Morning all, like many fellow soul survivors I am saddened by the passing of ‘Still Bill’ Withers announced yesterday. Upon hearing I listened to all his albums I had at my disposal and watched again the brilliant documentary ‘Still Bill’. I will be showcasing some of this humble spirit’s music on my show on Solar 2am-4am tomorrow morning. The providential thing about Bill’s transition is that for a couple of years and recently during this lockdown (even earlier this week) whilst I’ve been drawing, l kept meaning to interpret his image from his not to be slept on 1977 ‘Menagerie’ album. So in my self iSOULated Bill Withers confined space, I put pencil to paper and here’s my Blue Peter one I made late but earlier yesterday. A true soul survivor Jedi maestro… long may your everlasting ‘Soul Shadow’ spirit be cast over this world.. Thank you Bill Withers for your gentle and universal spirit, sharing your gift to the world via music and poetry…Rest In Power 🙏❤️ #billwithers #thesoulsurvivorsmagazine
What music shaped your formative years between 1932 in North Carolina until you became an accomplished drummer, having relocated to New York City playing jazz, R&B and Bossa Nova in the 1950s and 1960s with Bill Doggett, King Curtis and a spell at Harlem’s Apollo Theatre?
Jazz, I was listening to Dave Brubeck, Sonny Stitt, Stan Getz and rhythm & blues artists like Paul Williams and The Griffin Brothers. Most R&B music was played by jazz musicians and every musician came out of R&B and Blues bands. You didn’t come out playing jazz straight away back in those days.
How old were you when you came to the East coast?
Straight out of high school, so I was eighteen.
What led to you setting up The House Of Fatback?
After working with King Curtis and those cats I was working up in the mountains doing cabaret with The Ron Allison Band. Playing cabaret I decided I wanted to create my own band and put together a three-piece group. I’d done a lot of recordings as a session musician and I ended up getting blackballed, so I started recording with my own band and other artists as a record producer.
Where does the term Fatback derive from?
Whilst working with the Ron Allison band we had the most popular session guitarist. His name was Eric Gale and I had a beat that he’d like me to play. He would say “Dude give me that greasy beat, that beat is like fatback man.” So when they asked for the fatback beat I knew what they meant and they ended up nicknaming me ‘fatback’ as I was the only one that played that kind of beat. I got that beat as a combination of a calypso beat with a backbeat.
How did you link up with guitarist Johnny King?
When I was putting the group together I was looking for a rhythm section. Whilst I was playing in the Jewish Kaskaskia Mountains at the weekends and during the summer in the hotels, Greg Decouder (who was a producer) was my roommate. He told me about how he had studied and analyzed the Motown sound and he had deduced that once you had a formula you stuck with it. I had a buddy called Warren Daniel who knew a guitar player called Johnny King. Johnny King and his bass playing partner Johnny Flipping had both worked with Bill Doggett. Earl Shelton on the horns came on board with George Williams and we remained together for thirty years.
This led to the Perception deal I take it?
That deal was a fluke as I was shopping the Fatback Band around town at all the record companies at the time when Warner Brothers and Atlantic Records were small labels. I bumped into a friend called Boo Frasier who advised me that he was just starting a label called Perception with a partner and I informed him of my group that I was trying to get a deal for. He hadn’t heard anything thing but I told him of an idea that I had to record some country and western funk and he liked the idea. I had no idea when I went to the studio what I was going to do but we did the album and they put it out. The tune people fell in love with was ‘Going To See My Baby’ but the radio stations didn’t like it as they weren’t used to that raggedy raw sound and no one would play it. So they took the record to the deejay Frankie Crocker who said that it was the funkiest thing he’d ever heard in his life. He started saying how raw and nasty the sound was and people started catching on. That record paved the way for groups like BT Express and all the little street bands like mine to come through. All the record companies were trying to get records to sound like the Fatback sound but they couldn’t get it. My sound was more underground and didn’t really take off until fifteen years later because everyone was used to the more over ground sound. When we went into the studio to record we had no idea of what we were going to play. Most people already have arrangements but we had nothing. I used to call it my live studio sound and I would bring people in and if they started dancing I knew we had the right groove. ‘Street Dance’ came from there too and our first single ‘Yeah’ and via each album you could hear our growth in the sound which got better as time went by.
Off the second album ‘People Music Fatbackin’’ does sound like a cross between Kool & The Gang and Deodato’s ‘Rhapsody In Blue’. Both of which were released in 1973. Which was first?
Deodato copied me. You see a lot of the musicians in New York knew about Fatback because I was already in the recording world and every drummer copied that style and they would call it the fatback beat. It was the first of the disco beats.
I’ve spoken to Robert Khallis Bell of Kool & The Gang, Larry Blackmon of Cameo and Randy Muller of Brass Construction all of whom confirm that there was a big street funk fraternity out of New York and the East coast.
That’s right and Fatback opened the doors for that so the record companies wanted their own versions of that. What happened at Perception was that the label was going broke and our first two albums just about earned Boo the money he had borrowed from his family. He was going bankrupt and said it was nothing personal but he left us stranded without a deal. Whilst shopping for a new deal and coming out of Polydor records my lawyer hooked us up with Spring Records after looking at a dubious contract that Mercury was offering.
How did you form your longstanding working relationship with trumpeter/ keyboardist Gerry Thomas?
Oh I see so how did that work with you and him, was he moonlighting whilst working with Jimmy Castor?
No that is not how it went. He left Rod Allison’s group and went to join Jimmy Castor. In the meantime Gerry and I had formed a relationship producing records together on my Fatback label. When he wrote ‘Spanish Hustle’ he offered it first to Jimmy Castor but they couldn’t work out the right publishing deal so he gave it to me and we recorded that as a massive hit.
After the third and last Perception album you join Spring/ Polydor’s Event label. ‘Mr Bass Man’ is a killer but ‘Keep On Stepping’ and ‘Wicky Wacky’ would become the club anthems. By this time the bass lines of Johnny Flipping would simulate one of a reggae ilk on both those tracks. How much did the Caribbean and reggae influence have on the band, as much later this would be evident with ‘Spanish Hustle’ and ‘Night Fever’?
Remember what I told you I got my beat from?
It came from reggae and calypso but what I did was put a two and four back beat to it, which the reggae didn’t have. Whilst playing at the cabaret dances the people loved calypso music and it was that with a New Orleans feel that influenced the Fatback Sound. Now if you listen to ‘Going To See My Baby’, four tunes came out of that like ‘Wicky Wacky’ and ‘Bus Stop’. At night we’d play the tunes differently and never the same way twice. So when we went to the studio we’d already written another tune on top of it and had performed it unconsciously but we were not aware of that. When you have a band that is working every weekend they are writing tunes in between.
When I hooked up with you at Southport in 2005 you told me that your track ‘Dance Girl’ was controversial with the Rimshots and that you were going to sue them, why was that?
They stole it and took my tune and didn’t pay me royalties and that is another one that came out of ‘Going To See My Baby’, you can tell. Remember what I told you earlier about the formula? That’s what I used throughout my Fatback career.
But they did credit you on the track eventually?
Yeah they did but I didn’t get any money. Not one penny but we worked out an agreement. Joe Robinson wasn’t the most up and up person in the world but he paid me back after I sent some people who represented me to talk to Joe and he ensured we performed with The Moments whenever they did a show.
Around the same time there were quite a few street funk bands establishing themselves like Kool & The Gang, Brass Construction and later Cameo, BT Express, Crown Heights Affair and Mass Production. All had a horn section but I think it’s fair to say that Fatback had an identity with your party hustle chants and Caribbean influences that stood out. Randy Muller advised me that he felt pressured when disco came in to write more lyrical songs. Did you experience that?
