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Has Anything Changed In Almost 20 Years?

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The following is something which I read earlier today whilst browsing through some old magazines. Anyway the article is taken from Scooter Scene issue no.37 (December 1989), there's no name of who wrote it, but my guess would be Mark Sargeant. I found it ironic that some of the things mentioned are still being discussed now! Also by the article was a competition to win one of three copies of the 6T's 10th annivesary single Wally Cox -This Man. Anyway thought some of you maybe interested.

The Northern Soul Scene A Beginners Guide

I'll take it as read that you are all aware of the ties between the Northern Soul Scene and Scooterists, going way back to the original Mod era. I'll also take it as read that you know that many of the practises that are part of the scene are basically by direct descent from ideals that come from the 60's Mod scene, additionally I'm sure you're all conversant with the fact that the ties between the two scenes were reforged even stronger than before when there were Scooterist Allnighters on the runs several years back. What we have done this month, is to give you a brief insight into various aspects that are an every part of the Northern Soul Scene.

A Brief History

Throughout the years that the 'scene' has been in existence, there has been an Allniter which is regarded as the top 'niter. Initially Manchester's 'Twisted Wheel Club' was the first to wear the mantle of No.1 Allniter. After the 'Wheel' went the way that many 'niters have gone - closed due to 'recommendations' from the local police - it wasn't long before the 'Golden Torch' at Hanley near Stoke inherited the title. Incidently if memory serves me right the 'Torch' was run by International Soul Club, under the watchful eye of Chris Burton. The 'Torch' went the way of the 'Wheel' and for a short period the scene was without a showpiece, so to speak, although it must be said there were several excellent Allniters running at the time. For instance, 'The Catacoombs' at Wolverhampton and 'Samanthas' in Sheffield. However it wasn't until September '73 that the scene had a new No.1 - 'Wigan Casino'. During the Wigan era a series of developments left their mark on the scene - the introduction of 70's style (Philly/Miami) Rare Soul (via Blackpool Mecca Soul Nites) initially banned by Wigan, but later accepted to at least some degree, and the media spotlight leading to casino regulars being subjected to film crews and 'investigative' journalists. Many regulars were opposed to the commercialisation and their allegiance went to Cleethorpes' winter Gardens Allniter, St Ives (nr Peterboro') Allniter or Yate near Bristol Niter. Although all three enjoyed a large degree of success, 'Wigan' was still the yardstick used to compare all other venues. During the Wigan era, the advent in the popularity of oldies saw firstly 'Mr M's' - the upstairs hall at the Casino - be used exclusively for oldies, followed by monthly (1st Friday of the month) oldies allniters. Wigan eventually closed its doors, victim of local planners.

The next venue to be regarded as the No.1 was the Stafford 'Top of the World' under Top Dog Soul Club - though this venue eventually went the way of the others, leaving the 6T's Rhythm and Soul Club Allniters at London's Oxford Street - '100 Club' to take the top spot. The '100 Club' Niters are the longest running niters in the history of the scene, recently celebrating their tenth anniversary.

The Music

Initially, both prior to and during the 'Twisted Wheel' era, many R'n'B and 60's Soul Club sounds were popular. UK labels such as Sue, Tamla Motown, Stax and Atlantic were very much in demand, however, the UK labels literally couldn't provide enough new material to satisfy the dancers, so the DJ's began to look to the American imports to supplement this - labels such as Ric Tic, Golden World and Wingate from Detroit (which featured earlier material from a number of Tamla Motown artists) and later Okeh from Chicago provided some of the timeless classics on the Northern Scene.

This led DJ's and collectors to look harder in the direction of US Soul imports to turn up unknown and obscure 60's Soul with the right ingredients. During the 'Torch' era, the demand from the dance floor was for uptempo stompers, which probably reached their peak during the early Wigan years. The advent of the Philly sound in the early-mid seventies is even now a subject of heavy and heated debate. One camp welcomes the 70's and later 80's rare soul dance sounds, while others will not accept anything other than the 'traditional' on the fours 60's Soul Stormer. Towards the end of the Wigan era and more so during the Stafford years, the classy mid-tempo brigade claimed there were 'no more' 60's dancers to discover, which is quite simply not true. Harder yes, but there are still undiscovered gems out in the States, waiting to be discovered. The 60's newies 'scene within a scene' appeared during the early Stafford years as a direct backlash against the growing popularity of 'Modern' soul. The sounds tend to be R'n'B tinged, however, this is a wide generalisation and far from strictly true - and finally, the'100 Club' DJ's have popularised the Beat Ballad - a below mid tempo, almost down tempo number that has that special spark of 'something' that endears it to the dancers.

