Yes, I remember the Charade. It was the first proper club I ever went to. And ended up being resident DJ there for nearly 4 years during the mid 70’s.
I started going in 72 when Dave Growns was the DJ.
He was a very influential figure for me at that time.
Dave was an ex Wheelite and his taste in music was sublime, introducing us to so many great sounds.
In addition to the oldies, he was always on top of his game for what was new and upcoming.
Records I heard for the first time and that I associate with my early years there included:
Guy Darrell – I’ve Been Hurt
Johnnie Taylor - Who's Making Love
Dean Parrish - I'm On My Way
Cooperettes – Shing a Ling
Bobby Hebb - Love, Love, Love
Syl Johnson - We Did It
O'Jays - Time To Get Down
John Miles - One Minute Every Hour
Jimmy James - A Man Like Me
Johnny Johnson - Honeybee
Della Reese -If It Feels Good Do It
Don Downing - Lonely Days Lonely Nights
Blue Magic - Look Me Up
Mixed in with the likes of the Fascinations 'Girls Are Out To Get You' and the Impressions 'You've Been Cheating' it was a heady and enticing cocktail.
The club had a long association with the whole Mod thing, so Soul Music was its natural stock in trade. From there me and mates heard about the Mecca, Torch, etc and first started understanding ‘Northern’ soul as a genre. Made our first visit to Blackpool late ’72 and never looked back. But the Charade was always my favourite haunt.
I took up Deejaying in ’73 and proudly took up residency at The Charade in ’75.
I was resident for nearly four years, working 2-3 nights a week there and elsewhere, all over the region on other available nights. Very busy times.
The Charade became a hub for Northern and New Release Soul in South Yorkshire and the records I played would have been a mix of classic soul and oldies with a huge accent on new and recent releases:
Bill Harris – Am I Cold am I Hot
Invitations - Look On The Good Side
Brothers Guiding Light – Getting Together
Bobby Moore - Call Me Your Anything Man
Jackey Beavers - Trying To Get Back To You Girl
Notations- Think Before You Stop
Bobo Mr Soul – Hitchhike To Heartbreak
Bobby Womack – Check It Out
Grover Mitchell – What Hurts
Fantastic Puzzles – Come Back
Johnny Baker – Shy Guy
Bobby Womack - Home Is Where The Heart Is
The Crow – Your Autumn of Tomorrow
Natural Four - Love's So Wonderful
We weren’t afraid of Funk either and I would have mixed the likes of James Brown ‘Sex Machine’ with War’s ‘Me And Baby Brother’ as standard to get the floor buzzing and lure in the ‘regular’ nightclub crowd.
Finding the floor receptive to newer sounds I found a following for some of the 45’s from my British collection and I gave the likes of Bobby Patterson ‘I’m In Love With You’ and Darrel Banks ‘I’m The One Who Loves You’ their first spins at the Charade. They’ve been with me ever since.
Samanthas and Cleethorpes were in full swing mid 70’s and, along with the Mecca, we always had similar playlists to these venues as the new sounds came through the same sources.
