6Ts - Northern Soul's Southern Home

Randy Cozens - By Cola

A Life Less Ordinary

On the afternoon of Sunday, 15th of June 2003, I lost one of my best friends.

For a man who led such a rich, varied and, at times, indulgent life, anything less than a ‘trilogy’ would be an injustice... but I’ll save that job to the more eloquent and qualified of his pals.

For me, a good enough place to start is the day I met him in 1998. Sitting across from me in a cafe one sunny morning after the 100 Club, he asked if I spoke Spanish and if so, could I translate an article that had been written in a Spanish soul fanzine. I laughed in genuine disbelief that this ole chancer was the Randy Cozens who I’d heard so much about. The very same one whose article on Paul Weller had upset me at the age of 9! (... but that’s another story).

To cut a long day short, our friendship was sealed over several bottles of red wine as we spent the next 16 hours discussing his four great passions - Music, Mods, Maxine and the Mafia,...oh, and arguing whose turn it was to put on the next record. A moment that seems all the more poignant now was the pair of us sitting in floods of tears listening to Doris Troy’s “Somewhere along the way”... sentimental drunks to the end! Thankfully the rest of the day and the years to follow were far outweighed with tears of laughter.

I won’t deny that many on the scene were wary of Randy. He could be down right stubborn and fiery at times; and never suffered fools gladly. However, to those who didn’t know him, it’s impossible to convey in words the impact that he had on the lives of those he did allow into his heart.

In the wake of Randy’s passing, many people have talked about the great legacy he left those on the soul scene. This tends to over-shadow the fact that he also leaves two sons, Pabs and Terry, who return each night to a house that's far quieter now than they could ever have imagined. Despite the usual ups and downs close families have, he was in their words, the greatest dad. You think you’ve heard funny stories about Randy from folk on the scene (e.g.: handing a cover-up to a DJ who will remain nameless which turned out to be ‘Nelly The Elephant’ on play..), but the boys have got hundreds of hilarious memories about their dad. If you ever tire of hearing about Randy and his music, just ask Paul what it was like having his dad turn up after an all-nighter to watch him play Sunday league football.

I spent my last evening with Randy just before the Cleethorpes Weekender, doing what we always did best together, giggling and playing records... only on this occasion it also involved us subjecting Ady to an hour long lecture on our favourite ‘enders’; some of which I have in front of me now... Brenda Holloway’s ‘I will always love you’, Lou Johnson’s ‘It ain’t no use’, Theola Kilgore’s ‘ I can’t stand it’ and Coco Cozenza’s ultimate ender - Arthur Alexander’s ‘I need you baby’. Despite the emotional rawness of the songs and indeed the occasion, Randy was reflective in a very positive and upbeat way.

At the end of April this year I sent Randy a card in which I wrote “Get Well, I Know You’re only faking it!”... I so wish he had been. What I’d give now to allow him to steal my fags one last time, or see him in his corner by the bar at the 100 Club with arms wide open and a big grin on his face.

But hey, as Dave Godin said to me, what we can’t do nothing about, we just have to accept. We’ve all been left with some fantastic memories and indeed can take comfort from the fact that Randy truly LIVED his life and did it his way - right to the end.

Cola

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