Soulful Kinda Music

Magazine & Web Site

Just click on any of the subjects below to find out about what the Magazine and Website is all about.

The Stafford Allnighters




Top Of The World.

The Guy Henigan Interview, conducted by John Pugh

JP - When did you start going to Stafford  

GH - I started going to Stafford when the allnighter kicked off as run by Dave Thorley and Keith Minshull combo wasn't it originally ? when the lead DJ's were Richard Searling and Ian Clark and so on and so forth, Pat Brady obviously. Obviously the high light at that time was whenever Dave Withers was on. Dave Withers being definitely to my mind the only disc jockey worth his salt during that very early 80's period There was nobody else to my mind deserving the actual title, possibly, of Northern Soul DJ because most of them had gone down. Pat still did try keeping his end up to a certain extent but most of them had gone down the avenue of playing absolutely mediocre late 70's and some extent early 80's tracks which were extremely disco orientated and not really of a Northern Soul style, not really a Soul night style actually, not like the 70's tracks that were being spun at the Mecca for instance in the mid 70's and then the other DJ's had even gone down the even worse route possible, of purely playing played out oldies and that was the combination of every single place you could go to. Totally banal venues at the time and that was just about everywhere. I can remember, but obviously I can't remember exactly where I went at the time, but we used to follow around the gang. I used to knock about with Tim Finch and a variety of others from Derby, where I was living at the time and we used to go around to what ever event we thought would be into new 60's stuff, but as I said aside from Dave Withers and his obvious not so much sidekick, as partner, Rod Shard and they were the only guys doing anything at the time, unfortunately its partly due to my success later on that Dave decided to knock it on the head because, he didn't feel that he was getting anywhere but I feel he would have done anyway and he sold me a number of records at the time and gave me a couple actually.  

JP - How did you used to get there ?  

GH -We used to travel from Derby to the allnighter generally with Tim Finch driven by Margaret (Tim Finch and Claire his girlfriend at the time) and a variety of other people used to come along and visit and drink in the May Pole before most of the events anyway in Derby.  

JP. - Do you have any special memories of specific nights, say when there was a live act on ?  

GH. - To my mind Gene Chandler without any shadow of a doubt was the big one. I'd wanted to see Gene Chandler for years and years being one of the most prolific artists of our style of music, whether you say Chicago Soul or of a Northern style, particularly when he did 'I Hate To Be The One To Say' live. I remember standing with Dave Greet at the time; absolutely tremendous, he was 'The Duke Of Earl'. Absolutely fabulous night He was one of the best live acts. A lot of people would say the Harold Melvin night was, but I seam to remember I spent most of the night out in the big hallway going through records with Tim and Butch at the time so I sort of missed most of that. But there you go, such wars the activity of the time, a lot of live acts were disappointing in a lot of cases. After saying that then was Popcorn as well who was wonderful there, Lorraine Chandler, Eddie Parker, who I did help rehearse their event but I think it's fair to say with me it was definitely the Gene Chandler night. When we realised he was going to be booked we had a night at a wine bar on a Sunday night we were doing in Derby where myself, and I think it was Tim Finch. DJ'd and we only used to get about twenty people in above the wine bar, and we just played Gene Chandler records all night nothing else. That was probably about a month before the Top Of The World Night.  

JP. - Bearing in mind what you said earlier, what do you remember about Dave Withers decision to quit, when for many of us, he was at the height of his powers ?  

GH. - I remember when Dave Withers told me he was going to knock DJ'ing on the head That was at a Soul night in Bradford above the Silver Glaze Ice rink that George Sharp was running at the time, maybe with Derek Pearson. Anyway I tried to persuade him out of it but he'd made up his mind. A bad night it could have been then, or it could have been weeks before at I think the Rotherham allnighter when they gave the guy who was playing the best records in the country - the last spot in the room, an absolute insult, but there you go, such were the times.  

JP. – Every venue has it’s ups and downs, what were your best and worst hours, and also who were the best and the worst of the DJ’s ? ?  

