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'Manchester mecca for Northern Soul fans that you've....'

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Stumbled upon an interesting article on the Manchester evening news website about Oaks Pub/Hotel In Chorlton Manchester

As always with these type of msm lookback  articles there's a bit of 'huh..' about it all.

So may be interesting if anyone who was actually around those days and that club would post up their take on these recollections

anyone? 

Quote

 

The Manchester mecca for Northern Soul fans that you've probably never heard of

'A part of Manchester’s soundtrack was lost forever. It was a hidden gem - to those in the know'

Wigan Casino, Manchester's Twisted Wheel, and the Golden Torch in Tunstall, near Stoke.

They were all acclaimed arena's for those addicted to the very opposite of "Top of the Pops" - rare, obscure, dance hall stomps and torch tunes - "lost" American music which became Northern Soul.


It was an underground movement in the late 1960s Manchester.

And a Chorlton pub played a key part in allowing hundreds to keep the faith.

The Oaks Hotel at the corner of Barlow Moor Road and The Parkway held weekly soul nights.

 

2

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/northern-soul-wigan-casino-manchester-15594815

 

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I remember The Oaks, but not quite as the picture in the article. In 1969 it was in my first year was at West Wythemshawe Cof F.E. ( Northenden -Moor Rd i think) and many of that year spent time in the Oaks. I remember "what i think was" the back of the pub where there was a Football Table (mostly occupied all night). I think it was the back of the pub because that was the entrance from the car park.

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In his article he added....He added: "But Bunny Sigler's "Let The Good Times Roll" was the Oaks' anthem."

I think i've posted this before somewhere on SS, but Valerie Simpson was one of the girl singers on 'Let The Good Times Roll'-Bunny Sigler

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thinking on...i wouldn't mind betting Richard Searling might have dropped in here. From memory i think Ricahrd had a spell at Fielden Park college. If so, it wasn't far from here at all.

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2 hours ago, chas said:

Those guys at that time were undoubtedly blazing a trail for the legions who would join the scene later, as for Manchester, i don't think anyone would dispute it's pedigree as 'the' historical hotbed for rare soul, that's using the earliest references and the current scene as parameters. Obviously i'm somewhat biased coming from Mancunia, full marks to the Mcr evening news also who recognise the importance of the early club scene and have always given column inches to it over the years. It wasn't till 1975 that i would attend my first early session as a 15 yr old at druffies in Dukinfield, at that time you needed eight days in a week to do all venues on offer in the Manchester area. So druffies would be my equivalent of the Oaks, only right then to mention Roy Young, Mick Lucas and Dave Stubbs, the three guy's behind the decks there. 

@chaswhere was Druffies? Chas. 

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Druffies was officially DRUFC.. Dukinfield rugby union football club, in Dukinfield of course, superb music, some intimidating clientele and all sorts of chemicals on offer. Never realized just how good it actually was until i attended the main all nighters and found a lot of the big sounds I'd heard there previously. It has been referred to in a couple of the books i believe, a great starting point for me, post youth clubs. Greater Manchester (there's nowhere greater).. I'll get my coat! 

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Still see Dave Stubbs has a stall on Hyde market . Used to run the Rat Pit in Stockport till it recently shut down ,dont know if he is still running anything . Druffies was a good night fridays iirc . Thursday Blue room Sale no rest for the wicked 

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Indeed, Monday's as well at Druffies at one stage, Tues was Caroline's Mcr, Wed recharge, Thu was Norfolk Arms, Glossop, Fri was Druffies again and maybe an all nighter, Sat was Wigan, Sun would be Ritz, cats whiskers, or maybe the Cavern.. crazy days, as one shut one opened, Birch hotel Thurs, Hyde botanical club, alt Thurs, to name but two. I'd have to borrow a tenner every Mon off my mum till Fri, that tenner went to and fro in our house for years! 

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22 hours ago, chas said:

Druffies was officially DRUFC.. Dukinfield rugby union football club, in Dukinfield of course, superb music, some intimidating clientele and all sorts of chemicals on offer. Never realized just how good it actually was until i attended the main all nighters and found a lot of the big sounds I'd heard there previously. It has been referred to in a couple of the books i believe, a great starting point for me, post youth clubs. Greater Manchester (there's nowhere greater).. I'll get my coat! 

