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North Wales in the 70s

North Wales in the 70s cover

An old article from the late 70s. Originally in a fanzine called North Wales Soul Review in late 70s and republished in Soul Notes Fanzine 20 or so years later on

North Wales Soul Review

The following are extracts taken from issue No. 1 of the North Wales Soul Review which dates from January 1979. We think that this is the only issue that was produced, but if anyone has any other issues or can give us some background information on this fanzine please let us know. Thanks to Brian Rae for bringing this publication to our attention.


What Happened In 78 (Author Unknown)

1978 was both a good and bad year for Soul Music in North Wales. After a long period of non-activity, Bob Brady started the Colwyn Bay all-nighters at the Dixieland Showbar. After a slow start these became very popular. Being held on Friday - Saturday they began to pull many from outside the North Wales area. Both the atmosphere and the music were appreciated and though both Soul Sam and Siz provided great times, much of the success can be put down to the local jocks - Benny, Pete Morgan, Mike Stoko and Gaz Jones. Although not as well known, they spun some great sounds. Alas, as things began to take off, the all-nighters were stopped. The official reason was a change of management, I wonder if we will ever find out the truth?

1978 also saw the birth of Bangor Soul Club. Started in August, nobody could have anticipated how quickly it would grow. By the end of 1978 its membership was just over the 600 mark. From the humble beginnings at the Library Hall, Bangor, it now has regular all-dayers at both Bangor and Llangefni plus regular weekly Northern nights at the Town Hall, Llangefni. The success of the club really became apparent at their second all-dayer when they brought together, for the first time in North Wales, a DJ line up that included Russ Winstanley, Dave Evison, Soul Sam and Siz. Apart from the music side, the club also runs weekly coach trips to Wigan Casino and there are plans for trips to Yate and Cleethorpes.

During the latter part of '78, the scene was given another boost with the emergence of SNOB promotions. Putting on a Northern night at Rhyl Town Hall they brought, for the first time to North Wales, Wigan's top DJ, Richard Searling. Also they provided all-dayers at Prestatyn and Connahs Quay. Things are certainly looking up for the Northern scene in North Wales and, after such a long time of inactivity, that can only be good news.

2nd Bangor All-Dayer - December 7th 1978. (Author Unknown)

The second all-dayer, held at the Bangor Technical College, proved to be a great success both in terms of attendance, which reached the 500 mark, and the atmosphere, which was missing at the first all-dayer. This could probably be put down to two things - the influx of Northern fans from far afield and the line up of DJs, which surely must have been the best ever assembled in North Wales.

The local jocks, Les, John, Mike, Royston, Pete and Benny provided some good sounds ranging from Bunny Sigler to the Newbeats and in general the dance floor was kept full. Around 3 o'clock saw the arrival of Russ Winstanley who continued to pack the floor with all his big sounds. Russ was followed by Soul Sam who made an immediate impact by playing Bobby Paris - 'I Walked Away'. He continued to turn out his usual high standard of well knowns and newies. Eight o'clock arrived, and on went Siz to play his usual good sounds, including his No. 1 cover-up Suzie Stevens.

The dance floor was really in full swing, and the biggest cheer of the day greeted the arrival on the decks of the one and only Mr Evison. Dave carried on through to the close with all the top class oldies such as Don Covay, L.J. Johnson, Eddie Foster etc.

All in all quite a memorable day and I'm quite sure that the B.S.C. all-dayers are now firmly established.

Rhyl Town Hall, 8th December, 1978 by Pete Morgan

This was the first venue which had been arranged by Siz and Tony Just. Unfortunately this evening was poorly attended, therefore the nostalgic atmosphere which could have been achieved was lacking, although all those who attended thoroughly had a good time (I think).

The evening started off with the Colwyn Bay all-nighter (ex) jocks Mick and yours truly. The music was quite well accepted even though the crowd was limited. Mick's playlist was a mixture suiting the fast stompers and the not so energetic dancers (like me!). The best records to his credit that night were John Bowie, Gerri Thomas, Chapter 5 and Stemmons Express apart from the more 'poppy' records e.g. Sue Lynne and Casino Classic crap (which were requested). 1 followed playing some Soul and then came Wigan's top DJ, Richard Searling.

Up to this time the atmosphere was thin but when Richard started off with Betty Boo the atmosphere started to flourish and it became a great evening with Richard playing some brilliant Soul records, which are very much lacking in the present scene. His most popular records of the night were Joe Matthews, Velvelettes, Construction (alias Del Capris), Bobby Franklin, Delites, Randolph Walker, Vicki Baines etc. His spot was very much appreciated by everybody present and proved that Soul thrives in North Wales.

Connahs Quay Civic Hall, 15th December 1978 by Pete Morgan

After the coach drive, we dived straight in and got pissed and were followed by 60 others who all had the same idea! The hall was brilliant, (reminiscent of the Ritz), really SNOBBY. It was the type of place that you felt relaxed in.

Siz started off playing his top records which packed the floor, then Benny, myself and Stoko had a spot which went down quite well.

Then Soul Sam (alias Martin Barnfather) came on and played some incredibly soulful sounds, which were very much appreciated by the crowd. The best records of the evening, which Sam played, were Jay Traynor, Jackie Forrest (love it), Delites, Jimmy Burns, Larry Clinton, Tina Mason and the Bell Boys (c/u).

Then, after Sam's great spot, Siz returned playing classics like Donna King and J.J. Calvier and usuals like Suzi Stevens, John Drevas (c/u) and Sue Lynne etc. After Siz came Tony Just who ended the evening by playing some great oldies e.g. Major Lance, Johnny Caswell, Tempos, Robby Lawson.

1 reckon that this venue was much more appreciated than Rhyl and had a better atmosphere (probably coz we were all pissed, especially Chigley!)

Anyway that's the end of the reviews for now and don't forget that the most important thing in Northern is the word SOUL.

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