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Lifetime Achievement Awards for 2016

Greetings on this Mike Reid Triiifiiik Tuesday 4th Jan 2017.  It’s quite a Zushi ‘Surprise Surprise ‘ to have received thus far in less than a Keifer Sutherland ’24’ hours over 1000 votes come in yesterday which is a Notorious BIG ‘Unbelievable’ feat, and that at last count was around 10pm yesterday evening. ‘All That I Can Say’ like Mary J Blige is a Black Rob ‘Whoa’. As professed by the late Wayne Henderson and the soul surviving Roy Ayers ‘Thank You Thank You’  and ‘Keep It Coming’ like the Jones Girls. For those that maybe slightly let me clarify a couple of things. Via the website you can see who has been shortlisted via the peoples vote accumulated from the nominations throughout the month of December 2016. They are the results as the people voted so it’s unfortunate for those who didn’t get a high volume of nominations. Separately we felt it was important to acknowledge a few who have in one shape or form contributed massively to the industry over 4 decades. That’s a long time to have been active standing in the crease, defending the soul wicket and notching up, in some cases a half century.  So to those who have stood firm and swung the bat like Viv Richards, Gary Sobers or Geoff Boycott, and given us many 4’s and 6’s boundaries, we salute you so you are no longer just recognised in folk law or as an unsung hero. So lifetime achievements go to the following as we ‘Remember To Remember’ like Rick Holmes Colin Curtis is one of the pioneering Dj’s from the very early 1970’s Northern Soul Scene who has been relentless in championing practically every form of so called modern music. He is recognised around the UK for his persistence to educate his audience even if they didn’t get it till 5 or 10 years later. He is revered universally around the country and despite a sabbatical due to ill health at one point, he is still flying the flag as the boy from Stoke who supports my beloved Spurs COYS. 50 years not out!! Picture from Colin's Facebook page

Bob Jones another half centurion who has championed practically every form of black music known to man. He’s done all the major weekenders and back room venues, owned a record label, done remixes and has presented on many major radio platforms. Fondly known as Dr Bob Jones with his soul surgery, he is still on occasion clocking up air miles and coming out with many sought after exclusives.

The Real Thing without doubt are the longest still performing original UK black vocal soul band. Eddie Amoo was in the first successful black UK boy band The Chants in the early 1960’s as a 13 year old teenager, who mesmerised The Beatles performing accapella, at The Cavern in Liverpool circa 1962. He linked up with his brother Chris and eventually becomes part of The Real Thing who found an opportunity knocking on Hughie Green’s mid 1970’s then, X Factor or BGT reality TV show. They practically conquered the world with ‘You To Me Are Everything’ and again with ‘Can You Feel The Force’ in the disco late 1970’s Star Wars years. They practically sell out still to this day with 50-60 year old women still throwing their knickers at them, and Chris’s voice is still smooth yet gravely like the late Teddy P

Chris Hill is an anomaly of a dj entertainer who has been cloned many times by an endless list of DJ’s who has borrowed his style. An original Paulette Reaves ’Jazz Freak’ frequenting the Soho circuit in the 1960’s, he started djing and built up a phenomenal following at the Orsett Cocks in Essex playing soul music. Chris owned Ensign Records a subsidiary of Polydor where we worked and signed The BoomTown Rats, Light Of The World, Incognito and many other UK acts. Chris was resident at the legendary Lacy Lady’s The Goldmine and his  legacy is being an integral part of the world famous longest running soul weekender Caister. Multitasking Chris also produce Mascara giving platform to an in demand vocalist namely the late Luther Vandrossd as well as being a recording artist himself. He like to be known as the consigliere of the Funk Mafia and as stated earlier I see so many Dj’s today who have based their style of playing and linguistic patter drawn from Chris’s mammoth influence.

