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Greedy Mick

How you got into northern soul

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Hi all as you know my son kevin is into the scene and he asked how i got into northern. When i told him he said i should share the story..... in 1976 i started at my local comprehensive school . For you who dont know we all had to do lessons we didnt like, for us boys this was dance and drama!!! This all changed in the 2nd year when we had a new dance teacher start. She started playing all these singles with coloured labels and big holes in the middle. And started showing us all this energetic and 100 mph dancing with spins backdrops and floorwork.  Unknown to us at the time she went to wigan (she explained about all nighters and dayers as we got into it, although i would be 15 before i got to to wigan) and could see all us kids bored of the drivel played in the charts . As we got to know some of the tunes and moves one of the most boring lessons became the most looked forward to.. at the same time the older  lads on the estate started to have all dayers on a sunday at our local boys club.. and that was it i was hooked on northern .. the dance teacher was only there for about 18 months. I cant remember her name but would love to meet her to say thanks for getting me into something i have loved for the last 40 years..  

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Posted (edited)

Fairly standard progression from Mod revival into the seemingly illicit next level of NS.  It was like the almost secret next level to me as a youngster buying all I could afford on vinyl, even taking a hard but very well paid Saturday job at Nottingham's Victoria fish market then spending it all that afternoon on vinyl.  Rob Smith, John at Arcade Records who also as a DJ was a fount of knowledge, and Pendulum Records for compilations on Kent, Inferno etc, then Record Fairs were my start.  The older Mod and NS guys I hung around with would come back with tales of nighters, misdeeds, sewn on badges, vinyl and fanzines that all seemed unbelievably  exciting to this council estate kid.

There was an amazing local Thursday night supposedly kids session in Clifton that adults would come on scooters and in vans for the visiting NS DJs.   That was a doorway to another world hanging with the adults outside, learning from them, carrying in the boxes of records for the DJs, getting better at dancing, hearing much more obscure plays.  The DJ I recall most was Psychdelic John playing such as Manifesto, The Trip, Autumn of Your Tomorrow, Psychdelic Soul that bust my mind open. I was buying Blues and Soul magazine, swapping tapes and then headlong into the scene. Within a year or so after finding NS, the uptight Mod aspect faded but the Soul continued through to today.

Rob Smith helped me with bargains, guidance, free cheap records for making tea and sorting the carrier bag collections he buys but never checks. I was going to NS nights around East Midlands and Wirrina all nighters while still a mid teenager by about 1984. When scene was fermenting to come back big after years of nights with sometimes five to ten of us, I was part of that and ready, so then out 2-3 times every week including Sunday night pub 'hold onto the weekend a bit longer' sessions, trying all new sessions in East Midlands and London where I was a lot for work.  London was great as nobody had preconceptions about oldies vs newies at all, as they just didn't know or care.

Kev would come into Robs and I would stand for ages listening to them talking through plays, reissues, memories and upcoming events while sorting bits out on days off or sneaking out for a bit at lunch or during legal hand deliveries.  I was buying every CD as that started fro Charly, Soul Supply/Goldmine, Sequel, Spectrum then Kent joined in moving from vinyl after most labels (but doing it best).   I bought all the NS CDs, pre internet by hand from Rob (who hates them and never heard any of them) when Kev bought them in or Selectadisc and soon reviewing, did a few CD booklets and compilation guidance.   At the time I didn't know anyone else who cared about the CDs but I moved across quickly as space and desire to hear music dictated.

I used to buy a lot of vinyl originally by mail order pre internet and would be delighted when such as Pat Brady sent me replies, notes and always great cheap suggestions. I was subscribed like many of us here to a dozen or more, often seeking out a small list seller in Record Collector or at Record Fairs. Pat was really helpful as were others back when we all had much more time in a seemingly slower world.  Pete Smith and his stunning CDrs becamd a postal/ early email mate too who enriched my soul appreciation more than anyone.

