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The Blue Note Club Manchester

Many clubs in Manchester played a Soul based play-list in the 1960’s.

It was not just the Twisted Wheel, although that club had the largest following. The Manchester Soul Mods went to many clubs in and around Manchester.

Phonograph membership card

There were many clubs: The Catacombs and the Caroline lounge AKA The Bonyard were great out of town places. In central Manchester the Jungfrau, The Oasis and The Jigsaw, especially the Jigsaw played tons of Soul music. Rowntrees, Stakis, and Sounds were very popular on Sundays and also held weekday lunch time dance sessions. And who remembers the Phonograph? A hang out of George Best and his mate Francis Lee (ManCity).


However the best by far was The Blue Note.

Millie Small (“My Boy Lollipop”) with Roger Eagle 1964. Photo (c) Brian Smith

The first DJay at the Blue Note was Roger Eagle, followed for a short period by Lez Lee then the owner John Vogel tried his hand. Soon John handed the decks over to (me) Dave Phillips due my girlfriend at that time and to the record collection I had amassed over the years, much of it following the 45’s that Roger Eagle had made popular previously at the Wheel. sky-navy-stax-records-t-shirts_design And his six months time at the Blue Note which was predominated by the Stax sound; mainly due to the fact that he had contacted the boss at Stax by letter, Jim Stewart, who then posted Roger bundles of new releases.

The Blue Note became the location for continuance of the theme that Roger had evangelised: mainly Black American Music.  So following in those footsteps Dave played R&B, Blues and many obscure tracks and of course lots of Stax, and Motown and generally any great Soul from multiple labels including lots of imports. It was Roger who informed Dave, years previously about postal auction lists of deleted 45’s in both the UK and the USA.

The Blue Note playlist therefore included lots of records that you wouldn’t hear at the Wheel as it was mostly focussed upon dance tracks especially at the Saturday night All-nighters. Of course so too was the Blue Note playing a lot of dance tracks and better than the ‘Wheel’ the early first year not only had a real wooden dance floor but also a licensed bar!

As the first and longest serving DJay at the Blue Note I was able to include lots of slower 45’s, rare tracks that I had imported and ones I had bought from a shop in Collyhurst that was my secret location for UK deleted singles (Bowkers Records).

On this page I will place some of the recordings that featured at the Blue Note and often although I won’t put them here, many were first played at this club, only later to be picked up and brought to wider fame at the Wheel, which was just down the street from the Blue Note.

My pal and also part time DJay at the Blue Note Bob has covered the club in his own excellent website. Its about time that the Blue Note got its fair share in the history that made up what we now know of as the Northern Soul sound.

Dave + Dave Blue Note DJays

I cant leave this page without giving a mention to my great pal and co – DJay at the Blue Note:  Dave Lomas – Rubber Legs – DL in my book about those times: The MANCHESTER WHEELERS. Now passed on, he was a fantastic dancer and an eclectic and knowledgeable Soul music record collector. We were also apprentices together at AVRO in Chadderton.

Blue Note website>

Clasic -Northern-Soul-Disc

Some featured music played at the Blue Note:

Booker T And The MG’s “My Sweet Potato

Earthquake” Bobby LynnThe Flamingos - The Boogaloo PartyThe Esquires - Get On UpThe Flamingos - The Boogaloo Party

The Boogaloo Party” The Flamingos

James Ray “If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody

Determination” The Contours

Major Lance “The Monkey Time

The ‘IN’Crowd” Dobie Gray

ONE-SOUL-SINGERThis LP was done to death at the Blue Note with Toe Hold and “Blues In The Night” being the most popular tracks to dance too.

Freddie Scott  “Are You Lonely For Me” (The last train to Jacksonville).


 “Image” Hank Levine Orchestra also a great version by Alan Havern  a local Manchester organist.

Soulful Strings: “Burning Spear

Within You Without You

Dorthy Ashby “Afro-harping

What A Man” Linda Lyndell

 Chuck Jackson: “Any Day Now

I Keep Forgettin‘”

Ben E King - Cry No More

Ben E King: “Cry No More

Tears Tears Tears

Betty Harris & Lee Dorsey “Ride Your Pony

Joe Tex “C. C. Rider

Sugar Sugar” The Mad Lads

The Impressions “Choice Of Colors

Junior Walker And The All Stars: “Hip City

Booker T And The MG’s “Hip Hug Her

William Bell: “Marching Off To War


Eloise (Hang On In There)

“When You Move You Lose” Rufus & Carla Thomas

The Soul Children “The Sweeter He Is

Theola Kilgore “The Sound Of My Man

Love Time” The Kelly Brothers

I’m On My Way” Dean Parrish

Lorraine Ellison “Stay With Me Baby”

And the list goes on, on. and on…

The Train”  Ray Charles

Albert King:

“Born Under A Bad Sign”

“Laundromat Blues”

“I Love Lucy”

But sam and dave etc…

“One  Mint Julip”   Booker T And The M.G’s.