No, Fatback had no pressure and of all the groups out there I have more records than all of them apart from Kool and The Gang. We did about forty albums and I had the complete freedom to do what I liked. If I told them I wanted to put a dog on the record and that would sell they’d push it. (Bill laughs). That’s why my songs didn’t sound like others, when the others turned left, I went right and if they went straight ahead I went the other way. That’s why my music never really charted but when the deejays came in that’s where we became popular.
‘Raising Hell’ and ‘Yum Yum’ albums with their sexy funk, disco, jazz and Caribbean flavours remain two of my favourite albums that endured a degree of commercial success. ‘Raising Hells’ ‘Bus Stop’ created a dance craze to be capitalised five years later by another bullet on the future ’14 Karat’ album. How did you receive that adulation as this did catapult the group into the commercial arena more so I guess in the UK than the USA?
I never knew until Gerry Thomas came to the UK with Jimmy Castor and he said they played the hell out of ‘Bus Stop’. When I first came to England I toured with a little van and did bars and cabaret places in little country towns so I built my own following before I did big concerts.
I love the funky breaks created from ‘Put Your Love In My Tender Care’ a great track.
Whoa… that track never did anything and we never played that record live. Another one we didn’t do live was ‘Money’ until it became a hit. We had to go back and listen to the track and it took us two months to learn how to play it as we did everything as a one time take recording. The same with ‘Backstokin’’ a track which we went to court with with Dr Dre who sampled and contested his usage of it and we won.
Apart from ‘Party Time’ the one that always melts me is ‘Groovy Kind Of Day’
“Oh, oh, oh, ‘Groovy Kind Of Day’ came via our keyboard player and I wrote the words to it. We started the beat in the studio and I directed the bass player and the keyboard player who laid it down. In most of the tunes you hear, the track came first and then we would add the lyrics, then I’d add a rhythm or melody.
I remember you doing that at the Jazz Cafe around 2005 and I was so pleased you did it cause it sounded so amazing.
That day was the first time we did it as we questioned ourselves if it was too jazzy but we do it if we are in an intimate club setting now.
The ‘Yum Yum’ album is incredible with ‘Yum Yum’ as a ‘Bus Stop’ Part 2 in terms of a sing-along classic. But every track practically stands out with its own merit, in particular ‘Let The Drums Speak’ the sensual ‘Feed Me Your Love’, other favourites I used to like playing was ‘Hey I Feel Real Good’ and ‘Boogie With The Fatback’.
Bill interjects… If you wanna boogie you gotta boogie with the Fatback. We had such a raw feeling that everybody wanted to sound like Fatback. Now Bobby Robinson hired Johnny King to produce some records and Bobby asked for the Fatback sounds. Johnny said “You’ll only get that from Bill Curtis as it comes from the top of his head.” Johnny advised that he couldn’t do it stating that he didn’t think that I think like the average musician and that everybody follows my lead. Johnny later lost that producing job.
(Bill laughs) I reach out to different people. Gerry and I knew Phylis who was a New Yorker doing lots of background vocal sessions. Gerry used to arrange his music on the way from his house to the studio on the subway and brought something different to the rest of the Fatback sound. He was the person who could interpret what I wanted, make it right and make it fit. He was the key to Fatback, as he knew how to implement my ideas. I wasn’t a singer but Gerry made people think I could.
My favourite off the ‘Man With The Band’ album apart from ‘Midnight Freak’ is the uplifting ‘Mile High’ which is not a typical Fatback sound but glorious.
That is one of my favourite albums but no one dug it but me and that is a bad thing when musicians like the albums that don’t do anything. However ‘I’m the Man With The Band’ (Bill laughs) came from another keyboard player who was blind and a friend of Deborah Cooper who wrote ‘Mile High’ and I wrote the lyrics.
When we played ‘Bus Stop’ it morphed into ‘Double Dutch’ as the bass player would change the groove. When we recorded it I thought about the blue jump rope thing with the two ropes and the double dutch skipping thing.
Now named Fatback, the ‘Fired Up N Kicking’ album hosts the incredible ‘Snake’. One of our most respected deejays Paul ‘Trouble’ Anderson used to play that in a jazz funk set and everybody just moves to its infectious rhythms.
Oh yeah we did that during the Caribbean festival that was on every year in New York’s Eastern Park Way. That is one of my favourites and again we never played it live. We play it at dances because as a group we play all of our own songs and never anybody else’s songs.
(Bill laughs) Well we did the album and I was listening back to it and I couldn’t hear a song that stood out as a hit. So I mentioned to Gerry that I had a tune and that I wanted to put a rap on it. He said “You can’t rap so watcha gonna do?” Our roadie said he had a friend who could rap so we got Tim in. We had the tune name as ‘Keep The Beat’ then changed it once Tim rapped on it. I then took the tune to a radio convention for the deejays with my friend Boo Frasier. I asked the deejays if they’d play it and they said yes as there was nothing else like it and it would change up the industry. I took the info to Spring Records for them to put it out but they said no in order not to offend the deejays they felt were already doing that. They would not support the track with any finance if I insist and wanted to push ‘Candy Sweet’. They eventually agreed to put Tim 111 as the B-side. Meanwhile Joe Robinson was in the studio pushing his music to the deejays and they were telling him that Fatback had the hottest track but that no ones was playing it as it was a B-side. Joe heard it and then went into the studio and did some shady stuff and got his track (‘Rappers Delight’) on the market three days later and the rest is history. After that Spring Records still refused to put it out saying Joe had too much of a head start but I told them they had it first, and that is the story. When I speak to them about it now they suffer from amnesia. (Bill laughs). The nearest thing after that we did was ‘Money’ but then I wouldn’t do the rap thing again cause I like to grow. I didn’t think rap would last that long but I certainty didn’t want to get locked in it.
As we come to the 1980s and the ’14 Karat’ album (which is my favourite of that decade) you have a new lead vocalist in tow. ‘Lets Do It Again’ is a great opener, ‘Angel’ a nice ballad and ‘Backstrokin’’ creates a new dance sensation with people swimming backwards on the floor. Did you know that?
(Bill laughs in disbelief) ‘Backstrokin’ wasn’t about swimming though!
I also liked the social messaged ‘Concrete Jungle’ as when I heard that it blew me away and reminded me of ‘Money (Gotta Get My Hands On Some)’, ‘Lady Groove’ and ‘Your Love Is Strange’ but the melter is the jazz bubbler ‘Chillin’ Out’. It is so sexy from beginning to end. What inspired that track?
(Bill laughs) ‘Chilling Out’ was a sleeper and we’ve never played that tune live either. People never picked up on that and I couldn’t get anyone to play it. People felt that those tunes were not Fatback but I wanted to show that we could be versatile in our musical direction. It came out like creatively just like ‘Groovy Kind Of Day.’
Exactly I loved it. I loved ‘Kool Whip’ which Robbie Vincent used to play regularly on his Saturday afternoon show. Now the Fatback sound was definitely changing, it still had the horns and was funky and by the next two albums ‘Gigolo’ and ‘On The Floor’ the moog bass and synths were rife and the horns had disappeared. So many bands from the east coast like Brass Construction Mass Production etc. lost their brass anchors too. How did you adjust to that?
We were moving into the electronic stuff and people didn’t want to pay for the big bands anymore, so using the synth we could still have a horn sound. I usually now carry eight pieces with me but now its around six as we cannot afford to pay for that now. Fatback is a musician band that improvises so the musicians have to bring something new to the band and improvise on a particular song so I don’t hire outside my band.
‘Is This The Future?’ was incorporating the new sounds more so and the title track was huge with its almost Grandmaster Flash ‘The Message’ type theme?
I wanted to move into another direction as I wanted to change my sound and that track was laid with the social message rap as a feature.
I did like ‘Sunshine Lady’ the more musical track from that period.
