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Articles: Who are the Great Soul Deejays?

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Who are the Great Soul Deejays?

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Edited by stevesilktulip

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Hi,

I think it is important to judge a DJ

1. In the context of their era

2. By the general consistency of their records rather than just the great tunes they spun.

Searling and Curtis were obviously masters of their era and Guy Hennigan was untouchable for a period in the 80s.

Personally, I think Butch has a very strong claim overall on the 60s front. He started DJing regularly in a period when the vast majority of classic sounding northern soul records had been discovered yet he has consistently for 20 years managed to present a set of new discoveries that sound as though they could have been played in the golden years - no R&B, no latin just excellent northern. If I think back over the last 20 years and the truly exceptional discoveries the vast majority have come through Butch or Ady.

Many of the great names from the 70s played some exceptional records but were also happy to drop in a lot of poor records. Butch has always maintained the quality control and turned up his own stuff, so he's the man for me.

Regards

Ion

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definitely colin, an inspiration to generations...richard searling, who always strives to broaden the boundaries of quality soul new & old, ian levine, an original pioneer who bridged the gap between here and the states and unloaded a wealth of tunes on the unsuspecting and naive northern soul ear in its infancy. and when the dust had settled on the "nero fiddled as rome burned" wigan epoch, butch, keb and guy taking up the mantle of preservation and mutual sanity at the helm of totw with a host of other likeminded connoiseurs in tow. pep & soul sam, for being individualistic both in persona and playlists, the latter to this day, still considered a man of his own mind and opinion whose choice of records on the whole have gone against the grain...and not to the detriment of the scene.....AND after the dust HAS settled....colin's still standing, never had to reinvent himself....still original to the bone...and still on the eternal odyssey of discovery, to bring the best music to the attention of an appreciative and broadminded audience.

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This topic does get revived every few months and the same names get put up every time. Wouldn't it just be easier to look for the old topics and just give them a bump.

Edited by John Reed

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Butch is the number one of all time in my book, for all the reasons Ion outlines, consistent quality over decades and still doing it now.

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To be fair Steve is making use of the article feature and has put together a decent argument for his selection that was also good reading. Others could do the same and put together a similar reply or simply read something else.

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Guest

Great soul DJ? Richard Searling

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Guest giant

for me BUTCH miles a head discovered many great tunes' RICHARD SEARLING was great but fed by JOHN ANDERSON with many tunes over the years' COLIN CURTIS and IAN LEVINE were the masters early 70's.

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Guest Paul

To me it's all about time and place (and musical taste of course) so it's difficult to discuss who the "great" soul DJs are (or were) without being more specific. It really depends on which period was most interesting or influential to someone.

And I suppose "great" doesn't just mean popular or even prolific, it also implies influential and innovative. Any DJ who helped popularise soul music in the early days is important, as are those who helped to maintain or increase the interest in later years, but I think a "great" DJ is probably someone who was more pioneering in some way.

If we're discussing 'northern soul' in particular, I think the Wheel and Torch DJs paved the way for the early 1970s boom period. The boom would have happened anyway but it may have developed at a different rate or in a different way or even at a different time.

Social and economic factors might have also effected the timing of the boom years but I think the state of the available contemporary music of the period was what really drove many people (DJs and music lovers) to dig deeper, further afield and also backwards in time to find the music they preferred.

So what I'm saying is that the Casino and Mecca DJs, for example, were certainly in the right place at the right time. They had the opportunity to expose records to a bigger and expanding audience of young people who were hungry for soul music.

That must have been an exciting challenge because in those days there were thousands of wonderful records - new and old - just waiting to be discovered and exposed. Casino and Mecca DJs in particular were in a position of influence and you could say some were more "great" than others because of their musical taste and imagination and / or because of the effort they put into finding or obtaining records. Ambition and passion made a difference.

I believe that if one DJ hadn't discovered or popularised a particular track it would have been found or exposed by another DJ sooner or later but some DJs came up with more (and better) records than others and some DJs were more innovative or pioneering than others. And some DJs had a more obvious influence on other DJs around the country.

But is a "great" DJ someone who pioneers something or someone who popularises something ?

