Date: 1965
Artist: Kim Weston
Song Writers: Holland Dozier Holland
Recording details: Jobette Music
Label(s) UK: Tamla Motown


An apocryphal Motown recording and its got the lot; all the elements that went together in various associations to produce that Motown sound; the guitars, tambourines, drums and of course that saxophone and oh yer’ that voice.
Mods loved Soul music and soul music was just like the Mods a creation of the sixties a new, live and modern thing. The style conscious original sixties Mods loved Motown and ‘Helpless’ was right on top of the list of a host of sort after 45’s that simply had to be in your record collection, if you were a soul mod!
Motown was the backbone and the generating power house of the original soul scene as this top 500 will prove, yes there are other great labels and artists but for sheer drive, consistency and output its Motown that did it, and ‘Helpless’ is their excellent exemplar.
The club where this track was first heard in Manchester in 1965, was of course at the Twisted Wheel and the DJ who put it onto the turntable was Roger Eagle. I wonder if Motown have any idea of how important Manchester was as the genesis of today’s Northern Soul?

Its doubtful as history has been re-written by well meaning later day ‘Northern Soulies’ who think most of it began at the Wigan Casino!

Kev Roberts in his Top 500 Northern Soul book has Helpless listed at number 453. He says that it would be a lot higher, maybe “the biggest record ever” if it were not so readily available !!!
This statement defines the difference between our original scene and its sequel in which rarity is preferred to brilliant quality. If its not rare, and if its not on vinyl its not as good; a case of the container over the content. It’s ‘Art for arts sake – rarity the pre-requisite, meaning that concurrent and new and modern soul is not included on the Northern scene and ignoring contemporary soul artists no matter how good; to quote the Detroit Spinners; ‘it’s a shame’.
The thing that underpins the entire Northern thing is rarity and the discovery and hype of rarity; are these folks soul aficionados or antique dealers?
Kev ends by saying; if ‘Helpless’ had been on a rare label with only a couple of copies they would be worth many thousands today, which is wishful thinking of a strange kind, he obviously likes the song, but it has no value for him because its cheap to buy due to its popularity, if it had not been popular, like so many of the other Motown and Stax etc tracks listed in our top 500 there would have been no soul scene in the first place!
I am in no way against the Northern Soul scene its uncovered and kept alive new and great soul music, a huge debt is owed to it in generating the current interest in soul music, but we just want the original 60’s perspective to be known.


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