GH. - Best and worst hours at TOTW. In the early days tons of worst hours, in fact it was hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel. Best and worst DJs would be, obviously I think the best DJs at Stafford were myself and Keb. Worst guests, I don't know, it's very difficult. I wouldn’t like to say anyway. As well as people who actually DJ'd there, it was actually a 'who's who' of people of influence on the Northern Scene, in the progression of the Northern Scene, and I think possibly the best people weren't always those up on the stage, they were stood in the record bar or dancing on the dance floor.
I enjoyed a bundle of spots from people at Stafford in the upstairs room Steve Smith, George Sharp, obviously Gary Rushbrooks. Gary's stuff generally wasn't my flavour being a bit lighter weight than some of the stuff I liked but he always put his mind to it, and always played the game so to speak with the Sixties stuff did Gary. I should have mentioned him earlier on actually.  

JP. - were there my records that were played which you wished you'd had, either then or now ?  

GH. - Probably tons, but I can't remember any of them now.  

JP. - Stafford anthems, or records which when you hear them, instantly make you think of TOTW, any that stick in your mind, and who played them ?  

GH. - Absolutely loads, a bundle of Pat's stuff actually. Pat probably has five or six which turned into anthems at that period. As I say there's probably loads of them like 'New Girl'. and I can't remember them Most of the Stafford anthems came from the later period obviously Dave Thorley was the first geezer that played 'Pyramid' and stuff that. Probably Adam and Robin played a few different things on the more Modern side of it. There were that many records came out of Stafford it really is difficult trying to remember other people's, it's difficult enough remembering my own!  

JP, - Can you remember where any of your big records came from, 'cause you know I've got a bit of a bee in my bonnet about people getting the credit they deserve for finding things, and then having a strong enough belief In them to ask DJ's to play It ?  

GH. - A lot of my stuff came from the likes of Butch. Tim, Dave Withers, Rod Shard Barry Waddington. Brad - Steve Bradley that is.
Loads of other people as well, I'd been buying unknown stuff and every one knew I was interested in records people didn't know. Even from mid Wigan people were coming up to me with stuff "Have you heard this ?", "Do you want this ', "Here, take this home and have a listen. You'll like it", and I was picking unknown stuff up on the cheap from the mid Seventies, relatively cheap anyway. A lot of the stuff at Stafford that I picked up at the time I didn't pay a lot of money for, and a lot of the people would if they had anything in their own collection, ran it by me or ask me if I was interested in it before they'd offer it to anyone else.
The name of the game then, was getting an unknown to a DJ that would play it, rather than hang on to it in the hope that they might get the chance themselves at some time in the future. The Northern tradition then, and it's gone now, was that they would get some type of credit for discovering it   Ady Croasdell was getting a lot of stuff at the time, to do with Kent and so on, and Adey's first choice was Keb, with both being resident in London much to my chagrin at the time. Keb generally used to get first choice of those things, but I did get some excellent stuff off Ady at the time, probably one of the most underplayed things was Chuck Carter 'Hey Girl He's A Lover', I forget what Ady was looking through at the time, whether it's unissued Scepter,  Wand, or unissued Brunswick. I was also getting stuff which I was hunting out myself through Charly Records, and some of their back catalogue. Sound Stage 7, 1 went through a lot of their masters. Incidentally I went through a whole rake, probably about thirty, unissued Jackie Beavers tracks, and thirty isn't an exaggeration. It went through on a soundalike basis, from Sinatra to Dean Martin through to James Brown with Englebert Humperdink and Tom Jones thrown in the middle, and without a decent track amongst them. Disappointing day out, but I think I got Roscoe Shelton 'You Are The Dream' from that trip.  

JP, - Yeah, you've touched on an absolute favourite of mine there, that Chuck Carter is still one of my all-time special Stafford records. I remember being a little disappointed when Adey put it out on an album, 'cause It sounded different, like a different take of the song yours sounded crisper, or meaner if you know what I mean. ( If I remember correctly that album also had Keb's biggie, You Could Be My Remedy on It, so that's one for Stafford fans to look out for) Do you think the scene has lost out with the Stafford DJ's who aren’t around anymore?  

GH. - Unfortunately there is only one DJ these days, and that's Butch.
I mean there's only Pat left out of that bunch who still works the decks on a regular basis.  Dave Thorley DJs infrequently. Mind you no, I suppose if you count the allnighters running with Chris (King) I suppose there's only me who's not DJing now, especially as Keb does the London end of things.  

JP. - Where else did you get to in those days ?  

GH. - Yeah I went everywhere at the time, I was Djing full time. So on a Friday night, me, Dean Anderson, Lisa we’re talking mid eighties now, were out at some Friday nighter. Gloucester, Scotland Thornton YMCA Scotland was mega 100% atmosphere, really wonderful.  