Ahh with ‘Sunshine Lady’ that was Michael Walker the lead singer and he fell in love with Linda Blakely aka the Mean Machine so he wrote that ‘The Girl Is Fine’ and ‘I Found Loving’ due to her.
Steve was a friend of mine and he travelled with the band and he felt he could sing that song even though he was our MC. He asked if he could sing the tune and I had no objection and he brought new life into the tune. I have a live twenty minute version of us and Steve live from the Hammersmith recording, which the BBC recorded.
I’ve seen you a few times over the years at Baileys in Watford, Hammersmith Palais, The Jazz Cafe and Southport Weekender. Which venues hold the most memories for you having performed here for nearly forty years?
The Jazz Cafe and Baileys in Watford, I loved that venue and was sad when they went out of business those Baileys gigs were nice.
How did you hook up with Bah Samba to revamp the incredible millennium version of ‘Let The Drums Speak’ and ‘Spanish Hustle’?
The agent who booked me managed them and they wanted to collaborate with us. So both Fatback and Bah Samba were able to get both our names out there.
Did you mind doing that?
Well no because back in the day Heatwave approached us to come on tour with us and open up. They were good too and blew people away and made me step up my game and we’re still friends and they always show gratitude to this day as they toured England with us.
Which other bands did you admire?
I never listened to bands that much but I liked Heatwave, BT Express and Kool & The Gang. I liked Earth Wind and Fire and The Commodores but they were not street bands, they were very polished but I’m an earthy man from the street.
Thanks Bill it has been an amazing insight.
Thanks for calling me. I enjoyed the interview.
Its funny how life can sometimes spin on its head and your whole world can change overnight.
For some it could be the loss of someone close to them, or a cancer diagnosis or maybe a redundancy. For me it was finding out that the husband I had loved for 18 years was having an affair. A shock and surprise as it’s the one thing we had always promised never to do to each other as both of our fathers had done the same to our mothers.
Once the initial shock had subsided though I’ve realised I have a lot to thank him for so here it is….
Thank you for falling in love with me and teaching me that there are more important things in life than your career and money.
Thank you for our two beautiful, super smart, little girls who are growing up fast at 10 and 13 years old now.
Thank you for many happy years. We partied hard in our early thirties at all the private members clubs, best restaurants in town and the coolest cocktail bars. We married, had the kids but still had dinner parties for our friends, went out to the cinema, went dancing to soul music occasionally and continued to eat at fabulous restaurants. We had house parties and holidayed in the Caribbean. We luckily managed to still socialise, work and have a family life too and he still made me laugh. He cooked for me, helped around the house, took his turn picking up the kids from school and told me he loved me. I was happy and content with my lovely life.
I can’t thank you for the last year of our relationship, the lies, the affair, the drinking, the disrespect but I can thank you for what came afterwards.
Thank you for allowing me to reinvent myself at the age of 49 in time to rock my fifties.
Thank you for giving me a new lease on life. I’ve trimmed down a size or two, got fitter, experimented with fashion, refocused on my career, started dating again (there are some stories to tell here) and made new plans for a now much more unpredictable but exciting future.
Thank you for being reasonable in the divorce, letting me keep the house I bought before we married and have full custody of the kids.
Thank you for never badmouthing me to your friends, your family and most importantly to our lovely girls. My relationship with them is closer than ever and I cherish every day I get to spend with them.
Thank you for letting me share our joint friends and not asking them to choose a side.
And finally thank you letting me still believe in LOVE.
Davina Lines is co-founder of a new soul night for a more mature and sophisticated crowd, Soul Sophisticates. This new venture stems from a new zest for life at 50, a place where we can dance, make new friends and enjoy quality music over top shelf drinks. A place to make new friends and maybe find love.
Join me and Mike Vitti (Mi-Soul & Ronnie Scotts), Mark Williams (Soul Network) and Jon Junior (Bar 300) on Saturday November 2nd from 10pm until 4am at The Trading House, Gresham Street, near Bank for a night of Soul, Rare Groove, Soulful House and RnB. Tickets from £12 at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/soul-sophisticates-tickets-73889763271 or via Paypal please contact email@example.com
If Fitzroy lets me, I’d like to take you with me on my journey of rediscovery next. Getting over the shock of a marriage breakdown, dating tips and nightmares, Tinder, therapy, setting up a new business, expanding my existing business and being a single parent. Music and soul nights have been a very important part of becoming happy again and building a new future plus they are a great place to make new friends and line up that next date. You’ve got kiss a few frogs to find your prince!
I have worked with all of these artist performing on Friday 19th July 2019 @ McQueen. Here is my brief synopsis of the history
Dez Parkes I call him the musicologist because of his advance knowledge and experience via his many tentacles he has touched in the music industry over more than 40 years. A proud East Ender who danced in the reggae circuit before he became one of the known characters in London’s Soho club circuit, Dez Parkes is one of the most respected DJ’s and connoisseurs of ‘Just Good Music’. As a multitasking DJ, dancer choreographer and label owner, Dez complied the pioneering ‘Rare’ albums on RCA Records circa 1987. He has travelled the world and is respected world wide via his DJ sets and radio shows. Artists like Leroy Burgess and Roy Ayers regard Dez as a personal friend and seek his counsel as well as giving him props for championing and helping to spread their music. Dez will be spinning an eclectic selection of Just Good Music flavours on Friday 19th July at The Soul Survivors Magazine Awards at McQueen in EC2.
Marc Mac Marc Mac another fellow west Londoner is a pioneer in finding the perfect equilibrium between analogue and digital music production and compositions. One of the main protagonists of the drum & bass and jungle explosion in the 1990s and part of 4hero, Marc has excelled as one of the UK’s universally respected DJ producers around the world. His label Reinforced is a world wide successful entity with a back catalogue that is constantly in popular demand. Marc has worked with many A list artist and outfits including Roy Ayers, Terry Callier, Jody Watley. Masters At Work and Ursula Rucker. Marc will be spinning variety of flavours on Friday 19th July at The Soul Survivors Magazine Awards at McQueen in EC2.
Rose Windross Hailed as the ‘First Lady Of Soul II Soul’ Rose Windross is a unique soul survivor with an instantly distinctive vocal delivery upon any track she performs live or as a recording. Rose is the respected dancer first, singer second, like those recognised as dancers first before they became DJs. Albeit she is an out and out jazz funk disco and boogie die hard, Rose made her recording debut in the lovers rock arena as a teenager before she caught the world attention with her co written ruff rugged and raw London beat classic ‘FairPlay’ circa 1988. Rose has been an in demand lead vocalist on various projects in the soul funk, UK garage and house genres over the last 30 plus years and still boogies hard on the dance floor and while she is performing. Celebrating 30 years of recording ‘Fairplay’ Rose will be our special PA on Friday 19th July at The Soul Survivors Magazine Awards at McQueen in EC2.
Ricky Morrison I’ve known Ricky Morrison a local West London Wembley music enthusiast since he used to come to my late teenage birthday parties in the early 1980’s, when I used to spin off one deck. Ricky was part of a sound system collective called The System Inc in the mid 1980s and eventually struck out on his own and getting into house music production, one of his earlier pseudonyms was 2 Dope Productions and later on as M&S Productions with lifetime friend Fran Sidoli. Ricky also did some of his apprenticeship working in a few of the west end of London’s premier record shops supplying DJs and music lovers with the latest imports which culminated in co owning Catch A Groove Records along with Abbey Shah. Ricky as well as travelling the world DJing in Europe and the USA Miami Conferences he has remixed many projects as well as enjoying success with his M&S project Salsoul Nugget chart selling ‘If U Wanna’. Ricky is resident at McQueen and will be spinning some soulful house with a disco boogie flavour on Friday 19th July at The Soul Survivors Magazine Awards at McQueen in EC2.’
