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Steve G Blog from 2007 1 of 2

Steve G Blog from 2007 1 of 2 cover

Soul Blog entries posted by Steve G originally via the Soul Blog feature during the period January 2007 til September 2007 

Weekend Warm Up - Thurs/fri

Posted by Steve G, 08 September 2007

Thursday is one of my cycling days, where I quite literally cycle into and back out of London again. I try and do this twice a week when it's not raining / snowy / cold / foggy / windy (delet as applicable). The journey home is uneventful until 7 Sisters, when some goon overtakes me then turns left straight in front of me, forcing me and bike into an emergency left hand turn. I was suitably "up for it" so I tapped his door twice with the sole of my foot - twice. His car has all sort of scratches and dents down the left hand side, so the guy obviously has some sort of problem in turning left. I then hear this hysterical shouting coming from the car so I position myself in front of him, and give him some verbal. "T*sser, Use your mirrors" I shout in an affirmative voice pointing to his wing mirrors. "Use your mirrors you T*sser" I repeat. I managed to avoid any really bad language, despite the fact that his carelessless could have led to a broken leg or worse. By now he's gone quiet and looking petrified and my firm and affirmative style must have made him think I am some kind of off duty policeman who'se about to ask for his non existant insurance documents or something. Suddenly the lights turn green, and I head off safe in the knowledge that in the permanent traffic jam that is the 7 Sisters one way system, he won't be able to catch me and run me down, or worse shoot me.

After that the journey is uneventful, so I get home and ring young Mr Dyson about some records that he plays down the phone to me. Have a nice chat with Andy, and then it's off to Hertford and Bar 11 - for a local soul night. Now Toby has told me that this gig is quote "full of Hertfordshire Totty and WAGs" so I don my Ferragamo leather jacket to look the part . Hertford is a mere 9 miles away, so hardly worth firing up the Batmobile for. Anyway when I get there there's about 100 in. Ironically for a bar Gil Scott Heron's "The Bottle" is blasting out. Anyway it is at this point that I realise that I am in a parallel universe. I have nice chat with the DJ's and a longer chat with Dave Crabtree, one of the local old soul boys. But apart from that I don't really know anyone. When I came in there were a bout a dozen nice scooters all lined up outside, and indeed the patrons are pretty much all scooterists and their mates. It is a parallel universe because here I am close to home, and I hardly know anyone! And yet here is this scene on my doorstep - quite weird really when I thought about it. Anyway I find myself at the bar, on my own doing a Billy No Mates impression, looking into my drink glass, before Ian Sims and Smudge arrive fashionably late. Then Martin (RBMan) arrives even later. Anyway we all have a chat, before I decide to go for an early night at 10.15. Sounds wise some R&B, 60s soul, things like "Exus Trek" and Yvonne Vernee, though not sure it's a real one? "A younger scooterist crowd (but no WAGs Tobe) attend this monthly 60s northern soul night in trendy Hertford" is how I'd phrase a Time Out entry.

Friday, comes and goes, the only significant event mujsic wise being that I have arranged to go and record some radio shows for a new station. I really miss being on radio - loved every minute of it when I did my show on Soul 24-7. The discipline of having to go in the studio every Friday night for several years was far outweighed by the pleasure of being able to play precisely what you want, and hearing back from soulfans via email, from all round the world. Yes I loved it, and I am eagerly looking forward to doing it again....more on that anon.

Friday night I head off to the Bedford Ath, one of the top nights round our way. The original plan had been to pick up Karen, then Martin, but Karen wasn't well, and so it was just Martin tonight. Having told Taff the night before that I was "bringing a car load up", Martin tells me he'd nearly "called off". Imagine that, I tell Taff that there's a car load of us coming up to support him, and then I arrive on my Jack Jones... That would have been unfortunate for my reputation

Anyway we get there about 9 p m. There's about 50 in (this grew to about 100 later - some of the locals were a bit late arriving - ahem!), and Steve Cooper and Hammie are doing a great set. I talk to Karen (Sanquine) about some of the great DJs of our time - like John Vincent and my current pet hate for "70's names" who are bringing nothing new to the table (apart from venues in shopping centres I guess ).

Now I've reviewed the Ath (as a punter and as a DJ) in the past so I won't bore you with another review, instead I'll concerntrate on a few of the sounds I heard. This was for anyone that didn't know the final part of ChrissieO's annual birthday celebration month, her "unofficial" birthday having been celebrating some time ago now. Steve Cooper and Hammie do a really good set sounds like Jock Mitchell, The Appreciations, Little Tommy, Chico Lamarr, Bobby Kline, Johnny Henley, Larry Clinton and The Soul Brothers Inc. to whet your apetite.

Taffy is next with sounds like Virgil Henry, Bottom & Co, Marvin Gaye (Come get to this), Beyold, Innersection, Curtis "How can I dump her", Pinch of Perfection, Charles Johnson, Alfie Davision and an underplayed 4 Tops record "Right before my eyes"` which sounded very good.

Then it's the turn of Dave Welding who spins tunes like Rufus Woods, Little Eddie Taylor, Hytones, a great Topics track called "Tears tell a story" which apparantly Uncle Sam sold him, Honey & Bees, Charles Mintz, The Saints - a record I never tire of - and some oldies like the Adorables, Bobby Wells, so a nice mix.

Pete H does the final hour with classics like Yvonne Vernee (definately a real one), Mel Britt, Eula Cooper, Utopias, George Pepp etc etc. Top class originals all the way.

The dancefloor was busy pretty much throughout, and I felt the variety of sounds played was the perfect foil to those who like a bit of everything in their northern nights. Some classic oldies, some lesser known things, some newies, some 70's. A top night with spot on music and this was borne out by the fact that I spent at least 3 hours dancing - almost unheard of these days for me

Nice to meet Simon from Brighton, also loads of others I chatted to between my regular forays onto the dancefloor, Louise, Karen, Dave, Dave and Tina, Toby, Mandy, Andy K, Pete H, Pete B, Mr Darcy, Baz, Terry, Catriona, Bearsy, Ann, Tony W, Paul & Trish and of course not forgetting the birthday diva ChrissieO.


Without Boundaries - Bass Museum

Posted by Steve G, 29 August 2007 ·

I start my bank holiday Sunday with a quick stop off at the Bishops Stortford All Dayer, which in country speak is "just down the road for me" - about 15 miles. This is run by the Dedicated Soul Club from Peterborough, and I arrive unfashionably early at around 3 pm and have a chat to the promoters Keith and Dave - Keith I haven't seen for nigh on twenty years. Anyway Steve C is DJing to an empty room, but everyone that's turned up is actually outside on the patio savouring the British summer and a Pint, and it's there that I chat with James Trouble - who like me is on his way to DJ somewhere else, Little Reg - who shows me the cover of his new book, which is looking really good now, and a couple of others. James is off to Brighton and I am off to Burton, and so leave at about 4 pm.

Next stop Milton Keynes Coachways to pick up Claire and Jenny, who are also coming up to the Bass with me. They tell me about how good Burnley was, with Butch doing a "killer" set, and having put the world to rights - well the soul scene anyway - in just over an hour we arrive in Burton at about 6.15. As we pull into the car park we notice that it's quiet here too.

The Bass Museum, or Coors Visitor Centre to give it it's correct title is one of the most established modern soul all dayer events in the UK and this is a two room dayer with Y2K in one room and 70s / 80s and crossover in the other. As we pull up in the car park Mike Charlton and his missus are also arriving. Mike is an undervalued DJ with good records, so I am looking forward to hearing his set later.

Meanwhile Colin Brown the first DJ on has "forgotten" to bring his records , and is dispatched back to Derby to go and get them. How can you forget your records you might ask? And I use this question as an excuse to bore everyone senseless with the tale of the time I went to Fleetwood and did just that! Having set off early afternoon Friday in a hurry, to beat the M25 / M1 rush, we are going past Rugby and making good time when I just happen to mention something about records. Then in dawns on me "Records!" - I picture my record box still sitting in the hall. I am virtually hysterical, but Gill calms me down with "It doesn't matter if we are late" type stuff. But I am really cross with myself as I have to go back, refuel and deal with M25 traffic one way, get the records, then M25 traffic for a third time (by now stop / start) and the dreaded M1 Friday night crawl north , all of which would have been avoidable had I engaged my brain before setting off. What do they say about a stitch in time?

When I finally got to Fleetwood and told Richard Searling the story of forgetting my records, he looked at me as if I was a bit of a looney tune frowned and asked "How can you forget your records?". How indeed! Still I am in good company as Colin has done exactly the same thing today.

Colin eventually comes back (this time with records) and does his set; as he was late starting I graciously give him an extra 15 minutes when a more ruthless DJ wouldn't have done .....Next up it's my turn for an early doors 45 minutes then. This I love as it is a chance to play some of my lesser known things to a listening audience, something I really don't get to do that much. The party set comes later when I have a full hour to entertain the troops! So with that in mind I play some things that I consider to be "nice and cool", before handing over to Mick O'Donnell at 8.30. I get a rousing reception from Sue and Roger from Oxford which is very nice. Mick plays quite a few nice mainly newer things, before handing over to Mike Charlton. Mike drops things in like Mel Williams and the Ultimates and gets the dancefloor working. After Mike it's my turn again, and I decide to blend in some cheese into the mix - good quality cheese mind you - no processed "value" cheese. After me it's the Yorkshire Housewives choice Sean Hampsey who rounds off the last hour with a set of sheer quality as always including things like Buddy Causey.

While all of this has been going on I have been chatting to various people. Blake and his Missus, Cliffe Steele, the Poole contingent, Arthur and Maria (Arthur tells me that Sam has got a Second Re$surrection ), Tats Taylor, Sean H, Mike C, Tony and Jayne, Tait from Wolves, Sonia, Chunky, Dave Fleming, Brian Goucher, Steve Jackson, Dean Johnson (who tells me he has a record for me ) and others who will listen to me.

During the course of the evening the room has built up, and in between the dancefloor room and the bar room there's between 40- 50 in. Next door in the modern room it's thinner with 15-20 in, which is disappointing. I know how much effort Fish puts into these all dayers. A lot of 'faces' were missing, and we conclude that this is down to the sheer amount of venues on that day (over 30), and the fact that the weather is very nice. I think you can also add the explosion in the number of weekenders into that mix as well, as for many the weekender is now their soul "fix".

Anyway I enjoyed it, and we headed off back down south at 12.15, again putting the soul scene to rights.

Now I find myself with quite a big gap in my booking schedule - no work for some 6 weeks.....but I am convinced that I will pop up at one or two places as a paying punter.

Here is the Bass playlist....

Set 1 "Early doors"

I start with a 60s record - pretty rare for the Bass Museum

Homer Banks "Sweetie Pie"

Escorts "By the time I get to Phoenix"

I really rate this cheapo cheapo version of the song

Allison "Who'se # 1 who'se No 2"

Billy Byrd "Lost in the crowd"

Lost on the B side of the inferior "Silly kind of love" more like. Great funky dancer

Ralph Jackson "I can't leave your love alone"

2nd Re$surection "You done the the daylight catch you"

Squeeze "X Ta C"

Freedom "High on you"

Bobby Montgomery "I need you girl"

-Sammy boy made a biggish mistake selling this to me

Frankie Kar'hl "Don't fan the flame"

Joe Hinton "Go on be a star!"

Barbara Stant "You got to try it again"

Guitar Ray "Don't change your love" cover up

Floyd Beck "Fly by nite"

Richard Marks "Innocent bystander" - great version of Bill Wright

Steve Long "Your lips tell me no"

Billy Proctor "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Finally I finish up with a couple of "Dons"!

John Donvan "Looking for your love"

Don Thomas "Calling me home"

Set 2 Paaaaaarrrrrttttyyyyy

Tearra "Just loving you"

Trace of Smoke "Treasure mind"

Spinners "I'll be around"

Spinners "It's a shame"

Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway "Back together again"

A Way of Life "Tripping on your love"

- sounds fab again

Richard Paradise "I want you to stay" (my old Daybreak cover up)

King Moses "I got this feeling"

Eula Cooper "Try"

Chuck Cockerham "Have I got a right"

Eddie Billups "Ask my heart" - ask my bank manager more like

Tommy Tate "If you got to love somebody"

Eugene Record "Overdose of Joy"

Chuck Prophett "Love love love"

Harold Melvin & Bluenotes "The love I lost"

Brand New "Thousand years"

First Class "Candy"

Minits "Still a part of me"

Bobby Thurston "Just ask me"

Wee "Try me"

Natural Impulse "She went away"


Spalding Sugarbeet

Posted by Steve G, 25 August 2007

Friday night and I set off at an early-ish 7.15 for Spalding, stopping off at Potters Bar to pick up Karen who'se also coming up for the night. Then it's a straight run up the A1(M)/A1, skirt round Peterborough, and up the A16. Spalding is bigger than I remember it, and even bigger still when you're driving on an unfamiliar road at night. The A16 from Peterbough seems to take a lot longer than I remember as well, but maybe this is because we are stuck behind a container doing a steady 40 mph. We come off at the wrong roundabout in Spalding and get lost for a bit, before finally getting it right and finding the Sugar Beet Club (cue for future nights it's right near the power station - the lights on the chimneys of which can be seen for miles).

Not through choice, as this night was booked first, but I find myself up against Dean Parrish, some 17 miles away in Peterborough. Dean's an excellent singer, and Karen and myself both agreed that he was the better of the two when he appeared at Cleethorpes alongside the mighty Maxine Brown a few years ago. I am not worried about the other "draws" Russ and John Vincent, but had been concerned that Dean being the commensurate professional that he is would draw the punters away from Spalding. However on arriving my fears were allayed as there are over 100 in.

The venue is basically a modern (70s) single story hall, with plenty of chairs and tables round the side, a stage at one end and a cheap bar at the other. There's a really good dancefloor. Sufficient bar staff means that it's not a problem to get a drink in either. Driving I am on the Holsten "Alkohol frei" sugar water. Cue thumping headache Saturday morning!

By now we are a bit late in arriving (9.40 ish) and I have missed most of Smudge's set - there are two Smudge's, this is the older one . Steve Jay takes over and keeps the dancefloor happy with a series of 70s sounds and some of the more popular housey crossover tunes such as Michael Proctor. Meanwhile I am engaging in conversation with Kev Laws, Alan from Kings Lynn - who'se just picked up a Rockie Robbins LP he's been after from Fish, Fish himself who'se come over from Leics., Rob Smith from Notts - who I haven't seen for ten years - when on a sunny Saturday morning Gavin Page and myself drove up there and did a smash and grab raid on his "Hurt's Yard" shop. coming away with lots of cheaply priced goodies. I also chat to several others from Kings Lynn and Peterborough, including John Hall, and Pete Mattock from March. By now word has gotten round that Dean Parrish hasn't turned up over in Peterborough, and has apparantly called off due to a shoulder injury.

Steve Jay finishes with Edwin Starr's "Running back and forth" - a classic piece of Motown which reminds me how much we took Edwin for granted, and what a fantastic singer he really was. As well as "Running back and forth", his earlier "I have faith in you" would be in my "Desert Island" playbox for sure .

In planning my set I had planned to be quite adventurous tonight, and start off my set with a couple of 'feeler' records to see what goes down and what doesn't. In an unfamiliar venue, I always like to try a few things first, to gauge audience reaction, rather than just turning up and playing what I want to play. As the set progresses and I find my feet (and so do the dancers), and it all turns out well. After an hour and ten minutes, I hand over to Kev and Steve who bring the night to a close via sounds like Bobby Thurston "Very last drop", and Jan Jones "Independent woman".

Kev and Steve have been pushing the sounds at this venue more towards a 70's / modern style, and it is quite clear this is what the majority of punters seem to prefer - but not all. Karen reports back from the female toilets - always one of the most reliable barometers of how the punters are feeling - that a couple of girls are saying that they "can't dance to the new stuff" - presumably the Y2K sounds. Like all of these things you are never going to please everyone all of the time, but I think Kev and Steve should be congratulated on moving the music policy forward.

Anyway, having set out to do an adventurous set, it doesn't turn out that way.....as I talk through my set

1) Second Re$surrection "You done let daylight catch you"

This is an old spin for me, but it completely clears the floor - though several people asked me about it later. Not wanting to set the impression with everyone that I am some sort of DJ maniac who kills off a healthy dancefloor for an hour, I go back to a 70s anthem next...

2) Melvin Moore "All of a sudden"

Time to experiment with a couple of 60's next to gauge reaction to that.....

3) Jimmy Burns "I really love you"

Only 4 dancing and as I am cueing up the next record, old Spikey comes up and suggests that the crowd will be more receptive to well known 70's.

4) Four Voices "Your love is getting stronger"

A few more dancing, but I thought I'd try Spike's advice and see what happens.....

5) Bottom & Co "Gonna find a new love"

This goes down well, and I get my first request for.....

6) Mel Williams "Sweet girl of mine"

This record has a continuing popularity with the dancers, so I continue in familiar vein with....

7) Lil Major Williams "Girl"

Again good floor reaction to this......and I say "Hello" and exchange pleasantries with Mick Cooper who is busy taking photos.Mick is someone who I haven't seen since a heady night in his flat where a few of us were playing tunes to about 3.30 in the morning following a Friday night soul do in Stamford in the early 80's.

8) Connie Laverne "Can't live without you" - one of me big revivals for 2007 down south, I am still persevering with this one.....

9) Corey Blake "How can I go on without you"

I was talking to Wendy and Max Rees at Letchworth last Friday and we were talking about the old Papa Luigi's modern nights that I used to run with Nick Gilbert in Bridge Street Peterborough (now some flats), and Wendy mentioned how she liked one of the big sounds there - "Candy". Prompted by that conversation I had dug out my old copy, and yes it does still sound good...so on it goes - now played at "-2" as it's a tad too fast to play at normal speed.

10) First Class "Candy"

It sounds good again over a system so this will be another revival going forward - Big O - don't forget to pack your dancing brogues!

11) Charles Mintz "Running back"

12) Mixed Emotions "Gold of my life"

Next I am asked for Angela Davis "You hit the spot" - but I've only got Gloria Walker, which can be played as a suitable substitute at "+8" on the turntable. I am also asked for Willie J and Co - which I know should be in the "Hot box" since Ginger and Sam have revived it , but I cannot really get back into it, and won't play records I don't believe in...In the alternate I am asked for a "shuffler", and remember one of the old East Anglian favourites from the 70's is nestling in the back of the playbox....