JP. - How did you get the chance to DJ at Stafford,' cause I remember a petition to try to let you on the roster at another venue, probably Leicester ?  

GH. - It wasn't so much a chance, it was a question of blackmail ( laughs ) Blackmail and threat of extreme violence on mine and Keb's behalf against Dave Thorley, particularly who seemed the one with the more open mind. But it still did take some persuading. It was probably other people threatened him with the same thing which did the trick ( There was that much support at the time for what we were doing, or trying to do, that Dave Thorlsy ultimately felt that he had to give us a try.  

JP, - Are there any Stafford DJ spots that stick in your mind, and were there certain records that you always played with other sides ?  

GH. - The first spot I did at Stafford I'm not sure of the actual date, somewhere around July, August of '83, kicked off with Bobby Lee and the Crash Sound 'Hook Line and Sinker', I'd just bought it that night at the do at the Meadow in Derby, a soul night that I may or may not be running myself and that was absolutely it (I think I went on about 4.00am which I complained about. I was playing a lot of new stuff, I wanted an early slot ) It went down like an absolute storm did that its a heck of a track anyway, particularly to open a spot.. The Clifford Binns cover up at the time. Donald Jenkins 'I Walk Alone' and 'Somebody Help Me’ next I think was Jimmy Greshem 'Heartbreakers Law' now that was the Kell Osborne track same backing track as 'You Can't Outsmart a Woman', Jay Traynar 'More Time' which I think I also covered up, Gladys Knight 'It's Too Late', Big Joe's Ivory Brass - The Big Frank and the Essence killer 'She Won't See Me Cry', Chris Morgan 'Who Am I' - a great record blue eyed soul. Bud Harper "Treasure That Can't Be Found', Shep and the TNT 3 which is on Tru-Glo Town. Wasn't it Joe Moore 'Hang On In There', Matt Parsons 'Boogaloo Investigator' which I simply had for absolutely years, I originally got it from Brad who's always reckoned there should have been a decent Northern Soul record called 'Boogaloo Investigator', because the theme on Excellor wasn't very good but a great title so that's why. It was obviously 'On The Brink' wasn't it. Martha Reeves and the Vandellas 'Gonna Let Love Live' or 'Let Detroit Burn' se we calIed it at the time which sounds like the last thing she says on the record a George Jefferson cover up, 'When You’re Alone' which was Buddy Conner - Another one from Dave Withers. Bobby Hutton 'Come And See' - actually tbe Casanova Bennet cover up on Phillips. Frankie & The Twans 'Good Things Come' I'd had that before actually but its shit rare anyway, still don't see it now. I don't remember who it was by off hand I know what it is, It'll come to me, you might even remember yourself also Jagged Edge, the Blue Eyed thing on RCA I played 'Baby You Don't Know', Gordon Keith , Morris Williams cover up 'You've Got To Lift Your Head' Larry Laster 'Just What You Did', Bobby Smith , Terrible Tom which was Johnny James I think on Circle M 'Ain't That Loving' or 'She's Got Good Loving' I believe Keb's just bought that ( for a very tidy sum, either 700 or 800 ) Aaron Varnel 'You Got Me Locked Up', now that's a single on a Yellow label I think I've still got that somewhere and I can't think who the hell its by off hand , modern great record. Mary Moultrie I'm not sure if I played that, (I've got a list in front of me, so if it's on then I must have played it ) Earnest Mosley 'I Left My Heart In China Town' which is the Jimmy Hart thing really mid tempo. Really really nice plodder. I think that basically was one of my first spots I might have missed a few things off that because I'm talking about something I made notes about on the 12th August 1983 at Stafford but I'm just not sure how close I was.  

JP, - Did you always DJ at the same time ?  

