Pianist's concert reimagines Northern Soul

A Northern Soul singer is preparing to play in the hometown of Wigan Casino '“ but will offer a radical new take on the songs that made the venue famous.
Paul DaviesPaul Davies
Paul Davies

Paul Davies’ show Northern Soul Reimagined, which is coming to The Old Courts next month, takes the scene’s tracks and reworks them into stripped-down settings for his voice and piano as well as a backing choir.

Paul, who is from Darwen, will appear at the Crawford Street venue alongside the Voice of Africa gospel ensemble for a night of rare soul classics as they have never been performed before.

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Paul got into Northern Soul after some of the songs were requested for live sets he was booked to perform, having already become well known on the North West music scene as a singer of US soul and Motown influenced by iconic artists such as Marvin Gaye.

He has now created a whole show of dancefloor-fillers from venues like Wigan Casino and the Twisted Wheel but says he wants to change the way audiences hear them.

He said: “The show is very different, it’s about alternative takes on Northern Soul tunes.

“The scene is well known for the dancing but this is myself sat at the piano playing completely stripped-down versions. It’s about showcasing the lyrics and the expression in the songs a bit more, and the audience sits and takes in the words.

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“Obviously I’ve had to pick songs that will work with this treatment. We’ve done the show a couple of times and it went rather well.”

The 34-year-old singer has become more of a fixture on the current Northern Soul revival scene in the past couple of years after meeting former Casino PDJ Russ Winstanley, who has invited him to sing at his events.

The reimagined night also features clips of some of the original artists introducing Paul’s new versions of their best-known tracks.

Paul said: “It’s a bit like an answering machine, as though they are leaving a voicemail message. It’s the best way I could get them involved in the show.”

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Northern Soul Reimagined by Paul Davies is at The Old Courts on March 4. For more information visit www.theoldcourts.com