A brief history
A brief history of Soul in Staffs/Cheshire.
Soul music locally is best remembered as starting out in of all places....Tunstall.
The Golden Torch on Hose St were promoting underground acts from the USA such as Inez and Charlie Foxx, James and Bobby Purify, Roy C and many more.
The Place in Hanley opened around the same time but focussed on a more Pop/Rock sound.
By 1972 the club scene had changed with a more cabaret style affair via new venues such as Jollees (Longton), Top Rank and Heavy Steam Machine (Hanley).
The Torch, under pressure from dwindling audiences, turned to the All Nighter scene.
The Twisted Wheel, Manchester had lit the touch paper several years before but closed in 1971. A golden opportunity for owner Chris Burton to develop a national all night scene, and so in March 1972 local DJs Keith Minshull (Kidsgrove), Colin Curtis (Newcastle u Lyme) and Johnny Beggs (Alsager) together with national spinners created a soundtrack not only to Staffs/Cheshire but nationally too.
These were the days of sing-a-long club favourites such as Queen of Fools, My Man Is A Sweet Man, A Man Like Me, Love On A Mountain Top, Here I Go Again etc.
Certainly a very powerful genre was now in full flight and the non chart fans had venues to go to even after the Torch closed in April 1973.
Honorable mention goes to Up The Junction in Crewe, Trentham Gardens, Top of the World(Stafford), Keele University, Winsford and Nantwich Civic's among others....keeping the flag flying.
Staffs Cheshire has always been at the forefront of the Classic Soul scene.
Even today the Kings Hall Stoke is the most popular Northern Soul All Nighter in the country with the venue acting as the home to Signal's Soul night too.
Incidentally Kie Mcglinchey a hairdresser from the Potteries is the current World Northern Soul Dance Champion- a title won in the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool.
Why is the music so popular? We asked our own Signal Soul presenter Kev Roberts.......
' I think that many Soul Songs that didn't chart in the 60's and 70's have really connected with many up North. Staffs/Cheshire has been a perfect playground to this incredible soundtrack.
I liken the area's musical taste to great American states like Pennsylvania & The Carolina's. They too have their own music to cherish regardless of what the rest of the country re listening too.
I first came to the area in 1972 and totally gobsmacked at the interest level some 40 plus years on. Hey.....there's another great Soul track coming shortly on Signal!
See you out and about real soon.