From around 1991 to about 2007 when my career took me away and our children were small I was out all the time. We had great years in early soul groups such as KTF, Nite Owl, Modern Soul one and then eventually like Pete Smith and others, here we are.

Apart from a parallel interest in early House music and dance scene 86-92 (some of which is now accepted on the MS scene) I have continued to enjoy and explore all aspects of NS, then Modern Soul and all related soulful, blues and jazz based danceable music since.  

Edited by ThinkSmart

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2 hours ago, ThinkSmart said:

Fairly standard progression from Mod revival into the seemingly illicit next level of NS.  It was like the almost secret next level to me as a youngster buying all I could afford on vinyl, even taking a hard but very well paid Saturday job at Nottingham's Victoria fish market then spending it all that afternoon on vinyl.  Rob Smith, John at Arcade Records who also as a DJ was a fount of knowledge, and Pendulum Records for compilations on Kent, Inferno etc, then Record Fairs were my start.  The older Mod and NS guys I hung around with would come back with tales of nighters, misdeeds, sewn on badges, vinyl and fanzines that all seemed unbelievably  exciting to this council estate kid.

There was an amazing local Thursday night supposedly kids session in Clifton that adults would come on scooters and in vans for the visiting NS DJs.   That was a doorway to another world hanging with the adults outside, learning from them, carrying in the boxes of records for the DJs, getting better at dancing, hearing much more obscure plays.  The DJ I recall most was Psychdelic John playing such as Manifesto, The Trip, Autumn of Your Tomorrow, Psychdelic Soul that bust my mind open. I was buying Blues and Soul magazine, swapping tapes and then headlong into the scene. Within a year or so after finding NS, the uptight Mod aspect faded but the Soul continued through to today.

Rob Smith helped me with bargains, guidance, free cheap records for making tea and sorting the carrier bag collections he buys but never checks. I was going to NS nights around East Midlands and Wirrina all nighters while still a mid teenager by about 1984. When scene was fermenting to come back big I was part of that, out 2-3 times every week, trying all new sessions in East Midlands and London where I was a lot for work.  

Kev would come into Robs and I would stand for ages listening sorting bits out on days off.  I was buying every CD as that started, pre internet from Rob when Kev bought them in or Selectadisc and soon reviewing, did a few CD booklets and compilation guidance.

I used to buy a lot by mail order pre internet and would be delighted when such as Pat Brady sent me replies, notes and always great cheap suggestions.  Pat was really helpful as were others back when we all had much more time in a seemingly slower world.  Pete Smith and his stunning CDrs becamd a postal/ early email mate too who enriched my soul appreciation morevthan anyone.

From around 1991 to about 2007 when my career took me away and our children were small I was out all the time. We had great years in early soul groups such as KTF, Nite Owl, Modern Soul one and then eventually like Pete Smith and others, here we are.

Apart from a parallel interest in early House music and dance scene 86-92 I have continued to enjoy and explore all aspects of NS, then Modern Soul and all related soulful, blues and jazz based danceable music since.  

your not the only one on here wi that parallel interest

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Sorry Geeselad..   I didn't try to come across that i was the only one who got into northern this way its just that my son thought it was interesting . Mick.

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Falbala, reaching for the best, out on the floor, the flasher, sharonettes going to a go go, the night, sexy sugar plum.

Around 1975, these were the few tunes that broke through at Baileys and Tiffany's nappy nights,  where ' bigger boys ' performed the ritual know as 'northern soul ' and we're mobbed by girls girls and more girls, and me and my mates thought we better get some of this action.

So we went to a few youth clubs where records like bar b que, Queen of fools, and panic, got played and we learned to dance, basic steps of course. 

Soul nights, all dayers, all nighters, and that was that, hook line and sinker.

Ed

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1 hour ago, Greedy Mick said:

Sorry Geeselad..   I didn't try to come across that i was the only one who got into northern this way its just that my son thought it was interesting . Mick.

not at all mick I just wanted to let you know we have guys on here into early house. Amy pathway is interesting

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Music. ! all about the music for me , cream always rise's to the top . northern Disco funk reggae  etc etc etc  scene don't really come into it for me 🎶🎶🎶

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18 hours ago, Kegsy said:

Seven red and browns did it for me.