The Sharpees  “Tired Of Being Lonely”

Chubby Checker “Why Because I Love You”

“Love Makes a Woman” Barbara Acklin

“Still Water” The Four Tops

“The Soul Of A Man” “Recovery” Fontella Bass

“All For You”

Garnet Mimms “Looking For You”

Bobby Bland: “Good Time Charly


“I Pity The Fool”

Minnie Epperson – Grab Your Clothes

Al Kent “You’ve Got To Pay The Price”

Chris Clark “From Head To Toe”

Ray Pollard “The Drifter”

Gloria Jones “Tainted Love”

Brenda Holloway “When I’m Gone”

Homer Banks “A Lot Of Love”

Etta James & Sugar Pie DeSanto “Do I Make Myself Clear”

“You Left The Water Running” Maurice & Mac

Aint No Big Thing

Betty everett “Getting Mighty Crowded”

Jackie Ross “Take Me For A Little While”

The Isley Brothers: “Tell Me Its Just A Rumor”

“Your Love Is My Love” (LP Track)

“Funkey Donkey “Bernard “Pretty” Purdy

Slim Harpo “Scratch My Back”

“She’s Looking Good” Roger Collins

Chris Bartley “The Sweetest Thing This Side Of Heaven”

“Grab This Thing” The Mar-Keyes

“Honey Pot”

“Philly Dog”

“Get Down And get With It” Little Richard

“Every-bodies Going To A Love In” Bob Brady And the Concords

“Going To A Happening”

“Express-way To Your Heart” The Soul Survivors

Ray Charles: “Georgia On My Mind”

Night Time Is The Right Time

The Train

I Dont Need No Doctor

“Paying The Cost To Be The Boss” B.B. King

“Shotgun And The Duck” Jackie Lee

Otis Reading “Mr Pitiful”

“Thats How Strong My Love Is”


“Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)”

“Don’t Mess With Cupid”

“Let Me Come On Home”

“Hawg For You”

“I Can’t Wait to See My Baby’s Face Baby Washington

“That’s How Heartaches Are Made” Baby Washington

 Maxine Brown “Since I Found You”

Little Johnie Taylor Zig Zag Lightening

Marvin Gaye “Night Life”

Mabel John “Able Mable”

George Perkins And The Silver Stars “Cryin In The Street”

Aretha Franklin “Chain Of Fools”

“Funkey Street” Arthur Conley

Eddie Holland “Just Ain’t Enough Love”

“Summertime” Billy Stewart

Don Thomas “Come On Train”

“Ooh Baby” The Five Staisteps

Leon Haywood “Baby, Reconsider”

P.P. Arnold “Everythings Gonna Be Allright”

Don Gardner And dee dee Ford “I Need Your Loving”

Jimmy Reed “Aint That Loving You baby

Alvin Robinson “Searchin”

“Down Home Girl”

Gree gree LP Dr John

Dr John

Stasborou Blues

“Maybe” The Shantells

I Don’t Wanna Fuss” Sugar Pie Desanto

KoKo Taylor


“Wang Dang Doodle”

Deon Jackson “Oh Baby”

“At The Top Of The Stairs” The Formations

The Sharpees

Carl Calton

The Duettes “Every Beat Of My heart”

“Am I The Same Girl” Barbara Acklin

Betty Wright “Girls Can’t Do What The Guys Do”

Tommy Hunt “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself”

“Brand New Me”  Jerry Butler

James Carr “Thats What I Want To Know”

“Make Me Your’s Betty Swann

“A House Is Not a Home” Mavis Staples

“Go Now”  Bessie Banks

Bessie Banks - Go NowBessie Banks - Go Now“Try My Loving On You” The Clovers

What Will Later On Be Like” Jeanne And The Darlings

Soul Girl

“I Got What It Takes” Brooks And Jerry

Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels “Little Latin Lupe Lu”

The Dells “Run For Cover”

“Stay In My Corner”

“Don’t Hang Up” The Orlons

Nina Simone “Feeling Good” Don’t Let Me Be misunderstood”

“Lay This Burden Down” Mary Love

The Monitors

Erma Franklin “Piece Of My Heart

“Whispers (Gettin’ Louder) Erma Franklin (orog. Jackie Wilson)

Dusty Springfield

“Tower Of Strength”

“I Do Love You” Billy Stewart

Irma Thomas “Good To Me”

Big Maybell…. ?

