The Blackpool Twisted Wheel? Yes, there was a Twisted Wheel club in Blackpool. I remember a group of mods on scooters parked outside who decided that the fashion of the day was to wear school caps. The sight of these guys in parkas and various coloured and striped caps was bizarre will stay with me for ever.
I always thought that Soul Clubs had to be cellar dives (best with condensation dripping down from the roof and walls as for instance the Wheel in Manchester). This one was upstairs over a block of shops, on Coronation Street with an ordinary cafe on the ground floor. I remember being stood on the pavement outside the club when someone from somewhere across the street threw a bottle of beer at me which just narrowly missed my head.
Never one to miss a business opportunity, Ivor Abadi, owner of the Manchester Twisted Wheel, organised a coach trip there on at least one weekend -Easter Sunday 1967. I was on that trip.
We queued up outside the Wheel on Whitworth Street and the coach arrived and we all piled on. I had a packed lunch that my mum had made me! I was given two green and clears by a friend which ended up inserted into the chocolate Swiss roll that was part of my picnic…the result of taking these led to a different adventure but that’s another story…
If I remember correctly the club was run by his father. I can only remember Edwin Starr being played upstairs on the dance floor and The Impressions being played in the coffee bar downstairs. It did not stay open long but good fun while it lasted.
The first time I went to the Blackpool Twisted Wheel on Coronation Street the DJ had so many requests for SWEET SOUL MUSIC by Arthur Conley (It had just been released in the UK on Red Atlantic) that I guess it was played on that mid afternoon session well over half a dozen times.
I went to the Blackpool Twisted Wheel on another couple of occasions on my scooter, accompanied by my old school pal Chris Bean – I wonder where he is now? We kipped the night in a bus shelter and the next day were ordered to leave the town of Blackpool by a stout sergeant who took exception to Chris riding pillion, facing in the opposite direction and reading a newspaper. Blackpool wasn’t ready for us and that’s saying something today!
According to the Jethro Tull Tour Schedule (1965-1969) the group appeared at the Blackpool Twisted Wheel club on 12th June, 1966.
However, much later, the Blackpool Mecca became a venue for later Northern Soul fans in the 1970s and so Blackpool fans had a local soul club – for a time.