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I thought I would start looking back at people who have influenced my collecting of soul music over the years. I will be writing about friends, DJs, other collectors, writers etc.
I will begin with Dr Rob Wilks who I met when I was a student in Brighton in the mid-70's. I met Rob at one of the weekly soul discos at the Art College in the centre of Brighton frequented by soulies like me and Rob trying to get a blast of good music in a desert of heavy rock.
Rob was originally from Sheffield, one the UK spiritual homes of soul music and through his early collection I was turned onto many good sounds. In those early days, we were heavily influenced by the fast developing Northern Soul scene and we were soon addicts of the weekly Soul Bowl lists. Soul Bowl was one of the epicentres of Northern Soul because John Anderson, owner of the record dealership, was at the forefront of discovering the 45s which fuelled the growth of the scene in the UK. Rob and I would also spent hours searching Brighton's many records shops, junk shops and market stalls for sounds.
The basis of friendship was our love of the music and our regular get togethers set a trend for later years when we would sit around drinking and listening to our latest finds. These get togethers moved to firstly Manchester and then Chester when we both left Brighton and headed back up North. These get togethers continued until 1984 when Rob relocated to Singapore hence the title of the post where he subsequently achieved his doctorate.
The record sessions I recall with affection took place into the late hours of night in an area of Chester called Hoole after a visit to a local pub. We always enjoyed the offbeat type of sound and that's why I have chosen the above 45s to highlight this first post on the record influences in my life.