I was too young to go to the Wheel or the Torch but I eventually heard many of their top sounds at local youth club discos etc so those local DJs were "great" when I was a school kid, as were the important DJs who played soul music on national and regional radio. As a teenager I went to the Pendulum and Va Va's and their DJs made a big impression on me but the Casino and the Mecca were certainly the most influential venues at the key time and it was their DJs who really had the power to 'break' records to a lot of people.

So the power was with the likes of Ian Levine, Colin Curtis, Russ Winstanley, Richard Searling and Kev Roberts etc. Which of those (or any others) were more important or influential than others obviously depends on your musical taste, they all deserve credit, but most would agree that Ian was extra determined; he found and exposed a vast number of great tracks and he was also the most adventurous when he introduced "new" styles of soul music rather than sticking with the winning formula. It was quite a brave move at the time.

I realise this only covers the highlights of the boom years of the 'northern soul' scene but I think those years were important because they've had a lasting influence on whatever has followed (and Steve has discussed DJs on some of the other soul scenes and factions).

And credit to all the DJs who've helped keep the club soul scenes alive since the boom years, especially those who've been more "progressive" about it.

Paul

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All fair enough but I think the article writer should have named it "Who Were The Great Soul DJs between 1972 and 1985" as he only attended Northern dos by the sound of it in the 70s and modern dos up to the early 80s. There's been nearly three decades of soul DJs since then.

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All fair enough but I think the article writer should have named it "Who Were The Great Soul DJs between 1972 and 1985" as he only attended Northern dos by the sound of it in the 70s and modern dos up to the early 80s. There's been nearly three decades of soul DJs since then.

Well said Ady :thumbup:

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The opportunity is here to put the record straight about the last 30 years. Some great DJ's who between them discovered some fantastic music over that period. Many dealers still had an influence during this time so not all about the DJ.

I think most arguments are based on who and what you grew up with?

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in my opinion, from a northern / rare soul point of view it has to be butch, most of the others who people class as great only did it for a short period before moving on to other things, butch on the other hand has been top of the tree from the mid 80's to the present day, and before he started d.j'ing regulary he was supplying many of the top d.j's with records, 30 years of turning up top notch unknown sounds is some mean achievment

others who have brought great listening pleasure into my life over the years are

ian clark

dave greet

rob marriott

sam

searling

ady croasdell

arthur fenn

mark bicknell (when he's not retired)

gary rushbrook

carl fortnum

dave thorley

pete widdison

shay richardson

keb darge

guy hennighan

Edited by trev thomas

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Butch, Ady Croasdell , Andy Dyson, Mick H, Soul Sam, Marc Forrest...... but for me it is often the dj on the night and there are so many names to mention who overall contributed so much to the scene but getting rarely mentioned. Also heard some fantastic younger djs without the access & funds for the rare monsters but still being able to play a great set of tunes within the bounderies of playing original format only !!!!

Number 1 for me is Mr. Soulhack (Butch) for all the reasons already mentioned above but after that it is the one who pulls me on the dancefloor at any given time & gives me a smile & sore muscles in the morning !!!! :hatsoff2:

Edited by viphitman

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Guest Paul

Yes the article is focused on the more formative years and we've had more than forty years of club soul scenes in the UK now so there's a lot of ground to cover, that's why I said you can't really list the great DJs without being more specific - and also why I added "and credit to all the DJs who've helped keep the club soul scenes alive since the boom years, especially those who've been more progressive about it".

It's odd there's no mention of the 100 Club with it having been such a long-running all nighter, many other clubs had a very short lifespan in comparison. On these kind of threads I think most people (including me) tend to go back to where it all started for them.

And as Chalky said, it's not only about the DJs because many dealers (and collectors) had an influence on the music. So this kind of topic could go on forever.

Paul

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Andy Rix...Rob Thomas

Gary Spencer..

Carl Fortnum

Keb Darge & Guy Henningan

Rob Marroit

Great Dj,s who brought that something different whenever they played out

Carl Willingham & Andy Dyson. Soul Sam Still doing the business

I love Jumpin Joan , Phil Threfall , Cliff Camfield, Stu Bennett and my good buddy Bob Hinsley they always get the Cunliffe Ass moving on the dance floor. The main gripe I have with Butch he never comes out lol but he,s Top Dog

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Oh and Mick Smith great dj who plays mi favourite tunes...

