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Features: The Post Wigan Years - Northern Soul

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Much has been written about the Northern Soul scene up to the demise of The Wigan Casino, but very little has actually been written about what followed. For many, the scene died when Wigan Casino closed its doors for the final time. These same people would....

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Merry Christmas Chalks, nice work mate!

Hats off to you for taking the [considerable] time and for having the foresight to document that period coherently and in detail - I can think of a few who would struggle, candles got well scorched, both ends lol.

I'd be 16-17 when I started attending many of those nighters in the early eighties and while a bit of me will always be disappointed that I was too young to have attended WC or the Mecca, for obvious reasons, there's another bit that's eternally grateful for the fact that my taste in and attitude towards rare soul was shaped by those people and places in the early 80s.

I loved the sense that something brilliant was happening and you were in on it which, I suspect, was how it might've felt right at the outset? Looking back, it could be a bit scary if you were a yoof from the sticks lol; people could be uncompromising and cut you little or no slack which, and this might sound strange, is a good thing I think.

Call it elitism, snobbery or what you will but it definitely didn't always feel like an easy ride. That said, in a weird way that's part of what made it special and different and worth doing because if you stuck with it and 'got it' what you got was absolutely the best: music, people, places, experiences. 

Atb

Phil

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1 hour ago, PhilT said:

Merry Christmas Chalks, nice work mate!

Hats off to you for taking the [considerable] time and for having the foresight to document that period coherently and in detail - I can think of a few who would struggle, candles got well scorched, both ends lol.

I'd be 16-17 when I started attending many of those nighters in the early eighties and while a bit of me will always be disappointed that I was too young to have attended WC or the Mecca, for obvious reasons, there's another bit that's eternally grateful for the fact that my taste in and attitude towards rare soul was shaped by those people and places in the early 80s.

I loved the sense that something brilliant was happening and you were in on it which, I suspect, was how it might've felt right at the outset? Looking back, it could be a bit scary if you were a yoof from the sticks lol; people could be uncompromising and cut you little or no slack which, and this might sound strange, is a good thing I think.

Call it elitism, snobbery or what you will but it definitely didn't always feel like an easy ride. That said, in a weird way that's part of what made it special and different and worth doing because if you stuck with it and 'got it' what you got was absolutely the best: music, people, places, experiences. 

Atb

Phil

well said phil,exactly the same for me word for word pal!

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1 hour ago, PhilT said:

Merry Christmas Chalks, nice work mate!

Hats off to you for taking the [considerable] time and for having the foresight to document that period coherently and in detail - I can think of a few who would struggle, candles got well scorched, both ends lol.

I'd be 16-17 when I started attending many of those nighters in the early eighties and while a bit of me will always be disappointed that I was too young to have attended WC or the Mecca, for obvious reasons, there's another bit that's eternally grateful for the fact that my taste in and attitude towards rare soul was shaped by those people and places in the early 80s.

I loved the sense that something brilliant was happening and you were in on it which, I suspect, was how it might've felt right at the outset? Looking back, it could be a bit scary if you were a yoof from the sticks lol; people could be uncompromising and cut you little or no slack which, and this might sound strange, is a good thing I think.

Call it elitism, snobbery or what you will but it definitely didn't always feel like an easy ride. That said, in a weird way that's part of what made it special and different and worth doing because if you stuck with it and 'got it' what you got was absolutely the best: music, people, places, experiences. 

Atb

Phil

well said phil,exactly the same for me word for word pal!

also chalky,you mention the carlton club,i attended a particular nite when sam ward,frances nero,were playing,i was a young lad and i dont remember to much about it other than wasnt lou ragland on aswell?

i wasnt overlly impressed with the artists,probably cos they were singing to a backing tape,but i do remember sam wards big cowboy hat! haha

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A nice peice of NS history well documented, and put together well by Chalky,. Just a little oversight Droylsden was promoted by Mark Robinson and myself 1990- 1992 when I was asked by Mark, Dennis and Pete could they take over, at the time due to promoting regular Sat allniters and Friday,s not fitting in to my work schedule I gave it to them on condition that they carried on running it  using a familiar format that Mark and myself had been using. Well Done Chalky excellent read.

keep on pressing on

Mick L

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1 hour ago, PhilT said:

Merry Christmas Chalks, nice work mate!

Hats off to you for taking the [considerable] time and for having the foresight to document that period coherently and in detail - I can think of a few who would struggle, candles got well scorched, both ends lol.

I'd be 16-17 when I started attending many of those nighters in the early eighties and while a bit of me will always be disappointed that I was too young to have attended WC or the Mecca, for obvious reasons, there's another bit that's eternally grateful for the fact that my taste in and attitude towards rare soul was shaped by those people and places in the early 80s.

