Sunday, 4 December 2011

NuNorthern Soul Session 36

NuNorthern Soul founder and host, Phat Phil Cooper takes over the reigns for this session of lowdown grooves.

Proper winter warmer gear with toe tapping and head nodding anthems a plenty.

Track Listing
Space Dimension Controller - The Birth Of A Feeling
Soft Rocks - We Hunt Buffalo
Dirg Gerner - My Queen
Little Roy - Come As You Are (Taken from the Nirvana covers album 'Battle for Seattle', check out one of the other tracks below.)

Com Truise - Hyperlips
1000names - Sushi Hour
LyricL - Amazed
Stevie Wonder - Living For The City
Joni Haastrup - Imokiraria
Colonel Red - Holla
Gregory Porter - 1960 What?

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

LyricL - Amazed

For those who maybe unfamiliar with the lyrical delights of LyricL throw back your mind and pin back your ears...

London based rapper and spokenword artist Nkechi da LyricL is British born with Nigerian origins. Her parents hail from Imo State (now Abia State), Isuikwuato and settled in the UK after fleeing during the Biafran War.

One of the UK's leading female emcees. LyricL has appeared on stages worldwide from St Petersburg to Lisbon, and released singles in New Zealand, Austria, Japan and USA. Sought after by many producers for her lyrical ability and creativity within Hip Hop, Jazz, Afro and Broken Beat and Soulful House.

Taken from

When we received this album from old NuNorthern Soul Fam member, Sarah Sweeney who we first met when she was one of the Chibuku Shake Shake residents in Liverpool, and now resides in Cardiff, and  runs Fresh Rotations the label behind this release!

We couldn't believe our ears... Tight production, plenty of soul and killer lyrics and delivery so good, even UPS couldn't match!

NuNorthern Soul contender for album of the year!

Check out the sampler below... Then go and support the artist and label by purchasing a copy...

Buy from Kudos
Buy from iTunes


LyricL - Amazed - Preview by Fresh Rotations

Friday, 18 November 2011

NuNorthern Soul Session 35 Guest Selector Mr Doris

First off, lets apologise for the numbering of the NNS sessions, we are at number 35, not 34 as this cloud cast may suggest...

Anyway, up to the plate is Mr Doris, Ibiza standard when it comes to something fresh and not mass produced, main stream junk food, this boy is straight up grade A connoisseur business, the Mac and cheese, the real tasty stuff... Mr Doris holds it down for We Love at Space on Sundays where he hosts his 'After Dark' sessions.

NuNorthern Soul first met up with Mr Doris many Ibiza full moons ago at the legendary Ancient People where NNS often shared the space to host leftfield parties, funky treats and beats order of the day (and night)... Ancient People has grown up in to an amazing Indian restaurant now, but back in the day it was the freshest party place for odd beats and pieces...

Our own Phat Phil clearly remembers hearing Mr Doris drop the following one afternoon, it was then he realised this man had soul! Perfect vibes!!

So here we have the Mr Doris guest selections for NuNorthern Soul.

Track List
This Is London  - Unforscene
The Roosevelt Blues feat. Megan Washington - Lanu
Mockingbird - Nostaligia77
In Your Eyes - Oddisee
Mutes & Drops - Hint
I Just Can't - Mozez
In the Twilight  - TM Juke
The Truth - Handsome Boy Modelling School 
Heroes (Kruder's Long Loose Bossa) - Roni Size
Rio De Noche - Red Astaire
Alcazar (Instrumental) - Tape Five
Pretty Little Thing - Fink
Sweet Thang - Shuggie Otis
Billy Jack - Curtis Mayfield 

For more fresh flavours and news from Mr Doris world check out

Mr Doris is also touring hard over the next months, be sure to try and check him
07 /12/11 After Dark, Red Bar, Ibiza   
11/12/11 Lock Tavern, Camden, London 
16/12/11 Tonic, Sydney
17/12/11 World Bar, Sydney
24/12/11 Fundafied. Sydney
25/12/11 TBA Melbourne
26/12/11 Newcastle Raceway
26/12/11 The World Bar, Sydney
30/12/11 Funkdafied, Sydney
31/12/11 Bellavista, Cairns
01/01/12 Space Festival, Sydney
01/01/12 High Flyers, Sydney
01/01/12 The Jam, Melbourne 

Saturday, 12 November 2011

NuNorthern Session #34 Guest Selector - DJ Rich Ears

Our good friend from Amsterdam, DJ Rich Ears has sent us this lovely blend...