GH. - No I never did DJ always at the same time roughly I was flexible, but I also never used to like it if I didn't get what I thought was a good spot i.e, a spot where you could break a record and that would be in the first 3 hours in the main room which as I say I think that was the best one, occasionally I would have done an extra hour if anyone had asked which I don't think I ever did. I think I might have done the odd extra half hour somewhere down the line later on., obviously I'd always listen to Keb's spot, I. had to be there for my own I think I possibly need to wander out or wander off a little when some of the modern spots were on but I always had my face in a record box kind a thing and just talked about different records. end conversation was am important part of the night to find out what was happening things like that, at the time there was a lot of discussion going on about record policy and things like that and many other things mostly of a sport nature, but I did pick up good records on the face of it at Stafford itself (the allnighter) cheap, dirt cheap unknown stuff which I had done for many years you could still do it then, nowadays I don't drink you can, you are very, very lucky if you do. You could still do it then. The Patti J & The Contacts Cover Up, - Paulette came out of a box 50p at Stafford. I think it was Eric, a black guy from Leicester's box As I got in there I just looked at it, saw it was on Contact and thought that’s interesting and its 10 bob I'm having it anyway, no matter what condition. You could still do that then. The thing to spot was somebody coming in with a box of records who you didn't know. By that time you knew just about everybody and anybody and then it was straight into their box you never knew what they might have.  

JP, - Was there times when you went upstairs, either to hear someone play, or to get away from what was being played in the big room ?  

GH. - Yes occasionally I'd DJ upstairs as well as downstairs or if I had to DJ upstairs I always wanted to in the big room. I'm on about the upstairs, I don't drink I actually DJ'd in the downstairs little room I'm not so sure, your mind gets foggy, I think you know why (laughs) Back down the years, sometimes you felt you may be missing something and because everything was so competitive you didn't want to miss a thing.
Yeh there's loads of things I remember, one time I got tonsillitis which was like a real bugbear for me end I missed on one weekend two opening nights from two new venues one in Chesterfield and I forget which one the other one was, but I missed them both.  

JP, - We've touched briefly about getting records from varied sources, did you get preferential treatment from certain dealers, either big name well known guys through to the fifty count box boys ?  

GH. - Preferential treatment generally was in the fact that a lot of them were my mates and had been from other periods, a lot I've known going right back down the years, but you're talking about Chris Savoury to people you used to see very occasionally at allnighters but I had known since '74 time, maybe '73 time, through to people such as Butch like people I mentioned earlier who were definite mates I tended to know a lot of people, they were the ones in the know with records. I would in a lot of cases get offered it first. Keb did later on start to inch in his way in with good people who were just supplying me more exclusively, then again you only had so much money in your pocket to buy things. I did generally get a lot better prices, loads of stuff that I mentioned to you the Paulette for instance, there was always things like that there were too many to mention actually at the time. Tommy Navarro I think it was came off Tim Ashibende. I think it was at Stafford as well, I might be wrong with that but I'm sure that it was. I think I paid 5 for it. I think he offered ms a couple of things at the time that went on to be extremely big as well. The one I heard about a Vegas thing I can't remember what it is now and I gave it him back because I thought it was crap but it seems to be a 500 record something like that, and it’s still crap. One you asked me about earlier, the Denita James cover up, mine was cracked it was taped up on the back ! Denita James 'The Wild Side', "All The Heat In You ", of course was really Susan Rewis on Columbia I got that for 1 off George from Derby, wonderful bargain obviously, I think I had it for a while before I played it I taped it up on the back I might still have that copy somewhere l'm not sure if I sold it.  

JP, - Richard Domar had a number of copies on his list recently, and he'd reduced the price to sell them, I think they were 25 or something Iike that, 'course when I got around to asking him  for one, he'd sold them all. Typical I  

