It all started for me at the age of 9ish when I played purely by accident the ‘B’ side of “Baby Love” by The Supremes, as “Ask Any Girl” washed over me and the now familiar hairs on the back of the neck made me realise I was listening to something that stirred feelings within me, I think it’s fair to say that I haven’t been the same since.
In July of 2016 I turned 61 and it’s been one hell of an emotional ride. I have hobbies but it’s fair to say that soul music is an obsession with me. Today with 27000 records and cd’s here at home I’m still searching daily for the next fix. I’v DJd too, purely by accident, all over the country and in Europe, guested on radio all by request of course; I don’t think I’ve ever put myself forward for any of that.
The music comes first every time, I still venture out although after over 40 years of travelling up and down the country I’m a bit picky. What’s the point in me travelling 200 miles just to hear what I have here at home, so always check the jocks and go from there?
My own personal choice has always been the slower side of soul, the deeper the vocal the better, I went through the normal channels of collecting Motown, Stax, Atlantic, British then import releases. Reggae has also featured heavily in my life. Birmingham has been good to me with a myriad of second-hand shops, The Diskery, Reddingtons. In the very early days I had to jump on the bus to get to the big supermarkets that always had records for sale, Woolworths was another favourite. There was also a network of shops that sold records as an addition usually in a wooden Schweppes box near the till.
I am of course committed to vinyl and right now we are having a resurrection with some choice sides finding an outlet onto vinyl. Having said that MP3s are the scourge of the modern-day but it’s also an avenue to collect some choice tunes. I don’t find writing easy as I didn’t have a good education. I’v often said my education began the day I left school at 14, by which time Otis Redding had stolen any interest I had in education by then. I’v had some distractions on the way, flirted with Slade purely for the energy and Noddy Holders vocals, God that man put his all into a vocal. But soul & Reggae were always there and always will be.
Today I search out rare soul pieces – it’s just the way my collecting has developed. I run the Jim Wray Lounge at Soul Essence Soul Weekenders, a room dedicated to the slower side of soul and my Sunday Soul Sessions at the Courtyard Stanwick reflect that sound, numbers are increasing too, Deep, Sweet, Low-rider nestle alongside Northern, Funk, 2 Step and Rare Groove, my own taste really. The Courtyard is about an hour from Brum; love to see some of you there. It probably comes as no surprise to any of the regulars my love of all things Southern reflects what I review for UK Vibe, I find the vast majority of urban contemporary black music has had any feeling stripped out of it.
Away from music, I’m a huge piss taker so ‘Mock the Week’, ‘Have I Got News’ etc. are compulsive viewing, sadly I can see the funny side of just about anything that happens, not very PC but then I don’t wear sandals, cords and have hair on my face so that’s okay. Never felt the need to have dreads either, how ridiculous does that look on white people, I’v never understood that at all. I will shut up for now.
Brian Goucher’s Best of 2016:
1. Ray Greene & Friends – That’s What You Mean To Me (Strokeland) From the album ‘Nature Doesn’t Legislate’
2. Earl Thomas – North Country Blue (Earl Thomas Music) From the album ‘Crow’
3. Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal – Parts of a Man (Silver Street) From the album ‘Running From Love’
4. Dwayne Scivally – Point of No Return (Tate Music Group) From the album ‘Stay Until the Morning’
5. Cornell C.C. Carter – Where Do We Go (CDC Productions) From the album ‘In The Moment’
6. William Bell – This is Where I Live (Stax) From the album ‘This is Where I Live’ Review here
7. Brian Owens & Deacons of Soul – Prayer for My Children (Sweet Soul) From the album ‘Beautiful Day’ Review here
8. Adrena – He Won’t Leave (Bone40) From the album ‘Better Days’ Review here
9. Durand Jones & The Indicators – Is it Any Wonder (Colemine) From the album ‘Durand Jones & The Indicators’
10. St. Paul & The Broken Bones – Burning Rome (Sony) From the album ‘Sea of Noise’
11. James Hunter Six – Something’s Calling (Daptone) 45 – Also from the album ‘Hold On’ Review here
12. Gilley Wiltz – Who’s That Woman (Harmonic Life) From the album ‘Rise of the Sleeping Giant’ Review here
13. Lee Fields & The Expressions – Special Night [FULL ALBUM] (Big Crown) Review here
14. Charles Bradley – Changes [FULL ALBUM] (Daptone)
15. JJ Thames – Hold Me (DeChamp) From the album ‘Raw Sugar’ Review here
16. Rachel Modest – Forbidden Love (Ata) 45
17. Benjamin & The Right Direction – Light of my Life (Palmetto St) 45
18. Big Lee Dowell – What I Done Wrong (Cannonball) 45
19. Roland Johnson – Your’s & Mine (Blue Lotus Recordings) From the album ‘Imagine This’ Review here
20. DeRobert & The Half-Truths – Ask of Me (City Bump) EP
Brian Goucher’s Best of 2015:
1. Jill Scott – You Don’t Know (Blues Babe/Atlantic)
2. Leon Bridges – River (Columbia) Review here
3. Mighty Mocambos with Lee Fields – Where Do We Go From Here (Mocambos)
4. Diane Shaw – Today I Started Loving You (Mecca)
5. Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens – Bound For The Promised Land (Daptone)
6. Nicole Willis & The Investigators – One In A Million (Timmion) Review here
7. Wee Willie Walker – I Don’t Remember Loving You (Little Village Foundation) Review here
8. Tad Robinson – Love Is A Winner (Severne) Review here
9. Mr. Sipp – Tonight (Malaco) Review here
10. The R&R Soul Orchestra – I’m Gonna Tell Her feat. Onaje Allan Gumbs (The American R&B company)
11. Grace Love & the True Loves – Times Like These (Private Press)
12. Lyfe Jennings – I Love You (RAL/Sony)
13. Jason Nelson – Way Maker (Private Press)
14. Vasti Jackson – I’m Still In Love With You (VJM)
15. Bobby Warden – Pure And Simple Love (Nyota)
16. Masta – What Am I Supposed To Do (Uni-Global) Review here
17. Stone Foundation – Beverley (The Turning Point Recording Organisation)
18. Van Morrison & Bobby Womack – Some Peace Of Mind (Exile Productions/RCA)
19. Billy Price & Otis Clay – Somebody’s Changing My Sweet Baby’s Mind (Bonedog/VizzTone)
20. Joyce Elaine Yuille – It’s Madness (Schema) Reviews here