Another anniversary, 36th, another record that is unlikely to be rivalled by any other soul club. I looked at the comments I made last year and to be honest it’s hard to write anything much different but here goes.
The anniversary is always a packer and this was no exception but unlike last year it did start slowly. I got in at about 10.10pm, expecting a queue but there was only one person in front of the booth where Rolly sits. After saying hello and picking up my record I walked down the stairs and was surprised that there weren’t that many people in, last year the dance floor was busy at this time. Good to see Trickster back at the club, he’s been missed but it’s not so easy for him to attend as he’s not living in London at the moment. After sorting myself out I was ready for action.
Mick Smith now only appears at the anniversary nights now, he was the first DJ on, playing a mixed tempo set. For the first 45 minutes or so the dance floor was not at all busy, just the odd person dancing. When he played Lady In Green I think I was one of only a couple dancing, quite surprising to a record of that quality. Among others he played were Etta James’ current popular tune Can’t Shake It and the old Northern classic Run For Cover by the Dells. I don’t normally dance to the latter tune, but when you listen to it you could actually give it as an example of Northern Soul to any non soul person who is curious about the music.
Keith Money is another regular DJ at the club, when he is available of course. He followed Mick, and the dance floor began to fill up. People were coming in at a fast rate now, suddenly the club was filling up fast.
Butch took over, again playing a mix of lesser known and well known tunes. I think he said one of his early plays was by the Curators, but I may have misheard. The problem I have when I write my report is that my brain and memory are a bit tired so often can’t remember what records the DJs played, I remember him playing Little Love Affair, his Chuck Jackson cover up, United Sounds, Arthur Willis or was that in his second set. He did play an instrumental track, don’t know what it is but sure I’ve heard it before. He finished this set with two of my current favourites: Milton Wright’s Like A Rolling Stone and the Jax Transit Authority’s Life Is A Miracle.
For the second time that night Mick took the decks over, playing mainly uptempo oldies, but not the usual suspects, not too many of the top 100 were played during the nighter. Seem to recall Job Opening but at this moment in time my brain isn’t really working to full capacity.
Keith again and he played some of his favourites including Clydene Jackson’s I Need Your Love, the Vondells and others.
Ady did his first set next, starting off with Ben E King’s Getting To Me. At this point I went to the bar for a drink and met up with a couple of friends who are regulars. The dance floor was extremely busy and I decided to just listen to the tunes Ady played. Welcome To Dreamsville, What’s That On Your Finger, the Demures’ I Wanna Be Good To You, the Gerri Grainger cover up Why Can’t It Be Tonight, and some of the Pied Piper favourites: Ooh It Hurts Me, Voodoo Mademoiselle, He’ll Be Leaving You, the club classic Sorry Ain’t The Word and a few I didn’t recognise. I think the last one of his set was Mikki Farrow, but I could be wrong. My friend who was listening to this set couldn’t praise it enough, he run out of superlatives. It was good solid rare sixties soul.
For his second bite of the cherry Butch started with the Perfections’ Just Can’t Please You. He played a version of Didn’t Say A Word, I think it was the one by Patti Austin but no doubt someone will correct me. I tried dancing to Shake Cheri but found the floor very sticky, I think someone must have spilt a drink. But just a little later when he played Satan Let Me Sleep tonight found I could dance okay. Finished with Little Caesar cover up, excellent.
Then it was Roger Stewart’s turn, one of the original 6ts DJs. A nice set of oldies, including one of my favourites from the Capitol Soul Club days Carol & Gerri’s On You Heartache Looks Good.
For his last set Keith opened with Richard Caiton’s I’d Like To Get Near You followed by the Exits’ Another Sundown In Watts. He included the Epitome Of Sound, still one of the greatest records of our genre, and got me onto the dance floor with Ask My Heart, lyrically one of the best love songs written in my opinion.
Mick did the penultimate set mixing up tempos and ending with one of my favourite beat ballads, The Drifter by Ray Pollard.
At 5.30 it was time for the last set and of course it was Ady. Some of the classics of the last 30 minutes were played, Sweet Temptation and Don’t Bring Me Down immediately spring to mind. The last three records were Carla Thomas (of course), followed by Marva Josey’s Don’t, Ady said he was playing that one for himself, and finally Baby I Need Your Loving. Lights on, That’s What Mama Say, and time to go home. Time for a last picture of my friends with me in the background, and then off home.
My thoughts on the night: capacity crowd, but did begin to thin out, but a very large number did stay till the end; good to see my friends there, you help make the night for me; only quibble is that at times the sound was a bit dodgy. It actually went off during Keith’s first set but did seem to improve as the night went on. The dance floor got a bit sticky as the night went on, but that happens quite often.
I apologise for the length of this review, did intend to curtail it but as usual verbal diarrhoea took over. A big thanks to Ady and the DJs, and to the bar staff, they remain constantly cheerful, do wonder what they think of us all. Anyway on to the boat trip next week and on to the 37th anniversary next year.