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Roger Eagle's View Of The Emerging Ns Scene

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Just thought I'd post up this extract from an excellent interview with Roger Eagle, considered by many, along with Guy Stevens, to be the Godfather of the British Soul Scene.

So the majority of the punters at the TW by 1967/8 were nothing more than a bunch of undiscerning, respect-lacking pill-heads who just demanded uptempo soul dance all night. :shades:

During 1966, you left The Wheel. Why?

Well, I left because they wouldn't pay me a decent wage. After three years hard graft for maybe £3 a night I asked for a fiver and they said they couldn't afford it. I was also getting bored with the music and there were a lot of pills going on. Kids were in trouble with the pills and all they wanted was that kind of fast tempo soul dance. So, I was very restricted with what I could play and I thought 'I'm not getting paid enough money to do this - I ain't going to do it no more'. So I left and immediately got paid a decent wage by Debbie Fogel at The Blue Note Club. I got a fiver a night for four nights, besides doing other things.

I was able to play the kind of music that I liked. The range of music. Whereas the pill freaks only wanted the same dance beat - which is what makes it so boring. Its okay you know there were some decent sounds but they made it so boring. You're trying to talk to kids who are off their heads all night on pills and its really hard. And the Abadis didn't want to pay me what I felt I was worth.

So you just completely disassociated from them ?

Gone. Yeah. I was a black music fanatic and I had respect for what I was dealing with - I don't think they did.

Full interview here: http://www.soulbot.com/roger-eagle.htm

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"...all they wanted was that kind of fast tempo soul dance...."

"... the pill freaks only wanted the same dance beat - which is what makes it so boring. there were some decent sounds but they made it so boring. You're trying to talk to kids who are off their heads all night on pills and its really hard.... Yeah. I was a black music fanatic and I had respect for what I was dealing with - I don't think they did."

Yeah. Sounds familiar... :rolleyes:

Edited by mel brat

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Well I guess if that was his opinion then you can't argue with that....modern day analogy would be pissed up punters in fancy dress demanding oldies all night :laugh:

I met Roger about 10 years ago in a record shop in Bangor, shortly before he died. He was still really enthusiastic about the music and we had a lengthy conversation about some of his favorite artists. Having seen some of his playlists from the Wheel he played quite a wide cross section of music, some of which would have no bearing on the scene as we know it, and which was then still in its infancy. Much of the RnB though, remains relevant today.

Edited by Stevie

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Well I guess if that was his opinion then you can't argue with that....modern day analogy would be pissed up punters in fancy dress demanding oldies all night laugh.gif

I met Roger about 10 years ago in a record shop in Bangor, shortly before he died. He was still really enthusiastic about the music and we had a lengthy conversation about some of his favorite artists. Having seen some of his playlists from the Wheel he played quite a wide cross section of music, some of which would have no bearing on the scene as we know it, and which was then still in its infancy. Much of the RnB though, remains relevant today.

Although not so relevant back in the 70's.

Im not quite sure what actual tracks I was listening to back in '76 at Wigan and the Mecca but pretty sure those I liked were mainly Black Music albeit uptempo but they didn't all sound the same to me then and don't now.

I read Roger was putting Echo & Bunneymen, OMD and similar pop groups on in Liverpool at that time.

Back in '68/69 he was something to do with the Magic Village in Manchester which was an "underground" [rock] venue playing the Nice amongst others. Exactly the reason I got into soul in the first place cos 6th form was full of "underground" types listening to dreary music based on old blues riffs.

I too have spoken to him when he came down to my shop in Manchester back in the 90's. He didn't appear to have a clue about Northern and as that's mostly Black Music encompassing most of the major soul artists of past 40 odd years I'd question the tag "Black music fanatic", although I'd give him "Blues and R&B affectianado".

I don't think his views on the scene or the music carry any more weight than some other outsider with no experience or liking for the genre.

ROD

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Although not so relevant back in the 70's.

Im not quite sure what actual tracks I was listening to back in '76 at Wigan and the Mecca but pretty sure those I liked were mainly Black Music albeit uptempo but they didn't all sound the same to me then and don't now.

I read Roger was putting Echo & Bunneymen, OMD and similar pop groups on in Liverpool at that time.

Back in '68/69 he was something to do with the Magic Village in Manchester which was an "underground" [rock] venue playing the Nice amongst others. Exactly the reason I got into soul in the first place cos 6th form was full of "underground" types listening to dreary music based on old blues riffs.

I too have spoken to him when he came down to my shop in Manchester back in the 90's. He didn't appear to have a clue about Northern and as that's mostly Black Music encompassing most of the major soul artists of past 40 odd years I'd question the tag "Black music fanatic", although I'd give him "Blues and R&B affectianado".

I don't think his views on the scene or the music carry any more weight than some other outsider with no experience or liking for the genre.

ROD

Agree with everything you say Rod.

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Yeah, but for someone as heavily into Chicago Blues & R&B as he was (photographed with Muddy Waters & other Blues luminaries) I don't think it's unreasonable that he would have approved of people like Alexis Korner, then giving birth to a lively British R&B band scene. From what I can make out, he simply found what was to morph into 'Northern' to be something extremely limited in scope. He moved onto pastures new, so it's fairly obvious that he'd be largely ignorant of what happened at The Wheel and other likeminded venues after his departure.