Darrell Steaman is an all round music loving kind of soul survivor. He’s been DJing for around 30 years, an occupation he had no intention of entertaining, however being asked to fill in for a friend it became his passion. Playing initially local in his Oxford manor, Darrell has travelled further around the country and in Europe as well as hosting radio shows with a jazz funk soul and broken beat flavour. He is also well travelled attending numerous events around the country, weekenders all nighters and specialist nights. Darrell’s satirical Funkbox column feature has been running since the magazine started in 2006 and he has also played at previous Soul Survivors Awards we’ve held over the last 10 years. One of the industries funniest and nicest gents, Darrell will be spinning on Friday 19th July at The Soul Survivors Magazine Awards at McQueen in EC2.
Dezzi D Dezzi D and I were teamed together in December 1990 by our awards artist PA Rose Windross to work with her brother Norris Da Boss Windross at weekly Wednesday night at Soho Theatre London W.1. Ever since we have worked together at various events and I’ve witnessed his ill skills in the mix spinning an amalgamation of 1970’s to the millennium recordings. He has been for the best part of 40 years a very in demand across the board DJ holding long residencies at various establishments UK and beyond. Ticking the jazz funk disco boogie hip hop, house RNB and broken beat genre boxes Dezzi D will be spinning his flavour on Friday 19th July at The Soul Survivors Magazine Awards at McQueen in EC2.
Jon Jules and I have much in common being born in north west London, loving music and supporting the COYS. I first came across Jon buying music off him in the mid 1980’s whilst he worked in R&D Records Rayners Lane. He later co owned the shop and was a familiar DJ character working the home counties and London’s west end. Jon also is a recording artist and a remixer and is very knowledgable installing sound systems for major companies in major clubs and venues around the country. After a sabbatical from the scene he has returned with a vengeance and has made quite an impression securing work around the country and and outside. He was runner up for Best Club Dj in our 2017 held awards at Under The Bridge and is up for best radio show in our forthcoming 2019 event. A very liked individual catch Jon spinning an array of music with a disco boogie flavour on Friday 19th July at The Soul Survivors Magazine Awards at McQueen in EC2.
Archie Bell is coming to The Hideaway 27th & 27th June 2019, check out the interview Fitzroy did with him featured in issue 53 for April/May 2014. for tickets check out www.hideawaylive.co.uk
How was life growing up in Houston?
I was born in 1944 in Henison Texas then we moved to Houston, and I was aged 9. Houston was a tough place to grow up and was considered the murder capital of the world with about 25 people getting murdered weekly. We are like your magazine soul survivors and later on New York City, Detroit, Chicago all became crime rate areas. I grew up in a baptist church and started singing there aged 5 and my mother kept us in that environment
Apart from seeing Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke perform, what else inspired you and your high school friends James Wise, Willie Parnell and Billy Butler to form Archie Bell and The Drells?
We were in junior high school and they had a talent show at our school, we entered and won. One of the other members LC Watson loved The Dells so much so we put the r in to become the Drells but sometimes people got upset and confused expecting the Dells. At first we were The Drells but with me at the front with the mic like Smokey Robinson and The Miracles or Diana Ross and The Supremes, it became Archie Bell and The Drells and it’s a coincidence that Bell rhymed with Drells. I was about 15 at the time and we covered The Drifters or The Impressions ‘Keep On Pushing’ or ‘People Get Ready’ with the Little Pop And The Fireballs as our backing band in the early 1960’s. Aged 17 my first concert was seeing Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke. Sam Cooke came on with no introduction nobody moved, when Jackie Wilson came on it was like all the women got shot down with a machine gun. There was ambulances and oxygen masks lol and I saw how Sam Cooke was such an artist and Jackie Wilson ‘Mr Entertainer’. Seeing how much power they had made me realise what I was gonna be doing for the rest of my life although I didn’t know how I’d get there.
You definitely have a voice of distinction be it the 1960’s, 70’s or 80 as you have a certain Je ne sais quio . How did you develop your voice?
I was in the church and the choir because of my mum who could sing amongst 40 people in a choir and from the back of the church I’d recognise her voice over everyone else. I asked her how she does that and she advise to sing for your heart which took me about 20-30 years to figure out. I also admire artist like Human Blay, Art Tatum and Big Joe Turner and found imitation is the first sign of success, but to develop my own sound was foremost important.When ‘Tighten Up’ came out they’d never heard nothing like that come out of Texas. I asked people what was it about us and they said it sounded like we was having a live party. A lot of people say I talk like I sing so it come natural.
That was done in Cleveland Ohio and I had just got out of the army. At the time it was one of my most depressive moments because I knew I was going to be drafted as things was about to happen for the group. I was laying on the couch and this radio station called KCOH played a song and my friend came in the room and started dancing which helped me forget the mood I was in. Two weeks before I left I heard a radio DJ say that nothing good comes out of Texas because of all the killings. I wanted people to know that we were good and come from Texas, that’s why at the beginning of ‘Tighten Up’ I say “Hi I’m Archie Bell from Houston Texas and we dance as good as we want”. I got drafted into the military whilst recording Tighten Up which I wrote. The back up band was TSUH from Texas Southern University and on the same label as us owned by Skibidy Fraser who was alter our manager and a DJ on the radio. Skibidy called me in 1968 and told me ‘Tighten Up’ went gold. I served two years in the army had an accident at one point in a wheel chair and I was telling the guys that my song was on the radio and they thought I was lying. Two weeks later an article came out in Oversea’s weekly and then they believed me it was like a fairytale.
That song, ‘I Can’t Stop Dancing’, ‘Funky Tighten Up’, ‘There’s Gonna Be A Showdown’, ‘Doo The Choo Choo’ and ‘Here I Go Again’ were some of the many classic that the soul fans in the north region of the UK have found memories of. How aware are you of the popularity of your music from the late 1960’s to early 70‘s period?
When I was Germany when ‘Tighten Up’ was released I got a 30 day leave and went on a tour. One day at Longside New Jersey Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff had seen our show and came introducing themselves to us backstage. I had no idea who they were and called my manager and he called Atlantic Records who liked us and we recorded ‘There’s Gonna Be A Show Down’, ‘I Can’t Stop Dancing’ and ‘You Ain’t Too Young’. Gamble & Huff were our producers, then Atlantic dropped us so we went to TK Records for a year and then we contacted Gamble and Huff as we were looking for a record deal.
How often did you perform in the UK during those early late 60’s and mid 70’s?
After I came out of the army in 1967 I played in London and they didn’t know who we were, they thought we were a white group. I didn’t realise how popular ‘Tighten Up’ was when I was in Germany
‘Dancing To Your Music’ is a sweet hot stepping dancers tune from 1973 and a different direction for the group how many records did you record on TK?
About four ours producer was Brad Superio and Dave Crawford and we had that Mouls Shaol. The label TK Glade were meant to have material ready for us before we arrived at the label which was not the case. Prince Phillip Mitchell wrote that song for us.
How did the interim two step soul orchestrated gem ‘Girls Grow Up Faster Than Boys’ on President label after a spell at Glade fair between you label change to TSOP
Phillip Mitchell wrote that too and that was a great song and something different to what we had done. I got my PHD in music really at Gamble and Huff era.
What was it like to be part of the TSOP entourage alongside Billy Paul, Lou Rawls,The OJays, The Intruders, The Three Degree’s and Teddy P, and to work not only with head honcho’s Gamble & Huff but musicians and songwriters, McFadden Whitehead, Carstarphen, Bunny Sigler and Ron Baker on the first album ‘Dance Your Troubles Away’?
It was great with the new TSOP sound after working with Gamble & Huff as producers on Atlantic. It was like a dream come true and amazing to work with all that talent it was something totally different. We’d go in and listen to songs that they had, at first we had to accept what was given to us but then I could choose what I liked. A lot of the songs I didn’t like were some of the best songs so I ended up trying anything they presented to us.
