6Ts - Northern Soul's Southern Home

Randy Cozens - By Dave Godin

A Soulful Treasure

The trouble with growing older is that you experience more and more bereavements. The latest loss of Randy Cozens was particularly bitter and painful because not only did we share a passion for the music of Blackamerica, (the element that initially brought us together), but we shared so many other beliefs too.

Both born and bred on the wrong side of the tracks in London, when we first met we not only recognised the Soul brother in each other, but the outlaw too, and we both remained anarcho-rebels; mistrustful of authority, our "betters", organised shams like religion, as well as the piss-artists who, once all element of danger has passed, seek to appropriate elements of the "outsider" culture and bring it under their control. A parallel experience in fact to what has happened to Blackamerica since the Civil War was fought to preserve the Union, and black emancipation added as a politically opportunistic afterthought once the war was already a couple of years underway.

In many ways, although we had so much in common, we were very different too. His approach to life was direct and virile, mine more discreet and pansified, but we both wore invisible boxing gloves, and spent most of our lives keeping them shining! But people develop in different ways and grow different characters through their life experiences, and provided you always remember that only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches, you can always respect one another no matter how disparate you may be with regard to peripherals.

Randy and DawnWhen it came to the music of Blackamerica we were both driven; driven by a searing sense of injustice that such artistry should be overlooked and ignored by those who controlled the media, and alongside this too was the simple solidarity with all oppressed minorities whom the privileged think were born just to serve their over-inflated egos. Our backgrounds ensured that the politics of the streets was never lost on us, and, more importantly, could never be bought off. Our shared sense of humour was also scandalous.

Our love of THE music however was THE constant factor that bound us in friendship. He not only knew exactly what sort of side would flip me out, but, as I once remarked in passing conversation with Ady Croasdell, "I think Randy is one of the few people who really understands me and my funny ways."

He approached his end without fear and with stamina, which didn’t surprise me in the least. We were even able to joke about it a little, and I told him that if there WAS anything afterwards, he was to hang on at The Gates until I got there, and we’d sort them out together, and in the meantime he was to look after all the departed companion animals that have featured in my life and tell them I’ll be joining them one day.

We once spent ages discussing the impact Maxine Brown’s record "All In My Mind" had on each of us when we first heard it. It was for both of us a seminal moment in our cultural history, and it was wonderful that, a fortnight before he died, we were both able to spend an evening with Maxine in London. She knew he was her number one fan, and the evening was tinged with great sadness for her too since we knew Randy didn’t have much time left.

But, it is a person’s LIFE we must remember and celebrate, and Randy’s life touched and enriched so many other people’s lives. Not least of all my own, and I feel blessed that our paths crossed; I shall remember him always with love and affection; and always regard him as one of life’s true Soul treasures.

Dave Godin

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