Wednesday, 14 May 2008
Norman Jay is generally credited with popularising the term rare groove. In the 80’s he played rare (mainly) 70’s soul, funk and jazz on his Kiss FM’s “Original rare groove show” (I’m raving, I’m raving I’m led to believe wasn’t on the playlist – those who were at the 2007 D Percussion will know what I’m talking about)
He also took it to the dancers and ravers at warehouse parties with his “shake and fingerpop” soundsystem, along side people like Judge Jules who would be playing early house music. As a result these “rare grooves” would be heard and danced to by a large cross section of party people. Also the rare grooves would be heard by those passing through the Nottinghill Carnival because of Norman’s GoodTimes soundystem.
As a result rare groove would appear on flyers for clubs in that London and DJ‘s would be competing to make sure they played the rarest of rare grooves. A “scene” developed that had similarities with the Northern Soul scene – i.e. giving quality black music a second chance when it hadn’t had the exposure it deserved first time around.
Now being too northern and slightly too young to have experienced these events someone else was more important in my rare groove education through his compilation albums. This man is Dez Parkes.
In the late 80’s he helped put together a series of compilations that re-issued forgotten soul and funk from the back catalogue of RCA and Ariola. I believe there were 4 of them, I have volume 1,3 & 4. They are fantastic compilations however the pressings aren’t great and they are not very DJ friendly. Apparently the first volume reached number 75 of the album charts.
Because of this relative success record labels rapidly released their own compilations, which you could quite easily pick up, even at Woolworths in Ormskirk!
Dez Parkes also went on to compile volumes 1 and 2 of the Mastercuts Rare Groove series
20 years on you will still see the term rare groove on flyers or compilations of funk and soul. In fact it’s easier to get your hands on these tunes now than it ever was. Obviously there is no scene now but rare groove is a by word for mid tempo funky soul music that is loved by 30 somethings like me as well as younger people exploring soul music heritage.
This a compilation of some of my favourites
Creative Source – Funky Luvah
Rawsoul Express – The way we live
Sisters Love- Give me your love
Voices of East Harlem – Wanted Dead or Alive
Lee Dorsey – Night People
Brother to Brother – Chance with you
Tommy Stewart – Bump and hustle music
Linda Lewis – Elevate our minds
Benny Golson – I’m always dancing to the music
TS Monk – Can’t keep my hands to myself
Positive Force – Give you my love
Erasmus Hall – Just me ‘n’ you
Leroy Hutson – Love the way you make me feel
Jay Dee – Strange games and funky things
Milton Wright – Keep it up
Willie Hutch – Sho give you love