13) Frankie Loveman Crocker "Ton of dynamite"

This goes down well and allows the shufflers to....er "shuffle".

14) The Appointments "I saw you there"

15)Pages "Heartaches and Pain"

Next into a bit of crossover, which also goes down well....

16) T&T "Something on my mind"

Time for a couple more of the oldies that were always popular on the Eastern side of the country...

17) Eula Cooper "Let our love grow higher"

18) Joe Hicks "Don't it make you feel funky"

A young lady comes up and asks for something a bit more "Motowny", and being a versatile sort of chap duly oblige

19) Contours "Just a little misunderstanding"

20) Gladys Knight & Pips "Just walk in my shoes"

21) Gladys Knight & Pips "No one can love you more"

Like it or loathe it from a rare soul perspective, this stuff absolutely rams the dancefloor, and I have learnt to always carry a few Motown vinyls around in the box.....but back to the 70s.....

21) King Moses "I got this feeling" which gets a healthy reaction

22) Ujima "I'm not ready" -one that's been big for Taffy at Letchworth in recent years it doesn't go down so well here though as the floor thins out somewhat....so I decide to end up with three classics which will pack the floor, and thus bow out on a high note......

23) Bobby Sheen "Something new to do"

24) Bobby Kline "Say something nice to me"

25) Ultimates "Girl I've been trying to tell you"

So, not really an adventurous set by my standards, but I think (and hope) the punters enjoyed it.

Musically if you like 70s and some of the more soulful uptempo 12s and live in East Anglia you should check out future dates at this venue. Meantime I am off to completely restock my record box ready for Sunday and Burton On Trent.


Black Squirrel Soul Club 17 August

Posted by Steve G, 18 August 2007

Black Squirrel's I have learned are the third type of indiginous squirrel, and only live in a few very limited areas of the UK; Letchworth being one of those areas. So with that in mind we have unofficially re-named the North Herts Letchworth Irish Centre nights the "Black Squirrel Soul Club". It is claimed that Taffy has black squirrels in his garden and all this talk reminded me of something I'd forgotten. A largish hole has appeared on the weatherboarding on my house. "What's happened to your roof mate - you got a big hole in it?" was the comment from my neighbour last weekend. Somewhat shocked at this revelation, I undertook a closer inspection (I don't normally look at my roof strangely enough - well do you?) and was even more shocked when I realised it wasn't one of his wind ups. Something had been attacking the white board, and it looked like it was close to getting through - I looked at the cat but he didn't look guilty.......so this could only mean one thing ....Squirrels in the roof

Anyway it's been a long week, and my cycling to work in London has been punctuated by two, yes two punctures on my bike this week. It's times like this when I remember why letting the train take the strain is just so much easier for a humble middle aged lounge lizard like myself. All I need now is to get a "flat" on the RX8, and I'll have a hat trick....But it's Friday night and I set off at 8.15 pm and oh dear the first thing I noticed was the need for sidelights on the car. This got me thinking - winter is on the way, and evenings are drawing in....soon be cold again d'oh! The Big O (Neil) is away in the States at the moment and as I drift through the leafy backroads towards Stevenage I'm thinking of suitable wind up's like posting on here that his decks blew up at 9 pm and everyone had to go home early in the knowledge that he'd sneak a read of Soul source from his palacial holiday home in the USA.. but I am not malicious at all......really!

On arrival at the Irish Centre Chrissie very kindly gave me a black squirrel soul club pin on badge - and then spent what seemed like about two full minutes trying to pin it onto by Zegma shirt before giving up.....Anyway a quick twiggle of the pin and it's on, and worn for the rest of the evening with pride.

Sanquine meanwhile was telling me that there was no such thing as a black squirrel and that they were really grey squirrels with darker pigmentation.

Sue Halsall tells me she doesn't believe they exist at all, so I get her and Dave talking to Toby who is able to explain all being a keen local historian, and wildlife naturalist and quite well known for this in the Letchworth area....Bearsy is outside with the smokers and it's good to hear someone who'se so enthusiastic about the music. We talk about soul in Kent and I bore him senseless with tales of the 70's and 20 of us running soul nights, going to Wigan etc etc.

Anyway onto the night. Toby is first DJ on playing a good opening set including things like Jackie Wilson "I don't want to lose you", Tyrone Davis "Love me forever" and Roni Hill "I wouldn't give you up". After the Mighty Tobes it's the turn of Molly who spins records like the Oxford Nights, Johnny Howard and the Cautions. Taffy follows with Al Wilson "The Snake", Frank Wilson, "Footsee" and "The Joker" . Well no he didn't really - what he really played was mostly 70s, including Beloyd, Bessie Banks, Leroy Hutson and Pete Smith's all time favourite record - those old Car Stairs. By now the dancefloor is buzzing, ready for Tommy Walsh.

Pete H, who DOES bear a striking resemblence to Tommy on Groundforce it cannot be denied, starts off with Mel Britt, Chico Lamarr, and The Cashmeres. It's 60's all the way from Pete and he finishes with Bob and Fred, leaving me with a full dancefloor.

Being a late spot, and also being uncharitably castigated for playing "disco" by Chrissie I decide to mix it all up with some 70s, some classic 60s and a few I am still persevering with.....so starting off ensuring to keep the floor busy with a few Hertfordshire favourites....

Lil Major Williams "Girl"

Nicky Newarkers "Woman"

Innersection "Let me love yuh"

Dynells "Call on me"

Wally Cox "This man" - one of the classic oldies, this is such an underrated record it hurts

Whispers "Doctor Love" - well who needs Bobby Sheen when you can have this version....from Nick Caldwell and the boys

Yvonne Baker "You didn't say a word"

Jock Mitchell "Not a chance in a million"

Eddie Billups "Ask my heart"

Homer Banks "Sweetie Pie" - I know it's been a significant play at places like Lifeline, but it's taking a while for this to catch on down south, and thus I succeed in clearing the floor - something you know I love doing

Big Tim & The Empires "Cheaters never get anywhere"

Sammy Lee "What goes around"

Terri Bryant "Geni"

Time to get the dancefloor back....

Charles Mintz "Running back"

Bottom & Co "Gonna find a Dr Truelove"

Eddie Foster "I never knew"

Tearra "Just loving you"

Connie Laverne "Can't live without you"

King Moses, and Natural Impulse, both of which get a good reaction. Sean is lining his records up, so it's time to leave him with a full dancefloor, so I finish with three well known 60's....

Appointments "I saw you there"

Bobby Kline "Say something nice to me"

J J Barnes "Please let me in" - one of the best £5 records you could find

I hand over to Sean Chapman, who has graciously stood in at the last minute because Mick H couldn't make it. Sean keps the floor busy for the last hour with things like Elipses, Hamilton Movement, Brothers of Soul Jimmy Bo Horne and Corey Blake. Sean is on his best behaviour tonight as he's been told by Pete Wid that if he shouts on the microphone, Pete'll shove the mic somewhere where the sun doesn't shine... Anyways Pete does an excellent job of keeping the dancefloor full for the last hour.

I had a nice chat to Max Rees and met no fewer than three people who went to Papa Luigi's in the 80's. This was, we all agreed, a fooking good venue in it's day, and one day I should write down something about it....a soul night in a Pizza bar - I kid you not! (Oh we didn't have any Pizzas in case you were wondering!).

More chats, shake and howdees, and general good vibes with Tony Warot, Ann from Bedford, Dave H, R&BMan, Geoff, Tracy, Karen, Karen, Bernadette, Rick, Molly, and anyone else who'll listen. I end uptalking to Pete about garden railways and Koi carp - it's that diverse

Talking about diverse - the selection of music played is also very diverse, and I genuinly think that this venue has something for everyone (except new releases) - As well as the music variety, there's a good crowd. The ongoing smoking ban together with a warmish autumn night means that many punters are outside, but we've spoken about that before. Come a wet night in November this won't be such a problem.

The N Herts Irish Centre has really established itself on the map now, and I eagerly await the next date.....

Next week and it's Spalding on Friday at the Sugar Beet Club, and the Bass Museum on Sunday......good-ee.

Ritz Desborough

Posted by Steve G, 08 August 2007

This is my third guest appearance at Desborough in as many years, and I always enjoy a foray into this neck of the woods. Desborough is a smallish place which seems like it's in the middle of nowhere, nestling midway between the market towns of Kettering and err....Market Harborough, but hey enough of this "Escape to the Country" stuff, I'm here to play some toons! Karl has run this venue successfully for years and despite the fact that there seems to be a soul night in every town these days, Desborough, whilst not packing them in, certainly gets a good crowd. The Ritz is a medium sized dancehall located in Station Road - a road more famous in Wigan fair enough, and of course there is no station anymore, which makes travel by road essential for the aspiring punter and DJ alike.

Meanwhile a few members of the Soul Police have "tipped me off" that the Desborough crowd like their oldies, and as I am not on until the primetime 11.45 slot (PM not AM) , I decide to squeeze a few more oldies into the playbox just in case. Whilst I delight in clearing the dancefloor on occasions, I also like a full dancefloor as well.

I remember doing an oldies night once at a venue that will remain nameless - even though it's not on anymore - and getting "told off" by a punter for not having Barbara McNair "You're gonna Love my baby" in my 200 box, a situation which was made worse when I 'fessed up' to also not having Brown Sugar "The game is over" with me either. I was then told that I was "one of those DJ's that don't play requests" to which I replied "If it's in the box, I'll play it, I am sorry but I didn't bring either of those records with me". They say when the going gets tough, the tough get going, and this punter started giving me a bit of a hard time "Call yourself a DJ and you haven't got records like Barbara McNair with you?"......The red mist came down at this point and I quipped (excluding a selection of swear words) "Look chum, I got 200 records with me, sorry if I haven't got your request but a) they're both totally played out as far as I am concerned and I didn't bring a lorry load with me where I can just go out to the shelves and bring in your requests" . By now of course the previous record was past the break so I had to cue up the next record so I dismissed him with a sharp "Anything else while you're up here?". That was the only time I have ever had any problem with anyone at a venue - if you dismiss the reggae fans at a gig in Kent about 30 years ago who's sole line of engagement was "Oi you! Put some reggae on mate, we don't want none of this sh*t" - but despite the "Barbara McNair experience" being a number of years ago and a unique experience for me, strangely enough the memory of it still lingers....and I always look out for that punter whenever I go to venues so I can have a verbal 'pop' - sadly however he is nowhere to be found.

Anyway back to tonight and the Ritz .....I decide to heed the machinations of the Soul Police and with a few more classic oldies packed in 'just in case' I head off. My companion for the evening can't make it, so it's just me and a CD of the latest Kent offering for company; before long I get stuck behind one of those 'pipple' who seemingly have a speed limiter of 40 mph fitted to their car, and the type of driver who complains about 'empty roads' because everyone's always stuck behind them, while they drive along in blissful ignorance of the mayhem going on behind them. Oh and they've got one of those delightful "Baby on board" stickers in the back window for good measure too - of course this doesn't really mean "I've got a baby here, so don't drive too close you callous person as you may injure a baby" - what they really mean is "Look I'am a really nervous driver and I hate it when anyone gets close to me, as it panics me, so please keep back". Anyway I sit on their tail in the vein hope that they might actually see that they are by now holding up a steady stream of traffic - until a straight stretch of road sees me roar past, and leave their car, incidentally with no sign of a baby inside, spinning in a pile of dust.....yes I can be unforgiving when I need to be.

I get to Dezboro in one hour and a quarter which is no shabby feat and as I arrive in Station Road shout out to the three Etheridge's who are just arriving "Oi you can't park your caravan there mate". Gary and Sue have just joined the likes of Margaret Beckett in that most august of traditional British Institutions "The Caravan Club". No doubt we'll all be held up behind them on a bendy road in Devon one of these days.

Anyway the night progresses and I spend time chatting away to Steve Jackson (not the Cambridge one), Johnny Red Trousers over from Oz for a few weeks, Molly, Brian Goucher, Marco, Baz, Mick and Mary Godfrey, and some Geordies (sorry don't know their names) selling records alongside the Glenn Bellamy stall. I missed Catriona somehow - and this venue is on her doorstep. Had a nice chat with Gary, Sue and Kevin Etheridge all joking aside. Karl tells me that whilst the attendances are somewhat less than they were three years ago, he'll keep the club going, because a) there are enough in (120 ish at a guess) and the MIA's (missing in action) will return when the current 'venuefest' slows down. All activity at the Ritz is now focused on the downstairs room (there used to be a smaller upstairs modern room, which never really had many in if I am honest about it). While I am engaged in these chats to anyone who I can bore, I largely miss what the DJ's are playing. Arriving having missed Paul Panton's set, I just catch the end of Steve Jeffries set. Shaun Bennett is on next and he gets the crowd going with a mix of 60's and 70s, and even Y2K soul with things like Kenny Thomas which fills the floor before Baz takes over with a 60's set, including things like the Oxford Nights. Baz plays a really good set, albeit as Molly knows I don't personally like the Oxford Nights, but hey.....we're all different. Baz finishes with Guitar Ray "You're gonna wreck my wife" .

Being on late I do a semi safe hour with some better known tuneage to ensure appropriate dancefloor activity. The set goes well, with only Walter Wilson and Homer Banks 'thinning' the dancefloor out. After succeeding in clearing the floor, it was time to get everyone back onto it, so I follow Homer Banks with Sam Dees - OK a well hammered oldie but to play Homer Banks then Sam Dees tracks back to back?....who says northern ain't got soul? Interesting King Moses went down really well, and Natural Impulse also had a number dancing to it which I was pleased with. The Trey J's though didn't work; surveying an empty dancefloor (the second time in an hour) I suddenly wondered if there had been a time slip and the time was really 8 pm rather than 12.40 a.m so I finish with a 70's floor filler teeing the dancefloor up nicely for Marco and Karl.

After that Marco and Karl finish things off with sounds like The Illusions and Flaming Emeralds (which went down well), keeping the dancefloor busy.

I am pleased to see Desborough still working well, and it's such a nice friendly venue, long may that continue.

Here's my tunes - a bit of a mixed bag really and in heinsight a relatively 'safe' set:

Bobby Sheen "Something new to do"

Mel Williams "Sweet girl of mine"

Lil Major Williams "Girl you're so sweet you're so fine"

1st Request

Corey Blake "How can I go on without you"

Joe Anderson "You and I" (unissued version)

Into the 60's

T J Williams "Baby I need you"

Martha Starr "No part time love for me"

Thelma Lindsay "Prepared to love you"

Rita DaCosta "Don't bring me down"

Walter Wilson "Love keeps me crying"

Homer Banks "Sweetie Pie"

...by now the dancefloor has thinned out, so bring 'em back with

Sam Dees "lonely for you baby"

Second request "Take it back to basics, play some J J Barnes" - well I played "Please let me in" at Bedford in July, so instead of old J J....

The Impressions "you've been cheating"

Tammi Terrell "Come on and see me"

Charles Mintz "Running back"

Al Scott "What happened to yesterday"

Eddie Billups "Ask my heart"

Bobby Kline "Say something nice to me"

Back to the 70's

Bottom & Co "Gonna find a true love"

King Moses "I've got this feeling"

Trey J's "I found it all in you"

Natural Impulse "She went away"

Ultimates "Girl I've been trying to tell you"

Next up Letchworth Irish Club on 17th.....



Southgate - Soulgate 2007

Posted by Steve G, 30 July 2007 

Southgate as most people know is an annual all dayer, run in memory of our friend Randy Cozens. It's been going for years now, and when Randy died a few years ago it seemed only appropriate for it to carry it on. His sons Terry and Paul have taken over the mantle, and ran it extremely well. One thing about Southgate is that the sun always shines whenever this event is on. I was a bit nervous this year because the event was a month later than usual in what is known as classic "British summer time" when rain is both frequent and heavy, combined with the fact that it has rained every day for the last 3 months, or so it seems. These worries were however unfounded as the day was sunny with nothing more than a few cotton wool clouds.

This year the event moved to the Fishmongers Arms down the road from it's spiritual home at The Rising Sun. The Fishmongers is a double fronted pub with two bars, and a large front garden with tables etc. One bar had the local Arsenal boys in watching the "friendly" on TV, while we were in the second bar. Arriving at 3.30 I meet Simon M and Bearsy pawing through young Toby's sales oops I mean playbox , and what delights it contained too. Little Reg was showing us pictures of yesteryear, when he had a full head of hair , and Jon Buck had printed up some stick-on photo's of Randy for us all to wear. Meanwhile inside Terry Jones was laying down a classic set of 60's soul.

The set up at The Fishmongers was that the DJ's stand just by a big bay window which looks out onto the beer garden, so if there is any untoward behaviour by the jocks you can simply bang on the window to grab their attention . Fosters at £2.70 a pint and a sunny day were the classic components for a hangover- something I couldn't really afford as Mrs G was driving me down to Dorset the following morning. She likes to put the RX8 through it's paces, and if you've got a sore head and are full of beer it can be quite an unpleasant experience! Anyway plenty of people to chat to, Darcy and Annie, Dave Greenhill, Toby and Taffy, Messrs Darker and Etheridge who were staying over in Finchley and told me this hilarious tale about being pursued by a mad Chelsea fan, Chalky, Dave Greet (who I must say is looking more like Cockney Mick each time I see him) , John Farrell, Rob Hurcomb, Steve C, Petes H & W, Mike Ritson etc etc.

Next on DJing after Terry was the dynamic duo of Dave Greenhill and Toby who both played blinders, followed by what was supposed to be Jo Wallace and Val Palmer - the dark haired ladies. Ivor was also on at some point but I was so busy outside talking and rudely interrupting other peoples conversations, so I largely missed his set, except when I came in for a top up, I did hear him play 4 Voices "Our love is getting stronger". Jo Wallace however got held up in traffic, and so she didn't get there until about 6.30, having been chauffered through Essex and Herts by Ian Sims. Being the commensurate professional, Val carried on until Jo arrived. I did remind Jo later about our as yet unfinished tour of the darker side of the London Underground, but she told me that the subterranean tour was now in jeopardy because LT were worried that we might be Teritorialists , well I think that's what she said!