ONLY SEVEN KEGS......................U MUSTA' BEEN ON A DIET !!

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1 hour ago, 25miles said:

ONLY SEVEN KEGS......................U MUSTA' BEEN ON A DIET !!

It was only a first attempt, the bugger wouldn't let me have anymore.

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Probably like others I was influenced by older siblings when I was starting to pick up on music. My sister was into Blues, so aged twelve I heard Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson and other Chess artists. My brother was in a group around 66 and 67. They mainly did cover versions of soul records or covers of cover versions, such as Just One Look which I thought was a Hollies song but later heard the Doris Troy original. He took me along to the 67 Stax show in Manchester which was phenomenal.  In 68 and 69 the local youth club would still be playing Motown, Stax, Atlantic as well as new releases like The Foundations, Bandwagon etc. Moving on from youth clubs I experienced the horrors of prog rock and psychedelia as a lot of clubs had dumped soul music. Finding Blues and Soul in the local newsagent I discovered Dave Godin's writing and reviews of the first wave of reissues . Spotting a tiny ad in the Manchester Evening News for the first night of the Pendulum Soul night I went along and never looked back.

Rick

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Posted (edited)

Very similar to last post, an older brother and sister who were into soul ( Otis Redding, sam cooke and the like ) I then started to go to my local youth club about 75 where I heard my first northern soul being played amongst other stuff and progressed to the Bentley comrades club where it was all northern for years until the jazz funk scene infiltrated it. Once I started work in 77 on £22 quid a week I did my £5 a week board and spent the rest on 45s in donny and a great record shop in mablethorpe ( can't for the life of me remember the name )  ? 

I used to DJ at a few youth clubs and only played northern and get my fix at the local nightclubs in donny/Sheffield and Cleethorpes

Went to Wigan twice in 1980 and heard stuff I hadn't heard before but unfortunately got married in 82 and had family like so many did but it's never left me and I've just started buying vinyl again and going to a few local northern nights. 

Edited by Span

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I remember a record shop in mablethorpe as spent summers there at my mum and dads caravan. It was just off the main street on victoria road . I just remember all the recordsbeing at the back.. cant remember the name. Also there was one in cleethorpes on the road to grimsby. It might have been called  Corrigans or something similar.  God knows how i remember that. Mick

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I got into Northern Soul through my next door neighbour in the late 1970's, I was round one evening and he played a few records while we were chatting away and I happened to say I liked a particular song, later that night he came round offering me the single as he wanted money for fags, after that I was hooked big time. :yes: :hatsoff2:

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I got into Northern like most people round Leicester  from older mates in my case it was 3 brothers who lived across way Pete Tony & Paul  Shirley  they had scooters dressed

dead smart & was into soul & tamla motown .they would hang about the village talking & playing northern on Paul Shirley tape player .though them I met mick pipe & Eric & Tommo & Paul mud  we all used to go to the boys club on the monsel estate & dance all they played was northern maybe a few two tone tunes it was always packed .the older lads all got a bus to Wigan & when I looked old enough I  joined them .Got a vespa 50 special in 1980 never looked back been into the scene since .Used to meet up with greedy mick back then as well ,still do .

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Yes Greedy Mick, they were at the back and I think it was near a corner of a junction and they used to get me imports if I ordered them ( I got my Frank Beverley If thats what you wanted on Sassy from there ) 

we used to drink in the pub not far from the shop ( I think it was the Midland Hotel ) and they used to have some cracking stuff on the jukebox, that is until we had a ruck with some Greasers in there one Saturday night and got banned.

maybe that's why the memory isn't great ?

used to get stuff from a record shop in  a back street in Skegness too when we went there most weekends

