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Wigan Casino ( 1 )     

  what the hell have you done? There's thousands outside and a lot of cops".
Harry Green then quickly disappeared, shouting for more doormen to go to his aid at reception. I was sat nervously on stage - it was 1.25a.m. - we opened at 2a.m. in those days. Doubts raced through my head. We must be mad, I'm shattered as it is.
 I switched on the equipment and cued up the country's rarest sound, 'Put your arms around me' by the Sherries. "Even if we don't get closed down, tonight is going to kill me", I thought.
 1.29a.m. Manager Mike Walker shouted, "Ready Russ?" I grunted a hesitant affirmative and tried to quell the butterflies fighting their way to the back of my throat. Although I'd jocked at the Rugby Club for the past two years, this was my first spot at the Casino.
 S.A.I. had built a special set of equipment for me, I had plenty of sounds, my mate Ian Fishwick was giving me a break at 3a.m. and 5a.m. so why worry? No I wasn't worried, I was scared stiff.
                                                                                                           Richard, Kev & Russ.
The door at the opposite end of the hall opened and a trickle of soulies came through. Clad in tee-shirts, proclaiming their faith to The Wheel, The Torch, Mecca, Catacombs and Va Va's, they tested the vast gleaming floor and their shrieks of approval filled the empty hall.
 "We've seen you at the Rugby Club on Fridays. We went to Newton British Legion the other Thursday - it was great".
 "Just been to the Mecca," "Levine said, It'll never take off - he's coming down later".
 'Is there any boy as sweet as you' flooded from the speakers and the night had begun. Wigan Casino Soul Club was launched.
 To think that so many things have been written, radio and TV shows have been broadcast just about the Wigan phenomina, yet the best thing, is that as it is so much a part of people's lives it can't be over-commercialised. I believe that there'll always be a Northern scene because "thinking people" need an alternative to the music that they hear on radio or at most local discos. The Northern scene offers them that alternative.
 Whether you've been to the Casino six times or six hundred times, I'd like to thank-you for making it what it is today.
           A girl dancer in mid-flight.
Mike Walker remembers..........
I WELL remember the first time I set foot in Wigan. I'd been temporarily transferred there to help out with the advance bookings for the Beatles show at the town's ABC Cinema. I had been working a few miles down the road at their cinema in Leigh and, at sixteen, the prospect of being involved with a 'live' show, as opposed to films, was about the most exciting thing that had occured during my short working career.
 I had only just moved to Lancashire the previous year, having lived in a number of towns, up and down the country, eventually completing my schooling in Carlisle - the town I was born in.
 For as long as I can recall, my father has worked in theatres and cinemas, so it was no great surprise that I should follow in his footsteps at the outset of my professional life. I did, however, try my hand for a few months after leaving school, working in beat groups - but £8 a night between four, even in those far off days, wasn't much to live on!
 My stint at Wigan's ABC venue lasted for some four years, where I rejoiced under the auspicious title of Assistant Manager, and for the initial eighteen months or so almost every fortnight, a 'live' package tour presented a One-nighter at our theatre. The Rolling Stones, Hollies, Tom Jones, Roy Orbison etc, packed the hall during that period, and I still vividly recall the night Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, the Supremes, Stevie Wonder and several; other Motown stars appeared together on the same bill - and played to a half empty house. Of course that was in 1964......
 I made many friends in Wigan during that period, and was very sad when I was transferred to Manchester, albeit for only a relitively short spell. But during my stay, I became a member of the Twisted Wheel club. Their Saturday  All-Nighters were something else! The atmosphere was dynamite, and some of the acts who worked there as virtual unknowns, are considered legends.
 Can you imagine the night  Otis Redding appeared ...enough said methinks! After six months I returned to work in Wigan - although by that time, things had changed somewhat. The live package shows were becoming less frequent and somehow the atmosphere wasn't quite the same. I concidered the prospect of becoming a cinema manager was not, perhaps, as exciting as I had originally imagined. Plus the fact that everybody else seemed to be having such a good time at night, whilst I was having to work. So, at tyhe tender age of 19, I decided to spread my wings and look around for another job.