Although you were a group you fronted the outfit so how did that sit with the other members because I can imagine that although they are important when it comes to interviews there tends to be a bias towards the lead singer?
I understand what you mean but I never had a problem with them. I always encouraged them to take the weight off me sometimes. We just didn’t have that division problem it all worked out.
How did you get along with the other male vocal groups the Intruders, The OJays, Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes who all had their own individual success?
When Gamble & Huff TSOP had us, The Intruders and The Ambassadors other groups Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes and The OJays’ Gamble & Huff started to produce them and we were shipped over to McFadden & Whitehead, Bunny Sigler who wrote ‘Old People’. It did feel like we were put on the back shelf when they mention Philly International that we never got mentioned in interviews. I knew all the disc jockeys down south east and west coast and they would get all the OJays stuff first and get told they could have Archie Bell if they wanted us. Even though we came from Texas we did help get them started when we worked with Gamble & Huff on Atlantic years before. I wasn’t bitter about it but I had to fight to get us some plays on the radio.
Your first album ‘Dance Your Troubles Away’ incorporates what you had already done in the 1960’s with the dancing and having a good time themes.
I always wanted to do feel good music whether you had a problem you come to our shows and get charge your batteries for a few hours before you go back a deal with the real world. Where I come from we listen to the blues and we were so down trodden during the racial times of the 50’s and 60’s and thats what ‘Tighten Up’ came out of.
That first album hosted three great singles ‘I Could Dance All Night’ the spiritual ‘Let’s Groove’ and the most commercial I guess ‘The Soul City Walk’. Seeing as you started 10 years prior on the dance craze records of the 60’s how different was it now in the 1970’s with the disco craze, fashion, multicultural and black social consciousness?
What Gamble & Huff did was get that essence of what we did with ‘Tighten Up’ and ‘Can’t Stop Dancing’ which sound similar. ‘Tighten Up’ was more of a jam but ‘Cant Stop Dancing’ had verses. If you listen to Teddy P and other PIR records you can hear that ‘Tighten Up’ feel. Gamble & Huff songs that we did could have been a broadway production, one day McFadden & Whitehead suggested us doing ballads and Kenny Gamble said no I was a dance music man. But coming from the baptist church I could do ballads better than a dance record so we ended up doing a concept of 5 uptempo and a couple ballad as I wanted to do uplifting songs.
The title of the second album ‘Where Will You Go Where The Party’s Over?’ is an anthem at UK events like Caister and generally gets everyone doing a karaoke session. But it was to be the funky two step groove ‘Don’t Let Love Get You Down’ that caused a huge underground sensation becoming an anthem at warehouse parties and house blues around the UK in the mid 1980’s. Some were just discovering it for the first time but it’s infectious rhythms and sonics cause it to be released on Portrait as a 12 inch. What memories do you have of recording that song and was it as huge in America?
I was at a concert once and all these beautiful ladies were on a downer about how their men were treating them and I said to them “don’t let that get you down cause your beautiful”. So when that song was presented to me and I heard it I knew instantly it was good song. I didn’t know it would make such an impact in Great Britain. Many people do not realise that some are in a wrong relationship and I felt strongly about that. It was big in America where you are as good as your next record but in the UK its about your track records where it was bigger. ‘Old People’ was huge here and they used the song over here in the UK when they use to collect money for coal from folks who didn’t have heating. I saw all the cameras and asked what was going on and they explained in October people here suffered so that pleased me that the song was used that way..
My fave of that album is ‘Betcha Can Do That Dance’ because it’s one that makes you wanna put a hump in ya back. What was the decision to make it less of a vocal track, not that I’m complaining at the finished article?
That song was something that when we did it live we’d get someone up on the stage to do a dance and I would interact saying “I bet I can do that dance” replicating to what they had done.
I noticed from the ‘Tighten Up’ video you are in synch when it comes to dance.
Yeah I used to do the choreography but my brother Lee took over to take the weight off me.
For me personally ‘The Hard Not To Like You’ album is one of the groups strongest. It’s got some noticeable Caribbean flavours that I believe Victor Castarphen is influential in as heard on ‘Disco Showdown’ and my ultimate favourite ‘Good Good Feeling’. I love the funky elements of ‘Disco Showdown’ and the harmonious ‘On The Radio’. Question is who recorded ‘It’s Hard Not To Like You’ first, you or Melba and what did you think of each others version?
We had been to the Caribbean and we liked that style as a dance song to emulate the people in Jamaica. We did ‘On The Radio’ to pump up the DJ’s . I think we did it first, often I would road test a song and ultimately they would often give it to some one else but they had the talent to pass it on to any artist.
What’s your memory of working on the ‘Let’s Clean Up The Ghetto’ album with the PIR collective, where you are featured on ‘Let’s Clean Up The Ghetto’ and with The Drells on ‘Old People’ written by Dexter Wansal and Bunny Sigler?
The mission was for all the cities to clean up the ghettos and the dugs. It was a great idea to get everyone on board. Before we had never got to work with the other artists on the label so that was a great opportunity for us to do something positive together
As you worked with them closely in the hey day of the 1960‘s ,1970‘s-80‘s period,what is the spiritual chemistry that bonds Gamble and Huff to create such an enigmatic empire that lasts 40 years plus as a musical institution?
I think they had some of the greatest musicians like Bobby Eli, Washington and Vincent Montana, MFSB, Thom Bell nand all that orchestration. When you get on the stage with a 50 piece orchestra it brings out the best of you. To be with Lou Rawls Joe Simons and Billy Paul I felt like we had arrived. The background girls Barbara, Evette and Carla were amazing too.
‘Strategy’ was your last album on PIR and the title track is a revered classic and you connect the 60’s and 70 era neatly with a nice hit hat produced ‘Tighten Up At The Disco’. It seems appropriate a title for the last album relating the past and the present. How was that end of an era scenario for you?
Gamble & Huff called my manager Skibidy saying we needed two new songs for the album so I recorded ‘Tighten Up’ and ‘We Got Them Dancing’ in Pasedena and sent them back to Philly International and they liked them. A man called Weldon McDougall was instrumental in ‘Let’s Groove’ after he took us to Brazil and we used that influential sound. ‘Tighten Up At The Disco’ was an update of ‘Tighten Up’ .We did that album quickly and we didn’t know it would be our last album but the record companies always have the control in when an artist can leave. Philly stopped promoting us because we were not making enough money and a lot of the music we did was left on the shelf. I’m not bitter about it because that part was like a stepping stone for me to go solo. Back in the day my manager tried to get me to go solo but I wasn’t ready.
Like most front men you end up going solo and signed with Becket records releasing ‘Any Time Is Right’ was this musically influenced by ‘Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough’ as I can hear that in the production?
It was produced by Dave Morris and Roger Nelson who also produced my album. Thinking bout what you just said I can hear it now. Frankie Crocker wouldn’t play my record at first but I knew his girlfriend and got her to play it to him. He asked who is it an she told him and next day he played it on the radio. ‘I Never Had It So Good’ was the best album I ever did as a solo. It had gospel on it.
After releasing ‘Touchin’ You’ on WMOT Records I’m not aware of anymore release so what have you been up to since and how are the rest of The Drells?
In this age you don’t need record companies now. I did a rap version of ‘Tighten Up’ called ‘Tighten Up, Get ‘Em Up’ to get the guys to pull their pants up. The music I’m doing now I pile it up and sometimes it comes out on CD Baby. I’m suing all seven record companies because they never looked after me so now I control my music. A friend of mine in CBS back in the day told me I sold more records than was documented.
