WORLD-OBITS-L ArchivesArchiver > WORLD-OBITS > 2007-02 > 1170713356
From: "Peter McCrae" <>
Subject: [W-OBITS] GODIN: Dave Godin 15/10/2004
Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2007 22:09:16 -0000
Last Updated: 10:42pm BST 27/10/2004
Dave Godin, who has died aged 68, was a leading champion of black American
music in Britain; a prolific writer on the subject, he coined the term
"Northern Soul" to describe the highly-danceable 1960s rhythm and blues
which became a cult in such improbable musical outposts as Wigan, Stafford
and Stoke-on-Trent, and which continues to form a vibrant strand of radio
programming to this day.
During the early 1960s, at a time when soul music was strictly a minority
enthusiasm, seldom to be heard on radio or found in the charts, Godin
founded the Tamla Motown Appreciation Society to celebrate and promote the
work of Berry Gordy's Detroit record label. Godin became the label's first
British representative, and brought the first "Motortown Revue", which
featured the Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas and Smokey Robinson and the
Miracles, to Britain in 1965.
David Godin was born in London on June 21 1936, the son of a milkman. He
claimed to have first become aware of rhythm and blues music as a teenager
when he heard a Ruth Brown record, Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean, being
played in an ice-cream parlour at Bexleyheath. It ignited Godin's Messianic
insticts. Among the first of his converts was Mick Jagger, a contemporary at
Dartford Grammar School.
advertisementAfter working as a consultant for Tamla Motown, Godin went on
to became a regular columnist for Blues and Soul magazine, and in 1967
opened Soul City - the first record shop in Europe to specialise in black
music. By the end of the 1960s, soul music was undergoing a transition from
the light, "uptown" dance music, often featuring sweeping, anthemic
orchestrations, typified by Motown, towards the darker and denser
syncopations of funk.
The flame of the retro dance music was kept alive by all-night marathons in
such northern outposts as the Wigan Casino and the Golden Torch in
Stoke-on-Trent, where devotees would trade rare records like religious
icons. Godin christened the phenomenon "Northern Soul", and his Soul City
shop became specialists in the genre, subsequently developing into a label
of the same name, excavating and releasing rare American records that would
otherwise have gone unheard in Britain. The label enjoyed a surprise Number
one with its first ever release, Nothing Can Stop Me by Gene Chandler, but
Godin's attempt to run the business as a workers' co-operative led to its
In the 1970s, rueing his lack of further education, Godin took a degree in
Film Studies and went on to work as a senior film officer for the British
Film Institute and became director of the Anvil, Sheffield's civic cinema. A
man of trenchant opinions and a fierce opponent of film censorship, he
enjoyed many lively conversations with the then film censor John Trevelyan.
Godin was also a passionate animal rights activist, a vegan, a fluent
speaker of Esperanto and, despite his avowed atheism, a supporter of the
Jain religion. But soul music was his abiding interest, and Godin's view
remained that of the purist, always tending to favour the obscure over the
commercial, championing the cause of many artists who might have made only
one or two recordings, but which he regarded as classics.
In recent years, he compiled a series of albums of just such rarities - Dave
Godin's Deep Soul Treasures - for Ace Records, which featured such artists
as Loretta Williams, the Just Brothers and Jimmy and Louise Tig. The albums
were greeted with universal critical acclaim, and Godin described the series
as the proudest achievement of his life.
Dave Godin died on October 15. He never married.
|[W-OBITS] GODIN: Dave Godin 15/10/2004 by "Peter McCrae" <>|