Boys And Their Toys
Regular readers will know how much I love my old soul, there has been plenty of Northern Soul on these pages. There are several sources in my life for this love. Paul Weller was a huge influence, Dexys were another. And then there was a radio show where Joboxers played loads of their favourite tunes that had a huge impact.
But there’s another band that got me into Northern Soul even before I knew what it was and that was Soft Cell. They first came to mainstream notice and to massive massive success around the world with Tainted Love, which was a cover of an old Gloria Jones classic. And later one of their singles was a cover of What, originally performed by Judy Street (there’s a demo version of A Solid Bond In Your Heart by The Jam which steals the intro funnily enough from the same year).
Soft Cell are one of my favourite bands of the early 80s. I was a synth kid back then, a love which returned when dance music took off. I’d just never heard anything like those sounds before, and even now I get shivers when I listen to some of those tracks. And there’s something about synth tunes that lends itself to extended versions. Soft Cell, like the Human League and Spandau Ballet, were at their best on extended versions of the tunes. In Soft Cell’s case their 12″ versions weren’t remixes or even simple extensions where the drums carry on for five minutes. They were very different versions, with more of the song, more of the synths and on another fave Say Hello Wave Goodbye a beautiful instrumental passage that is simply spine tingling.
I’m on a bit of an 80s kick right now so expect several more tunes over the next couple of weeks.
Meanwhile here is the extended 12″ version of Soft Cell and ‘What!”