 A friend of mine was working for a local newspaper and, when a vacancy cropped up, he suggested that I apply. Fortunately, I got the job and remined there for several happy and informative years.
 Gerry Marshall was, at that time, the manager of the Casino Club, and whilst attending a function one evening at the club, we started chatting - the result being an offer by Gerry, for me to work as a deejay in the Beachcomber - the Casino's under 18 room. I must confess that I was somewhat flattered by his offer, and felt the opportunity was not to be missed. Accordingly, and with many reservations concerning my own ability, I eventually decided to accept. Within six months I was working a regular five-night week, having progressed to the main hall within the Casino, and will readily admit that I was thoroughly enjoying my new career as Wigan's latest record spinner.
 Gerry and I became very close friends, and when he advised that he was considering buying the business and wished for me to become the club's manager, I again felt flattered, and again accepted.
 Russ Winstanley was also deejaying in Wigan at that time, and had secured a good reputation for himself via his soul nights at the Rugby Club and New Town British Legion venues. We did, in fact, get to know each other pretty well as a result of my soul import purchases from his record stall and, having become manager of the Casino, I approached Russ with regards to running a record stall within the club itself.
 During those early days, our regulars were being "lost" to the Torch All-Nighters in Stoke and although we were playing the big sounds of the day, we failed to emulate the incredible atmosphere the Torch had managed to acquire with their All-nighter sessions.
 Russ suggested that we try a one-off at the Casino at approximately the same time as the lease for the Torch was due for renual, and with Gerry's blessing, September 23rd 1973 ( a date forever imprinted on my memory ) the Wigan Casino All-Nighter was born.
 The subsequent success story has been related many times and with many glorious years behind it, the place has become a legend in it's own time. Russ and I still talk about 1973 as if it were only yesterday; it is just amazing how time has passed.
Checkin' It Out . . . . . By Frank Elson. ( Aug. '74 )
IT SEEMS like there's always something nasty about the Soul Scene to write about these days. I'm hoping that one day I'll have nothing but good things to write about.
 The latest thing is really despicable. It seems that certain people, including very well known DJ's have found a way of making money that makes the regular pressers look very soft indeed. These people are obtaining records from lists on approval maybe as much as £40 worth, getting Emidiscs cut of them and then sending the Originals back saying they don't want them. Then, not only are they playing the emis but they also have a few extras cut and sell them for £5.
 The crookedness here is twofold. Not only does the DJ get the latest sounds but he also makes a hell of a lot of money out of the ordinary Soul fan. The guy who sends out the list in most cases has to work very hard to find the good sounds and he's getting nothing for his trouble. The fan who buys the cutting is getting a bad deal because these things are cut, not pressed, from acetate and they rapidly wear out so you're not getting much for your £5.
 The solution is simple, don't send any records on approval if you put a list out and for goodness sake don't anyone buy an emidisc.

Wigan badges. THERE'S BEEN a hell of a lot of controversy over my piece a few issues ago about Chris Burton's Wigan badges and it looks as though there's been an almighty 47% up over them. Anyway to clear the situation up I spoke to both Chris Burton and Mike Walker and here's what they had to say.
 Chris - "Although I did not have an order in writing I was informed by Alan Day that  Mike Walker wished us to design and make a badge for Wigan Casino. The badge was designed and Alan took it to Mike who confirmed that he wished me to order two-thousand of them. When I was informed by the manufacturers that the badges would be ready soon I spoke to Mike who told me that he did not want them. We were able to cancel the order but were forced to take delivery of 396 badges. When Mike told me that he did not want even these I told him that I would have to sell them to get my money back."