This is one to lull you back to the White sands of Formentera and the blue Med waters... This is a truly Balearic session!


Of a Star - Sun Yawn on Me
The Orb - Hamlet of Kings
Pink Floyd and The Orb - Is there anybody out there
Jonathan Jeremiah - Happiness (Quiet Village Remix)
AKmusique - Saudade (Inside Mix)
Laura Bee - Lovebleeps
The Verve - Lucky Man
Oasis - Wonderwall (LDM's Dry Stone Remix 2008)
Marvin Gaye - What's Going On (eleventhirtyeight edit)
Zero 7 - Destiny (Irrelevant Remix
Aretha Franklin -  I Say a Rittre Player (Dimitri Flom Paris Le-edit)
Henry Mancini - The Pink Panther [Lennart Ibizarre's El Cielo Mix]
Rhian Sheehan - Essáy x Rhian Sheehan x Morning Mountain (Borrowing The Past)
Global Communication - 807 (Young Edits Cosmic Communication Version)
Kiky Dee feat Pied Piper - Got Music In Me (Extended NuDisco Mix)
Alicia Keys - Feeling u (Freddie Joachim remix)
Flanger - Innerspace suit
Baz Luhrmann - Always Wear Sunscreen

Rich Ears Facebook

Monday, 24 October 2011

NuNorthern Soul Playback - Sunday 23rd October 2011

On Sunday the 23rd October we hosted a session at The Paradise in West London. We asked our good friend Benjamin James Smith to come along with a bag of Sunday selections... he delivered a quality couple of hours of delightful sounds.

Part 1
Video streaming by Ustream

Part 2
Video streaming by Ustream

Monday, 17 October 2011

Abu Maxim and The Praetorian Steppas [KAT012]

Those busy beavers over at KAT HQ have been bending their ears to find sonic treats and audio treasures to present on that black plastic stuff and boy, have they come up with the goods on this one...

"With 2 tracks that go against the recent KAT grain of straight up edits to add a four to the floor flavour.
Starting things off is 'Sometimes I Get It', a glorious mid-tempo disco houser which strips back Ronnie Laws ‘All For You’ and Marvin Gayes ‘Come Live With Me Angel’ to their bare bones and starts again from scratch. The result is a squelchy bass line, conga led, dance floor smash with modern soul and jazz funk vibes aplenty.
On the flip we have ‘Sweet Love', a slightly more uptempo track again with a disco house feel. A true string-led beast of a track mashing up Bernard Herrmans 'Taxi Driver', Kleer 'Intimate Connection', Marvin Gaye 'Right On' and Herbie Hancock 'Stars' among others. 
Toughened drums underpin a wealth of strings, synths, sultry vocals & keys resulting in a modern day (soul jazz funk disco) houser that will pummel any half decent sound system that lay before it…
Under his Freak Seven ‘guise, support on his recent (and brilliant) Rush Hour release support came flooding in from Andrew Weatherall, Dixon, Ross Allen, Xpress 2 and Dave Clarke to name but a few, Freak Seven is one to watch so keep ‘em peeled!"

With support and reviews already coming in from the following...
Colin Curtis - REVIEW
Moggsy, Elektric Elephant - Both are ace...'Sometimes I Get It' is huge..... one of my fave tracks this year... HEAVY
Kev Beedle, Southport Weekender / Solar Radio - Nice one. Love these tracks !!
Alex Keening, Radio 1 Producer for Gilles Peterson - 'Sometimes I Get It' is a killer.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Sunday Afternoon Easy Listening

Bored on a Sunday? Well that's what prompted Phil to jump on the decks and throw down some of his current faves for Sunday afternoon sessions...

Ashley Beedle edits, Ben Smith covers of Crazy P, deep soul vibes from Steve Spacek, choice joints from Joyce Cobb, Bill Withers, Terry Callier plus loads more make for a lazy afternoon of music...

