Bletsoe to the Wheel and Back.... Norman Rogers Book Review

Bletsoe to the Wheel and Back.... Norman Rogers Book Review magazine cover

Book Review.

When I was first knocking around the Rare Soul Scene, there was a guy from Cambridge called Norman Rogers. He was one of the 'faces'.
Everywhere that he went, Norman took his camera. The story goes that it was a present from an aunt or uncle and that it was a top quality job.... In fact it was his father who gave him it. 
Over the years he's taken thousands of pictures, many of which have subsequently turned up in various books, magazines and TV documentaries often without Norman getting any accreditation  or acknowledgement.
So this book is, if you like, Norman's own tale.

It works, in my view, on two quite different levels. The first being a hefty piece of nostalgia for those of us lucky enough to know Norman and who were in an around the venues at the time. A lot of the photos are of guys and girls I know, many of whom I consider to be lifelong friends.

The second and possibly even more important level is that the book, with it's images, accompanying anecdotes and playlists, is a bona fide historical document from the early days of the Scene and it may prove to be a bit of an eye opener to the various people who think that Northern Soul started and finished with Wigan Casino. The paradox, is that the heartbeat of Northern Soul, was and still is embedded in so many ways in the counties of Cambridge, Northants, Bedford and South Leicestershire....( at least to those of us who hail from there) 

I can't recommend this book highly enough.

Incidentally Norman is a great bloke and he still treads the boards on a regular basis. Some of the book's photos are from the equally prolific Olly Pearson

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Smileys profile photo

Posted

Dim, its pouring here, in Barton Mills, so l thought I would indulge just for a mo, and picked up Normans book, sitting on my table. Of course too young for most other than Bletsoe, but it was surreal seeing one of the pics taking in my childhood parents nicotine, sitting room, just as ive always said, not a fantasy lol twas there I first heard going to a happening Tommy Neal, and then the Elgins lp UK of course lol so hard to find then. Love ya write ups, like Winston RIP, you have the gift pf putting a great message over, right where are my full stops like, love and peace and thanks for all you do, for the scene xxx

  • Up vote 2
Mike profile photo

Posted

Just seen this review, which was posted in our 'media' forum back in December last year.

The 'media forum' wasn't really the best place as that forum is more to do with audio rather than the written word,  so given that I have just upped it to one of our news articles...

 

  • Up vote 4
Kevinkent profile photo

Posted

Can anyone advise me where best to pick up a copy of this book please. 

Cheers,  Kev.

  • Up vote 1
Dim profile photo

Posted

20 hours ago, Smileys said:

Dim, its pouring here, in Barton Mills, so l thought I would indulge just for a mo, and picked up Normans book, sitting on my table. Of course too young for most other than Bletsoe, but it was surreal seeing one of the pics taking in my childhood parents nicotine, sitting room, just as ive always said, not a fantasy lol twas there I first heard going to a happening Tommy Neal, and then the Elgins lp UK of course lol so hard to find then. Love ya write ups, like Winston RIP, you have the gift pf putting a great message over, right where are my full stops like, love and peace and thanks for all you do, for the scene xxx

Derek.. Cheers mate, 

Dim profile photo

Posted

2 hours ago, Kevinkent said:

Can anyone advise me where best to pick up a copy of this book please. 

Cheers,  Kev.

Kev... I'll get back to you with info later today. Sorry I can't be a bit faster. 

  • Up vote 1
Kevinkent profile photo

Posted

8 minutes ago, Dim said:

Kev... I'll get back to you with info later today. Sorry I can't be a bit faster. 

No problem. Memories of The George at Wilby etc, etc, need revitalising but there's no rush. 

  • Up vote 1
Finley profile photo

Posted

7 hours ago, Kevinkent said:

No problem. Memories of The George at Wilby etc, etc, need revitalising but there's no rush. 

