45 45s #7 Freda Payne – You brought the joy (Invictus, 1971)

Freda PayneSometimes I wish I had a greater number of old soul sevens than I do.  I’ve a few charity shop finds, but I was never sufficiently hooked to become a serious collector of northern soul rarities and the like.

This one came not via a charity shop, but was instead gifted to me by my mate Tim, who I think used to see it as his duty to rescue records he already had himself from languishing unloved in record or charity shop racks, when for the price of a few English pence, they could be set free and spinning on a friend’s turntable.  And this was at a time when I don’t believe he had all that much in the way of spare English pence, so generosity as well as a record collecting obsession was at work there.

Tim will be pleased to know that this seven inch has seen a lot of stylus action over the years; both sides of the record – which also appear on the LP Contact – are a joy.  ‘Suddenly it’s yesterday’ could easily have been a B/w, with its over-the-top spoken intro, strings, and backing vocals leading eventually into a sinuous, falling melody in the verse, and a knock-out chorus.  The A side opens with drumming as dynamic and dramatic as you could wish, providing an irresistible platform from which Freda can launch her affirmative tale of joy; the perfect complement to the flipside’s wistful sorrow.  Both are Holland-Dozier-Holland numbers, and more than a match for the quartet’s UK number one of the previous year, ‘Band of gold’.

‘You brought the joy’ is far from being the only piece of vinyl which has moved on a free transfer between our respective collections – I have Tim’s copy of Gene Clark’s No other, while I’m pretty sure he has mine of Kevin Rowland’s solo LP The wanderer (and just to be clear, Tim, it’s on loan to you in perpetuity).  If we put our minds to it, I’m sure we could recall others.  So this 45 is a nod to the friendships that spring up around music; a tip of the hat to that pre-internet network of vinyl obsessives whose enthusing, mix tapes and gifts did as much as if not more than John Peel to shape my musical taste.

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