Soulful Kinda Music

Magazine & Web Site

Just click on any of the links below to go to the other articles, or back to the home page


Can Soul Singles be of historical value

Great Allnighter

Northern Soul & Milk

Llandudno & Prestatyn Weekenders


Prestatyn Weekender, March 2004

Another year has passed, and the Weekender season has started, so off to a cold and windy Welsh coast we went for the Prestatyn weekender. As usual, we arrived on the Thursday afternoon just after four, to bump into Rob Wigley whose first words were “The pub’s open at Eight Dave”, I think he must have the wrong idea about a good church going man like myself. 

Fast forward four hours, and I’m in the pub with Margie, sitting with Roger and Jenny Banks. I’m convinced it was colder in the chalet than it was outside. The Thursday is a great idea because it gives all the record dealers and DJs a chance to socialise that we don’t always get when at venues. It’s also a great chance to meet the artists for the first time, and although I didn’t see Baby Washington, I was privileged enough to be introduced to Melvin Davies, Cody Black, and James Bell before I even got to the pub. Highlight of the evening had to be for Eddy Edmundson who managed to play Cody Black’s ‘I’m Slowly Molding’ on the stroke of midnight, which heralded Cody Black’s 65th Birthday. How nice for the guy, to be that far from home on your Birthday, and have a crowd of people who you’ve never met before singing Happy Birthday to you. The Kidson’s, already famous for being late everywhere they go, excelled themselves by arriving after 11 pm, having one drink and then going to bed. 

Friday morning: A little subtle rearrangement of tables meant that I ended up with a decent sized sales table, rather than the minute one that had originally been set up for me. Then it was back to the pub where the Soul-Seek internet group set up home and tried to demolish the dartboard all in one fell swoop. Various Text messages between John Mills and myself eventually worked out that he was sitting on one service station on the motorway waiting for John Weston, who was sitting on another service station waiting for him ! Several pints later and the sales stuff arrived courtesy of Sarah and Mark from Bilston. Once I’d got this sorted it was back to the shed, sorry chalet, for something to eat. 

Friday night: I knew that the numbers booked in were around the 2,800 mark for the Friday and rising to 3,200 for the Saturday, but it really is amazing how much this venue lends itself to a weekender. There were five rooms on the go all weekend, (six if you include the 31 record dealers who had booked stalls) and although each room was very busy (The Oldies allnighters were absolutely rammed both nights), nowhere was overly full. The music from the DJs though was a lot better this year and my only complaint is that some tracks, despite being rare records, were repeated several times, The Vondells being a particular example (and no, I didn’t play it again !). 

Surprisingly, despite being rather drunk, as usual on the Friday at weekenders, John Weston was remarkably well behaved which was most disappointing because it’s now become a tradition that his drunken escapades are part of the entertainment at weekenders. I DJ’ed at 5.30 am, and went to bed shortly after 6.30 am, poor Mick H, who jokingly asked “What did you do to upset Kev Thomas then” about the DJ times, had to continue until 8.00 am. 

Saturday lunchtime: Started the day with the Banks and Bicknell radio show, and was amused by Roger Banks finally managing to tape Rob Messer, the next DJ, to his chair at the end of their show. The same as last year, the Saturday afternoon was given over to a series of DJs from various local Soul clubs. I know the first one was Junction 11 from the Midlands, but after that I lost track. Not that I’m being critical, the music was probably more varied during the afternoon than during the previous allnighter.  

I also heard one of the funniest stories of the weekender on the Saturday though. Someone who shall remain nameless, being a little worried about taking his credit card and bank cards out with him on the Friday night decided to hide them in his chalet. After a quick look round for the best place to hide them he decided to slide them underneath the wardrobe in the living room. Both his and his wife’s cards disappeared from site, safely hidden away. Saturday morning arrived, and it was time to retrieve the cards. Unfortunately, the lightweight wardrobe which would have been easily tipped to one side to get the cards back, was bolted to the wall, and wouldn’t move an inch ! Three quarters of an hour later, spent on hands and knees with a straightened out coathanger, eventually all the cards were reclaimed, along with a large amount of dust, fluff, and several unrecognisable, but nasty, things !!!!

Saturday night: Scheduled for a 7.30 start, the soundcheck for the live artists continued until at least 8.30, so whilst I managed to get in early as a record dealer, and see and hear the soundcheck, the bar wasn’t open, so when it did open there was a rush like you’ve never seen before. You’d think it was an alcoholic’s weekender rather than a Soul weekender ! Sales were steady throughout the weekend this year, far better than last year in fact, and the extra people who could only make it for the Saturday had increased the numbers considerably. This was the big night, with the live show scheduled to start at 11.30 pm. 

