Can Anyone Tell Me Anything About Paris? No, Not That One ~ The Northern Soul Classic


I couldn’t get to sleep last night, which is surprising as I am a Martini Sleeper (Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere). I can normally muster slumber on staircase or cattle grid, let alone a snug nest. Probably stayed up too late on the bloody internet.

Anyway, the first song that came into my head this morning was Sleepless Nights. Don’t know it? Take a listen. It is one of my all time favourites. Being very partial to a bit of 1960s Northern Soul (I’m not so keen on the funky 70s stuff) I first came across this on Northern Soul Memories, one of those wonderful batch of 30 or 40 track comps that came out around 6 or 7 years ago. Some are better than others, but all contain hidden gems by people you’ve never heard of.

Sleepless Nights is by Paris. Just Paris. Paris who? I have no idea, but would love to know anything about him. The voice bears comparison with Jackie Wilson, don’t you think? My pal Kevin, who is a nut for these discs (Kent’s finest DJ ~ available for bookings) absolutely hates this track, he doesn’t get it at all. Neither fast nor slow, just ploddy, he says. It takes all sorts, doesn’t it. I love it to death, from that delicious drum intro through all his pleas for rest from his heartache, the backing chorus and slightly wayward brass.

The song is credited to Pipkin, Gordon, Pipkin. Jobbing songwriters resident in Chicago, Memphis, NYC, who knows? Produced by Chester Pipkin in 1965. Seems Chester was originally from Pasadena, way back. Could have been anywhere by ’65.

It’s the wonder of Northern Soul. Great uplifting danceable gems, but you have no idea who is singing, what they looked like, what clothes they wore, whether they’re pulling a pension, still on the cabaret circuit or died penniless in 1967. I wonder if someone knows who this is and can tell me, just so I can put some flesh and bones on him and say thanks.

Whilst we’re at it, here’s a bit of a Pop Junkie two for one deal, at no extra cost. Have you ever heard the Peanut Duck? Seems like I’m not allowed to play it to you but check this out.

The Peanut Duck is fantastic piece of gibberish, a real dance classic. However, no-one knows who she was or who wrote it or who played on it. Her real name (unless this is a bizarre coincidence) was not Marsha Gee. That was just a name allocated by the guy who found the acetate and bootlegged it.

Surely this makes it the purest pop record imaginable ~ Just out there floating around with no strings, no safety net, no home. A fake name, no interviews, no photos, no follow-up flop, no comeback tours, no reunion gigs. Just pure joyous pop that makes me want to dance like a monkey in a pill box hat.


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