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Like most I got into motown (chartbusters etc..)  and then heard northern at youth club off older lads. I bought Frankie Vallie your ready now & was told it was a "rare 1st issue" (turned out of course to be re-issue). When the lads who went to wigan started to play things like wayne gibson, javells, hawaii 5 O etc.. it wasn't really for me. Around this time i changed jobs and moved and mixed with a crowd into 'jazz funk' so that and what is now called 'modern soul' was what i listened to (capital radio soul show with Gregg Edwards/Robbie Vincent..).  Then job, family stuff (& a bit of house music.) etc.. and into the 90's picked up a few northern cd's and started to realise what i had missed. Late 90's saw a flyer for a northern do in Brighton and went along and as a result found out that there was (and had been all along) a scene still going. Been going regularly to do's and collecting since.  So in a way i missed out but the last 20 years of discovering lots of records for the first time has been fantastic!

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19 hours ago, Greedy Mick said:

I remember a record shop in mablethorpe as spent summers there at my mum and dads caravan. It was just off the main street on victoria road . I just remember all the recordsbeing at the back.. cant remember the name. Also there was one in cleethorpes on the road to grimsby. It might have been called  Corrigans or something similar.  God knows how i remember that. Mick

Remember Corrigans mate :thumbsup::thumbsup:

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Great stories all....

for my part, I was a mod at secondary school, into collecting Kent Lp's and sixties stuff, I never liked revival stuff really.....  in the mid eighties morphed into a scooter boy, by the time I left school I was going to the outrigger in brum and old Vic in Wolverhampton, I followed house from early on but by 88 I was taken by the acid scene! Literally.... laughs.   by 93 I'd lost interest as that period was so good it could never last, I'd kept my soul 45s and started going back to soul nighters on my Todd, that's when I got the collecting bug big time, I'd sold my house collection, and was hoovering up as many northern 45s as I could afford, bought tapes from Pete Smith about this time, bought allot of Mick Smith, rob pheasant,  Gary cape, soul bowl, Tim brown, John Manship and did all the record fairs, and record lists....

moved to Brighton in 93/4 and  ... very much enjoyed the 9ts/2000 London scene, met my wife at the 100 club I've not looked back in terms of collecting... always liked northern ever since I was at Senior school... :-) mal

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Had to reply after that Mal....I listened to northern at the school youth club and local discos.....I'm 46 this year....and went to the outrigger in brum when I was poss 13/14, and got served cider!!....no recollection of northern records because of 3 pints of the good stuff but can definitely remember being chased round Birmingham by skin heads ( looked huge blokes to me)..."out on the floor".."the champion", "nine times out of ten" got me first interested.....then forgot a bit and did the rave thing....I strangely then decided to listen to a few compilation northern c.d,s at about 30 years old and bought a few records after that.....spoke to a friend at a christening and went to my first do...Nuneaton allnighter.....more records, more do,s, more friends and down hill all the way!!!...met some good friends....a lovely all consuming scene...kind regards...Rob

p.s...could write far, far more about my journey.....its been fab...Rob

 

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Wow Rob, your journey sounds allot like mine, Im 47, so I'm quite sure we probably met or kinda knew each other back then?  I was from South Birmingham... 

we all got chased around town by Skin heads and Zulus on a Sat, Bunch of tossers...

It's a great thing you can see the generations of soul fans on this thread,   Fabulous music and great culture.....:-). Just love it

m

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28 minutes ago, Mal C said:

Wow Rob, your journey sounds allot like mine, Im 47, so I'm quite sure we probably met or kinda knew each other back then?  I was from South Birmingham... 

we all got chased around town by Skin heads and Zulus on a Sat, Bunch of tossers...

It's a great thing you can see the generations of soul fans on this thread,   Fabulous music and great culture.....:-). Just love it

m

They have a large Zulu neighbourhood in Birmingham?  They want to get even with The British for atrocities during The Zulu wars???  :lol:

I lived in Bremen for 5 years, and on weekends, I used to ride my bike back home to the eastern suburbs from my friends' houses in Delmenhorst and Oldenburg between 1:00 and 2:30 AM. When I'd pass through The Centre, near The Beck's Brauerei, I'd always see a bunch of heavily-tatooed Skinheads, drinking, cursing and smashing beer bottles on walls.  I never stopped to "say hello".  Not my kind of folk (to say the least)!  :glare:  Yeah, I guess "tossers" might be a good description of the "unfriendly", "unrelaxed"  type of Skinheads. 