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in my opinion, from a northern / rare soul point of view it has to be butch, most of the others who people class as great only did it for a short period before moving on to other things, butch on the other hand has been top of the tree from the mid 80's to the present day, and before he started d.j'ing regulary he was supplying many of the top d.j's with records, 30 years of turning up top notch unknown sounds is some mean achievment

others who have brought great listening pleasure into my life over the years are

ian clark

dave greet

rob marriott

sam

searling

ady croasdell

arthur fenn

mark bicknell (when he's not retired)

gary rushbrook

carl fortnum

dave thorley

pete widdison

shay richardson

keb darge

guy hennighan

You had to get that one in lol

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You had to get that one in lol

couldn't resist frank :D

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couldn't resist frank :D

No problem Barry lol

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Guest giant

in my opinion, from a northern / rare soul point of view it has to be butch, most of the others who people class as great only did it for a short period before moving on to other things, butch on the other hand has been top of the tree from the mid 80's to the present day, and before he started d.j'ing regulary he was supplying many of the top d.j's with records, 30 years of turning up top notch unknown sounds is some mean achievment

others who have brought great listening pleasure into my life over the years are

ian clark

dave greet

rob marriott

sam

searling

ady croasdell

arthur fenn

mark bicknell (when he's not retired)

gary rushbrook

carl fortnum

dave thorley

pete widdison

shay richardson

keb darge

guy hennighan

have to agree with that line up of DJ'S and a good choice Trev

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Guest giant

Andy Rix...Rob Thomas

Gary Spencer..

Carl Fortnum

Keb Darge & Guy Henningan

Rob Marroit

Great Dj,s who brought that something different whenever they played out

Carl Willingham & Andy Dyson. Soul Sam Still doing the business

I love Jumpin Joan , Phil Threfall , Cliff Camfield, Stu Bennett and my good buddy Bob Hinsley they always get the Cunliffe Ass moving on the dance floor. The main gripe I have with Butch he never comes out lol but he,s Top Dog

didn't know you could still dance 'some pensioners just gets stronger lol

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Guest

A more interesting question is: Which DJs are/were great dancers? I'd have Evison in as someone who always made me smile... but after that I struggle... I once saw Levine on the dance floor lol

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A more interesting question is: Which DJs are/were great dancers? I'd have Evison in as someone who always made me smile... but after that I struggle... I once saw Levine on the dance floor lol

keb darge

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keb darge

A good candidate for the number one slot... two and three are harder... this is making me laugh so much (no names but you can imagine...) I have to say, I have always had great admiration for the ability of those with two left feet to pick out a great dance tune...

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A more interesting question is: Which DJs are/were great dancers? I'd have Evison in as someone who always made me smile... but after that I struggle... I once saw Levine on the dance floor lol

Andy Rix was an excellent dancer :thumbsup:

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Guest wigan bob

people dont relise the amount of good tunes greg tormo has sent over here for the top djs

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Andy Rix...Rob Thomas

Gary Spencer..

Carl Fortnum

Keb Darge & Guy Henningan

Rob Marroit

Great Dj,s who brought that something different whenever they played out

Carl Willingham & Andy Dyson. Soul Sam Still doing the business

I love Jumpin Joan , Phil Threfall , Cliff Camfield, Stu Bennett and my good buddy Bob Hinsley they always get the Cunliffe Ass moving on the dance floor. The main gripe I have with Butch he never comes out lol but he,s Top Dog

Heard Rob Marriot DJ about 4 weeks ago Ian--still has talent and enthusiasm !

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The great djs are the ones who are not governed by the promoters.

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Great soul DJ? Richard Searling

I agree - Sir Dickie, Soul Sam, Poke, Gary Rushbrooke, could go on. Arthur Fenn....................

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Where was Rob Marriot DJing, top man, top tunes way back, is he out of retirement or was that a one off....I would travel to hear Rob play out again...

Russ

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Who are the Great Soul Deejays?

It's a bit like saying who are the greats among the members of the Temptations.

All I'll say is Butch is David Ruffin, but Mick Smith is Paul Williams. :elvis:

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Guest Nick Harrison

This topic does get revived every few months and the same names get put up every time. Wouldn't it just be easier to look for the old topics and just give them a bump.

