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How Big Was The Northern Soul Scene In The 70S ?

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hi all,just been reading a post on fb about being at college in the 70s and all they did mainly was listen to northern soul on live tapes from the nighters they went to,got me thinking....actually how big was the northern soul scene in the heyday ? was loads of people in yr street into it ? workmates etc etc ? was it really massive ? just wondering as i didnt get into the scene proper till about 81 so dont know how huge it was if it was huge ?

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In the 70's it depended on where you lived I suppose. In Merseyside for example you could count on two hands the number of people who were into it and it was ridiculed, mainly because blokes didn't dance on their own in Liverpool and the media attention it got was generally mocking, in my opinion!

 

Kev

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By the time I got into it in 78 it was a massive in Nottingham, I was 14 at school and you were either a greb, Souler or punk. Everyone knew about it, juke boxes had Motown and club soul on them and local pulling discos had Northern spots of about 4 records at every night.

 

Far from underground, that came later When most dropped off.

Edited by Byrney

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I don't think it was as big as some people remember, my area Bedfordshire, around 73/74 you'd take a box of records with you on a normal night out, wait for the DJ to play a few, go and dance and be joined by maybe 10 others. Obviously it was bigger in other areas, and at any dedicated night, but the country wasn't awash with nighter goers, which sometimes is the impression given nowadays. Today's scene and most of us still on it, have been joined by people who are of similar age, and have taken their rightful place because Uncle Albert's 4th cousin removed went, so they feel entitled. 

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In the the scheme of things, i don't think it was 'big' unless you were in the scene. If you were then it ruled your life. I bet that lots more people are aware of it today. Ade

 

I think that's about right, though there were lots of us in Nottingham around '74 we were considerably outnumbered by those who had no idea. As I heard said recently you definitely felt you were a cut above the rest (of the divs as we rather unkindly called them back then!).

 

It was when the daily papers started doing articles in early '75 that numbers were briefly swelled with said divs...

Edited by Rich B

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It was big enough to regularly break pure Northern records into the Top 30 on a regular basis in the first half of the 1970s...

 

No.1 The Tams - Hey Girl Don't Bother Me July 1971
No.11 Archie Bell & The Drells - Here I Go Again Oct 1972
No.3 R. Dean Taylor - There's a Ghost In My House May 1974
No.17 Wayne Gibson - Under My Thumb Nov 1974
No.26 The Javells - Goodbye Nothing To Say Nov 1974
No.5 The Trammps - Hold Back The Night Oct 1975
No.22 Rodger Collins - You Sexy Sugar Plum April 1976
 
Ian D  :D

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All great records that you mention and yes loved by the 'disco' crowd but don't you think the people who knew about the rarer records were a different crowd? They attendd the same places (some of the times) but dressed different and were a little obsessed with labels and the origins of the record. Ade

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From my small town, we'd have maybe 100 in the Monday night 'soul club' and just 6 on the bus to the Casino 'nighter, depends on your outlook. Lots of people 'dabbled' and a more adventurous 'elitist' few took it further and stuck with it.

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My sisters used to go to The Wheel, etc, and they used to argue about reggae v's soul music but most of the mod's sort of disappeared from round our way by the early seventies.

I was still at school in '73 when I first went to Wigan and I was in a minority of two from a school of about six hundred. All the other folk were into Bowie or metal, with the girls following the chart drivel.

On the bus from Rochdale there would be about ten or so of us, with possibly the same amount going by train or car. The bus picked up a few from Heywood and Bury and by the time the last bus left Bolton for Wigan it would be pretty full.

When I left school in '75 I went to Bolton College on day-release with about a dozen other apprentices - not one of them was a soul fan - and mainly, they were into football, not music.

I lived on a large council estate and again, there was only one other soulie. We used to meet round each others houses in Rochdale to play our sounds - not just the dance tunes but also a lot of B sides and album tracks. Few of us had phones so we tended to hang-out at the same places and just go with the flow. We were definately a curiosity. I think we were seen as a throw-back to the mod's (I had a scooter) but we definitely weren't - we were pretty cool though.