Here's Jo Wallace's set:

Vernon Greene - Look at me

Minnie Jones - Shadow of a memory

Friends of Distinction - Long time coming my way

The Imaginations - Love Diet

Isley Brothers - My love is your love

Girls - The hurt's still here

Barbara Long - We call it love

Yvonne Carroll - Please Don't go

Maxine Brown - Since I found you

Next up was Pete Wid, and you know I never had Pete down as a mix DJ, but he is! Pete sublimely mixing the Rotations "Put a dime on 9" and Barbara Mason "Bobby is my baby" into one session.

Roger Stewart was down as my 'deck partner' for the next hour (8-9 pm) but as by 10 to 8 he hadn't shown and Dave Greet hadn't been able to get on, the charitable side of me kicked in and I told old Greety that if Roger didn't turn up, he could share a deck with me. See I can be such a nice guy when I want to be . Then just like magic on the clock stroke of 8, the room filled with dry ice and out of the smoke appeared Roger dressed to the nines in a US Air Force jacket - sorry Dave. So for the next hour the pair of us did our thing, one deck each. I wanted to play some newer stuff, but by now oldies were the order of the day and the atmosphere was just starting to get going, so it would have been decidedly rude to do that.

Now I thought that Roger was a CD man these days, but I was wrong as he opened a box of what I'd term classic northern originals. Amongst the stuff I can remember Roger played Larry Atkins "Lighten up", Velvet Satins, Sharmettes "Don't waste your time" and Isley brothers "Why when love is gone"

Here is what I played:

Starting off with an old 6Ts classic

Spooners Crows "Two in the morning"

Orlons "Envy"

Managed to fit this 'newie' in

Roy Roberts "So much in love"


Charles Mintz "Running back"

J P Robinson "Our day is here"

Connie Laverne "Can't live without you"

Chuck Jackson "Chains of love"

The Impressions "You've been cheatin"

Poets "She blew a good thing"

By now Guy Hennigan had turned up, and knowing how big this was for him and the Kebmeister atStafford I spun....

Bobby Hutton "Come see what's left of me"

Contours "Just a little misunderstanding"

Next a Randy classic

Big Dee Irwiin "you satisfy my needs"


Natural Impulse "She went away"

By now Johnny T and Eddie Pillar were warming up to take over, and just as they were doing their "get off the decks now you tossers" routine, the skies opened and the rain came down, bringing in all the punters from the beer garden. Eddie started with Jackie Ross "Selfish one". Meanwhile I had a good chat with the BigO and his plans; I had feared he would spike my beer with one of his winegums, but being an all round good egg he didn't.

After an hour of those Johnny and Eddie, it was the turn of Ady and Donna, but I needed to start negotiating my way home if I was to have any chance of getting to Dorset without feeling terribly ill. Thus I missed the sets from John Farrell, Taffy and also the most part of Ady & Donna's.

So I wandered up in the vague direction of Southgate station only to bump into Jon Buck who pointed out a mini cab office.....well a man in a doorway actually. Press the button for Flat 1 and there's a little voice going "Where do you want to go?" and within a minute there's a minicab outside. All above board I am sure, but anyway it got me home for £15 which ain't half bad.

Some other records I heard during the day included Jackie Beavers "I need my baby", "Dearly beloved" Jack Montgomery, Bobby Kline, Maxine Brown "Since I found you", Lenny Curtis "Nothing can help you now", and with Caroline and others shaking their bucket (for cash) the event raised over £1,000 for MacMillan nurses - so well done. Fantastic day, roll on 2008.


Rimini 2007

Posted by Steve G, 16 July 2007 ·

So I've been looking forward to a few days in the sun, and on Thursday I set off unfashionably early (having finished work at 9 pm the night before ), with my taxi picking me up at 04.30 On the run up to Stanstead the taxi driver is determined to give me his life story, from selling wedding dresses to ferrying "girls" around at night, to becoming a property owner with six houses with his "girls" in each of his houses. Some of all this bravado was amusing - like the time he apparantly dropped three girls off, and later went round to pick them up but couldn't remember where he had left one of them. As we approach Stanstead I thought of doing my "By the way I work for the Vice Squad and you're nicked sunshine" routine, but I think he's making it all up, and anyway he only charged me £30......so I decide not to wind him up.

Stanstead is horrifically busy at 05.30 in the morning, I am shocked at the queues everywhere, food, coffee, toilets, shops and it's running the dreaded "Terminal 3" a close run for it's money as being an extremely unpleasant place to be. Stanstead is now Britain's 3rd biggest airport apparantly....Anyway plenty of soulies around, John Poole and others from Notts, Pete Widd, Kenny Burrell and Rona. The flight is uneventful and on arriving in Rimini Kenny, Rona and myself meet up with Arthur and Maria and Arthur's kids and tuck into a well earned and relaxed early lunch. Arthur is the UK resident at Rimini, and Kenny and myself are this year's UK guests.

Thursday night we just chill out in this bar next to the club where the all nighters will be held drinking, drinking and drinking. Some decks have been set up and the music is flowing. Some impromptu dancing breaks out much to the bemusement of the locals walking along the promenade, who aren't sure what to make of it. Then all of a sudden a table goes flying, along with Drew, Tracy,Darcy and Annie and Soul Girls drinks!!! Is this a spontanous outburst of British violence in the Med? No, it's just an over zeleous dancing Pete W who has attempted a high kick and misjudged it, sending the table flying.

Friday daytime I head off to Parma, a three hour train ride away, and nearly get locked in a cemetary (I didn't realise they closed for lunch!!!). Anyway I can report that Parma is a lovely old City, well worth a visit. Back in town I go for a walk and see the Traveling Man John Kane sitting outside the Rose & Crown Pub and tucking into chicken and chips. After a meal in a nice local restaurant I head back to the bar where the music is.

Friday night is the first all nighter run at the IO Club and as I say we meet up at the bar next to the club. Unfortunately I've managed to get something in my eye which has come up all bloodshot. I look as if I've been crying, or have been thumped (not on the soul scene surely? ) but Rona comes to the rescue and gets me out of jail with some eye drops that do the trick

Anyway there are to be three allnighters, on Fri /Sat and Sun running from 11 pm to 6 am (5 am on Sunday night). Friday and Sunday is attended mainly by the Brits, with the Italian soulfans coming over on the Saturday.

I am on quite early this night and play the following:

Charles Mintz "Running back"

Al Gardner "Sweet baby"

Houston Outlaws "Ain't no telling"

Al Scott "What happened to yesterday"

Jimmy Burns "I really love you"

Margie Joseph "One more chance"

Gentlemen 4 "You can't keep a good man down"

3rd Wish "You gotta believe"

South Funk Boulevard" Be together"

Ex T.A.C "Squeeze"

Sex`"It's you baby it's you"

Freedom "High on you"

Natural 4 "I thought you were mine"

Mel Williams "Sweet girl of mine"

The European DJ's also did excellent sets Lars from Germany, Kristopher from Sweden and Yann from France (London).

Saturday was spent on the beach - honestly I've seen more covering on a Dairy Lea Triangle than on some of these Italian girls Anyway I didn't realise how burnt I was until I got back to my room and attempted to have a shower - ouch!

Saturday night is the second all nighter and after boring Karen from Potters Bar, Karen from Hull and another Karen I go into the club. This is the busiest night and the atmosphere is rocking. Both Arthur and Kenny do great sets - Kenny took the roof off the place with his stompers, and when he played Frank Wilson there were a number of people looking over the stage to take a look at it.

Anyway I did two sets on Saturday......

Sam Williams "Love slipped through my fingers"

Appreciations "I can't hide it"

Luther Ingram "if it's all the same to you"

Appointments "I saw you there"

Lil Major Williams "Girl you're so good"

Trace of Smoke "Treasure Mind"

Daybreak "I wanna stay with you" c/up

Silky Vincent Group "Missing you"

Connie Laverne "Can't live without you"

Jean Battle "I've got to come in"

Toll Darkness "What's it gonna be" (same as Fred Mark only more soulful)

T J Williams "Baby I need you"

Roy Roberts "So much in love"

Bobby Kline "Say something nice to me"

Honey & The Bees "Didn't know"

Set 2

Minits "Still a part of me"

Natural 4 "Hanging on to a lie"

Guitar Ray "You're gonna wreck my life"

4 Voices "Your love is getting stronger"

Dynells "Call on me"

Ultimates "Girl I've been trying to tell you"

Natural Impulse "She went away"

Wee "Try me"

Ronnie McNeir "Good side of your love"

Gladys Knight & Pips "No one could love you more"

After that I hand over to Kenny who keeps 'em all going until the end at 6 a.m

Sunday was for chilling out, and I spent much of the day on the beach again - well Brit's in the Med and all that . Last year was the first time that there was an allnighter on Sunday, and this was a quieter night, with many of the Italians having returned home, as well as some of the Brits. However we had about 55 in, and pretty much most of those that were there stayed to the end, at 5 pm when Timi Yuro brought the weekend to a close.

I had the last spot on Sunday so it was party time with a full floor throughout.....

Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell "Ain't no mountain high enough"

Temptations "Girl why you wanna make me blue"

7th Avenue Aviators "You should O held on"

Terry Callier "Look at me now"

Eddie Billups "Ask my heart"

7 Souls "I still love you"

Eula Cooper "Let our love grow higher"

Ann Sexton "You've been gone too long"

Continental 4 "The way I love you"

Bobby Sheen "Something new to do"

T&T "Something on my mind"

Sammy Lee "What goes around"

Skip Jackson & Shantons "I'm onto you girl"

Nicky Newarkers "Woman"

King Moses "I've got this feeling"

Archie Bell & Drells "Where will you go when the party's over"

Timi Yuro "It'll never be over for me"

Bonus record at request of crowd

Trace of Smoke "Treasure Mind"

After that, just time for one hours sleep, before having to head off to the airport, and home. One post script on the flying front we had to do an emergency lift off just as we were coming in to land, due to a plane "still being on the run way". Nice to know things are so well run on the ground

As for the upstairs bar with the decks, this seemed to be going on throughout the weekend and I don't think the music ever stopped. As it was so warm at night a number of people preferred to stay out in the open, rather than coming into the club.

This was an excellent weekender. Congratulations to Simone, Christian and Christiana for putting on such a well run event. Thanks to Arthur and Maria for making us so welcome on our debut visit to the Adriatic coast. Rimini is a lovely place to go even if like me you do get sunburnt.


Isle Of Wight And Bedford Ath - All In The Run Of A Day

Posted by Steve G, 07 July 2007 ·

The day starts with a quick day trip over to Wighty. Now last year I did exactly the same thing at this time of year, and record wise it wasn't a total "wash out". Firstly in Ventnor down at the Pavillion at the end of the town where no one goes there was a record fair of all things. Only about five dealers looking bored and even fewer patrons.....like a smaller version of Wolverhampton record fair then .but I did come away with a couple of funk releases (Daptone etc) at full price (£5), but you don't mind that so much when you're on a day's holiday. Then back in Ryde at Record Mania, I managed to sneak in under the radar of all those IOW fans on Soul Source and walked out with a Jimmy Helms "Romeo & Juliet" for the price of a cuppa .

No such luck though this year - firstly we didn't go to Ventnor this time, so the wallet stayed firmly locked up. Record Mania meanwhile offered no such bar-gins this year, and the nearest thing to a buyable record was a UK copy of Eddie Floyd "Bring it on home to me" on UK Stax, but at £2, and looking as if someone had practiced their sanding technique on it, again, the wallet stayed firmly closed. I did see a shop in an arcade advertising "Northern soul 45's", but it was in darkness, and I have no idea how old the sign was - though interestingly the shop was connected to the shop next door which was open. As I stumbled through some albums in the dark, the girl in the adjoining shop looked totally dis-interested, and so I didn't bother to ask and moved on.

Public Transport is of course the best way to get round the Island if you don't have the time to hire a bike, with a frequent bus network to most places. For those who are interested in such things I am sorry to have to report that the Island Line Tube trains are still vandalised and largely covered in graffiti - and looking very poor for it - dinosaurs, volcanoes etc......quite bizarre that the local Tourist Board allows such things to go unchecked. One day someone will have the good grace to splash on a coat of London Underground red paint onto the trains. No chance of a re-opening of the old Cowes - Newport line either which is now a cycleway, and of course built on. As I sit on a bus that runs eight times and hour, and is "standing room only", queuing to get into Newport, I muse at the sheer incompetence of the maniacs who closed down the old railway line.

Anyway enough of this - I had to get back quite early this year, and on to Bedford for the Ath.

This was my first venue in the post Nosmo King era, so I was interested to see what effect it would have on the club - apart from the obvious ability of being able to breath. Quite interesting really, because a lot of people spent a lot of time outside on the balcony puffing away and talking. Obviously this won't happen on a freezing night in November, but on a warm July's evening it can make quite a difference to a club, especially one with a balcony. Not sure quite how the schmokers will cope at somewhere like Stoke Kings hall, where going for a ciggie will be quite a challenge I would have thought. Anyway everyone was well behaved taking due heed of the no smoking policy, except for Pete Burton who promptly declared "Nobody tells me where I can and can't smoke - Power to the People! Watch this you lot...." and then proceeds to walk into the club with a ciggie full on . No he didn't really say that, but it's a far better story than just saying he forgot about the smoking ban.

Anyway the great and the good were out, Pete Wid, Tracy, Rob Thomas, Taffy, Toby, Andy Kempston, Molly, Baz, Adey Potts (with a copy of Major Williams for sale), Lenny Dopson, and numerous others and not to forget of course Da Bedford massif who were not surprisingly out in force. There were probably just over 100 in, and that's just right for a club of this size.

Hammy warmed things up, followed by Steve who has good records, and then he was followed by John Poole from Nottingham who was the first guest and after a nice collection of mainly 60s, it was my turn. John finished with Freddie Butler's "That's when I needed you", so I started with a similar Detroity type Solid Hitbound / Pied Piper type of thing to ensure a smooth transition from one DJ to the next

I was on at 12-1 and decide this being the penultimate hour I decided I'd play a few different bits this time, plus of course a few essentials and dancefloor winners

Here's what I played.

O'Jays "I'll never forget you"

J J Barnes "Please let me in"

Gentlemen Four "You can't keep a good man down"

Charles Mintz "Running back"

Johnnie Howard "The chase is on"

Walter Wilson "Love keeps me crying"

J D Bryant "By yourself"

Four Voices "Your love is getting stronger"

Homer Banks "Sweetie Pie"

Big Tim & The Empires "Cheaters never get anywhere"

Roy Roberts "So much in love"

Eula Cooper "Let our love grow higher"

Lil Major Williams "Girl you're so good you're so fine"

Jean Battle "I've got to come in"

Mel Williams "Sweet girl of mine"

King Moses "I've got this feeling"

Freedom "High on you"

Connie Clark "My sugar baby" (the vocal version this time )

Gwen & Ray "Build your house on a strong foundation"

Candi Staton "Now you've got the upper hand"

Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell "Ain't no mountain high enough"

Terri Bryant "Geni"

The Appointments "I saw you there".

After that it was the turn of Pete and Hammy to round things off for the last hour - Pete starting with Chico Lamarr, Hammy with Innersection. Chrisseo was even seen dancing to a 70's record - something she wants kept quiet the Ultimates.....the "Disco bug" has bitten......

Anyway I stayed right to the end and it was a very good night.



A Week In Oz Without Much Soul

Posted by Steve G, 26 June 2007 

A week down under, and a quick check of the listings reveals I have timed my visit so as to avoid any semblance of a soul night or weekender, more's the pity. So there'll be no Captain Wing Commander Burton type reports from me, no sightings of Johnnie Red Trousers in Queensland, or whooping it up with the local ex Pat community - you'll have to keep subscribing to Manifesto to read about that side of things.

I am only going down under for a week, and having packed my billabong and boomerang I decide to go in style, at Filthrow making full use of the simply fantastic Virgin Lounge - I've yet to find anything that comes even remotely close in terms of passenger pampering. Having arrived early, I manage to relieve the bar of a few "Buds" ahead of my flight, and being a 10.30 p.m departure from London's Filthrow Airport, I also eat there, so that when the plane takes off I can go straight to sleep.

Anyway it comes to time to leave the secure and pleasant confines of the Club House, and I contemplate the lengthy walk to East Hounslow, or rather the furthest away part of Terminal 3, where the plane is. It's over a mile to walk, and I am now nicely relaxed, so not looking forward to such a long treck.

But as if my magic as I come out of the Club House I notice that a couple of "Virginettes" have purloined one of those golfing carts, used exclusively to wheel the elderly and infirm around airports. One of the stewardesses asks "Going to Hong Kong Sir? Jump on!". Avoiding any questions about whether I look elderly or infirm (worse for wear maybe), I decide not to look a gift horse in the mouth and jump on.

I am then whisked at breakneck speed through the endless corridors of T3, right to the gate in no time at all. And there before me stands a brand new Airbus 340-600. By the way, these planes are a dream, the smoothest I've ever been on, and I have "sampled" all types of Western jet passenger aircraft from a Dan Dare BAC 1-11 forward in my time!

Saturday comes and go's -basically wake up, have some breakfast, land in HK, get off the plane, freshen up, a few beers, back on the plane and another night flight, this time to Sydney, where we arrive at some ridiculously early time on Sunday morning. I've lived through some pretty short Saturday's in my time (usually following a very long (and good)Friday!) , but this one takes the biscuit.

From Sydney I have a three hour wait for my connecting flight to Queensland, and at Sydney airport over a coffee and croissant (well there's nothing else to do there!), I pick up a local paper to read. I always find these invaluable, and this time is no exception as I read how Marcia Hines has been given a lifelong Hall of Fame type of award for services to Australian music. "I've got one of her records" I muse, but I didn't realize she was that well known. Last time I asked about an Australian singer to some Australians was about Lynne Randall, and they all fell about laughing for some reason.

Anyway there's a Qantas Jumbo Jet 747 at the airport headed out to Perth, a bit excessive I think for an internal flight, until I remember that it's about six hours flying time and over 3,000 miles from Sydney. It's at this point that my respect for our Oz soul cousins goes up, I mean they travel 3,000 miles to weekenders, when there are guys in London who won't cross the road to go to a venue. It kind of put's things in perspective a bit doesn't it. Late Sunday Morning and having completed the so called "Killer Suduko" in the Sydney paper on the plane and feeling very special, I am coming out of Brisbane Airport to a nice sunny 27c.

