6Ts - Northern Soul's Southern Home

Randy Cozens - By Steve GuarNoRi

 

It is with great sadness that we learned of the death of Randy Cozens on June 15 2003, after a painful battle against cancer. Let me say at the outset than I realise the readers of this tribute will be people who were closer to Randy than I and I don’t profess to be anything other than the one of the many friends he had. Born in 1948 in London, I first met Randy in 1979 at Henri’s Bar in Covent Garden. Henri’s bar was the inaugural night of one of his legacies, the 6Ts Rhythm & Soul Society, which he co-founded with Ady Croasdell. We enjoyed many wonderful nights at those gigs, moving from Covent Garden to the Railway in West Hampstead before 6Ts founds its spiritual home at Oxford Street’s 100 Club.

Randy was always so passionate about the music he loved and had a driving desire to share it with others. Thus, in the early eighties, I was the glad recipient of regular cassette tapes of sounds that Randy thought deserved greater recognition. These tapes introduced me to some wonderful undervalued music; music which I was determined to track down and own - and did. Via reviews in ‘Blackbeat’ magazine, we spread the word to a new, younger audience. For you see, Randy was actually quite modest and was happier allowing someone else to review the records he’d taped. However, this music was also unique in so far as the sounds that he championed at the time did not fall into any of the trendy pigeon holes that have always dominated the UK scene, like ‘northern’ or ‘jazz funk’. They were just good soul records that stood up in their own right.

In fact, Randy had little time for the politics or egos that so dog elements of the UK scene; he preferred instead to let music do the talking. All of that being said, some of those records later became big spins on the Northern scene, the most notable example perhaps being Bobby Kline’s ‘Say Something Nice to Me’ and Betty Swayne’s ‘Kiss My Love Goodbye’.

It was not clear to me until the recent celebration of his life - when , as friends, we shared our experiences of Randy - just how many other people had also been the lucky recipients of those cassettes and had been as influenced as I was. Had it not been for Randy and his determination to share this music with us, I wonder whether we would have the appreciation we have today for sounds like Arthur Alexander’s ‘I Need You Baby’, Big Maybelle’s ‘Oh Lord. What are You Doing to Me’ or Chuck Jackson’s ‘I fell asleep’.

Randy was also a talented artist, with a wicked sense of humour and a good friend who could not do enough to help anyone. Another passion in his life was studying and researching the US mafia and the rise and fall of the main East Coast crime families.

I lost track with Randy for a few years around the late eighties / early nineties, as people so often do, but we renewed our friendship in more recent years via the successful all-dayers he ran in Southgate, which were always a must for anyone into sixties soul music.

Focussed until the end, he gave me no outward indication of any bitterness at his fate. I last spoke to him less than two weeks before his death.

At that point, he was looking forward to the next Southgate all-dayer in June and enthusing about having dinner with his favourite female singer, Maxine Brown, who was over for her Cleethorpes appearance. In that conversation he also asked me about a Marion Love record, wondering whether it was as good as he remembered it to be... This was so typical of Randy - so full of life and enthusiasm right to the end. Randy leaves behind family and literally hundreds of good friends with fond memories of a life lived in full.

Steve Guarnori

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