Jump to content
Steve Foran

Bedford Soul Town

Recommended Posts

Never ceases to amaze me how our scene sprung up in pockets around the UK. Reading the piece about Richard Selwood from Gloucester it reminded me of the Bedford scene back in the 70,s. The older guys Stick, Dave Smith, Jim Thomas etc had a reputation and I always believed that they had more than a shout in the closing of VaVas. Then us Bedford lot Paul Shirley,Tony Hirst, Andy Felts, Hammy, Steve Cooper, Lloyd Walk, Tony Warot etc all kind of emerged at the same time. Decent collections, record hunters and good dancers. We organised regular soul nights at Kempston Rovers, Addison Centre and others I cant recall. Travelled around the country organised buses to WC,Yate etc. Good times.

Just weird how one area can have this where as another town within striking distance did not have the same desire. Say Luton in Bedfords case. Not forgetting the stalwarts from St Neots like Barry ( De-To), Dave Fleming, Tiny, Kev Sandiford. Plus Mick Smith and the Hitchen/Letchworth lot.

 

Anyone from Bedford recall Thursday evening in The Pilgrims before the weekend? One night I remember was with Winnie and trying to do a runner from an Indian. Winnie got out but threw chairs over blocking the others behind him. Naughty naughty!!

 

Just wondered what other areas had a scene but up the road did,nt?       

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would be interesting to map out GB with the names of the infamous scene supporters in each city/town...bet there are few places that haven't been touched by this great life-shaping scene of ours!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Never ceases to amaze me how our scene sprung up in pockets around the UK. Reading the piece about Richard Selwood from Gloucester it reminded me of the Bedford scene back in the 70,s. The older guys Stick, Dave Smith, Jim Thomas etc had a reputation and I always believed that they had more than a shout in the closing of VaVas. Then us Bedford lot Paul Shirley,Tony Hirst, Andy Felts, Hammy, Steve Cooper, Lloyd Walk, Tony Warot etc all kind of emerged at the same time. Decent collections, record hunters and good dancers. We organised regular soul nights at Kempston Rovers, Addison Centre and others I cant recall. Travelled around the country organised buses to WC,Yate etc. Good times.

Just weird how one area can have this where as another town within striking distance did not have the same desire. Say Luton in Bedfords case. Not forgetting the stalwarts from St Neots like Barry ( De-To), Dave Fleming, Tiny, Kev Sandiford. Plus Mick Smith and the Hitchen/Letchworth lot.

 

Anyone from Bedford recall Thursday evening in The Pilgrims before the weekend? One night I remember was with Winnie and trying to do a runner from an Indian. Winnie got out but threw chairs over blocking the others behind him. Naughty naughty!!

 

Just wondered what other areas had a scene but up the road did,nt?       

 

 

Yeh i remember the Pilgrims pub(above a rowing club i think),great nights in there with Tony Warot,Tommy Taylor ,Mick Smith among others DJing,formed some great feindships that are still ongoing........great nights,more so cramed in the back of Mick Smiths works van,used to be a great laugh..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

youve got me going now, back in WHITCHURCH Shropshire around 1972, i started helping Steve Obertelli on Right track disco doing school disco's and whitchurch civic , then graduating further afield, in return he gave me a box of records , about 50, mostly usa originals from wheel & torch days as he knew i loved the music, I was about 14 at the time, this soon graduated into a widercircle of friends, Market Drayton (Home of the famous ISC Bar B Q n Splash,Chris Burton) Others to mind are Wrexham, Chester , Crewe, Nantwich, And the home of the godfather himself ,Martin Barnfather(SOUL SAM) who lived at Overton on Dee and teacher at Penley school, The first record i ever bought with my own money was Keith Daylight saving time Usa Demo For 50p at Penley school fete.


Back to start : Inthe afore mentioned time i met many soul ledgends who DJ'd as guests at our venues from a 20 mile radius of WHITCHURCH.


Dave Richards (Spook) , Gary powel Shrewsbury, Keith Williams (Soul Searcher Records).Crewe


All these people introduced me to the world of northern soul on a larger scale , And at 15 yrs old I DJ'd at Whitchurch alldayer where martin ellis borrowed some of my records to do a set.


Later venues in the area i was spinning records at the raven now a revival venue thanks ti Chic


 


RIP Tony Petherbridge Founder of the Whitchurch soul scene, THE NORTHERN SOUL CLUB


 


I havent mentioned all the other famous DJ's who guested on the decks at Whitchurch back in early 70's as it would fill this site, Just local soul boys who are now keeping the faith or spreading it by promoting & DJ'in at venues in the area and across the country.


 


 

Edited by Garry Huxley

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Never ceases to amaze me how our scene sprung up in pockets around the UK. Reading the piece about Richard Selwood from Gloucester it reminded me of the Bedford scene back in the 70,s. The older guys Stick, Dave Smith, Jim Thomas etc had a reputation and I always believed that they had more than a shout in the closing of VaVas. Then us Bedford lot Paul Shirley,Tony Hirst, Andy Felts, Hammy, Steve Cooper, Lloyd Walk, Tony Warot etc all kind of emerged at the same time. Decent collections, record hunters and good dancers. We organised regular soul nights at Kempston Rovers, Addison Centre and others I cant recall. Travelled around the country organised buses to WC,Yate etc. Good times.