Natasha Watts Best Soul Artist or Band finalist in the Soul Survivors Magazine Awards for 2018
Natasha has been a rising star on the UK soul scene for 7 years now, With 3 albums under her name a host of collaboration with some of the best the UK has to offer consistent touring supporting the likes of Gladys Knight and The O’Jays and in last few months recording a full live album with A Hundred Birds Orchestra out of Osaka Japan ! Natasha has on occasion won and achieved runner up status in previous Soul Survivors Magazine awards. Natasha is one hard working lady! To vote for Natasha go to https://www.thesoulsurvivorsmagazine.co.uk/vote/
Roni O’Brien Best Radio Show finalist in the Soul Survivors Magazine Awards for 2018
Roni O’Brien – Insatiable Soul – 4pm-6pm It started for me at 13 when I discovered my brother’s record collection. I sneaked into his bedroom and played ‘Turn the music up’ and I was hooked!. I searched for soul pirate radio stations, discovering Horizon, JFM spending all my pocket money on records and concerts.
At college I organised the student discos. I regularly took 800, 17 year olds to Flicks, as well as coach loads to Kisses in Peckham, the Goldmine and Caister Soul Weekend. The presenters that influenced me were Tony Monson, Robbie Vincent, Greg Edwards, Tom Holland and Chris Hill. I have presented my show ‘Insatiable Soul’ on Solar Radio for 15 years. During this time I was a professional presenter on community station Linkfm. I interviewed hundreds of people from ordinary people to MPs dignitaries and musicians. Over the years my musical taste has evolved and my show Insatiable Soul reflects that. I have a themed show which is interactive for this reason love to present a live show. I mix old and new music and include the sounds of Anthony Hamilton, Soulutions, Sounds of Blackness, Teddy Pendergrass, Papik and the O’Jays. In 2006 I joined the DJ team at the Caister Soul Weekend, I also present on Caister Radio, in addition, I play at the Margate Soul Festival . I have appeared at Ronnie Scott’s and have a residency at Soul Reunited based in Romford, as well as playing at events all over the South East. To vote for Roni go to https://www.thesoulsurvivorsmagazine.co.uk/vote/
Solar Radio Best soul Internet/ DAB Radio Station finalist in the Soul Survivors Magazine Awards for 2018
Solar Radio – a history…Solar Radio launched some 35 years ago in the era of land-based pirate stations, broadcasting soul music to the Greater London area and gaining acclaim as a leader in thefield. The station closed in September 1985 in an ultimately unsuccessful quest to seek an FM licence, but resumed broadcasting in October 1998 on analogue Satellite when an opportunity arose to share a channel, and in June 1999 upgraded to 24 hour broadcasting, taking the further step to Sky Digital in September 2000.Solar Radio has broadcast continuous service from that time, also live streaming from our website at www.solarradio.com , and has continued to embrace new and evolving technology, including a diversity of streaming platforms and self-branded apps, plus an autonomous app for smart speakers. The music policy of Solar Radio has remained faithful to our strapline of “Classic and 21st Century Soul”, with each DJ having free choice of repertoire for airplay, this across the spectrum of soul and related genres to encompass jazz, blues and gospel music, giving airplay to classic artists from the mid-part of the last century onwards and to new and independent artists. The DJs and presenters on the station offer a wealth of experience, talent and musical knowledge, and each show is researched and produced by the DJ to display full empathy with the music and performers, and to interact with listeners via social media with the aim of building a musical bond. To vote for Solar Radio go to https://www.thesoulsurvivorsmagazine.co.uk/vote/
Soul Family Affair Best Soul Weekender finalist in the Soul Survivors Magazine Awards for 2018
As a young and very naive 14 year old at the local youth club disco watching the older lads playing records on the cobbled together double decks, I thought I’d like to have a go at that and as the saying goes the rest really is history. Very soon it was me playing the records at the disco,12 months later I had own disco system this then led onto the usual weddings and parties circuit. In 1980 I was offered my 1st Dj residency on a Sunday night playing jazz funk and soul @ The Jenyns Arms in Norfolk this ended up lasting 20 years during that time many other residences also came along. In 2007 I was offered the chance to promote my very own soul weekend in Hunstanton on the Norfolk coast the weekend was soon affectionately known as the Sunny Hunny Soul Weekend. (This is mainly 60’s & 70s Soul & Motown along with a current jazz funk & boogie room) In 2013 Soul Family Affair was born off the back of Sunny Hunny, since then the event has grown each year, Ian Reading came on board in 2014 & I am proud to say we haven’t looked back. The general consensus seems to be that SFA is extremely laid back relaxed & friendly in fact I’ve had people refer to it as the best kept secret of the soul world! Thank you for the nomination. See you all at SFA 2020 when Phil Fearon will be our very special guest. To vote for SFA go to https://www.thesoulsurvivorsmagazine.co.uk/vote/
Cheeky Radio Best soul Internet/ DAB Radio Station finalist in the Soul Survivors Magazine Awards for 2018
Founded by husband and wife team Debra & Mark Lee and officially launched in February 2017, Cheeky Radio set out to try and do something a little different in an already crowded niche radio market by attempting to find that middle ground between an anthems play-out and something for the more discerning palate. Cheeky Radio caters for all soulful, jazzy and dance related genres with shows presented by established presenters and known live DJ’s as well as giving new presenters with no previous experience the chance to work in radio after some initial training by us. By doing this we’ve created our own unique sound and audience without taking them from other stations. The station is non-profit making, plays very few adverts and has a fantastic family atmosphere amongst our hard working presenters with whom we are grateful and very appreciative for their dedication and enthusiasm in presenting shows with a passion and knowledge of the music they play.We’ve been astounded at the stations rate of growth and the positive feedback received over the last two and half years and we are truly grateful to all our listeners for the support they’ve given us and of course, for nominating us in the Soul Survivors Awards for Best Internet / DAB Soul Radio Station for 2018. It is beyond our wildest dreams. Thank you to the each and every one of you who did so, and also a big thank you to Mr. Fitzroy Facey for producing the Soul Survivors Magazine THE essential publication for the music we know and love. To vote for Cheeky Radio go to https://www.thesoulsurvivorsmagazine.co.uk/vote/
Soul Central Best Club Event Midlands & North of the UK finalist in the Soul Survivors Magazine Awards for 2018
A group of music lovers from Manchester had a passion for contemporary soul music and got talking over a glass of wine one evening. We wanted our own night and party vibe where our favourite tunes could be played to like-minded people…just as it was for us going out back in the 90’s.
