Nada mejor para ir abriendo boca para el inminente Runnaway soul Weekender que una nueva entrega de nuestro cuestionario habitual a otro amigo de la Corner Soul Crew: Flanny, cara conocida en tierras asturianas y además Dj invitado en esta 4ª edición.

Nothing better to whet your appetite for the upcoming Runnaway Soul Weekender than a new installment of our regular questionnaire to another friend of the Corner Soul Crew: Flanny, already a well known face in Asturias and also guest DJ on this 4th edition.

We read on the website of the Middleton allnighters that your beginnings in the scene go back to the final era of the Wigan Casino where you went following the older boys of school since it was “the thing to do”.

I got into the music (at first mainstream soul, that is) over a period when probably about 1 in 3 records on the radio were pop, soul, disco, Motown. Groups of the time were CHILITES, STYLISTICS, DETROIT SPINNERS, AL GREEN. I preferred this type of music and wanted to find more and more and started going to youth clubs and school discos where they played a lot more 60’s records that I’d never heard before.

What made the Northern soul scene so attractive for a lad?

The older kids were doing this fantastic dancing and it all started from there.  I instantly became “hooked” on the music and the fashion; it was “cool” to be a soulie.

Could you describe us how was a weekend in the days you were most involved in the scene?

At the age of 15 to 21 I was going to all the local clubs: Wigan Casino, Blackpool Mecca, Clouds in Preston, Casinellis, The Ritz in Manchester, listening and collecting this wonderful music. Walking into Wigan Casino was a life changing experience. I went to allnighters once a month and many alldayers, enjoying the Jazz Funk scene, as much as finances would allow.

What Djs did you admire most?

My hero of the “days” was without a doubt Richard Searling.  He always impressed me as a youth.

What are your best memories of your early days in the scene?

The friendship and the fantastic music. We were so lucky to have been a part of an historical part of this scene of ours.

As you may have already noted, in Spain soulies seem to delay as late as possible the commitments that often involve (temporary) withdrawals of the scene such as marriage, having children, etc. We understand that you’ve been there, so could you briefly describe us how was this journey through the desert? Did you suffer a lot staying in at weekends?

When The Casino finally shut down I immediately followed the Jazz Funk scene which seemed to be a natural progression, after all this is great Black American music.  It was during this period that I met my wife Debbie and we were married in 1982, settled down and started a family.  My days of Souling around were few and far between now but my ear was always pinned to the radio listening to whatever soul based radio shows were broadcasted.

In 1987 I came across, by accident, a radio station called Signal Radio, in Stoke On Trent, hosted by Dave Evison, a famous oldies DJ from The Casino days. He was playing all the sounds from my youth and all my memories came flooding back.

How was your come back? What changes did you find?

Around this time I heard an advertisement for a new Soul club starting up in St Helens which was close to my home Town, Saints. Rugby club was the venue and it was to be another milestone, as this was where I was given my first opportunity to spin my tunes. This monthly event was a complete success and went from strength to strength as I had my collection from the Casino days and was asked to dj and it went from there. Saints ran for 11 years. It was very advanced musically playing 50% 70’s and 30% oldies and new discoveries. Baz Maleady was the co promoter and it was he who gave me my opportunity on the dj circuit and for this I will always be grateful.

Are you currently promoting or being resident Dj in any event?

I was resident at Lowton and Middleton. I co promoted the Orwell in Wigan for the last ten years which was great, playing mainly crossover. Also one of the highlights for me personally was spinning at The famous Lifeline.

Which are your favorite soul events?

My favorites over the last twenty years have been Yarmouth Soul Essence, Saints, Cala Gran, Hilton Blackpool, Middleton, Lifeline, Boomerang and Monumental on sea Clacton.

Please recommend us what current events should we not miss under any circumstances. 

Currently, one not to be missed is Just Soul at Barnby Moor. Also the Orwell collective have a plush new venue with the first one to be held at the Ridgeway Arms in Bolton, playing the best in crossover and quality modern.  1st one is 26th November and dates for next year to be announced.

How often do you go to soul events?

I now attend one or two events a month.

Flanny & Taffy

With regard to Djs, who are your favourites?

Butch, Andy Dyson, Steve Guarnori, Baz Maleady, Chalky, Dave Ripolles , Tats Taylor , Ivor Jones and that Taffy geezer isn’t bad either.

In terms of sounds what are your preferences?

I love it all but my favourite is crossover and group soul.

How have evolved your tastes throughout the years since you started?

I’ve been accepting to all eras, I love it all.

Are there still many people who travel to events depending on the DJ line-up?

No I think it’s down to the ethos of the promoters.

How many different scenes could you distinguish in the current soul scene? People only attending to oldies local nights, those who still attend and travel to allnighters on a weekly basis, modern soul only people…?

There are a lot of different reasons people go to venues; be they good or bad some are not bothered about the music, just the fact they can get out once a month and listen to the same 50 records in the same order.  This doesn’t appeal to me. I like to be educated from all eras. After all I’m a soul fan not an era fan.

How do you see the future of the soul scene?

I think it’s very healthy and see more and more weekenders taking over.

