I want to drop a little Northern Soul on you today to lift the mood. In the last mix I dropped (Hello My Name Is Mr Double Down) I struggled to choose which side of the Darrell Banks 45 I recently picked up to close the mix out with. In the end I plumped for the A side ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’ but buried on the flip is another track which deserves equal praise. ‘Our Love (Is In The Pocket) was a huge huge hit on the Northern Soul scene, both due to Darrell Banks’ original release selling over a million copies in 1966 and also the later cover by J.J. Barnes (more on that later). The record can almost be used as a ‘definition’ to explain exactly what the Northern Soul sound is. Not that this is a bad thing as this is for sure one of my favourite Northern records, and even went on to be a massive Golden Torch favourite back in the 70’s.
Darrell Banks hailed from Ohio and after a church background, moved over to secular music and signed for the Revilot Label, named after a local club in Buffalo. His 1966 Revelot single ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’ backed with Our Love (Is In The Pocket) was shrouded with controversy as his friend Donnie Elbert, who had written the track with Banks was omitted from the contractual writing credits and also the credits on the 45, giving Banks full royalties. This went on to be settled in court in Donnie Elbert’s favour. All in all a pretty big mess up when you realise the single went on to sell over a million copies, which wasn’t something to be sniffed at back then! Darrell Banks went onto release a total of two albums and seven 45s before he was shot dead in Detroit by an off duty policeman, Aaron Bullock in 1970. Bullock was seeing Darrell Banks ‘girlfriend’ Marjorie Bozeman at the time. When he dropped her back off at her home one morning, Darrell Banks was waiting for her, aparently wanting to talk. After a scuffle involving all three of them, Banks pulled a gun on the officer who responded by shooting Banks in the neck and chest with his own .22 revolver. He died in the New Grace Hospital from his injuries aged just 32, although strangely some sources cite his age as 35. (There was also never any court case or legal action following his death?)
Darrell Banks– Our Love (Is In The Pocket)
In 1969, a year before Darrell Banks died, J.J. Barnes covered ‘Our Love(Is In The Pocket). Both versions were released on Revilot and used the same backing track. There are two issues of the Darrell Banks version both on Revilot – The grey one and the rarer Pink issue which is pictured.
J.J. Barnes’ vocal delivery is slightly more polished, which may be why it later went on to be a bigger hit on the Northern Scene than Banks’ version. The J.J Barnes release of the single is also notably a lot rarer and commands up to £300 depending on condition, compared with around £20 for the Darrell Banks release.
J.J. Barnes – Our Love (Is In The Pocket)
It’s a tough call to decide which of the two singers produced the better version, I personally like both equally for different aspects, so I’ll let you listen and make up your own minds!
Stay safe and we’ll be back with more of the ’Good Stuff’ after the weekend.