Angela Mac along with husband and DJ Paul Mac plus friends, DJs Brian ‘Bizzy B’ Pemberton and Mike Stephens – well known figures on the UK soul scene – founded the brand Soul Central. We started off small at Texture in the Northern Quarter in 2016 and built up a core following that organically grew to the point where we needed to move to a bigger venue. The ‘iconic’ Band on The Wall in Manchester suited the Brand perfectly. Here we continued to build on our original vision to deliver a quality soul night with the DJs playing a mix of new, classic soul and RnB. As Soul Central developed, we invited highly respected DJs from across the UK who also brought their own unique vibe, alongside our resident DJs Mike, Paul and Bizzy. Our next big event is ‘The All Nighter’ at Night People, Manchester on 10th August 2019, including Acid Jazz Recording Artist LAVILLE and 11 guest DJs playing a mixture of Soulful Grooves. Our ethos is to support independent Artists and our club nights are about playing their tunes to other music enthusiasts. We’ve also loved being able to provide promotional and DJ support for an incredible array of artists coming to Manchester from the UK and USA. To vote for Soul Central go to https://www.thesoulsurvivorsmagazine.co.uk/vote/
SOULUTIONS Best Soul Artist or Band finalist in the Soul Survivors Magazine Awards for 2018
SOULUTIONS are the writing team of Steve Lee and Louise Mehan. Steve and Louise have known each other for over 20 years and performed together in the local clubs and pubs in the North East of England for most of that time, however, they began writing their own songs in 2007. They performed these songs under the guise of AMBIENCE, including the timeless Listen, in local venues but unfortunately they weren’t received well and the material was shoved in a drawer. Disheartened, the song writing was put on hold until 2014 when, through the persistence of Louise’s mother, Paul ‘Bumski’ Redfern, the foresight and brilliance of Gary Van den Busche and the mixing skills of Billy April (Dizabone) the track Listen became an overnight success. This gave Steve and Louise the confidence to pick up the quill again, and, in August of this year they will release their third Album ‘FATE’ following on from DESTINY and THANKFUL. Not content with just writing songs the couple wanted to showcase their songs to a public who was just as eager to see this modern soul outfit from the North East So they went about putting together a nine-piece (sometimes 10!) band, and for the last four years have performed up and down the country with overwhelming success. Steve and Louise are so proud to be nominated in the Best Soul Artist/Band category in the Soul Survivor Awards and to win the award outright would make all the very late nights in the studio, the arguments, the laughs and sometimes all the tears are worthwhile. To vote for I Got Soul go to https://www.thesoulsurvivorsmagazine.co.uk/vote/
Bruk Up Best Club Event Midlands & North of the UK finalist in the Soul Survivors Magazine Awards for 2018
We started 9 years ago the brainchild of DJ E Double D who ask three mates ( Flash G, Anne, & Garry) who shared his passion for Broken Beat and Nu Jazz music to start a night after there was no more regulars nights like this no more. After the mighty Co Op, Deep and Liquid Fusion nights stop there was no where to hear this kind of music. So instead of moping around we changed that and Bruk Up was Born. The name came from when dancers use to challenge and say I am going to Bruk you up. This is what Bruk Up is about dancing and the music. Once you come thru the doors for the first time your now Part of the Bruk Up family and the vibe is just like that. We have had Dego, Bugz in the Attic, Kaidi Tatham, Mark de Clive Lowe, Henry Wu, Marcia Carr, DJ Amazon, Rui Fradinho and Jazzrefreshed to name but a few that have graced our parties. As we continue we was glad to see other nights coming back which welcome and also attended. We will always champion this unique genre and if you have not come yet we will see you soon but be warned as at the end of the night with all that dancing you will feel the Bruk Up experience. To vote for Bruk Up go to https://www.thesoulsurvivorsmagazine.co.uk/vote/
Hayling Island Best Soul Weekender finalist in the Soul Survivors Magazine Awards for 2018
Hayling Island Summer Soul weekender & Hayling Island Spring Reggae & Soul weekender is the brainchild of 2 long time friends Scott James & Orlando Gittens. The former hailing from Romford & the latter from Brixton they came together with the simple objective of creating a diverse musical village environment where all are welcomed. Orlando & Scott have blended their cultural influences into a seamless aural weekend where all nations come together & simply party like there is no tomorrow. No area of black music goes untouched, the soul classics that rock the discos in Essex sit aside the 2 step classics that rock the basement blues in Brixton. Perfect, Brilliant, fun, laughter, love! Hayling Island is all of that & a bag of chips & Ackee ! To vote for Hayling Island go to https://www.thesoulsurvivorsmagazine.co.uk/vote/
SALOU SOUL Best Soul Holiday finalist in the Soul Survivors Magazine Awards for 2018
Salou Soul Weekender’s 1st event was in 2009 and by popular demand, it’s now approaching its 11th event in Spain 5th-11th Sept 2019 attracting soul music lovers from right across the UK, USA, Trinidad, Malaga, Benidorm, Switzerland & Barcelona. This event sells out every year with over 450 attendees. 6 nights & 5 days of musical massage awaits you. Set up as a soul music holiday for the grown-ups with exclusive event band only entry. Soul Survivors Magazine nominated for Best Soul Holiday 2019. Runner up Best Soul Holiday Award Winner for 2011 & 2017. Nightly club events in a variety of fabulous venues with great sound systems exclusively for Salou Soul attendees including themed party nights, daytime events include a daytime cocktail party with panoramic views, optional catamaran cruise with drinks included plus DJs playing soulful grooves around a massive beautiful swimming pool on various days. Salou is a great location only 15 minutes cab travelling time from Reus Airport & 90 minutes transfer from Barcelona. The hotel offers a varied programme of events, entertainment & shows, situated close to the beach & town centre. Our events are within easy walking distance of the hotel. Surrounding the building are expansive landscaped gardens, which play host to 3 swimming pools & spacious sun terraces. A top line up of professional UK Soul club & Radio DJs entertain you. Musically you’ll hear the best in 70’s, 80’s, 90’s soul classics, rare grooves, disco, funk, boogie, jazz funk, soulful house, classic smooth Rnb, New Soul, revival & more in the company of the friendliest likeminded over 35’s crowd you’re ever likely to meet. To vote for Salou go to https://www.thesoulsurvivorsmagazine.co.uk/vote/
SOUL SHACK Best Club Event London & The Home Counties finalist in the Soul Survivors Magazine Awards for 2018
Established in 1998 is now in it’s 21st year SOUL SHACK is YOUR 3rd Saturday of EVERY MONTH Soul night out @ Britannia, 20 Monument Street, London, EC3R 8AJ, excellent bar prices! the best prices in the city. We attract a friendly over 35’s soul music loving crowd from all walks of life. For info & party bookings email firstname.lastname@example.org Resident Dj’s & founders are Solar Radio’s Ash Selector & Mi Soul’s James Anthony. Soul Shack was a weekly Saturday Soul Night Out for the 1st 3 years of its existence and at one stage there was 4 weekly Soul Shack’s across London on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday. Soul Shack also went on tour to Great Yarmouth. Now operating as a 3rd Saturday of every month event. Live performances at the Soul Shack have included todays new artists including…Sa-ha-ra, Shaila Prospere, Wez, Westcoast Soulstars, Everis, Princess Freesia, Muhammad Ayers (USA), Natasha Watts, Bashiyra, Soulutions to Soul Legends including Light of the World, Junior Giscombe, Rose Windross (Soul II Soul), Change, David Joseph, Ray Carless, Shabazz (USA),Onita Boone (Germany), Georgie B (Second Image/The Groove Association), Heather Haywood (The Cool Notes), Hi-Tension, Glen Goldsmith, DaPaul, Deborah Bell, SA-HA-RA, Soulpersona. An unmissable night out worth travelling for! We’ve seen visitors from USA, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Spain, New Zealand, Austalia, Sweden, right across the UK and more…To vote for Soul Shack go to https://www.thesoulsurvivorsmagazine.co.uk/vote/
Zero Radio Best soul Internet/ DAB Radio Station finalist in the Soul Survivors Magazine Awards for 2018
Established in 2008, Zero Radio was founded by two very passionate Zero6 DJs from back in the 70/80’s, Ian Reading and Merv Griffiths who felt it was about time some of the fun and vibe from back in the day was recreated for those who were looking for something more than mainstream radio or Uber specialist stations had to offer. The station set out to play a soulful mix of music reminiscent of the best clubbing days ever and since that day, the passion and enthusiasm continues to flow in the form of a radio station committed to bringing you the best alternative soulful music together with a great selection of NuJazz and Soul that is typically forgotten about on commercial radio of today. Combined with over 25 committed DJs presenting live shows, the station prides its self with quality output 24/7 with unparalleled uptime.
Since its inception ZeroRadio has been nominated for ‘Soul Survivors Best Radio Station’ and achieved “runner up” 3 years in a row against some of the most established stations. The team are very proud of this as it lists among the TOP Three soul based radio stations in the UK and the other two are broadcasting on DAB. This is a huge achievement for ZeroRADIO!
We also support some pretty impressive events throughout the year as well.