The collecting side of the scene can be traced back to the Mod pastime of going one better than their mates by owning or at least knowing about the latest sounds. Collectors - generalising - are in two categories. Firstly there is the 'collector' who just wants to own their favourite sounds and therefore buy most if not all the release on Kent, Soul Supply and any other specialist UK labels, or alternatively they will buy 're-issues' which are sometimes legal re-issues and also on occasionally bootleg copies of in demand sound. It must be said that nowadays the bootleg side of things is nothing like it was when Out of the Past (OOTP) bootleg label was around. Some pretty dodgy copies were released on OOTP. In general many scooterists tend to fall into this category. Secondly, there is the original collector - these people are serious collectors, often paying the monetary equivalent of an arm and two legs for a rare record. The aspect of collecting can often lead to obsessive collecting (e.g. every issue and reissue of a certain original). Recently, Carl Fortnum ex show-winning scooter owner, now a highly respected Northern Soul Collector and DJ paid a reputed £600 for an original of Norma Jenkins' Aeroplane Song which shows the way prices for 'original' copies have spiralled. Again, generalising, people tend to start off in the first category, then move into a second hearing the record on a compilation album and then the desire to own the original gains a grip and it all starts from there. Currently, the prices are reaching astronomical proportions, as there are less originals on the market than there are collectors.

The Scene

Out of all the Street or Underground music scenes, the Northern Soul Scene is undoubtedly the friendliest. There are rarely, if at all, any unsavoury incidents at Allniters. People mix, Soulies (the name given to regular allniter goers - by themselves) mix readily with scooterists, Mods and Skinheads. People talk about records, where they're from and almost any subject you'd like to mention. Dancing on the dance floor is where the DJ's success is measured. Top DJ's can pack a dance floor with a totally unknown sound, they can also clear the floor with a totally unknown sound! Probably, the reason for the scene being so friendly is that very few people will travel to an Allniter and take a bad attitude with them. After all, if you are going out, you're intending to enjoy yourself, hard to do with a bad attitude. Many local councils who have to O.K. Allniters insist on a 'Members Only' policy. Few unsavoury types can be bothered with memberships.

There are a few 'stars' on the Northern Soul Scene. Edwin Starr is an exception as is Major Lance, though in general, most popular Northern Sounds tend to be one-offs by an obscure band or artist. So often, DJ's (though not so much these days as in the 70's) become almost a replacement or substitute - at one time certain DJ's on the bill at a venue would almost guarantee a sell-out.

Currently there are a number of regulars at Allniters who take 'their' Soul music a touch too seriously. In saying that, there is some excellent humour on the scene as well.

The Current Scene

At present, the scene is very strong, with a number of venues throughout the country. Most are fairly successful and all are recommended for checking out, some with two rooms, with 60's in one hall and 70/80's in the other. The 60's v 70's/80's debate has rarely seemed to affect scooterists on the scene, if it appeals it's good! Others specialise in 60's Newies only, Oldies only or Modern only, whereas some venues have a mixture to appeal to all tastes on the scene. If you've never been to a 'niter, but fancy giving one a try go ahead - the regular 'niters are always listed in Scooter Scene. You will probably meet someone you know from the runs, as many scooterists regularly attend Allniters on the Northern scene. Keeping the ties that go back many years, between the scooterist and rare Soul Scene firmly in place.

It took me bloody ages to type all that up (when I could've been working instead :thumbup: ), so some comments wouldn't go amiss. :thumbsup:

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The following is something which I read earlier today whilst browsing through some old magazines. Anyway the article is taken from Scooter Scene issue no.37 (December 1989), there's no name of who wrote it, but my guess would be Mark Sargeant. I found it ironic that some of the things mentioned are still being discussed now! Also by the article was a competition to win one of three copies of the 6T's 10th annivesary single Wally Cox -This Man. Anyway thought some of you maybe interested.

The Northern Soul Scene A Beginners Guide

I'll take it as read that you are all aware of the ties between the Northern Soul Scene and Scooterists, going way back to the original Mod era. I'll also take it as read that you know that many of the practises that are part of the scene are basically by direct descent from ideals that come from the 60's Mod scene, additionally I'm sure you're all conversant with the fact that the ties between the two scenes were reforged even stronger than before when there were Scooterist Allnighters on the runs several years back. What we have done this month, is to give you a brief insight into various aspects that are an every part of the Northern Soul Scene.