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Yeah, but for someone as heavily into Chicago Blues & R&B as he was (photographed with Muddy Waters & other Blues luminaries) I don't think it's unreasonable that he would have approved of people like Alexis Korner, then giving birth to a lively British R&B band scene. From what I can make out, he simply found what was to morph into 'Northern' to be something extremely limited in scope. He moved onto pastures new, so it's fairly obvious that he'd be largely ignorant of what happened at The Wheel and other likeminded venues after his departure.

Well, he may have thought that it was limiting but 53 years on after his dismissal of the pill poppers?

I think what Im trying to say is that his views carry as much weight as those of Ginger Spice IMHO.

ROD

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Not sure - think he's got a new book out though?

I think ROGER EAGLE is one of those overplayed characters from the 60's who never had a real clue about the northern scene but just carries mythical status because of his orginal connection at the birth.

Isn't Ginger Spice a DJ from Burnley??

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in the 70s my brother managed a band they played support often at erics liverpool,so ah kid had me on the guest list most nights, i spent a lot of time there well just because 'i could', saw tons of bands there. at erics there was no shortage of drugs the beat was the same and so was the dancin' :D

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I thought this was an interesting interview , a real pioneer of the early Soul scene .Thanks for the link ,Best,Eddie

I think what kind of pisses me off Eddie, is that statement about 'pill heads'....

At the end of the day, the young mods, suedes, whatever you call them who went to The Wheel and danced were as much part of the creation of the Northern Soul scene as the DJ's who played there and at other venues. ACTUALLY they were more important in the bigger scheme of things....

EAGLE talks about them not having 'respect' for Black Music which, is patronising egotistical bollocks. Many of those people who went to The Wheel (And I was too young) are still turning out for do's and reunions today and some of them have spent a lifetime of devotion to Black American Soul music - Unlike EAGLE - who turned his nose up at the dancers out of what I concieve to be a misplaced snobbery.

What he should have said was 'I had no respect for the dancers at The Wheel'.

CUT TO: The best spoken intro our scene has ever produced!

'Dancing is one of the joys of Young America - and Young America has been responsible for starting most of the world's dance crazes!!'......etc, etc

The Wheel dancers were young and I believe were picking up instinctively on the spirit contained within the above lyrics. Our scene was and is a 'dance' scene and somebody who thinks that dancing is something to sneer at simply cannot claim to be a 'Black Music Fanatic'. That is both ridiculous and portraying an ignorance of social history. Dancing has been intrinsically linked to Black American popular music and culture since slavery and that long creative legacy, is what produced the immense trove of fantastic danceable Soul records that our scene celebrates and cherishes to this day.

To its credit, I might add.

To sneer at Dancers is not soulful. I suggest that ROGER EAGLE simply did not share the same passionate reaction to all those brilliant mid-late 6ts Soul dance tunes and as such, could not relate to those who loved them. And as for the drug insults, DO ME A FAVOUR - AND 'ERIC'S' WAS NOT FULL OF WHIZZING, PILLED UP, SPLIFF EATING, SGAGGED OUT SCALLIES in the 80s then, no? Did not seem to mind that did he, or is there something else coming to bear here?

Were the primarily working class lads and girls at The Wheel, a little too rough round the edges for Roger's liking? Did he feel the 'ERIC'S scene was somehow superior on an intellectual level?

So it was alright for people to be on drugs listening to the 'genius' of IAN McCULLOCH (BUNNYMAN frontman) and other quiff haired tossers who could not tie Lamont Dozier's bootlaces?

But not at a Soul do? I'd have liked to have interviewed him myself and posed those questions when he came out with all that bollocks.

Rant done lol!

Edited by chorleysoul

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I think what kind of pisses me off Eddie is that statement about 'pill heads'....

At the end of the day, the young mods, suedes, whatever you call them who went to The Wheel and danced were as much part of the creation of the Northern Soul scene as the DJ's who played there and at other venues. ACTUALLY they were more important in the bigger scheme of things....

Eagle talks about them not having 'respect' for Black Music which, is patronising egotistical bollocks. May of those people who went to The Wheel (And I was too young) are still turning out for do's and reunions today and some of them have spent a lifetime of devotion to Black American Soul music - Unlike EAGLE - who turned his nose up at the dancers out of what I concieve to be a misplaced snobbery.

CUT TO: The best spoken intro our scene has ever produced!

'Dancing is one of the joys of young America - and Young America has been responsible for starting most of the world's dance crazes!!'......etc, etc

The Wheel dancers were young and I believe were picking up instinctively on the spirit contained within the above lyrics. Our scene was and is a 'dance' scene and somebody who thinks that dancing is something to sneer at simply cannot claim to be a 'Black Music Fanatic'. That is both ridiculous and ignorant of social history. Dancing has been intrinsically linked to Black American popular music and culture since slavery and that long creative legacy, is what produced the immense trove of fantastic danceable Soul records that our scene celebrates and cherishes to this day.