 Mike - "Our badge was designed by Brian Rigby in October or November of last year and the order placed with our own badge manufacturers. Alan Day did bring some designs to us after this time but I told him we already had them being made. I have never told anyone other than our own manufacturers and Brian to design, make or supply badges for the Casino either verbally or in writing."
 I also spoke to Brian Rigby at Wigan who confirmed as far as he could what Mike said about the design and manufacture of the badges.
Odds and ends Lynne Halsall and Christine Till, the young ladies who run the snack bar part of the Beachcomber reckon that I've neglected them. Right there's your mention ladies and I'll have 800 rounds of toast and a coffee please !
 It seems ther Wigan crowd went down South during the wrong week. Amidst loads of letters and people telling me how good the Coral is at Newquay the Wigan lot told me it was terrible.
 All sorts of lovely things happening at the Casino for their Anniversary All-nighter and I understand that so many people want to go that it'll be rather a surprise if they don't have to close the doors.
So this is where Frank Elson spent the 1st Wigan Anniversary night!
 Frankie's the one one the left by the way. ( Photo supplied by Russ ).
 Oh, what a night! APOLOGIES to the Dells. What can be said about that absolutely fantastic First Anniversary at Wigan Casino? It's just one of those nights that will go down in Northern Scene history. Just about everything nice that could happen did. And who took notes? Well I did take some but I can't find them for the moment. Now doesn't that make a pleasant change?
 Hey now I was there wasn't I? I know what happened without any notes anyway. Lot's of "POP" music papers were represented and at the time of writing I've not seen any of the reports. Should be interesting to say the least.
 First impression I have is of Andy Peebles making his first visit to the All-Nighters and just standing on the stage staring at the mass of bodies dancing away and muttering, "fantastic, terrific" and other epithets. ( Watch your language Elson ). In fact when Andy and Allan Dene decided that they had to leave their companion - that lovely Dianne from EMI - didn't want to leave!
 Mr Peebles, Dave Mc.Aleer and myself were press ganged into judging  the dancing competition and with a rather nice system of points we ended up with Steve Ceasar of Leeds wining; 2nd Kim Habbits ( not bad we hope ) of Wolverhampton; 3rd was Gethro
( that's how he said it was spelled ) also of Wolverhampton and 4th was Sharon Dyke of Gloucester. And if anybody thinks judging is easy how about only four points covering the top four. That is tight.
 I've found me notes and the dancing comp is all that's on 'em! Except that Bob Mills' young lady Kath had a birthday which I forgot last year! ( Sorry about not drinking all my coffee the next morning Kath, my love. )
 Mike Walker told me that only 1,500 tickets had been printed but there were easily 2,000 people in that place. When walking from the press room into Mr.M's ( a second smaller
disco ) my glasses just steamed up with heat!?
 Oh yes and I don't think it was very nice of those peole who decided they would rather steal tickets than buy them. One guy I spoke to got a punch in the mouth and had his ticket and some money pinched. Now to some people that might be a little bit funny but make no mistake it is known as robbery with violence and carries a prison sentence. And prison is where animals who do things like that belong. Obviously such people are not Soul fans. If anyone can help catching people like that it isn't squealing - it just helps to clear such dross out of the way of normal human beings.
 I got quite carried away there for a moment but it does make me mad. However, anyone who went shouldn't get the idea that there were bad vibes around the place. The few incidents which did occur were obviously by people who wanted tickets to sell - not get in themselves.
 Close on 2,000 people had a whale of a time - and didn't they give owner Gerry Marshall an ovation. It started with cheers and handclaps and ended with foot stamping and went on for a couple of minutes. As I mentioned earlier there were representatives from lots of pop papers there and although quite a number didn't go for the music ( which led to soom heated arguments with Bob Mills, Wes and myself! ) most of them were incredibbly moved by the size and the atmosphere of the occasion.
