Have you ever been in a bar or dance club, and heard someone remark that they'd like to hear some of that "rare northern soul?" Most people have heard of soul music, a genre that originated among the African-American population in the United States. Part blues, part gospel, and part funk, soul music has a reputation for having catchy rhythms and funky beats, which as emphasized by singer and musicians that use handclaps and rapid body movements to further express the sentiments of the song. When it comes to the genre of northern soul, however, you must look far across the ocean to England for its true origins.
When the British mod scene was nearing its end in the 1960s, young music lovers were looking for a new sound to call their own. Many were in love with the early artists that had come out of the American Motown scene, with their upbeat rhythms and light-hearted attitudes. The music was easy to love and even easier to dance to. But when American Motown began moving toward the funk and soul of the 1970s, many of the artists emerging with the original style later on the scene were quickly brushed aside. Not so in England, however, where a small contingency of Motown aficionados were requesting more rare northern soul than ever before.
The reason the term "rare northern soul" is so often used to refer to this style of music is because even from the time that it began growing in popularity, it was a dying genre. With the American Motown scene moving further and further away from the sounds that kids in Northern England loved to hear, they set out on a mission to find rare and even unreleased artists that had the music they were looking for.
Slowly by surely, record store owners started to notice that there was an entire group of music lovers that were more interested in the rare northern soul than the more popular music coming up the charts. To respond to this demand, they started looking for the most obscure artists, one-hit-wonders, and records to ever come out of the soul music movement. That's why the hunt for northern soul records is almost as exciting as dancing to the music: because there are only a finite amount of artists that fit into this category. If you're looking to start your collection, there are plenty of websites completely dedicated to this type of music.