Soulful Kinda Music

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The history of the magazine, and my involvement on the scene

1967 – I’m still in short trousers, but the underground circuit of clubs which play Black American Soul music, but only British releases, is already starting to form. Clubs like The Flamingo and The Scene in London, The Mojo in Sheffield, The Night Owl in Leicester, and perhaps the most significant name of all, The Twisted Wheel in Brazenose Street, Manchester.

1971 – By now the DJs had started to play imported records, and London had deserted Soul music. Journalist Dave Godin took a trip to The Twisted Wheel in Manchester, and coined the phrase ‘Northern Soul’, little did he know then what effect those two words were going to have over the next thirty years ! I’d also discovered Soul music by this stage, and was a fanatical buyer of Blues & Soul magazine, it was natural, living in the North West (Warrington) that I would gravitate towards the uptempo side of things, it was the music at our youth club. 1971 was also the year that The Twisted Wheel was finally closed down by the Councillors of Manchester.

1972 – The Golden Torch Ballroom, or The Torch as it became known, in Tunstall, Stoke On Trent, had taken over as the number one allnighter. Northern Soul was becoming a cult ! Bigger numbers attending, live acts recording live albums at the club. It was also the era when bootlegs first made an impact. The records were becoming more and more esoteric and obscure, the DJs were searching harder and harder to find that one record that would become an exclusive sound for them. Many other clubs were also starting up, The Catacombs in Wolverhampton, is one that springs to mind. Blackpool Mecca has also started to make a name for itself under the guidance of Ian Levine and Colin Curtis.

1973 – The Torch is closed by the Police, VaVas in Bolton starts an allnighter, a young man by the name of Richard Searling is the main DJ, but by August Va Vas is also closed down. To fill the void a venue in Wigan decides to run an allnighter. Wigan Empire as it was called when my parents used to dance there in the 1940s and 1950s had changed it’s name to Wigan Casino, and that name became a legend in it’s own right, voted number one nightclub in the world in the mid Seventies no less ! I’d also started attending allnighters by this time.

1978 – Publicity, a curse, or a benefit ? Northern Soul had made it big, TV programmes, Top of The Pops, Newspaper articles, coach loads of ‘daytrippers’, crowds of 2,000 people at the Casino, a membership of over 100,000 people. The DJs playlists had also altered. A lot of DJs had overlooked, what to me was essential, the Soul content, and were playing anything with the right beat, mindless instrumentals, pop stompers. Enough was enough. I stopped attending and went to work in North Wales.

1979 – Northern Soul makes it’s first reappearance in the capitol under the name of 6Ts Rhythm & Soul headed by Randy Cozens and Ady Croasdell. The venue they eventually ended up at, The 100 Club in Oxford Street, London celebrates it’s 21st anniversary in September of this year. Now that is a real achievement !

1981 – Shock, Horror, The Casino closes…eventually ! For many people this was the end of the Northern Soul scene. For many people it was a welcome thing because the Casino had turned Northern Soul into a circus, and people were ashamed to admit they were actually Northern Soul fans. An alternative name developed around an alternative niter. The Top Of The World allnighters at Stafford brought a breath of fresh air to the Rare Soul scene. Promoters Dave Thorley, Keith Minshull, and later Chris King, allowed DJs to play slower beat ballad records, and many more Seventies tracks found their way onto the decks. However, Sixties Soul had found new champions under the guise of the Sixties Newies Mafia, headed by Guy Hennigan and Keb Darge. I missed all the Stafford years, but now feel that the records which came out of this shortlived, but legendary niter were amongst the best ever played on the scene.

1986 – The scene fragments with the closure of Stafford. Many allnighters start, but none become the national focus that the previous ones had been.

1988 – I’ve moved to the Midlands, sold all my singles, but continued buying albums. I keep seeing adverts for Northern Soul nights in Wolverhampton run by Pep, a name I remember from the Casino and The Catacombs. I’m married, with two kids and a mortgage. Eventually I go. It’s like being transported back fifteen years…the same atmosphere, the same beat, and even people I know. Almost immediately I’m hooked again, Soul Music never goes away, it just rests within you.