Now the purpose of my trip wasn't connected to soul music, but I do manage to wangle a day out in town, and use part of the time to "have a ganders" at what's on offer. I am not naÃÆ’¯ve enough to think that I'll find copies of Cheryl Gray lying round, and in fact in this day of internet technology, I am not really expecting to find much at all. And I am not surprised!

So first up is Rocking Horse records on Albert St- where downstairs away from the Kylie Minogue's we find a healthy selection of reissue soul and jazz elpees, and a selection of import 7 repros. I decide to buy the Twinight reissue of Anette Pointdexter that uncle Derek Pearson was telling us about, along with Spade Brigade and a couple of Kent 7s, all at about the same price that we are expected to pay back in Blighty. This does surprise me as I had thought they'd be a bit more pricey.

Rockaway is located in the near northern suburbs and it's a big shop, here I find a Stateside issue of the CODs "Michael" for 12.38p but little else. Their 7 inch rarities boxes being otherwise rare "soul-less". Anyway the COD's isn't neccesarily a "Bargain" but it looks nice on Australian Stateside.

Back downtown and after playing tourist and riding on the City Cat river boat I hit Record and CD Exchange on Adelaide St - run by what looks like an ageing version of "Saxondale" but with a far more pleasant demenour. The guy is sitting on stacks of vinyl, but spends his days dealing with passing trade asking if he's got any "early Rolling Stones" or "Beatles on vinyl". Oh to be a record shop owner! I guess it's the same here, endless passing trade looking for The Archies, Stones, Quo etc.....Hmmmm, I'll keep my day job I think.

His store is quite large and upstairs next to an angry looking tattooist. He claims that vinyl has never been more in demand, and in the next breath that he hasn't changed his prices upward in 10-15 years. I avoid the obvious question "Then why are your shelves still full Oh mighty one?".

He also says he has a room full of 45s but as they are filed in artist order I have to compile a list. Well it's a hot day and by now Mrs G is itching to sample the local Queensland rail network, so I give up without really trying.....well it's not as if I really need any more records is it? We talk a bit about soul, and he obviously knows his game, telling me he was around through the 60s and that soul never really caught on in Oz.

My final call is to Skinnys where in the basement shop and in the soul boxes I dig out Australian issues of Wilson Pickett "Don't let the green grass fool you", Impressions 45s and am very kindly given a 45 by a local Queensland band called Afro Dizzy Act (ged it?). Quite good funky it is too....There were some British and US records in there as well including things like Lou Pride "I'm comun home" - no not that one - "We're only fooling ourselves" on Gemco. Again prices are about £1.50 per single, and I quite like the look of some of those solid centre Australian releases.

Whilst I am waiting for Mrs G in some departmental store I notice a young Japanese student wearing a "It'll never be over for me / Night Owl" tee shirt - "Keep the faith" I yell, making a fist, he just looks puzzled at me! (No of course I didn't really say that, but I guess it proves the point that Wigan is a global brand after all).

Apart from Records well I did manage to see a couple of Platypus (Platipi), something you can only see in Australia, and what cuties they were too.

So that's my flying visit to Queensland, no doubt I missed all the good places, but hey "C'est la vie" as they say in Paris....and I will be back, hopefully when there's something on soulwise.

Coming back included a two day stop over in Hong Kong, and I couldn't find any records of interest there at all, though again I wasn't really looking that hard, preferring to play tourist and ride around in buses, trams and back and forth on the ferrys to Kowloon. I could tell you a lot about the three main bus companies in HK, and how between them they run over 8,000 double deck buses, 95% of which are air-conditioned (they need to be!)....but you won't really want to hear about all that.

Clee '07

Posted by Steve G, 10 June 2007 ·

A quick write up on Cleethorpes 2007.

This is another weekender where I just haven't got the time to spend the whole weekend away, and with that in mind I go to Clethorpes on Saturday morning, returning on Sunday morning. On the way up two things happen - firstly Mrs G is suffering from "a quick drink out with the girls" (there is of course no such thing!) and is in a bad way on the journey up. Cockney rhyming slang might be out of vogue these days but I always thought Tom and Dick on the A1 were a pair of dodgy used car sales men from St Neots....until now!

So anyway, as you'll guess our journey is punctuated with several emergency stops along the way....The sun is out in Lincolnshire, but I wasn't counting on the local branch of the Octogenerian Driving Club all coming out in force for their annual drive-about! Fiat Uno's and Pugeot 106's abound the country lanes, pulling out in front of me, and then crawling along at a steady 25 mph in the middle of the road with the right hand indicator on - nice.....and all this means a fairly routine 180 mile trip ends up taking the best part of 3 hours.

I get to Cleethorpes at lunchtime and decamp in the record room. Mrs G meanwhile heads for the hotel and some sleep. My sole DJ contribution to the extravaganza that is Clethorpes is a 2.45 - 3.45 pm Saturday afternoon set. Still that's fine as it gives me a chance to mix in a few of my lesser known sounds that I don't always get a chance to play, and to be brutally honest some of them need a bit more exposure, otherwise people forget about them.

I start engaging in converstaions as you do, and hear that Friday night was great / disappointing and everything in between - it just depends on who you talk to. Apparantly the sound system was playing up - now I know we do rock them over the course of weekend, but they should withstand the first night shouldn't they? The other complaint is that old chestnut about 70s-80s versus Garridge, and the balance of the two types of sound played. As I wasn't there I can't really comment.

I enjoy myself listening to Cliff Steele's set, downing a few pints of Stella; Cliff is a very under-rated DJ (but you know that), and then it's my turn on the decks. Sam takes up position at the side of the room and is using his scoring system from the Lifeline weekender (five fingers - great, three fingers, good, two fingers - rubbish) but I notice after a few scores he's seemingly looking into space. Deep in concerntration I think, and it's only when I poke my beak round the corner that I see that he's actually watching the cricket on a big overhead screen.....Anyway the set progresses, and I met one of the organisers of the 3 Greyhounds, a place I'm looking forward to visiting later in the year, when I've re-planned my crossover box....meanwhile the set is soon drawing to a close and Ivor Jones is limbering up to take over the batton from me. I certainly managed to play a few different things as well as a few biggies, and I retire to the bar to engage in a few more chit chats. One thing that was pleasing is that there were quite a lot of people in the modern room Saturday afternoon, and I am pleased. While I was on in the modern room I am reliably informed that a guy called Pip from Ireland was doing a great job in the northern room.

Anyway eventually I circle back to the record bar, peruse a few "vinyl's"and then back to the hotel for dinner. Mrs G is still ill, and so she misses dinner as well - poor luv, by now she is taking on a "Mrs Columbo" type role - mentioned but never actually seen.

Back to the venue and I move swiftly around the various rooms keeping an eagle eye on what's going on. I've now had too much to drink, and so if I was rude, dis-engaged, or walked away when you were talking to me, or was just talking jibberish to you and not making any sense - let me apologise. I do remember someone playing Lester Tipton in the main room, but it sounds really quiet - a bootleg possibly? I offer to go and find out who is DJing and lynch them for such a dreadful crime, and a few of the collector types egg me on....of course I don't know that it was a boot, it just sounded very quiet. By the time I've made it to the Manifesto stand and said Hi to Mike and Wing Commander Burton I've lost interest in the Lester Tipton thing anyway. Meanwhile in the modern room I engage in a conversation with old Tony Rounce about house music, and then Bully about the merits of the Canal Tavern in Thorne.

I think I am able to string a reasonably coherent conversation together, but it's getting harder. As well as the Stella, I am also really tired after a dog of a week, but am determined to stick around for the live acts.

So this year it's a West coast flavour with The Appolas and H B Barnum, who I am sure I can remember seeing as a kid as bandleader for the Osmonds orchestra when they were on TV (he also led Aretha's band at one point). The live acts go down well and although I am not a great fan of "Heartbreaker" I find myself tapping my toes. H B then does "What", which of course he cut on Judy Street, and we also learn that he was Earl Wright of "Thumb a ride" fame. Small world eh? The Appolas meanwhile ran through their northern standards such as "Mr Creator" and "You're absolutely right". One of them is H B's daugher and of course LeolaGiles is also over, and I've got some credible solo 45s by her as well. Think they were also the Blackberries at one point?

After the live acts I bore a few female soul fans silly with more daft talk, and listen to a bit of Sam's set in the modern room before heading home. All I can remember is Elipses and Fluorescent Smogg, and talking nonsense to anyone within earshot.

Cleethorpes is both full and up to it's usual standard - I always enjoy myself here; it does manage to have a great intimate and friendly atmosphere. On the way home it's my turn to feel queezy, but perhaps fortunately we get stuck behind a caravan - obviously with no where to go until sunset - so we can't go very fast as it cruises along with an empty road in front of it and not a care in the world . Perhaps it's just as well we're not going too fast!

Cleethorpes 07 playlist:

South Funk Boulevard "Be together"

Chuck Profitt "Love love love" - had to spin this after the J R Bailey thread

Guitar Ray "Don't change your love" (cover up)

Donald Thomas "Calling me home"

Eryke & Arronette "Where are you"

Connie Laverne "Can't live without you"

Jimmy Lee Jones "love sweet love"

Daybreak "I wanna stay with you tonight" (cover up)

Dwight Franklin "Foxie Lila"

Freedom "High on you"

StarQuake "Don't you know I love you"

Entramations "Has love lost integrity?"

Flashlight "Get inside your mind"

Allison "Who'se #1 who'se # 2"

Veda Brown "I had a fight with love"

King Moses "I've got this feeling"

Sam Dees "Funny"

Natural Impulse "She went away"

Next up Bedford, at the Ath, and I'm already looking forward to that.


Nothing But Blue Skies

Posted by Steve G, 31 May 2007

It's bank holiday weekend, and raining. Raining so much in fact that the Barbie - something I'd normally consider firing up on such occasions - has taken on the look of a fish pond.....It's dark outside, in fact the whole aura of the day reminds me of the set of "Blade Runner" which was supposed to be set in the future; whenever the hero ventured out into the mean streets of LA it was always pouring with rain and dark. "Blade Runner" comes to Herts then! Quite ironic also that the aptly named Blue Skies All Dayer is happening in Hatfield.....

I set off making use of the ever reliable Mrs. G taxi service, and we arrive at this once thriving town unscathed. Hatfield of course is the former home of De Havilland, and made such famous planes as the Mosquito and the Comet....now all that is gone - England's aircraft industry reduced to making component parts for Airbus. As a result Hatfield is those rarest of beasts, a town in the south East which has benefited from sqillions of pounds in investment. Anyway I say my goodbye's and just book my return taxi time, only to be told in no uncertain terms where to go. That's the problem with the Mrs. G taxi service - fine when it's running, but you trying getting her to come out late at night.....I am told that I can "make my own way home"!

On entering the "All dayer" there's already about 50 in, and I set about relieving the bar of a couple of pints of "Wife beater" (Stella as it's affectionately known). R&B Martin has organized this all dayer, and he's done well, with a heady mix of DJ's. I start chatting to Dave Greenhill - we're both looking forward to our respective teams playing each other next season following Charlton's thankful and thoroughly warranted escape from the Premiership.....he tells me he's been charged £8 for a taxi from the Station. Now call me old fashioned, but the station's less than 2 miles from the venue, and I'd be looking for change out of a fiver. £8 would be expensive by London standards - where in my recent experience the taxi meter goes round like an old petrol pump - and I can only conclude that nice old Dave was "had" by some unscrupulous local- more on that later.

Anyway guys like Molly (south of the river but we're not complaining), Geoff (N London), Toby (Letchworth), Andy and Graham (Hitchin), Little Reg (Hemel), and Yogi get the crowd warmed up with some good variety. Then there's the R&B bit - ahem - I know Martin likes this stuff, and he was dancing throughout the R&B hour. Then it's the Hitchin boys, and then my turn...by now there's about 80-100 in and the place is nice and busy with a good buzz as the Hitchin boys finish with a bit of Motown.

I decide to break my set into three portmanteaus (oooohh!) - a 60's northern bit (having bridged with another Motown record), a 70/80s bit and a club classics bit. I am particularly pleased because one of my big time revivals (following it's unjustified slagging off ) Connie Laverne goes down well, and there's even a number dancing to King Moses - at last!!! I know it took Sam a long time to get that one going.....Someone somewhere mentioned a "disco" record being played - could that be it I wonder? In the club classics selection I play "El Drifter", as suggested by Geoff, and it remains an all time classic.

Anyway Yogi takes over from me, and I am surprised to see he only has a 25-30 box - brave man - not sure I could go out with so few records! Dr Pickles is up next, followed by Tony Parker and Paul McKay.

Somewhere in the middle of Dr Pickles set the "full" sign comes on (this is an inbuilt self warning system that tells me when I've drank enough beer - drunk enough might be the more appropriate word!)....so at 11.30 I order a local taxi to take me home. It's still raining, and I ask to go "on the meter" as I think I'll get a fairer price.....Having told people that the fare home will be £10-£15 and "No worries", I am stung with a meter reading of £38.40 as we roll through the dark, deserted and wet streets of Cheshunt- woah £38.40! oh to be a taxi driver in Hatfield then!

A very good day, well done Martin - strong variety of sounds, good bar, good DJ's, and a very friendly crowd.


Marvin Gaye "Come get to this"

Jean Battle "I've got to come in"

Al Gardner "Sweet baby"

Darrell Banks "Somebody somewhere needs you"

Appointments "I saw you there"

Roy Roberts "So much in love"

New World "We're gonna make it"

Connie Laverne "Can't live without you"

Natural Impulse "She went away"

King Moses "I've got this feeling"

Charles Mintz "Running back"

then a few British to finish off with....no Long John Boring in this house!!!

Ray Pollard "The Drifter"

The Impressions "you've been cheating"

Temptations "Why you want to make me blue"

Timi Yuro "It'll never be over for me"

Contours "Just a little misunderstanding"


Hitchinfc 25th May 2007

Posted by Steve G, 27 May 2007 ·

My first time at Hitching Football Club.....and the evening starts badly.....Mrs G comes home from work (late) and tells me the traffic is gridlocked in Cheshunt.....this can only mean one thing - the M25 is closed!

By the time I come to leave the traffic has eased, but being a fast thinking sort of guy I am I weave through the back streets onto the A10.....only to find it closed. Plan B then, through the twisty country lanes to Welwyn. This proceeds uninterupted except for some goon who pulls out of the pub in front of me then proceeds to travel at about 25 mph.....I get to a further turn onto the A414, and there's a policeman standing there and another sign saying "Road closed" - what is going on I wonder....Maybe the Daleks have landed and no one has told me.....So now I double back through Essendon, and almost back to Potters Bar.

I am now later than unfashionably late, and having done a virtual perfect "Figure of 8" on the byeways of Hertfordhire, I decide to "toe it". The Rex responds well and I do enjoy hairing round country lanes Being twilight wildlife is out and about, and unfortunately as I go round a bend I come face to face with a Welsh rarebit, sitting in the road looking at me......Well I am not like James Rubble, and have no intention of crashing my car, so, having made eyeball contact with the critter, I carry on unabashed. I do love wildlife, but there's nothing I can do. As I pass I have at best given it a very short haircut, or it's come to rest in my wheelarch.....

Anyway eventually I get onto the A1M, and roar up to Hitchin with a loud "pomp" noise every time the wheel goes round (no only joking!!!).

At the club I check to see if the Rabbit's there, but it's not....I am happy that it might have got away with a haircut after all.

Anyway theres a good number inside and the sound system sounds good.

I all but miss nearly all of Bill McNamara's set, and Russ H from Peterborough takes over with a mix of obscure uptempo 60s and a few better known sounds. Meanwhile I am talking to Dave Halsall who'se selling records, along with Rob Messer who has loads of sales boxes.

Apparantly there's a stripper next door in the bar, but it all goes over my head!

My turn behind the decks comes, and run through more of a 70s set than I've done recently. The crowd appear to somewhat unwilling to dance to things they don't know, and Graham, one of the origanisers want me to get 'em dancing for a bit......A couple of real surprises, Unique Blend absolutely clears the floor - I might as well have played a Slade record....now I know it's totally played out (and in fact I used to call it the Black Osmonds), but I didn't think it would clear the floor....I was actually trying to get the dancefloor full at the time!....Then there was the obligatory spin for King Moses which had one of the Bedford girls trying to get people up and dancing Not paying attention is a pitfall that many a DJ can lapse into especially with an instrumental B side, and I accidentally spin the instrumental version of "Connie Clark". However it goes down really well, and Little Reg says some of the Hemel crowd prefer instrumentals....

After me Rob Messer did his set - including Andy Fisher , Marie Knight, and Charles Sheffield "Voodoo working" and the night was rounded off by Andy and Graham. Included in their playlist were Bill Harris, Jean Battle, 4 Below Zero. I even got onto the dancefloor at one point, much to the amusement of Toby's wife apparantly.

Here's what I played:

So "get 'em dancing" is the order.....

J J Barnes "Our love is in the poche"

Connie Clark & orch "My sugar baby" (inst)

Johnny Howard "The chase is on"

Al Scott "What happened to yesterday"

I switch to 70's, starting off with one I dropped a year or so back as being "burnt out", but it remains ever popular with the dancefloor, so I've started playing it again....

Lil Major Williams "Girl you're so sweet you're so fine"

Nicky Newarkers "Woman"

Unique Blend "Yes I'm in love"

Corey Blake "I can't go on without you"

Greg Perry "It takes heart"

Freedom "High on you"

The dancefloor has thinned out by now, so back to the 60's

Bobby Kline "Say something nice to me"

Tony Clarke "They call me a wrong man"

Herb Ward "Honest to goodness"

Willie Kendrick "Change your ways"

Gene Toones "What more do you want"

...enough! Back to the 70's again

Flame N King "Ho happy day"

King Moses "I got this feeling"

Guitar Ray "You're gonna wreck my life"

By now Rob Messer is limbering up beside me, so I finish with a trio of 60's

Sam Dees "Lonely for you baby"

Kenny Gamble "The jokes on you"

7th Avenue Aviators "You should O held on"


Hitchin fc has a loyal following, and whilst the crowd are probably more oldies orientated than say at Letchworth, they still enjoy their music.....lot's of handclaps to the beat etc....Wigan style......anyway it was a good night.


