At time of posting this, I'm 66 and been around for what often feels like a century or two. I first got into Soul in my late teens when I could finally afford my own radio and listen to what I wanted (Radio1, Luxembourg etc.). Dad was firmly anti pop music, I think there was a nail through the 'Third Programme' on the wireless radiogramme most of the time. Not having much money, I bought LPs rather than singles, Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett being two early ones. I was also into heavy rock at the same time, so I collected a fairly wide range of sounds.
I used to go to clubs and pubs locally around Firth Park / Shiregreen (Wharncliffe, Shiregreen Hotel etc.) and uptown (Heartbeat, Top Rank, Bailey's), and occasionally heard sounds like Right Track and Blowing My Mind To Pieces as well as the regular club sounds of the late 1960s. I had no idea where these records came from, nor did I care. I just knew they were very, very good. Eventually I started collecting a few from assorted record shops around the city.
I started listenig to soul shows on the radio (John Green's Soul Shotgun), and discovered a whole new range of tunes that I had never heard before. That was it - hooked for life. I used to work a lot of weekends at that time so didn't go to many of the big all-nighters, just a few Samantha's. They were mindblowing.
I started DJing with a mate of mine (Pete Kelsey) from Richmond College around 1976. It was the old mobile disco routine - wedding receptions above pubs and such, and I soon discovered that Soul (mainly Motown), above all else, would soon get the dancefloor heaving. A few student events gave me the chance to get out some northern sounds. Boy, did that work! Incredible.
Then I did the usual trick - bought a house, had a family and became permanently skint. Both my partner, Helen, and I still listened when we could - mainly CDs at home, but we didn't actually go anywhere for over 20 years. Then, one evening in 2004, we dropped on the Kay Gee Bee on Abbeydale Road. After a chat one night with Barry Holland, I got to play a spot from my old collection (which I had kept) which went down fairly well I think.
Since then it's been a roller-coaster - an absolutely brilliant reintroduction to the soul scene, and, interestingly, to sounds I would never have listened to all those years ago - R&B, X-over etc., etc. I am priviledged to have been asked to DJ at a number of venues (the biggest being Bridlington), and I've gathered any number of wonderful friends (and even more tunes, err... investments :-)) With help from some good friends I now run two city clubs, Darnall Horti and Sheffield Sunday Soul Sessions at The Mulberry Tavern, playing rarer and underplayed material - loads of wonderful soul tunes that you might otherwise never hear. I haven't forgotten those brilliant oldies though, and never will.
Where will it end? Who cares!