The hippies liked us because we were into drugs, the metal kids understood that their white bands were nicking 'our' black music and we dressed pretty smart (no silly baggies!), so we were welcome in the pubs.

After a while and "This England", the numbers did begin to swell. I won't dwell too much on the 'div' argument, but let's say that there were quite a few tourists.

This actually worked out well because it meant that we could start hiring pubs and clubs and have our own local scene, which helped bring people together and raise interest among other locals. Also, if you wanted to fill a car to Sheffield or Alfreton, or St Ives it was a lot easier.

I went to the last night at Wigan and was glad it closed, it had become a terrible place. Selling trousers and space in the record bar, I'm surprised they weren't selling sticks of Casino Rock.

I still have friends who were on that first bus with me - and they are still on the scene.

I think that is fucking awesome. :)

Edited by Drewtg

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It was a big thing in my home town Edinburgh. We had our own nighter - Clouds - which had a very high reputation and lots of soul fans around and some top DJs (I think 'Jolly' even played at Wigan) and I seem to recall there was a soul show or two on Radio Forth. In fact the East coast of Scotland seemed very much Northern crazy as there were also scenes in Fife, Dundee and Aberdeen (a certain Mr Darge was from Elgin of course). Later, in the 80s, when I really started getting into it, it still carried on, to a lesser but important extent, with the rise of the venues run by the Walls brothers at Thornton, Glenrothes etc which were pretty cutting edge 'newies' events in those days.   

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It seems a lot bigger nowardays , however its not the same thing at all .

Carty , i agree with you its bigger nowadays and its  nowhere near as good as it was back in the 70's,  from late 90's too many local handbag do's all over the country and  its growing every month. Back in the 70's you had to travel to nighters  to hear great tunes from dj's like Levine ,Curtis , Searling , Sam , Vincent to  name but a few and if a tune was booted it wasn't  played by the top dj's again , so for me it was the 70's that gave me best time.

Nowadays every tom dick and harry runs local venues playing boots reissues haven't got clue about rare soul , these people have heard about northern soul read about northern soul seen it on the tv and simply jumped on the bandwagon  thats why its bigger, i could go on but i wont . 

Edited by Aaron Darcy

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I think some of the comments made about 'the scene' not being as big as some think are spot on. Northern Soul was massive where I come from but as Winnie says that didn't translate into loads of regular nighter goers.

It was more that loads played at it, e.g danced at the local disco spot, youth club, might have done the odd dayer etc, were on the fringes but would call themselves soulies.

Many I see today are now on the nostalgia scene and out and about.

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All great records that you mention and yes loved by the 'disco' crowd but don't you think the people who knew about the rarer records were a different crowd? They attendd the same places (some of the times) but dressed different and were a little obsessed with labels and the origins of the record. Ade

 

They were all rare records at some stage and all started on the Northern scene and only became popular with the mainstream once they were released in the UK. U.S. soul records have always been released in the UK but in the late 60s/early to mid 70s they actually sold enough to hit the upper reaches of the chart. The 'disco' era didn't really start in the UK until circa '76 onwards, so the ones above were well before that period.

 

Ian D :D  

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Relative to how 'big' the scene was back then, it's often been said that the Wigan Casino had a membership of around 100,000. Was that actually true?

 

Presuming so, there must have been a hell of a lot of tourists in that number, and many others who were on the scene for a while, drifted away for one reason or another and never came back.

 

People talk about the commercialisation of the scene now, but I wonder if UK venues combined are attracting anything like 100,000 today. 

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Probably count on one hand the number of kids my age who were into it when I was in the third, fourth and fifth years at school.  There were probably more older lads into it.  As a percentage I'd probably put it in low single figures.  I suppose Punk, New Wave, Disco and then all the greebo music that was around in the 70's attracted more followers.

