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Parkers The Reunion Sat 28th August

Parkers The Reunion Sat 28th August cover

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.

Forum post

Event Blurb

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.

Venue Link


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


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.


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It would be great to see Dereck at the Parkers Reunion bash 'cuss I haven't see the rascily vagabond in ages.


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Guest bill ball


great nite at parkers band on wall with richard and dean playin all the tunes we wanted to hear cant wait for round two at christmas see you there bill ball

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great nite at parkers band on wall with richard and dean playin all the tunes we wanted to hear cant wait for round two at christmas see you there bill ball

Hiya Bill,

I have no excuses for this one! See you there.


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For those who haven't found it in 'events' the parkers reunion part 2 on bank holiday monday december 27. First one was a packer so get down there my little hush puppies


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