GH. - As I said that came off George Romero. I got a few things off George, he deserves a mention actually. Looking at your list I remember the story behind this one, - Jackie Day,  oh yeah Shirley Matthews & The Bells CU.  I've got a story about that. There was a tape that got sent over to Rod Shard and Tim Finch was up at Dave Withers home on a weekend and Rod came round with Dave and played Tim this tape. When Tim got back after the weekend ( I forget where, but I had been working)he said " Dave and Rod are getting the best record in the world ! ", and that was it. I basically put my name on it before I'd even heard it., because Tim didn't bring back the tape and I was doing a spot at a 21st party at the Top Of The World in Derby that's when Dave and Rod turned up because everyone was going from there, even the geezer who's party it was, were all going on to Stafford after and Tim just came running up " It's that record that record " I put it on and it nearly knocked me dead so much that because it was a 21st party, I just played it 3 times on the trot literally, unfortunately by this time Rod knew who it was, they had already covered it up, I didn't know who it was. They did say they didn't want to sell it they wanted to keep it (even though they had agreed to sell it to me) But they said they'd do me a dub for nothing. I was most aggrieved about it, and I think on the night, I think I offered him 125 ( which was a lot of money ! ) I think it started at 50. 75, 100 and he said " Just stop there, I'm not going to sell it you ", so the copy that I used for a time was that copy then later I got an acetate dens then I improved on the sound a little bit with another dub done just for a bit more clarity, so I only had the original in my hands for a couple of weeks or whatever.
I did offer 500 a while after that for Jackie Day, the Chessmen CU, you know, The Combinations and Micky Valvano CU the C.O.D.'s that was 10-12 years ago for those 3 quite a lot of money particularly for me and I was very serious as well. The next one on your list " The Albanians ", wonderful story about how that came about, that's another one that came from George from Derby as did 'Out Of Sight Loving' as well. The Albanians came to be covered up basically when me, Tim, Claire obviously Margaret and a guy from Clitheroe and old mate of mine and his mate Sag, Brian and his mate cycled over to Corfu and we had arranged to meet (we were on holiday there) and on his way cycled through Benitsit you came to the little resort where me, Margaret Tim end Claire were. He was cycling through this town and who should he see wandering about in the middle of the road( I think as this story goes) with terrorist balaclavas on at about 3 o'clock on an extremely hot midsummer's afternoon in Corfu but Gaz Kellet under the influence, possibly of beer, I don't know, which he couldn't believe because he nearly knocked him over, then when Brian told us who he had seen we actually took off one day down that coast line to try and find out where they were stopping and we got to a place called Khyser Bridge which basically is a place which is over looking and 10 mile across the water from Albania and there behind a hedge just on the aide of the road jud off the coast on the sea line there, who should we see all creeping about kind of thing terrorist style, but some of the Preston Cybermen as they were later to be known, all wearing terrorist type balaclavas from some reason, (never got to the bottom of that) and some of them wearing foreign legion type headgear as well and they me all on holiday and after a day spent with them hence the cover up of the Albanians. Bernie Golding went there as well, Gordon from Preston, they were the lads on tour definitely.
The Bill Medlev Band C/U, I think that was on Karate wasn't it I can't remember where that came from to be quite honest. Chris Bartley & The Van McCoy Strings CU, obviously " Dress Rehearsal " being what it was, you know a thing or two with Van McCoy, that was one of the things I managed to get off dubs of Charly Records. I'm not sure if the thing I was playing is exactly the same as the thing on that Van McCoy and Friends Album which is around which I never had but I think its slightly different, that came off master tapes and I got a few other things at the time that I've still got incidentally but in fact I presume I've still got I never sold them but there you go.
I ought to have guessed you'd have picked this one, - Scotty Williams 'I'm Losing You' came from a garage in Wakefield. I got it from Gary Cape, I spent a Iot of money with him on one particular day and I got 49 copies of this Scotty Williams record off him. I'd never heard it but I'd have bought anything by Scotty Williams having had the thing on Jubilee since I was about sixteen. It was a fifty count box, but Ion had been up there the day before and actually bought one copy, not listened to it and I think he rang up the day after and tried to buy the rest the day after I'd been there ! Don't know if he's forgiven me yet !  

JP. - Were all the first copies found demo's ?  

GH. - All mine were promos, but I have seen issues which an a goldy yellow colour, which have turned up quite a bit since Stafford. Back to the list Troy Dodds I'd had for a long time, but I had it for the other side originally, I think it came from Bernie Golding. Strangely enough when I listened to 'Try My Love' I decided to play that, and when I played it Dave Thorley came on later and played it. Art Gentry and the Entros, I can't remember who the hell that was offhand.  

JP. - Were there special people who would buy things off you when you'd finished with them, or If you turned up second copies?  

GH. - A lot of the records were generally used for trades after I'd finished playing them particularly with Butch. He would always be after something off you and we used to negotiate over cans of beer until six in the morning mid week. It was like a game of chess with records spread all over the lounge floor.  

JP. - Buying unknowns can be fraught with danger, did you ever let caught out, or with records which looked like they'd play, but when you got them home the surface noise was louder than the music ?  