To its credit, I might add.

To sneer at Dancers is not soulful. And as for the drug insults, DO ME A FAVOUR - AND 'UPSTAIRS AT ERIC'S' WAS NOT FULL OF WHIZZING, PILLED UP, SPLIFF EATING, SGAGGED OUT SCALLIES in the 80s then no? Did not seem to mind that did he, or is there something else coming to bear here?

Were the primarily working class lads at The Wheel a little too rough round the edges for Roger's liking? Did he feel the 'ERIC'S scene was somehow superior on an intellectual level?

So it was alright for people to be on drugs listening to the 'genius' of IAN McCULLOCH (BUNNYMAN frontman) and other quiff haired tossers who could not tie Lamont Dozier's bootlaces?

But not at a Soul do? I'd have liked to have interviewed him myself and posed those questions when he came out with all that bollocks.

Rant done lol!

Excellent post,still lots of old faces about,several are members on here,all still fully into the music,and some can still dance(but feel it in the morning/next day)atb,Steve

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in the 70s my brother managed a band they played support often at erics liverpool,so ah kid had me on the guest list most nights, i spent a lot of time there well just because 'i could', saw tons of bands there. at erics there was no shortage of drugs the beat was the same and so was the dancin' :wink:

'No shortage of drugs?' No in fact there was a much wider variety than at The Wheel and even the Northern venues of the 70's. Think this proves the validity of my previous statements regarding the pioneer Mr Eagle.

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Roger kicked off hundreds of what later became NS classics but liked to mix them up with his love for the funkier stuff and Rythm & Blues so he knew plenty about all genres.

He obviously wanted to play a variety and fell out of love with the scene at the Wheel with the younger generation just wanting the more uptempo sounds so he was disillusioned thus is comments.

It's quite understandable so he moved to the Blue Note where the crowd was a bit older and more drink than drugs influenced and a more eclectric mix of soul was played.

He certainly was no overplayed charachter in fact the opposite with all that he contributed to many different scenes I don't think anyone comes close, a true legend.

Regards Brian

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Roger kicked off hundreds of what later became NS classics but liked to mix them up with his love for the funkier stuff and Rythm & Blues so he knew plenty about all genres.

He obviously wanted to play a variety and fell out of love with the scene at the Wheel with the younger generation just wanting the more uptempo sounds so he was disillusioned thus is comments.

It's quite understandable so he moved to the Blue Note where the crowd was a bit older and more drink than drugs influenced and a more eclectric mix of soul was played.

He certainly was no overplayed charachter in fact the opposite with all that he contributed to many different scenes I don't think anyone comes close, a true legend.

Regards Brian

Seconded!

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To be fair to Roger, I think his comments were made because he was frustrated that only a narrow style (and tempo) of music was accepted by the masses. He obviously wanted people to embrace a wider spectrum of soul and black music.

I remember many soul fans being similarly frustrated at The Casino, for example, when it got to the point that they'd play any fast track rather than a good soul (or pop-soul) track.

There have always been these issues because some people are into soul and black music and some are only into a particular sub-genre such as 'northern', 'modern', 'deep funk' or whatever.

Drug use fueled a demand for faster tempos and that obviously restricted Roger's playlist. I think he was entitled to his views.

Best regards,

Paul Mooney

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Im a bit confused here.

If he left the Wheel in '66 how could he have contributed to hundreds of NS classics? When I became aware in late 68 there weren't that many records being played. Mostly those that had come out on UK labels [but not all had been discovered then] and the lesser known Motown. By '69 the RicTic things were coming in around Manchester along with others I used to hear at the Poco-a-Poco on a Sunday night or the Moon [Duckinfield] and Birdcage [Ashton], I suspect because of Mr. Phillips if anyone remembers his lists. Im assuming those were also Wheel records as a lot of guys who went there were also at those local do's.

I presume lots of disco djs in the 60's all over the country would have been playing latest soul releases back in '66 albeit with an emphasis on Stax/Atlantic/Chess/Motown so it wasn't like he was a lone voice in the wilderness. I remember Joe Tex, Wilson Pickett, Motown etc alongside pop back in '66 when I went to my first "grown-up" disco.

From '69 onwards I'd say it snowballed and it became hundreds and then thousands. Roger had left it all behind by then hadn't he?

As for drug fueled uptempo records Tami Lynn or Tams anyone. Same at Wigan. Tony Middleton, George Kirby, John Bowie?

ROD

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Im a bit confused here.

If he left the Wheel in '66 how could he have contributed to hundreds of NS classics? When I became aware in late 68 there weren't that many records being played. Mostly those that had come out on UK labels [but not all had been discovered then] and the lesser known Motown. By '69 the RicTic things were coming in around Manchester along with others I used to hear at the Poco-a-Poco on a Sunday night or the Moon [Duckinfield] and Birdcage [Ashton], I suspect because of Mr. Phillips if anyone remembers his lists. Im assuming those were also Wheel records as a lot of guys who went there were also at those local do's.