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Carty , i agree with you its bigger nowadays and its  nowhere near as good as it was back in the 70's,  from late 90's too many local handbag do's all over the country and  its growing every month. Back in the 70's you had to travel to nighters  to hear great tunes from dj's like Levine ,Curtis , Searling , Sam , Vincent to  name but a few and if a tune was booted it wasn't  played by the top dj's again , so for me it was the 70's that gave me best time.

Nowadays every tom dick and harry runs local venues playing boots reissues haven't got clue about rare soul , these people have heard about northern soul read about northern soul seen it on the tv and simply jumped on the bandwagon  thats why its bigger, i could go on but i wont . 

I agree with the 70's being the best time and in the early 70's the scene being underground.

 

BUT, you did not have to travel to nighters just so you could hear the top sounds.

The Mecca was not an an-nighter and it was the only club that 100% stopped playing tunes after they had been pressed.

Wigan played records that had been pressed, some for years after, even played records that had been pressed before the nighter had opened ( pre-Sept 73.)

 

In the north-west there were loads of local mid-week venues that played the latest sounds, and in some cases before they had been broke at the bigger venues.

 

I am know there were other venues in other parts of the country doing the same.

 

If you into soul music you found out about the northern scene and lifestyle, off your peers or Blues & Soul mag etc.

 

In wasn't till the mid 70's that it started getting into newspapers and on the TV.

 

It went back to being a smaller scene (not underground) in the 80's.

 

Than in the 90's a big boom, with venues opening everywhere.

 

Now you would have to live on another planet not to have heard N.S.

Edited by davetay

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I agree with the 70's being the best time and in the early 70's the scene being underground.

 

BUT, you did not have to travel to nighters just so you could hear the top sounds.

The Mecca was not an an-nighter and it was the only club that 100% stopped playing tunes after they had been pressed.

Wigan played records that had been pressed, some for years after, even played records that had been pressed before the nighter had opened ( pre-Sept 73.)

 

In the north-west there were loads of local mid-week venues that played the latest sounds, and in some cases before they had been broke at the bigger venues.

 

I am know there were other venues in other parts of the country doing the same.

 

If you into soul music you found out about the northern scene and lifestyle, off your peers or Blues & Soul mag etc.

 

In wasn't till the mid 70's that it started getting into newspapers and on the TV.

 

It went back to being a smaller scene (not underground).

 

Than in the 90's a big boom, with venues opening everywhere.

 

Now you would have to live on another planet not to have heard N.S.

P.S. I remember as late as Easter 74 catching the last bus into town, and people who had gone to the same school as me, getting off the bus. as l was getting on saying " where you going?" l said "going to town to get a lift to an all-nighter".

They just laughed at me and thought l was crackers. :yes:

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Big in Kirkby while i was at school.We had a school disco - "Shades" where you could here Fuller Bros,etc.among others,played by Tats Taylor.I did a school lunchtime disco once ,played Marke Jackson,Jerry Butler some pressings.

So yes Jason,Northern was the thing in the 70's.Ran alongside Rod Stewart,Slade ..... :wicked:

Had to fight for the decks at many cider parties with the Tangerine Dream,Pink Floyd ,Eagles crew. :lol:

Edited by KevH

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Prior to Wigan I would say the scene was tiny.

I would hazard a guess that there was less than a couple of thousand regular

all nighter attendees.

Virtually everybody knew everybody, maybe not directly but through mutual friends

etc.

You have to remember the venues were much smaller back then, the Torch would be rammed

with 800 in there, most of the other venues would have been lucky to

hold half that, apart from maybe the Mecca.

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It was big enough to regularly break pure Northern records into the Top 30 on a regular basis in the first half of the 1970s...