 Certainly a night to remember and I would like to extend my personal thanks to Mike, Gerry, Russ, Richard, Kev and all the other D.J.'s - but more especially to all the friends that I have made over the last year for ensuring that I've never yet had a bum night at Wigan Casino. Happy Birthday and many happy returns!
 WIGAN CASINO C/O Frank Elson ( May 1975 )
After a "rest" of a couple of months I meandered my way to Wigan Casino for the All-Nighter and it was like coming home.
 I made a decision to give the Casino a break in the days when the complaints about overcrowding and trouble at the door were at their height but I'm pleased to say that on this later visit there were no problems at all. There are now two openings for getting into the Casino ( not counting the back door where bouncers earn "overtime" ) and the overcrowding seems to be a thing of the past. Probably, another symptom of having been away for so long was the fact that the place seemed much less crowded and much more happier and pleasant than it was.
 The music certainly seems to have improved a hell of a lot and I've got a nice list of tips from Russ and Richard. Russ' first - Lou Edwards "Talkin' 'bout poor folks"; Toni Lamar "Need to be loved"; Chandeliers "The who who song";  Lesley Gore "Can't get enough"; Richard Temple "Love runs out"; Vicky Adams "I'm drowning"; Tempos "I'll be so happy"; Lorraine Chandler "Love you baby".
 Richards tips - "Best thing for you baby" Gloria Parker; "I can't change" Lorraine Chandler; "Sweet baby" Al Gardner; "I'll always love you" Sam Moultrie ( even got offered £100 for my own copy ! ); "Contact" Three Degrees; "Talkin' 'bout poor folks" Lou Edwards; "On the road to ruin" Earl Wright; "I love my baby" International GTO's; "Salvation" Robert Thomas. Some bloody good records there.
 All those "regulars" who, like me got a little fed up with the Casino should follow my example and go back for another look, I think you'll all be pleasantly surprised. Wigan Casino seems to have got over all its troubles and its now as good as it ever was.
 I had a very long chat with Manager Mike Walker who told me that they have suspended membership to the Casino for a while as one way of slowing down the crowds. He also had a few uncomplimentary things to say about the National and "Pop" press and the record companies for the way they have commercialised the Northern Soul Scene and used Wigan Casino for their own ends. Record companies can note that they are no longer welcome to the Casino. Richard and Russ feel the same way, as do I, and it seems that we've all awakened from a deep sleep to come back out into the sunshine. Forget the Wigan's Ovation and the Sounds of Lancashire and all that rot. What does it matter if they get into the charts ? We now know that good Northern Soul doesn't stand a chance. Let the record companies delude themselves - they can count the money so long as we're left alone - and anyway, now and again good Soul music does get released so that we, who do like good music, can still buy it.
 So what else happened out at Wigan ? Arnie Clark was there - celebrating his freedom and loving the sounds in Mr M's courtesy of Mike Rolo, Kenny Spence, Dave Evison, Billy Paul and Derek Banner. Still as popular as ever that room and it was really nice to see the way people were dancing to the oldies. I flipped when Mike Rolo played Ramsey Lewis' "Wade in the water" !
 It's funny but I hear of oldies being sold at the inflated prices used for contemporary sounds these days. Funny but sad, don't ever pay a lot of money for an oldie, there's plenty of chance of getting it at a lower price if you look.
Dave Evison's Oldies Spot at Wigan Casino proving to be somewhat of an embarassment since some of these way back sounds are proving to be more popular amongst the younger set than the "latest discoveries" in the main hall . . . Inevitable perhaps since every record is "new" until you've heard it, and a good record regardless of whether it was in the spotlight two years ago or not . . . no one disco covers the entire nation on its playlist, even though some of the jocks think they call the shots . . . Dave Evison is a veteran Soul follower who puts a lot of thought into his weekly compilations . . . so much so, that the only disc he plays more than once is his all time favorite "Love you baby" by Eddie Parker on ASHFORD . . . a minor indulgence compared to the colossal indulgences we see in other quarters . . . . And whose got "exclusive" emidiscs of unisued sides by The Exciters then? . . . . I know at least one label rejected them when they auditioned duplicates, and those duplicates are still around . . . more stunning details as they embarrassingly develop . . . . .