N Herts Irish Centre 18th May 2007

Posted by Steve G, 19 May 2007

Well a lot of water has passed under the bridge as they say in the last couple of weeks, most notably our beloved Prime Minister has thrown in the towel, and on a more personal level I have been to Australia and Hong Kong, but more on that another time. There are records in Oz, but not many, and I'll do a seperate entry some time later......

So back in old Blighty, and it's off to the third of these nights run by the Letchworth Massive.......

The night starts badly for me, having just put on my neatly pressed Zegma shirt, I go about final preperations including cleaning teeth etc. You should always do these preperations before getting dressed.....as I am swilling around a mouthful of Dentyl, my mind wanders onto what to play...and in a momentary lapse, I swallow the mouthwash Anyway, as is natural, I manage to spit some out, but all over my nice clean shirt! D'oh.

So from that point things can only get better, and I set off earlyish to catch a bit of Toby's set. There were a few early problems with the sound system cutting out - which had the Big O standing in front of the decks trying to hold an earth wire in a socket until someone realised that one of the switches was on the wrong setting....

The night is a bit quieter than the other ones we've held here, not sure why, as we're not suffering from RNS (Rival Night Syndrome), in fact, be boring for a minute and take a compass and draw a thirty mile radius around Letchworth and you won't find another soul night anywhere tonight. I've read loads of posts about variable attendances recently, some caused by the fact that these days it seems something like 75% of punters are also promotors and / or DJ's, and there are loads of venues on. However that isn't the case here, and it's just one of those odd quirks. I have recently also heard of a new desease that has been diagnosed called "Venue fatigue" and wonder if an outbreak has happened in Herts and Beds and we haven't been told. Also the old debate of Friday night versus Saturday night is one that engages myself and Hammy. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the venue or the line up, and every other night here has been a sell out. Anyway there are enough people in to make the night a classic, without it being overfull. Probably 75-80 ish.

Toby and Taffy both warm up the night admirably, for the later Bedford Three, who are all on tonight. Firstly Pete Burton, then Pete Hullet, and finally Hammy.

I am shoe horned in between the second Pete and Hammy which is fine. Both Pete's play some great sets, and Pete Number 1 has already posted his playlist elsewhere. Pete Number 2 should do likewise by the time you read this (under his psudonym).

After my hour Hammy rounded the night off with a very nice little set of mainly classics, mainly 70's.

The next night is friday August 17th, and if your from "darn sarf" or the south Mids, Anglias, you really should check in.

Here's what I played with some commentary, a sort of cockpit view through the set.......

I start with a few 60s classics, to keep the flow that the Pete's have built up going.....

George Kirby "What can I do"

Edward Hamilton & Arabians "Baby don't you weep"

Ty Karim "Lighten up baby"

Eddie Spencer "If this is love"

Then move on to a sound that have been revived in recent years

Johnnie Howard "The chase is on"

So far the dancefloor is holding up well....so onwards and upwards with a couple of rare 60's

Walter Wilson "Love keeps me crying" the old 100 club favourite, followed by another oldie

Lester Tipton "This won't change"

The dancefloor thins out for Lester Tipton, but no panic.....

Al Scott "What happened to yesterday"

Next up a sound I'd been speaking to chrisseo about

Terri Bryant "Geni"

The dancefloor thins some more, so I feel it's time for a classic

Sam Williams "Love slipped through my fingers"

Next one which I have been reviviving at the local gigs recently.....

James Fountain "Seven day lover"

....that gets the dancefloor kick started again......and I follow it up with a Mecca / Cleethorpes spin which has been described as "mediocre" that very day on Soul source by a couple of people that I think should know better

Connie Laverne "Can't live without you"

This goes down quite well and I conclude by saying "See it isn't that bad is it?" - there are a few handclaps, so I am not alone in thinking this - eat your heart out detractors ....

Bobby Sheen "Something new to do" (a request)

Next one for all the Soul Essence crowd

Natural Impulse "She went away"

...followed by a record that has been made popular by Soul Sam over the last couple of years

King Moses "I got this feeling"

I decide to go back to the 60's with another request

Valentinos "Sweeter than the day before"

Next I announce a couple of pieces of Motown and play

Gladys Knight & The Pips "Just walk in my shoes"

The floor is buzzing, but time is against me, and so I abort the second Motown record, opting instead for 60s northern that hasn't got played yet...

Stormy "I won't stop to cry"

The Appointments "I saw you there"

The Appointments nearly clears the floor which really surprises me, it's usually very popular....have they called last orders at the bar I wonder? Time for something better known then....

Four Voices "Your love is getting stronger"

This doesn't do as well as it should either, so I switch back to 70s / 80s and a couple of better known items to finish up on

Tearra "Just loving you"

This goes down really well, but time is against me - I have a choice between Eula Cooper "Let our love grow higher" and Flame N King. My heart says Eula Cooper, my brain says Flame N King. Being a clincial sort of guy the brain wins, and I finish with

Flame N King "Ho happy day"

This turns out to be the right choice as the dancers love it, and I leave Hammy with a full floor....

In retrospect I think I played too many 60's, and not enough 70's / 80's. I know a few people wanted to hear a few more of my 70's spins.....I will balance this up better going forward. All in all I thought this night was very good - just needs a few of the regulars and "stay aways" to return.

Next up Hitchin FC next Friday, and then the Hatfield All Dayer Sunday. See you there


Bedford Ath......

Posted by Steve G, 29 April 2007

....short for Bedford Rugby Athetic Club - which in the world of Rugby Union is a minor league player, when compared to the likes of the mighty Gloucester (top of the table yipee - Mrs G will be happy when she returns ).

Anyway, this is also the venue for a well regarded northern soul night, and so as

A) Mrs G is in transit back from Australia

it's just about less than an hour's drive

C) I'm guesting there in July

D) I don't get out too often as a punter (rather than an occasional DJ)

E) I feel like going out......

....I decide to give it a go.

It's been a long and busy Saturday, which started with a trip down to Surrey, followed by a trip up to Grantham, followed by a stop off in Peterborough to see my kids. I shouldn't say it but as my daughter was out, I only ended up spending time at my son's place, thereby making up some valueable time on this "Grand tour of southern and eastern England in a day". Home for tea, and then fire up the old Batmobile one for time and out again to Bedford....

Timing is everything, and as I have managed to turn up too early at some places, I set off from home just after 8.30 pm with Al Scott blasting out of the speakers as I wave "adieu" to the neighbours and their Barbeque and wine fest. I decide to drive like a human being, no need to charge off anywhere tonight, and after an ambient saunter up the A1 and A421, arrive at Bedford at what I think is a fashionable 9.30, only to find the car park already full. I just manage to squeeze in at the end. The place was already very busy with 150+ in, and they're dancing already! I must admit this is a contrast to some places I see where people don't seem to start dancing until much later in the evening.

Anyway I say Hi to a few people I know and head for the bar to get a drink of "summat". Summat for those that don't know is a non alcoholic drink - normally water, diet coke (bottled not from the tap), or alcohol free beer (Cobra's quite nice but you can never get it! though as it is "brewed" - if that's the right word - in Bedford, I might just be lucky..... ). To say the bar is busy would be an understatement, and it does take a while to get served. Anyway I am tempted by the J20 - even though it's about 99.9% sugar, and therefore to be drunk in moderate quantities unless you want to end up looking (and feeling) like a sugar cube.

Music wise The Ath is pretty much northern oldies and an array of local jocks including Pete Hullett and Hammy are keeping the dancefloor busy. In between the talking I remember hearing things like Carstairs, Larry Clinton "She's wanted for fixing my brakes", Jay Traynor (not one of my favourites - never was), Rubin, David & Rueben and of course Pete's Chico LaMarr. A slight problem with a faulty "microphone" was soon sorted out too.

Taff is one of the guests tonight, but unfortunately is unwell so is unable to attend. The other guest is Ginger, and as I haven''t seen the Todmorden Terrier in action for a couple of years I eagerly await his set, and I must say I am not disappointed.

As well as Ernestine Eady, the only remaining gap in my Phil La collection (and I ain't gonna pay for an unplayable one on ebay either!), he plays an earthy selection of sounds including some of his one offs and acetates. I was particularly fond of Herman Hitson's version of "Love slipped thru my finger gloves", and the vocal to "Sidra's Theme" - not the awful Ronnie & Robyn Peter Noon soundalike, we normally get 'subjected' to but a really soulful vocal version! Then there was Yvonne Vernee too from the Motor City. Then there was Soul Bros Inc "Teardrops"` and JT's "Blues in the night".

His 70's selection includes Mixed Feelings, Hamilton Movement, and two that are big for Sam as well Rimshots "Do what you feel", and Willie J & Co "Boogie with your baby". Not so smitten with those two myself, but a significant proportion of the dancefloor enjoyed 'em so who am I to judge? He topped the 70s bit off though with Bobby Womack's "Home is where the art is" ...Then there was some Motown, Velvelettes "These things will keep me bugging you" and an instrumental version of the Contours "Just a little Miss Understanding" - well a semi vocal, it just is missing the lead vocalist - again this is an acetate. Anyway good old Gingha managed to keep the dancefloor full throughout his set and it was very enjoyable.

After that I was starting to feel a bit tired, so I headed home, not before having a few words with Cat, and young Sir Maximillion R from Cambridge - who I haven't seen for a few years now.

All in all a good night if you likke classic norvern and I am looking forward to July


Soul Essence - Great Yarmouth

Posted by Steve G, 15 April 2007 ·

Back from the weekend, and here are a few recollections......

Firstly lovely weather - nice and warm all weekend - yipee No biting cold Siberian wind (I am convinced that there is nothing taller than a tree between Great Yarmouth and Russia), or horizontal rain, just sunshine!

Friday afternoon, and I was quite shocked at how busy the place was at 3.30 in the afternoon, with over 50 already arrived and socialising. Friday continued to build nicely. I had a mid evening slot at 9 pm, which enabled me to do a balance between better known stuff and some unknowns.....someone apparantly thought I played too much obscure / new stuff, so I tried to balance that out....

Gavin had been on before me mixing up some jazz - including the excellent Metropolitan Jazz Affair "Find a way" - something I am rather partial to and have been playing at home all afternoon, and some Yarmouth classics with a bit of northern. After me, came Gareth Donovan who did a nice litle set of slowies, steppers etc, followed by Steve Plumb who did a set of LP only tracks. So there you have it - real diversity of music, right across the board......

Much of the rest of Friday evening was spent in the Downbeat Lounge atrium room, where Fraser Dunn and Dave Hassle (as he is affectionately known) were holding court with Dave pontificating on whether women should be talking about records or on the dancefloor. The Malvern and Worcester girls were giving him back as good as he was dishing out, and in the drunken haze it was hard to work out who was winding up who....Anyway after a discussion on the future of record collecting and whether CD's will ever become really collectable in the same way as "vinyls", I decided to leave them all to their deliberations and have an early-ish night.

Saturday morning and it was breakfast with Sam and Butch at the local Sainsbury's, and excellent value for money it was too...... Saturday afternoon, and we had excellent sets from the Etheridge brothers, Alison and John, Marcus, and Flanny's northern hour. I did the usual 4-5.30 set, including the footie results, which were both very late in arriving, and hard to read once I had them - apologies for suggesting that West ham had actually won! Anyway no real harm done I handed over to the dapper lounge lizard Sean Evans with his early dinner set, then it was off to the Thai for some nosebag. There must have been at least 25 from the weekender in there, and I really regret not getting a commission agreed with the restaurant all those years ago, for all the punters we introduced - if I had done that deal with them, I'd be able to afford all those records.

Saturday night and everyone did a blinding set, we all waited to hear Sean Hampsey's Bobby Womack acetate, and I still cannot fathom out how I missed it completely when it was on E-buy! He was followed by Uncle Bob Cosby, and Soul Sam.....I once again risked social credibility and spent some more time in the Downbeat Lounge atrium, where I learnt that there had been some controversy in the Downbeat that afternoon with some people actually dancing . Some of the residents were none too pleased about this , even more odd was the fact that I had dropped in Same Dees "Love in my own backyard", a deep soul classic in the mainroom - a topsy turvy world indeed then! Mick Barker had learnt that I had once referred to this room as the "Deadbeat Lounge" and was none to happy about that, and sent me to Coventry for the night .

And then at 3 a.m. it was my turn again to round off proceedings for the two final hours in the main room. By now everyone was in party mood, and so I did a set of mainly well known favourites, and anthems. Anyway the DJ's on before me had played great sets, and I always panic a bit that they'll leave me nothing to play, that they haven't already played.

I am delighted to say that the dancefloor remained rammed, and we still had a fullish house at 5 am when I finished with Johnnie Mae Mathews "I have no choice" and Walter Wilson "Not now but later". We have to close down at 5 a.m. but one of the things about being an occasional DJ is you have to have your wits about you at all times.....Everyone was asking for more, and I started to realise that if I didn't play one more, I may well not have got out of the place alive or in one piece - or I may even have been taken hostage by the Soul Police ....cue Universal Love "It's you girl", and then the lights came on, my cue from the manager that there really was no more time left!

Oh and then we had a Borat style streaker apparantly - I didn't see him but others thought that it looked uncannily like Brian Goucher, though he claims to deny all knowledge of it....

Hopefully everyone enjoyed it, and miraculously I didn't even get a hangover. Sunday morning and a quick breakfast at Sainsbury's again, and then off home in time for lunch and some well earned zzz's in the garden.....

All in all an excellent weekend, absolutely tops from my perspective, but I guess you'd all know that anyway.....

These are my sets:

Friday 9-10 pm....a mix of known and lesser known

Jimmy Burns "I really love you" (Erica)

Bill Coday "A man can't be a man without a woman" (Epic)

Billy Proctor & Love System "Keeping up with the Joneses"(Epic)

G C Cameron "You're what's missing in my life"(Motown)

Frankie Kar'hl "Don't fan the flame"(Gordy)

Johnny Scott "Let me be a winner" (Portra)

Wizdom "I'm so in love with ytou" (Drive)

Al Dos Band "Doing our thing with pride"

Ron Van Horn "Got to get together" (Rav)

Roy Robbins "So much in love" (Sugar)

StarQuake "Don't you know I love you" (Starquake)

Daybreak "Stay" (cover up)

New World "We're gonna make it" (Polydor)

International Four "Equal love" (Diane)

Dwight Franklin "Foxy Lila" (Franklin)

Betty Wright "Tonight's the night" (Alston) dedicated to those fed up with the crappy Genesis version!

Summits "I can't get over losing you" (Dontee)

Minits "Still a part of me" (MGM SOM)

Ronnie McNeir "the good side of your love" (Tortoise Intl)

Saturday afternoon - a few claasix, then push the boat out

Silhouettes "Not me baby"

Freedom "High on you"

Steeplechase "Never coming back"

Trumains "Ripe for the picking"

Ad libs "I don't need no fortune teller"

Cloudburst "I'm loving you"

Jimmy Lee Jones "Love sweet love"

Guitar Ray "I wouldn't change it" (cover up)

Black Nasty "Make believe girl" (cover up)

Arvin Toillivers Pleasure Seekers "Come inside"

Extra Special People "It's a miracle" (was suggested I cover this one up, but as everyone knew it, there's no real point)

Flashlight "Get inside your mind" (Not on the LP - great Philly uptempo funky dancer)

Soul & Blues Union "Restless"

Santiago "Feeling good" (Bam-Boo) (old Mecca spin - sounding good again)

Steve Long "Your lips tell me go, your body says no"

Infinity "Queen of my universe"

Monofide "Time will change your mind"

Fish "This is life"

Wildflower "Sugar baby" (Dash - how many good records on this label?)

Dale Darby "Don't put our love off another day"

Velma Perkins "Yes my goodness yes" (Vee Allen)

Sam Dees "I found love in my own backyard"

Rozetta Johnson "How can I miss something I never had"

Don Thomas "Calling me home"

Floyd Beck "Don't trust him"

Richard Marks "Innocent bystander"

Gerald Wayne "Now I can see"

Bobby Jackson "I need you girl like a fire"

Bernard Drake "I've been untrue"

Saturday night PARTY..

Al Scott "What happened to yesterday"

Buddy Connor "When you're alone"

Eddie Billups "Ask my heart"

Marvin Gaye "Come get to this"

Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes "The love I lost"

Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes "Bad luck"

Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes "Satisfaction guaranteed"

Sex "It's you, baby it's you"

Freedom "High on you"

Jon Lucien "Would you believe"

G C Cameron "No matter where"

Sisters Love "Give me your love"

Chuck Propehett "Love love love"

Charles Mintz "Lucky guy"

Percy Stone & Explosions "Chained"

Natural 4 "Hanging on to a lie"

Barbara Stant "You've got to try it again"

Daybreak (cover up) - really hammering this one now!

Ultimates "Girl I've been trying to tell you"

Topics "Booking up baby"

Spinners "I'll be around"

Spinners "it's a shame"

Edwin Starr "Running back and forth"

Leroy Hutson "All because of you"

Jean Carn "Don't let it go to your head"

Corey Blake "How can I go home without you"

Mel Williams "Sweet girl of mine"

Bobby Sheen "Something new to do"

Bobby Kline "Say something nice to me"

Ty Karim "Lighten up"

Frank Dell "He broke your game wide open"

L J Reynolds "Key to the world"

Sam dees "Funny!"

Roosevelt Mathews / Billy Ball "You got me digging you"

Satin "Your love's got me"

Virgil Henry "you ain't saying nothing new"

Don Thomas "Calling me home"

Brand New "thousand years"

John Gary Williams "The whold damn world is going crazy"

Johnnie Mae Mathews "I have no choice"

Walter Wilson "Not now but later"

bonus record

Universal Love "It's you girl"


Next up three local do's in Herts to look forward to starting off with the Letchworth Irish Club!


Bass Museum -easter Sunday

Posted by Steve G, 09 April 2007 ·

The Bass is now firmly established as one of the scene's top modern all dayers, with it's two room format - one for Y2K7 soul, and the smaller room for 70s / 80s and crossover. Easter weekend this year was notable for two things - an unprecedented number of venues on, and, somewhat unusually for a British holiday weekend, some damn fine weather. Of course both factors could have a disasterous affect on attendances.

I don't think I've ever seen such a long list of venues on at Easter, and an early call from Gavin on his way back from Soul shakers at Solihull has us discussing the fact that on todays soul scene nearly everyone is promoting an event somewhere- or so it seems, with the result that attendances suffer. Then there's the weather, the first holiday weekend where the sun is out and I am sure many of us would be heading off to the pub, visiting family and friends with Easter Eggs, or for the more adventurous, cleaning down the Barby, and firing it up.

