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Stafford Top Of World - Popcorn?

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I was just going through the Stafford Top of the World playlist that is contained on the "Soulfulkindamusic" website (and there is a guy on youtube called "soulechoes" who puts up great videos of stafford) and it struck me how many of the songs sounded like Belgian popcorn. 

 

 

I am from California, so I don't know anything about either of these scenes (except what i learn here and on youtube). was there any connection between the two scenes? why did the sound of Stafford sound so different (from what I can tell) from Wigan (stompers) and the Mecca (70s)? it just seems like such a non-obvious direction for soul DJing to take at that time.

 

anyway, i love the music! I feel like if i could go back in time and attend any past soul events - it would be Stafford.

 

Bobby Smith, Roy Roberts, Freddie North etc. awesome! 

 

 

Edited by ljblanken

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There was no direct connection between the Belgian popcorn scene and Stafford. Yes plenty of the sounds played could be classed as popcorn but it wasn't intentional, more a coincidence.

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If you want a more comprehensive view of Stafford then go to my website and read the Stafford Story page.

Link is in my signature.

indeed,chalky has put the most comprehensive collection of stafford sounds together that you will find anywhere in the world,i doff my cap to the man for this great achievement,regards the posters question,i dont think anyone played records because they may have been popcorn sounds,that was just a coincidence,stafford championed the midtempo and ballad soul as well as the frantic dancers and big tunes of the day,it really was like a breath of fresh air to dance to johnny gilliam..room full of tears at 4o clock in the morning and other similar records,i did lots of the big nighters of the 80s but for me stafford was the greatest allnighter of them all,the 60s mafia era was an incredibly exciting time to be on the scene

jason

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also, when people dance to this mid-tempo / beat ballad stuff, is it a different type of dancing than the "normal" side-to-side, spinning type northern soul dancing i see on wigan videos?

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Hi,

 

I think that people can get the wrong impression about Stafford at times. Yes, most of the DJs played the odd slow tune and other elements such as Latin got some exposure but the bulk of the records played by the 60s orientated DJs were still traditional 60s northern records - modern hour excepted. Wigan played a really broad scope of music but is not remembered for funk or disco; likewise the Stafford DJs were very skilled at playing small elements of broader stuff within a northern set without getting lost down a paticular avenue. Gary Rushbrooke may have played 'Use It Before You Lose It' or "Spanish Maiden' but these were within an hour of generally uptempo northern such as 'The Stran', Naturals etc. Similarly, Guy may have played a couple of really slow items such as Clyde McPhatter 'Cant Afford To Cry' or The Ghetto Boys but this would have been within a set dominated by 'Naughty Boy', Detroit Rhythm Section, Hurtin' etc.

 

What I have not seen since Stafford was the amazing turnover. If you missed a niter you probably wouldn't know 15%/20% of records played, most DJs played new stuff every set.

 

A great venue, but often misunderstood.

 

Ion 

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You only have to look at the podcast I have done so far (33 I think) that the majority of tracks were dancers as Ion says.  Beat Ballads etc were a small part yet were given prominence. 

 

Take a look at Guys first two podcasts, one is his first set at Stafford, the second few months later but it was basically a different set of records.

 

The DJ's throughout the 80's and early 90's had imagination and weren't afraid to try something, if it didn't work was quickly dropped and something else put in its place.  There was always the search form the next "newie".  Unlike today where not many DJ's have the right attitude, balls or imagination to leave the beaten track of the same old same, one reason I'm finding it harder and harder to motivate myself to go out nowadays.

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also, when people dance to this mid-tempo / beat ballad stuff, is it a different type of dancing than the "normal" side-to-side, spinning type northern soul dancing i see on wigan videos?

I wouldn't think its a totally 'different type of dancing' - just slowed somewhat to the record tempo/ feel, because people still 'spin' to mid-tempo soul. (But not the usual 'balls out' aeroplane spins associated with Northern records.)

 

I've always thought Popcorn to be lighter, poppier RnB/ 60's dance music associated with main Europe Mods.

 

Does anyone know if Belgian popcorn has a typical and distinct sound, and if so, what songs would make a 'Belgian Popcorn' favourite top ten?   Or is it simply a term defining popular Belgium soul music?

Edited by dave2

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Ion's post above tells it exactly like it was.

 

The only thing I would add is that I think that a few UK dealers had Belgian contacts. Some of the records the Popcorn scene had been looking for which had never been thought of as 'Northern' could now come under the microscope as possible nighter plays.

 

The Trends "Not Too Old To Cry" is an example of this, although it was the other side which had been the preferred play on the Belgian scene.

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I wouldn't think its a totally 'different type of dancing' - just slowed somewhat to the record tempo/ feel, because people still 'spin' to mid-tempo soul. (But not the usual 'balls out' aeroplane spins associated with Northern records.)

 

I've always thought Popcorn to be lighter, poppier RnB/ 60's dance music associated with main Europe Mods.