Slight technical issues at the start, but all smooth after that...

Video streaming by Ustream

Friday, 30 September 2011

NuNorthern Soul October Session

As we slip into October and the Winter starts to creep in... Wait, whats that...? It's still summer, a barmy late Indian one at that... Bloody brilliant!!!

Us NuNorther Soul monkeys are coming back to that London on Sunday 23rd October for a little soiree in The Paradise by Way of Kensal Green. Joining us to unleash a musical jaunt through laid backsville and thought provoking downtempo moods and grooves is our dear friend, Benjamin James Smith.

Helping to get things started properly, Ben has put together this lovely, jubbly selection for your ears, toes, fingers and feet...

Our session starts at around 5pm and more details are available on the Facebook page which is located HERE, please click on and check it out.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Ashley Beedle Edits (KAT45-004) - 7" Vinyl Release

Our brothers in boogie and purveyors of vinyl are ready to drop another 7" of joy in the form of 2 cracking edits from Daddy Ash aka Ashley Beedle...

The promo blurb reads...

First up we have Flora Purim getting Ashley Beedle's extended edit treatment with the sublime Latin Jazz Funker, 'Angels'. Great vocal hooks, guitar licks and a jazz funk groove with added disco overtones to boot...
If the Mizell Brothers had been born in Rio then this is what it probably would've sounded like.

On the flip we have Brian Protheroe's 'Pinball'. Ashley Beedle's tripped rework does exactly what it says on the tin... Stretched, dubbed and arranged to perfection.

Once again KAT45 dig deep and deliver the goods!

These should be in all decent vinyl emporiums on the 23rd October.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Wine, Beats, Trainers in the Mix

NuNorthern Soul has always been about music and enjoying it in comfortable surroundings, with great food and wine... Through our travels and endeavours to find the perfect spot we from time to time come across some very interesting people and places with a similar ethos...

I caught the train over to Hoylake on the Wirral to meet such a person, Adam 'Pooky' Speechly...

Adam is the owner of, aptly names, Adams Fine Wines upon first inspection it is much like any decent purveyor of wines, but then you meet Adam, B-Boy swagger, fly trainers, de-rigour body warmer and slightly off the arse wearing of jeans etc...

The Yard, the wheels, the owner...
The Owner
What immediately struck apart from the amazing wines was the crates of old music magazines and records intermingled with the fine stock...

Easy Reading

Then I started to notice the 'collectable' figures dotted around and the copious amounts of sneaker / trainer boxes amongst the crates of ale and wines...

Top Shelf Action

MC Hammer

Dennis Rodman with Hot Pants

Dennis Rodman Doll
Adam, was a face on the Liverpool DJ scene for many years holding a very successful residency from 1997 to 2004 at the 'Camel Club' playing his unique block rocking party beats to a loyal and up for it crowd... He took some time out after a spat with the club owner over his desire to improve the sound-system which the owners didn't think was needed... One of the decks started playing backwards, the owner didn't see that as a problem!!!

Although he took a back seat to DJing, he never gave up making and collecting beats...

Check the wall of sound below... apparently this is the tip of the iceberg, he has a huge vinyl collection also...

Adams Wall of Sound
As we mentioned Adam is a beat maker also. A basic set up, but it does the business...

Block Rockin' Beat Machine

While we drank fine wine, chewed the fat and generally mucked about, I asked Adam if he would do a mix for me, I hinted at a Jazz influenced vibe and after a few months came back with this teaser... He is finalising a full length mix and as soon as that is ready we shall be spreading the word...

POOKY - NEW NOTES FROM BLUE NOTES (PREVIEW) originally for the NuNorthern Soul podcast by ADAM SPEECHLY AKA POOKY

Check out more blends, mixes and edits from The Pooky Soundcloud

Hit him up on Facebook

Monday, 5 September 2011

We Love... Disco!

NuNorthern Soul loves Disco and so does Ibizian clubbing dons, We Love. Check out the video discussion with Dimitri from Paris amongst others on Disco.

