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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


The Spencer Davis Group ‎– 'Somebody Help Me'
This was the first ever record I bought by a white group. Black people in those days just didn't buy white records unless they were by Tom Jones or Cilla Black, but I love 'Somebody Help Me'. In fact, I remember buying this, again, in a bargain bin in one of the big pop record stores, which might have even been a Woolworths! So I remember that pretty well and I love Spencer Davis and everything associated with them, which was a direct lineage to Paul Weller. That's why I love him so much! That band and this song was a gateway tune. I was buying records prolifically at this point too, especially singles.

Why singles?

Because they were all I could afford. My dad had a really high-end, top of the range, Bush radiogram that took about five years to pay off on hire purchase. I wasn't allowed near that, as it was his pride and joy. My dad bought LPs and we used to play albums on that. I used to also have a little record player as well but you could only really play 45s on it. Singles were easier to store and keep, plus they took up less space. There was something intrinsically attractive about a 7" record and I guess if you speak to someone of that era and generation, you'd see that repeated well into the late '70s when the first 12"s came out. I was of that age and market. I refused to buy them at first because I saw them as a massive rip-off. They were £1.75 in those days and you could buy an import single for 60p, a US import for 75p and you couldn't buy UK-based 12"s as they had to come from America. Plus you had to order them in, wait a few weeks and then pay import duty on top of them. For someone that wasn't working and seeing older guys go into the record shop and buy albums, it was difficult! But for someone like me, the single and the three-minute song was the extent of my attention span as far as I was concerned. But later on, I heard the full-length version of Double Exposure's 'Ten Percent' and that was when I knew I was denying it to myself – I knew I had to have a 12" because the recording was better, the full-length versions were longer than single ones, so I became hooked on them.