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? HELP ?

Two guys originally from Cheshire UK who are now separated by 1000's of miles sent me their tales on the Cheshire Soul Club. Strange thing is I received both the Emails within 10 minutes, neither knew that the other was sending me a story!! Spooky eh? Their stories are inspirational and prove that life went on beyond the Mecca & Casino. It can still be done today, just get organised and learn from the lessons below. Just remember one thing when you have read their versions, they were  teenagers when they did this!!! AMAZING. RESPECT TO ALL CONCERNED & SOUL LONG....Mick


The club was the brain child of a bunch of us that used to travel up and down the country, Wigan Casino, Blackpool Mecca, Samantha's in Sheffield, the Carlton in Warrington, Whitchurch Civic, etc   etc. I don't remember who had the original idea, but we met up one night in one of the worst pubs in Winsford, The Golden Lion, (I was back in there in 1996, they have done the place up and put in Boddingtons beer, needless to say it is very much improved) it was a dump, but as most of us were under 18, we couldn't really complain.
There was Paddy McKenna (ex Twisted Wheel), Dave Thomas, a local DJ also ex Twisted Wheel, Chris Hulme, Roy Edwards, Dave Quinn (all ex Torch), Ronnie (Muck) Pearson and myself (Wigan,the new kids) we all chucked 30 quid in the kitty (a lot of money back in 74/75, I was a first year apprentice, that was about 2 weeks wages) to get us going.
We rented the Memorial Hall in Northwich, known locally as the Morgue (the place had seen enough 'bodies' thanks to the rival gang fights between skins and greasers), the rental included the bouncers and the bar. Mind you only Paddy & Dave T. were over 18, the rest of us didn't mind doing the odd illegal pint though! We roped in a couple of the girl friends, Janet Burns (now Quinn) and Helen Stott (now Edwards) to run the cloak room so the Soulies could hang up their trench coats and dump their bags and later on flog our badges, we used to stash a lot of our gear in there to, you know records, tape players D.J. stuff !!!!!
As Dave was a working DJ we paid him out of our takings (I'm sure he gave as a break on his fees) he was also our transportation, we used to pile into the Ford Transit along with the amps and speakers etc. The left over cash went in the bank to cover the following weeks, minus expenses (beer money) of course. We ran the club for about 18 months, about half way through Dave Thomas dropped out, by this time we could afford to hire a DJ at regular prices, so we gave a young lad named Bernie O'Brian a job, Bernie had impressed us at a Monday night pop disco at Winsford Civic, with his extensive soul collection and his patter, just the thing for coming down all-nighter goers. Bernie became our regular spinner till we closed down, I ran into him at Rylands Rec Feb 97, he reckons we still owe him for the last gig, I don't know, he could be right?

We had some good nights at the Morgue,  I think for most of us it was a fun thing, we kept busy between turns on the dance floor, but none of us turned out to be business people as far as I know.
Our crowning glory in my opinion was having Edwin Starr perform one Tuesday night, I got to sing 'War' with Edwin on stage, what a buzz!! I still remember it like it was last week. Our biggest flop was one week we had to relocate to Winsford Civic (owned by the same council) what a debacle, no one in except a load of punks, it blows my mind to know Winsford is one of the 'in places' these days, who would of ever thought it! On the whole there were some excellent nights of soul at the Morgue and many fond personal memories of my miss spent youth!!

Any way there were various reasons for us packing it in. The council were after us to go in as partners (we were raking in the cash by now) we said "bollocks" they said "no venue", the Inland Revenue were chasing us for unpaid income tax, The Cheshire Constabulary was insistent that one or two of us "help with their enquiries" (what exactly is a class B controlled substance anyway?)
Things just generally went down the toilet, and that was that. Finito!!!!
Where are they now? sadly Paddy is no longer with us, he's at that big All-nighter in the sky, Dave Thomas is still in Winsford as far as I know, Roy and Helen Edwards, Still in Winsford, 3 kids later still party animals who enjoy a good time. Dave and Jan Quinn still on the Northern Scene, they took me to Lowton Civic for the 1st anniversary do last year a great night had by all. Dave has kept me supplied with tapes of the top sounds over the years I've been in Canada, Chris is now living in Stoke, we have traded Xmas cards over the years but since we got on the net, well we've done a lot of catching up. Ronnie Pearson is also back on the scene along with Paddy's younger brother Steve, one of our best supporters in our days at the Morgue. Some other soul fans deserve a big thank you for their support all those many moons ago so here goes: The Northwich and Barnton mob, the Middlewich mob, the guys from Crewe, the ladies from Crewe and Nantwich Elaine, Debbie the 2 Lornas, Penny French, Lisa and Angie (notice how I can remember the women!) our mates from Winsford Bill and Tim Murphy, Paul (Paulus) Koljyn (now in Amsterdam I think) and the lads from Rhyl and Blackpool who occasionally gave us a visit. Last, but not least; Jeff from Warrington,
Tina from Barnton (now Mr.&Mrs) and Carl Ellis from Winsford, (no idea where he`s at these days) .
Me, I'm over here in Canada, my kids are growing up, so its time for me and Ann to get out and about again, with some good fortune and maybe some help from Alun Bell and Mick Taylor, it will be out dancing to some of our favorite Northern soul sounds.

