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Who the hell were The Showstoppers ?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 4:57 pm
by AndyM
Because I'm shallowly influenced by the weather, and because its chorus includes the words "I know it's cold outside, come on in I'll keep you satisfied", I just dug out my ancient copy of 'Ain't Nothing But A Houseparty' by The Showstoppers. And I had quite forgotten what an irresistible chunk of lightweight soul-pop wonderment it is.

But who were they & why didn't they do anything else ??

And if we want to get pedantic, which sub-genre would you put it in ? It's not Motown, though it's very slightly Four-Tops-esque and even more slightly Miracles-esque; it's too bouncy for Stax. Is it swift & slippery enough to be Northern Soul ? Though that's a genre constructed through consumption rather than production.

I need to get out more.

Or just play it again. (If only for the faux-party noises)

Re: Who the hell were The Showstoppers ?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 5:31 pm
by Rob Hall
You're right: it's a great tune; it's neither Motown nor Stax; and yes, Northern Soul is a genre constructed through consumption rather than production (well put).

The Wiki entry isn't terribly helpful: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Showstoppers apart from telling us that a couple of them were the brothers of Solomon Burke.

Re: Who the hell were The Showstoppers ?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 5:41 pm
by Neil Foxlee

Re: Who the hell were The Showstoppers ?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 5:54 pm
by AndyM
A salutary though not unique tale - ripped off, mismanaged, impersonated & defunct. (I'm surprised they were so young though - pretty mature voices for teens.)

Still, it's a better track than the entire collected works of Radiohead.

Re: Who the hell were The Showstoppers ?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 6:12 pm
by Rob Hall
For those that don't know (or need to be reminded of) the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvrAce0fK4Q

Re: Who the hell were The Showstoppers ?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 6:20 pm
by AndyM
And the You Tube comments seem to suggest it was indeed one of those relatively obscure U.S. singles revitalised & given unexpected success here through the Northern Soul vector.

Re: Who the hell were The Showstoppers ?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 6:37 pm
by Neil Foxlee
The disc dates from 1968, which was apparently the year the term Northern Soul was first used (though not widely) by Dave Godin (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_soul). Although the Wikipedia article describes Ain't Nothing... as a Northern Soul classic, diehard NS fans would have shunned it as soon as it became popular - for them, the more obscure a record, the better (the ingroup thing), which is why they generally avoided Motown material, even if much of the stuff they went for was Motownesque. Not that I'm a Northern Soul man myself, you understand...

Re: Who the hell were The Showstoppers ?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 6:58 pm
by AndyM
I thought there was some Northern Soul mileage in records released on Motown but which never became chart hits (at least on first release). But I could be off the mark. Although I do recall seeing Wigan's Chosen Few & Wigan's Ovation on Top of the Pops!!

Re: Who the hell were The Showstoppers ?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:00 pm
by Rob Hall
Neil Foxlee wrote:The disc dates from 1968, which was apparently the year the term Northern Soul was first used (though not widely) by Dave Godin (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_soul). Although the Wikipedia article describes Ain't Nothing... as a Northern Soul classic, diehard NS fans would have shunned it as soon as it became popular - for them, the more obscure a record, the better (the ingroup thing), which is why they generally avoided Motown material, even if much of the stuff they went for was Motownesque. Not that I'm a Northern Soul man myself, you understand...

Yeah, despite the fact that I am originally from t'North - the Golden Torch was close by - and a lover of soul music, I always found the elitist/snooty aspect of the Northern Soul scene very off-putting. Plus, there was the dress code and all that messing about with talcum power...

Re: Who the hell were The Showstoppers ?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:29 pm
by Hugh Weldon
I remembered hearing this a lot on Caroline North as a kid - they did play a lot of soul. I've also seen it on a lot of Northern soul compilations but never really classed it as such myself - despite growing up only 20 miles or so from Wigan that scene pretty much passed me by.

The record was re-released in the early 70s - I may still have it somewhere. And for some reason it sticks in my mind that it was on the green Beacon label with a catalogue number such as BEA100. Why I recall such things God knows...

Re: Who the hell were The Showstoppers ?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:31 pm
by Hugh Weldon
As to who they were, though I'm curious too, I also like the sense of mystery. For a long time this was just a record on the radio, I didn't have a clue if it was British or American or the band was black or white. It was just a bloody great sound.

Re: Who the hell were The Showstoppers ?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:07 pm
by Jamie Renton
AndyM wrote:I thought there was some Northern Soul mileage in records released on Motown but which never became chart hits (at least on first release). But I could be off the mark. Although I do recall seeing Wigan's Chosen Few & Wigan's Ovation on Top of the Pops!!


I've got a CD called something like "Motown Best iof Northern Soul" with lots of rare n dancefloor friendly Tamla tracks. I can't lay my hands on it for the minute, but I won it on Charlie's show back in the mid 90s, when I'd compete with Aly Prince to be the 1st to get through on the phone & give my answer to Norman & Nikki!

Re: Who the hell were The Showstoppers ?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:36 pm
by AndyM
Sometimes the process worked in 'reverse' - Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons' brief stint on Mowest (Motown's 'California' label) produced no hits, but the faaaaaabulous track 'The Night' became a cult success in Northern Soul circles.

It then got reissued in the UK & charted, at which point I dare say the talcum Taliban (copyright - ME) of the NS hardcore disowned it.

Still a gem, and brilliantly covered by Soft Cell much more recently. But I doubt if many SOTWers have much time for Soft Cell......

Re: Who the hell were The Showstoppers ?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:42 pm
by Hugh Weldon
Andy

I doubt if many SOTWers have much time for Soft Cell


You might be surprised. I thought 'Say Hello Wave Goodbye' was a great record. I didn't know they had covered 'The Night'. Marc Almond was from Southport, and clearly something of a Northern Soul boy to have covered 'Tainted Love'.

Re: Who the hell were The Showstoppers ?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:00 pm
by AndyM
Hugh Weldon wrote:Andy

I doubt if many SOTWers have much time for Soft Cell


You might be surprised. I thought 'Say Hello Wave Goodbye' was a great record. I didn't know they had covered 'The Night'. Marc Almond was from Southport, and clearly something of a Northern Soul boy to have covered 'Tainted Love'.



I assume The Night was designed to be Tainted Love Part 2 as Soft Cell attempted to relaunch themselves once they reunited a few years back - it didn't really come off commercially but they still delivered an excellent version.

Say Hello Wave Goodbye is one of my Desert Island Discs. (Most weeks, anyway)

I'd be pleasantly surprised to flush out more Soft Cell aficionados in here - I'd suspected they were a bit, erm, inauthentic and, erm, lacking in manly grizzledness for an SOTW aesthetic (which appreciates femininity, but only in women).