Dee Dee Warwick: “When Love Slips Away”

“Were Doin’ Fine”

“Turn Back The Hands Of Time” Vernon Garret

“Dear Lover” Mary Wells

“No Pity (In The Naked City) Jackie Wilson

“Nothing Can Stop Me” Gene Chandler

Jamo Thomas I Spy For The FBI

Edwin Starr “I Have Faith In You”

“Back Street”

James Brown

S O S (Heart In Distress) Christine Cooper

Chris Montez “Lets Dance”

“Who’s That Guy” The Kolettes

“I Need You” The Impressions

“Love Sickness” Sir Mack Rice

“But Its Alright” J. J. Jackson

Shirley Ellis “Sugar Lets Shing-A-Ling

Madeline Bell “Picture Me Gone”

Billy Preston “In The Midnight Hour”

“Billy’s Bag”

“West Coast” Ketty Lester

“Shake” & “Its Got The Whole World Shaking” Sam Cook

Dixie Cups “What Kind Of Fool”

The Drifters “At The Club”

“Sing Sing Sing”

“Up In The Streets Of Harlem”

The Clovers “Try Your Lovin’ On Me”

The Sand Pebbles “Love Power”

“Shimmy Shimmy Walk” The Megatons

Ike And Tina Turner “Beauty Is Skin Deep”

“The Walk” Jimmy McCracklin

Johnnie Taylor Testify (I Wanna) (Parliaments Orig.)

Lion Haywood “Mellow Moonlight”

Mosses And Joshua Dillard “Get Out Of My Heart”

“I Followed You To”

Al ‘TNT’ Braggs “Earthquake”

Sho Nuff- But its Allright J J Jackson

Willie Mitchell “Secret Home”

Willie Parker “You Got Your Finger In My Eye”

Rusel Bird “Hitchike”

Jerry O Karate Boogaloo”

“Ordinary Joe” Terry callier

Mel Torme “The Power Of Love”

The Emotions “So I Can Love You + B side ????

“Aint No Sun” The Dynamics (Orig Temptations)

Eddie And Earny “Time Waits For No One”

The Horse

Hughh Masekela Grazing In The Grass

Private Number William Bell And Judy Clay

Sergio Mendez And brasil 66

“Fool On The Hill”

“Mas Kinada”

“This Guys In Love With You” Herb Alpert

“La La La La La Means I Love You” The delfonics

“Ready Or Not Here I Come”

Sweet Inspirations “What The World Needs Now”

“Mama Poppa Rompa Stompa” Sir ‘Paul’ Raggedy Flagg

Otis Leavill “Love Uprising”

“I Love You”

Billy Butler “I’ll Bet You”

Jerry Butler “Only The Striong Survive”

“Tell It Like It Is” Aaron Neville

“The Jerk” The Larks

Mad Lads “Get Out My Life Woman”

Clarence Carter

Archie Bell And The Drells

The Orlons: Crossfire Heartbreak Hotel

“It Keeps Raining”

“Have Fun” ……

“Use Your Head” Little Anthony And The Imperials

Eddie Holman “I Surrender” “This Can’t Be true”

Just Say Goodbye” Esther Phillips

“Magic Potion” Lou Johnson


A Time To love A Time To Cry”

The Ikkettes

Pigmeat Markham “Hear Come The Judge

“Slippin’ Around”

Dee Dee Sharp “Standing In The Need Of Love

The Ronnetes

The shangrilas

Friends Of Distinction “Grazing In The Grass”

“Cowboys To Girls”

“Storybook Children” Billy Vera And Judy Clay

On Broadway” Jimmy Scott
















Whiteworth-Street-Wheel       Whiteworth St.

The place that originated Northern Soul!

Roger-Eagle-@ The Wheel

You can take a Soul Mod out of the ‘Wheel’ but you can’t take the ‘Wheel’ out of an old Manchester Soul Mod.