The Image of Wigan. . . .

 Like most things, many of the people have changed and we ourselves have, over the the years, changed too - but hopefully, with the times - and our roles as individuals have also experienced change.
 I myself am, at present, very heavily involved with RK Records with many outside supplementary promotional activities. Russ and Richard ( Searling) likewise are both employed within the record business, whilst Gerry has also developed his business interests.
 Many of the deejays and staff have left the Casino for good and in many cases gone on to even greater things, but without a doubt everyone, including myself, who has passed those two famed black doors in Station Road, have got an awful lot to thank Wigan Casino for. Long may it live!

 Gerry Marshall.
                 Harry Green.
                       Mike Walker.


 MOTOWN OLDIES.   c/o New Soultime mag.
Brilliant, excellent, knock-out . . . just some of the words used to describe the First 100% Motown All-nighter . . . and it certainly won't be the last. Personally speaking, it was the ultimate reward for playing a different Motown oldie every week in my spot for over two years and to think, in the Torch days with it's fame for rarities and new discoveries, it was unheard of to play Motown at an All-nighter although naturally it was generally accepted that you couldn't fault it, how embarrassing all those 50 pence gems! Anyway, today Motown is no longer just a brilliant label over-shadowed by poorer but very rare material. Ultimately, on Friday 21st October 1977 the scene's favourite and best ever record label deservedly had it's own night!!
 First jock thrown the Motown hungry lions was your Uncle Russ, who quite honestly played some brilliant sounds - many of which were first timers, notably Gladys Knight's "You've lost that lovin' feeling", a credit to the company! As we all did, Russ varied his choice from Sisters Love to the Four Tops. "Come and get these memories" Martha Reeves; "I want to go back there again" Chris Clark; "I'll always love you" Detroit Spinners; "Starting the hurt all over again" Brenda Holloway.
 Yours Truly was unleashed on the poor unsuspecting masses and - no! I'm not even going to attempt to give any verdict on my own performance except to list some of the titles I chose:- "Get ready" Temptations; "The night" Frankie Valli; (and I would have thought Russ would have remembere!) "That's what love is made of" Miracles; "You're not an ordinary girl" Temptations; "How sweet it is" Jnr. Walker; "Two can have a party" Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell; "Headline news" Edwin Starr; "Stoned love" Supremes; "My guy" Mary Wells; "Ghost in my house" R.Dean Taylor; "Since you've been gone" Four Tops; and many others. Suffice to say I sincerely hope everyone enjoyed listening to them as much as I did choosing them.
 Keith Minshull, true to form just had to be the one to send a 6ft. high 4ft. wide Motown display board crashing onto five petrifird stompers sitting at the front of the stage. Netherless, after a unique but typical entrance, Keith also showed his taste and originality with some great classics. These are a few:- "6 x 6" Earl Van Dyke; "Take some time out" Isley Brothers; "Baby hit and run" Contours; "Come see about me" Supremes; "Come around her I'm the one you need" Smokey Robinson.
 Brian 'Nocturnal' Rae wasn't to be outdone with some nifty choices which made reminising like winning the pools. Again, a good variety of 45's from the Tamla catalouge. Some Brian Rae sounds:- "Keep on loving me" Francis Nero; "My weakness is you" Edwin Starr. Still the versatility of this unique label pored out of the Casino speakers, each time cramming more dancers onto the sacred floor. Well done Brian for remembering "All for you" Earl Van Dyke, I was motionless when that one came on! Brian, like the rest of us, cried buckets of tears as he had another 3,000 gems to play which he couldn't get into 1 1/2 hours.