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Started listening to northern after. I stopped going to house music clubs and drifted away from that scene.

 

it had gone completely stale and I was looking for something different.  Listen to all genres of soul now.

 

 

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22 minutes ago, dylan said:

Started listening to northern after. I stopped going to house music clubs and drifted away from that scene.

 

it had gone completely stale and I was looking for something different.  Listen to all genres of soul now.

 

 

Good for you!  And it's also good that The NS Scene listens to a much wider scope of Soul music than it did in the '70s, when it played mostly Motown-inspired stompers.  They used to turn their noses up at Soul ballads, and even nice Soulful midtempos.  Now, they even play '50s R&B.  Who, back in the early 1970s would have guessed that would ever come to pass?

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1 hour ago, RobbK said:

They have a large Zulu neighbourhood in Birmingham?  They want to get even with The British for atrocities during The Zulu wars???  :lol:

I lived in Bremen for 5 years, and on weekends, I used to ride my bike back home to the eastern suburbs from my friends' houses in Delmenhorst and Oldenburg between 1:00 and 2:30 AM. When I'd pass through The Centre, near The Beck's Brauerei, I'd always see a bunch of heavily-tatooed Skinheads, drinking, cursing and smashing beer bottles on walls.  I never stopped to "say hello".  Not my kind of folk (to say the least)!  :glare:  Yeah, I guess "tossers" might be a good description of the "unfriendly", "unrelaxed"  type of Skinheads. 

Robbk

    Zulus in Birmingham were an organised firm of people / mostly male who looked for apposing football firms to fight with.  There numbers ranged from 50-100 for low keyed games and could swell to 750 for major games / they followed Birmingham City Football Club.

They had a large following of black people (they also controled and ran the firm) -  hence the name Zulus.

I remember seeing them back in the 80t's about 250 of them at London Bridge - when they chanted it was Zulu, Zulu Zulu - quite impressive.

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7 hours ago, RobbK said:

Good for you!  And it's also good that The NS Scene listens to a much wider scope of Soul music than it did in the '70s, when it played mostly Motown-inspired stompers.  They used to turn their noses up at Soul ballads, and even nice Soulful midtempos.  Now, they even play '50s R&B.  Who, back in the early 1970s would have guessed that would ever come to pass?

Love this comment.  When you have been into this all your life you are bound to diversify although still soulful. But this will make a few people smile whenever i have my records out and play anything but a stomper my son always disappears back into his room lol

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6 hours ago, Mal C said:

See, bunch of tossers... 

I reckon we have been in the same places at the same time....gotta have been....used to go the mod cafe before the outrigger....seemed bloody miles from the station!....we came over from Nuneaton matey.....and yes "tossers" is the correct term for the idiots who wanted to kick our heads in. The soul light still burns very brightly in Nuneaton, Hinckley and surrounding area.....kind regards...Rob

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, Lionelonthevinyl said:

I reckon we have been in the same places at the same time....gotta have been....used to go the mod cafe before the outrigger....seemed bloody miles from the station!....we came over from Nuneaton matey.....and yes "tossers" is the correct term for the idiots who wanted to kick our heads in. The soul light still burns very brightly in Nuneaton, Hinckley and surrounding area.....kind regards...Rob

Went out with one of the Nuneaton girls, that was until I found out she was seeing somebody else :-( and we did that mod cafe every week, had a really good record shop next door, Second City Sounds, had loads of stuff out of there...

the joy of youth! Lol. CheersRob :-) 

Edited by Mal C
My spelling

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17 minutes ago, Mal C said:

Went out with one of the Nuneaton girls, that was until I found out she was seeing somebody else :-( and we did that mod cafe every week, had a really good record shop next door, Second City Sounds, had loads of stuff out of there...