 

No.1 The Tams - Hey Girl Don't Bother Me July 1971
No.11 Archie Bell & The Drells - Here I Go Again Oct 1972
No.3 R. Dean Taylor - There's a Ghost In My House May 1974
No.17 Wayne Gibson - Under My Thumb Nov 1974
No.26 The Javells - Goodbye Nothing To Say Nov 1974
No.5 The Trammps - Hold Back The Night Oct 1975
No.22 Rodger Collins - You Sexy Sugar Plum April 1976
 
Ian D  :D

 

 

These may have started by being played in northern clubs, but they crossed over to div-world….big time. 

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I never really questioned the WC 100,000 membership boast too much - on average in 76-78 there would probably be 100-200 new faces each week, many came back, many didn't. Lots of tourists, local lads who'd cobbled together the money to go the once etc. 

 

In Kent where I was living there were about 12 of us and assorted girlfriends who were proper into it. But when we got some northern played at the local pulling disco (usually about 3 records), about another 20 would join in dancing. But they weren't serious like us. Then there were those that claimed they went to Wigan etc but didn't - even back then - we could sniff these BSers out just in a brief conversation.

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My first reaction was that it was big in mansfield in 74 when i started, every youth club played northern (alongside more mainstream stuff I should add) and there was a big contingent of older lads (& lasses) that went to the torch and early wigan.

However at school there were 90 lads in my year and I can only think of two of us who were into it properly although most of the others would have known what it was and been exposed to it. 

Later when starting work and attending tech etc, again a small number of people in the groups I was in.

By the time I started nighters in 78 the Mansfield crowd had diminished considerably, there were probably around 15-20 regular attendees.

So to answer the original question - its difficult to quantify, it seemed big in my little world at the time but maybe not in the grand scheme of things…..

Edited by Steve L

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These may have started by being played in northern clubs, but they crossed over to div-world….big time. 

 

Sure. That's what hit records do. Made a nice change from the likes of Clive Dunn, Rolf Harris, the Tweets and Rene and Renato though........ :lol:

 

Ian D  :D

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My first reaction was that it was big in mansfield in 74 when i started, every youth club played northern (alongside more mainstream stuff I should add) and there was a big contingent of older lads (& lasses) that went to the torch and early wigan.

However at school there were 90 lads in my year and I can only think of two of us who were into it properly although most of the others would have known what it was and been exposed to it. 

Later when starting work and attending tech etc, again a small number of people in the groups I was in.

By the time I started nighters in 78 the Mansfield crowd had diminished considerably, there were probably around 15-20 regular attendees.

So to answer the original question - its difficult to quantify, it seemed big in my little world at the time but maybe not in the grand scheme of things…..

Going back to school days, l was the only one in my year into soul, other schools in the town had a few my age.

The years above me had a few that where into soul, that's where my peer pressure came from.

The year below me, there where a hell of a lot more into it. 

I left school in 71, the year below left in 73, the school leaving age went up.

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By the time I got into it in 78 it was a massive in Nottingham, I was 14 at school and you were either a greb, Souler or punk. Everyone knew about it, juke boxes had Motown and club soul on them and local pulling discos had Northern spots of about 4 records at every night.

 

Far from underground, that came later When most dropped off.

 

Same with me Byrney. When I got to secondary school in '78 the school disco played northern, the local working men's clubs had regular northern nights, or discos that played some northern, and older kids at school were travelling the country to nighters and bringing back records to play at the discos. I expect if you weren't into northern soul at the time, you knew it existed. Even today in Nuneaton most people over the age of 40 (maybe even younger) know what northern soul is even if they were never into it, and they probably know at least one person who was.

 

That's just one town though.

Edited by Matt Male

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Greater Manchester was the place to be in the 70's,no doubt about it, ask any of the dj's from that time ie Searling,Rushton etc.7 nights a week, every week. All our mates used to be amazed at how spoilt we were over here,local radio coverage, the lot!..Gtr Manchester?..there's nowhere greater!