Just weird how one area can have this where as another town within striking distance did not have the same desire. Say Luton in Bedfords case. Not forgetting the stalwarts from St Neots like Barry ( De-To), Dave Fleming, Tiny, Kev Sandiford. Plus Mick Smith and the Hitchen/Letchworth lot.

 

Anyone from Bedford recall Thursday evening in The Pilgrims before the weekend? One night I remember was with Winnie and trying to do a runner from an Indian. Winnie got out but threw chairs over blocking the others behind him. Naughty naughty!!

 

Just wondered what other areas had a scene but up the road did,nt?       

What about  smelly george r.i.p....chris gallard...johnny tappenden....hippy dick....the luton girls   noreen and effna...jacky  janessy (wrong spelling l know)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Steve,

 

Good old lads you mentioned there! yes it is strange how a town that was so small back then had such a big following, however not that many travelled as much as we did.

 

Possibly because we wanted to get of the place more than anyone else, as Simsy said, it could give you "the fear" even back then so there was'nt much else to be scared of further up the motorway!!

 

It also got you away from god awful discos with pre booked punch up, and chucked out at 10.30 no buses, not many taxis( that you could afford)  and the chip shops all closed, Ah the 70's no mobiles or computers you had to make arrangements and stick to them to get anywhere. (Yoof of today etc etc blah blah,back in my day.)

 

The Bedford soul scene is still alive and well mainly thanks to Hammie & Geoff & Ady etc and of course us punters that still love the sounds.  Be interested to hear of any other provincial towns with a large fan base as far away from the, what was then, center of things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

youve got me going now, back in WHITCHURCH Shropshire around 1972, 

Later venues in the area i was spinning records at the raven now a revival venue thanks ti Chic

 

 

 

One of my mates from Shaw (nr Oldham) made a visit to the Raven early seventies.....had a good rep' round our way.......never got there unfortunately even though I had family there (Malpas).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What about  smelly george r.i.p....chris gallard...johnny tappenden....hippy dick....the luton girls   noreen and effna...jacky  janessy (wrong spelling l know)

:hatsoff2: HI ALL BEDFORRD was a hub for many people from 69 onwards, it was also a strange in the fact it was isolated from what was going on in Hertfordshire,

For example, I can't recall any type of SKINHEAD GANG from BEDFORD, yet the style & fashion was very much the dress code, also back in 69 people from all over HERTFORDSHIRE, went to the 2 top dance halls the CALI in Dunstable, the MECCA/LOCANO STEVENAGE, again many LUTON went there, can't recall BEDFORD being there?

On the rare times I went to BEDFORD it always landed up in a bundle with locals, in 71, we went into CAESERS and as usual a bundle started with the security staff, as we left a Baldock bloke got a really bad kick in by 3 Bouncers we had to et him out of the place, I can't give names, but most of the people I was with were 2to3 years older than me, all were 6t's MODS, compared to SKINHEAD fights, these blokes did not F**K about shotguns were used and hammers, I saw a bouncer get his jaw hit so hard the hammer head broke off,  

The next time I went to Bedford was with an old mate who as a SKINHEAD never bottled out, very reliable & very unpredictable as he often could lose it, this was my introduction to the rare soul scene, his name was Chris Galard, he lived in Bushmead Avenue, he took me to many places and I met some great people, John & Caroline, Tony Warot John Taperdon, Tilly, & so on the PILGRIMS was a In-crowd PUB, it even had a few rare soul sounds on the Juke Box Eddie Parker comes to mind, also the local record shop Carlow's had quite a few RARE SOUL records (Selecta Bootlegs) I remember buying all the Okeh records with the small 45.

From then on BEDFORD was the place to go, Chris took e to the TORCH JUNCTION BLETSO and places in the north of the county that had All-Nighters Earls Barton was a good one, Smelly George sadly drown in the river a strange atmosphere after that night,

A few years on I joined the EAGLES SOUL CLUB and went to all the Thursday Night events with Mick Smith, I could write much more about the people who I often think about Brillo Franco Hammy all keen collectors of Rare Soul :thumbsup: DAVE K

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi to all hailing from the Bedford area, yeah I too can remember the Rovers do's, locally the Addison centre held a few soul nights as well as a club in Kempston think it was the Wellington but could be wrong on that, Tommy used to run do's at the Cutler club as well........

I was at Mander college and used to go in the Pilgrims afterwards,,,,,,,, good times and fond memories.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What about  smelly george r.i.p....chris gallard...johnny tappenden....hippy dick....the luton girls   noreen and effna...jacky  janessy (wrong spelling l know)

 

Oi !....Don't forget us young whippersnapers who were hanging from you lots shirt tails ! lol........You fella's certainly provided us with an education (of sorts). I was one of the mid 70s Bedford disciples along with Gareth & Glyn, Mick Lewin, Kev York, Martin Cook, Jacko, Jimmy Hunter, Alison, Stella, Kev Bateman, Gary Muir, Rob & Sue , etc etc....Along with others who I perhaps shouldn't mention (you will remember why !!!).......Happy Days Tez  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bedfordshire as a whole has always had a strong soul scene, and still does. Places like Dunstable, Leighton Buzzard, Bedford etc have long been soul hot spots, as many members on here will testify. Big clubs such as the California Ballroom, Pink Elephant etc may have played a part in this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Comment now!

Comments are members only

Sign Up

Join Soul Source - Free & easy!

Sign up now!

Sign in

Sign in here.

Sign in now!


Related Soul Music Links

×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.