 After being reluctantly dragged from the stage, Brian then made way for Richard "Shoot your shot" "9 times" Searling!! Spurred on by the now deliriously satisfied crowd, he really had them 'nostalgia wallowing' at the flick of a volume control. (Watch out Frank Elson, with action packed dialogue like this I'm ready for anything!) Seriously folks, Richard yet again never ceases to amaze with Motown magic dripping with superiority. He managed to spin some magic first-timers. So here, as with the rest of his fellow jocks, are a selection of Richard's impressive playlist:- "Shake me wake me" Four Tops; "Down to love town" Originals; "Take me in your arms" Kim Weston; (Superb!!) "Whole lotta shaking" Miracles; "Beauty's only skin deep" ; and for me the record of the night which floated with such ease - the immaculate "Sweet thing" The Motown Spinners. Finally, Richard ended on two of Motown's most beautiful outings - first of all, Levi Stubbs and his Three Tops with the unequalled "Baby I need your loving", and the record which both Richard and I feel is without a shadow of doubt Tamla Motown's All-time No.1 (ballad section!) Originals "Baby I'm for real". The guy responsible for the saxaphone solo deserves to be knighted, it's perfection.
 So that was it, all over far too fast, with vacant looking jocks clutching piles of records which they just couldn't find time to play - believe me it is heartbreaking!! For me, it was an unforgettable All-nighter and will only rank alongside Jnr. Walker at the Wheel and Major Lance's live album Torch All-nighter, To any readers who were fortunate to attend may I offer my sincere thanks for making every moment of the night so enjoyable.
 Finally, the entire staff, D.J.s and all, who attended will I'm certainly join me in thanking Steve from E.M.I. who transformed the stage, bottom bar and staircase into a blaze of colour with some eye-catching posters and record sleeves. Sadly, a few genuine souvenir hunters assured us that the display was very temporary, only on reflection who can blame them. After a night like that it was rewarding as Scotsmen uprooting the turf at Wembley.
  WIGAN VIEW.C/O Soul Time.
  Wigan today is so much different from the Wigan of three or four months ago. It's difficult to put my finger on what is different about it, but there has definitely been a vast improvement. The only reason I can pin down could be the general release of August & Deneen/Rosemary, and the pressing (dropping) of items like Bobby Hutton/Jewells/Milton Wright/Shane Martin. Wigan went through a period of continually playing the same records, some of which had been played for years. Without a doubt the main criticism of the Casino was the stubborn reluctance to drop records before they had been released. This was mainly the fault of Russ and Keith Minshull, the two that show the least interest in discovering new sounds. The inclusion of Alan Rhodes in the pantomime clearly comes as a breath of fresh air, as Alan, like Richard, continually discovers records of a high standard. The discovery of rare stompers becomes increasingly more difficult as the days go by, a fact highlighted by the attitude of many jocks to either play some popular oldies in their playlist or to play some new releases, neither of which requires imagination or courage. Two records that really sum up what I'm talking about are "Watch out girl" and The Jewells, in short, any DJ still playing these two at an All-Nighter is a second class DJ. I'm not knocking the two records, but they're played out and boring after a long life. As for the Wigan sounds of the day, well theer's some real crackers going around, the most popular of which is probably the latest version of "Ever again", supposed to be by William Lucas who wrote the song. Only Richard has a copy. Bobby Goldsboro is currently in demand with "Too many people" a real stomper that came out over here, so watch for it. Russ has reactivated "Hey little girl" by Miss D.D.Phillips (U.S. Evolution), and as the Illusions is out they'll probably have stopped playing it by