I loved the sense that something brilliant was happening and you were in on it which, I suspect, was how it might've felt right at the outset? Looking back, it could be a bit scary if you were a yoof from the sticks lol; people could be uncompromising and cut you little or no slack which, and this might sound strange, is a good thing I think.

Call it elitism, snobbery or what you will but it definitely didn't always feel like an easy ride. That said, in a weird way that's part of what made it special and different and worth doing because if you stuck with it and 'got it' what you got was absolutely the best: music, people, places, experiences. 

Atb

Phil

I think people get too much slack these days, not just in music but life in general.  Everyone expects everything for little effort, probably a result of all the reality TV shows.  We now have a scene and life with little or no imagination and creativity.  The knocks, set backs, having to learn lessons in life and for us collecting the hard way is as you say what shapes us.....it is what makes us stand out from the flock and I personally loved every minute of life back then.

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Great piece if writing Chalky, as one of the many who carried on attending venues after the Casino closed you have written the story of my life.

The quality of records played post 1980 was as good as anything played before and the turnover was at a frantic pace.

Respect

 

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1 hour ago, Hooker1951 said:

A nice peice of NS history well documented, and put together well by Chalky,. Just a little oversight Droylsden was promoted by Mark Robinson and myself 1990- 1992 when I was asked by Mark, Dennis and Pete could they take over, at the time due to promoting regular Sat allniters and Friday,s not fitting in to my work schedule I gave it to them on condition that they carried on running it  using a familiar format that Mark and myself had been using. Well Done Chalky excellent read.

keep on pressing on

Mick L

I will amend that oversight Mick and many thanks to you and everyone else for the comments, hugely appreciated.

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A great read Chalky for an era that some for their own reasons would like to pretend never happened.

I started a thread a few years back around if a book on the scene post Wigan would be viable. I'd love to see one that captures that attitude we had then. A scene that didn't suffer fools but gave satisfaction back in spades.

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28 minutes ago, FRANKIE CROCKER said:

A hugely enjoyable read Chalkie. Maybe the basis of a book in future perhaps?

Maybe if I ever find the time, thanks for the comments, again hugely appreciated.

26 minutes ago, Winsford Soul said:

Chalks. wouldn't expect anything  else of you mate. Superb . The story and soundtrack of my life post Wigan . Not that I would swap my 6 years at Wigan memories either. Hopefully See you tonight bud

Steve

Thanks Steve.  I doubt it tonight, we are flooded, well not us exactly but all the streets are under water, many houses and business flooded :( With more rain forecast it will only get worse.

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great and well written piece and of history your incite to post wigan. the weekender scene was big with the upnorth promotions by alex lowes if i remember from fleetwood,morecambe pontins and eventually southport and 21 years later still going strong but has gone more modern/dance after a few years had some great times there.  

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Chalky,  thanks for that wonderful read...You've actually covered my era in Soul..I missed the Casino..was a little but young, and didn't make it..so my starting time was events such as Rotherham, Hinckley etc...I remember the Ric Tic Revue so well - still have some pictures...Stafford was tops for me. We used to drive down from Edinburgh every two weeks - sometimes bus, usually car.  The buzz and excitement of the "new" music at the time was thrilling. Shouts was the Scottish "Stafford" I guess...great set of local DJ's ...An honourable mention needs to go to their forerunner, the Glenrothes (Thornton) nighters ran by the Walls brothers..they kept soul alive in Scotland until the Shotts nighters came around.

 

It came full circle for me recently when I went to the recent Thorley event in Crew "spirit: all nighter...again, lots of good music...keep on writing !  magic stuff!

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A truly enjoyable read Chalky. You refer to this as a brief overview - I say much more than that. Comprehensive documentation of this particular era of northern soul history has been a long time coming. Really appreciate all your hard work here. Thanks for taking the time to pull this together.

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Brilliant read chalky, when you put the wigan era into context in relation to the history of scene, before and after it was a small part important but not the be all and end all of the scene, anyone who knows anything about it will always agree with that loved reading it.

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Great article, got a question, anyone remember the nighters at Hinckley leisure centre in the late 8ts, was it run by Bradford hole in the wall soul club ?  Remember seeing  the tavares there at one. Cheers

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I have to say that I was one of the disillusioned soulies in the late 70's/early 80's, disillusioned with the music policy and the way that people started to filter away from the scene because of it. I look back on that time and find it impossible to fathom why anyone would want to radically change something that the dance floor proved was banging popular. But I stuck with the music at home (wasn't hard, it's a part of me) and have even been to a few nighters in recent years after a long layoff. Although my youth has long gone, it has been great to see the young of today as deliriously happy as we were then. It will never be different I think? 

