Parkers The Reunion Sat 28th August
Over the years on soul source when reading the posts you sometimes notice certain long gone events being spoke of in respected tones, perhaps they may not be the most mentioned or indeed the most name checked, but does seem a few which when they do get a mention there does seem to be a sort of revered almost hushed tone when discussing the event.
One such event is Parkers - Manchester...
Event Background by Dean Johnson
The legendry PARKERS Soul Nights in Manchester ran for four [and a bit] years in the early nineties until the building was sold for redevelopment. Over the 60 or so occasions that the night ran, sometimes with two rooms, usually in one, a distinctive sound developed incorporating new and unreleased, rare groove and two-step from the seventies and eighties, inspirational, classic sixties soul, and a two record jazz break! This genuinely 'across-the-board' approach was possible because the night attracted an ever growing audience of hipsters from not only Manchester, but all over the country, whose diverse roots in quality clubs as different as The Wheel and The Reno brought them all together at PARKERS for what was wittily christened 'table cloth soul'. Such was the popularity of the night that it was voted 'Best Soul Club In The UK' in Blues and Soul magazine.
Since then the original DJ's RICHARD SEARLING and DEAN JOHNSON have come together for the occasional and much enjoyed PARKERS Revival; most recently at the awesome Luxury Soul Weekender at the Blackpool Hilton but now is the time to get serious and return the night to its spiritual home in City Centre Manchester.
Bank holiday special! The soul and rare groove parties at the Parkers Hotel are the stuff of legend and now Band on the Wall relights the fire as it resurrects Parkers for this very special club night featuring all the top tunes from this iconic Manchester venue. Featuring Dean Johnson and Richard Searling at the decks with very special guest Mike Stephens expect to hear the ultimate seductive soul, mellow jazzy retro rare grooves and classic tunes from the likes of Chante Moore; L J Reynolds; Arnies Love; Keni Burke; Jon Lucien; Phyliss Hyman; The Controllers; Leroy Hutson; Perri-Helen Baylor; Jimmy Cobb; Leon Ware; Love Unlimited; Roberta Gilliam; By All Means; Merry Clayton and many more.
This event will begin at 9.30pm.
Derek Pearson interviewing Richard Searling 5th May 1999 from Shades of Soul July 1999
Which included a 5 page feature on Parkers
Below clip of the interview was orignally on Soul Source via a review of the issue in 1999
DP 'What was early nineties background to why you started Parker's ?
RS 'Well the Expansions shop had opened in Manchester through John Anderson's inspiration in 1987 and we had a couple of fairly rough years but none the less we survived. Dean Johnson become Shop Manager in October 1989 and around that time someone had pointed out that there was an hotel in central Manchester available for functions so I popped up to have a look as it happened to be close to the shop anyway. I felt I could work there, you usually get a feeling in these places whether you can work with the management or not straight away. I encouraged Dean to have a look at it with me and I remember the first night we went down there into basically what was a cellar, albeit a large one. The first night I think I remember it was about January 1990 we played Jelf Redd "Love High" and got a good response. There were about 160 people in for a first night, although a lot of it had to do with the fact that Manchester had heard nothing like this before, it was that we were supplying the right kind of music, easy listening lounge music I call it and getting a very nice up-market mixed race crowd in there.
Apart from numbers growing the profile of the crowd did not change over the next four years apart from when we did a northern night or when we had an artist on. It was amazing really the crowd that were attending were just the kind of people we were looking for, we were not haunted by any of the trouble makers getting in.
The reason a lot of people liked the place was for the atmosphere and the music, you don't find many people going somewhere just for the music alone its got to be a bit of both really. I do know people that have tried other places just for the music, but I reckon if you can have both then you have cracked it.
DP 'As I've pointed out before you've got to have the music, the venue, the DJs willing to play plus importantly the crowd have to be willing to listen. "what would you say was the reason for your success at Parkers? "
RS 'Well Dean and i have always worked well together because basically we play different stuff, there is nothing worse than working with a DJ that you feel all the time wants to be you and attempt to spoil what you are doing. Dean would play things that I would think 'Christ that's brave' and he would drive me on, we work well off each other, the chemistry was very good- I think with DJs there's an element of envy and if they see someone who is successful they think he's successful because of what he plays when in fact its not what you play it's the way you play them. It also boils down to what type of a crowd are in, if they're difficult you can end up playing what you consider a very ordinary set. With the right people in the right room and the right music and you can go onto another level".
DP Where as parkers was only once a month it saddens me that there no where else you can go to nowadays once a month ".