Affectionately called theWheel‘ it was the only original Soul Club still operating in Manchester at its original location. However this has been curtailed in 2014 by a vote by city councillors to demolish it and replace it with a German Hotel. What drives these types to destroy the cities music heritage I wonder; Hhhhmmmm?  And they have previous on such matters as they voted to have a hotel built over and inside the shell  innards they knocked down of the FREE TRADE HALL. This was a historic public building partly financed by public contributions a venue that in the recent past held one of the early Sex Pistols performances and in the 1960’s; that concert (the Judas concert) that saw Bob Dylan emerging as an electric band backed folk singer.

DJ Pete Roberts and operator of the current manifestation of the Club in its original setting in the city said “that the city council where allowing it to be demolished to make way for a new hotel’. Its the only remaining icon of Blues and Soul venues from the 1960’s and must be worth saving for future generations… maybe a music museum?”  But to no avail:  See the last time at the wheel> Long After Tonight.

There were in fact two Twisted Wheel locations:

wheeldoor-Brazzenose - StThe first Twisted Wheel was in the old premises of a late 50’s beatnik coffee house that had a large cellar beneath. It was called the Left Wing Club; lots of goatee bearded blokes with duffel coats and with  Jazz playing on a record player. The location was on an alley corner in Brazennose Street off Manchester’s Albert Square, where the City’s Town Hall stands.

Two brothers Jack & Ivor Abadi took over the premises in late 1962 and opened up the underground cellar in 63′. They put in some cartwheels and bicycle wheels into the walls with back lights and a wheel mesh covering the DJ area. They put in two stages and opened it as a club for teenagers; mostly because they had no alcoholic drinks license. It opened for business with a local group called the Karl Denver Trio headlining on Saturday 27th of January 1963.  A full listing of all live performances at the Twisted Wheel can be found on the Manchester Soul Website: Twisted Wheel Performances 1963 – 1971.

Jimmy-Smith-EPEven though they kept several of the jazz records to play, soon the ‘Wheel’ was attracting lots of teenagers and young adults and many were gravitating to the new youth movement in England – The MODS. The old records left around were mostly Jimmy Smith LP’s and several of these tracks became very popular: e.g. “The Cat” & “Walk On The Wild Side”.  The club soon became THE MOD club in the city and its clientèle followed the unwritten rules of Mod culture with rapidly changing styles and certain ‘IN’ crowd signals only known to ‘members’ within this stylish sub-culture.

mods - Hair
Book Cover: Mods The New Religion – reviewed in Books

The way you back combed your hair, the way you buttoned your jacket, the shoes you wore, etc it was an endless stream of such things in late 63′ & 64′. By 65′ it had fizzled out in London: its birthplace (mostly at the Scene Club in Ham Yard). However, in Manchester it evolved into MODS who kept the smart suited style and adopted Soul music and some other related musical influences: evolving into SOUL MODS.

The ‘Wheel’ went through several distinct periods and styles: first pop, reflecting the U.K. pop music, the Beatles, were huge. The local groups: The Hollies, Herman’s Hermits, Wayne Fontana and others appeared as live acts. The music was often songs from the USA, early Soul, R&B and Blues. There was a Blues boom in England in 1964 and Alexis Korner became the Clubs resident band. Others appearing were the Spencer Davis Group, Zoot Money and Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames. The music played by the clubs DJ’s was Blues, Soul, R&B, Surf, Some Jazz (Jimmy Smith).

Roger-Eagle-65Roger Eagle the clubs music mentor arrived in late 63 and by 64′ he was encouraging State-side Blues artists to appear live at the club.

Sonny - Boy - Williamson - Help - MeSonny Boy Williamson appeared at Christmas (Boxing Day) in 1963. His recoding “Help Me” was a huge hit at that time, enthusiastically promoted by Roger who had the great harmonica man staying at his flat. The entire strange story about Sonny Boy in Manchester is told in the book about Roger: Sit Down! Listen To This!sit-down-cover

All the English groups including the Beatles and of course the Rolling Stones were doing versions of State-side material; r&b, Blues and Soul: Georgie Fame had a complete repertoire of songs from Soul artists, Jamaican Ska, and Jazz, they still sound as great versions with their own unique quality. Here is a website about Roger by his pal: ‘Paddy’ Colman.

souldirections_header1 SOUL-DIRECTIONS is a website concerned with the music of those times:  All about Soul – Classic sixties Soul, Northern Soul, Manchester Soul Mods, oddities, curiosities and more.

Original Vinyl SOUL records: 45’s that’s what they were called because the record player spun them around 45 times a minute.

