Fleetwood Weekender 2001 - A Review and a half!
Well here you go with a great (and I do mean great) review of Togetherness Event by Colin Dilnot
If you want a informative, enjoyable well written view of the weekends goings on......
well hit that read more button....
Big thanks to Colin D for the time and effort... great stuff!!
Fleetwood Weekender 2001
Just getting my act back together after another great weekender.
I arrived with my wife Barbara on Friday in the early evening. We soon
settled into the caravan and started on the old red vino with our hosts
Annette and Jacqui from Middlesborough who were excellent hosts over the
I decided to hit the Northern room first to catch Gingers set which was the usual good fare and by then the place was cooking with water already running down the walls. The breaking up of the dance floor will probably go down in Northern folklore as burly Northern guys stripped to the waist with mallets to put the floor back together!!! Though the call for the return of the mallets by Kev Roberts must be one of the stranger pieces of DJing ever on the scene.
Next up was my old friend Tim Brown who gave an excellent mixture of the rare and the very rare!!! I missed his set on Saturday which was said by some to be even better. I sat through the set with John from Anglo-American and his partner Chris - and by now we were getting into the whole thing and helped John try to keep £1000s of records stuck to the wall as a river flowed down it. Just loved it when Tim came back after his spot and rested his feet on his record box - probably one of the most expensive foot-rests in the UK.
I went to the Modern Room during the dancing contest to catch up on what was happening. Met up with some mates and exchanged the usual notes. Couldnt really get my head round the new room used for the modern event which lacked atmosphere away from the dance floor which seemed to be the common consensus but it was cooking at various stages over the weekend. I couldnt get to grips with the sales area being away from the dance floor and most of the bar area was too and when you werent actually in the bit where the dance floor was the sound system was very distorted and you couldnt tell a lot of the tracks. It did seem to get better as time went by or maybe the vodka was kicking in.
I went back to the Northern room for Jimmy Conwells set and Snake Davis was
already doing a storming set as intro for Jimmy. Jimmys first set was a
70s one and it was excellent - highpoints were LOVE, Another Sundown In
Watts and Got to Have Money. After the set I turned round and there was
Richard Sealing buzzing off the performance we had witnessed - I just gave
him a big hug and said thanks for getting Jimmy over.
It was back to the Modern Room for the rest of the evening which had started
to get going and Gary Dennis and Steve Aggisald both played good sets. As I
walked back in the rain to the caravan I felt a feeling of fulfilment but
knew I had just started!!!
The second day was football first for me but a quick trip into Fleetwood to
clear the head helped me for the anguish of sitting and standing as I
watched an inept England performance turn into heaven. The atmosphere in the
Modern room was electric and just exploded when the 2nd goal went in. Drink,
music and football what more can you ask for well I did get more than I
anticipated when a mucky Scottish woman came over to chat me up as I
listened to the excellent boogie tunes provided by Gary Denis, Kev Roberts,
Pete Haigh and Andy Davies.
Went out at this point and grabbed an Indian banquet to keep us going before
returning to the caravan to be entertained by one Derek Pearson and crew -
Allie, Teresa, Jacqui and Annette - had to get back to the music eventually
before I died laughing.
The Modern Room was really heaving on Saturday night and as I walked in met
up, with people like Garry Cape and Hans and Harry of Fingerpoppin fame,
Martin Barnfather, John Smith etc. The music was being supplied by the ever
excellent Fish. First act up was Kloud 9 - who were 2 great guys who are
young and very enthusiastic - soul lives on in the USA. The Kloud 9 guys
were good singers and very friendly - loved seeing them staying on in the
modern room for the next set.
