A true man of soul

Dave Godin with Marvin Gaye. (From the exhibition to celebrate the career of Soul journalist Dave Godin now on display at Henry's Soul Club @Henry's cafe/bar, Cambridge St Sheffield. Curated by the club's DJ Stevlor)
Dave Godin with Marvin Gaye. (From the exhibition to celebrate the career of Soul journalist Dave Godin now on display at Henry's Soul Club @Henry's cafe/bar, Cambridge St Sheffield. Curated by the club's DJ Stevlor)

An exhibition celebrating Soul guru Dave Godin, who went on to run Sheffield’s Anvil Cinema, is on display at Henry’s cafe/bar on Cambridge Street.

It is curated by Henry’s Soul Club DJ Stevlor as a precursor to a biography he is completing for publication next year.

The exhibition features 20 front covers from iconic music magazine Blues & Soul, to which Dave contributed a bi-weekly column, record reviews and articles throughout the 1960s and early 1970s.

“Dave Godin was a leading authority on Black American music and his column was one of the most popular features in the magazine which was so influential in the UK and swiftly became known as the ‘Soul Bible’,” says Stevlor.

The exhibition also features a 3ft square photograph of Dave Godin and a man who was to become a lifelong friend, Soul superstar Marvin Gaye, taken during his first visit to Detroit after he was invited over by Tamla Motown Records in 1965, having formed the UK Tamla Motown Appreciation Society.

All the acts on the label’s roster, including The Supremes, The Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, loved him for his tireless promotion of their records, and chipped in to pay for his air fare.

Dave Godin is credited as being the person who originally put the words Tamla and Motown together to create the name by which one of the world’s most famous record companies is still known by today.

The second frame houses a 5ft vertical strip of rare, hand-printed William Morris designed wallpaper salvaged from the house where Dave died in October 2004.
According to Stevlor, “Dave had been suffering from cancer for quite some time and decided to move into a friend’s house in Rotherham to be looked after. Dave had always been a fan of William Morris and collected several rolls of valuable Morris print. As he lay ill he had his bedroom decorated with the paper.

“ The decorators originally hung the complicated pattern upside down until Dave noticed and ordered them to correct it.

The biography chronicles Dave Godin’s colourful and multi-faceted life from his discovery of Rhythm & Blues in an ice-cream parlour as a teenager in the late 1950s, his prolific career as a music journalist and champion of black music, his historical coining of the term ‘Northern Soul’ to coming to Sheffield in the 1970s to study Film at the Polytechnic leading to managing The Anvil.

“I’ve been writing and researching this biography for over three years and now it’s nearing completion I’m putting out a call for anybody who knew Dave and who may like to contribute an anecdote about him.

“He knew literally hundreds of people and I’m sure there are a few in Sheffield who would like to be involved. I’d also like to hear from those who may not have got on with him because I know he was a chap who could be loathed as much as he was loved,” says Stevlor who can be contacted at   stevlor@hotmail.co.uk