A Brief History

Throughout the years that the 'scene' has been in existence, there has been an Allniter which is regarded as the top 'niter. Initially Manchester's 'Twisted Wheel Club' was the first to wear the mantle of No.1 Allniter. After the 'Wheel' went the way that many 'niters have gone - closed due to 'recommendations' from the local police - it wasn't long before the 'Golden Torch' at Hanley near Stoke inherited the title. Incidently if memory serves me right the 'Torch' was run by International Soul Club, under the watchful eye of Chris Burton. The 'Torch' went the way of the 'Wheel' and for a short period the scene was without a showpiece, so to speak, although it must be said there were several excellent Allniters running at the time. For instance, 'The Catacoombs' at Wolverhampton and 'Samanthas' in Sheffield. However it wasn't until September '73 that the scene had a new No.1 - 'Wigan Casino'. During the Wigan era a series of developments left their mark on the scene - the introduction of 70's style (Philly/Miami) Rare Soul (via Blackpool Mecca Soul Nites) initially banned by Wigan, but later accepted to at least some degree, and the media spotlight leading to casino regulars being subjected to film crews and 'investigative' journalists. Many regulars were opposed to the commercialisation and their allegiance went to Cleethorpes' winter Gardens Allniter, St Ives (nr Peterboro') Allniter or Yate near Bristol Niter. Although all three enjoyed a large degree of success, 'Wigan' was still the yardstick used to compare all other venues. During the Wigan era, the advent in the popularity of oldies saw firstly 'Mr M's' - the upstairs hall at the Casino - be used exclusively for oldies, followed by monthly (1st Friday of the month) oldies allniters. Wigan eventually closed its doors, victim of local planners.

The next venue to be regarded as the No.1 was the Stafford 'Top of the World' under Top Dog Soul Club - though this venue eventually went the way of the others, leaving the 6T's Rhythm and Soul Club Allniters at London's Oxford Street - '100 Club' to take the top spot. The '100 Club' Niters are the longest running niters in the history of the scene, recently celebrating their tenth anniversary.

The Music

Initially, both prior to and during the 'Twisted Wheel' era, many R'n'B and 60's Soul Club sounds were popular. UK labels such as Sue, Tamla Motown, Stax and Atlantic were very much in demand, however, the UK labels literally couldn't provide enough new material to satisfy the dancers, so the DJ's began to look to the American imports to supplement this - labels such as Ric Tic, Golden World and Wingate from Detroit (which featured earlier material from a number of Tamla Motown artists) and later Okeh from Chicago provided some of the timeless classics on the Northern Scene.

This led DJ's and collectors to look harder in the direction of US Soul imports to turn up unknown and obscure 60's Soul with the right ingredients. During the 'Torch' era, the demand from the dance floor was for uptempo stompers, which probably reached their peak during the early Wigan years. The advent of the Philly sound in the early-mid seventies is even now a subject of heavy and heated debate. One camp welcomes the 70's and later 80's rare soul dance sounds, while others will not accept anything other than the 'traditional' on the fours 60's Soul Stormer. Towards the end of the Wigan era and more so during the Stafford years, the classy mid-tempo brigade claimed there were 'no more' 60's dancers to discover, which is quite simply not true. Harder yes, but there are still undiscovered gems out in the States, waiting to be discovered. The 60's newies 'scene within a scene' appeared during the early Stafford years as a direct backlash against the growing popularity of 'Modern' soul. The sounds tend to be R'n'B tinged, however, this is a wide generalisation and far from strictly true - and finally, the'100 Club' DJ's have popularised the Beat Ballad - a below mid tempo, almost down tempo number that has that special spark of 'something' that endears it to the dancers.

The collecting side of the scene can be traced back to the Mod pastime of going one better than their mates by owning or at least knowing about the latest sounds. Collectors - generalising - are in two categories. Firstly there is the 'collector' who just wants to own their favourite sounds and therefore buy most if not all the release on Kent, Soul Supply and any other specialist UK labels, or alternatively they will buy 're-issues' which are sometimes legal re-issues and also on occasionally bootleg copies of in demand sound. It must be said that nowadays the bootleg side of things is nothing like it was when Out of the Past (OOTP) bootleg label was around. Some pretty dodgy copies were released on OOTP. In general many scooterists tend to fall into this category. Secondly, there is the original collector - these people are serious collectors, often paying the monetary equivalent of an arm and two legs for a rare record. The aspect of collecting can often lead to obsessive collecting (e.g. every issue and reissue of a certain original). Recently, Carl Fortnum ex show-winning scooter owner, now a highly respected Northern Soul Collector and DJ paid a reputed £600 for an original of Norma Jenkins' Aeroplane Song which shows the way prices for 'original' copies have spiralled. Again, generalising, people tend to start off in the first category, then move into a second hearing the record on a compilation album and then the desire to own the original gains a grip and it all starts from there. Currently, the prices are reaching astronomical proportions, as there are less originals on the market than there are collectors.