Apart from Spain do you travel to soul events outside UK? Which ones would you recommend us?

Rimini is fantastic and I’ve heard good reports on Bamberg which I’m hoping to get to next year.

Do your work collegues, non scene friends or relatives know you are a soulie and what does it mean that? Do they know what you dedicate your energy, time and money to?

Yes our non-soulie friends think we are a bit eccentric but understand the importance. Our family has accepted it as a way of life and they admire us and are proud of us.

Could you still go to a night club playing the “mainstream” top 20 music on a Saturday night?

NO WAY! Only if I had to, i.e. family.  

Do you consider yourself more a soul collector or a DJ? Both equal?

More a collector of real soul, not just dance floor friendly stuff. I now only dj at thinking man’s clubs and would not want to go backwards again.

How far the bulk of your collection consists of records to Dj or these are only a small part of it?

My dj boxes are only a small part of my collection.  

Although you don’t play them, do you have classics such as Jackie Wilson, Gene Chandler, Maxine Brown? Or in the case of a modern soul fan, do you understand he/she didn’t know classics such as the Philly stuff, Dramatics, Dells, Bobby Womack, etc.

Yes and I think it’s nice to be able to slip in an underplayed classic amongst the bigger money items. It keeps it fresh and shows you’re not up your own arse.

Do you buy albums too? Soul magazines or books?

Yes, I have a large collection of soul albums. Regarding books and fanzines I like to get as much information as possible.

Could you describe in what proportion and where are your buys coming from? In case you’ve been record buying in USA, did you have many good finds?

Over the years I’ve been to the U.S. many times. It has got harder and harder each time to find cheap records as the dealers are switched on to price with the price guides available. However now and again you can snag a bargain (last trip I picked up a Freddie Houston “If I had known” on Old Town for a few $$). Soul Source is a good place to pick up cheap records sometimes, and I love e-bay! I do buy off UK dealers but cast my net far & wide.

How’s your record collection organized?

Mainly by genres. And I have quite a good photographic memory. 

What are your recent buys?

It’s impossible to list as I’m constantly buying every day but recent buys that come to mind are: Blue Steam “I Want a girl” on Catamount, Exits “Another Sundown in Watts” on Kapp, Karen Striblin “We’re Not Too Young” on Jaber … and one I’ve been after for a while, Barbara St Clair “Teacherman”.

And your top sounds at the moment?

My top ten for the moment are:

SEX – BABY ITS YOU – SUPER CITY

ARTHUR  CONLEY – TAKE A STEP IN MY DIRECTION – ATLANTIC

SHERLOCK HOLMES INVESTIGATION – YOUR GAME – C.R.S

CORTEZ GREER – THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY – TEZ

DELRAYS INC – MY HEART IS NOT A TOY – AMERICAN

INTERNATIONALS – BEAUTIFUL PHILOSOPHY – DAR

NEW GROUP – LOVE CANT BE MODERNISED

MELVIN BROWN & JAMES MATTHEWS – PHILMORE SOUND

ERNEST BAKER – ALONE AGAIN – BLUE SOUL

CONNIE LAVERNE – CANT LIVE WITHOUT YOU – G.S.F 

Watching at soul-source you seem quite an active seller. Are you normally selling spare copies or you don’t mind selling your own copies once you get tired of playing them?

I am currently in the process of selling my 60’s collection for personal reasons, with the exception of 60’s male group. But I am still buying a lot of crossover & modern. 

Do you arrange the composition of your dj box bearing in mind the type of audience/music policy of the venue you are going or on the contrary do you think that with a wide range of records and sounds you could Dj to any venue anytime?

When I was djing regular I would choose a set of records to suit the ethos of the promoter.

According to dictionary the mission of the Dj is both educate and entertain… In your case, to what extent does an empty floor affect you? What’s your reaction? Do you consider urgent to fill it again by playing a “safe & tested” floor packer?

It depends on the time of the spot. My main aim is to try to get people dancing but also try to play something different as well. If I empty a floor quick I would always bounce back with a known record.

Imagine you are invited as a guest Dj to an event that you positively know that its music policy is light years from your tastes:

a)       You love Djng anytime so you accept the invitation but you want to give the audience what they want so you arrange your spot according to it.

b)       You take the challenge. You accept the invitation but you play following your style and you tastes, so risking to get “booed”

c)       You kindly refuse the invitation as you only like to Dj at events of your likes, were you would attend equally as a punter.

C

Cover-ups? Are you for or against it?

I understand the reason and the need for cover-ups to give certain DJ’s exclusivity but don’t really agree to them personally.

Transferring unissued tracks to vinyl so you can play them. Are you for or against it?

For it, if it’s the only way of hearing it out.

About the future of your records, have you already made plans? We are not asking you for the details but we are just curious to know if people have decided where and how they want their records to end up?

Eventually all my rarer records will be sold, but can’t imagine when that will be. And the main bulk of my collection will be passed on to my sons.

And what about you? Do you want to go on as long as mind and body permit?

Yes as long as God allows me to experience this gift of soul music ”I’ll be around” as they say in the song.

Thanks very much for your time.

Thank you.  Sorry it took so long to pluck the courage.

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