As 2014 draws to an end it's staggering to think how many Southport Weekender events I've been to this year! After going to Camelot, it seemed just a wink away and remarkably back to the awesome sound system of the Powerhouse at Pontins! I had to go back for one final fling and my decision to return was made all the more easier by the immense line-up.
It's a bit frustrating for me writing this review as I only attended Friday night and didn't get the full juice of the Weekender. I missed so many amazing opportunities but - even though my time was cut short - I still captured a dose of soul.
There's no doubt it was great to go back to Pontins. Seeing the layout, the Powerhouse room again and going to the beach in the morning was a real welcome return. Standing in the Funkbase remembering Guru's gig there was a beautiful reminder of great times and how much we've grown. It was fortunate to remember all that have contributed to this evolution of music, unity and dance and to shed a tear for those that are no longer here with us. It was a welcome relief to be able to get some sleep in the chalets, a clear progression accepted from Minehead, as at previous Southport Weekender events at Pontins, sleep would certainly be a challenge! In fact comparing the Pontins to Minehead it was pretty obvious who was the winner, proving the gamble paid off.
With over 40 albums to his name, John Holt, legendary reggae and ska singer, has died in London at the age of 67.
John Holt, the legendary reggae singer and member of the ska band, The Paragons, passed away in a London hospital on Sunday 19th October, 2014, at the age of 67. The news was confirmed by Holt's manager, Copeland Forbes, when he told Observer Online: "John died at 2:40 am English time. His nephew informed of his death". Forbes served as Holt's manager since 2006, with the singer having released over 40 albums since 1964.
Holt passed away at the age of 67
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, on 11th July, 1947, Holt gained early fame in his home city, by being a talent contest regular at the age of 12. At the age of sixteen, he recorded his first single 'I Cried a Tear', before replacing Leroy Stamp as the lead singer of The Paragons in 1964. Whilst a member, Holt wrote the single 'Tide Is High', which would later become a chart topper when covered by Blondie.
Continue reading: Remembering Jamaican Reggae Legend John Holt
Southport 50th was always going to be special. Every year Southport Weekender comes around again and with so many mind blowing gigs and sets we've seen throughout its history, it would be fair to assume Alex, Dave and the rest of the Southport Weekender family couldn't top it off again, but my gosh they did! It was an epic weekender.
The history of Southport Weekender has been inspirational to many lovers of soul and unity. That's why so many American artists, who have influenced dance music, always return back to get a slice of this unique melting pot. David Morales, Derrick Carter, Kerri Chandler, Kenny Dope, Jazzy Jeff, as well as legendary UK pioneers such as Carl Cox, David Rodigan, Trevor Nelson, Giles Peterson, Norman Jay and Mr Scruff were all in the house. Amazing live acts such as Faith Evans, Omar, Marcos Valle and Snarky Puppy added to the magic of what was a fantastic weekend.
Arriving on Friday, it was hard not to get swept away with the excitement but with the After Parties and so much to see, it was best not to burn out too soon. Brand New Heavies in The Connoisseur's Corner was a perfect way to start the weekender. They always know how to win the Southport Weekender crowd with their great display of funk musicianship immediately getting the dance floor moving. With Suncebeat and now two more events this year - one at Camelot and a special nostalgia gig back at the original Pontins in Southport - there were plenty more opportunities to experience the good vibrations of the festival. There's no doubt anyone who's been to Suncebeat knows how good that event is, and that I'm sure will be even more prolific this year due to the tragic death of Frankie Knuckles, who was going to headline Suncebeat this year.
Continue reading: Southport Weekender 50th - 9th - 11th May 2014, UK Live Review
As the pace of 2014 quickens, only one thing is on our mind - and that's the great party that occurs every year at Southport Weekender. The 50th celebration of this sensational event is just weeks away and we are about to experience what SPW does so well in what looks to be the best so far. The thought of heading down to Minehead again so soon is truly thrilling.
The world continues to spin, seemingly faster than ever these days, so we have to be sure to allow space for good times and that is always guaranteed at this epic weekender. No matter what inspires you from your time there, you always take home that much appreciated and very special slice of soul each year. There's nowhere else in the world quite like it and that's why we see so many cutting edge international artists eager to play at Southport Weekender and continuing to return with another tune to drop. Obviously the 50th is going to be particularly special with so many soul stars and real legends such as Chakka Khan performing, and a remarkable DJ line-up setting the scene for a fantastic summer.
