don't want it exposed or complain when it's played everywhere because people are not welcome to it. But on the contrary, I don't mock it – I actually love that as an outsider and that's why I probably won't be asked to play northern soul gigs. For one, I wouldn't play records there, I'd play CDs or bring along my memory stick! I don't suffer from the same hang-ups or prejudices of that scene. Why would I take a £500 piece of vinyl to a gig at the risk of it getting scratched? If you're going to play expensive records, then you take your equally expensive cartridge. Don't play it on an unknown safety pin! I talk from experience – the records in my house sit like prized library books. Anything I need on the night, I burn real time onto CDs via my computer. But the problem with northern records is that they were recorded cheaply onto eight-track demos, because that was all those acts could afford. This is what I like about black America – they only look forward. If they didn't we wouldn't have had funk, house, jazz or hip-hop. That's why those genres were created. But the kids now have got savvy to that – we make grime, drum & bass, which are things America would never create.