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"A fresh light ale with a twist of ginger and a zip of spice"
on 14 December 2013
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of Manchester's Twisted Wheel club - which operated between 1963 and 1971 and is widely recognised one of the first clubs to play the music that became known as Northern Soul - the brewers Greene King have created a 4.0% ABV beer in its name. According to their florid description it is: "A fresh light ale with a twist of ginger and a zip of spice". But you would better off getting stuck into this very reasonably-priced collection of 2007. It is the first - and arguably the best - of four volumes in Sony BMG's top-notch compilation series The Northern Soul Story. (Other venues spotlighted are Blackpool's Mecca, Nottingham's The Golden Torch, and Wigan's Casino.) The club apparently had a strict up-tempo soul music policy - something that is clearly reflected in the many floor-filling thrillers included here such as: Major Lance's genre-defining 'It's the Beat'; Lee Dorsey's galloping 'Ride Your Pony', and The Bandwagon's exhilarating 'Breakin' Down The Walls of Heartache'. The presence of relatively minor songs by quite familiar faces - Little Richard, Al Green(e) and The Shirelles - in the 25-track running order also adds to the curiosity value here.
But not everything is quite as great as is projected in the hyperbolic liner notes of British DJ Ian Dewhirst. So, for instance, Oscar Toney Jr's 'No Sad Songs' is actually just quite good, rather than as described, "classic". Nonetheless, the quality of The Twisted Wheel is pretty high, something which is reflected in the decision to release an eye-wateringly costly vinyl version in 2010.