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Torch56

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Torch56 last won the day on May 26 2023

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    alice clark

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    Catacombs 1971-4

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  1. Gary from Brum is the Sheriff of Nottingham look-a-like on the left. Johnny Day and Pete Tilseley in the black shirts, circa '72.
  2. Not a fan of many of their tracks, and some leave me distinctly cold. However, Back in My Arms Again is a glorious exception. Was it played at the Wheel?
  3. Until I read Neil's book I was under the impression that Graham made the one visit to the US and that was in late '72. However, as you know, he said in the book that he 'first' went to the USA in 1971, implying there were other trips after that. When he talks of the big find in Miami, he is not clear about exactly when that was. Was that '71, or later? I suspect later because, as you say, if those records had been discovered in '71 then playlists in '72 would have reflected this, and they don't-until the autumn. From that point onwards many of the listed records were being played at the Cat's and the Torch (until its closure) The only evidence I have for the original Miami find being in late '72 is a memory of a buzz of excitement around the DJ booth and the change in the playlist that occurred at the same time. I don't recall that happening anytime prior to that, or afterwards to the same degree. Ian Levine is definitive that his big haul was in the summer of '73, which fits that time frame. I take your point about the cost of flights at that time, and also take into account Neil Rushton's and Ian Dewhirst's assertions that Graham was going to the States from 1970 onwards. All in all, much of the evidence precludes a100% definitive conclusion. I suppose none of it really matters. All we can say is that it was great to be going to venues in that era and hearing such great sounds, no matter who found them.
  4. With regard to Graham Warr's trip(s) to the USA, both Ian Dewhirst and Neil Rushton refer to him making multiple journeys between 1970 and 1973 in the thread, 'Graham Warr Catacombs Discoveries' on this site. If that is accurate, then Graham's reference to a 1971 trip is likely to be valid. I remain convinced that the buzz around the DJ booth at the Cat's about his most exciting haul occurred in the autumn of 1972, though he may have made further trips after that. Also in that thread is a list of sounds that Graham listed as previously undiscovered, though a number of contributors question some of these. Whether or not that is the case, a number of said items made it to the playlist at the Torch before it closed in March '73. I made my first visit there on December 23, 1972 when Oscar Toney Jr was the live act. With the exception of the anthemic Eddie Parker, one of the most popular plays of the night, in term of dance floor reaction was Sam and Kitty. Other items from the list that also featured were Exus Trek, Quick Change Artist, and Angel Baby. From that list I'd estimate that about 50% of the items were played by the time the Torch closed.
  5. Apologies for joining this discussion ten years too late but I have only stumbled across this now. Christine Cooper (Heartaches) was a regular play at the Catacombs in the summer of 1973. Because it's such a great record, I'm certain that, had it been played there before, it would have registered with me as it's such a personal favourite. Its dance floor reaction was difficult to guage because the dance floor was small and in that summer (post Torch-pre Wigan) it was invariably packed. Also, the playlist was of such high quality (Duke Browner, Moses Smith, Ben Aiken etc) that there was rarely any let-up in the collective frenzied response. I know Pep had a white demo copy because it was possible to see the decks from the dance floor through a small aperture and note what was next up. I used to regularly ask him to play it along with Alice Clark and "the one with the 'Spanishy' beginning"(Carl Douglas), I also attended Va Vas that summer and Richard Searling too featured it several times throughout the night. SOS was played by Alan S at the tail end of 1972 when attendances were much lower and the response more muted. It's a good record but not in the same league as Heartaches Away My Boy.
  6. In Neil Rushton's book, 'Northern Soul Stories', Graham Warr writes that his big haul from Miami was in October 1971 but I thought from memory it was a year later in the autumn of 1972. Suddenly a whole batch of new sounds featured on the playlist: the Glories, Johnny Moore, Earl Jackson, Soul Twins, Sam and Kitty amongst them which I understood Graham had found. He then told Ian Levine the location of his source, who then went there in 1973 and came back with a find of 4,000 records which Ian referred to as the greatest northern soul haul of all time. Having attended Blackpool Mecca, Up the Junction, the Torch and VaVas in '72-'73, it was very rare that I heard anything that I wasn't already familiar with from the Catacombs.
  7. I remember Alan S playing 'Eddie's My Name' at the Catacombs so it must have been 1973 or earlier since he was removed from the DJ roster then. Could have been even '72.
  8. This was Max's first appearance as DJ at the Cat's. He would go on to be a mainstay of the line-up through to the last night in July, 1974.
  9. Express and Star, January 15, 1972.
  10. I can't be definitive about this, but I think I heard it first at the Torch, December '72, and thereafter at the Catacombs as well. Instant appeal: brilliant instrumentation culminating in a build up of atmosphere matched on the dance floor. Best use of a harp on a northern sound. I'm sure others played it, but I most associate it with Alan Day. Considered to be 'played out' by early summer '73 as playlists moved on.
  11. Ironic that you had to go up stairs to a club that had more of an underground feel than any other.


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