Kent 25 Years Celebration - A Lookback by Ady C
Thanks for all the great comments and sentiments from Soul Sourcers and I agree it was a truly great night.
It's been just about the toughest period of my life work-wise and if I looked a bit distant on Friday night, it was because I was still working up to 1.45, dealing with an event like that was new territory for me.
I think we had about 1500 people through the doors including guests and though it was a big success all round it was totally Kent's backing that made it possible. All the directors and staff supported me and the project completely, through some bleak moments as well as good. My immediate boss Roger Armstrong was responsible for the initial idea, gave me lots of good advice and stuck his neck out and put his company's finances on the line. One of the most gratifying moments for me was seeing him grinning from ear to ear over the whole thing. In fact there was a lot of that going on, from my 16 year old son and his mate who ended up on stage with Maxine (not nepotism, everyone else nearby bottled it!) to 60 year old stalwarts of the soul scene who remembered the original 60s revues and compared this one more than favourably. Neil Scapelhorn Ace's press person put in a lot of hard productive work and Yvette Deroy who ran the Kent stall contributed immensely too.
photo from soul source members gallery - supercorsa see below for linkThe acts really excelled and pulled together, they didn't even ask where they were on the bill until rehearsals and were all happy with being vital parts of the show. Winfield Parker was a slight gamble in that I'd never met him or heard him sing but Tommy assured me he was good and how right he was. Professional, energetic, cool and talented about sums him up and the clothes he wore to rehearsal were as stylish as the suit he was sporting on stage. Mary has always been dear to mine and Kent fans' hearts since she sang track 1 on Kent 001 and every time I hear that opening drum roll and beautifully sung "You" I get goose bumps. She was the star act at the first Cleethorpes Weekender and sang at Ace's 25th and the Jazz cafe celebrations for us too. Every time she's on stage her church singing and love of her music gives us a memorable performance and her rendition of Randy's favourite I'm In Your Hands was just perfect. The Flirtations not only provided glamour with a capital Wow, but also showed they can sing their socks off, as well as shimmy their butts off. Their UK Deram tracks in particular sounded at least as good as most songs cut in the States at that time and were full of soul. They brought along Jimmy James, Carl Douglas and a whole UK soul entourage too. Linda Lewis turned up as well and got to talk with Mary about them both cutting Bitter Into Sweet as their first records.
Tommy Hunt looked resplendent and sang beautifully, particularly on his great ballads which is always the sign of a class singer. Lover was a treat for me, having originally unearthed it and his charm and enjoyment of the occasion won the crowd over effortlessly.
Maxine has been the patron saint of the 6TS Rhythm & Soul club since 1979 and her presence is always an honour and a treat for us. This time though she really surpassed herself and I believe it was her greatest performance, if not ever, then certainly since she came back into our lives in the 90s. Utterly prepared and professional, she combined that with her natural singing talent and a great stage presence. Every move was for a purpose and I really felt we were in the presence of a great star.
The acts all got on like they were the best of friends and enjoyed every minute of their stay. They were knocked out by the audiences support, knowledge and love for them. I eventually got to DJ for the last 15 minutes after original 6TS DJs Tony Rounce and Roger Stewart had kept the dancefloor buzzing to the end, my thanks to them and MC Eddie Pillar who was called upon at very short notice and did a great job for us.
Like the acts, I too was so pleased with the fantastic turn out and the sea of faces of soul friends and family that filled that huge, noble venue up. People had made a lot of sacrifices and effort to get to a do that could only go on until 2 am an expensive affair, but that made the previous months of work totally worth-while.
Even though it's going to be a long time before anyone tries something on that scale again, at least we know we can now at least consider it.
View a whole hatfull of photos from Chalky and Supercorsa in the Soul Source gallery
Visit Forum thread - Lookbacks
loads of views of the event from the floor and beyond and more pics