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I never really questioned the WC 100,000 membership boast too much - on average in 76-78 there would probably be 100-200 new faces each week, many came back, many didn't. Lots of tourists, local lads who'd cobbled together the money to go the once etc. 

 

 

I bet there were a few who also sent away for the membership out of Black Echoes and never went at all.

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Greater Manchester was the place to be in the 70's,no doubt about it, ask any of the dj's from that time ie Searling,Rushton etc.7 nights a week, every week. All our mates used to be amazed at how spoilt we were over here,local radio coverage, the lot!..Gtr Manchester?..there's nowhere greater!

I think most of the North West, apart from Liverpool, had do's on 7 nights a week, back then.

Plus on most nights a choice of venue as well, within a few miles distance. 

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I think most of the North West, apart from Liverpool, had do's on 7 nights a week, back then.

Plus on most nights a choice of venue as well, within a few miles distance. 

 

Yep, there were generally Northern nights going on most nights of the week in West Yorks too.....

 

Ian D  :D

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If you were into rare soul in the early seventies you were part of an elite.  In Worcester in my school of 800 odd kids I was the only soul collector in 1971/2.  I set about changing that of course! Still by the time I left in '74 there were maybe 4 or 5 of us tops.

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I got into it 1973/74 lads I knew who were a year nor to older were going to nighters there used to be a bus from local town to Wigan ,also used to go to Sheffield Sammanth's .Sopose we were lucky 17 mile to Sheffield. 20 to Nottingham.think from my area that there were my be 50/70 of various ages 15 to 20 year olds some of the older lad's use to go to Matlock & tape the tunes which also inspired me to go to some of the venues

Edited by richo991

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I think the clique aspect was what was most attractive about it when I started going at 14 in 1974. We'd have a Tuesday night 'dance' at the Wirrina in Peterborough called The Carousel. I don't believe there were more than 15-20 of us, guys and gals, but we'd commandeer that floor when the sounds came on. I remember one DJ in particular playing tunes handed to him by people like Andy Smith, Gary Spencer etc. He was sympathetic. Most of the others weren't. Sometimes they were disparaging of it. F***ing obscure B sides time again, is it? We certainly felt head and shoulders above the rest of bumping and grinding eedjits though. That was a lovely period of discovery I feel most nostalgic for. Fumbling in record boxes and girl's blouses. Who wouldn't want to go back there!? 

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hi all,just been reading a post on fb about being at college in the 70s and all they did mainly was listen to northern soul on live tapes from the nighters they went to,got me thinking....actually how big was the northern soul scene in the heyday ? was loads of people in yr street into it ? workmates etc etc ? was it really massive ? just wondering as i didnt get into the scene proper till about 81 so dont know how huge it was if it was huge ?

 

Depends on when in the 70s, from 1970 to 1973 not very big, I can only think of about 10 venues and not all of them weren't open every week and not all nighters. I guess it became bigger from about 1974 onwards once Wigan had established itself.

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If you were into rare soul in the early seventies you were part of an elite.  In Worcester in my school of 800 odd kids I was the only soul collector in 1971/2.  I set about changing that of course! Still by the time I left in '74 there were maybe 4 or 5 of us tops.

 

Thanks always fancied myself as an "elite" :thumbsup:

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It was big enough to regularly break pure Northern records into the Top 30 on a regular basis in the first half of the 1970s...

 

No.1 The Tams - Hey Girl Don't Bother Me July 1971
No.11 Archie Bell & The Drells - Here I Go Again Oct 1972
No.3 R. Dean Taylor - There's a Ghost In My House May 1974
No.17 Wayne Gibson - Under My Thumb Nov 1974
No.26 The Javells - Goodbye Nothing To Say Nov 1974
No.5 The Trammps - Hold Back The Night Oct 1975
No.22 Rodger Collins - You Sexy Sugar Plum April 1976
 
Ian D  :D

 

When I was at college back in 75/76 at Epsom and Ewell people didn't even know there was a North yet alone Northern Soul - I remember dancing to Rodger Collins back in 76 at Purley Tiffs and drinking Watneys Red with the little barrel on the bar club prices then were a massive 50p they also use to play 3 to 4 smoochers so you could cop off with a bird 

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In the 70's it depended on where you lived I suppose. In Merseyside for example you could count on two hands the number of people who were into it and it was ridiculed, mainly because blokes didn't dance on their own in Liverpool and the media attention it got was generally mocking, in my opinion!