Reflecting on the 40th anniversary event in Pontins 8 years ago, it's crazy to think how much has changed in the world of music. Alas, it's only right to mention those who are no longer with us and who have added so much to the Weekender - I refer, of course, to the shocking news of the passing of Godfather of House Music Frankie Knuckles. In this cycle of 10, the events of Southport Weekender went from 2 to 1. The circumstances have been challenging and dramatically changing for sure. Southport Weekender has now settled at Butlins and, despite the changes, the commitment and loyalty for this world-acclaimed event remains unabated and respected by all.
Continue reading: Southport Weekender 2014 - Preview
London born pioneer Norman Jay is back with another 'Good Times' session and this time it's #30. It's a great testament to the 'soundsystem' street energy that blast out to the conscious spirit of the UK. Sir Norman Jay is the don of all of that, and certainly educates us to the positive vibrations that makes up the 'Good Times' set.
Continue reading: Norman Jay, Good Times 30 Album Review
Norman Jay MBE
Good Times 7 Album Review
It's that time of year again! The summer is drawing to a close and on Bank Holiday Weekend West London hosts the world class celebration of Caribbean culture that is The Notting Hill Carnival. If you have never experienced the carnival first hand I strongly recommend it - fill your eyes with the wonderful colours of the procession, fill your nose with the smells of Barbecued (Jerk) chicken and fill your ears with bass! Let the good times roll!
The legendary Good Times Sound System makes a much anticipated annual return to the Notting Hill Carnival 2007 on Sunday 26th August and Monday 27th August, taking centre stage once again as the main event of the Bank Holiday Weekend.
Tied in with this annual event is the release of Norman Jay presents Good Times 7 - Let the Good Times Roll, the maverick Notting Hill DJ's official 2007 festival soundtrack, also to be showcased at festivals Wakestock, The Big Chill and V Festival North & South. His long-standing residency at the world's largest street party is of course what Norman is best known for and 'Let The Good Times Roll' offers the fun, vibrancy and proud eclecticism of Carnival - The Good Times Sound System has become such a popular fixture it has ultimately become synonymous with the event itself.
On Let The Good Times Roll, Norman returns to his roots, once again selecting the best old and new soul, funk, reggae, disco, hip hop & house and all manner of surprises in between. The compilation is action-packed with the usual rare nuggets that a Norman Jay DJ set delivers - his DJ'ing motto is to make the obscure sound familiar and the popular sound cool.
There are choice contemporary cuts from 4 Hero with the standout "Morning Child", Nicole Willis & Soul Investigators sixties' pastiche "A Perfect Kind Of Love", Lupe Fiasco's conscious rap "Kick, Push", Bare Knuckle Soul's vocal group r&b "Just Right" and the show-stopping "Soweto" from Joy Denalane. Soulful heritage classics come from Nina Simone's beautiful take on the Beatles "Here Comes The Sun", Salena Jones soul-jazz '69 classic "Morning Dew", Fela Kuti's classic 70's afro-funk "Water Got No Enemy" and Northern soul gem "Time Will Tell" by Eddie Holman on Salsoul.
Norman's understanding of music has been shaped by a passion for investigation. More than that, as an open-minded cultural chameleon, he's been lucky enough to have been present at the heart of key periods in dance music's history. From the early days of hip hop and electro in New York to dancing to the crystalline system at Larry Levan's Paradise Garage and being an integral part of the early UK house and Acid Jazz scene as well as the main man in the warehouse movement which preceded it. Norman's expansive knowledge of music and its place in time over the last 30 years is unrivalled. With this knowledge at his fingertips he is able to programme a faultless musical journey into the club/ dance music's heritage past, present and future
Norman is a consistently positive spokesman for the Carnival and the climax of his Monday set is broadcast live every year on BBC LONDON 94.9. Whilst his highly regarded Giant 45 show broadcast each Sunday 6-8pm on BBC LONDON continues grow, as Norman delivers his inimitable sound to an ever increasing and appreciative audience. Norman also guests and hosts special shows and have produced series on BBC RADIO 2 including James Brown, Luther Vandross, Quincy Jones, and Barry White & The Story Of Disco.
Norman Jay MBE is arguably one of the finest and most respected deejays in the world today whose talents and many years of dedicated service to his profession have now seen him rightfully acknowledged by the highest authority in the land.