Zero Radio now broadcast via a bespoke app for both iPhones & Android and our website is built using the latest technology so you can reach us via your smart TVs as well! To vote for Zero go to https://www.thesoulsurvivorsmagazine.co.uk/vote/
Mi Soul Best soul Internet/ DAB Radio Station finalist in the Soul Survivors Magazine Awards for 2018
Mi-Soul is a Soulful Music platform, broadcasting across London, Brighton and Manchester on DAB, online and mobile phone apps from a fully equipped studio based in the Stephen Lawrence Trust building. A team of over 70 DJs, the most experienced, credible and passionate in the industry, present a wide range of ‘Soulful’ music live 24/7, to an audience in the 30 – 60 age range. Mi-Soul was founded by Gordon Mac and Martin Strivens, the leading lights behind the hugely successful Kiss FM brand. Gordon was both the first person to launch a pirate radio station which subsequently became legal and the youngest Managing Director of a radio station company at 29. Earlier this year, Mi-Soul launched 2 new online streams – Mi-House and Mi-Grooves. To vote for Mi Soul go to https://www.thesoulsurvivorsmagazine.co.uk/vote/
Music Without Labels Best Club Event London & The Home Counties finalist in the Soul Survivors Magazine Awards for 2018
When Dr Bob Jones tells you to start DJ’ing again after almost 10 years ‘out of the game’ you kind of have to listen. He has been one of many musical influencers since the 70’s and followed up his comment by booking me in 2013 at his 45 And Beyond gig. It was great being back behind the decks although I was nervous as my musical taste had moved very left of center but was surprised when my set was embraced. Following this, bookings started to come in together with guest slots of radio shows. One of these with Graham-Grumpy Brown on Stomp had an in-depth off-air conversation about the genre of music I was now into having hailed from Jazz back in the 70’s. My reply was instant and heartfelt, why give it a label, if you feel it, just play it. Music Without Labels was born with a simple thought. I create my own events so that i can play what I want, I don’t give it a label as I believe this devides us. To this end I never tell the DJ’s I book to play anything obvious, I ask them to push the dance floor, play left of center, make us want to discover new music. MWL are a team and we have been lucky to have had very succesful events bringing across DJ/Producers and musicians such as Gerardo Frisina, Josh Milan, Vick Lavender, Elbert Phillips, Ralf Gum and coming this November, Cristian Vinci. we have a strong following and for this we are blessed. To vote for MWL go to https://www.thesoulsurvivorsmagazine.co.uk/vote/
SOUL BY THE JETTY Best Club Event London & The Home Counties finalist in the Soul Survivors Magazine Awards for 2018
When we started Soul by the Jetty on Canvey Island (the home of the original Goldmine) in October 2009, we had no idea that we’d still be here and up for another award again 10-years later! We put the night on approximately every 2-3 months and now run by myself and Brian Kelly, the Jetty has always had a policy of playing new music and quality retro cuts and trying to avoid the obvious anthems where possible. It’s the edge to the music that has always attracted our loyal crowd as well as new friends and we are lucky enough to have people attending from all over the UK and further afield! We attract a mature crowd who want to dance and party like we used to back in the day at The Goldmine and similar clubs. We’ve also attracted some great guest DJ’s who understand the Jetty vibe and genuinely enjoy being able to express themselves with a broad cross-section of soul styles. (Next Jetty is 24th August with guest Paul Clark!) We are lucky enough to have won the Best Soul Club (Outside London) award twice and runner-up before that so to be included again in such illustrious company is both an honour and a privilege! Thanks again to all the Soul Survivors who have voted to get us this far and fingers crossed for a great night on 19th July!
Jonny Layton. To vote for Soul In The Jetty go to https://www.thesoulsurvivorsmagazine.co.uk/vote/
Summer Soulstice Soul Festival finalist in the Soul Survivors Magazine Awards for 2018
Summer Soulstice is a not-for-profit fundraising event, started in 2007 in memory of Andy Weekes, a friend and brother to the event’s organisers. This family friendly, one day festival of soul is held annually in Barnet, north London at the end of June and has grown in size and popularity over the years. It brings together soulful people of all ages from across the south east and all corners of the UK and beyond. We raise money for a local independent charity, Cherry Lodge Cancer Care, as well supporting other smaller local causes close to our heart. With a heavyweight line-up of some of the UK’s finest soul and house DJs plus an impressive list of live artist performances over the years, Summer Soulstice has become a firm favourite on the UK soul calendar. With the generosity and support of everyone who helps to organise, volunteer, sponsor and come along each year to support, in the sunshine and rain, the festival has so far raised and donated over £300,000 to Cherry Lodge to help them continue their good work for people suffering with cancer. Summer Soulstice 2019 takes place on Saturday 22nd June at Old Elizabethans Memorial Playing Fields, Barnet.
To vote for Summer Soulstice go to https://www.thesoulsurvivorsmagazine.co.uk/vote/
Luxury Soul Weekender Best Soul Weekender finalist in the Soul Survivors Magazine Awards for 2018
The Luxury Soul Weekender has been established since 2003 at the 4-star Grand Hotel from elite venue selection formerly known as the Hilton Blackpool. The Weekender prides itself on offering 5 rooms of soul including live artists that in the past has included Dennis Taylor, Roy Ayers, Bobby Womack, Jean Carn, Cool Million, Incognito, Billy Paul and Chapter 8 to name but a few. Over the 16 years the event has been running with seen acts come from America, Europe and Asia supporting our unique event on behalf of Richard Searling, Ralph Tee and Ian Tolley, we thank everybody for their continued support and look forward to seeing you at one of our fantastic events in the near future we would also like to add we are delighted to be nominated for this fantastic award see you on the dance floor. To vote for LSW go to https://www.thesoulsurvivorsmagazine.co.uk/vote/
Summer Breeze Best Soul Holiday finalist in the Soul Survivors Magazine Awards for 2018
Ian Charles has a long history with Corfu that stretches back to the mid-eighties, so when the idea of Summer Breeze Soul Week blossomed during a trip there in 2011 with ex-club owner and DJ Peter Little it seemed the obvious thing to do. Phone calls were made to contacts and friends with one call in 2013 leading to a meeting with James Anthony. A team was put together, some of that original team remain to this day, DJs and artists were booked and in June 2014 the first Summer Breeze Soul Week took place. It was an inauspicious start with 85 attending nearly everyone was either Staff, a DJ, an Artist or a Friend. In 2015 the numbers almost doubled, mostly by word of mouth. In the winter of 2015 Summer Breeze restructured in time for the 2016 event where the trend continued and almost 300 joined us in Corfu. By now Summer Breeze had a core of DJs at its heart, that set the musical values and standards for the event by finely balancing entertaining and playing to the crowd while also introducing new music and artists from across the soul spectrum. A few tweaks, a few additions, some guest DJs and a policy of inviting headline acts, flying in US artists and supporting UK Soul talent has seen numbers increase year on year. Summer Breeze 2019 sold out within 48 hours of going on sale and this was before the Artists or DJs had even been announced. After another successful event in Summer Breeze is now looking forward to taking everyone on another emotional roller coaster in 2020. They have a message in their music and people are listening.
To vote for Summer Breeze go to https://www.thesoulsurvivorsmagazine.co.uk/vote/
I started DJing at friends house parties when I was about 16 years old. Soul music was my favourite and still is. Then begun DJing at various pubs in the Old Kent Road from about 18 years old and begun some club residencies including Bon Bonnie in Herne Hill and Pantiles in Bagshot Surrey for over 8 years. I started presenting radio shows on various pirate stations in London including Kiss FM in the pirate days which was a big break for me. When Kiss became legal in 1990 I presented the early weekend breakfast show for over 4 years, as well as covering daytime slots. I now present breakfast on Solar Radio weekdays 8am – 10am. I’ve been doing Solar breakfast for over 8 year’s now. I’m still DJing at various clubs and soul holidays, as well as my own events. Soul Music is my therapy. It still gives me goosebumps. To vote for Dennis O’Brien go to https://www.thesoulsurvivorsmagazine.co.uk/vote/