A Book about The Twisted Wheel:



The insider story of the Manchester Soul Mods, their music, and their drugs and their clubs: The Twisted Wheel. A tale about a Soul music deejay that lost his girl and almost lost his mind. The story of the Manchester Wheelers is not about a bicycling club, its all about American Soul music in a Northern English town in the sixties; a gritty Northern Quadrophenia that charts the Genesis of what has now become the phenomenon of ‘Northern Soul’.  And it all began in MANCHESTER.


“A group joined behind us from Blackpool; they too were singing, all of them singing, and really soulfully: ‘People Get Ready,. for the train to Jordan.’ They were clicking fingers, chewing gum, (we called it ‘Spoggy’) twirling around, just dancing and blocked up in the queue, singing that great Impressions’ song. As we got closer we could hear the thumping sound from below, inside the club. ‘Neighbour, neighbour Don’t worry how I treat my wife’ sung by Jimmy Hughes. Then ‘Determination’ by the Contours. Louder, louder and LOUDER as we got nearer. Looking at the Fire Station across the street, someone was shouting ‘Fire, Fire’, like ‘Liar, Liar, Town crier’ putting their own lyrics to the Castaways’ tune.
With excitement mounting we reached the door. The Adabi Brothers, the owners of the Wheel were both at the door, looking at our round Wheel membership cards and taking our twenty five shilling pre-paid tickets; we often came down mid-week to get them. We passed the door anticipating going down the steps, down into the Wheel. We had one hand holding the other elbow moving our arms from side to side, the thumb in our mouths, playing a dummy Saxophone, imitating Junior Walker. Daft we were. Blocked we were. Pill Heads we were, exactly as Roger Eagle the original Wheel DJ described us.
Ivor on the door rolled his eyes at us impatiently as we constantly and agitatedly moved from leg to leg sideways, swinging our shoulders dancing on the spot, waiting for his new-style ticket scrutiny. Anyway, these were real tickets not like the fakes we had used for the Drifters several months or so ago. It was our mate Roland who did the printing of the fakes. He did it to get some extra funds, but did some free extras for us too. Everyone helped each other out, we were all the best of pals. Manchester Soul Mods stuck together.”          Music from The Manchester Wheelers

The ONE & ONLY Book about the ORIGINAL SOUL MODS at the Twisted Wheel telling the inside stories is – The Manchester Wheelers; however another great book about the Wheel: 

CENtral-1179Another book about the ‘Wheel’ is CENtral 1179 (the club’s telephone number) by Keith Rylatt, Phil Scott.

And that’s Screaming Jay Hawkins on the cover, who Roger Eagle miraculously got to appear at the club in 1965.


More about that old Manchester Mod scene, The Twisted Wheel and the music of the period @ MANCHESTER SOUL.

The ‘UNOFFICIAL’ Twisted Wheel website run by real FANS: Still going after all these years. Thanks to John & Pete: Keeping The Faith and Re-inventing: The ‘WHEEL’! Link here to see  what’s happening.

Cycling Mods: lots of Mods in the sixties were into racing cycling, some of this is covered in the book The Manchester Wheelers as a pun on that name. Cycling tops were a Mod fashion accessory in the Mods wardrobe.



Did you know that Bradley Wiggins the 2012 Tour de France winner is a Soul music loving Mod? Yes he is; and you can find out more at: WIGO The ACE FACE.




MODS a British youth cult phenomenon that started in the early sixties in London and is still going today.

Manchester SOUL MODS 1967, Torquay: – Acker – Dee – Dave – Judith – Pat, : Acker’s MG

The Mod movement had no leaders.

It was all about style not fashion

It was elitist.

It was focused on music – mostly Soul music

The MOD movement started in London, and spread to the regions of the U.K. In Manchester in the 1960’s it became a big thing focused mainly at the Twisted Wheel Club.

These pages are all about the Manchester Mods who adopted Soul music like a fervent religionist revival and preached it to all!


Arrogant: That’s MOD!

