Big Maybelle Quittin Time Northern Soul Monday

Northern Soul Monday with Big Maybelle

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Here we are, back again with another edition of Northern Soul Monday – where we open up the dancefloor and share the best Stompers with you. We encourage you to Turn Up the Volume while you take some time to learn about the Song, the Artist, and a little Northern Soul History. Are you ready set go? I know we are.

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This Week’s Northern Soul Monday’s Featured Track is “Quittin’ Time” by Big Maybelle. It was originally released in 1968 on Rojac Records.

“Quittin’ Time” by Big Maybelle
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Big Maybelle Quittin' Time Northern Soul Monday

Big Maybelle, born Mabel Louise Smith, was born in May of 1924, in Jackson, Tennessee. Her first hit was in 1956, with the Single “Candy”. “Candy” received the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999.

Big Maybelle Quittin Time Northern Soul Monday

Mabel (or Maybelle) began her career with Dave Clark’s Memphis Band in 1936. She also toured with the all-female International Sweethearts of Rhythm. After, she joined Christine Chatman’s Orchestra and made her first recordings with Christine in 1944, before recording with Tiny Bradshaw’s Orchestra from 1947-1950.

Big Maybelle Quittin Time

Her first Debut Solo Recordings were under Mabel Smith. They were for King Records, in 1947. She had limited initial success.

In 1952 Mabel was signed by Okeh Records, whose record producer Fred Mendelsohn gave her the stage name ‘Big Maybelle’ because of her loud yet well-toned voice. Her first recording for Okeh, “Gabbin’ Blues”, was a #3 hit on the Billboard R&B chart, and was followed up by both “Way Back Home” and “My Country Man” in 1953.

Big Maybelle Okeh Records

In 1955 she recorded the song “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”, produced by up-and-coming producer Quincy Jones,  a full two years before Jerry Lee Lewis’ Version.

“Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” by Big Maybelle

In 1967, she covered ? And The Mysterians Hit, “96 Tears”. This ended up being her final Chart appearance. Marybelle’s struggle with drug addiction ended her life at the young age of 47.

“96 Tears” by Big Maybelle

A little Northern Soul History:

Northern Soul Monday History DJ's

It was Northern Soul DJ’s that introduced Northern Soul Music to the “masses”. Every week they would add new 45″ to their collection, keeping them secret until they spun them at one of the Clubs or Casinos. Sometimes they even changed a single’s name to hide the identity of a Song/Songs (called “white labeling, where a DJ would cover up the label with the name and Song title on it). This was done to keep a Song/Songs as unique to the DJ, part of his/her arsenal, and be theirs alone to play.

Northern Soul DJ’s have been cited as inspiring DJ’s of now. Let’s take a look at how.

The Northern soul movement is said to have been a significant step towards the creation of contemporary club culture and of the superstar DJ culture of the 2000s. Two of the most notable DJs from the original Northern soul era are Russ Winstanley and Ian Levine.


Russ Winstanley Northern Soul Monday
Russ Winstanley



Ian Levine Northern Soul DJ Northern Soul Monday
Ian Levine


Many say that Northern Soul was instrumental in creating a network of clubs, DJs, record collectors and dealers in the UK, and was the first music scene to provide the British charts with records that sold entirely on the strength of club play.

One commonality of Modern DJ’s and Northern Soul DJ’s of the past is the sequencing of Records to create euphoric highs and lows for the crowd. Many of the DJ personalities and their followers involved in original Northern Soul movement would go on to become significant people in the House and Dance Music scenes.


Graeme Park and Mike Pickering at the Haçienda in 1989
Graeme Park and Mike Pickering at the Haçienda in 1989


Notable among these are Mike Pickering, who introduced house music to the Haçienda in Manchester in the 1980s, the influential DJ Colin Curtis, Neil Rushton the A&R manager of the House music record label Kool Kat Music and the dance record producers Pete Waterman, Johnathan Woodliffe, Ian Dewhirst and Ian Levine (see above).

Northern Soul was the birth of the crate-digger, the start of modern clubbing as well know it and a fully-formed drug subculture some 20 years before ecstasy arrived in the UK. Sometime in the mid-60s, there was a sharp divergence between soul lovers in the North and South. (from Mix Mag)

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Thanks for joining us for another edition of Northern Soul Mondays. Be sure to check back here next week to see who we will be spinning, and take another step back into Northern Soul History with us. Until then, Keep the Faith.

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