The Bass is at the Coors Visitors Centre in Burton, and in the midst of a brewing museum, part of what is now the Coors brewery. There used to be pictures round one of the bars of days gone by, when the brewery saw trains leaving daily, taking literally hundreds of tons of beer to London, or Manchester, and when the brewery seemd to dominate the whole town. That bar has been done up in ice cool white since we were last there and the pictures have now gone.

So, after a slowish start we ended up with about 150 in, which was a fair crowd, and the place was busy. I say a slowish start, because a lot of people didn't turn up until after dark, perhaps preferring to enjoy a sunny spring day.

In the 70s /80s room Colin Brown held the fort for three hours until Tats Taylor tooks over with an hour of crossover at 8 pm. I was on after Tats for an hour, then at 10 it was the turn of Butch. The place didn't really start to get busy until around 10 30, as people who'd been out socialising in the bar (and maybe looking at records - Dave Welding, Andy Dyson and Andy Whitmore were all selling), or alternatively in the main room, came in and started dancing. After Butch, it was left to Tats and Rick Scott to finish the night off.

My earlier spot allowed me to play a few different things, that I couldn't risk later on, mixed in with a few attempts to kick start the dancefloor. I must admit being on early and while so many people were out at the bar or not yet arrived, my attempts at getting the dancefloor active were a bit like starting a fire - you know, you get it going, then it goes out again. I must admit as a DJ I like clearing the floor a couple of times, and if I don't do this, I think I am playing too safe, but I can tell you that any DJ gets uncomfortable when something that can fill the floor, for whatever reason doesn't - and we've all had that experience now and again. Do you panic and pull some cheese out of the box, or do you hold firm and ride it out? Anyway as a result of being on earlier my set was a bit of a mix of unknowns with a few favourites thrown in - starting off with what I thought was a favourite .

Ronnie McNeir "Good side of your love"

Norm West "Gotta have love"

Eula Cooper "Try"

Total Darkness "Just what I've been looking for"

Hot Sauce "Doing our thing with pride" (c/up)

Billy Byrd "Lost in a crowd"

Trace of SMoke "Treasure mind"

Daybreak "I wanna stay with you" (c / up)

International IV "Equal love"

G C Cameron "No matter where"

Sisters Love "Give me your love"

Joe Hinton "Go on find your star"

Roy Roberts "So much in love with you"

Guitar RAy "Don't change your love" (c / up)

Steve Long "Your lips tell me go"

Percy Stone & The explosions "Chained"

Chuck Prophett "Love love love"

Arvin Tolliver's Pleasure Seekers "Come inside"

Satyr "Free and easy"

Four Tracks "Charade"

Side Show "Sexy lady"

Wee "Try me"

Earth Child "It's our day"

Dale Darby "Don't put our love off another day".

Dale Darby despite being a great little crossover side, cleared the floor, and I sometimes wonder whether there's really a future for this type of record. Certainly the more I observe, the more I see increasing popularity for uptempo / funky dancers over this type of record....but they say what goes around comes around, so maybe Dale will have his day one day..

Despite the fact that we had 150 in, there were still a lot of familiar "faces" missing, presumably either at other venues, or basking in the weekend sun.

Anyway it was a cracking little night.......Yarmouth next and I am going to persevere with a few of the above records there.


Of Eagles, Owls And Rams

Posted by Steve G, 01 April 2007 

Saturday and the sun is shining; spring is on it's way. I don't know why but the sun always seems to shine when we entertain The Owls down at Selhurst Park. Oh, and we always beat them on our turf too. In fact I don't know why they bother turning up season after season, as I cannot remember the last time they won here, and let's be honest our ground is sooooo difficult to get to from anywhere, let alone Yorkshire......Maybe they should just concede the three points, and stay at home. But then the FA would probably deduct them about 100 points or something.

So, all is well with the world, then what happens?.....we only go and lose. It's awful our players are falling over like Yogi Bear - there's no commitment at all; it's embarrasing and if I wasn't a season ticket holder I'd be asking for a refund on the basis that the Trades Description act had been breached. I remember Paul Ifill in a recent programme saying that if he could change places with someone for a day it would be Ron J.eremy - how crass is that! I want to tell him that if Jeremy ever put in such a limp performace as Ifill is managing to do today, he'd never work in films again! I leave before the final whistle and beat the rush. The "Golden goal" solution for draws? - not for us please , we'd still be waiting on the following Monday if todays performace is anything to go by. Only under the hapless Peter Taylor could we lose a home fixture to Sheff Wednesday. Anyway enough of The Eagles and the Owls, tonight I'm of to the home of The Rams - Room at The back in Spondon Derby, Colin Brown's monthly gig.

I have this niggling concern in the back of my head, playing on my mind as it were - there's a really crowded fixture list of events on this weekend and on top of that we're sandwiched between Prestatyn, The Bass Museum and Yarmouth, three top modern events in everyone's calender. Monumental is on down in the Smoke, Rugby is on, it seems everywhere has a gig. Additionally I haven't seen flyers around for this event......though I am assured that there are some about. So I've tried to plug it on Soul Source a bit - but hey there's only so much you can do before everyone gets tired of hearing of it.

At home it's a quick tea then down to the station to pick up Mark H, who is the other guest DJ on tonight. We travel up from Cheshunt to Spondon in the Batmobile.

For those that don't know Room at the Back is exactly as it sounds, a room at the back of a big pub with a good sized dancefloor and tables and chairs on a raised platform around three sides. Spondon of course is where they used to make trains, before the Government outsourced it to France, Spain and Italy. The locals have run some northern and R&B nights in there. Colin has been running this night featuring soul from the 70s' to the present day for some time now, infact Mark H and myself were the guests back last October.

The DJ's tonight are Colin, Fish, Mark H and myself for the last hour. And the night is what they call in the trade "quiet". It's a real shame as with a few more people in this would be a cracking night. I talk to Fish about this, and Mark H, and there's no simple answer. Perhaps people are getting older, perhaps I wonder, there's so many weekends now on each year that some people just don't travel for evening do's like they used to - instead getting their fix from a selection of the weekenders - perhaps, perhaps. A small but loyal following are there, but anyway, we all do our sets.

Here is the bones of what I played:

Phillip Wright "Keep her happy" (Dash)

Dwight Franklin "Foxy Lila" (Franklin) (been playing this for a couple of years, then......was told off because it's supposed to be covered, but then....couldn't be bothered to keep it covered anymore)

Chuck Prophett "Love love love" (Lar Ron)

Hot Sauce "Pride" (a new cover up - at Soul Sam's request - though he has it as something else like Candy Coated People)

Bobby Montgomery "I need you girl" (Crescent)

Pleasure Seekers "Come inside" (Koala)

G C Cameron "No matter where" (Motown)

Frankie Kah'rl "Don't fan the flame" (Gordy) -

Allison "Who'se No 1 Who'se No 2" (ANSAP)

Monofide "time will change your mind" (Emvee)

Don Thomas "Calling me home" (PMRC)

Steve Long "Your lips tell me go" (Riche)

Billy Proctor & Love System "Keeping up with the Joneses" (Epic)

Wee "Try me" (Owl)

Bernard Drake "I've been untrue" (La Lousienne)

Next week is the Bass Museum and I am really looking forward to that, and some of these will get an airing there as well.....

N Herts Irish Centre Friday March 23rd

Posted by Steve G, 24 March 2007 ·

I am out of work bang on time - a bit like a racehorse when the starting gates fire open.....I am a man on another mission - this time to get to the local Post Office before it closes at 6 pm. They're holding onto a record of mine from Detroit, and I want it. I've got several by Monofide, but not this one, and it sounds just right for a Yarmouth last hour spin, being a really nice flowing mid tempo floater. Record collected, I get home and make some last minute adjustments to the play box. In a moment's braveness (or folly) out go a few classics in come a few lesser knowns and unknowns.

On friday on SS a few of us were discussing the merits of the Esquires "Dancing a hole in the world", and I think it would make a worthy addition to my set tonight.....but can I find it? I spend half an hour searching in all the places it could possibly be....but it's not there. I conclude it must have been misfiled somewhere (I hate filing my records away), and this means I might never find it again! To all intents and purposes a misfiled record is a lost record, and if I ever find it, it will be a joyuous day. Anyway the Monofide sounds pretty good.

I get myself over to the Irish Centre and young Toby is on and playing a blinding set, and really enjoying himself too.

Here is what Toby played.

Flavor "Dont freeze up"

Leon Haywood"it's got to be mellow"

Billy Cole"extra carefull"

George Freeman"The moment you came into my life"

Gerald Sims"You'll never be sorry"

R B Hudman"This could be the night"

Gemini"Something special"

The Ebonys"I'm so glad i'm me"

Alex Taylor"Slowly turning to love"

Willie Dishmon"Work on it"

Sons of Robin Stone"Got to get you back"

Invitations"They say the girls crazy"

Bobby Womack"Tried & Convicted"

Stephanie Mills"What cha gonna do with my lovin'"

Barrett Strong"Man up in the sky"

Bobby Womack"Home is where the heart is"

Kenny Hamber"Anything you want"

Impressions"Wherever she leadeth me"

Roni HIll "I would'nt give you up"

Carol Anderson"Sad Girl"

Jackie Wilson"I dont want to lose you" .

Gospel Classics "More love thats what we need"

Fontella Bass"I cant Rest"

Maurice Williams"Being without you"Deesu USA.

The Sapphires"Gotta have your love" ABC USA (requestfor Mousey).

Chris Jackson"I'll never forget you" Soul City UK.

Ed Crook"That's alright" Tri-sound USA (for me,i love this record).

Five Stairsteps"Stayclose to me" Curtom USA.(request for Graham).

At 9 15 Taffy takes over with Ujima's "I'm not ready" and for the next hour or so he treats us to a mostly 70's set which is also well received. One thing I like about the Irish Centre is that the crowd get up and dance early on. With many evening do's, the crowd only really put their dancing shoes on for the last couple of hours - not here, as they are up and dancing from the outset. Taffy works the dancefloor well for his set. Meanwhile I am catching up with Bob and Sue Cosby, Gavin Page, Dave Halsall, D'Arcy, Pete Burton, Big O etc. and looking through Mick Smith and Gavin's sales boxes. I repatriate a Leroy Hutson 7 off of young Gav, to replace my accidentally cracked copy (don't ask....oh well it was top of a pile of records one day I had the volume on really loud and the bass vibrations caused the pile to collapse, sending old Leroy crashing to the floor via a table egde).

Meanwhile at the bar I think one of the young ladies has taken a shine to me as she keeps giving me too much change for my drinks - until I realise that the bar is actually really cheap, and I am in fact getting the correct amount of change.

By 10 30 there are about 130 through the doors and the place is really buzzing. Pete Hullett is on next and plays a set of rare 60's soul including Larry Clinton, Mel Britt, Eula Cooper "Let our love grow higher", Volcanoes "Laws of love", 4 Voices, Sam Williams, The Sensations and the Delites. Some really nice heavyweight northern.

Then at 11 30 local lad Mick Smith, flown in from his second home in Spain takes over for an hour with some 100 Club favourites like Johnny Howard, The Magicians, The Appointments and the Admirations, alongside oldies like Bits N pieces "Keep on running away" and The Crow (Mick Smith goes funky!). And then Marvin and Tammi "Ain't no mountain high enough", one of the best ever Motown records, Lil Major Williams, and the Delegates of Soul "Running back".

Then at 12 30 it's my turn for the final hour. Being the last hour I decide to do a set of largely well known sounds

and floorfillers, with a few oddball things thrown in..

Here is what I played.

Leon Haywood "Baby reconsider" (Fat Fish)

Willie Kendrick "Change your ways" (the original side of course before "Finger" got popular (RCA)

Kenny Gamble "The jokes on you" (Arctic)

Gene Toones "What more do you want" (request) (Simco)

Imperial C's "Someone tell her" (Phil La)

Al Gardner "Sweet baby" (Sepia)

Valentinos "Sweeter than the day before" (Chess)

Unique Blend "Yes I'm in love" (Eastbound)

Third Wish "You gotta believe" (Le Cam)- this virtually clears the floor,except for a couple of dancers.....I am, always happy to clear the floor at least once or twice in a set; if I don't clear the floor a bit I don't believe I am being adventurous enough.....but clearing the floor is risky too - it's a bit like holding your breath, if you do it for too long you might not recover again! So the next one will bring 'em back on again....

Corey Blake "How can I go on without you" (Capitol)

Bobby Sheen "Something new to do"(Warner Bros)

Stevens & Foster "I want to be love" (Jerri)- well after the recent price this is fetching it would be rude not to play it

Sex "It's you (Baby it's you)" (Super City)

James Fountain "Seven day lover" (Peachtree)

Terry Callier "Look at me now"(Cadet)

Connie Clark "My sugar baby" (Joker)

J J Barnes "Our love est dans la poche" (Revilot)

Walter Wilson "Love keeps me crying" (Wand)

7th Avenue Aviators "You should 'O held on" (Congress)

Jimmy Burns "I really love you" (Erica)

....and the enders....

Bobby Kline "Say something nice to me" (MB)

Mel Williams "Sweet girl of mine" (Buddah)

Johnny Mae Mathews "I have no choice" (Big Hit)

Archie Drell and the belles "Where will you go when the party's over" (Phil Int)

I finish on time at 01 30, and I think (hope) everyone has had a good time tonight. Just time to mention the next one on May 18th......a must!

Now off to change the box around for my return gig at Spondon (Room at the back) next week with Mark Houghton......crossover 70s and 80s.

A Flying Visit To Prestatyn

Posted by Steve G, 18 March 2007

I am a man on a mission. Prestatyn and back on a Friday! Events conspire once again to prevent me having a proper weekend away, so it's there and back in a night so to speak. I am also on a "Busman's holiday", as I am one of I think four or five DJ's in the UK not to be booked at this mammoth festival - well that's how it seems; this means I am under no pressure and can listen to a few sets properly myself without worrying about what others are playing. In short I can relax.

Going up north on a Friday afternoon is never fun, so I brace myself with a couple of mugs of tea for the journey ahead. Carefully I remove Mrs G's "Kylie's greatest hits" and Led Zep CD's from the car audio (I throw them on the floor ), and replace them with a few of my own including the latest Kent "Hitsville West" effort, and a home made deep soul CD. The journey is not too bad though a stint on the overcrowded A1 and A14 has me reciting my own rules of the road, and getting increasingly wound up as I am stuck in a possession going along at 50 mph as Trucks overtake other trucks (or rather pull out and then get stuck in the outside lane). My rules of the road include by the way an immediate three points and a mandatory test re-sitting for anyone in a car who is overtaken by a truck - and there are plenty of them out and about today poodling along, crouched over the wheel doing 50 mph. Another three points for any trucks that go in the outside lane then realise they don't have the power to overtake, and so just sit there for miles holding everyone up. And while we are at it three points for any car driver who drives on unrestricted dual carriageways below 65 mph. Oh yes the roads would be a far better place if my version of the Highway Code was in use.

Meanwhile I am following a looney tune in a 7.5T van about half a mile ahead who is holding us all up, and seemingly has no idea of how close cars are to him as he pulls out and swerves all over the place. Time to switch to that home made Deep soul CD. It's amazing how a few ballads can calm you down. BJB, Janice "Love on the line" - one of the best slowies ever made, Arnold Blair "[i won the big deal", Channel 3 "Someone else's arms", Bill Brandon "Tag tag"....musical heaven!

By the time I reach the M1, the looney tune in the 7.5 T van is a distant memory, but I am regretting that second mug of tea. I plough on wishing to see the back end of Birmingham before I dare stop.

I get to Prestatyn at about 7 pm and boy it's blowing a gale. Gareth Donovon arrives at the same time. Having come from the warmer climes of Hertforshire where it was an ambient 15C "T shirt and shades weather", I am taken aback at how chilly and windy it is. Same thing last year. I say hello to Dave Lucas, and then go and see Sean and Norma - friends from Brighton in their chalet. A quick chat later and I am off to the record bar in search of some vinyl.

By now it's 7 45 ish and here's the first shock.....there are hardly any record dealers trading - they're mostly having dinner or something, except for Pat Brady who has some top drawer northern oldies. Yes there are some tarpaulins, and sheets covering what are obviously records, but it seems every other stall is a memorabilia or clothing franchise. Clothing rails, northern soul alarm clocks to wake you up after an allnighter, a Frank Wilson keyring to put your doorkeys on, a nice big sticker to ruin your car, northern soul undies for your missus, northern soul flags, a Tamla Motown teddy bear, Birthday cards with records on, a mirror for your front room, northern soul earrings - feck me where is this all going? I muse. Is the scene really becoming a parody of itself? Or am I just behind the times? The odd T shirt is fine, but that's about where I draw the line I'm afraid. Perhaps the northern soul "lifestyle" thing really isn't for me!

Eventually the record dealers start to open up, and I spend the next couple of hours gathering up about 10-15 records, including a nice little Cloe Martin issue on Epic, and Satin "Your love's got me" - which means I now have all six versions of that song! Bingo! Hoop La - everyone a winner! Oh and a couple of good quality northern oldies as well.

By now the place is heaving, the main room is absolutely packed.

The record bar done I do a bit of socialising - saying hi to Toby, and going into the Queen Vic to listen to Sam's set. Here I join the Herts and Beds crew over in the corner and have a good chat with RnBman. From there I spend a bit of time listenting to Fish in the modern room which is also heaving, and then onto one of the smaller rooms to listen to Arthur Fenn. Now Arthur is always good, so I am happy to stand and listen. After Arthur it's Dave "The Dentist". He does a blinding set which makes me wonder why he isn't booked more often....excellent taste, and a good style of delivery. I do some more socialising with the great and good of the scene.

By chance I glance down and notice the time on my watch is approaching 1 am, so time to run back to the car, and drive home before I change into a pumpkin. Funnily enough I don't feel like listening to any music on the way home and just want to listen to some radio. Unfortunately Talk Sport seems to be inundated with what I can only describe as insomniac maniacs, the type make Ghengis Khan sound like a pinko. So it's over to Radio Five, but Oh no - I cannot stand their "Up all night" presenter - he just gets right up my nose! So it's back to the Deep Soul CD, as I put the Batmobile into supercruise, and sit back for a three hour sprint home.

