Jay Strongman presents Popcorn Heartbreak
For teenagers listening to their radios, making out on the back seats of their fathers’ cars or slow dancing at High School hops and block parties, the late 1950s through to the early 1960s was a golden age of angst-driven songs and the blossoming of what would later evolve into soul music. There were R&B/pop crossovers that sounded like pop and country/gospel fusions that sounded like soul. There were latin-tinged songs with Doo-Wop vocals and pop songs that featured raw R&B vocals but the one thing all these songs shared was their subject matter. It didn’t matter what the colour of the singer’s skin was or if the instrumentation featured twangy guitar, wailing sax or Broadway-show-style strings, all these two-and-a-half minute gems shared a common theme in their lyrics – the heartbreak of lost love.
But these tracks also had one other factor in common – they boasted a mid-tempo pacing that made them perfect for slow jive dancing – which was something that didn’t go un-noticed in the Belgium of the 1970s, where a whole scene grew up around clubs that spun these obscure tunes from ten and twenty years earlier as an antidote to the frantic, mainstream disco tunes that were getting played in most European clubs at the time.
Called “Popcorn” after the James Brown song of the same name, this Belgian club scene was similar to Britain’s Northern Soul phenomenon with DJ’s seeking out rarer and rarer tunes to keep their dancers entertained. Although everything from ska to out-and-out pop got played as “Popcorn”, this compilation concentrates on the more R&B influenced songs of the period, making it perfect for late night dance floor moves or for soulful listening at home…