now, but that must be so rare. Marie Knight's "That's no way to treat a girl" (Musicor) is a really tremendous stomper, with an ever changing beat that really sounds great at an All-Nighter. Still popular are The Twans - "I can't see him again" (Dade), "By yourself" - J.D.Martin (Tower), "I don't wanna get away from your love" - Yvonne Daniels (Stirling), "Paris blues" - Tony Middleton (Mala), "Surrounded by a ray of sunshine" - Samantha Jones (U.K. United Artists), "Stop" - Bobby Diamond ( Columbia), "Lost summer love" - Lorraine Silver (Pye), "I travel alone" - Lou Ragland (Amy), "Destined to become a loser" - Ellingtons (Castle), "Ice man" - Billy Watkins (Era). One of the biggest sides these past two months must be Taj Mahal with his faster version of "A lot of love" (Columbia). This was played at the Torch not too long before it closed and apart from the U.S. single it was issued on his own L.P. and the "Rock Machine" L.P. on Direction. A really rare English side that looks like taking off in a big way is "Something to give" - Nita Rossi (Piccadilly), it was on U.S. Hickory and I thought it was a U.S. recording 'til I saw a Piccadilly copy at Wigan and heard it, man it went down a monster so watch out for this one, and remember where you heard it first. A few DJ's are hammering "Stoney ground" - Foundations, a U.K. recording for M.C.A. and then issued in the States on Uni, it's got a catchy tune and a storming beat, though it gets a trifle messy in places. On the oldies front there are some lunatic oldies being reactivated at the moment, the worst of which is the diabolical "Shake a tail feather", pure Rock 'n' Roll, Elvis would have been proud of it. To see great oldies like "Stranger in my arms", "Burning sensation", Jimmy Mack and others get another lease of life is the other end of the scale from the ameteurish sounds like the aforementioned Puriys record, also "Show me", "The horse", Virginia Wolves and a few other select rubbish that a certain oldiesDJ regularly plays. There should be more accent on overall sound, most oldies from the late Torch are popular ones and have nearly all been repressed, e.g. "Sister Lee", Lou Pride, Moses Smith, Johnny Caswell, Rubin, Edie Walker, the list goes on and on. I'd like to see "Nevertheless" get another shot in the arm, if that's not an insensitive coin of phrase! I look forward to the day when sides like Matt Lucas, Gerri Granger, Eddie Regan etc., are oldies and we remember the year 1977 for those sides, and god knows what the scene will be like when that time arrives, perhaps we'll all be punks, jumping up and down to The Damned, if that happens I'll welcome "Shake a tail feather" with open arms. Like I said, theer's some good sounds to be heard down at Wigan, so if you haven't been down for a while, give it a chance, good luck.
  Casino........more startling reports from the same production that gave you "The sex life of a ping pong ball"  c/o "Soul Time".
Not an awful lot has changed at Wigan since last issue, just a few new discoveries and a few more new releases. DJ's still Russ, Richard, Pep and The Minsh. By the time this issue comes out there should have been the first Oldies Anniversary on Feb 4th. Richard Searling recently acquired some new stompers (and with the prices  he charges for records on his new list, it's not surprising). The best one's he's come up with are : "Take my heart"-Wonderettes, a cover up with an almost identical backing to The Tams "Be young etc.." It sounds very much like the Fascinations, very popular and must go big. The second one is another cover up supposedly by Rose Battiste, a real earthy 'Bari Trak' type backing. He also has taken to playing "Get it off my conscience"-Lovelites, "The night the angels cried"-Johnny Dynamite (Minaret), "Meet me half way"-Lillie Bryant (Tayster) brilliant !!!!, "Wash & wear love"-Lynn Varnardo (Gator) and the incredible "PARIS BLUES"-TONY MIDDLETON (MALA) a great mid tempo stomper with powerful vocals. The top Wigan sounds are more or less the ones in the chart elsewhere (St. ives Page), though