Well that was my Prestatyn, (very) short and sweet. As popular as ever, one of these years I might just manage to stay over....but now it's off to sift out some tunes for the Letchworth Irish Club next week.

Luanco - A Weekend In Spain + Playlists

Posted by Steve G, 05 March 2007 ·

Soul Sam and myself were booked to appear for the second year at the Luanco weekender on 2nd and 3rd March. Sam arrived at my place Thursday evening after having spent a day in Leicestershire - at John Manship's, buying and selling records. On Thursday evening we sorted though our two record boxes deleting all the duplicates. This is so we don't carry spare copies of anything, and can therefore maximise the number of tunes we take with us. After some horse trading - "you take Ike Strong then I'll take King Tutt", we've sorted the boxes, and somehow managed to get about 115 into each of the two boxes. So that's 230 tunes in all. For those Djing abroad, the Ryanair baggage allowance is a strictish 10 kg for carry on bags, and that equates to a 100 singles box, and nothing much else. Of course there's no way we are going to trust our records to the "hold" under any circumstances, and so once the boxes are packed we put them on the bathroom scales just to double check that they're under the 10 kg allowance. Those scales lie, but as far as we can tell, we're still within our allowance - just.

Friday morning we're off to Stanstead, and once checked in we decide to get some nosebag and water, when we see Ady Lupton, who'se also on his way over. We're still quite early and so casually I start to recount tales of plane problems, including the time at Tampa when we were just coming into land and the plan roared off again because some gereatric had wandered onto the main runway in a Sesma 206 just as we were coming in.....Then the Ryanair flight that landed at an RAF airstrip - the wrong place obviously.....nothing in itself, except it was five miles from the right place to land. And so airport equipment, steps, coaches, luggage trolleys, personnel etc had to go down the motorway to get onto the RAF base to empty the plane. Not only that but all the squaddies came out to take photos of this Boeing 737-800 and the ensuing shenanigens. Oh, and the airstrip was too short to take off from safely, even when empty, so an expert pilot had to be called in.....As I continue to ramble on I notice Ady has lost interest in all this Aviationspeak and has wandered off to get a drink, and the colour has started draining from Sam's face so I rapidly change the subject.

Ady being the suave debonaire chap that he is, only has carry on luggage with him, and thus is given "Priority boarding status" by Ryanair - meaning he'll get on the flight before the rest of us. With this in mind, I suggest he bags us an "Exit" row on the plane which he dutifully does, defending it against all enquiries until us "back of the bus Johnnies" catch up. Apparantly he was telling people that the seats were reserved for his Uncle and his Uncle's friend!

The flight is uneventful (something usually happens on a Ryanair flight), and at Santander (where, unlike here, it is a civilised 21C) we are picked up by one of our Spanish friends Areeta, and driven the two hours west along the northern Spanish coastline to the village of Luanco. We arrive about 9 pm and are straight away whisked off to a local eatery with about 20 Spanish soulfans. Here the local Cider and a variety of dishes are on offer. Felix's miobile phone is going off all the time - some girls from Madrid aren't coming as their plane had a problem and turned back mid flight, and a couple of others can no longer make it - Sam and I a bit concerned because this event is only two weeks after the Bilbao weekender, and thus the attendance may suffer, but we are told not to worry....After the meal it's of to the venue for the All nighter.....no chance for a rest.

The event is held at Disco Maite, an underground room laid out like a 60's club, with tables and chairs round the edges, a large well stocked bar at the back and a good sized dancefloor.

Felix who organises Luanco has got us on for a marathon session, including a double decker session, which we're both up for naturally, and so the discussion starts to move to who'll play what on the shared records. Our Spanish hosts are very generous with their guests, paying for our drinks and food, as well as accomodation. They refuse to accept any money from us - this I like. But it does make me wonder how well we really look after guest DJ's from overseas when they come to our country. The other DJ's are Herminio, Alvaro and Augustin on Friday, and all of them play great sets and keep the dance floor busy.

Friday night whizzed through, with the dancefloor busy all night, and by 6 am we've finished our sets, and go back to our hotel rooms for some shut eye.

We arrange to meet at 12 30 Saturday lunchtime at the local bar down by the harbour. I have breakfast - a glass of cider, and a bottle of the local beer, which Sam tells me is a "Scottish breakfast" ....well I always have something for breakfast.....After that about 50 of us go off in search for the coach - the coach that'll take us to lunch up in the hills. There we have a wonderful meal that takes all afternoon. Plenty of cider and beer to wash down a variety of dishes. Sam is particularly fond of the Crustacians, devouring oysters and limpets by the mouthful! Me, I'm more of a carnivor, but am amply catered for when a dish of beef and ham, wrapped in cheese and deep fried, arrives.

We arrive back in Luanco about 7 pm, and get some sleep. That has to be the shortest Saturday in living memory - up for seven hours and starting the day with a bottle of beer. Meanwhile we've hooked up with Macca, a guy from Peterborough who now lives in North West Spain, and via another of our friends, Herminio we secure a table at a fine fish restaurant in the village for the three of us for later. The locals don't tend to eat until at least 10.30 pm, which suits us fine, as I need to line my stomach for the night ahead. At the restaurant we have the biggest Sea Bream you've ever seen, and it's cooked to perfection, just falling of the bone; I wish I could cook like that - my efforts all fail miserably, either being under or over cooked! We while away an hour or two reminiscing about Peterboro venues in the past, St Ives, and tales of records. Then it's time for the Saturday nighter.

Saturday is busier than Friday and there are about 130 through the door, all Spanish, apart from the three of us from England and three ex pats. DJ's Luisma, Felix and Agustin get the night going and the crowd dancing. A local TV station has turned up and they're filming and want to interview Soul Sam, which they in turn do. There's one for YouTube! As the night wears on, it's obvious that the effect of the previous night, the afternoon meal (and associated drink) are taking their toll on some of our friends (and me) - and by 7 am the attendance has thinned out somewhat. Herminio takes over for the final hour.

Both nights were excellent, with a great atmosphere made by a real up for it crowd who are willing to accept and dance to new sounds on their first hearing. This allows Sam and myself to break a few new ones, which we are both happy about.

After a five hour sleep, we're picked up by Aitor and his partner, who'll run us back to Santander on their way to the Athletico Bilbao game. We trade season tickets; my Palace one for an Athletico Bilbao one seems like a good deal until Aitor tells me they're also having a bad season and may even get relegated for the first time in the history of La Liga.

We had a brief scare at the airport when an over zeleous security guard stops both Ady and Sam at the x-ray machine, but not me. Ady has a large bottle of after shave, which of course is liquid and thus prohibited. They take more of an interest in Sam's record box though. I'm shooshed away and firmly told to move on (and of course you don't argue with security people at airports), while they start to take records out of Sam's box. Sam tells them "DJ in Spain, DJ in Spain" and they let him pass through. Apparantly they took Johnnie Mae Mathews "I have no choice" for closer examination - we joke that perhaps they wanted to buy it!!! Anyway no harm is done.

Back to blighty and it's bucketing it down with rain. How typical.

I'd recommend the Luanco weekender to anyone, it's an excellent club with an enthusiastic crowd. Anyone that thinks that our Spanish friends aren't as clued up on records would be mistaken, as they like a very wide variety of sounds, as our playlists will stand testiment to. Everything from 60s northern to two step was played, including a healthy dose of 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.

We've had a really good time, and it would be nice to see a few more British faces (not too many though ) at the next one. It's a beautiful unspoilt part of Spain as well with some very nice scenery, and a relaxed lifestyle. Thankfully there's no sign of English bars, burgers, or lobster coloured Brits and all of the excesses that go with them.

This weekend is as they say in Spain de putra madre.


Friday Steve

Halo "Let me do it to you"

ZZ & Co "Getting ready for the getdown"

Ike Strong "Your love keeps me dancing"

Trace of Smoke "Treasure mind"

New World "We're gonna make it"

Third Wish "You gotta believe"

Reachers "I just wanna do my own thing"

Ujima "I'm not ready"

Anthony White "Never let you get away from me"

Chuck Corby & Quiet Storm "See you when I git there"

Papa Bear & Cubs "you're so fine"

4 Voices "Our love is getting stronger"

Appointments "I saw you there"

Honey & The Bees "I didn't know"

Barons "Love is so real"

Entramations "Has love lost integrity?"

Heartstoppers "Gotta have love" (c/up)

Sy Hytower "I know you're leaving me"

Wee "Try me"

RIP "I'm trying"

Edee Leatherwood "Make it last"

Stephens & Foster "I wanna be loved"

Sam (Friday)

DJ Genesis "Tribute to Betty Wright"

Michael Proctor "Love don't live here" (7" shortened version!)

Tyrone Davis "Just my luck"

Starvue "Body fusion"

Tolbert "I got it"

M J Wade "I'm gonna ball baby"

Elipses "People"

Fluorescent Smogg "All my life"

Mixed Feelings "She la la"

Natural Impulse "She went away"

George Smallwood "Touching is my thing"

Joseph Webster "My love is so strong"

Phillip Wright "Keep her happy"

Lou Curtain Revue "Heaven in the afternoon"

Wille J & Co "Boogie with your baby"

Eddie Kendricks "Date with the rain"

Luther "Don't wanna be a fool"

Van McCoy "Backstabbers"

Willie & Mighty Magnificents "Funky 8 corners Part 2"

Belita Woods "Foolish girl"

Frankie Beverly "Because of my heart"

Blue Sharks "These things will keep me loving you"

Del Larks "Job Opening"

Stanley Evans "We've got a good thing going"

Al Gardner "Sweet baby"

Royal Seven "It's an explosion"

Sam and Steve Double deck (Friday)

Eugene Record "Overdose of joy" (Sam)

Guitar Ray Don't change your love" (c/up) (Steve)

Robert Tanner "Sweet memories" (Sam)

Dynells "Call on me" (Steve)

Rimshots "Do what you feel" (Sam)

Harold Melvin & Bluenotes "Bad luck" (Steve)

Harold Melvin & Bluenotes "The love I lost" (Sam)

McFadden & Whitehead "Ain't no stoppin us now" (Steve)

Harold Melvin & Bluenotes "Prayin" (Sam)

Philly All Stars "Lets clean up the ghetto" (Steve)

Starvue "Body fusion" (Sam)

Lil Major Williams "Youre so good you're so fine" (Steve)

Differences "Five minutes" (Sam)

Natural 4 "Hanging on to a lie" (Steve)

Natural 4 "I thought you were mine" (Sam)

Young Ladies "I'm tired of running around"

Norris Vine & Love Lines "Give up" (Sam)

Milton Parker "Women like it harder" (Steve)

Larry Atkins "Lighten up" (Sam)

Eula Cooper "Let our love grow higher" (Steve)

Johnny Howard "The chase is on" (Sam)

Herb Ward "Honest to goodness" (Steve)

Charles Mintz "Running back" (Sam)

Groove Merchants "Theres got to be someone for me" (Steve)

Althea Spencer "Take me baby"

Mel Williams "Sweet girl of mine" (Steve)

Buddy Miles "Just a kiss away" (Sam)

Tony Troutman "What's the use" (Steve)

Gloria Scott "A case of too much lovemaking" (Sam)

Melvin moore "All of a sudden" (Steve)

Phyllis Hyman "You know how to love me" (Sam)

Spinners "It's a shame" (Steve)

Alton & Johnny "Hang on in there" (Sam)

Hamilton Movement "She's gone"

Saturday playlists

Sam (Saturday)

Veda Brown "I had a fight with love"

Pro Facination "I want to wrap you in my arms"

Tierra "Just loving you"

Sideshow "Sexy lady"

Herby Brown "One more broken heart"

King Moses "I got the feeling"

New Day (C/up)

Al Wilson "Love you girl"

Aura "Follow me with your heart"

Lucky Jamal Davis "Our love is here to stay"

Earles "Everybody loves somebody"

Tyrone Edwards "You did it"

Freedom "High on you"

Ronnie McNeir "Good side of your love"

Mixeed Feelings "Sha la la"

New World "We're gonna make it"

Noah & Arks "What a fool I've been" (c/up)

Natural Impulse "She went away"

Unique Bolend "Yes I'm in love"

Ray Agee "Nag nag nag"

Shalimars "Suirprise" (C / up)

Chuck Holliday "Just can't trust nobody"

Jimmy Bo Horne "I can't speak"

Nat T Jones "Moving forward"

Kings of Soul "Your love for me"

Chico Lamarr "What do you think I am"

Poets "Wrapped around your finger"

Mel Williams "Burn baby burn"

Saturday Steve

Imperial C's "Somebody tell her"

Jimmy Burns "I really love you"

Volcanoes "The laws of love"

Mixed Emitions "Gold of my life"

Stan Martin "Big mouth woman"

Eddie Billups "Shake off that dream"

Betty Moorer "Speed up"

Terri Gonzales "Caught up in a one night love affair"

Daybreak (c/up)

Infinity "Queen of my universe"

King Tutt "You got me hung up"

Willie Tee "Funky funky twist"

Billy Byrd "lost in the crowd"

Herman Hitson "Ain't no other way"

Message Untold "I can feel a change in love"

Bobby Montgomery "I need you girl"

Mojoba "Say you will"

Pleasure Seekers "Come inside"

Steve Long "My heart tells me yes"

Alice Clark "Don't you care"

Tony Clarke

Allison "Who'se No 1 Who'se No 2"

Nicky Newarkers "Woman"

Brand New "Thousand years"

Leno Phillips "Confusion"

Soul Sam & Steve Saturday double deck

James Phelps "Your loves got me" (Steve)

Tolbert "I got it" (Sam)

Young Ladies (Steve)

Hamilton Movement (Sam)

Jackey Beavers "A love that never grows cold" (Steve)

Mark IV "If you can't tell me anything good" (Sam)

Terry Callier "Look at me now" (Steve)

Marvin Gaye "Come get to this" (Sam)

Edwin Starr "Running back and forth" (Steve)

Jimmy Bo Horne "I can't speak" (Sam)

Bobby Kline "Say something nice to me" (Steve)

Mel Williams "Burn baby burn" (Sam)

EarthChild "It's our day" (Steve)

Elipses "People" (Sam)

Tony Drake "Suddenly" (Steve)

Margeret Littles "Love finds a way" (Sam)

Sammy Lee "What goes around" (Steve)

Ike Strong "Your love keeps me dancing"

Wil Collins & Willpower "Anything I can do" (Steve)

Bottom & Co "Gonna find a true love" (Sam)

Chuck Cocherham "Have I got a right" (Steve)

Tab Walton "The way I love you" (Sam)

Pinch of Perfection "All that's left is memories" (Steve)

Teddy Pendergrass "Where did all the loving go" (Sam)

Mark IV "If you can't tell me anything good" (Sam)

Spinners "I'll be around" (Steve)

Reckon we had just about enough records left for a third night!!!!!

A New Chapter Feb 21st

Posted by Steve G, 22 February 2007 ·

This is Mark Houghton's long running event on the outskirts of the City of London. It's held at the Smersh Bar in Raney Street, and I have had the pleasure of DJing here before, both for New Chapter, and also for the sadly missed George Jackson nights. Entrance is down a few steps into a subterranean world, well three smallish sized rooms the largest of which houses a bar and the DJ booth. To say the venue is compact would be a dis-service to the word compact. To be honest I have seen larger living rooms in my time. Thirty people through the door, and the place is positively buzzing. Thus, it is relatively easy to get a good atmosphere here, which is good because I have often said in the past some of the London modern crowd don't do "travel", to the point where I'd question whether some of them would actually go to a venue if it was across the road from their gaff. Slightly harsh maybe, but it is very different to the north and midlands, where travelling substancial distances to venues is part and parcel of the deal and taken for granted. To run a venue on a Wednesday night in London then is brave indeed, but it has paid off for Mark and the lads, as they have built up a loyal following of regular devotees.

As I work in London I decide to carry my records into work with me, and walk to the venue at the end of the day. Well the alternative of rushing home early, getting changed, and driving back into London has too many variables, too many things that can go wrong. Trains cancelled (high probability), traffic congestion (high probability), parking - nah! When I did this venue once before I assumed, quite wrongly that normal parking restrictions applied, resulting in me getting a parking ticket at 10.33 p.m. Only on closer inspection did I see that the restrictions ran through to 11 pm. So, travelling to work with a 100 box of records, and then going straight to the venue apres travail is the preferred option.

On the train into work some Berliners sitting opposite me on the Stanstead Express start talking, and my knowledge of German enables me to partially understand what they are saying ("DJ" is a universal word after all), so I smile sweetly just to let them know that I know they are talking about my records, until they mention the word "Rockabilly". At this point I shake my head, look scornfully at them, and go to sleep. I long ago learned that trying to explain the concept of "rare soul" is just too difficult, and it's probably even harder explaining it to someone who doesn't have English as their first language.

I leave work at 6 30, and by 6.45 I am having my first Budweiser (the European version served in large sized bottles!). I am once again slightly early, as there are, at this point, only three of us in the venue, five if you include the barman and his friend. Mark Houghton is the first DJ on, and Mark always manages to play something different - this time it's Johnny Adams version of Sex "It's you girl" - never heard of that before. Steve Cole and Gareth Donovan follow on, both doing very good sets, during which time a regular throng of people arrive, and I while away the hours engaging in idle banter and good chats with a number of the London luminaries. One of the guys has got a couple of Houston Outlaws sides with him. So I trot out my old story of the day on Soul 24-7 when I played all three of them back to back, and put them on the floor behind my swivvel chair. Ten minutes later I launch my chair back across the studio, and straight over said records - resulting in one cracked 45, and a p**sed off Steve G. I remember coining the phrase at the time "treat records with more respect - look after your records and they'll look after you". Anyway it seems like a number of the crowd had a really good time over in Bilbao a week or two before. Gavin Page has bought a sales box and I pick out a record to buy, saying I'll pay him later and which.....I later forget all about!!!

and at 9 15 it's my turn behind the decks. By now the place is fairly full, with everyone having a good time. I, along with others, have succesfully depleted the bar's stock of Budweisers somewhat, and so am forced to switch to Carlsberg "Super alcoholic" strength, not exactly my lager of choice! The space behind the decks is very compact. That's fine for a svelt and slim guy like me, but some of the scene's chubbier jocks may have to wedge themselves in there.

Gareth finishes his set with a "stepper", so I thought I'd start with one.....