 

Kev

 

Merseyside had a slightly different version of NS as I recall with both northern and modern  records being played and later philly stuff all alongside chart soul stuff like motown and stax.

Yes blokes didnt dance on their own but the dancefloor was full of couples when Billy Butler was playing the then only copy in the UK of cigarette ashes at the Mardi Gras club. Billy was the first to play many a now classic northern track including Mamie Galore and the Kittens. Other clubs, some on the Wirral also had their followings but non I suppose was exclusively northern. 

Eight of us managed regular nighter visits to the Torch until I crashed the van !! Happy days

 

Dave Banks

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Soul music then was popular too and undoubtedly the northern scene fed off of that. I mean we had B&S fortnightly, Black Music, then Echoes every week. There were import record stores all over the place etc. It was fashionable music for teenagers. Remember being on a bus when I was about 13-14 and a young lady was reading B&S. Phwoar! I thought. This was way before I was into northern, just into soul and clubby stuff. That wouldn't happen today, I mean finding a copy of B&S anywhere is hard enough…..soul music as a genre is a lot less popular with young people obviously.

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Relative to how 'big' the scene was back then, it's often been said that the Wigan Casino had a membership of around 100,000. Was that actually true?

 

Presuming so, there must have been a hell of a lot of tourists in that number, and many others who were on the scene for a while, drifted away for one reason or another and never came back.

 

People talk about the commercialisation of the scene now, but I wonder if UK venues combined are attracting anything like 100,000 today. 

Think about the amount of folk who ended up having multiplemebership cards ,dissolved in soaked  with sweat pockets,just mislaid .lost etc. That in itself would cut into the 100 00 number.Also how many went once or twice only.Granted though Wigan wasnt the only show in town for nighters many prefered cleethorpes,sammys,st ives etc.However the average number of soulies who were out each weekend at nighters over the years when wigan was running  in the seventies,nowhere even near a tenth of 100 00 would be my estimate,half that number of a tenth more likely and most weeks less than that therefore that 100 00 number so often quoted to me is a highly inflated misleading  figure.Hardcore nighter folk a very much smaller number who wee there (not just wigan)every week.

Edited by manusf3a

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I think most of the North West, apart from Liverpool, had do's on 7 nights a week, back then.

Plus on most nights a choice of venue as well, within a few miles distance.

Dave. Widnes was certainly one of those places . Different venue seven nights a week in the mid to late seventies.. Best time of my life. Without a shadow of a doubt

Steve

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We used to have about 8 people into it at our whole school circa 1968 in Southport. It started to grow massively after that with people travelling to the Wheel. By 1971 there were hundreds of us attending local events and a hardcore visiting the Mecca and later the Torch.

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I agree with the 70's being the best time and in the early 70's the scene being underground.

 

BUT, you did not have to travel to nighters just so you could hear the top sounds.

The Mecca was not an an-nighter and it was the only club that 100% stopped playing tunes after they had been pressed.

Wigan played records that had been pressed, some for years after, even played records that had been pressed before the nighter had opened ( pre-Sept 73.)

 

In the north-west there were loads of local mid-week venues that played the latest sounds, and in some cases before they had been broke at the bigger venues.

 

I am know there were other venues in other parts of the country doing the same.

 

If you into soul music you found out about the northern scene and lifestyle, off your peers or Blues & Soul mag etc.

 

In wasn't till the mid 70's that it started getting into newspapers and on the TV.

