This week I renewed the domain for These Old Shoes and it made me all nostalgic! Awww! So I thought I’d do a little retrospective on the club if only for my own enjoyment.
A bit of background: I helped set up the club and DJ’d there until moving back up to Yorkshire in mid 2003. On the right is the first ever flyer which featured Jimmy Ruffin from the cover of his “Ruff N Ready” LP (everyone thought it was Muhammed Ali!). £1 in and £2 after 10pm – bargain! The flyers were intentionally minimalistic so they didn’t take long to knock up and could be printed at work (oh dear!).
It all started pretty innocently, there wasn’t much on in London at the time other than the 100 Club and some occasional (but excellent) nights run by “London’s Chosen Mass”. So Jo Wallace, Martin Thomson and I met up, discussed it, I bought some decks and stuff and away we went! Matt Jahans also got involved and DJ’d at the first event bringing a busload from Reading which pretty much ensured we were successful by filling the venue.
We ran These Old Shoes in the basement of The River Bar which is just on the South Side of Tower Bridge, London. It was a pretty sleazy place with a sloping lino dance floor and smelly drains but it sort of worked.
The River Bar has refurbished the basement now so for those that don’t (or can’t) remember what it was like, here it is in all its skankiness. The chap on the right looks like he’s been caught out by the sloping dance floor – anyone showing off always ended up in that corner! 🙂
We tended to be a bit laid back about the whole thing initially but we soon got caught up in it all. Jo Wallace generally booked the DJ’s and looking back the list looks like a whos who of Northern Soul. DJ’s were chosen for their choice of records rather than just to get a name on the flyer but these things do tend to go together.
Our music policy was pretty wide open really; some 6T’s soul, Northern Soul, R&B, 70’s soul and plenty of Motown. With each of us having different tastes and vying to find records that we could wow the others with it made for an eclectic night of soul music.
Although we didn’t plan it out we evolved to a formula of new and interesting for the first hour and a half, warm the floor up for the guest for the next half hour, guest for an hour and then a final hour or so of uptempo, well known floor pleasers finishing with The Dells – Make Sure and if people wouldn’t leave; Harold Melvin – Get Out!
We also gave away a bootleg CD at each of the first 4 anniversaries, these were made up by asking all the guest DJ’s from the year to put forward 2 tunes and of course this became a competition too. Looking at the track lists; it is amazing what went on those CD’s between 1999 and 2003 – they included some classic but also some quite new tunes at the time – many of these are now classics.
Anyway, I’ve managed to ramble on for ages and I still haven’t mentioned us taking the club to the 100 club or getting a showcase at Prestatyn, or being guests on Richard Searling’s Jazz FM show (I still have the recording somewhere).
So to end this nostalgic wallow I’ve put together a podcast of 10 tunes that always make me think of These Old Shoes when I hear them. Sniff!
Download it [here]
- Kim Weston – A Thrill A Moment – Gordy
- Valerie & Nick – I’ll Find You – Glover
- The Spinners – (She’s Gonna Love Me) At Sundown – VIP
- Jr Walker & The All Stars – Tune Up – Soul
- Major Lance – Ain’t No Soul (In These Old Shoes) – Okeh
- The Poets – She Blew A Good Thing Symbol – Symbol
- Porgy & The Monarchs – That’s My Girl – Sylves
- Martha & The Vandellas – My Baby Loves Me – Gordy
- The Dells – Make Sure – Cadet
- Baby Washington – It’ll Never Be Over For Me – Sue
Hope you enjoy it. I’ll probably have Jo on the phone now telling me off for missing tracks out!