George Power did something significant at a time where racism was rife in the country and in particular north London in the early 1970’s. Without question, Mr Jazzifunk gave a platform for many of the young black teenagers who previously couldn’t get into the west end even with a passport to get down and boogie. It was his residency at Soho’s Crackers from 1976 to 1980 and his spell at Electric Ballroom Camden from 1982 that secured a hardcore following of dedicated jazz funk disco and boogie enthusiast. I was one of those who frequented  his events which had already seen many dance and dj legends cut their teeth at his events. George was a founder member of the original pirate Kiss FM but left long before they secured legal status. George also ran Nice & Ripe Records in the 1990’s before the explosion of UK Garage was even a major concept and has done many events under the Crackers banner including a radio station and monthly events. His legacy inspired people far and wide around the country and in particular Colin Curtis who was doing a s similar thing in the midlands and north east of the UK. So much so Colin invited George to spin at some of his venues including Cassanelli’s.

Dez Parkes is a renowned musicologist. From the late 1960’s to very early 1970’s he was in the west end dancing in clubs and djing as early as 1972 at the Whisky A Gogo later known as the WAG. Dez also educating many of the then unknown jazz funk outfits LOTW, Central Line with his musical knowledge and accruement. Dez has been headhunted to play at private parties for Prince and Chaka Khan and alongside Barry King, rocked the party in Miami's Winter Festival in 2006 at the D-Lano Hotel in Miami. Many have sought council from Dez re advice on within the industry and saw him as a taste maker for breaking new music. Dez multitasking as a dj also managed a dance group Unknown Kwantity who ended up dancing in Diana Ross’s first UK number one hit Chain Reaction. He was also a prolific and revered record seller known for supplying anyone from Gilles Peterson, Norman Jay, to Barrie Sharpe and Bobby & Steve with hard to obtain music. Not only did he give a platform for the two thirds of the Brand New Heavies (Andrew Levy and Simon Bartholomew) and Barrie K Sharpe to record on his TUF Records label circa 1987, before they eventually signed as separate acts with Acid Jazz, he also revolutionised the compilations with his highly acclaimed Rare series on RCA. Many speak highly of Dez who has been consulted by the BBC for documentaries as well as covering for Craig Charles on BBC Radio. He also guested on Kiss FM and had a long stint both on Solar, Starpoint and Colourful Radio hosting his Just Good Music Show. Dez unselfishly has introduced so many artists to collaborate with each other including Marc Mac 4hero to revitalise with Roy Ayers on a year 2000 version of ‘2000 Black’

Jean Carne is the first lady of PIR Records and my ’Mother Of The Future’ artist of the female fraternity. Her early days we spent recording spiritual jazz with her ex husband Doug Carn and also on EW&F’s first two albums on Warner Bros, and this cemented what was to come. She made 4 brilliant albums on Philadelphia International Records with Gamble & Huff before she did an album ‘Trust Me’ on Motown. In the 1980’s along side Tom Browne, Roy Ayers and Lonnie Liston Smith she toured with The  New York Jazz Explosion and still do this day, can shatter glasses with her varying octaves. Still touring around the world and frequently coming to the UK, I’ve got to form a good relationship with Jean, who shamelessly plugs the Soul Survivors Magazine at her events. She is well loved and a consummate professional, standing in literally less than a Eddie Murphy ’48 Hours’ at Southport Weekender Oct 2014, when two major acts cancelled and wowed  the Funkbase. Thats why you can ‘Bet Your Lucky Stars’ why she is getting a lifetime achievement award.

Robbie Vincent remains an essential listening tool that shaped the minds of may ‘if it moves funk it’ jazz funk die hards. An original radio broadcaster Robbie had a passion for soul music and hosted early shows on Radio 1 at a time when the music didn’t really have a concentrated platform. It was his Saturday morning afternoon shows on Radio London that would capture his long lasting fan base where Robbie played everything pretty much of any tempo from jazz funk to ballads. Robbie for a while managed Second Image and did some compilations as well as hosting his maverick style talk show on LBC. He was a big port of the Funk Mafia who saw the potential of his radio reaching audience. Robbie had guest on his show including the mix master the late Froggy and his monster mixes as well as the still relevant portage Jeff Young. Robbie up until recently was still very active hosting a weekly show on Jazz FM. After many years of trying to secure an interview after managing to get him upstairs at the Jazz Cafe to see Bobby Womack a few years back, in return Robbie who dent do them gave me a long overdue interview. He also hosted one of our Soul Survivors Awards because he’s good like that.