Compared by Rob Moss of Haley Records, almost on time, Melvin Davies took to the stage. Now Melvin had been out and about, mingling with people all weekend, and he had a good idea of what was expected, and he didn’t disappoint either. A showman to the end, he hit the stage running and for my money took the entire show. Singing, dancing, singing with his son, dancing, thoroughly enjoying himself right through the whole twenty minutes or so of his act. Awesome. 

Cody Black next. Although not as energetic as Melvin, Cody Black proved that he can still cut it as a sixty five year old. Who would have ever thought that I would have heard ‘I’m Slowly Molding’ live !  

Bobby Hutton, despite having already been over to perform at Cleethorpes, was the least successful act. Perhaps a lack of material, (let’s face it after ‘Come See, and ‘Lend a Hand’ what has he got left) or even a lack of rehearsal time, but although he was good, he was nowhere near the standard of Melvin and Cody. 

Finally, it was time for Justine ‘Baby’ Washington. I, like many others, felt that she was a little overawed by the sheer size and enthusiasm of the crowd. It must have been a little bit of a shock to find that many people singing along with all her songs. That said, she went from strength to strength, and showed what a truly amazing repertoire of songs that she can draw on. A great show, that proved she can still sing with Soul along with the best of them. 

As a finale, all the artists came back on stage and sang together, and it was a fitting end to a spectacular show. I must also add my congratulations to the band at this point. Throughout the hour and a half they played behind each artist they were superb. Tight and professional all they way. 

I have to admit that Prestatyn, with the idea of all the artists following each other straight on stage, harking back to the old idea of package tours have got it just right. Each artist does enough to hold everyone’s attention, and to be able to give their best, and then it moves onto the next artist thus holding your interest for the whole show. Well done to everyone involved. 

Usually, by this time on a Saturday night things start to become a bit of a blur, this year was no exception so I headed off to the chalet around 5.00 am. 

Sunday lunchtime:  Time to chill and chat, have a few beers and relax as people spend what money they have got left. And that’s basically how it went. A little different this year because the music was scheduled to go right through from lunchtime to the night without a break. In honesty I couldn’t tell you who the DJs were because I paid very little attention. 

Sunday evening: An early start for me this year, because I was doing an R & B spot in the Redemption room between 6 pm and 7 pm. Always a bit of a challenge for me because although I love good R & B, I’m not strictly an R & B DJ. So, taking to the decks following the Hideaway guys was a little intimidating……….Being the shy introvert that I am, I soon got the hang of it, and ended up with a full dancefloor. From there it was into the pub for an hour of the Connoisseurs night from Mick H and Tim Brown. I left as Carl Willingham came on to go through to the main hall with Margie. 

As we wandered in we bumped into Sarh and Mark, so managed to find a table and sit for an hour or so. Then at10 pm, chaos loomed, I was paired up with Roger Banks for an hour of mayhem behind the decks. Last year Roger and I did a similar spot and decided an hour’s R & B would fit nicely into the Sunday night party. It was a bit of a gamble, but it worked well. So well in fact that this year we were told to “play what you want, there will be enough people playing oldies after you’ve been on.” 

So we did. Within minutes of us starting Dave Leedham had abandoned ship after taking a few photos muttering “I’ve had enough of this madhouse”.  Perhaps the reference to ships needs a little explaining…….Steve C and Disco Dave Abbott, within minutes of us arriving presented us both with a pirate Skull and Crossbones bandana, so we could join their Pirates party. John Mills kindly brought more beer, and on it went. We did the full range of sounds, rarities, R & B, uptempo, midtempo, and finished off with some soulful Beat Ballads. All of which were received with a full dancefloor. I really enjoyed doing this spot because it was one where both Roger and I were given free reign to play what we wanted, and it’s so pleasing when the people on the dancefloor also like the songs we were playing. 

I’m afraid the evening just descended into drunken mayhem after this due to the now traditional introduction of Pontin’s pounds meaning free beer. By 1.30am though, I’d had enough, I’d also totally lost my voice (Again) so it was off to bed, another weekender over. 

I have to say, this was another example of superb organisation that led to a well run, extremely successful weekender. Before we left the site on the Monday morning, ALL the Club class accommodation had gone for next year, and the queue to book for next year was almost to the door. Get your bookings in now folks, or you’ll miss out next year, because by the end of March there were almost 2000 bookings.