1617273548_druffies001.thumb.jpg.6da8d9f6ec23e71c24652fa7b6535a2a.jpg

 

druffies 001.jpg

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Probably only went to DRUFC a few times, must have been '73 and/or '74. It was murder to get to if you lived on the other side of Oldham, as I did. Three buses there, three back. Can't remember what night it used to be on, but if it was '74, it couldn't have been Wednesday, as I was doing the Magnet in Oldham, nor could it have been a Friday, as that night was given over to the Pendulum and Samanthas. Thursdays maybe? (Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know the Blue Rooms was Thursdays as well). That place was even more sodding difficult to get to!

Usual crowd were in attendance, such as a few of us from Oldham, Rochdale, and Ashton, several of the Pendulum crowd, plus quite a few younger souls just taking their first steps on the scene. Seem to recall a pub/hotel nearby which had small snug bar. Many of us used to meet up there, and carry out our various "business" activities

Happy days!.

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1 hour ago, Joey said:

Probably only went to DRUFC a few times, must have been '73 and/or '74. It was murder to get to if you lived on the other side of Oldham, as I did. Three buses there, three back. Can't remember what night it used to be on, but if it was '74, it couldn't have been Wednesday, as I was doing the Magnet in Oldham, nor could it have been a Friday, as that night was given over to the Pendulum and Samanthas. Thursdays maybe? (Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know the Blue Rooms was Thursdays as well). That place was even more sodding difficult to get to!

Usual crowd were in attendance, such as a few of us from Oldham, Rochdale, and Ashton, several of the Pendulum crowd, plus quite a few younger souls just taking their first steps on the scene. Seem to recall a pub/hotel nearby which had small snug bar. Many of us used to meet up there, and carry out our various "business" activities

Happy days!.

Joey. my wife tells me.  it was run Monday & Friday. There is (or was) a pub virtually next door The New Inn.

Pattrieouoex ( prenounced Patrio's - the Senior Service cigarette factory) was just down the road- although it was just in the borough Hyde.

Pattrieouoex

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I was arrested that night, it was just before jnr Walker live at Wigan, needless to say i couldn't go, when my mum found out I'd been charged she stopped lending me the tenner! That was it for the club night also. 

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1 hour ago, Kenb said:

Joey. my wife tells me.  it was run Monday & Friday. There is (or was) a pub virtually next door The New Inn.

Pattrieouoex ( prenounced Patrio's - the Senior Service cigarette factory) was just down the road- although it was just in the borough Hyde.

Pattrieouoex

Must've been a Monday when I visited then. The New Inn? I'd be lying if I said I remembered the name. Made some bloody money in that place! 🤣

Funnily enough, my Dad worked at the Senior Service factory in Middleton for a few years, and then for about twenty five at  the Pattrieouoex plant. And yes, it was in Hyde! 

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Funnily enough, my Dad worked at the Senior Service factory in Middleton for a few years, and then for about twenty five at  the Pattrieouoex plant. And yes, it was in Hyde! 

 

worked as A lorry driver 4 all of 2 month , working out of Hyde cigarette factory , there was free cigarettes piled high 4 the employees in the canteen was even tempted start smoking , the 3am starts would have killed me off long before the nicotine, 

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10 hours ago, hornet said:

Funnily enough, my Dad worked at the Senior Service factory in Middleton for a few years, and then for about twenty five at  the Pattrieouoex plant. And yes, it was in Hyde! 

 

worked as A lorry driver 4 all of 2 month , working out of Hyde cigarette factory , there was free cigarettes piled high 4 the employees in the canteen was even tempted start smoking , the 3am starts would have killed me off long before the nicotine, 

Starting off the day with a Capstan you need never worry about late life diabetes type 2 :)

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I used to go to the Oaks when I was 15/16 in 1973-74.  The music policy was mostly youth club soul and current soul releases. They played some good tunes. I remember hearing the Originals - Good Lovin' is Just a Dime away and Bettye Swann - Kiss My Love Goodbye as new releases there. I had no idea it had had such an excellent soulful past. Fair play!

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I Remember the thursday night soul disco and hearing Syl Johnson " we did it " plus as stated club tunes of the era . Of course the Blue Rooms on the Thursday with Hutchy kicking off the night then Ian Levine etc . Great early days before  we truly got on the scene and like most of you still are

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Well people seem to have enjoyed reading my little story at the top of the page, so I thought I would write chapter 2.