I presume lots of disco djs in the 60's all over the country would have been playing latest soul releases back in '66 albeit with an emphasis on Stax/Atlantic/Chess/Motown so it wasn't like he was a lone voice in the wilderness. I remember Joe Tex, Wilson Pickett, Motown etc alongside pop back in '66 when I went to my first "grown-up" disco.

From '69 onwards I'd say it snowballed and it became hundreds and then thousands. Roger had left it all behind by then hadn't he?

As for drug fueled uptempo records Tami Lynn or Tams anyone. Same at Wigan. Tony Middleton, George Kirby, John Bowie?

ROD

Very well put Rod, but was it not Martin Koppal one of the 1st people to take imports to the wheel.

I was too youg to go but that is what I got told.

Dave.

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Im a bit confused here.

If he left the Wheel in '66 how could he have contributed to hundreds of NS classics? When I became aware in late 68 there weren't that many records being played. Mostly those that had come out on UK labels [but not all had been discovered then] and the lesser known Motown. By '69 the RicTic things were coming in around Manchester along with others I used to hear at the Poco-a-Poco on a Sunday night or the Moon [Duckinfield] and Birdcage [Ashton], I suspect because of Mr. Phillips if anyone remembers his lists. Im assuming those were also Wheel records as a lot of guys who went there were also at those local do's.

I presume lots of disco djs in the 60's all over the country would have been playing latest soul releases back in '66 albeit with an emphasis on Stax/Atlantic/Chess/Motown so it wasn't like he was a lone voice in the wilderness. I remember Joe Tex, Wilson Pickett, Motown etc alongside pop back in '66 when I went to my first "grown-up" disco.

From '69 onwards I'd say it snowballed and it became hundreds and then thousands. Roger had left it all behind by then hadn't he?

As for drug fueled uptempo records Tami Lynn or Tams anyone. Same at Wigan. Tony Middleton, George Kirby, John Bowie?

ROD

Hi Rod,He was playing all the English classics such as Bobby Sheen,Alexander Patten,The Invitations, Homer Banks,Bobby Bland,Gene Chandler,Shirley Ellis , American Poets,Major Lance,Art Freeman,James Carr,Sharpes,Thw Tams,The Spellbinders,The Saphires,just to name a few plus all Motown stuff and just to much to mention their wasn.t much he would have missed on English plus he was importing stuff.

By 1969?70 we had 100's of imports and their wasn't much uk stuff left to find to my knowledge,

Regards Brian

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Hi Rod,He was playing all the English classics such as Bobby Sheen,Alexander Patten,The Invitations, Homer Banks,Bobby Bland,Gene Chandler,Shirley Ellis , American Poets,Major Lance,Art Freeman,James Carr,Sharpes,Thw Tams,The Spellbinders,The Saphires,just to name a few plus all Motown stuff and just to much to mention their wasn.t much he would have missed on English plus he was importing stuff.

By 1969?70 we had 100's of imports and their wasn't much uk stuff left to find to my knowledge,

Regards Brian

Well we agree on that then. But by '68 according to interview he's at the Magic Village. I still contend that he wasn't "instrumental" in the birth of Northern. I met plenty of guys with those records back when I was starting out. From what I read in '66 the Wheel wasn't the only place to be playing those records so Im sure there are plenty of unsung heroes who contributed too.

Of course being from Manchester I would say that the Wheel was responsible for kick-starting the Northern scene in late 60's but that was you and a few others wasn't it?

What about Al Devine. Did you know him? DJ at the Moon.

ROD

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I started in Northants in early 69 and that scene had been about a few years already. Though the Wheel was accepted to be the brand leader it was far from influencing the scene like Wigan did in the 70s and when it closed down it only slightly strengthened our scene with more northerners coming down as one of the few areas to still have nighters.

I'm sure Roger was a major contributor to the rare black music scene in general and especially in the north. i can see why some people are pissed off at his putting down the early Wheel scene but he'd probably had enough by then and wanted a change. His dissing is possibly symptomatic of not understanding it fully and the same happened in London, long time enthusiasts didn't like the new kids turning up records they hadn't seen before and not playing by the established authority's rules. Which is of course was what Dave Godin being an anarchist loved about it.

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Well we agree on that then. But by '68 according to interview he's at the Magic Village. I still contend that he wasn't "instrumental" in the birth of Northern. I met plenty of guys with those records back when I was starting out. From what I read in '66 the Wheel wasn't the only place to be playing those records so Im sure there are plenty of unsung heroes who contributed too.

Of course being from Manchester I would say that the Wheel was responsible for kick-starting the Northern scene in late 60's but that was you and a few others wasn't it?

What about Al Devine. Did you know him? DJ at the Moon.

ROD

I agree with your 'contention', I know a lovely lady in her 60s who used to run a club in Southampton in 1966-69 and she has a superb british collection from those days including many of the UK issues mentioned in this thread and you are absolutely right - all over the country in various little corners, there were DJ'S and soul fans picking up on all the UK stuff. Interestingly she gets slightly annoyed when those records are referred to as 'Northern' because she says things like The American Poets were being played in her club years before anybody used that term! Which of course we all know is true i.e given that MR GODIN did not give us injections of that phrasing until several years later. That at a time when EAGLE was long departed from the Wheel scene....(And her club was of course over 200 miles from Manchester!)...