Anyway here's what I played.

The Superstars "Come to me"(Taps)

RIP "I'm trying" (Rip Pro)

Merv Murphy "It's growing" (Simmons)

Halo "Let me do it to you" (Dyco) - I dropped this, and on re-cuing it up there's a loud "click" - on closer inspection a small crack has appeared but fortunately I manage to straighten it out - phew! Note to file - be more careful with records (AGAIN).

Jon Lucien "Would you believe in me" (RCA)

L J Reynolds & Relations "Stop look over your past" (Monique)

Bernard Drake "I've been untrue" (La Louisianne) - this mid tempo one's really going well for me.

Chuck Cockerham "Have I got a right" (Mala) request (white artist? Pah! no way Tim)

Milton Parker "Women like it harder" (Closet)

Message Untold "I can feel the change in love" (Padang)

New World "We're gonna make it" (Polydor)

Danny Williams "All those lies" (Musical Energy)

Trace of Smoke "Treasure mind" (BJ)

Jimmy Lee Jones "Love sweet love" (acetate)

Daybreak "Stay" (acetate)

Chuck Prophett "Love love love" (Lar Ron)

Guitar Ray "Don't change your love" (cover up)

Black Nasty "Make believe girl" (cover up)

Unknown artist "Hands of time" (acetate)

Spartans "I don't need another lover" (Era)

Edee Leatherwood "Make it last" (Chi Heat)

Leno Phillips "Confusion" (Dash)

Tiny Watkins "Run run run" (Goodie Train)

Ron Van Horn "We've just got to get together again" (Rav)

Earth Child "It's our day" (Marjon)

Wee "Try me" (Owl)

After that Mark, Steve and Gareth take over for a shared set, rotating every two records, and the evening builds to it's climax. At 11.00 I'm off to Liverpool Street for the train home. As I stumble home from Cheshunt station in a not exactly complete straight line, I make another Alan Partridge like note to file "Don't drink so much beer"

A very friendly little venue, with a loyal following and the set up works admirably.

My next task is to clear out a space in the record room so that you can get from the door to the record deck without needing to be a Master PhD in "Twister", or risking stepping on a pile of records . I need to do this for the impending arrival of Sam next week prior to our trip to the Luanco weekender - I know he'll make a bee line for the record room when he gets here, so time is of the essence.

Lifeline Weekender 10th Feb

Posted by Steve G, 11 February 2007

Ah....a Saturday afternoon "collectors set" - an excuse to play some things that I don't often get a chance to play, and not too much dance floor pressure either......As a collector first and occasional DJ second, I am cool with this.

So having heard nothing but positive feedback about last year's event, I am looking forward very much to this one. I've decided to play a mainly 60's set, and on telling a couple of friends I am told "don't forget to pack your 70s as well Steve"!

Other commitments, including a dinner out with the Missus on Saturday night, means that I am travelling up to Retford and back in a day. No great shakes in itself, except it's pouring with rain, and I hate going fast in the wet

A few years ago I got a Sat Nav thingy for an Xmas present, and as someone with a bloodhound type ability to suss out exactly where to go, I haven't used it much. Oh, and after the experience coming back from Prestatyn a few years ago where it directed me into a dead end with a Rest Home in the middle of the night and then got totally confused with itself in what seemed like a maze of country lanes in the middle of North Wales.

Anyway the missus suggests this would be an ideal opportunity to use it, notwithstanding the fact that I know exactly where I am going. Despite being literally a straight line journey once I am on the A1, the Sat Nav is being argumentative and it takes me until past Bedford before the lady stops telling me to go back the way I came.....so I switch it off.

As I approach the venue it miraculously stops raining. Arriving at Lifeline at the Old Belle hotel, I am first impressed by the size of the place. Looking for familiar cars as I enter the car park, I know I am at the right place when I see Sam's old gold lamme coloured Ford Charabanc estate parked up. I park up near James Troubles RX8 - my dirty and dusty old black model suddenly looks great near his his girly red one - and go inside.

The venue is a nice old hotel, with lounges, and everyone sitting around chilling out. No sign of any music, and that's down the corridor in another part of the hotel - so having said a few quick "hellos" and catching up with the Nottingham Mafia, sorry Mayfield's , I make my way to the the other side of the hotel and the hall where the music is, and start to trawl through the sales boxes. It's quite a large hall with tables and chairs around the edges of the dancefloor, and a largish room with a bar out the back where the record dealers are. Arthur has some good bargains which Sam quickly snaps up. I settle down for an afternoon listening , chilling and talking to as diverse a group as Sam, Arthur, Maria, Claire, Dave and Malyka, Alison and Johnny One Trout, Mick H, Cliff Steele, and Herts own R&BMan, and a few others. I also say "hello" and "goodbye" to James Trouble who'se heading back south for another DJ booking in the evening. Everyone is saying how good Friday night was - a sure sign of a top weekender.

Having missed most of the first couple of afternoon DJ's, I make a point of paying attention to Big Dave Flemings set. Now Dave has some great records and he stuns us all a bit by playing the Delegates of Soul version of "Lucky man". Maria and myself agree this is far better than Charles Mintz's version of the song, which is the one I'd been hammering ever since filing the Delegates away on the shelves some years ago. OK Mintz's version of "Running back" pees all over the Delegates, but flip it over and the reverse is true. Time to dig that one out again then. Dave also plays things like The LaDellics on Mojo, and Eula Cooper's sublime Tragar outing "Try", which we agree never really had it's day.

Steve Green from Glos is next and plays a strong northern set, including Eddie Billups "Ask my heart", Ernie Johnson on Artco, some cover ups and The Poets "Wrapped around your lampost". In the last ten minutes before he finishes I bore him senseless with tales of being dragged to Kingsholm, freezing afternoons in the Shed chanting "Glaw-Ster" and what I'd charitably describe as questioning the sexual practices of the referee (all the refs are biased against Gloucester in the RFU)....oh and getting lost in Tredworth (a rare occasion when the Sat Nav might have been useful).

Anyway my time comes at 4 pm. By now more people have suggested I play some 70s, so I take their advice and settle on 40 mins of 60s and 20 mins of 70s. In other words a compromise. I decide to kick off with a couple of better known items that have been going well for me in Herts in the last few months, before concerntrating on some lesser played oldies and semi / unknowns.......which I don't often get a chance to play outside of my front room.

Sam is in the wings giving me ratings on the records as I play them. His scoring is nothing if not confusing. Three fingers raised means it's good, five fingers raised means it excellent, and two fingers reversed - well you work it out.....

After my hour is up I hand the decks over to the the capable custody of Teff, and do a quick tour of the record dealers. I notice Dave Greenhill with a big grin on his face, it can only be because Charlton have beaten Man Utd, or Palace have lost at Leeds.....Silly me, Palace lost at the bottom club Leeds, and so I start chanting my oft rehearsed mantra about Peter Taylor being crepe as a manager and bringing back Sir Steve Coppell to SE25. I leave Dave to his celebrations (Charlton did lose, but hey, they do that every week), and make a couple of swift purchases from young Butch and Andy, have a quick chat in the dinner room, and then head for home and my own dinner. As I leave the car park it starts raining again, and then proceeds to bucket it down all the way home.

Having only been on a whistle stop visit, what I saw lived up to all I had been told. Nice venue, friendly and knowledgable crowd, very relaxed, good food and plenty de vinyl. Also an excellent sound system - loud and clear. Next year I shall be booking in for the whole weekend, and I would recommend it to anyone that wants to hear quality 60s and 70s soul.

Here's what I played:


Accents "Who you gonna love" (Onederful)

Appointments "I saw you there" (Delite)

Janice Joyce "He's tough enough" (Buddah) - hard edged northern girly sound

Barons "Love is so real" (Mode) Their second release on the label - goes down well in Europe

Blenders "Your love has got me down" (Mar V Lus)

Honey & The Bees "I didn't know" (Virtue acetate)

Cooperettes "Win all your love" (IDB)

Derek Martin "Show me that you miss me" (Associated)

Total Darkness "What's it gonna be" (Mel O Mega) Same backing as Fred Mark "I'm coming home" but much more soulful

Richard Marks "Did you ever lose something (Tuska)

Sammy King "Your old stand by" (MarAThon)

Multiple Choice "I wouldn't be crying" Gemini

21st Century "Can I take you home" (Acetate) - same tune different words to one of their Dot releases

Exotics "Nobody could love you more" (acetate)


Frankie Sanders "Carry on" (acetate)

Guitar Ray "Don't change your love for me" (Cover up)

Daybreak "Stay" (Cover up)

Jimmy Lee Jones "Love sweet love" (acetate) - an old spin from a few years ago which I've now reactivated

Allison "Who'se # 1, who'se #2 (ANSAP) - heavy 70s soul with a mid pace beat

Joe Hinton "Go on be a star" (As One)

Black Nasty "Make believe girl" (Cover up)


Bernard Drake "I've been untrue" (La Louissianne)

Right, I am now of to pack the box with some different stuff ready for Mark Houghton's "New Chapter" later in the month....

Letchworth Irish Club 19 Jan 2007

Posted by Steve G, 27 January 2007 ·

Letchworth Irish Club Friday 19th January

The triple birthday bash for Toby, Taffy and R&Bman.......so we're gonna paaaaarrrtttyyy!

This is a new venue for me, so I drive by instinct to find it, but do so with remarkable ease....meaning that I arrive unfashionably early. However there are already about 50 in there, and Pete Widdison is on, spinning sounds like Terry Callier "Ordinary Joseph" - people are already starting to dance and the sun has barely crossed the yard arm. Strewth, this is going to be a lively night. I get my bottle of water from the bar and start talking to some of the folks.

Before long the place is heaving, and it looks like nearly everyone who's anyone from the northern scene south of the Midlands and east of Swindon is here - and the Hertfordshire crowd are out in force as well with plenty of folks you don't normally see out. Time to wind up old Dave Grenhill about Iain Dowie's "successful" period at Clowntown Pathetic, but Dave is having none of it - pointing out that we're not exactly doing well this season either - touche!

Anyway Andy BB, Pete Burton and Molly all do really great sets,

Here's Pete Burton's

Belles - Don't Pretend - Mirwood

Arthur Freeman - You Got Me Uptight - Jumbo

Honey & The Bees - Dynamite Exploded - Arctic

Inspirations - Your Wish Is My Command - Midas

Phil Terrell - Love Has Passed Me By - Carnival

Lost Soul - Secret Of Mine - Raven

Tokays - Baby, Baby, Baby - Brute

Honey Bees - Let's Get Back Together - Garrison Demo

Barbara Jean & Lyrics - Why Weren't You There - Big Hit

Reatha Reese - Only Lies - Dot

Robert Tanner - Sweet Memories - Megatone

Molly finishes with Corey Blake "I can't go on without you", so I think I'll follow with another crossover style record and start with Milton Parker "Women like it harder", which.......nearly clears the floor - GULP. Trying to look unphased I decide that it's time for something the crowd know well - Jimmy Burns "I really love you" which gets a few shaking their good things. From then on I realise what I should know anyway - namely this is a party crowd so not too much of the dangerous stuff tonight - I play a safe set.

Milton Parker "Women like it harder" (Closet)

Jimmy Burns "I really love you" (Erica)

Gene Toones "What more do you want" (Simco)

4 Voices "Our love is getting stronger" (Voice)

Mixed EMotions "Gold of my life" (Rockway)

7th Avenue Aviators "You should o held on" (Congress)

Thelma Houston "Baby mine" (Capitol)

Nicky Newarkers "Woman" (Mercury)

Pinch of Perfection "All that's left is memories" (G&W)

Guitar Ray "We just keep rolling on" (cover up)

Charles Mintz "Running back" (Uplook)

Appoitments "I saw you there" (Delite)

Jock Mitchell "Not a chance in a million" (Impact)

Mel Williams "Sweet girl of mine" (Buddah)

Wee "Try me" (Owl)

Bobby Kline "Say something nice to me" (MB)

Taffy rounds things off with a 70s set - Loo Curtain "Heaven in the afternoon", Carol Anderson "Sad girl", Charles Johnson and Archie Bell & The Drells.

Happy birthday to the three amigos - we all go home happy.

Bass Museum Dec 27th 2006

Posted by Steve G, 27 January 2007 ·

What a way to round off 2006....the Bass has a really strong line up in the 70s and 80s room, Goucher, Colin, Arthur Fenn, Sam and little old moi. I travel up mid afternoon picking up Claire at MK Coachways.....I've packed a box of largely unknown and semi known 70s and 80s - and I am looking forward to playing some new sounds - if you can't push the envelope at the Bass where can you?

As the evening builds we get a good crowd in, and even Keith Minshull puts in an appearance somewhat surprisingly. I meet Simon M, who'se come up from the smoke with Gary Lee and Paul Phillips....have a nice chat to those guys over a bottle of mineral water (I am on an emergency health kick after a serious bollocking from my quack, and the threat of a life on pills unless I get my BP down below about 190/120 or whatever it is)....Sam is buzzing over Visions of a New World and his Noah and the Arks cover up (which he'd told me about at Letchworth).....Anyway the evening builds and builds, and then I suddenly realise I am on last, right at the end - shute - not the best time to break anything new, and so I start trying to remember what better known sounds didn't get culled when I re-packed the record box. I have these visions of my kicking out all the better known dancefloor fillers, but am sure I must have left a few in there, surely? Being last also means I will have a formidable line up of jocks ahead of me on the decks - being someone who won't duplicate, I hope they leave me something to play! Gouch gets the dancefloor moving with sounds like Bottom & Co, followed by Arthur who kicks off with "Ice" and follows it with the Nurons, which he tells me he got for a relatively reasonable price on e-bay. How on earth did I miss that? Working too hard again - note to diary get the work life balance right and find time to go on e-bay at least three times a week!

Anway after an excellent set old Arfa hands over to Sammy boy who'se on for 90 minutes......Sam's plays a mix of his rarities - Tolbert, Natural Impulse, Fluourescent Smogg etc. and then moves on to mix in some classic party tunes and dancefloor winners - Harold Melvin, Phyllis Hyman etc.By now the dancefloor is really moving......Oh gawd how do I follow this lot? Mind you still no sign of Noah and the Arks! I vow that I will hear this record one day...

Anyway the witching hour arrives and I start with one that's well known but one which neither Arthur or Sam played, "Treasure Mind". Being me, I am determined to play something new, but as the last hour wears on the place starts to thin out somewhat. Good reaction though on my Guitar Ray cover up, so that one's got some legs.....Reverting to some better known sounds including Earthchild "It's our day"I bring proceedings to a close at 1 am with what I consider to be a gorgeous slow number by Bernard Drake "I've been untrue" - this is the dogs roundthings in terms of quality slow end midtempo soul, and already in the playbox for Soul Essence.

This was very well attended and I am already looking forward to the next one in April.

Letchworth 4 Emblems 5th December 2006

Posted by Steve G, 27 January 2007 ·

4 Emblems Club - Letchworth Dec 5 2006

Letchworth is a quick half hour down the road for me, and local residency club wise, if such a thing exists in 2006. The 4 Emblems is a change of venue, as up until now Big O has booked the Plinston. Good as the Plinston is, unless you get 350+ in, it's hard to get an atmosphere going as people play wallflower around the edge of the dancefloor - it's too big a place really....Anyway it's a rainy and dark pre Christmas Friday night and on parking the Batmobile, I go up the stairs and in, meeting Toby and Taff - two stalwarts of the Letchworth scene, and of course Big O who'se DJing. Sam is already ensconsed with his sales boxes. Pete Burton and Dave Halsall are also 'selling' and Sam snaps up Dave Hassle's (as I affectionately call him) copy of George Hobson....Sam's telling me about his Noah and the Arks cover up, which he says he is going to play later....Taffy takes over behind the decks and kicks off with High and Mighty on Chelsea, one of several copies unearthed by Toby....We discuss this record, someone's just paid a fortune for one, and I remember getting my copy from Des Toussaint for £6 at one of his record fairs a few years ago.....those were the days top Philly dancer for £6...

Anyway the 4 Emblems is a long quite thin club, with a capacity of 150, and they've sold all the tickets....The bar is at the far end, and in the corner, and has really cheap prices - a round for the lads and the girl is giving me change out of a tenner - wow. The toilets are near the DJ stage, another improvement over the Plinston, where getting caught short after a few ales meant spinning a record over 3 minutes long and sprinting round the place like a demented chicken, to have any chance of getting back before the record fades out. I know some DJ's pee in their pint glasses, but I've found the beer never tastes the same afterwards. The week before I saw Mick Smith (Dick Sniff as he is affectionately known!), and he was thinking of coming, but the lure of a record fair on Saturday prevents this....

Taffy does a great little 70s set,and Pete Burton follows him with an excellent mix of 60's northern. Neither of these guys get enough bookings for my money. Ayway I am up next and go with a mix of 60s and 70s, known and unknown, kicking off with the Imperial C's. Herb Ward "Honest to goodness" goes down a real storm - bbetter than I thought it would. It's at this point that James Trouble comes up and tells me to slow the decks down. I point out that they are on "0", but on listening to Herbie he's right, it's a fast dancer at the best of times and speeded up to 48 rpm makes it nearly impossible to keep up with. It dawns on me The Big O has cut about a bit of the drive belt on the turntable and so speeded the decks up, so although it looks like they are playing at the right speed, they're actually playing faster. How cunning is that!.....By now I am firmly on a Philly kick and out of the box comes "The jokes on you" by Kenny Gamble.

Of the lesser known 60's a couple of things go down well on their first spin, and this I feel really good about. On the 70's front the first spin for my Guitar Ray cover up - which I had bought about three weeks previously, It's got a few dancing and a couple of folks coming up to the decks, including Sammy which is really encouraging, The Third Wish also goes down well for a sound that most people don't know real well (depsite not being rare or expensive). I can't make my mind up about this, I am sure every spinner has records like that, that languish unplayed in record boxes - shall I play it, dare I play it etc.

Anyway the hour goes really quick, and I hand over to Sam who'se on for the last hour, keeping the dancefloor busy throughout, and closing proceedings down with one of the local anthems "Where will you go when the party's over" by Archie Drell and the Bells (as I affectionately call them!). However he doesn't play his Noah and the Arks cover up.....maybe another time.

This has been a great night out and everyone is saying that this HAS to be the replacement for El Plinston in 2007.

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