Lifeline often seems to either precede or follow the 100 Club nighter so it’s often the case that I’ve just got over one when it’s time for the next night. So it was this time. Lifeline is on every two months now, proving the move to Bidds has worked out well.
I made my usual journey to Kettering to meet my friends, this time Irish and Carry picked me up from the station and off we went to Stoke-On-Trent. In fact we arrived before the official opening time, we went in, Andy Dyson playing records but the bar was shut. However it opened shortly after our arrival.
It didn’t take long for a few people to get up and dance which must be encouraging for any DJ. I remember him playing Night Of The Wolf among others.
Next up in the “collectors spot” was Steve Morgan, he played a set of mixed tempos, including Johnny McCall’s I Need You and the Ethics’ I Want My Baby Back and finishing with my favourite record These Memories, one I’d never expected to hear at Lifeline, but why not?
Mick H took over and played for about 45 minutes, he told me that most of the records were from Detroit. If my memory is correct his first record was You Can Win by Charlene & The Soul Serenaders, I remember dancing to it. Another one was the Soul Brothers Six’s You Better Check Yourself, which one of my friends had told me about.
Then it was Soul Sam’s turn, always plays something new and interesting. He played quite a few tracks that I didn’t recognise, mostly they’d be called Modern Soul, as we know it, and also some of his “biggies”, e.g. Angela Davis, Tommy Dent, Zodiacs, Apaches, Tighten Up, Willie Dale, etc. When I see Sam behind the decks really enjoying himself I stop worrying about my age.
The night’s guest, Dean Anderson, was the next guy up there. He played a set of reasonably well known tunes plus some that I didn’t recognise. I recall My Dear Heart, Gotta Strange Feeling, You’ll Always Be In Style (the Ad Libs I think) and I Can Feel It by Carl Carlton.
Just before the end of Dean’s set Cliff Steele arrived, presumably he’d had another engagement possibly. And he played a very dancey set, much more Northern than usual I thought, and the dance floor responded. On the journey up we’d been talking about records, as you do, and Irish had mentioned a record by Little Johnny Blair (Momma’s Gone), and Cliff played it, nice bit of Northern. Towards the end he slowed things down slightly with King George’s I Need You, the Flint Emeralds’ Just Like A Baby, Count The Days and the Martiniques’ If You Wanna Call Me.
By now the clock had moved past 3 am and Andy returned for his second set. Chico Lamarr, Sir Joe, Hopkins Brothers were among his tunes but one that really got my attention was Sweet Little Girl by Royal Texas Slim Bell, great sort of fast medium tempo dance tune.
Then it was Mick again for his last set of the night, including the Mello Souls, that really gets people up out of their seats, the funky Are You Ready For The New Day, the Soul Superiors, and finishing with one by the Downbeats’ Say The Word.
As usual Chalky finished off the night but we left at about 5.25, my friends dropped me off at Kettering and I got the first train back to London.
I did pop into the Pow Wow room, the joint was jumping and very full. It’s hard when there are two rooms, can’t be in two places at once. Some of my friends rave about it so perhaps I should try to spend more time next one. The main room seemed to clear out as it got towards the end but I think many had gone next door.
There were loads of my friends from all over the country, good to see you all, hope I didn’t ramble on too much. It was Trickster’s birthday, he was in good form. Nice to see Billy there, spinning away like a good’un, and Matt, Debbie, Maria, Arthur, Pete, Gail, Kev, Pauline and others too many more to mention. Seeing all of you with the great music makes the night for me. As I said what else is there to do? And amazingly enough my legs held out to the end, I danced quite a bit, just to ones I really like, sadly gone are the days of dancing all night, more’s the pity but still enjoy a nighter.
Thanks to Irish and Carey for the lift and to the DJs.