The Scene

Out of all the Street or Underground music scenes, the Northern Soul Scene is undoubtedly the friendliest. There are rarely, if at all, any unsavoury incidents at Allniters. People mix, Soulies (the name given to regular allniter goers - by themselves) mix readily with scooterists, Mods and Skinheads. People talk about records, where they're from and almost any subject you'd like to mention. Dancing on the dance floor is where the DJ's success is measured. Top DJ's can pack a dance floor with a totally unknown sound, they can also clear the floor with a totally unknown sound! Probably, the reason for the scene being so friendly is that very few people will travel to an Allniter and take a bad attitude with them. After all, if you are going out, you're intending to enjoy yourself, hard to do with a bad attitude. Many local councils who have to O.K. Allniters insist on a 'Members Only' policy. Few unsavoury types can be bothered with memberships.

There are a few 'stars' on the Northern Soul Scene. Edwin Starr is an exception as is Major Lance, though in general, most popular Northern Sounds tend to be one-offs by an obscure band or artist. So often, DJ's (though not so much these days as in the 70's) become almost a replacement or substitute - at one time certain DJ's on the bill at a venue would almost guarantee a sell-out.

Currently there are a number of regulars at Allniters who take 'their' Soul music a touch too seriously. In saying that, there is some excellent humour on the scene as well.

The Current Scene

At present, the scene is very strong, with a number of venues throughout the country. Most are fairly successful and all are recommended for checking out, some with two rooms, with 60's in one hall and 70/80's in the other. The 60's v 70's/80's debate has rarely seemed to affect scooterists on the scene, if it appeals it's good! Others specialise in 60's Newies only, Oldies only or Modern only, whereas some venues have a mixture to appeal to all tastes on the scene. If you've never been to a 'niter, but fancy giving one a try go ahead - the regular 'niters are always listed in Scooter Scene. You will probably meet someone you know from the runs, as many scooterists regularly attend Allniters on the Northern scene. Keeping the ties that go back many years, between the scooterist and rare Soul Scene firmly in place.

It took me bloody ages to type all that up (when I could've been working instead :thumbup: ), so some comments wouldn't go amiss. :thumbsup:

Not a waste of time though. I remembers those days and the cracking niters on the rallys. Many people who I speak to today don't seem to believe that it could have ever been so! Still there loss in many ways as almost twenty years on form that article I still enjoy both. The article could almost have been written for today given the threads that have appeared over the last few months on both subjects.

top marks Supercorsa. Mark.

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I remember doing Worcester '81 as the baby (for baby, read twat) of Warringtons Phase II, on me small wheel base 150 Super, and trying me best to get our lot to drive back for Wigan on the Saturday as I didn't want to spend another night sleeping in the ladies toilets in me dodgy sleeping bag (dodgy zip).

I didn't manage to talk 'em round...shit at the time, good memory now.

Is that last post at all relevant?

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I remember doing Worcester '81 as the baby (for baby, read twat) of Warringtons Phase II, on me small wheel base 150 Super, and trying me best to get our lot to drive back for Wigan on the Saturday as I didn't want to spend another night sleeping in the ladies toilets in me dodgy sleeping bag (dodgy zip).

I didn't manage to talk 'em round...shit at the time, good memory now.

Is that last post at all relevant? Why?

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The only answer I have left just happens to tie in with your board name mate.

And as Magic Lady said (82) - Hold Tight (Don't Let Go).

I hope that answers my question!?

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The only answer I have left just happens to tie in with your board name mate.

And as Magic Lady said (82) - Hold Tight (Don't Let Go).

I hope that answers my question!?

Ahh, I see. Wonder what the kids of today will remember about their lives today in 27 years time. Probably naff all in comparison.

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Ahh, I see. Wonder what the kids of today will remember about their lives today in 27 years time. Probably naff all in comparison.

Let us not allow this exchange to degenerate ay fella?

I respect you, end of.

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