No one actually claimed to be a Mod if they really were one – it would have been unacceptable. You had no need to claim what was self-evident to the ones that could determine such status. Usually those that said they were, were not. Those that knew did not need to say so. The whole Mod movement was internally understated and vigorously self-expressive, and yet invisible in full view, to the outside world, if they could tell. We blended in as smartly dressed kids to most folks, but of course a real Mod could spot another in an instant.
Mods could be identified by the way they walked, their immaculate grooming, the back-combing of blokes hair, the way they put their hands in their pockets with their suit sides uniquely folded. There were lots and lots of subtle signals. No one was the leader. The Mod movement was self-generating and given purpose from within. Mods had ideals. Clothes were the thing, and the look of certain things provided style. It all added up to be more than superficial – it was far more than an outside-influenced fashion scene. In fact, for a time, fashion followed Mods. In general Mods liked Soul and certain pop groups like the Stones, The Who, The Small Faces, and The Yardbirds. For Manchester Soul Mods it was R&B, Motown, Soul music and dancing that were absolutely paramount, with scooters the next in line. Having a smart Mod girlfriend also helped. The whole movement needed no outside endorsements. It was self-expressive. Mods cared little for what anyone else thought about them, except for other Mods that is and within this scene there was arrogance and often sniggering at lesser Mod neophytes.
The ‘ins’ and the ‘outs’ changed rapidly. It was very intense, yet subtle, and as a result it meant you had to be totally committed to be a Mod; especially in the early days of 1964. You had to be constantly planning to go to parties, but never organise one. Being evangelical about black music was a badge of office. Being a Mod could never be faked. Fashions and styles changed at a meteoric pace; fashions and styles were either out or in. You might be ‘out’ and think you were ‘in’, when most of the ‘in crowd’ deemed you to be ‘out’! But if you had ever been ‘in’ you could catch up, if you’d never been ‘in’, you were probably always ‘out’ and classed a ‘divvies’.
Mods lived breathed and slept Mod. Soul Mods collected rare Black American R&B, Soul and Blues 45’s
Work was tolerated; a way to get money to provide the means to be ‘in’ and to keep ‘in’.
You worked for the weekend.
The weekend was the All-nighter.
The All-nighter was at the Wheel.
This book charts the period in Manchester of the Soul Mods. It contains real stories and anecdotes of the period. Outlining an underground scene that was ultimately responsible for the following movement known as Northern Soul. If you want to know how it all began, and learn about the Genesis of Northern Soul: read this book.

Mods – Soul Mods

Mods a 1960’s underground youth movement

Mods began in London, without doubt they were cool guy’s & dolls; they had the Scene Club and Ready Steady Go. London Mods favoured Vespa scooters whilst Manchester Mods favoured Lambretta’s. Manchester Mod girls and guys were just as smart & cool as the Londoners, but Manchester kept the Mod scene going longer, these Mods focused more on Soul Music and cultivated their arrogance in all things Mod:
The Manchester Mods:
Some blokes don’t wear Fishtail Parkas. The ones that do know they’re further up the Mod hierarchy than those that have straight end Parkas – and it can be assumed that those that wear such lesser Parkas look down upon others that as yet have no Parkas at all.

‘Roachie’ a Manchester Soul Mod:

“By early 65′ the mod culture in London and the south was being diluted as everybody became the same and the mods started drifting apart as they felt that being a mod was no longer different. They felt that they could now buy their clothes at high street shops, they also felt that British music had matured enough to be listened to. I read somewhere that many mainstream groups like the Who, Beatles, Stones and others had progressed but we felt the opposite. The Stones who were great in the beginning were now turning out Tops of the Pops blandness, even the Beatles went through a bland period. The only group that really progressed through the mid-sixties were the Beach Boys culminating in Pet Sounds in 1966. The Stones starting turning out great music like Sympathy for the Devil in the late sixties, by 1969 Cream had already broken up. Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin were only just starting and the Who were yet to enjoy their greatest success.

In Manchester and the north this dilution was not as complete, we felt that British music had lost it,s way and so kept playing our American soul and wearing our suits, in another article I read it stated that many mods were joining the hippie movement but I strongly dispute this. The mod and the hippie movement were at total different ends of the scale, their cultures were totally different, their clothes their music. Mods were stylists their clothes were the most important thing to them, hippies were untidy scruffy even. Soul music was exciting, polished it was produced well and most important you could dance to it the, west coast American hippie stuff we felt was boring.

The Soul Mod culture continued until late 1967 when most of us hit twenty, however out of it “Northern Soul” was born.