RS "If i was getting more people in at The Howard then I would probably run it once a month, but as it is I've got two rooms going which I think is right and we attract about 250 people, If I was getting 400 1 would probably run it once a month".
DP "Is it a case of we're all getting older and money's tighter ?
RS 'No i don't think it is that, Its very difficult to say really because on the face of it there are still as many people chasing the records and talking about it. But they do seem to be more selective about the venues they go to, I've still not done the night that 1 really want to do do. I've got so many fantastic records which just never ever touch in the box.I just think if I could ever get a scene going at the Half Way House again where we played nothing but ballad's all night but they were up dancing, there's still a wealth of that kind of music being recorded today, but to get away with that in clubs is very difficult and even at the Southport weekender although I still play them, I always have to have the Futures "Ain't got time for nothing" lined up, great record that it is I don't want to be playing it when there's other quality record from an album to play".
DP I suppose with dJing you never know when you are going to stop and if you're still buying, you've got all that great material and you'd cry if you never got the chance to air it.
RS "I know I'm very lucky, I've got the radio show for that, I think I've played most things on it, but first of all its got to be the radio its got continuity and basically it gives me a lot of satisfaction doing it. But there must be a time to get a club going playing radio music and attracting 2 or 3 hundred in on a weekly or monthly basis.
DP "Going back to Parker's many people went to hear your exclusives ? "
R8 "I recall The Affair's 'New Life" remix which i don't ever think came out in the end but that was a lucky streak that we were going through which happened to coincide with having the club, at that time I used to spend alot of time chasing the record companies, because i had the time to do it, I worked in an office where I could spend a couple of hours a day ringing EMI, MCA and all these people or going to London. Right now I don't have that time so yes I was..
Read review here
See back issues of Shades of Soul for full interview and 5 page feature
Profiles and Playlists
A few Parker plays via Dean Johnson
see forum post for full 100
One Good Reason Marva Hicks
Love in your eyes Vaneese Thomas
Upside Down Perri
After Effect Gary Taylor
How Long Thelma Jones
Pleasure And Pain Lance Ellington
Got To Get Away Sheree Brown How Can I Get Next To You
Chapter 8 My Secret Fantasy The Controllers
Your Love Keeps Working On Me Joey Diggs
Romantically Inspired Tashan
Lucky Fellow Leroy Hutson
I Want You Marvin Gaye
The Sweetest Pain Dexter Wansel
If You Want Me Say It Love Unlimited
September When I First Met You Barry White
Love's Taken Over ChantÃÆ’© Moore
Key To The World L. J. Reynolds
You Know You Want To Be Loved Keith Barrow Y
Will You Be Mine Anita Baker
Did You Pray Today Lisa Taylor
Believe In Love Teddy Pendergrass
Goodbye My Love Brian McKnight
Love Crazy Atlantic Starr
You Make Me So Hot Barbara Lynn
Promise Me Dayton
It's In There Jennifer Holliday
You're Gonna Get Next To Me Bo Kirkland & Ruth Davis
Come On Back To Me Lover Margie Joseph
Move Me No Mountain Dionne Warwick
Don't You Get So Mad Jeffrey Osborne
Say You'll Never Leave Me By All Means
Curious Midnight Star
Got To Find Ms.Right Buddy Miles
RICHARD SEARLING'S PARKERS TOP TEN
BOBBY WOMACK "How could you break my heart"
THE CONTROLLERS "Secret fantasy"
VANEESE THOMAS "Love in your eyes"
SHEREE BROWN "Got to get away"
GLENN JONES "Keep on doin'"
LEON WARE "Rockin' you eternally"
SEAWIND "He loves you"
CARMEN LUNDY "So this is love"
CHUCK COCKERHAM "Have I got a right?"
DONNY HATHAWAY "Love, love, love"
Does Richard really need any introduction? From Va-Va's and Wigan Casino to The Hilton and Blackburn he is the Don Dadda of the UK soul scene equally at home playing the deepest sixties acetates and the latest R+B downloads. To get him behind the decks is always a special treat.
Dean has spent more hours playing quality Black Music on the decks of Manchester nightclubs than any person alive or dead. Expect favourites and surprises.
THE PARKERS REUNION #1 BANK HOLIDAY SATURDAY AUGUST 28 DJ'S RICHARD SEARLING + DEAN JOHNSON SPECIAL GUEST MIKE STEPHENS 9-30 TILL 3.00 AT THE BAND ON THE WALL, SWAN ST. MANCHESTER M4 5JZ