For more videos like this head over to We Love TV

Monday, 29 August 2011

Music To Dine To...

Well it has been a while since we posted a blog, it has been a hectic summer for the NNS team...

Our Music To Dine To sessions in Hoole continue in the comfortable surroundings of The Faulkner Bar and Kitchen.

We shall also be live broadcasting the session on our uStream channel if you can't make to Chester.

Session starts at 4pm.


The Faulkner can be found HERE

Sunday, 26 June 2011

NuNorthern Soul Session 32

Well it has been a couple of months since we graced your ears with a podcast, but we hope the wait has been worth it.

As usual, no specific musical genres or eras, just solid music...

There is so much quality music out there it's difficult to put it all in one session, the Yambee track for example is a Moodyman / Theo Parrish sounding epic that will have your toes tapping and heads nodding, this collboration from Ashley Beedle and YamWho is well worth hunting down... Check it out HERE

Track List

Mo Kolours - Biddies
Yambee - Chemical Love
Ye Mighty - Beyond
Donald Byrd - The Black Disciple
Jhelisa - Friendly Pressure
Diana Ross and The Supremes - Stormy (Nice review HERE)
Unknown - Summer Nights
Detroit Urban Gardening Ensemble - Take Root
Dego - Not In My Disco

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The White Elephant Sessions

Some months ago in this very blog we posted some details about White Elephant and their forthcoming 10" on the Redux label, remember...? If not, you can find it HERE

Well in a nutshell we were babbling on about how bloody marvellous it was and you should immediately rush out and purchase it, well did you...? 

OK, so it now looks like some kind of album project is under way, we think that is also bloody marvellous...

Our very own Phat Phil was partaking in a few real ales with Benjamin Smith of the W.E. outfit a few weeks ago and he hinted at pulling together some kind of studio insight session, and by crikey, here is it is... Some lovely music from Chris Todd, James Baron and Benjamin Smith plus some tomfoolery from the chaps in the studio.

Gil Scott-Heron saved my life!!!

An awe inspiring story taken from

'Gil Scott-Heron saved my life'
After a traumatic childhood Abdul Malik Al Nasir seemed to be heading for jail or an early death. Then, at the age of 18, he met the famous poet and musician – with remarkable consequences

Abdul Malik Al Nasir
Sunday 19 June 2011 20.30 BST

Malik with Gil Scott-Heron on tour in 2009
My brother Reynold introduced me to the music of Gil Scott-Heron. Little did I realise how it, and more importantly Gil, would go on to shape my life.

I was 18, had just come out of a childhood in care, was traumatised, illiterate and had no prospects. Reynold, who was older, showed me an album called Moving Target, which had a picture of Gil running through the streets of Washington seen through the telescopic lens of a gun. Reynold was politicised and well-read – unlike me. I didn't take life too seriously, partly because I couldn't face up to what had happened to me. He made me sit down and listen to the song Washington DC and the lyrics summed up so much of my life: "The symbols of democracy pinned up against the coast, the outhouse of bureaucracy surrounded by a moat./ Citizens of poverty are barely out of sight/ The overlords escape in the evenings, brothers on the night."

Gil was talking about the White House surrounded by the urban ghettos, the bits the tourists don't see – the reality of the city's ghetto life. My brother explained what the song meant. He drew a parallel between what Gil was talking about in Washington DC and what we, as black people, were facing in Toxteth, Liverpool, in the run up to the riots of 1981.

Reynold was trying to wake me up to consciousness. I had already got in with the wrong crowd, and he was concerned that if I didn't dissociate myself from them it would only be a matter of time before I was incarcerated again – and this time not in a care home.

Why had I been put in care in the first place? My name back then was Mark Trevor Watson, and when I was eight years old my father had a stroke. Dad was black from Guyana, my mum white Welsh. All the family (there were four kids, and mum and dad) were the butt of racist abuse. Dad, a former merchant seaman, was a real worker. Nothing could stop him. He even volunteered to work on Christmas Day 1974 for the Netherley Property Guards, who patrolled the warehouses on the Liverpool docks. It was a horribly cold winter. He left the house at 5am to wait for the bus to take him to work. It never came. Dad waited till 10am and eventually trudged home defeated. That was the only time I saw this big strong seaman cry. He didn't open his Christmas presents, he just went straight to bed. He had a stroke in his sleep and when he woke up he was a quadriplegic, paralysed from the neck down. He stayed like that for the rest of his life, in and out of the geriatric ward until he died four years later.