 

Does anyone know if Belgian popcorn has a typical and distinct sound, and if so, what songs would make a 'Belgian Popcorn' favourite top ten?   Or is it simply a term defining popular Belgium soul music?

 

 

 

i can name some records that i own that come up on youtube as "top popcorn sounds":

 

mitty collier - pain (chess)

deloris hill - true confession (companion)

dorothy berry - you better watch out (planetary)

jean knight - love (tribe)

kitty love - power of love (dade)

maxine davis - really got it bad for my baby (guyden)

valerie and nick - it aint like that (glover)

patience valentine - unlucky girl (sar)

pearlean gray - don't rush me baby (dcp)

 

all great tunes!!

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Link to the Stafford Story on my site....

 

http://www.soulunderground.co.uk/StaffordTOTW/

 

My mixcloud page with plenty of "live" Stafford recordings and other venues of the era.

 

http://www.mixcloud.com/Chalkster/stafford-all-nighter-30th-march-1983-pat-brady-dave-thorley-keb-darge/

 

 

also, as i read about Stafford i hear the term "sixties mafia" - does that just refer to Keb Darge and Guy Henigan? Or is it a broader label?

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also, when people dance to this mid-tempo / beat ballad stuff, is it a different type of dancing than the "normal" side-to-side, spinning type northern soul dancing i see on wigan videos?

 

I wouldn't think its a totally 'different type of dancing' - just slowed somewhat to the record tempo/ feel, because people still 'spin' to mid-tempo soul. (But not the usual 'balls out' aeroplane spins associated with Northern records.)

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Meant to add to the above, for completeness, the Belgian style of dancing to this stuff is quite different from Northern Soul dancing- the couples dance together like a slow jive.

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Meant to add to the above, for completeness, the Belgian style of dancing to this stuff is quite different from Northern Soul dancing- the couples dance together like a slow jive.

 

do you know any video links of this kind of dancing? i have found tons of popcorn music on youtube, but no vids of clubs (at least older ones - i found some of very recent events, but most ppl are just standing around drinking)

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do you know any video links of this kind of dancing? i have found tons of popcorn music on youtube, but no vids of clubs (at least older ones - i found some of very recent events, but most ppl are just standing around drinking)

 

I think the first half of this recent clip gives a good indication of the Popcorn dance style. It degenerates into general disco towards the end.

 

 

This is a vintage clip (I think):

 

It's a bit like the Carolina Beach Music style.

Edited by AlanB

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Does anyone know if there is a young popcorn crowd? or mostly older folks? I know the soul/funk scene attracts lots of twenty-something hipsters... but that the doo-wop scene mostly died off because they never attracted new generations.

 

anyone know which is the case with popcorn?

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also, as i read about Stafford i hear the term "sixties mafia" - does that just refer to Keb Darge and Guy Henigan? Or is it a broader label?

mainly Keb and Guy buy a few others in there.

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During the 70's Siz brought a Belgian dj record dealer over he had got friendly with buying a couple of things off him can't remember which ones so there were similar tunes being played then, just on the popcorn scene they have alway speeded up or slowed down records to suit there needs.

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on the popcorn scene they have alway speeded up or slowed down records to suit there needs.

 

 

Really? I think that is such a weird practice. i have never altered the speed of a record when spinning. Has anyone else here (this may be a new thread topic?)?

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Guest uroffal

Oh dear it sounds even worse :D

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Really? I think that is such a weird practice. i have never altered the speed of a record when spinning. Has anyone else here (this may be a new thread topic?)?

 

 

often and regularly, usually speed up slightly for added impact but i have a tune i have to take all the way down to make it danceable 

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often and regularly, usually speed up slightly for added impact but i have a tune i have to take all the way down to make it danceable 

hardly ever play anything without pitching up or even down in some cases, stop short of playing things at different speeds, though I've no objection and I've heard some grt tracks played that way, honest! 

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hardly ever play anything without pitching up or even down in some cases, stop short of playing things at different speeds, though I've no objection and I've heard some grt tracks played that way, honest! 

 

oh crazy! do you know of any (more) youtube videos that have altered speed records? can you suggest some common records that people speed up or slow down? i have never even thought of it... now i am going upstairs to play with my pitch controls!

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First one played at wrong speed that i know of was billy Paul let the dollar circulate of 33rpm played at 45 by John Manship at cleethorpes all nighter I think,

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I think the first half of this recent clip gives a good indication of the Popcorn dance style. It degenerates into general disco towards the end.

 

 

This is a vintage clip (I think):

 

It's a bit like the Carolina Beach Music style.

 

sheer Madness, could you imagine half a dozen Northern folk giving it loads in the middle of that lot.... love to see that..Laughs  

 

Isn't it Fabulous Music we all share, even if it is sped up...

Edited by Mal.C.

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oh crazy! do you know of any (more) youtube videos that have altered speed records? can you suggest some common records that people speed up or slow down? i have never even thought of it... now i am going upstairs to play with my pitch controls!