GH. - I always got caught regularly on records, you know buying stuff blind or on recommendations for a fiver. One of my favourite stories wasn't at Stafford but at Wigan. I remember I gave my Larry Laster demo and five pounds for a yellow issue because nobody had ever seen a yellow issue before. It turned out there were about five thousand of them ! I didn't get caught too often at Stafford because by that time most people in the know wouldn't take advantage. Nowadays unfortunately, it's a bit different.  

JP. - It's funny you mentioned that record, 'cause I had a yellow issue that was very badly warped, and I sold It one night upstairs to a well known Stafford face. I did tell him it was dished, but I don't think he was quite himself, if you know what I mean, and I've always felt guilty about It One thing I’m sure you’re always asked is what happened to all your big stun, did you tell me a lot of it went to Tim ?  

GH. - The stuff I sold about five or six years ago was basically big stuff of all types, not just Stafford The Twans, Johnny Rogers, so and so forth. I sold them for a variety of reasons at the time. I was definitely pissed off at the time with the scene. It was Tim Brown who I sold a lot of those things to, but that was five years ago, a long time after Stafford and he just sold them on basically, although I did sell them quite cheap  

JP. - Do you remember the Bootlegs that were around at the time of Stafford, who did them, and what was the story behind the Mafmon release ?  

GH. - Another list ah John thanks mate !
'Mr Misery' on Joker, I haven't a clue. Keb did 'Peanut Duck' and H B Barnum.
'The Michigan Move' and'Pyramid' were legit, or half legit, they were registered and went the correct route round. I also did Tommy Navarro with Chris, and 'Angelina'. Keb and I did the Mafmon thing, Mafmon was for 'Mafia Monster', the Sixties Mafia thing which had been coined by Bernie Golding. We were going to do a few but it was a bit expensive and we got stiffed a bit on that one, you learn these things as you go on. The Delcos and Matt Parsons, I'm not sure about maybe Pete Widd ?  

JP. - Another thing dear to my collectors heart is the Cover Up, and I think it's fair to say you were well versed in the art, What with Henry Jerome, The Albainians, etc  

GH. . The whole idea of cover up names - Like you I was brought up in the era when had had cover up names being used by Levine and Searling and they were always done with imagination and then was always a clue in there, whether it was deliberate or not. I always put clues in there deliberately so that someone who had the same (warped) thought process might have come up with it. There was always a clue there if you were devious enough to get it. Henry Jerome came from the fact that Henry Jerome was actually the producer and his name was on the label. The Albanians I've told you about. I think you can actually improve the 'clout' of the record if you have an aggressive presentation style by using an imaginative cover up title.  

JP. - Tim Ashibende always used to make me laugh when he was on about some of your Cover Up names, he said yours were always longer than the record, something like Little Somebody and the Somethings Band, featuring Such and Such I  

GH. - He's right though, 'Little somebody and', or ' Eddie somebody', or 'Albert' and the occasional 'featuring'.

JP. - You know my story about buying every Precisions record trying to find the one Keb was playing until I found out It was really The Cairos on Shrine  

GH. - Yeah( laughs ) Keb actually got The Cairos off Steve Phillips who got it out of Rob Smith's shop for a quid ! Rob Smith always had good records in his box. Pete Lawson and I, Pete deserves a mention, we go back to the mid Seventies, always looked through Rob Smiths boxes you could always pick something up.  

JP. - I'm not sure, but I heard someone recently found a monster sound in a cheapie box, possibly Rob's, that he was just a few days later offered a huge amount of money for, so it just shows it's worth trawling through those cheaper boxes Just in case. One subject I wanted to cover with you was on the subject of unreleased Items. A significant number of things spun at Stafford were unreleased Items, though some did Later turn up on vinyl was that good for the scene or not ?  

GH. - You mean things like 'In The Pocket', 'Backstreet', 'Michigan Move' that was all released legit. No it was all licensed, we sub licensed it and Neil Rushton put it out. I actually got paid for that. To answer your question, I think it's definitely good because it clears it out. It's no good for sub standard DJs constantly playing the same tracks, and at the time that was very very important. Incidentally, did 'Backstreet' turn up on record ?  

JP. - Okay, point taken ( and you still haven't done me an acetate that you've been promising for how many years I ) What about the Characters at Stafford ?  

