Top positive review
9 people found this helpful
on 2 September 2013
One of a series - five (?) to date - of comps about clubs oop t'North. Not my usual bill of fare, but this Wheel set has a particular resonance for me.
Already by the early 60's I was bored with pop music, too bland or sterile for my taste. I found refuge in American blues and r'n'b and old r'n'r, scarfing up as much as I could find or, pointedly, afford. Somehow, I came in contact with Roger Eagle, possibly thru his R'NB (sic) Scene mag. He invited me up to Manchester, to stay with him, in my own rented room. So some time in '64/'65 (?), I entrained for the rainy city. I imagined non-stop music and chat, with no regard as to how I was going to fund this imagined idyll. Roger was the house DJ at the Wheel, then in Brazennose Street, and I sure had fun raking thru records that were played there. I can only recall one visit to the Wheel, a gloomy basement, cant even recall muisc being played. I met St Louis Union, had The Paramounts (then backing Sandie Shaw on tour) spread around my bedroom for a night and I remember one night in particular when Jimmy Powell (of "Sugar Babe/Baby" fame) spent a while trying to make out on Roger's bed with a local lovely, while we, including the then current Five Dimensions, looked on, chatting the while. But reality soon caught up, I ran out of money, used my return ticket, back home to regular meals and baths. But this is about the music...
Generally, excellent stuff, that kind of slightly more sophisticated r&b, still with an edge, moving on to proto/early soul, before it became TOO sophisticated for my taste. All the tracks here would've blessed the deck on a regular basis at the Wheel, to the delight and enthusiasm of the patrons. I mean, Bobby Bland, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, Mitch Ryder, Benny Spellman, Ernie K Doe, Alvin Robinson (I'd've preferred "Something You Got"), Solomon Burke (a great personal fave), The Ad Libs ("Boy FROM NEw York City"!), Fats...what's not to like? But I can't get of with The Dells' "It's Not Unusual", their cover of the Tom Jones hit. I know most of the other artists by name and reputation, it was nice putting on the mid-60s mindset to lend an ear to those that were new to me. An eclectic mix in a fairly confined area, Roger's audience should be congratulated on their fine, supportive taste.
Great notes from compiler Joe Boy, backed up with loads of pix, label shots, release details and posters, a nice dedication on the last page to the late Roger Eagle. Yeah, I can live with this, can do no better than quote from the sticker on the shrink wrap: "During the mid-late 1960s, The Twisted Wheel, Manchester, reigned supreme as the North's centre of American black music...", a fair summation I would suggest.