Therefore it seems logical to state that whilst he may have been an early champion of American Blues/Soul in general, he actually made a conscious decison to move away from the scene as it began to develop the characteristics which GODIN would later poetically define. As I stated earlier, the Northern Soul scene began, flourished and remains an ESSENTIALLY DANCE BASED culture. In its dedication and fanaticism for dancing it reflects many earlier Black American popular 'scenes' including R/B, JIVE AND JITTERBUG and even earlier fashions and movements from the late 19th century onwards. If somebody was at odds with the desires of the dancers when they were getting off to things like 'Darkest Days' then I too contend they cannot be crowned 'founders' of what GODIN recognised as 'Northern Soul'.

Whether people like it or not, the fundamental passion of 'Northern' is contained within a record's ability to fill the dancefloor.

Time may well have widened the musical boundaries, the tempos may have slowed to (admirably) accomadate taste and AGE(!!!!) but Northern Soul as a collective scene can only last whilst there are still people ready to celebrate the spirit of their youth - and as Black America has always known, the best way to do that is.....OUT ON THE FLOOR!

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I started in Northants in early 69 and that scene had been about a few years already. Though the Wheel was accepted to be the brand leader it was far from influencing the scene like Wigan did in the 70s and when it closed down it only slightly strengthened our scene with more northerners coming down as one of the few areas to still have nighters.

I'm sure Roger was a major contributor to the rare black music scene in general and especially in the north. i can see why some people are pissed off at his putting down the early Wheel scene but he'd probably had enough by then and wanted a change. His dissing is possibly symptomatic of not understanding it fully and the same happened in London, long time enthusiasts didn't like the new kids turning up records they hadn't seen before and not playing by the established authority's rules. Which is of course was what Dave Godin being an anarchist loved about it.

Which diplomatically Ady, is a nice way of saying he probably had a snobbish attitude to the dancers and thought that the uptempo, dance-orientated Soul that they craved, was an inferior concoction compared to Deep Soul, the blues and the rest of the genres....

But it was that 'Uptown', uptempto, dance flavoured strain, that GODIN christened and championed as 'Northern' Soul.

The very strain of Soul, that apparently led to EAGLE'S departure from the scene. It does seem rather odd, to me at least then to hail him as one of the founding Father's of 'Northern'!

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Its quite right to say Roger was loosing interest in the more uptempo beat that certain elements of the all nigher crowd were demanding but he knew a lot more about it than people seem to think on here.

In the late 60's soul was being played everywhere but the all nighter scene was different to normal club hours scene.Most clubs played the classic motown sprinkled with a few more comon tunes from the more collectable scene added to re released mid 60's rarer favourites.

With the closure of the Wheel hundreds of the all night crowd were looking for a new scene a lot off the collector types went to the Catacombs,Up the Junction sprung up for a while,the Mecca opened and The Torch benefited the most.

Regards Brian

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Its quite right to say Roger was loosing interest in the more uptempo beat that certain elements of the all nigher crowd were demanding but he knew a lot more about it than people seem to think on here.

In the late 60's soul was being played everywhere but the all nighter scene was different to normal club hours scene.Most clubs played the classic motown sprinkled with a few more comon tunes from the more collectable scene added to re released mid 60's rarer favourites.

With the closure of the Wheel hundreds of the all night crowd were looking for a new scene a lot off the collector types went to the Catacombs,Up the Junction sprung up for a while,the Mecca opened and The Torch benefited the most.

Regards Brian

I am sure that ROGER EAGLE was an extremely knowledgeable guy for that period, I am merely saying that it is crystal clear from his own comments that the elements that became the blueprint for the bona-fide 'Northern Soul' scene, were actually the factors that led to him departing the scene.

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I knew Roger in the late 70's and for a few months I didn't even know he had anything to do with the soul scene even though I was still going to Wigan and knew about the Torch, he just never spoke about it 'til I found some records belonging to him in the club.

Eventually we would swap tapes, his were more bluesy R&B stuff, eg Gino Wahington live...The Stax Volt tour...Bobby Bland etc, the tapes I gave him were what would be considered NS classics and I must admit he didn't say much...though he raved about anything to do with Bridges Knight Eaton.

Maybe he was just jaded with the scene (I know I was myself not long after, and this happened to a lot of NS fans before they came back home), and dont forget there was a brilliant alternative music scene at the time ( Buzzcocks, Clash etc).

As an aside, I think the NS scene is now more soulful than it ever was, the fans seem to be a lot more discerning with age(and arthritis:sad:) , so maybe if he was around today he'd have a different view of things.

Edited by isis

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I must admit, I'm swayed by Chorleysoul and modernRod. Roger Eagle: black music pioneer but not particularly Northern Soul pioneer, it sounds like he'd be happy with that too.

I think that sums it up perfectly.

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I must admit, I'm swayed by Chorleysoul and modernRod. Roger Eagle: black music pioneer but not particularly Northern Soul pioneer, it sounds like he'd be happy with that too.