GH. - There were loads, there were different people in different ways. You don't have to be as outlandish in your behaviour or viewpoint as Pete Lawson to be a character. Like Rob Marriot or Keb, I mean Keb had a high profile anyway. That and the new kids, Tommo and the Leicester lads, or Ion and some of the lads from London. I think each gang or group always had some sort of character with them in different ways.   It always surprised me at Stafford the number of people I didn't know, there were tons turned up from different parts of the country who I didn't know from Adam, but I did know where they sat. You always knew roughly where people were though.  

JP. - The controversy that surrounded Stafford, the letters In various publications, what do you think now when with the gift of hindsight, you look back at it aIl ?  

GH. - The whole thing which sprung out of Blackbeat end Echoes. and Kent and various incidents and arguments, Soul Sam wasn't the centre of it. There were a variety of people who were involved basically a lot of these people didn't know anything about an on - going scene, and they were found out at the time.
I think Sam was always totally wrong and it came out of boredom, anybody with any knowledge and pride in the scene couldn't have taken his standpoint at the time. It does give me great pleasure to find a lot of these people collecting and playing the records that they slagged off at the time !  

JP. On one of the live tapes I've got at home, there's several requests you played for The Preston Cybermen, for the unenlightened who were they ?  

GH. - ( Laughing) The Preston Cybermen were Gaz Kellet, Stan. Billy Mercer and a variety of others, there was a big gang of them from Preston, Cybernem came from the Doctor Who programme and how they moved and had something to do with how they all felt on a Sunday night. It might also have had something to do with the Preston Street Dancers, the Funk crowd to the time. They always turned up everywhere, and were great enthusiasts for new music.  

JP. - I'm trying to get a handle on how things have changed since then, in terms of value for money, can you remember how much it was to get in, or how much a drink was at Stafford ?  

GH. - You are going to talk to Bob Mawson to get his memories aren't you, he should be able to tell you all that but I haven't a clue about dates and prices  

JP. - What were the Good things about Stafford, and conversely what were the bad ?  

GH. - One of the good things about Stafford was that it became the centre of a specific Northern revival. What's been happening over the last few years is the tail end of the scene now. In fact that tail end would have come a lot quicker, in fact it would have probably come by the back end of the Eighties if it had not been for Stafford.
Stafford brought out the fine end of the scene. All the original reasons people started going to allnighter were brought back into play at Stafford and at other venues at that time and I think the longevity of what's happened since is purely down to what happened at Stafford.
Bad things, I don't know many bad things. Some people used to say it was cliquish but that suited it at the time. Some of the characters were a bit aggressive, but if you just kept your head down you were alright allnighters always were slightly rough places. I can't remember many bad things personally, but I think it closed at the right time as well  

JP. - Ego was a word on a lot of people's minds at the time, especially that of the DJs and Promoters Did you sudder, either from your own or others, and did It bother you to be known as Guy & Keb, like Fish & Chips, two halves of one whole, rather than as individuals ?  

GH. - Djing does require a certain amount of ego. I think the background that I'd particularly had I'd sort of been weaned on the finer points of the Northern Soul scene, and I'd always been collecting what I considered the sort of stuff that should be played. It comes back to self belief knowing you've got the records to play. It all comes down to egos, the Northern Soul scene doesn't have any live artists to speak of, so the DJs are the ones up on the stage, so egos ? Definitely I   The Guy and Keb thing, Keb and I always used to compete, I always looked an Keb as competition, but we always looked after each others back. The combo lead to the strength, two different characters sort of thing. The Northern scene has always had partnerships. Ginger and Eddie or Russ and Richard. Most DJs have worked as a combo at some stage. We did play different records and we used to bounce off each other, we also agree to both try and break records at the same time. I first met Keb when I was Djing with Gary Rushbrooke, Dave Withers and Ken Cox we were Djing down at Fleet, Peterborough. A strong line up and a change. Keb was down in the audience and was very impressed I think I spoke to him there, and a couple of weeks later met him at the 100 Club, and that's where we got to know each other. I can't remember where we first DJ'd together though.  

JP. - Do you think it changed much when Dave Withers, or the other well known DJ's finished, or when Chris King became involved?  

GH. - It changed completely, Dave Withers unfortunately made his own decision. I think the others that went and were replaced by Keb and me, that was 100% to the benefit of it ! No, I think Stafford was changing anyway. I was doing a lot of things with Chris King at the time. He's a great one for making things happen. Unfortunately, all the things that happen aren't automatically good things. Tremendous personality, a lot of people slag him off, but I can't okay we've had our disagreements, but I've had some good times with Chris, especially in America  

JP, Could it have been sustained for very much longer at the rate new discoveries were being turned over ? II you had it all to do again would you change anything, I'm thinking perhaps of the way that some DJ's built a batch of records into big sounds and kept them for an amount of time, then replaced them without unnecessary haste, which to be fair was different to how you and Keb went about things ?  