 

It went back to being a smaller scene (not underground) in the 80's.

 

Than in the 90's a big boom, with venues opening everywhere.

 

Now you would have to live on another planet not to have heard N.S.

I wanted to keep my reply  short , i know Highland Room finished at 2am and other venues in my area like the Blue Room in Sale Manchester, Carlton Club in Warrington  also finished around 1am where you would  hear all the big tune and new tunes early 70s so as you say you didn't have to go to nighters.

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The 70's were good agreed but most of us were young and impressionable and the music in that era... well, just about everything played was fantastic to a lot of us but when i look back at what was played then and what i listen to now then there is a lot more refined choice available. I wouldn't say this was an age thing because so many current attendees still prefer the traditional sound so for me the present and future matter most.... still on that learning curve :)

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Merseyside had a slightly different version of NS as I recall with both northern and modern  records being played and later philly stuff all alongside chart soul stuff like motown and stax.

Yes blokes didnt dance on their own but the dancefloor was full of couples when Billy Butler was playing the then only copy in the UK of cigarette ashes at the Mardi Gras club. Billy was the first to play many a now classic northern track including Mamie Galore and the Kittens. Other clubs, some on the Wirral also had their followings but non I suppose was exclusively northern. 

Eight of us managed regular nighter visits to the Torch until I crashed the van !! Happy days

 

Dave Banks

Billy butler had loads of sounds then,i sent him 25 quid for PP Arnold and as far as i know he still has it :g: as i never recieved it(before telephone days)and Liverpool was the other end of the world from Gloucester :D and i couldn´t speak Irish :)

Steve

ps early seventies the soul scene was massive in Gloucester(pre-Wigan) with many carloads travelling (in my time) to the Torch,Cats ,Mecca etc ,I myself had run a few coaches before Wigan had even opened,

i think the main reason in Gloucester was due to The Wax Machine and Richard Selwoods record dealings and promotions,

most of the youth clubs played a spattering of northern and the local disco´s as well but mid-seventies it got commercialised(after footsie) and there were probably three or four coaches from our way going to Wigan later years.

Now it seems/looks like an alternative to (years ago) bingo or Darby and Joan club on the weekends :wicked:

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depended where you lived as by then in london it was physcodelic and hendrix and captain beefheart / zappa . ridicule awaited those into soul stuff . hard to believe it was so polarised

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Merseyside had a slightly different version of NS as I recall with both northern and modern  records being played and later philly stuff all alongside chart soul stuff like motown and stax.

Yes blokes didnt dance on their own but the dancefloor was full of couples when Billy Butler was playing the then only copy in the UK of cigarette ashes at the Mardi Gras club. Billy was the first to play many a now classic northern track including Mamie Galore and the Kittens. Other clubs, some on the Wirral also had their followings but non I suppose was exclusively northern. 

Eight of us managed regular nighter visits to the Torch until I crashed the van !! Happy days

 

Dave Banks

Merseyside had a slightly different version of NS as I recall with both northern and modern  records being played and later philly stuff all alongside chart soul stuff like motown and stax.

Yes blokes didnt dance on their own but the dancefloor was full of couples when Billy Butler was playing the then only copy in the UK of cigarette ashes at the Mardi Gras club. Billy was the first to play many a now classic northern track including Mamie Galore and the Kittens. Other clubs, some on the Wirral also had their followings but non I suppose was exclusively northern. 

Eight of us managed regular nighter visits to the Torch until I crashed the van !! Happy days

 

Dave Banks

I was a regular at the Mardi in 1971 and I don't recall Billy ever playing anything northern so it must have been earlier than that. Billy gave me my first dj job at the Golden Guinea Club in New Brighton 1973 because he preferred to go upstairs to play black jack. I also went into his loft searching for stuff before Richard Searling got there, but he wouldn't let me have anything unless there was two copies, so I only came away with Dusty Springfield What's it gonna be, because he had about 5 of them.

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