Saturday, 27 August 2005

Soul Spectrum

"Greg Edwards made his first broadcast on Capital Radio back in 1974 presenting Soul Spectrum. Through that show, Greg became a broadcasting institution and was responsible for the launch of the careers of many people, including The O'Jays, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, The Three Degrees and Billy Paul."

Since I lived in the outskirts of London in those days (was a loyal Capital listener and, later worked on security for some Capital outside broadcasts), I actually remember listening to Greg Edwards' very first broadcast of Soul Spectrum in 1974.

In 1974, I was 17 and, typically, it seems like only yesterday. I could almost imagine it was something like 10 years ago, but 31 years? Nah, this isn't registering. But even in the 60's, while everyone else was screaming at the Beatles, I was listening to the likes of Diana Ross & the Supremes, The Four Tops and The Temptations.

So that was it, I was hooked! Heck, I don't know whether you'd call Greg "a broadcasting institution", addiction might be a more accurate word!

I remember that in 1975/76 our Saturday drill went like this:

  • Ensure you got back from work / shopping in time for the start of the show.
  • Play radio in bedroom / bathroom while getting ready to go out.
  • Continue listening to show while in the car on the way to Scamps in Sutton, Surrey ...
  • Where they would play Soul Spectrum on the radio in the club until the show ended.

Shoe - Magenta PlatformAnd most likely, I went out in shoes just like this! Actually, mine were black and bronze. LOL! I could no more walk in those these days than walk on bloody water, but somehow managed to dance & run for busses in them then. (OK, and fell arse over tit not a few times too. :)

In 1976, I met my then future, now ex, husband and you'll immediately understand what the (singular) attraction was if I mention that he was a more than half-reasonable soul DJ in Chertsey, Surrey and that he came complete with a collection of 6,000+ soul records. Mostly 7" vinyl: 12" had only just started. Naturally, mostly "import". None of that released rubbish!

We lived, ate, slept and drank that music and, I hardly missed a moment of Soul Spectrum for ten years. Then I moved outside of the broadcast area and desperately missed it ever since.

Recently, through Toby Walker's SoulWalking, I discovered that Soul Spectrum is available over the internet, on Capital Gold. Greg is now on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, but it is still the Saturday show I look forward to most.

Bliss! Sanity restored. Or madness, take your pick!

I really don't care which one you choose, just choose one. All I know is that for me it was like coming home. Oh, shit, here I am in retrospective again, but really, I can't help this. Of course it represents another (happier) time in my life, but that music is one of very few things (like cats) for which my passion has never altered.

And, if it hasn't changed in 40+ years, there ain't much hope, is there?

As a side issue, I talked to Junior Giscombe at Solar Radio (which I also listened to in the early 80's) on the phone, earlier this week. I remember when he brought out his first single and Junior was an apt description for his age, not just his name! :)

After Soul Spectrum finishes, I usually switch over to Solar Radio and, last Saturday, was treated to a live concert from the Jazz Cafe in London, with British Jazz-Funk ensemble, Light of the World. Later, John Dean interviewed Leona Lewis.

Brilliant voice and a fresh new talent (yeah, real talent), yet, one of the things they talked about was the fact that British acts are now having to go to the US to record, because they just aren't getting the recognition at home.

American acts have often found it easier to find fame over this side of the pond. Fair exchange then, but isn't it time we all started appreciating what we've got?

I think it is also important to recognize that this "movement" is not just about the music. Talk to any of the "addicts". Listen to Greg and you'll understand why he has a following that has stayed with him for over 30 years, because he cares about stuff.

Read Toby Walker's Opinion page for more examples of soul with conscience & (un)common sense. He certainly does his best to promote new acts too.

Whilst I don't have the industry contacts that Toby Walker has, I certainly used to and I did meet a lot of artists, whose names you'd likely recognize, (even had recording offers myself), so perhaps it is time for me to start my own soul site?

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