HUGE’R THAN BIG @ THE ‘WHEEL’ in 64: Lou Johnson should have been a big star in the UK, but his original recordings were always copied by other, bigger stars. Message To Martha was covered by Dionne Warwick and Adam Faith and Always Something There To Remind Me by Sandy Shaw and Dionne Warwick.
He appeared in a memorable edition of RSG (Ready Steady Go – early sixties TV mod programme) when he sang live versions of: A Time To Love A Time To Cry (Petite Fleur) the ‘B’ side of UNSATISFIED. Both tracks were very popular at Soul Clubs as was MAGIC POTION. Released in 1997 the CD of Lou Johnson has all his major recordings but curiously it does not include “Message To Martha”.
It is satisfying that fairly obscure artists from the early part of the 1960’s are becoming available on compact disk. The quality certainly beats the sound on my old 45’s, but this is sometimes an anathema to the current Northern Soul Clan who tend to only play vinyl originals, all fuzzy crackling and popping at their weekenders and All-nighters.
What gets me most of all is that they have completely air-brushed out the fact that the original Soul-Mods on the first Soul scene in the sixties (Northern only stated around 1970/71) were well into Soul whilst they were still in school. From reading all their stuff its like nothing ever happened before ‘they’ invented Northern Soul, then laid claim to everything without acknowledging the facts. The fact for Lou Johnson and all the vast repertoire of Soul music that was first discovered on that originating scene is ignored. So we get Kev Roberts putting “UNSATISFIED” at 32 on his Top 500 Northern Soul songs of all time, after hearing it at the Torch in the early 70’s.
Well it was on our list long before he compiled his.
Many of Lou’s songs were written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
Wikipedia: Lou Johnson