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Them wer' Days

I got my first taste of Northern Soul in 1972. We used to hang out at the St Mary's Youth Club in Bamber Bridge. The music usually began with chart crap, then got better with a blend of Motown & Philly. Then the DJ began introducing some records as Northern Soul. I was an immediate convert. I soon found out the music even had clubs dedicated to playing it. To my amazement I did not have to travel far as it was being played at the Snooty Fox in Chorley, Blackpool Mecca and the Pier at Morecambe. I can still remember my membership number. It was 2197, not bad for an old bloke eh?
I first went to the Casino in August 1974. I remember getting to the bus station and expecting to see 100's of other all-nighters, I was amazed to see few. Then we went passed the Wimpy bar and saw the longest queue I had ever seen. We must have stood in line for an hour or so before we got in. To be honest this was the first and last 'stress free' queue I have ever seen in my life, the atmosphere was electric. Then we were in. It had only been open for an hour or so and the place was packed with Soulies from all over UK and abroad. People were dripping in sweat so we went looking for the bar to replace the fluids. WHAT NO BEER!! Yes that's correct, just soft drinks. The other thing we noticed was that we were over dressed. The following week we were in vogue.
We became regulars in that 'sweaty' club. The comradeship was incredible. We made friends from all over the country and got directions to other venues playing our music. I began to dabble in pills around this time. First it was uppers then stronger gear. We mainly took them to keep dancing all night. The down side was you could sleep forever afterwards and I usually did. I once saw a guy buy 3 'female pill' for 5 quid and within a couple of minutes he was convinced that he was stoned. Another guy was so 'pilled up' he was rolling face down in a broken glass. The real freaks were the one's that would steal your records from your 'all-nighter' bag when you were up dancing.
The dance floor is where it all happened. I could shake a mean leg but some of these guys were unreal. I have lost count of the amount of live bands I have seen. They must have been really amazed at the response to their little known records. My favourite place was Mr. M's upstairs. I preferred the less well known music they played. The best way of cooling down after the Casino was to head for Wigan baths. A splash around soon brought the senses to life.
I was away from the scene for years until a recent working trip abroad. A mate had brought some Northern Soul CD's with him. We spent many a happy hour listening & dancing to his music. He pointed me in the direction to buy them. I hope to pass them onto my son who I've noticed tapping his foot to that beat just like I did all them years ago. So carrying the Faith into the next century, I hope you've enjoyed my story.
Yours in Soul

MS

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Mick' tale.
Shanes Tour.
American dream.
NS hypotheses.
Berlin scene.
Pete's story.
Them wer' days.
The first time.
Wigan !#?.
New blood.
Irish & exclusive.
Youngest soulie?.
My soul story.
NS obsession.
UK to LA.
Southerners tale.
Keeping the faith.
First steps.
A Great Crowd.
Oldie now Newie.
The Right Direction.
La Pella Nera.
My 80's Scene.
Wicked Story.
30 Years of Soul.
Filipino Style.
Cheshire Soul Club.
Man in Black.
Time's a Wasting.
Full Circle.
A Northern CV.
Californian Scene.
Awkward Homelife.
Plain & Simple.
Cleethorpes '98.

Handstand.
Move Forward.
Lost Soul.
A Favour?.

Copyright M Fitzpatrick
mickfitz@koan.de