6Ts - Northern Soul's Southern Home

Randy Cozens - By KENT RECORDS

As published in Ace Records Newsletter

Randy started the 6TS Rhythm ‘N’ Soul club with me in August 1979 at Henri’s Bar, Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London W1 and after an extraordinarily successful first night went on to be the longest running soul club (24 years and counting) ever.

More important than his entrepreneurial skills, Randy's forte was in appreciating, discovering and passing the soul music we loved to the many disciples he won over by his enthusiasm, taste and style.

Randy's association and influence with Kent Records, though rarely direct, as it usually went through me, was there from the first release. "For Dancers Only" Kent 001 not only featured his enthused body thumping the air on the front cover (first on the left), but more importantly was full of his influences in the choice of tracks that made it such a seminal LP for 1980s soul converts around the world. Tracks like Ike and Tina's 'I Can't Believe What You Say' and Lowell Fulson's 'My Aching Back' were brought to my attention by Randy when he recalled the hip days of his youth spent down the Last Chance soul all nighter on Oxford Street in the early 1960s. The next LP "For Dancers Also" contained Mary Love's 'I'm In Your Hands' the B-side to the Northern Soul classic 'You Turned My Bitter Into Sweet' which I and most Northern fans had totally neglected. Randy's championing of it eventually led to it being established as a soul classic for all those music lovers who combine the feelings of their hearts with the movements of their feet.

Randy's love of classic soul singers like ZZ Hill, Arthur Alexander and Irma Thomas continued to influence my selections for new Kent compilations, but it was with Kent's access to the Scepter/Wand catalogue that his influence led to major musical discoveries and enlightenment. Maxine Brown had long since been established as Randy's favourite singer through her beautiful voice, wonderful songs and her feminine aura and grace that was Randy's recipe for the perfect soul goddess. Her songs featured on virtually every soul tape he made for new friends and acquaintances who showed the slightest interest: 'Oh No Not My Baby' and 'Since I Found You' for beginners or perhaps the LP track 'I Wonder What My Baby's Doing Tonight' and 'It's Gonna Be Alright' for the more advanced. This coupled with a similar huge admiration for Maxine's Wand stablemate Chuck Jackson led to him collecting the label and discovering countless soul gems on there, as well as finding himself the owner of ultra rare punk singles by the Moving Sidewalks and other white trash he truly detested. Luckily for all concerned I relieved him of those when a better soul trade turned up!

The first Kent Scepter/Wand compilations were full of Randy's suggestions including tracks by Freddie Hughes, Big Maybelle, Clarence Reid, Jimmy Raye, the Honey Bees and others. Those LPs were banged out quite quickly in between record dealing trips to Yate, Cleethorpes, Wigan and the States and the general mayhem that was the 6TS in the mid 80s. In the rush I rarely got to credit Randy enough for his discoveries, which had usually become national soul property by the time I committed them to Kent LPs.

When Roger Armstrong at Ace asked me if a trip round the Scepter/Wand vaults in Nashville would be worthwhile for Kent and after he'd shown me tape lists for Maxine and Chuck featuring titles like 'Torture' and 'What's With This Loneliness', I answered strongly in the affirmative. Randy had already compiled and written sleevenotes for the two artists' solo "Best Of"s and of course he was the first person I contacted to help analyse the tape lists. Getting into the vaults and finding wonderful new old soul music like Maxine's 'Losing My Touch' and 'I Want A Guarantee' and Chuck's 'Millionaire' and 'Forget About Me', went a long way towards paying off the debt I owed to Randy.

I would get further pleasure by getting to meet Maxine and putting her in contact with her number one fan. These meetings and phone conversations eventually led to Maxine coming out of her self imposed retirement, touring the UK and resurrecting her performing career in the USA as well. In the last days of Randy's life there was a serendipitous meal in a Soho Italian restaurant with his two sons Paul and Terry, Maxine, Dean Parrish, Dave Godin, Mick Patrick, Malcolm Baumgart, me, Roger Armstrong, Tony Rounce and Peter Gibbon from Ace. It was a fitting tribute to Randy’s stature as a major contributor to the knowledge and appreciation of soul music worldwide.

Ady Croasdell

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