The Verve - "A Northern Soul" - Play this track here.
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A Northern Soul is the second studio album by English alternative rock band The Verve. The album was released in the United States on 20 June 1995 on the Hut label and in the United Kingdom on 3 July 1995 on Vernon Yard Records. The title is a reference to Northern Soul, an integral part of Wigans history in the 1960's and early 1970's, popular dance/music movement.
Following their performance at Lollapalooza in 1994, The Verve returned to their Wigan-based practice room to begin writing and recording songs for their second studio album. Commenting on the effect that working in the "dank rehearsal room" had on the band's songwriting process, frontman Richard Ashcroft stated: “Practising in a dungeon in Wigan for this record, you're devoid of any kind of fashion, or thought of 'This is what we should be doing'. Like a band that goes into the studio and plays the music they hear in their heads rather than what they read in magazines.”
Initially, the band tried to record the LP inside the rehearsal room itself, so that "they could record as they had been rehearsing", but, when this approach proved to be impossible, they relocated the recording sessions to rural Wales with producer Owen Morris. Tom Hiney, writing for The Guardian in September 1997, claimed that the band's experience of recording during this period was "intense and morose, but it produced an album that will still be listened to in 30 years' time. In my opinion, he was right on that one.
The band thought highly of the album, with drummer Peter Salisbury declaring it to be "one of the best albums in the last 10 or 15 years. As good as Nirvana's or the Roses", and McCabe claiming it contained "some of the best music I have ever heard by anyone". The album was a moderate success upon its release, reaching no 13 on the UK album chart. However, in later years the album saw more acclaim, with readers of Q Magazine voting it the 53rd best album of all time in 1998, and NME ranking it as the 28th best album of all time in 2003 and the 13th best British album in 2006.
Locals will recognise this reflection in a road puddle, just down Tib Street Manchester. The Northern Quarter (N4 or NQ) is an area of Manchester City Centre, England, UK, generally marked out between Piccadilly, Victoria and Ancoats, and centred around Oldham Street, just off Piccadilly Gardens.
A centre of alternative and bohemian culture, the area is usually considered to be contained within Newton Street (borders with Piccadilly Basin), Great Ancoats Street (borders with Ancoats), Back Piccadilly (borders with Piccadilly Gardens) and Swan Street/High Street (borders with Shudehill/Arndale). Popular streets include Oldham Street, Tib Street, Newton Street, Lever Street, Dale Street, Hilton Street and Thomas Street.
The Northern Quarter is part of a larger area of Greater Manchester that is on a tentative list of nominated sites for UNESCO World Heritage Site Status, a position held since 1999. Its a great place to grab some vintage clothing at Aflecks Palace, some Belgian beer, chorizo burgers at Trof or a brilliant piece of cake with custard in 1950's surroundings at Sugar Junction. Did I mention the Night & Day?
In my youth it was a street of XXX Sex Shops and pet shops. A funny mix. Its a lot less menacing than it was, fewer pet and sex shops, more trendy places & eateries.
For Dave Haslam (I can read his music books all day if I can), the Northern Quarter became the last refuge of the Manchester music scene in the 1990s: "A community, of sorts, had developed around music-makers wedded to experimentalism, from Andy Votel to Waiwan, nurtured at club nights such as Graham Massey's Toolshed and Mark Rae's Counter Culture ... In 1992, Frank Schofield and Martin Price (of 808 State) had lamented the fate of the independent record shop, yet within five years there were several new record shops in the Northern Quarter".
When you next visit Manchester, checkout the Northern Quarter. Proper Manchestor!
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