Then it was the turn of a living legend in the shape of Ollie Woodson. He
was ushered in by the security as a true soul star should be!! He hit the
tiny stage and soon jumped up on the chairs to give us a better view. He
sang several songs from his excellent new CD Right Here All Along including
Power of A Woman and the Drama In The Bedroom which has reached anthem
status on the modern scene. He finished on Treat Her Like A Lady which had
the crowd going mad for more but it was a short stop and he was gone. I was
fortunate to meet him later before he went off to his hotel and what a nice
guy. He was very pleased with the response he got so lets hope he comes
back with a band and does a tour.
It was quickly back to the Northern Room for Jimmy Conwells 2nd set. Got
into the room for Snake and co doing a belting version of "Little Queenie"!
Jimmys second set was more Northern on the Saturday night and was
tremendous - Snake Davis pulled out all the stops - That Beatin Rhythm was
explosive - Under The Street Lamp and Too Much were something else again. It
was becoming a real piece of Northern Soul history when he did Cigarette
Ashes with ad-libs!!!; Theres That Mountain. He was class and a very nice
guy who was overwhelmed by the reaction of the crowd.
I decided to get as close to the stage for Gene Chandler as possible for the
old photos. Snake played a few more Northern classics and actually sang - my
favourite with the girls singing brilliantly was the MVPs Turning My
Heartbeat Up. Then Snake started playing the opening bars of There Was A
Time which built into a storming intro but Gene wasnt ready!! Was this
showmanship or what because this was soon eclipsed when he made maximum
space on the stage for himself at the expense of everyone else - Gene was
the star and wanted to dance!!! He did wonderful versions of Nothing Can
Stop Me, Bet You Never Thought, Such A Pretty Thing, Mr. Big Shot, I Can
Take Care of Myself, Let Me Make Love To You, Does She Have a Friend, a
wonderful duet on Teacher to The Preacher with one of the girls, Groovy
Situation - how does Snake and crew make them sound so like the originals!!.
Gene just had to finish on his Duke of Earl routine with top hat, cape and
cane!!! OK he did forget the words to some of the songs in parts but overall
worth the wait to see one of the greats. Give him his due he paid thanks to
everyone and to Richard and Kev for bringing him over.
Now a lot has been said both at the event and on the Net since the show
about his behaviour towards Snake and the band. Gene had a few goes at the
bands drummer during his show by telling the drummer which cymbal to hit and when. The real trouble started when Gene in between songs started
scatting a beat to a tune they had obviously not rehearsed and turned to the
drummer and told him to go with it. The drummer was confused, not knowing
what was happening. Snake took charge and started the next rehearsed
number which was Preacher etc. Gene went with it but at the end hurled abuse
at the drummer. Snake pulled him back and the two had a face to face
confrontation with much abuse being hurled. Gene laid down that he was
star!!! Eventually, the show started again but you could tell from then on
that though the band and especially Snakes heart wasnt in it anymore.
At the end of the set, Gene asked if anyone wanted more and what could he
sing because they had done all the rehearsed tunes - you can imagine what
happened - shouts of every song he had recorded. Eventually hearing that he
should sing a Curtis Mayfield tune he launched into a great story about
Curtis giving Major Lance Monkey Time even though Gene wanted the song. He
then did Nothing Can Stop Me again and then he was gone. The was a bitter
taste in some peoples mouths at what they had witnessed - a great
performance spoilt by unnecessary behaviour and you could tell from the
crowds response to Snakes playing out of the show when Gene had left the
stage that there hearts where with Snake - the guy looked sick.
I eventually forgave Gene because he is still an excellent performer because
when I met him later he had obviously given his all.
It was then back to the Modern Room and caught Steve Aggasild and Dean
Johnsons set but I hit a break wall and returned to the caravan.
Woke to mayhem courtesy of my hosts and their friends but what a great laugh
and the socialising is part of the weekend as well as the music!!! Went back
to the Modern Room and the record boxes before making several tasty
We hit the road during the now regular excellent Sunday PM spots which
feature some class connoisseur tunes from Terry Jones, Andy Davies and
Richard Searling - a great feel and I was sad to leave and also miss
Beverlei Brown who I understand was excellent. Well theres always next