I started going to the Wheel with another mate from Bradford when we were both aged only 15 - our parents would never have allowed us to go, so we said we were sleeping at each other's houses. This worked like a dream for quite a few months - until one day my friend's mum turned up at my parents' house asking for her daughter...…….the brown stuff hit the proverbial fan big time! We were both grounded - my friend's parents soon forgave her, but I turned 16 a few weeks after we were rumbled & I was thrown out of home -  lived in bedsit-land so I was able to do whatever I wanted - FREEDOM!! 💃

I was at the Wheel every Saturday from then on - I knew people from all over the UK - not only the Lancs area, but Wales, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Cheshire - you name it! There was a guy used to catch the ferry from N Ireland - bus to the port - ferry to Liverpool & train to Manchester & then all the same in reverse on a Sunday! I never envied him that North sea crossing after a night at the Wheel...…. 😩 I also got to know a large group of guys from Southend - around 20 or so. They used to come up in a convoy of a Mark4 Jag; a Mini & somebody's works van! They couldn't fit all of them in - only had room for about 16 so they had to take turns. I got to know them on their first  visit to the Wheel - they thought that while they were standing at the bar (unlicensed of course) & a guy started chatting to them out of the blue - that they had strayed into a gay bar! But they decided the music was good so they would stay a while...….then a couple of girls started to chat to them & they said they thought they were being chatted up...…... It was only when they had been there for a couple of hours or so that they realized that people "up North" actually talk to each other! They couldn't believe how friendly we all were - if they had just chatted to someone in a bar down south they would have been thought of as wierdos. The only name I remember is Danny (no surname) - he had the Mark4.

My mate decided to give up the all nighters after a while, but I carried on going on my own for a couple of years after that. I was never daunted at the thought of catching the bus to Mancs on my own - it was a long boring bus ride on my own, but when I got to Manchester I knew lots of people - I've always been a chatty sort (still am lol). Oh those were the days...…..

Edited by Kathryn Magson

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35 minutes ago, Kathryn Magson said:

Well people seem to have enjoyed reading my little story at the top of the page, so I thought I would write chapter 2.

I started going to the Wheel with another mate from Bradford when we were both aged only 15 - our parents would never have allowed us to go, so we said we were sleeping at each other's houses. This worked like a dream for quite a few months - until one day my friend's mum turned up at my parents' house asking for her daughter...…….the brown stuff hit the proverbial fan big time! We were both grounded - my friend's parents soon forgave her, but I turned 16 a few weeks after we were rumbled & I was thrown out of home -  lived in bedsit-land so I was able to do whatever I wanted - FREEDOM!! 💃

I was at the Wheel every Saturday from then on - I knew people from all over the UK - not only the Lancs area, but Wales, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Cheshire - you name it! There was a guy used to catch the ferry from N Ireland - bus to the port - ferry to Liverpool & train to Manchester & then all the same I reverse on a Sunday! I never envied him that North sea crossing after a night at the Wheel...…. 😩 I also got to know a large group of guys form Southend - around 20 or so. They used to come up in a convoy of a Mark4 Jag; a Mini & somebody's works van! They couldn't fit all of them in - only had room for about 16 so they had to take turns. I got to know them on their first  visit to the Wheel - they thought that while they were standing at the bar (unlicensed of course) & a guy started chatting to them out of the blue - that they had strayed into a gay bar! But they decided the music was good so they would stay a while...….then a couple of girls started to chat to them & they said they thought they were being chatted up...…... It was only when they had been there for a couple of hours or so that they realized that people "up North" actually talk to each other! They couldn't believe how friendly we all were - if they had just chatted to someone in a bar down south they would have been thought of as wierdos.

My mate decided to give up the all nighters after a while, but I carried on going on my own for a couple of years after that. I was never daunted at the thought of catching the bus to Mancs on my own - it was a long boring bus ride on my own, but when I got to Manchester I knew lots of people - I've always been a chatty sort (still am lol). Oh those were the days...…..

Travel was half the fun, or maybe not ? Used to thumb it over from the Dales to just about everywhere. Not so bad going , but come Sunday morning going back the same way was bloody awful. Bit of a  relief to get 5th spot in a Mini now and then. 5 strapping teens crammed into a Mini. These days when I see an old mini looking lost in parking space that's too small for most modern cars I just shake my head in wonder, Between the fag smoke and the farts it would have given Chernobyl a run for it's money has the most toxic place on earth.

Edited by Steve C

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The travel was ok if you had a bunch of mates with you - or even just one mate - sometimes there would be a few of us from Bradford all on the same bus off to the Wheel - but often it would only be me, feeling like Billy-no-mates until I got to Manchester. Worse on the home journey on Sunday - most of the crowd from Bradford would go straight home after the Wheel, but I wanted to carry on partying lol. Off to the Top Twenty (after a bit more in the way of chemical refreshments) & party on for the rest of the day.