Mum, who worked in the Meccano factory, continued to struggle with the four of us. But she couldn't really cope. I was a handful – dyslexic and dyspraxic, but undiagnosed. I hated school. We were virtually the only black kids there, and the pupils used to be brought into school assembly to the sound of the headmaster's favourite recording – Black Sambo: "Black Sambo, black Sambo, living in the jungle alone, except for Big black Mumbo and Big black Jumbo." No one considered it a problem. After that everyone would turn to me and my sisters and call us black sambo. There were fights, and everyone called us troublemakers. At nine I was expelled from that school, which resulted in me being taken into local authority care in 1975.

I was "sentenced" to nine years under a care order having committed no crime. They didn't see it like that, of course. They labelled me maladjusted and told all of us that we were menaces to society; that society needed protecting from us. On the night they took me into care, they put me in an admission unit where they locked me in a room with bars on the window for 14 days and 14 nights. This practice later came to be outlawed following the infamous pin-down scandal in Staffordshire, but in the 70s it was common. It was the most traumatic experience of my life, for which I would later seek justice in the courts.

Just before Christmas 1975 I was taken to a place called Woolton Vale assessment centre, otherwise known as Menlove. It was a large, Victorian prison with bars on every window, locks on every door and an isolation cell inside. It had previously operated as a remand home for prisoners. In 1974 it had been converted to an assessment centre for kids, but still operated illegally under the old rules. Confinement might not have been permitted, but it didn't stop them. Meanwhile, the local remand centre, Risley, was full, so Menlove became an overspill for prisoners. This meant they were mixing children from broken homes with hardened criminals – and locking them up. Another matter over which I would later sue.

From there I was moved to several different community homes where I suffered varying degrees of physical and racial abuse over the years until I was 18 and my care order ceased. I was visited by my social worker who gave me £100, made me sign a form to say I would never come back for more money, and within a few months I was living in a hostel for homeless black youths.

That was when Gil changed my life. He was playing at Liverpool's Royal Court Theatre, and the gig was sold out. It was 1985, Gil had a record in the charts, and was at the peak of his fame. A friend of mine, the late photographer Penny Potter, got me in – she had a backstage pass and told his team that I was her assistant. I watched the show and was mesmerised. It was hard to describe what he did exactly – he rapped, he played jazz, he was a poet, he educated – he was just singing a song, but it was as if he was part of a collective soul that existed in the room.

After the show I went backstage with Penny. Gil was standing there with a bunch of people around him – photographers snapping away, reporters stuffing mics under his nose, promoters with bags of money, and the band members trying to get paid. Everybody seemed to want something from him. I shook his hand, thanked him for the performance and turned round to leave. He said: "Hold on a minute brother, what's going on round here? I heard you had some riots". I told him about Toxteth and how the black communities had rioted across the country in the long hot summer of 1981. He said: "Yeah we had some of them back in DC". He wanted to know about the people of Toxteth so I offered to take him to the scenes of the riots. The next day we toured the area and I gave him a running commentary of what had happened in each place, all the places that had been burned down and what had happened as a result.

Now if there's one thing they taught us in care it was how to cook, and I offered to feed Gil and the band. The trouble was I didn't have a place to live. So I asked my friend Dobbo if I could borrow his flat, cashed my giro cheque, and spent my two weeks' money on food. Gil bought his whole 17-strong entourage back to the flat and I fed them all. Entrees, starters, mango juice, the works. He tried to pay me £100, which was a lot of money then. I wouldn't accept it; he tried again and I refused again. When he realised there was no point in trying to pay me, he said to his promoter: "We'll be back in England in a few weeks. Give the brother the details of the hotel where we'll be." Then he said: "I'd like for you to join us on the tour." To do what, I asked? "Whatever the fuck you wanna do, carry some drums, whatever you want," was his response. And that's what I did.

