Various ‘I’m Gonna Be A Wheel Some Day’ (Jasmine) 4/5

The Twisted Wheel in Manchester has acquired legendary status and is regarded by some as one of the seminal places in which the early UK mod movement first developed. The music played at the venue incorporated gritty urban blues and R & B, and one of the DJ’s who spinned the sounds was Roger Eagle, to whom this compilation is dedicated. Originally from Oxford, Eagle moved to Manchester to feed his collecting habit and, while working in the industrial heartland of Trafford Park, he managed to combine this with late night DJ-ing (the all-nighter concept arguably started at this venue before later becoming a staple of northern soul nights) and also editing a magazine for aficionados, ‘The R & B Scene’. Initially a left-wing club that was founded by the Abadi brothers and catered for a diverse selection of students, academics and trad jazz fans, the Twisted Wheel became the place to hear the latest sounds and this is reflected on the CD.

Harmony groups were popular in the early 1960’s and among these, The Coasters were especially popular and ‘Poison Ivy’ is a prime example, while The Clovers were close competitors whose, ‘Love Potion No.9’, was a hit 45. Collective male and female harmonies are a feature of, ‘Sixty minute man’, from The Dominoes. Novelty dance crazes came and went and one such song, ‘Dish Eag’, by Nat Kendricks and The Swans was popular on the dance floors. Blues was still hitting the juke boxes and clubs, and fine examples of urban blues come from Elmore James And His Broom Dusters on ‘Rollin’ and Tumblin’, and John Lee Hooker imbues the blues with a grittier urbanity on ‘Dimples’. Meanwhile Bo Diddley offers up ‘Pretty Thing’, complete with drum rolls and guitar operating in tandem. Some major soul singers emerged on 45’s that were released in the UK and these included the late and great Solomon Burke who here contributes ‘Cry To Me’, and the equally great Bobby Bland, whose ‘Call On Me’ has become a classic. Instrumental R & B numbers were a staple of the scene and of course no more so than ‘Green Onions’, by Booker T and the MG’s, while a honking saxophone dominates ‘Long Distance’ by Garnell Cooper & The Kinfolks. A very own British version of the Mods is represented by Dr. Feelgood & The Interns, with the appropriately titled, ‘Doctor-Feel-Good’. Extended notes by Rob Fisher help recreate the atmosphere of the time, with black and white photos and flyers to illustrate.

Tim Stenhouse