1989 – I’ve started doing allnighters again, and believe it or not, The Twisted Wheel is open again every Bank Holiday weekend. I’m still into the Oldies side of things because that’s what my memories consist of. At one of the Twisted Wheel allnighters I buy a mag off a guy called Derek Pearson, it’s called ‘Shades Of Soul’. Very specialised, full of discographies, label listings, record reviews I realise this is what I’ve been missing. Something to read. Blues and Soul should really be prosecuted under the Trades Description Act in my opinion by this stage, I’m still buying it, but can find precious little Soul, and certainly no Blues in there. An idea germinates, and by the September of 1989 the first issue of Soulful Kinda Music appears (At the first Keele Allnighter anniversary in fact). The next few years are a crazy period for the magazine because I manage to publish six issues a year for the first three years.

1990 – I start buying Vinyl 7" again……..Oh God !

1991 – I’ve realised that I missed the Stafford era, and have become a Newies fan, I’ve started visited The 100 Club on a regular basis, and made lots of new friends, as well as some old ones who I had lost touch with. The change came about because I became bored with hearing the same records again and again. The Twisted Wheel, The Torch, and Wigan Casino were all Newies venues in reality. It was always about hearing new records. Oldies only became a big part of the scene at the Casino. By 1992 I’m bored with hearing records I first heard in 1974. Fortunately I’ve got all the Stafford period to catch up on. I buy my first PC and the quality of the magazine improves dramatically once I learn how to use the damn thing.

1992 – Weekenders have become a big part of the scene, twice yearly extravaganzas with live acts from the States. I start Djing at local venues, and we even manage to bring J J Barnes over from the States for a show at Bentleys Night Club in Dudley.

1995 – I get my first allnighter spot at The Wilton Ballroom in Normanton. Thanks must go to Saus for getting me the spot, I also get to DJ at the Cleethorpes weekender for the first time. The magazine is now well established on the scene, and up to issue 21 (I’ve dropped the publication rate down to four issues a year), and has now taken over as the most prolific magazine on the scene having just overtaken Derek Pearson and Shades Of Soul. What’s more Dave Godin has agreed to start writing a regular column for the magazine.

1996 – We start to run Soul nights at the Station Hotel in Dudley, and have a music policy which definitely avoids played out Oldies, but concentrates on Sixties rather than Seventies. In the West Midlands this is rather adventurous because of the area’s staunch Oldies fan base (There is only one other Soul night not playing Oldies, and that’s the Lea Manor at Albrighton, which is basically run by the same people). We’re looking forward to the third anniversary in September this year. The magazine goes to a colour cover for the first time as well.

1997 – A world exclusive for the magazine. I manage to solve a puzzle which has long been oustanding on the Northern Soul scene. During the course of an interview with Don Juan Mancha he mentions that he can tell me who Jack Montgomery really was. Say no more ! The interview appeared in Issue 32.

1998 – My first international booking as a DJ at the German Northern Soul Weekender in Nurnberg. A great weekend.

1999 – Issue 38 has just been published. With contributions from writers in this country and The States. The internet has made it so much easier than the old days when I used an old manual typewriter, tippex, a pair of scissors and prit stick to put it all together. . I’m now DJing at the majority of the UK’s allnighters and Soul nights on a regular basis, and I go back to Germany in December for the Weekender.

2000 - A new millenium, and the magazine is up to issue 42 by June. I've paid over 500 for a record for the first time ! To the great amusement of my friends I win the DJ Dancing Competition at Cleethorpes in June. I manage to buy my number one all time want "I Have a Girl" by The Magnetics. Issue 44 of the magazine appears on schedule in December.

2001 - Of all things, London is now the city with the best Northern Soul venues, The Dome, Notre Dame, and The 100 Club are the places to hear the best Sixties Soul these days ! Issue 46 of the magazine appears on schedule at the Cleethorpes weekender, and issues 47 & 48 follow before the end of the year.