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Kathryn

Do you recall the two sisters (?) who always seemed to be dressed in black and sat on a seat all night between the DeeJay room and the show room? I always wonder who they were and what happened to them. I’m talking 1970.

Edited by David Meikle

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On ‎07‎/‎01‎/‎2019 at 19:36, David Meikle said:

Kathryn

I loved reading your post.

It reminded me of my first trip to Manchester on 24th January 1970.

It was an early start from Glasgow that day and I probably arrived in Manchester Victoria around 1pm. I bought two Inez and Charlie Foxx albums in WH Smiths on the foyer. I knew I was in heaven.

From there I went around the corner to Ralph’s records in Corporation Street then on to Spin Inn on Cross Street. Had to go back to left luggage with my new found sounds!

In the evening I went to see the early Soul Together concert in the Odeon on Oxford Street; where I saw Sam and Dave, Arthur Conley and Joe Tex. I don’t think Clarence Carter turned up but might be wrong.

At 10pm I joined the queue outside the Wheel and had the most incredible all nighter with Edwin Starr, my hero, on circa 2am. I jumped up on the small stage with Edwin and joined in at the end of his performance of his new release “Time”.

Unbelievable.

I just remember that the atmosphere was electric as we all belted out the word “Time” again and again.

All too quickly the dreaded doors opened at 8am. I used to hate that. It wasn’t just the long train journey home it was also the fact that you lot were off to the Top Twenty club in Hollinwell!

I returned to the Wheel another 8 or 9 times I reckon. I also went to the Blue Note club on Gore Street but recall quite a bit of blue beat and ska going on in there.

Great times also in Rowntrees Sound on Corporation Street and Mr Smiths.

Next year sees the 50th anniversary of my first trip to the Twisted Wheel and definitely one of the greatest nights of my life.

My Mother took this picture of me in my shrine to Edwin in the Summer of 1970.

Where has the time gone.

 

5560CF5F-5A4F-4E88-A8EB-BA2286F42AE6.jpeg

I vaguely remember chatting to a guy who said he had travelled down from Scotland - might well have been you David - can't have been many that came so far for a night out! I did know a guy who used to come over from Ireland though - can't remember his name - but he said he had to catch a bus into the port - then the ferry - then a train from Liverpool to Mancs. Always used to pity him when I thought of him enduring  that North Sea crossing after the Wheel......

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Kathryn

The only other Scot I spoke to down there was Zan but I think he lived somewhere local.

On the last night of the Wheel four of us travelled down and then it was gone.

I loved that place.

When it closed we started going to Golden Torch, Up The Junction, Catacombs and Blackpool Mecca. 

They were all great but I think the closest for atmosphere to the Wheel was Catacombs.

I never got to Wigan as I got immersed in golf in 1974.

A day never passed however without me recalling the sounds and the magic of the clubs and people in the North of England.

I loved the way they used to say the word records LOL.

REH-CORE-DDDS.

 

 

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21 hours ago, David Meikle said:

Kathryn

The only other Scot I spoke to down there was Zan but I think he lived somewhere local.

 

 

 

Zan, there's a name from the past. I think he was from Manchester or Stockport area.

As a youngest I was told about some of the things that could happen to a stranger at the Wheel. One involved being relieved of money , records or a nice jacket by characters like Zan. Probably totally untrue. 

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1 minute ago, Rick Cooper said:

Zan, there's a name from the past. I think he was from Manchester or Stockport area.

As a youngest I was told about some of the things that could happen to a stranger at the Wheel. One involved being relieved of money , records or a nice jacket by characters like Zan. Probably totally untrue. 

I went there on my own January thru March 3 times because I had free travel on BR and my mates didnt.

I mainly encountered friendship.

There is no doubt that Zan could handle himself but he never gave me any grief.

I managed down for the last night in January 1971 and there were some dodgy characters milling around who in my opinion were not there for the music. That was the only time I felt edgy at the Wheel. 

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I never felt edgy at the Wheel - always felt very much at home. Mistakenly though - one night my purse was nicked from my bag - I'd done what I always did - dumped my bag in a corner & hit the dance floor. Only in a very tiny room - I'd left my bag on the floor by the DJ cage & I was very near to it. Must have been a girl - a guy would have looked a bit sus rummaging in handbags & she must have been very quick or she would have been spotted. It was the only money I had - I had to scrounge money from a few mates to get home. Had some great pals though - they all coppered up to make sure I had enough to get me through to payday. At the time I was living in a bedsit & no parental support, so had no-one to borrow from - really made me appreciate my mates!

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