Miracles – Love Machine & Night Life
Rodger Collins – You Sexy Sugar Plum
Johnny Baker - Operator, Operator
Eula Cooper – Let Our Love Grow Higher
Tamiko Jones – Spellbound
James Fountain – Seven Day Lover
Voices Of east Harlem – Cashing In
Juggy Jones – Inside America
LJ Johnson – Your Magic Put A Spell On Me
Bill Brandon – Streets Got My Lady
Magic Disco Machine – Control Tower
Eddie Holman – This Could Be A Night To Remember / Time Will Tell
Moments – I Got The Need
Reggie Garner – Hot Line
Jeff Perry – Love Don’t Come No Stronger
And I always mixed stacks of well established and in demand sounds into the mix to keep the floor busy:
Jackie Edwards – I Feel So Bad
Edwin Starr – I Have Faith In You
Soul Brothers Six - Thank You Baby For Loving Me
Freddie Chavez- They’ll Never Know Why
Otis Smith – Let Her Go
And always plenty to satisfy the ladies:
Eloise Laws – Love Factory
Dena Barnes – If You Ever Walked Out Of My Life
Linda Jones – Just Can’t Live My Life
Ann Sexton – You’ve Been Gone Too Long
Fortunately, I was also working for the region’s finest record outlet, the Sound of Music (mentioned earlier in this thread) for 3-4 years during the same period. Consequently I had a standing order and always had first dibs on the new releases & imports coming through and was able to experiment with new releases such as:
Johnny Guitar Watson – I Need It
Etta James – Out On The Streets Again
The Notations – Think Before You Stop
Controllers - Is That Long Enough For You
Natural Four – Love’s So Wonderful
Boz Scaggs – Lowdown
Marvin Gaye – I Want You
Soul Children – Finders Keepers
Gwen McCrae – Damn Right It’s Good
Laura Lee – You’re Barking Up The Wrong tree
Shelbra Deane – A Man’s Got Too Much Dog In Him
Dionne Warwick – Once You Hit The Road
Gladys Knight – Make Yours A Happy Home
O’Jays – Living For The Weekend & For The Love Of Money
Brass Construction – Movin’
Chi-Lites – You Don’t Have To Go
Fatback Band – Spanish Hustle
Otis Clay - Special Kind Of Love
Ohio Players – Who’d She Coo
Dramatics - Choosing Up On You
Candi Staton – Young Hearts Run Free
David Ruffin – Walk Away From Love
Some of which stayed around, while others sank without trace.
The Charade was a fabulous place to learn your trade as a DJ as the policy was so inclusive and the crowd were always up for a good time. The management were happy if people were drinking and the best way to ensure that was to keep them on the dancefloor. Nothing did that better than Soul Music and I was always happy to oblige.
By mid 1978 I upped sticks and went to do a season in Skegness, ending up living in Lincoln for a while, but by Winter of ’78 I was headhunted by Mecca and became resident at Tiffanys right in the middle of the Disco boom, and Rotherham Windmill where I was able to help keep the Rotherham Soul Scene going, pre Clifton Hall and all that followed.
The Charade was a very important club in South Yorkshire and in the development of the scene in Rotherham, Sheffield, Barnsley and Doncaster, so much so that a book ‘The Charade Nightclub: The Untold Story’ was written a few years ago by club regular Keith Brisland.
Worth picking up if you’re interested.
This is Keith Brisland's story of a small, unlikely corner of South Yorkshire that was at the cutting edge of the music scene for eighteen years and was the start of a multi-million pound leisure empire. The nightclub was the Charade and its owner was Dave Allen. He put his house on the line to finance the lease - it was his first ever nightclub. These days he's worth £60m and presides over an entertainment empire - that empire grew from the Charade. The book includes interviews from former DJs like Eric Dewsnap, Melvyn 'Speedy' Kaye, Sean Hampsey and Neil 'Noddy' St John and explains how the venue helped shape numerous music genres including the rise and fall of Tamla Motown, Progressive Rock, Punk Rock, Disco and the New Romantics. It explains how the the DJs learnt their trade and chronicles the rise of Rick Stuart who went on to mix three number one hit singles for Jive Bunny and worked as a Radio One producer alongside Bruno Brookes, Mark Goodier and Paul Gambaccini. There are first-hand accounts from the people who used to work for Allen at the Charade such as Mick Bradford, Dave Growns and John Rose. And we will learn about Allen's involvement with Foreign Secretary William Hague's family who used to supply the drinks to the Charade and his growing nightclub business. It is a story that describes the evolution of Northern Soul, of night time trips across the country to Wolverhampton, Manchester and Stoke on Trent, the All England Dancing Competition, drugs, jail sentences, Formula One, mayors and chief constables.