I think I'd concurr with that as well. All the stories which I've heard from a couple of people who interviewed him pretty much point to exactly the above, namely he was a Black Music Pioneer for sure. Actually as part of the generation that came up directly after Roger's reign, I 100% absolutely wanted the fast stuff - who wouldn't when they're 15 and full of fire?

Also, I found it interesting that he then went on to found Eric's in Liverpool which was about the most none-Soul gig you could get. I think he only pulled out his Soul collection to specific friends and acquaintances in the mid to late 70's, Mick Hucknall being a prime pupil if I what I've read is true.

Also, here's a direct quote from Bill Brewster's interview with Roger shortly before his death in May 1999:

"I started Northern Soul, but I actually find the music very limiting because in the early days I'd play a Charlie Mingus record, then I'd play a Bluebeat disc followed by a Booker T tune, then a Muddy Waters or Bo Diddley record. Gradually, there was this blanding out to one sort of sound. When I started DJing I could play what I wanted. But after three years I had to keep to the same tempo, which is what Northern Soul is".

So a 'lil too eclectic methinks for the hoards of snotty-nosed kids like me that were demanding MILLION-MILE-PER-HOUR STOMPERS LOL.....

Also, he was from a totally different generation - the same school as the Stones, John Mayall, Alexis Korner etc, etc, where Blues was their touchstone in the late 50's/early 60's, so naturally the next generation along rebelled and demanded faster records. It was merely natural evolution. It sounds as if the Northern Soul thing was almost an accident which was dictated by the dancefloors @ the Wheel which of course would have been full of 16-20 year olds off their heads and wanting to dance..........

Res ipsa loquitur - it speaks for itself..........

Ian D biggrin.gif

Edited by Ian Dewhirst

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I knew Roger in the late 70's and for a few months I didn't even know he had anything to do with the soul scene even though I was still going to Wigan and knew about the Torch, he just never spoke about it 'til I found some records belonging to him in the club.

Eventually we would swap tapes, his were more bluesy R&B stuff, eg Gino Wahington live...The Stax Volt tour...Bobby Bland etc, the tapes I gave him were what would be considered NS classics and I must admit he didn't say much...though he raved about anything to do with Bridges Knight Eaton.

Maybe he was just jaded with the scene (I know I was myself not long after, and this happened to a lot of NS fans before they came back home), and dont forget there was a brilliant alternative music scene at the time ( Buzzcocks, Clash etc).

As an aside, I think the NS scene is now more soulful than it ever was, the fans seem to be a lot more discerning with age(and arthritissad.gif) , so maybe if he was around today he'd have a different view of things.

Yes, I think you are right on that last point...

But I think that was what made DAVE GODIN the actual visionary when it came to the Northern scene. In utter contrast to EAGLE'S comments, GODIN'S writings of the time were clearly celebrating the youthful energy and passions at play on the Northern dancefloors and as somebody else has already pointed out, his political education readily allowed him to enjoy youth unseating established orders, spokemen and icons.

Given his burning commitment to Deep Soul, I think also that GODIN would have hoped (AND WOULD BE PROVED VERY RIGHT IN DOING SO) that the young floorshakers passion for Soul 'dancers' would eventually mature into a wider and lifelong commitment to a fuller spectrum of American Soul Music.

Age, maturity and knowledge has indeed seen a deep appreciation for many forms of Soul, emerge on behalf of the original Northern dance brigade. I think DAVE GODIN succinctly understood that the power and imagination of youth has to be given it's head for any Art form to flourish.

If ROGER EAGLE had indeed kept abreast of the elder Soul Statesmen of todays scene - and importantly - listened to the vast width of material the scene has turned over, in the past 4 decades, I too believe he might have re-adjusted his position on the original Northern Soul scene.

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If ROGER EAGLE had indeed kept abreast of the elder Soul Statesmen of todays scene - and importantly - listened to the vast width of material the scene has turned over, in the past 4 decades, I too believe he might have re-adjusted his position on the original Northern Soul scene.

Yep, I think you're right. If anything, the new discoveries of the last 20 years or so would be more up his street than the stuff from the 70's and more towards his original comfort zone I reckon............

Ian D :D

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here's a direct quote from Bill Brewster's interview with Roger shortly before his death in May 1999:

"I started Northern Soul, but I actually find the music very limiting because in the early days I'd play a Charlie Mingus record, then I'd play a Bluebeat disc followed by a Booker T tune, then a Muddy Waters or Bo Diddley record. Gradually, there was this blanding out to one sort of sound. When I started DJing I could play what I wanted. But after three years I had to keep to the same tempo, which is what Northern Soul is".

So a 'lil too eclectic methinks for the hoards of snotty-nosed kids like me that were demanding MILLION-MILE-PER-HOUR STOMPERS LOL.....

Ian D :D

Was'nt that in Bill's book? I suppose at the end of the day it's all down to individual tastes, I'm just one of those weirdos who thinks that certain records by SAM WILLIAMS, RONNIE McNEIR, WILLIE HUTCH, JACKIE WILSON, LIL BRYANT, MARY LOVE and various others are the BEST popular recordings ever cut to vinyl! Still don't mind throwing these old[er] legs around the dancefloor to'em either!!!