In the mid 1980’s I went to a 60’s fancy dress party at a rugby club in Yorkshire. It was amazing how many people thought I hadn’t bothered to get into the spirit of things. They were all in Hippy costumes etc and I was wearing a shiny tight fitting mohair suit with military style tie and silk handkerchief overflowing the top pocket. I’m a MOD I informed them, which only resulted in puzzled frowns. Mod was always a fairly obscure underground movement; it was ‘in the face’ of society but all of us were to some extent invisible because to outsiders we conformed, wearing a suit. But Mod suits and everything mod had a certain style that those that knew the signals were the Mod ‘In’ crowd. A few riots brought some notoriety for a time in 64. However now in the twenty first century MOD is back and part of the sixties retrospective and some sub-culture young kids are becoming Mod again all over the world!”

The Manchester SOUL MODS:

Manchester Mod: yet another Dave!
Dave on a bench: Kings Road London 1966
Manchester Mods were probably unique, yes, they followed the London trends, often a little later, being provincial, but a growing core of them idolised Soul Music, alongside being fans of the UK Mod groups. Every Friday night Ready Steady Go would have Black American Soul artists, or play Soul records, it was a TV show that few Mods would miss. RSG often had the Beatles and the Who and The Stones on the show. The trouble with the Rolling Stones as far as the ‘Wheelers’ the Manchester Soul Mods were concerned was that the Stones copied the original artists, and the originals were always the greatest (Dobbie Gray). Original recordings were to become the ONLY versions acceptable in the North. This started the rare record scene off.  At the Brazzennose Street Twisted Wheel, Roger Eagle powered up the turntables with loads of original rare Soul music.
Also the Beatles turned off Mods because they copied so much Tamla Motown; only later did a real appreciation of the Beatles and the Stones emerge when the chauvinism had dissipated somewhat! The Small Faces and The Who were appreciated as at least they were doing their own original material. Liverpool was the place, the port for incoming sailors with lots of RnB and Blues records, these soon found their way to Manchester.
The USA Air Force base at Burtonwood, Warrington, brought lots of Black GI’s and their record collections to the area. Mods and Rockers, were fighting each other at holiday resorts (This was about the time of the Mod riots in Clacton, covered in the press, and in the film Quadraphenia.) Manchester not to be outdone; had its own small riots, they started outside the Twisted Wheel to the annoyance of the owners (The Adabi Brothers) so were moved along up the street into Albert Square, or to outside the Oasis or the Jungfrau Clubs, just for excitement. The police dealt with them by sending mounted police down the streets chasing Mods all over the city. I remember one night after leaving the ‘old Wheel’ in Brazzenose Street; we began to be harassed for no apparent reason by the police, they kept moving us  around, on and on. Eventually lots of other ‘Mod’ types outpouring from other clubs, the Oasis and the Jungfrau clubs were shepherded together with us. Then everyone broke out into a run, a riot racing down the centre of the streets stopping traffic up Market Street into Piccadilly. I raced along round a major store, windows all lite up with female mannequins inside. Behind me a friend called Denis crashed straight through the window. “It was a good job the police were following us he remarked!” some months later after being discharged from hospital, having nearly died from glass inflicted wounds when he shot strait into the window, lacerating his neck. The police halted chasing us and saved his life! And our criminality record.
In the Summer our rioting continued in Blackpool but it never got reported like those in the South.
Are you a Mod?
No one admitted to being a Mod, that would have been unacceptable. Usually those that said they where, were not. Those that knew did not say.Mods lived breathed and slept Mod.Work was tolerated – a way to get money – to be in, to buy records.You worked for the weekend.The weekend was the  Saturday All nighter.An Amphetemized weekend:
Pills featured in our weekend lives: Black and Greens, no not a chain of gentleman’s outfitters, but Amphetemine or Drinamyl capsules (Purple Hearts) Yellows, Green and Clears, Blue’ees, Black Bombers, Black and White Minstrels, Benzedrine and all the rest of grannies heart tablets did the same.After a night at the Old Wheel many Mods from Manchester headed out on their scooters to Bolton. The Boneyard was the venue near to the railway station, an upstairs club. This was a change from the cellar dives we were used too. The Boneyard was a nickname for reasons that time has now forgotten. Was it to do with the black magic of the blues? The clubs real name was the Caroline Lounge named after the pirate radio ship Radio Caroline… on 199. It was a very soulful place with heavy playing of the Impressions, lots of Sue recordings, the Mad Lads with Sugar, Sugar, it was the first place I heard ‘Candy’ by the Astors (written by Steve Cropper) and of course lots of early Motown.

