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Luxury Soul Weekender at Hilton Hotel, Blackpool

Fitzroy (Soul Survivor)
Fitzroy (Soul Survivor)

8th - 10th January 2016, Hilton Hotel, Blackpool There are usually only two reasons to rush out and thrust yourself into the bitter cold winter weather this time of year. Huge applause to Richard Sealing, Ralph Tee and the undercover brutha’s who make the weekender work.  So in brief here’s my John Craven News Round highlights of another enjoyable weekend. Vivy B’s 10-11pm Friday night Lounge slot was well received especially when she threw Leon Timba’s “You’re My Darling” into her mix, so well done that girl. Loved the Saturday afternoon Noleen & Crossley “Salsa Boogie” Strictly Come Modern Romance “Everybody Salsa” Dancing session with Clinton Cambridge and Hughie with such energy!! Straight after 2-6pm from the Lorraine Chase manor of Lute (Luton) Airport, Perry Louie took an “Endless Flight” for an hour as a special guest for the Freestyle crew at the infamous 4-hour jazz session. Many including myself were cutting shapes to yesteryear classics like Yellow Jackets “The Hornet” and Judy Roberts “The Other World”. Perry had me shiftless shuffling to Ramsey Lewis’s “Slick” like I was back at the Lyceum Alldayers circa 1981. Later the well-dressed to impress night owls came out in full force with excitement to see Kashif live on stage. Kashif went through some of his vast catalogues. He opened with “Gotta Have You”, “Stoned Love” and the Slave tinged “Help Yourself To My Love”. Tracy Hamlin and Hazel took turns in lead vocals with “I’m In Love” and “Love Come Down”.

Loved Tracy Hamlin’s powerful glass-shattering and make a grown man cry rendition of Whitney’s love ballad “You Give Good Love”. Kashif encouraged a Soul Train dance on stage to his former BT Express’s group “Do It Till Your Satisfied” and covered his own-penned Howard Johnson classic “So Fine”. Thanks to those who had kind words to say about my four sets, in particular, the Thelma Houston “Saturday Night Sunday Morning” 3 -4.30am set. For me the most inspirational set of the weekend was from my west London Zhane “Hey Mr DJ” Norman Halley. His first 45 minutes following me straight after 4.30-6am was an uplifting up-tempo boogie fest full of Maysa’s “The Bottle “, Sunlightsquare’s “All Around The World” Ron Hall’s Philly mixed “The Way You Love Me” and Teddy P’s sublime “Badluck”. On the Chaka “Any Old Sunday” session Bigger certainly had that Lounge room “Groovin” on a Janet Lawson “Sunday Afternoon”, with his trademark familiar and a few surprises set. Later in the evening session, Ralph Tee dropped a mixture of musical bombs including Sara Devine's “Take Me Home” Big Bubba's “I Like Your Style” and an edit of Jean Carne’s “Lucky Stars” which made me and Jon Jules rush the decks. Nice to see fellow soul survivors from the corners and crevices of the UK come together and celebrate life in the dance lane. “Good Times” like Chic.

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