(I guess some people just never grow up - thank god!)

Edited by chorleysoul

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I agree with Ian's sentiments - Roger was from a totally different era and culture to teenagers who went to the Wheel in the mid to late 60s. Roger was from an intellectual background in Oxford and reacted in a bohemian way by getting into the 50s Jazz scene and then Blues and then R&B. He rode a motorbike to Manchester and got a job at the Kellogg's factory and rented a bedsit. Manchester had a big student / Beatnik / Trad etc scene that Roger realised was untapped. John Mayall, Cyril Davis, Chris Barber etc were his contemporaries, had Roger been a musician, I'm sure he would have gone in that direction.

I met Roger a couple of times and corresponded with him too. Roger's plans for the Wheel was an R&B club, along the lines of those springing up in Ealing, Richmond, Soho etc. Because the R&B stuff he was playing was so unusual and near on impossible to obtain, it was considered to be very cool by the club's clientelle. But things evolved, the Wheel became infamous, it became a cult club in a wild west city. It was regarded a bit like Wigan Casino was in the 70s.

As soon as Soul began to be popular and the `in` music at the Wheel and the cool, often Jewish stylists got out fast, due to the influx of the popular mass produced Mods, that is when Roger's reign of power and influence at the club began to wain. Roger's route into Soul music was `educated`, there was a whole swath of similar Soul enthusiasts - arm chair Soul fans not discotheque goers. Pete Wingfield, was a great example - a public school boy that had an obsessive passion for classic 60s Soul - but often preferred the slow flip to the dance tunes. Certainly not Alvin Cash or Jerry O.

But these guys were a minority, the majority of Soul fans of the mid 60s were just like me, unwashed, green, raw, simply interested in a good time and Tamla Motown and Ska were all part of the popular Soul mix. I was 15 in '65, a middle of the road, secondary modern chav and certainly didn't want educating by some high brow DJ. I just wanted anybody to keep slapping the dance tunes on when I was out. There was plenty of time for the slow stuff when you were at home!

Roger was an decent R&B guy who was swept up and passed over by folk like me. Roger disliked discotheque Soul, discotheque kids, discotheque culture in general. Roger could come across as being quite arrogant but I don't think he was - it was just that the `pure` route wasn't fashionable with the masses and he didn't like what evolution had thrown up.

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I agree with Ian's sentiments - Roger was from a totally different era and culture to teenagers who went to the Wheel in the mid to late 60s. Roger was from an intellectual background in Oxford and reacted in a bohemian way by getting into the 50s Jazz scene and then Blues and then R&B. He rode a motorbike to Manchester and got a job at the Kellogg's factory and rented a bedsit. Manchester had a big student / Beatnik / Trad etc scene that Roger realised was untapped. John Mayall, Cyril Davis, Chris Barber etc were his contemporaries, had Roger been a musician, I'm sure he would have gone in that direction.

I met Roger a couple of times and corresponded with him too. Roger's plans for the Wheel was an R&B club, along the lines of those springing up in Ealing, Richmond, Soho etc. Because the R&B stuff he was playing was so unusual and near on impossible to obtain, it was considered to be very cool by the club's clientelle. But things evolved, the Wheel became infamous, it became a cult club in a wild west city. It was regarded a bit like Wigan Casino was in the 70s.

As soon as Soul began to be popular and the `in` music at the Wheel and the cool, often Jewish stylists got out fast, due to the influx of the popular mass produced Mods, that is when Roger's reign of power and influence at the club began to wain. Roger's route into Soul music was `educated`, there was a whole swath of similar Soul enthusiasts - arm chair Soul fans not discotheque goers. Pete Wingfield, was a great example - a public school boy that had an obsessive passion for classic 60s Soul - but often preferred the slow flip to the dance tunes. Certainly not Alvin Cash or Jerry O.

But these guys were a minority, the majority of Soul fans of the mid 60s were just like me, unwashed, green, raw, simply interested in a good time and Tamla Motown and Ska were all part of the popular Soul mix. I was 15 in '65, a middle of the road, secondary modern chav and certainly didn't want educating by some high brow DJ. I just wanted anybody to keep slapping the dance tunes on when I was out. There was plenty of time for the slow stuff when you were at home!

Roger was an decent R&B guy who was swept up and passed over by folk like me. Roger disliked discotheque Soul, discotheque kids, discotheque culture in general. Roger could come across as being quite arrogant but I don't think he was - it was just that the `pure` route wasn't fashionable with the masses and he didn't like what evolution had thrown up.

Interesting insight - thanks Keith.