GH. - As far as rate of turnover goes, it could have been sustained for a lot longer. There were a lot of other questions come into play. I think we had a different rate between me and Keb. I would probably pick two or three things to keep on for a time and use them as anthems to build other records around and I would probably keep three records in for a period of nine months although I might have changed the rest of the spot three times during that period. Especially if nobody else was turning up copies. I probably played things once or twice more often. I can't speak for Keb though.  

JP. The now defunct Bretby Soul Nights were dubbed " son of Stafford ", since T,O.T.W, closed have there been any venues which you think come or come close to, reproducing the Stafford magic  

GH. - I never went to the Bretby Soul nights, I'm not sure if I was living in Derby at the time, and I don't think anywhere has replaced it. After Stafford there are still a lot of great records being played but unfortunately there isn't a centre to play them at. The first Blackburn was tremendous with Butch. Jim Wensiora, Keb, me. But nowhere else broke records in the same way. Stafford was the place. I had some wonderful nights at Mexborough, even the quieter ones. But no, the turnover at Stafford was much greater. Nobody wanted to miss one, especially if you were Djing. it was magic for that period.  

JP. Was the reason for Stafford's success geographical, so that It was fairly easy to reach from every part of the country ?  

GH. - I don't think it was so much a central place really, obviously it was ideally located. Just on the edge of the West Midlands, just outside the North West but I don't think that mattered. Stafford created a lot of interest in people who weren't on the scene, so they came just for a look like the scooter / Mod thing they started going. I also think that a lot of the people who slagged Stafford off were basically prats, and had that sort of reputation anyway. So basically people who were reading about Stafford could draw their own conclusions from that.   In the end I think all the knocking worked for it, without that sort of fight against the people with a different thought process, I don't think it would have been anywhere near as successful. There were people there from all over, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumbria, North East, Scotland and Southerners and Midlanders.
It was just like all one big melting pot and that all led to it being what it's regarded as today. Wigan definitely had it's faults, the pop thing the UK pop thing. A lot of people who were going to venues at the time Stafford started were into Modern and that type of thing, so I think that Stafford was a total contrast to slot of other venues. It wasn't a shady place, it was a bog standard Mecca, but the main thing was all about the records and the turnover, and the positive name of Stafford, and we've already gone over that ten times. Leicester, Cleethorpes and Rotherham comparatively, just weren't as good.  

JP. - Do you think there's enough unknown /  lesser known tracks still to be played which could support a Stafford type venue, with say five or six of the DJ's all playing a significant number of so called 60's Newies, either with or without including unreleased Items ?  

GH. - There probably are enough tracks, but there aren't enough DJs to play them. I occasionally have fun doing what I do as you know. To get five or six decent DJs now ? - Bloody hell mate, you just try ! It just wouldn't happen and I don't think the crowd would demand it. A lot of the people who were responsible for the Stafford thing dancefloor wise, even a lot of the big names aren't into it like they used to be, same as me. It would have been possible a couple of years ago before the advent of big venue oldies nights started to raise it's head again. Generally run by people who've been off the scene and come back on it. I think there might have been room for a Soul night somewhere in the Midlands again, Pep did actually talk to me about something but it didn't come off Butch would have to be the centre of that though with everybody else supporting him.  

JP. - Trying to be consistent, the last question I'm asking everybody is, if I could wave a magic wand and give you any one record from Stafford what would it be ?  

GH. - Haven't the foggiest, it could be a hundred records. I mean I've never had a ‘Naughty Boy' original but there's loads of stuff There's an acetate, two versions of the same record a group sound I only played it a couple of times and now I can't even remember what it was. I taped it and then sold it, but I can't remember who to. There's loads and loads of stuff Chuck Carter I find myself whistling that on a weekly basis. 'Outasite Lover' I haven't got anymore. Too difficult too difficult. Unfortunately people will only remember the ones that went big and I can't remember the ones that didn't. It's like, the blind leading the blind isn't it (laughs)

Back to the main Stafford page