the joy of youth! Lol. CheersRob :-) 

We seem to have hijacked the thread with our reminiscing!!...can remember getting kicked out of discography?? Record shop for saying his records were to expensive!, they were!.....mellandi and the cavern is where I got my mod clobber from..I reckon a lot have followed our kinda path......happy days Mal and we are still going strong!.....Rob

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3 hours ago, little-stevie said:

As a youth I was sexual aroused by men in vests, I had found my garden of Eden

I did wonder why Marc Almond came down the Central :D, now I know it was for your personal gratification.

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Northern came lata the soul was discovered hearing me dad trying to match Paul Robeson's rumble on old man river , best part of sixty years ago.

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Keith Minshull's record shop above the toy shop in Burslem and Ant Dobson playing Mickey Lee Lane at the Normacott youth club did it for me. The rest is just a haze!

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8 hours ago, bozaboy said:

Keith Minshull's record shop above the toy shop in Burslem and Ant Dobson playing Mickey Lee Lane at the Normacott youth club did it for me. The rest is just a haze!

Haze ha :lol: love it

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40 minutes ago, ThinkSmart said:

Love that about Northern Soul inspiring wider music appreciation,  same for me.

Always slightly puzzled me the number of people who say they only ever listen to Soul. The Very fact that Northern Soul is such a broad church means you'll always hear something 2 or 3 times removed from the 'Soul' pigeon hole. Listening to this music down the years has taken me down all kinds of side roads to other genre's which on the face of it you wouldn't remotely link to Northern Soul but all share that 'Blues' heritage going all the way back to Robert Johnson.

 

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On 8/10/2017 at 20:20, Ted Massey said:

Slightly off topic Tony Reynolds the Outrigger organiser has arranged a reunion for next year Saturday 21st April 

went to the last one Ted, it was really good... I thought the Mod boys played some crazy blues stuff as well,  Id never heard before,  as always with Tony's do's, just good fun :-)

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For me it was watching TOTP in early 75 and seeing dancers like Jethro ...Steve Powell and others piqued my interest even though was in my early teens back then...was already into soul music...Philly being my particular fave style at that time ...also loved early funk etc...anyway watching TOTP as a matter of course....up...pops Footsie....from there on...soul wise for the next few years it totally changed admittedly at first it was the dancing which intrigued me...but when i really started taking a deep interest in the music ....oh my days!...it was like a cascade of sounds...my little cassette recorder couldnt keep up and nor could my purse!!!....Del xxx

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There was a record shop on the street where I lived, which specialised in disco stuff mainly (it sold disco equipment too)... Run by a guy called pete mitcham. Never a day went by without us nosing in the window, a lifelong mate of mine lived two doors away, so the music was always wafting down the street .  One day, we heard something different , so we went in to investigate , the record we heard was on a soul galore bootleg - Bari .track !   We chatted to the guys in there , I even remember the guy who bought that record, went by the name of 'Scoey'.  Short for schoffield? 

   Anyway,my pal cadged some cassettes off the older lads at school,. Usual things,  poppies, etc,. But Jimmy Rae and Susan Coleman were on it too, that's  it, I was hooked!

  Then our local working mens club, which my parents were members, put on a day trip to Skegness .  Off we popped, we arrived, had a look round, the place was full of northern soul tat, badges, hats and more badges,. It was everywhere!  We think there's a lot about nowadays, but I swear, Skegness was rammed with it.  The year was 1976, very vivid, I also remember getting appendicitis that summer and being in hospital for a fortnight.

  Youth club dos followed,. Local club discos on Friday, taking records for the DJ to spin,  then in late 77, I got my first taste of a proper do, the rest is history .    I've done nighters in the 70's80's 90's and norties , had a 4 year break , 91-95, then hit the Kings hall in 97 and got the bug back (niters are few these days, I struggle past 2am.   But the mind is still willing.

  When will it stop? Ive honestly no idea ....

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