there are popular items like "Captain of your ship" by Seventh Wonder (WG)  a furious lollopper which is due to appear in import shops any day now. Watch out for a great sound from Prince Ella & Sydney Jones on the Chicago label Prince called "Sugar, baby I love you" must be a monster. Pookie Hudson's "This gets to me" (Jamie) reached monster proportions everywhere. Nate Evans "This time with feeling" (DPR) getting another bout of interest. Another side lollopers dig is the instrumental version of the Isleys "Fight the power" by Seven Seas on Glades LP, which could be a big seller if released on UK Jayboy. Judi Street's imortal "What" on Strider is absolutely fantastic, a '77 monster already, what a way to start the new year with discoveries like these. Memorable riffs combined with S-T-O-M-P-I-N-G beat, bound to be one of my faves of the year. Another side that's really getting to me is Yvonne Daniels clip clopping "I don't want to get away from your love" (Stirling) very much like Louise Lewis's "I'll let it be you", this is another definate biggie with Sam giving it spins in his part of the world. Pep doing a very good spot at Wigan recently playing "Thank the lord for love"-Living Color (Madhatter), Lou Edwards, Judi Street, Don Varner, Pookie Hudson, Lee Roye (but doesn't everyone?), Adams Apples, Herbert Hunter!!! Van Dykes and Wayne Cochrane's "I'm in trouble" (Mercury) this is another undoubted monster, stompers only. Wayne is actually Eddie Cochrane's mother, the song is instantly forgettable, but the backing is really vibrant.
 The usual favorites are still played occasionaly from Nancy Wilson, Jewells, Embers, Bobby Hutton, Popcorn Wylie, Bobby Lester, Poppies. Jimmy Raye's "Phillydog around the world" should be pressed by now, depending on whether you're reading this before or after the Oldies anniversary. Kev Roberts is responsible. Selecta have just pressed James Barnett's "Keep on talking". I've just knocked a cup of coffee over.
 A side that's really being raved over is Edwin Starr's "Don't tell me I'm crazy" on U.S. Soul (1972) a nice mid to fast song. I picked up recently but don't think much of it as a northern side, but really Soul-ful. Anyway it's a bit early to say wether it will take off, but I doubt it, it seems to lack that special something.
 On the oldies front Dave Evison choosing some very strange sounds to play. Here's what he played in the main hall last week. "Blowing my mind to pieces"-Bob Relf, "Bar B Que"-Wendy Rene, "Green Door"-Wynder k. Frogg, "I'm satisfied with you"-Furys, "You don't love me"-Moses Smith (Didn't anyone tell him?), "Don't bring me down"-Rita Dacosta, "There's nothing else to say"-Incredibles, "Let our love grow higher"-Eula Cooper, "Help me"-Al Wilson, "What a difference a day makes"-Esther Phillips, "Try a little harder"-Fidels, "Roadrunner"-Jnr Walker, "Walking up a oneway street"-Willie Tee, "Sliced tomatoes"-Just Brothers, "Love is a good foundation"-Leslie Uggams, "Build your house on a strong foundation"-Gwen & Ray, "Girl's are out to get you"-Fascinations, "Trying to find my woman"-Lou Courtney, "I got the fever"- Creation, "Love is getting stronger"-Jason Knight, "7 day lover"-James Fountain, "Prepared to love you"-Thelma Lyndsey, "Stay close to me"-Five Stairsteps, "I still love you"-Superlatives, "You're everything"-Norman Johnson & Showmen.....................some crackers there, but Esther Phillips-?  Come on Dave, earn your keep. What about Capreez, Sons of Moses, Stanley Mitchell, anything but Esther Phillips. He'll be playing The Sex Pistols next.
 So if you've not been to Wigan for a while I suggest you get down there to hear some of these new stompers, and the atmosphere's just as good as ever. At the moment there's as many good sounds being played as  there's ever been, making sure there's no other venue that can touch Wigan. See you there. Cheers! Dave Mc.Cadden.
 Soul Shoes . . . .
I was a 'Hilton Parker', brown but polished to a sheen with black polish to give
      them some age!  Were you one, or a 'Nutsford', 'Keeler' or a 'Brouge'?