In those days Manchester’s Soul Mods used to meet in two main places: outside the Old Shambles (speakers Corner) Sinclairs Oyster Bar, and was on a fairly busy road in those days. The Cona Cafe and outside the Wimpy Bar in Piccadilly were other hang-outs. Transactions, sales of soul 45′s, exchanges of money for pills would take place here.
Fashions and styles changed rapidly, for a couple of weeks people would be wearing see through plastic rain coats, then it all changed to bright coloured jackets, bought as white coats from the Army and Navy stores and then hand dyed into bright colours.
Mods lived fashion, Fred Perry three button shirts were always ‘in’, worn alone with Levis or with suit jackets. Cycling vests and shoes, Levi jeans, Parkers, black sun glasses, even the city gent look was in. Suites.  Cufflinks, Braces on our trousers, Broag shoes. Military ties Umbrellas – the whole shooting match. Later came the gangster look with the Elliot Ness and Frank Nitty hats. Sideburns. Bags, bowling bags and airline bags became the rage, they where needed for holding a change of clothes after the All-nighters at the ‘Wheel’. Long leather coats – always ‘ in’ probably because of the cost (about £40).

But most of all Smart was the dress code, and it lasted right through the entire Manchester Soul Mod scene. Right through from 64 to 69 when it was just the remnants of the old Mod scene but essential as a Manchester Soul activist movement!

The - ImpressionsThe Impressions early LP covers showed three very smartly dressed guys, in silver mohair suits. This was certainly an influence upon the Northern Mod scene. Suits with 13″, then 15″ and then 17″ side vents. Then came centre vents, even centre pleats!

Who is the coolest guy…. ?  Mohair Sam:  sang Charlie Rich.

Mod guys top pockets had handkerchiefs, silk ones were the only thing to make the grade. Searches for military and paisley patterned ties took hours, but they had to be found otherwise you could be ‘OUT’.  They were the Kings, the Cool Jerks, the ‘In Crowd. They had, Scooters LI 150’s,  GT 200’s,  Cento Lambtretta’s,  even Vespa’s. Mirrors, Chrome side panels, long aerials with fox tails on top, British Union Flags, G I Parkers, and sun glasses. Short hair back combed for the guys. The girls with white lipstick, black eyes, long false lashes, Mary Quante hair cuts, Op Art dresses.

The Mods were the essence of Wheel – the Wheel was where the quintessential  essence of Soul Music was found.

Mods were in fact mysterious; an underground movement, without leaders or organisation, they were spontaneous.

They looked nice, smart and clean, and chewed mouthfuls of  Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum.
“HiYa, man, are you goin?”


“Got any stuff man,”

“Nah, but I know a guy, commin’ along later, he’s a friend of mine, coming from Warrington he can fix us up. I’m gonna get blocked to night man.”

“I’ m going to Victoria station now, do yer wanna come along?”

Two scooters roll almost uncontrollably towards the centre of the road then come under control as they straighten up and stream off rapidly down Market Street.  Aerials trailing back, gleaming of chrome, with the flashing street lights captured repeatedly, in the dozen or so mirrors festooned around the front handlebars.

The police raided Manchester’s Victoria station as it had developed a reputation for amphetamine drug dealing. The police raid surrounded us all. Those dressed smartly in suits and with short hair were rapidly disassociated from the general rabble, and eliminated. How we laughed as we walked away taking our stash and washing down the pills with coca cola. Heading for the Twisted Wheel. Leaving the police searching the scruffs! The police had stereotyped mindsets about drug abusers, how could they be such smartly dressed kids!

Mods had to be seen to be right. Dressed right.

Looks were everything, being ‘ in’ and cool was central to everything.

This was the very first youth culture that invented itself. Today these things are determined by the record industry the fashion industry and most of all by the advertising industry: but not then.

At the Wheel:

“Hiyaaa, I’m Dave where you from”, Dave shouted out over the sound of the Impressions wailing out ‘You’ve Been Cheetin’.
“I’m John from Stoke.”
“Hey I’m from Blackburn. And this pal of mine is from Stockport, he is called Dave too!”.

“Hello, I’m just going to put my handbag in the middle. I’m Jeanette from Middleton and this is Jean from Failsworth. Have you got scooters?”

All the guys in a circle dancing together ignoring the girls. Feeling the sound, the beat, the Soul. The intoxication of music and the charge of amphetamine coursing up the spine in rivers of glowing shivers.

Dave from Stockport asked who is on tonight; is it Edwin Starr?



Twisted-Wheel-Red - 65  T.W.-Wheel-66
manchester modsmanchester modsmanchester modsmanchester mods Dave Dee & Ginni
The MOD club in the sixties where Northern Soul began!