 

For example here's La Lupe's "Fever" as it should sound:

 

 

... and here's how it is played on the popcorn scene:

 

 

It has even been BOOTLEGGED at its slowed down pace... :huh:

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The tune that springs to mind being bootlegged too fast is George Blackwell 'Cant lose my head' , when i heard it at its correct speed i was amazed how sped up the boot was

Wasn't Mike Pedicin Burnt toast etc. bootlegged at a wrong pace too?

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The tune that springs to mind being bootlegged too fast is George Blackwell 'Cant lose my head' , when i heard it at its correct speed i was amazed how sped up the boot was

 

GB was pressed for the Northern Soul market. Moses Smith/Epitome of Sound being another example.

 

The Mike Pedicin press I'm talking about was done for Popcorn scene.

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oh crazy! do you know of any (more) youtube videos that have altered speed records?

 

Jamie Coe - Cleopatra

 

 

...and at normal speed

 

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I thought the Epitome of Sound bootleg - the one that has the track at 48rpm - was done for the Belgian scene.

no  done for the casino i think...original  was a little slow even for wigan standards

Edited by dave pinch

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The tune that springs to mind being bootlegged too fast is George Blackwell 'Cant lose my head' , when i heard it at its correct speed i was amazed how sped up the boot was

 

Pete Lawson?

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Stafford was a a good nighter but unfortunately attracted quite a few of the elitist knobs who thought northern soul was only what Guy and Keb were playing, totally dismissing anything that had gone before. Truth is; for me, a lot but not all, of the new stuff being broken at Stafford seemed of poor quality, very hard to dance to.

I could be wrong but I think that it very much depended on when you started listening to northern soul as to what you deemed AS northern soul. Meaning that if you started listening in the early 70's you were fed a diet of Wheel and torch classics as well as 'new' sounds being broken at Wigan, Mecca, etc. Is it just nostalgia that makes me think that they were of such a higher caliber than Stafford's 60's newies? I also think that the way in which they were broken in such large chunks alienated many people who ended up going upstairs to dance to Dave Allcock, etc.

 

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 I also think that the way in which they were broken in such large chunks alienated many people who ended up going upstairs to dance to Dave Allcock, etc.

 

what do you mean "broken in large chunks"? like they introduced too many new records each week? 

 

i've always wondered this about all british soul venues (wigan, mecca, etc) - how many new things were put in the line up at each event? and how long would a record stay in rotation before being put aside to make room for new sounds??

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It's been said to me that the quantity of new (i.e. previously unknown) sounds which came onto the Northern scene between 1972-74 was roughly equivalent to ten years worth of new discoveries during any other era either side of that period. 

 

Because the scene was relatively new then a huge raft of what we think of now as 'classics' came on stream during the Cats, Torch, Mecca, early Wigan era.

 

One of the credos of the Stafford thing was to speed up the turnover of new sounds again, in theory to make it as exciting from a record discovery point of view as that 72-74 'golden age'.

 

Whether the quality was always there is open to a lot of debate. It was a heated debate at the time and it's still seemingly pretty heated now.

 

Great records were found then, and some not so great ones. Things settle down over time and the true classics of any era will have a longer shelf life subsequently. 

 

It's wrong to dismiss Stafford as finding nothing of lasting value as that's simply not the case, and to say that misses the point anyway I think.

 

Guy, Keb and the other djs played new sounds at a rapid turnover. Great records were as likely to be dropped as the not-so-great ones. This also happened at any other venue in the past.

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It's been said to me that the quantity of new (i.e. previously unknown) sounds which came onto the Northern scene between 1972-74 was roughly equivalent to ten years worth of new discoveries during any other era either side of that period. 

 

Because the scene was relatively new then a huge raft of what we think of now as 'classics' came on stream during the Cats, Torch, Mecca, early Wigan era.

 

One of the credos of the Stafford thing was to speed up the turnover of new sounds again, in theory to make it as exciting from a record discovery point of view as that 72-74 'golden age'.

 

Whether the quality was always there is open to a lot of debate. It was a heated debate at the time and it's still seemingly pretty heated now.

 

Great records were found then, and some not so great ones. Things settle down over time and the true classics of any era will have a longer shelf life subsequently. 

 

It's wrong to dismiss Stafford as finding nothing of lasting value as that's simply not the case, and to say that misses the point anyway I think.

 

Guy, Keb and the other djs played new sounds at a rapid turnover. Great records were as likely to be dropped as the not-so-great ones. This also happened at any other venue in the past.

so - like for any given 2-hour slot at Stafford (or other venues, for that matter) - how many records would the crowd be hearing for the first time (one? two? five?) just a rough guess.

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There's no simple answer to that except to say the djs hoped there would be plenty of new material in each spot. This obviously gets harder and harder to do the more you dj and was maybe why some of the more established djs came to concentrate on new releases, i.e. brand new modern soul records, many on major labels and available at normal import shops (as opposed to just at Soul Bowl for example).

 

One of the 60s Mafia ideas was to react against that, as they saw becoming a new release scene as being open to record company influence.

 

An important point I think, whether you agreed with that position or not.

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