Wigan Casino Soul Club - 30 Years Of Northern Soul Memories

There has been a proliferation of Northern Soul compilations featuring the records played at Wigan Casino released in recent years, but this one comes presented in a long box which opens up to present a cardboard pop up replica casino, with removable roof, so this one will be of particular interest to people who attended (from it's opening in 1973, when the punters numbered 652 for the first Saturday allnighter growing to over 2000 at it's closure eight years later). The casino had 100,000 card carrying members though some never attended.

The craving for obscure unavailable black American records was catered for in the Sixties by clubs like Manchester's Twisted Wheel, the Northern Soul Scene carried on that sixties tradition of dancing to fast and furious paced records while contemporary black American music tastes were changing to different styles like Funk and the Sound Of Philadelphia.

The twenty six tracks on this compilation run from sublime soulfulness to the non soulful ridiculous. Sixties soul excellence is represented by the likes of Chicago's Major Lance with "You Don't Want Me No More" or the Vibrations "Cause You're Mine" from 1968 written by the emerging Gamble and Huff soon to dominate the Seventies charts. Unfortunately there is more than a fair share of white pop fluff that followed just because it has a beat you can stomp to - step forward Gary Lewis & The Playboys with "My Hearts Symphony", Derek & Ray with the instrumental "Interplay" which surely must have been a film or TV theme, and Wigans Chosen Few with "Footsie" which made the UK charts, but was the B Side to a Canadian surf single with sound effects added.

Quite a few Northern Soul are present like Gloria Jones "Tainted Love" and Judy Street's "What" both covered by the duo Soft Cell and The Casualeers Dance, Dance, Dance and Bob Refs "Blowing My Mind To Pieces", but these have all been heavily featured on previous compilations. So maybe this collection is aimed at the Wigan Casino veteran or the Northern Soul novice still wet behind the ears. The present day Northern Soul scene has mainly dropped the "white pop" records and people of a more adventurous inclination would do well to invest into the many fine soul compilations put out by the excellent Kent Label.

Derek McCann

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