2002 - Another year on. It's now 31 years since the Twisted Wheel closed, 30 years since the Torch opened, and 21 years since Wigan Casino closed. Who on earth would have thought the interest in the Northern Soul scene would be running at fever pitch nowadays ? I've DJ'd in Italy for the first time, and had to refuse bookings in Spain and Sweden for various reasons.

2002 - By June the magazine has reached Issue 50, and my book 'The Rare Soul Bible' has been published by Bee Cool Publishing. For more details on the book Click HERE

2002 - On Christmas Eve, I pay over 1,000 for a record for the first time. Over the year I've completed 54 DJ bookings.

Venues that I've DJ'd in over the last six years.

Weekenders

Cleethorpes 1995
Cleethorpes 1996
Cleethorpes 1997
Cleethorpes 1998
Nurnberg 1998
Cleethorpes 1999
Nurnberg 1999
Cleethorpes 2000
Nurnberg 2000
Cleethorpes 2001
Nurnburg 2001
Llandudno Connoisseurs 2002
Prestatyn 2002
Cleethorpes 2002
Nurnberg 2002
Prestatyn 2003
Llandudno Connoisseurs 2003

Allnighters

The Wilton Ballroom
Winsford Civic Hall
The 100 Club
Toni's, Blackburn
Bramcote Manor, Nottingham
Cottons, Stockport
Meadow Club, Nottingham
First Base, Wolverhampton
Llandudno Conference Centre
Parr Hall , Warrington
Keele University
Trentham Gardens
Lea Manor, Albrighton
Bolton Pigeon Club
Jollies, Stoke On Trent
QII Club, Birmingham
Pavillions, Runcorn
Longfield Suite, Prestwich
Bretby Country Club
The Corner Cafe, Scarborough
Nantwich Civic Hall
Vicenza, Italy
Sheridans, Dewsbury
The Marrs Bar, Worcester

Alldayers

Edwin Starr, Bristol
Cottons, Stockport
South Shore Club, Llandudno
Merry Hill, Dudley
Catholic Club, Golborne
White Hart, Farnworth
This Thing Of Ours, Southgate, London

Soul Nights

Black Horse, Wolverhampton
Queen Mary Ballroom, Dudley
Bramcote Manor, Nottingham
Motown Bar, Portobello, London
Colliseum, Derby
Boars Head, Middlewich
Cricket Club, Farnworth
Rockleigh Hotel, Ashton
The Raven, Whitchurch
Bretby Country Club, Bretby
Sweet Pea Club, Hinckley
The Kings Hall, Stoke On Trent
The Viaduct, Newton Le Willows
The Old White Horse, Brixton
The Mermaid, Shrewsbury
The Station Hotel, Dudley
The Venue, Burton On Trent
The North Cheshire, Stockport
Tall Trees, Stockton On Tees
Thorngate Ballrooms, Gosport
Widnes Recreation Club, Widnes
Flexsys Recreation Club, Acrefair
The Dome, Tufnell Park, London
Soul On Site, Birmingham
Bentleys, Dudley
Pavillions, Runcorn
The Sportsman, Nottingham
The Down Inn, Kidderminster
The Beehive, Bradford
Redditch Town Hall
Loughborough Students Union
The Aquarius, Hednesford
Jarvis Heath Hotel, Bewdley
The Greatstone Hotel, Manchester
The Riverbank Hotel, Cardiff
Roar Nightclub, Bilston
The White House, Cannock Chase
The Pavillion, Huddersfield
The Star Hotel, Worcester
The Ritz, Brighouse
Scenesville, London
Heath Town WMC, Wolverhampton
These Old Shoes, London
Kingswinford & Dudley Rugby Club
The Rider Club, Halifax
Awesworth Village Hall
Caledonia Soul, Glasgow
Bury Town Hall

I've also had the pleasure of working with the following live acts:

J J Barnes, Bentleys, Dudley
Edwin Starr, Bristol
J J Barnes, QII Club, Birmingham
Steve Mancha, QII Club, Birmingham
Edwin Starr, QII Club, Birmingham
Bobby Taylor, QII Club, Birmingham
Caroline Crawford, QII Club, Birmingham
The Contours, QII Club, Birmingham