Some of the 'Biggies' from the 'Morgue'
Come on Train - Don Thomas
The Bottle - Gill Scott Heron
Get out - Harold Melvin
You Don't Want Me No More - Major Lance
Coming To Your Rescue - Triumphs
And of course anything by Edwin Starr!

Keep On Keeping On People..........Les Thomas
17 March 1998

It was great seeing the Cheshire Soul Club badge on your site, it certainly brought back waves of nostalgia seeing all those old badges!

The CSC was formed in the early 70s by a group of like minded Soulites from Winsford in Cheshire. I was a big record collector at the time and so had a good Northern collection and acted as one of the DJs. 2 brothers called Dave and Bernie Thomas (not related to Les) had a mobile disco and so with their records and mine, we had the makings of a Soul Club. The other club founders were Les, Roy Edwards, Dave Quinn, Paddy McKenna, Ronnie (Muck) Pearson and Billy (Spud) Murphy.

We hired a big hall from the local council in Northwich called the Memorial Hall (known locally as the Morgue) for our weekly discos. We advertised locally and in Blues and Soul, and we built up quite a good following. The Morgue was already famous locally as being a Soul venue as in previous years it had had regular soul discos there as well as live artists.

I can remember the likes of Jimmy Ruffin, Martha and the Vandellas, Inez Fox, The Tams and a host of others who appeared there. (Its a big building, and is still there by the way.)

Once the club was established we even branched out into hiring acts, I remember us booking the Real Thing (before they were nationally famous) and I paid them 50 I think it was, in fivers!

The club ended up doing pretty well and we even had a visit from Frank Elson who was writing for Blues and Soul at the time. He did a write up in B & S about us in his club circuit column I think it was, which further boosted our attendance's. At one time we were considering making the club a limited company. I can also remember us designing the CSC badge between us, we advertised them in B & S and sold several hundred, both mail order and at Wigan. Unfortunately, I've only got a couple left, as the ones that we didn't sell didn't survive the couple of house moves I've had since those far off days!

The club's downfall came with the local council muscling in on us (bastards!!) When they saw how successful we were becoming, they wanted to partner us in the running of the venue. (Tony Petherbridge, who ran the Whitchurch All-dayers, was also interested) If we didn't agree they were going to hike up the hire charges, so they had us over a barrel. As we were just enthusiastic teenagers and not business people, we agreed to them partnering us. After a short time and a
couple of arguments with the councils Recreational officer who we had to deal with, the club ended up without a regular venue, and so after a short time folded.

It was great while it lasted though, I can't remember how long, but it must have been over a year. We all had a good holiday in Blackpool out of it, and it paid our train fare to Wigan every weekend, where we all went religiously for 2 years until 1975 when several events stopped us going and broke up our little gang. I went to Wigan again a couple of times later in the 70s, but it wasn't the same as all the people we knew had largely stopped going.

I will always look back on those times with great affection and although I sold my record collection 10 years ago, (big mistake), I have started collecting again on CD, as there have been some brilliant
compilations released recently.

I have been rooting around for some Wigan memorabilia, and in an old kit bag that I've kept that I used to take my change of clothes to Wigan in, I've found some more badges that you might be interested in. These are all musty smelling one offs, that I've cut off old Fred Perry Shirts that I used to wear at Wigan. I've attached them in a zip file to this message, I hope you like them!

Best wishes, Chris Hulme.

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