Greg Edwards brought sex sex factor to radio presenting in the early 1970’s with his cool and sophisticated rhymes and slang whilst he did his music thang. Greg’s story is an interesting one. He first came to the UK to from the USA run the CBS catalogue London who were launching the new Gamble & Huff PIR material. He had to combat racism in trying to get airplay on Radio 1 and eventually took over doing a soul show from Emperor Rosko on Radio1 before joint Capital Radio in 1974. With the advent of his bathroom call section and his enthusiastic delivery on the mic introducing a fantastic array of quality black jazz funk and soul music, Greg’s Soul Spectrum was essential listening on a Saturday nIght 6-9pm. Although he was part of the Funk Mafia Greg was doing his Best Disco In Town at the Lyceum Fridays and many residencies as well as hosting a TV show British Hustle. Greg is still in massive demand to date and has worked radio wise for Jazz FM revering his Soul Spectrum ethos and like Robbie has an ongoing respect from the die hard jazz funk and soul fraternity.

Trevor Shakes is the one dancer whose name always comes up when people speak about dancers and in particular dj dancers. Before I hit the west end in 1980 his name was folk law and I didn't meet him till 14 years later in 1994. Trevor cut his teeth as part of Dez Parkes crew dancing in the clubs upstairs at Ronnie Scotts and at Crackers in the early to mid 1970’s. Trevor hooked up with another dancer and fashion conscious individual, actor Leon Herbert and the two ended up travelling the world modelling, dancing, and Trevor often djing.  Trevor was instrumental with his bestie Leon in bringing new dance moves, music and fashion to London from their travels, and inspiring a generation of those hungry, and being of a similar aspiration, to want to become something other than an average ghetto superstars. Trevor as well as dancing djing and modelling also sang and appeared in videos working with 80’s artists Yazz and the late George Micheal. Many dancers who went on to succeed commercially cite Trevor Shakes as one of the, if not the dancer to watch including noted white dancers Barrie K Sharpe and Tommy Mac. Trevor probably like Carlsberg was the first relevant DJ Dancer, model and music producer who open doors for so many to follow and his legacy continues with his daughter Kele Le Roc showcasing her BGT skills for the past 20 years .

Blues & Soul is an institution that funnily many over they years likened The Soul Survivors Magazine to in it’s early days. The odd thing about that is that If I ever read 3 copies of Blues & Soul in my lifetime that’s as honest as I can be. Plus I never started out to replace it and didn’t really know how it’s mechanics worked, apart from what I’d heard of from others. It was unlike for many of you out there, not my bible, however it’s relevance is far reaching. Many people who are still relevant today cut their teeth on Blues & Soul like David Nathan, Merv Lyn, Stretch Taylor, and Bigger. Funnily I was featured in there once under a DJ profile via Mark Devlin back in 2002. Out of all the music publications I think it deserves an acknowledgement in the awards because it’s been going still albeit predominantly on line for over 40 years.

Simon Precilla, although he is more relevant presently as opposed to everyone else who has done at least 40 years, is an interesting anomaly. Simon is without doubt the most integral independent promoter of new music and acts in a soul scene, where many are still hanging onto the memory of yesteryears music. He has taken a gamble and it’s paid off in bringing over artists like Kindred, Teedra Moses, Conya Doss to Melba Moore, whose music would be seen as specialist. Yet he fills out venues and gets repeat business at the Jazz Cafe, KOKO London and Band On The Wall in Manchester. To be able to bring that music of quality to an audience who appreciates it and some who are new to it, in huge numbers is no mean feat. I admire that because it brings a different element to what is sometimes a repetitive scene, so Fresh like Kool & The Gang I welcome that with open arms.


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