Gil took it on himself to spend whatever time he could in the evening mentoring me, giving me encouragement and trying to foster in me a sense of self-worth. I had been indoctrinated by the care system to believe that I was maladjusted and useless from the age of nine, but Gil refused to accept it. He saw something in me that I did not see in myself – my potential.

I had told Gil everything about my life. Except for one thing – I could hardly read. I was just so ashamed. It was 1988 and I'd been on the road with him for four years. This time we were touring America with Richie Havens and Gil passed me a book and asked me to read a page back to him. I felt like my heart was going to stop. I'd always had the attitude that if Gil asked me to do anything I'd do it, and for the first time he'd asked me to do something I couldn't do. I'd always made myself useful by doing anything, from the band's laundry to flogging Gil's books at gigs, to helping the roadies, to navigating for the driver. I was always conscious of not trying to be a burden because I was aware he was paying for my flights and hotel rooms, and when he asked me to read and I couldn't I felt cold, and fumbled and fumbled, to the point when he said "What's the problem? Are you not fluent in reading?" That was the first time I ever knew a person could be fluent at reading. Being a child of the streets, fluency was something I'd always associated with talking; talking was my survival mechanism. Gil made me take stock of the fact that illiteracy was something not to be ashamed of, but something to address. I told him I'd never been taught – that was the first time I'd admitted it even to myself. In the care system education or literacy weren't encouraged, and most people came out of it like me.

Not many people know that Gil was a teacher – he had a Masters degree in English from Lincoln university. Despite not having a first degree he was accepted on to the Masters programme on the strength of two books he had written as a teen; The Vulture, a murder mystery, and The Nigger Factory, which was about life on black college campuses. I'd been running with the wrong crowd and he took it as a personal challenge to turn me around; to take me away from a life of hustling and make me productive. If I'd ended up like most of my peers in care I'd be dead or in jail by now. Gil's intervention saved my life.

He used to introduce me to people as his son, despite the fact that he has his own children. It was so touching. At the age of 12 I lost my father, and when I met Gil at 18 he took on that role and took it on seriously.

Back then, I had so many problems; my mind was like a spaghetti junction. There were so many narratives going on in my head that I couldn't unravel them, and Gil would listen to them all. At the end he'd invariably say one or two sentences that would sum up what it had taken me so long to say, and also direct me to what I should do about it.

In 1987 we were on tour and Gil suggested it was time for me to get a job. For two years I went to sea, working as a steward on a ferry, then on oil tankers, scrubbing decks, cleaning toilets, serving food. Every night from 6pm to midnight I taught myself to read and write. I started experimenting with language by writing poetry and songs. When I got to port I'd write to Gil, and enclose poems or songs for his appraisal. In between stints at sea, I would go on tour with Gil and he would appraise my work. By 1990, at the end of a period at sea, I had a considerable body of work; poetry, prose and songs. But I just put them in a box in a cupboard in my mum's house and left them for years

Gil then encouraged me to go to college and university and educate myself. The problem was, I didn't have any qualifications. So in 1990 I took a job with Littlewoods on a positive-action training scheme where they took on four black kids a year and trained them in management, and through that they sponsored me to go to college to study business and finance. I got a degree in sociology and geography, which seemed appropriate for a seaman with my background, followed by a postgraduate diploma in social research and a Masters degree in media production.

I continued to tour with Gil when I could. He was so proud of me. My degree was the culmination of everything he had invested in me and I'd invested in myself. What Gil gave me was a reason to live. At the age of 18 I couldn't see anything to live for.

In 1992 I met the Last Poets, a band that had been Gil's mentors and who are often credited as being the first rappers. Gil's famous song The Revolution Will Not Be Televised was inspired by the Last Poets' Niggers Are Scared of Revolution. There was a yearning in my soul for spirituality. I had lots of questions about religion, but Gil was more spiritual than religious. Jalal and Suliman from the Last Poets spoke to me about Islam, it struck a cord and in 1992 I became a Muslim and changed my name from Mark Trevor Watson to Abdul Malik Al Nasir and started managing The Last Poets' leader Jalal. I later started my own record company and worked with the likes of Public Enemy, Run DMC, Wyclef Jean, Sly Dunbar, the Wailers and Steel Pulse.

