From its opening in 1963 until its final emotive all-nighter, starring US soul legend Edwin Starr in January 1971, the Twisted Wheel played host to almost every major British R&B act & the very best that the USA had to offer. Steeped in black American music it is no surprise that it became the crucible of NORTHERN SOUL setting the template for all-night gatherings across the north of England. Pictured to the left of our cover – sporting his trademark turban – is Screaming Jay Hawkins arriving at London airport with his wife Ginny for his debut visit to the UK on 26th January, 1965. There to meet & greet Hawkins was resident Twisted Wheel DJ Roger Eagle, a huge fan of the charismatic performer. Hawkins’ million-selling, “I Put A Spell On You”, had been recorded almost a decade earlier and released on the iconic Chicago based OKeh Records, a label very much on Eagle’s radar for its slue of cult Blues & R&B artists.

Vinyl LP available in store and online.

The legendary Okeh Records needs little introduction to soul music fans around the world. It has been relentlessly plundered and treasured for its slue of Northern Soul classics produced by A&R manager Carl Davis and his songwriter Curtis Mayfield during the “soul years” 1963-70. However, the imprint was originally launched 100 years ago in 1918 by Otto K. E. Heinemann who had already established a recording studio and pressing plant in New York City. The label name was derived from Heinemann’s initials O.K.E.H. From the very early years, Okeh issued records for minority audiences, such as its foreign language music, field recordings and Dixieland jazz.

But perhaps the most significant recording was “That Thing Called Love” by Mamie Smith in 1920, the first ever by … More

Born OTD in 1944, English singer, songwriter and musician, Ray Davies. “It’s hardly a shock to learn that artists can be difficult, but over 40 years the Kinks have left a trail of wrecked hotel rooms, irate ex-wives and lovers and former bandmates driven to – and indeed over – the brink of a nervous breakdown. To pick one example from this biography of the band, on a US tour in 1987, the fractious Davies brothers set aside their usual differences in order to beat up the sound engineer. While peers such as Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney live like kings on the proceeds of long, mega-selling careers, the Kinks always managed to commit harakiri at the most commercially inopportune moment, despite having in Ray Davies a songwriter as good as any pop music has produced, as one listen to “Waterloo Sunset” will prove.”

The paperback edition of the bestselling biography. The Kinks are the quintessential British sixties band, revered for an incredible series … More

Combined here are the explosive talents of R&B & Soul music history featuring such legends as Joe Simon, Nina Simone, Bobby Adams, Grover Mitchell & Eddie Banks with his Five Dreamers. Back To The Beat bursts into action with a mighty fine slice of Tennessee soul courtesy of happy-go-lucky Herbert Hunter, a top-off that defines THE BEAT & is the first of two sides from Ted Jarrett’s Poncello imprint, the second being Ricky Rezell’s storming ‘What You Bet’. The pace is relentless, as the heavyweights of rhythm & soul power through the set that pairs Northern Soul favourites Dean Barlow & the Profiles alongside the ferocious Bertha Tillman, Big Boy Myles and Mary Johnson. Dale Cunningham closes proceedings with the rarest of the original 45s, the big-money ‘Too Young’. The Legend of Northern Soul Continues.

Vinyl LP available in store and online.

Outta Sight pay homage to the original R&B maverick, and British music industry innovator, Guy Stevens with 16 original tracks culled from the DJs ‘Scene Club’ playlist. When R&B fanatic Guy Stevens was given the Monday night dead spot at the tiny basement club in Ham Yard, R&B and the embryonic Mod scene, came of age. The former city insurance broker had acquired a formidable black American record collection and he was intent on spreading his R&B gospel to the ‘in’ crowd.

The Scene Club quickly established itself as the place to be seen and the place to see the coolest ‘faces’ … More