It is no hyperbole to assert that the 6Ts all-nighter is as important in the history pages of soul music as the very artists and studios that produced it.
That a club has endured so long is testament to many factors. To the incredible legacy of music left to us by musicians whose music lifts us. To those who crawled for years on hands and knees in dusty rooms to share their spoils for the enjoyment of others. To those who have fought fatigue to dance till sunlight. And to those who have the tenacity to push the efforts of all the aforementioned, understanding the importance of the pursuit of shared raw emotion.
For 40 years the 6Ts all-nighter has, without equal, fed the demands of those who seek visceral and meaningful sentiment in their choice of records. All through a very esoteric sound. It’s certainly not everybody’s cup of tea
It is not just the wealth of records that have been broken, uncovered, discovered that makes the 100 Club all-nighter so unique but rather the dedication to quality. No Joe 90’s needed here.
Like many others I remember travelling 400 miles every month for decades, without question just to hear Luther Ingram, Ben E King and The Demures.
It seems unfathomable that we may never have had the opportunity to shed a collective tear to Lou Johnson’s mastertake on Roy Hamilton. To feel chills as the opening vibes of Carla Thomas‘ greatest recording envelops us, laid dormant for so many years. And for this we should all be thankful. From dancers to artists alike. For gifting us the exposure to masterpieces of recorded emotion, hitherto unheard, in a sacred place of sanctuary and companionship.
Through his tireless work with Ace records we have all benefited from Ady’s seemingly unending (some say ‘jammy’) ability to find and raise the fortunes of incredible, unreleased soul. This is the true strength of the 100 Club.
Ady’s influence via the records he found and subsequently played at the 100 Club send shockwaves across continents. ‘The Magic Touch’, ‘What’s With This Loneliness’ and more recently ‘Secret Weapon’ are perfect examples of 100 Club exclusives that eventually found their natural home in the wider world and our own collections. Mostly for free!
One of the most telling stories for me highlights the wealth of incredible records played, loved and filed away over the years. 6am one morning, post niter, Ady handed me a test pressing as a present. One side I didn’t recognise till I got home. It was Sharon Scott’s ‘It’s Better’, an unreleased record of monumental beauty I had cherished from a decade before but had long forgotten, lain unplayed for years in the back of Ady’s box.
From the very early days of his tenure as resident, Butch’s steel, northern resolve meant his records were unlike anyone else’s. His testing bed at the 100 Club has gifted us a torrent of sensational soul tracks. Completists have lost count of the one off gems that have travelled in his box for their first spins in their natural home.
The Mello-Souls had us fiercely tearing up those notoriously imperfect boards. More recently the likes of United Sounds, ‘JB Hammond’ and Love Company turned the place into a pressure cooker of euphoria, cementing the clubs ability to shift and adapt.
From skip raids to vault raids, our understanding of soul has been shaped immeasurably over the years by what these two have presented at the 100 Club niter. And it’s importance nationally and globally cannot be overstated.
Past and present residents have added an incredible wealth of variety and skill to what the nighter has to offer and I only wish I could have experienced the early days I was too young to know.
It’s strength is in that it has meant so much, to so many for so long.
When so many legendary clubs fell by the wayside, that basement rumbles on. Moving with the times. Still trying to offer the same matchless level of quality. For us all to continue to enjoy.
We promise we’ll try our hardest to give you 40 more. X