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SO PIGEON HOLES HAVE BEEN AROUND SINCE DAY ONE?AFTER NEARLY FIFTY YEARS OF CHANGE/EVOLUTION ,THE BRITISH SOUL SCENE IS STILL RAISING QUESTIONS AND INVESTIGATING THE CREATION OF ITSELF ,FEKIN BRILLIANT IF YOU ASK ME REGARDS DOOG

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I agree with Ian's sentiments - Roger was from a totally different era and culture to teenagers who went to the Wheel in the mid to late 60s. Roger was from an intellectual background in Oxford and reacted in a bohemian way by getting into the 50s Jazz scene and then Blues and then R&B. He rode a motorbike to Manchester and got a job at the Kellogg's factory and rented a bedsit. Manchester had a big student / Beatnik / Trad etc scene that Roger realised was untapped. John Mayall, Cyril Davis, Chris Barber etc were his contemporaries, had Roger been a musician, I'm sure he would have gone in that direction.

I met Roger a couple of times and corresponded with him too. Roger's plans for the Wheel was an R&B club, along the lines of those springing up in Ealing, Richmond, Soho etc. Because the R&B stuff he was playing was so unusual and near on impossible to obtain, it was considered to be very cool by the club's clientelle. But things evolved, the Wheel became infamous, it became a cult club in a wild west city. It was regarded a bit like Wigan Casino was in the 70s.

As soon as Soul began to be popular and the `in` music at the Wheel and the cool, often Jewish stylists got out fast, due to the influx of the popular mass produced Mods, that is when Roger's reign of power and influence at the club began to wain. Roger's route into Soul music was `educated`, there was a whole swath of similar Soul enthusiasts - arm chair Soul fans not discotheque goers. Pete Wingfield, was a great example - a public school boy that had an obsessive passion for classic 60s Soul - but often preferred the slow flip to the dance tunes. Certainly not Alvin Cash or Jerry O.

But these guys were a minority, the majority of Soul fans of the mid 60s were just like me, unwashed, green, raw, simply interested in a good time and Tamla Motown and Ska were all part of the popular Soul mix. I was 15 in '65, a middle of the road, secondary modern chav and certainly didn't want educating by some high brow DJ. I just wanted anybody to keep slapping the dance tunes on when I was out. There was plenty of time for the slow stuff when you were at home!

Roger was an decent R&B guy who was swept up and passed over by folk like me. Roger disliked discotheque Soul, discotheque kids, discotheque culture in general. Roger could come across as being quite arrogant but I don't think he was - it was just that the `pure` route wasn't fashionable with the masses and he didn't like what evolution had thrown up.

Great post, and loved your book. So evocative of a very special time.

Phil.

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I agree with Ian's sentiments - Roger was from a totally different era and culture to teenagers who went to the Wheel in the mid to late 60s. Roger was from an intellectual background in Oxford and reacted in a bohemian way by getting into the 50s Jazz scene and then Blues and then R&B. He rode a motorbike to Manchester and got a job at the Kellogg's factory and rented a bedsit. Manchester had a big student / Beatnik / Trad etc scene that Roger realised was untapped. John Mayall, Cyril Davis, Chris Barber etc were his contemporaries, had Roger been a musician, I'm sure he would have gone in that direction.

I met Roger a couple of times and corresponded with him too. Roger's plans for the Wheel was an R&B club, along the lines of those springing up in Ealing, Richmond, Soho etc. Because the R&B stuff he was playing was so unusual and near on impossible to obtain, it was considered to be very cool by the club's clientelle. But things evolved, the Wheel became infamous, it became a cult club in a wild west city. It was regarded a bit like Wigan Casino was in the 70s.

As soon as Soul began to be popular and the `in` music at the Wheel and the cool, often Jewish stylists got out fast, due to the influx of the popular mass produced Mods, that is when Roger's reign of power and influence at the club began to wain. Roger's route into Soul music was `educated`, there was a whole swath of similar Soul enthusiasts - arm chair Soul fans not discotheque goers. Pete Wingfield, was a great example - a public school boy that had an obsessive passion for classic 60s Soul - but often preferred the slow flip to the dance tunes. Certainly not Alvin Cash or Jerry O.

But these guys were a minority, the majority of Soul fans of the mid 60s were just like me, unwashed, green, raw, simply interested in a good time and Tamla Motown and Ska were all part of the popular Soul mix. I was 15 in '65, a middle of the road, secondary modern chav and certainly didn't want educating by some high brow DJ. I just wanted anybody to keep slapping the dance tunes on when I was out. There was plenty of time for the slow stuff when you were at home!

Roger was an decent R&B guy who was swept up and passed over by folk like me. Roger disliked discotheque Soul, discotheque kids, discotheque culture in general. Roger could come across as being quite arrogant but I don't think he was - it was just that the `pure` route wasn't fashionable with the masses and he didn't like what evolution had thrown up.

Thanks for that contribution, I suppose it pretty well confirms that my earlier comments about the social factors involved, i.e attitudes towards the dancers at The Wheel and the dancefloor direction of the scene were spot on. That other layer of guys from the 60s did indeed tend to hail from a middle class intellectual background and of course would have felt well out of place at a 70S Niter like Wigan or Yate. All I can say personally, is that I am mighty glad that the so-called 'populist' wedge won through! As I have also already pointed out, this is perhaps what made GODIN unique, being he certainly shared that type of background, but had a brain sharp enough (combined with a lack of social prejudice) to acknowledge and even champion the dance floor scene.

Edited by chorleysoul

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