Not seen a thread topic about "silent or unknown individual record suppliers". (D J Feeders)................ :D.

Edited by Nick Harrison

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Where was Rob Marriot DJing, top man, top tunes way back, is he out of retirement or was that a one off....I would travel to hear Rob play out again...

Russ

Hi Russ

Rob was DJing at a one off trotters reunion in Mansfield the oakham suite,he was playing a top set but his brother Chris has a top set collection.

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Butch has probably eclipsed all the major jocks,and rightly so.Its easy to say Richard was fed by John Anderson but folk throw that old chestnut in as if Richard obeyed orders and played what he was told to.If he didnt rate em,they didnt get played.

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Guest

Butch has probably eclipsed all the major jocks,and rightly so.Its easy to say Richard was fed by John Anderson but folk throw that old chestnut in as if Richard obeyed orders and played what he was told to.If he didnt rate em,they didnt get played.

The thing I have always liked about Richard is the fact that he was consistent in hitting a groove by going for less obvoius sounds - I know we can say that many other DJs can do that but from the floor that's what mattered more than who came up with "some" of his top sounds... never seen him dance.

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Guest souldjer 1

any that dont harp on :g:

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I don't know if it counts as dancing but Richard once did a back drop off the stage and on to the dancefloor at Parkers. Took me rather by surprise.

dean

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Guest

any that dont harp on :g:

That's Martin Ellis out - what happened to him?

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That's Martin Ellis out - what happened to him?

Sorry to say he died few years ago, R.I.P.

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The thing I have always liked about Richard is the fact that he was consistent in hitting a groove by going for less obvoius sounds - I know we can say that many other DJs can do that but from the floor that's what mattered more than who came up with "some" of his top sounds... never seen him dance.

I have at KGH about 8 years ago in the Modern Room.

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This is a little narrow to say the least, most mentioned so far are all NS DJ's, how about some great straight soul DJ's, Bob Jones, perhaps, Norman Jay and Mr Scruff can all put great soul sets together, and are truely DJ's rather than just great collectors that know how to sequence a set in a passible order.

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This is a little narrow to say the least, most mentioned so far are all NS DJ's, how about some great straight soul DJ's, Bob Jones, perhaps, Norman Jay and Mr Scruff can all put great soul sets together, and are truely DJ's rather than just great collectors that know how to sequence a set in a passible order.

Agreed but the original article mentions two of these and many other non NS DJ's.

Edited by daved

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Agreed but the original article mentions two of these and many other on NS DJ's.

fair do's just checked it again, but its not coming through on this thread sadly, I' have to Add, Ron Hardy, Frankie and levan but all again intonated at least in the article.

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For me,top Djs are the ones that have not got an Ego problem.I have listened to many lesser known Jocks and thought what a brilliant Set.Also I have listened to some "Big Name" Jocks and thought what a pile of shite.This covers right across the Soul Spectrum.

Don`t forget,if it was not for some of the "Backroom Boys"- lesser known Jocks,some of the Big ones would not be where they are.

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Where was Rob Marriot DJing, top man, top tunes way back, is he out of retirement or was that a one off....I would travel to hear Rob play out again...

Russ

He was at the Trotters re-union in Mansfield at the Masonic Hall Russ

all the old Trotters lads turned up, including Chris Marriot who lent Rob the records to DJ with, he packed the floor with old Trotters sounds !

All oldies but with a few gems chucked in He's into Reggae now ! No Northern left at all....

Told him people were always asking after him, he was at Bridlington last year as well...

Put some pictures on Facebook will try and link them on here

Rob

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Hi Russ

Rob was DJing at a one off trotters reunion in Mansfield the oakham suite,he was playing a top set but his brother Chris has a top set collection.

Missed your reply to Russ Mart...sorry !

Rob

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Guest Nick Harrison

fair do's just checked it again, but its not coming through on this thread sadly, I' have to Add, Ron Hardy, Frankie and levan but all again intonated at least in the article.

So Bob Jeffries, Billy Davison and not excluding Tom Jackson either.

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Guest Owen Conway

what a good article silk...my musical tastes differed after 1980 towards funk and "disco" but i still had a feeling for proper NS.these last 3 years i have just started to listen to it again and it sounds just as good now as it did back in the 70s. i much prefer the 60s type of RnB.

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