The Manchester Wheelers
by Dave 

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The Left Wing Club in Brazennose Street in Manchester changed to become the Twisted Wheel.


Twisted Wheel membership card circa 1965



Slowly moving from it's roots in, folk and jazz,  to blues and RnB, it was to become the originator of Northern Soul. Mainly due to the two brothers who owned  and managed the club and its first, now legendary D-J, Roger Eagle. The Abadi brothers Ivor and Jack let Roger's instincts for RnB guide the clubs direction. It was Roger who introduced a whole generation to Jimmy Smith,, Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter, Elmore James, John Lee Hooker and many more. (The first UK RnB boom.)


The Club was a coffee bar, no Booze but lots of blues! And after a Saturday night with Alexis Korner, Georgie Fame, John Mayall or Eric Burdon , who can forget the Sunday morning hikes in the peak district after the All Nighter!


In the early days a mixture of white UK live artists with recordings by the Rolling Stones, Beatles, Surf and Dragster, even pop chart and folk tiles formed the early mixture of sounds. The place itself was in a cellar, painted black, walls and ceilings , usually dripping with condensation.


In late 63 and 64 the influence of Soul became dominant with the rise of Mowtown and Stax. The Mod scene was here, fashion changing weekly, pop music influenced by blues and early Motown and Stax, and they were very rare records, everything connected with blues and soul was rare in those days, the radio did not play Soul and hardly any record shops had heard of the artists. "Green Onions - you want the green grocers mate!" In any case to like black musicians was seen as not quite the thing. But that sort of attitude simply encouraged us.


The mainstream soul standard classics of today, were at their time of release rare and difficult to find. This eventually led to the situation at the end of the 1960's when collectors sought anything rare, just for the sake of it, recordings without real merit being hyped up as Northern Soul would not have made the grade.


The Twisted Wheel membership was eventually quite considerable, you had to wait 24 hours to join, even though the club did not serve alcohol, it cost Ten Bob.  The evolution of soul culture began here starting at the 'old Wheel' in Brazennose Street Manchester and moving more and more into total soul sounds at the 'new' Wheel in Whitworth Street. Where the regular DJ was Paul Davis.


The 'New Wheel'



Places like, The Torch, Wigan Casino, Blackpool Mecca; carried on the tradition in the seventies, however by the end of 1968 the best Soul had probably been produced and played at the Twisted Wheel the birth place of the Northern Soul scene.



Probably started off by Roger Eagle at the Old Wheel, even the 'New Wheel' in Whitworth Street would often end the Allnighter session with WALK ON THE WILD SIDE by Jimmy Smith - a tradition sometimes followed at the Blue Note by DJ's Dave and Dave.



Recent picture of the Whiteworth Street Wheel.


Highly recommended book;-

   Central 1179: The Story of Manchester's Twisted Wheel Club  

The Manchester Wheelers


Sounds from the Wheel... Goldmine Soul Supply


The Twisted Wheel Club - Join Now