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2 hours ago, Pga1 said:

Great article, got a question, anyone remember the nighters at Hinckley leisure centre in the late 8ts, was it run by Bradford hole in the wall soul club ?  Remember seeing  the tavares there at one. Cheers

Yes it was run by Phil Dick and Steve Croft, same promotion for Bradford Queens Hall and Leeds Astoria. @phild

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Loved it....great article on what were amazing times for cutting edge Rare Soul....this era pretty much defines me & my tastes to this day, I felt that by just attending these venues we were influencing the scene....without the venues of the 8ts, I truly believe that we wouldn't have the scene as we know it today.....thank you for documenting the era so well Chalky & a book would really ensure that these truly fantastic All Nighters could be documented for all time, as there is still a massive chasm in some peoples minds with regards to this era, a book would ensure that this hugely influential period of NS history was recorded accurately by a person/people that were there, as it is quite often shamefully ignored or written off as the 'lean times', when we know they were the best (better ?) times....thank you 

 

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The 80's also saw the rise in popularity of the All-Dayer.

A few I remember going to:

Bankhall Miners,

Blackpool Pier,

Ritz,

Highwayman's Halt at Snaith, run by Sam and Arthur Fenn.

Todmorden (at the top of a very steep hill),

and a bloody freezing New Years day one in Preston which was brilliant.

Some of these might have been early 90's but my memory is mush.

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I wonder how many of the returnees of the last 15 years or so who are so entrenched in the mid 70s ever bother to read stuff like this??

Don't think Ive ever read  threads along these lines where many people have commented about "realising how much good music they missed, it must have been great" etc

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5 hours ago, ratt said:

I have to say that I was one of the disillusioned soulies in the late 70's/early 80's, disillusioned with the music policy and the way that people started to filter away from the scene because of it. I look back on that time and find it impossible to fathom why anyone would want to radically change something that the dance floor proved was banging popular. But I stuck with the music at home (wasn't hard, it's a part of me) and have even been to a few nighters in recent years after a long layoff. Although my youth has long gone, it has been great to see the young of today as deliriously happy as we were then. It will never be different I think? 

I've read before that some left the scene in the early 80s as disillusioned with the music. But in my experience most I knocked around with left because they had 2 or 3 years on the scene and decided they'd settle down with the wife and kids, do the local pub etc. 

For me and for many others the music was as good if not better than what went before e.g look at Butch's playlist in Chalky's article.

1 hour ago, Steve L said:

I wonder how many of the returnees of the last 15 years or so who are so entrenched in the mid 70s ever bother to read stuff like this??

Don't think Ive ever read  threads along these lines where many people have commented about "realising how much good music they missed, it must have been great" etc

Not once mate - which is incredible really. 

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1 hour ago, Steve L said:

I wonder how many of the returnees of the last 15 years or so who are so entrenched in the mid 70s ever bother to read stuff like this??

Don't think Ive ever read  threads along these lines where many people have commented about "realising how much good music they missed, it must have been great" etc

HI STEVE,

I did and thoroughly enjoyed the read. Did not bother too much with soul events post 1982, due to full on commitment to home and family life, and was very intrigued and enlightened by Chalk's brief but detailed descriptions of events and the characters/dj's that have contributed to the soul scene of today.  A big part of soul history that I have never experienced or had little knowledge of, so put me down for the full rendition when Chalky decides to write the book.

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Enjoyed that, excellent stuff. Although I didn't travel all over I had great memories of windsford Hyde Keele droylsden Manchester's cis and a few other localish ones. Great to be part of it 

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19 hours ago, chalky said:

Yes it was run by Phil Dick and Steve Croft, same promotion for Bradford Queens Hall and Leeds Astoria. @phild

Great read thank you.....I always thought it was Chris King who ran/promoted Hinckley do's in the 80's...you learn something new every day....kind regards..Rob

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2 hours ago, Lionelonthevinyl said:

Great read thank you.....I always thought it was Chris King who ran/promoted Hinckley do's in the 80's...you learn something new every day....kind regards..Rob

 

He did but earlier in the 80's,,,,,Ric Tic Review and the Weekend Soul Club etc.

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Absolutely fab article. The perception of the post wigan ‘’dark years of northern soul’’ also seem to ignore the spreading of Northern Soul all over Europe and beyond. Not by expats like in Australia but by people from the local mod scooter skin and 60’s scene in Germany. Italy. Spain, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, USA…..since the early 80’s

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Great article, it's about time the scene was documented in more detail after 1981. 

I also remember the great allnighters at Manchesters Ritz in the 1990's, especially the rarest of the rare nights.  Great atmosphere, some nights reminding me of the atmosphere in the Casino.

Also the Concord Suite, Droylsden allnighters in the 1990's, when Butch was a frequent DJ there.

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2 hours ago, soulandy said:

Also remember all nighters at the Horwich leisure centre and soul nights at westhaughton cricket club being very good around the early 90's

Yep I've Westhoughton and The Orwell to add at some point.

Edited by chalky
Louis reprimanded me for me spelling lol

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