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Northampton Weekender Sep 30th -oct 2nd

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I am a lifelong Northern Soul and Tamla Motown lover and have lived in Northampton most of my life.

At the age of sixteen I was a regular visitor to The Shades club in Northampton, along with my buddy Paddy Grady who organises fantastic soul/tamla events and has done for many years.

I first met Paddy at infant school, so we have known each other for over 40 years, and we still have the passion for the same music now as we did back then in our youth. Paddy now runs very successful Soul & Tamla reunions in and around Northants. The one that I am writing about is the weekender held at the Moat House Hotel in Northampton September 30th - October 2nd.

Along with my wife, Sue, I run a local minibus (taxi) company and Paddy asked me to arrange transport for the acts arriving from America. These included Chuck Jackson and his lovely wife Mary, Barbara Mercer, Pat & Diane Lewis, Betty Boo and the wonderful Masqueraders.

The first to be collected was Chuck Jackson, and what a nice guy he is, a true gentleman and an out and out pro. Although tired from the flight, Chuck was happy to chat about his career and the upcoming performance in Northampton. We caught some of his rehearsals and could not help but be impressed watching him sorting out the band arrangements. On the night he was class, turning the clock back with a fantastic set of memorable tracks including Any Day Now, a favourite of mine.

We still keep in touch with Chuck via e-mail and we have hopes that he will be back again soon.

After a faultless collection with Chuck we set off to Birmingham Airport to collect The Adorables, Barbara Mercer and The Masqueraders. Things were about to get very complicated indeed. We located The Masqueraders without a problem, four guys dressed all in black and sporting black cowboy hats kind of gave the game away. The Adorables and Barbara Mercer however had missed the flight from Frankfurt and were now "missing". The Masqueraders had seen them at Frankfurt Airport but had no idea where they were now or why they had missed the flight.

So, we set off to Northampton without the ladies, who had never been to England before and were causing us some concern by there absence. We contacted Paddy who swung into action to track down our "missing" stars.

Now I have to say, The Masqueraders made a huge impression on us both. They are quite simply the nicest bunch of guys anyone could ever wish to meet, totally natural and unpretentious. On the night, they were happy to sign every autograph requested and posed for numerous photos with the music loving Northampton public. They made many friends and will be welcome to play again whenever they can, they were top drawer entertainers.

We returned to Birmingham Airport and found Pat Lewis, but not the rest of the Adorables or Ms Mercer; they were stranded in Frankfurt at the airport. Pat informed us that they had missed the connecting flight due to one of the girls feeling ill, and were now faced with finding an extra $200 each to cover additional flight costs. The girls had a whip round to get Pat on a flight to fly over and explain what had happened, so off we went with a very tired and hungry Pat Lewis.

Once again we were lucky enough to find ourselves in the company of one of life's good people, and despite the problems, Pat was a diamond. After a very chatty and humorous journey, we checked Pat in to her room and awaited further instructions from Paddy. To his credit, Paddy had arranged for the extra payment and had them booked on a flight later that evening, the flight came and went without our missing stars. Paddy deserves great credit for putting the whole event together in a very professional manner, I am proud to know the guy.

The next morning, and journey number four bought a change in fortune, the girls had arrived safely at last. They were tired and very hungry after spending almost 19 hours in Frankfurt terminal, so we stopped off to treat them to a great British breakfast tradition, a KFC big bucket with Cokes. After at first politely staring at the food and not wanting to mess up our vehicle, they dove in to their first hot meal in a while. We treated them to a tour of Northampton and the 800 year old Delapre Abbey and Queen Eleanor Cross for a photo shoot and walk around, and then booked them safely into the hotel to meet Paddy and rehearse.

On the night they were true professionals and as with all the other acts, happily signed autographs and posed for photos. They performed for the first time as a group since the 60's but you would never know it, and as individual acts treated the packed Moat House to a great night.

If you ever get the chance to attend one of Paddy Grady's events then grab it with both hands. They are always well attended by up to 800 soul fans in a fantastic central location at The Moat House, and a great deal that includes a room is available for long distance travelers. I look forward to meeting some of you in the future.

Kenny

Northampton

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Posted

kenny, i have moved this to the events section.

cheers

Shane

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kenny, i have moved this to the events section.

cheers

Shane

Hi Kenny

Good to have you on soul source mate!

Yes, we did have some fun getting the everyone to the venue didn't we!! I can tell you I have added a lot of grey hairs on top after all of that!!

What was uncanny, was the trials and tribulations such as the girls missing their flight, during the week leading up to the weekender, then at 7.30pm on the Friday night when the doors opened and right through until closing at 1am on Monday morning just how smoothly the event went with not a hiccup!, all of the planning paid off and everyone seemed to be having a cracking time!

I understand your taxi's know their way to Birmingham airport without any drivers now! :lol:

Cheers

Paddy

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