My grandfather was Big Bob Knight who owned the Nags Head in Wollaston. He did multiple do's at the George some weeks if you remember. Other clubs Big Bob did included: Wicksteed park (actually started wicksteed by getting their music license for them), Blisworth Motel, The Railway Club and the Corn Exchange. There were other venues but i cant remember them.

My dad actually now owns the site in Bletsoe which he bought in the late 80's while he was running the rave scene in that area. 

  • Up vote 3
Kevinkent profile photo

Posted (edited)

4 hours ago, Finley said:

My grandfather was Big Bob Knight who owned the Nags Head in Wollaston. He did multiple do's at the George some weeks if you remember. Other clubs Big Bob did included: Wicksteed park (actually started wicksteed by getting their music license for them), Blisworth Motel, The Railway Club and the Corn Exchange. There were other venues but i cant remember them.

My dad actually now owns the site in Bletsoe which he bought in the late 80's while he was running the rave scene in that area. 

Hi Finley, and welcome to Soul Source. 

Big Bob was a great local character and I was saddened to hear of his passing some years back. I don't recall him having any involvement with Wilby though, nor was I aware of do's at Wicksteed Park (sometimes slept there if I was unsuccessfully thumbin' it back from Corby). That said, I left Northants in '71 when I joined the army, so maybe we're talking different times.  Living at Moulton I was the right side of Northampton to visit the Nags occasionally with school mates and it was my intro to music venues. Then we moved to Roade and Friday night at the Blisworth Hotel became a regular outing. I wouldn't class either as Rare Soul venues but they were fun. When I left home at 16 I was thirsting for more. That's when I discovered Wilby, Earls Barton and the land of niters. That's why I have to read this book.

- Kev

Edited by Kevinkent
Messed up the emoji
  • Up vote 2
Monny1916 profile photo

Posted

Hi Kevin got my copy from Norman ,,e- mail add,, browningc2g@gmail.com good luck Stephen 

  • Up vote 2
Kevinkent profile photo

Posted

2 hours ago, Monny1916 said:

Hi Kevin got my copy from Norman ,,e- mail add,, browningc2g@gmail.com good luck Stephen 

Already sorted mate, thanks to Dim. I appreciate you responding...thanks.

- Kev

Smileys profile photo

Posted

Welcome Finlay, I think Norman may well bring out part 2 so make sure you keep in contact, and im sure folks like Kevinkent, lots have been in touch, Something unique about Bletsoe lol always got lost :} and at our reunion 4 years ago I set of from Nottingham after a dj spot, supposed to be 1 hour plus 15 minutes.....took me 3 plus 30 minutes lol def something amiss my sat nav kept going mad lol maybe the ol souls no longer with us, having a bit of fun xxx Got there 4am wish, and this is where I got to know Winston Heath RIP , a very wise man indeed, Winston was amazed about the older all night scene, he did a great write up, which is on here. Although a short time we really became great mate, the Div and Winston a great combo lol xxx

Finley profile photo

Posted

On 26/02/2020 at 23:20, Kevinkent said:

Hi Finley, and welcome to Soul Source. 

Big Bob was a great local character and I was saddened to hear of his passing some years back. I don't recall him having any involvement with Wilby though, nor was I aware of do's at Wicksteed Park (sometimes slept there if I was unsuccessfully thumbin' it back from Corby). That said, I left Northants in '71 when I joined the army, so maybe we're talking different times.  Living at Moulton I was the right side of Northampton to visit the Nags occasionally with school mates and it was my intro to music venues. Then we moved to Roade and Friday night at the Blisworth Hotel became a regular outing. I wouldn't class either as Rare Soul venues but they were fun. When I left home at 16 I was thirsting for more. That's when I discovered Wilby, Earls Barton and the land of niters. That's why I have to read this book.

- Kev

Sometimes did multiple nights at wilby in mid 70's to my knowledge. Wicksteed was a bit different then, he actually got them their music license back in 68'. He played lots of mod stuff and Motown but mostly what people asked for because it was popular! I've got his records now, about 5000 of them, lots of rare stuff in there.



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