Over the years things took a toll on Gil. For many years he had preached against the evil of drugs, but he became an abuser himself, and in 2001 he was sent to jail in New York State for possession of cocaine. When he got into trouble, it reminded me how much he'd helped me. So I flew to New York and visited him in jail – he'd been pumping iron, eating three square meals a day, which he rarely got when we were on the road, and looked more relaxed and fit than I'd seen him in years. I went through all the security checks, and they told me to take a seat in the visiting room while they got the prisoner. He didn't know who was coming, and when he saw me he had a huge smile on his face. The guard called him over and said: "Ah, the famous Gil Scot Heron . . . tuck your shirt in." It was just an attempt to humiliate him. I bit my tongue.

By 2004, I had received substantial compensation for what I suffered in care. I dug out my old poems from that box in my mother's house, and showed them to my wife Sarah. She said I should do something with them, so I set up my own publishing company, Fore-Word Press, and published my first book, Ordinary Guy, in my original name Mark T Watson. Gil was elated when I sent him a copy. Not simply because it was dedicated to him but also because he knew without his mentoring, I wouldn't have been able to read or write.

In 2008, I was producing an album at Wyclef Jean's studio in New York and there was a huge commemoration concert at Radio City Music Hall for Martin Luther King Day. Wyclef was performing, and he introduced me to Stevie Wonder. Now Stevie and Gil had been integral in fighting for a national holiday to celebrate Martin Luther King, and I told him about my relationship with Gil. "Is Gil out of prison?" he asked. Yes, I said. "Well, bring him here now." So I phoned Gil, and brought him to the show. When we arrived at Stevie's dressing room and I announced Gil to Stevie, Stevie Wonder stood up, and said: 'Gil Scott Heron y'all', and the whole dressing room burst into rapturous applause.

Last year Gil made a comeback album, I'm New Here, which got great reviews. I joined him on what would be his final tour of Europe.

It's three weeks since Gil died, and I'm still in shock. I'm 45, married with five children, and Gil has been the most important person to me throughout my adult life. His funeral in Harlem was a sombre affair. What touched me most was all the love in the room. After the band played a beautiful tribute and Gil's ex-wife Brenda delivered a eulogy, the rapper Kanye West took to the pulpit and sang Lost in the World, a song that contains a sample from Gil's poem Comment #1. It was a beautiful tribute.

After the service, I told Kanye my story and asked if he would take part in a tribute concert for Gil in Liverpool, the place where we met all those years ago and he took me under his wing. This is my way of saying: "Thank you Gil. You saved my life."

As told to Simon Hattenstone

Thursday, 16 June 2011

NuNorthern Soul uStream Session - Live from NNS HQ 16th June

An off the cuff session, decks, cd player, mic, vinyl and a few CDS...

A proper NuNorthern Soul laid back session...

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

KAT45 - 003 7" Rossoulano Edits

Those chaps over at KAT records have got the 7" itch again... This time its in the form of 2 slight touch up jobs from Rossoulano AKA Blackbeard, well at least one half the later outfit...

A loving touch is put on Stormy by Diane Ross and The Supremes... Originally produced by Henry Cosby in 1968 and he the man behind such Motown classics as Stevie Wonders 'My Cherie Amour' and 'Tears of a Clown' by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles... Love and respect have been given on this... Ashley Beedle said "Stormy is an old fave of mine from way back when, and very big up North! Perhaps the southern shandies will play it now it has been 'chopped'..." 

Over on the flip side comes the mysterious 'Friends In Lo Places'... An RnB / Neo Soul melter that harks back to Blackbeards edit hay day and acts as a nice reminder as to why the name still rings true to many a soul aficionado...

Keep you ears pinned back for these little gems...! Release is scheduled for end of June 2011.

Monday, 25 April 2011

African 7" Rhythms

In the early 00's our very own Phat Phil took a few trips to South Africa and while he was there he picked up a load of 7"s. The following mix and artwork represent a few of the finds.
Styles range from Traditional, through to pop but all with a distinct African flavour.