The Blue Note, Gore St

6a Gore Street off Piccadilly, Manchester 1.

I used to work at The Blue Note when John Fogel owned it. Pat Dempsey (ex Ivans Meads) worked there and managed a group, can't remember the name but the lead singer was called Tony and I remember going to the Cavern in Liverpool with them, also to the recording studio at Nield & Hardy record shop.

I also met Viv Annis there who married Ian Starr. His dad had a hairdressers on the corner of Whitworth St and Princess Street called Lou Starrs and was well known.

Viv and Ian lived in Withington and Didsbury and always had a full house.I went to his 30th birthday and there were several well known people there. When I worked at the Blue Note the DJ was called Les and later it was Dave Lomas and Dave Phillips."

The Blue Note was just a great place to sit and come down after being in the Wheel all night. It was dark and warm and nice. When it closed we use to go to the Top 20 which was nothing like the Blue Note or the Wheel.

I have some great nights thinking of the good times in the Blue Note and the Wheel.

PS went there to wait untill it was time for the train back to Carlisle, which cost me 13 shillings and 9 pence return, half price of course.

Bill Elliott

I went to the Blue Note from about late July 66 to Jan 67. You could get alcohol. I think the brewery was Mitchell and Butlers. 

Roger Eagle was the DJ spinning the very best music. The place was full of coloured lads who never caused any trouble. I remember they loved Junior Walker - how sweet it is to be loved by you.

Friday night the place was packed - a prelude to the Wheel all-nighter on the Saturday but of course Roger was missing so the music wasnt as good as the Blue Note as Roger had all the magic sounds . He broke all the great sounds there (don’t laugh at this) - Reach Out by the Four Tops - he had it ages before any one else. Knock on Wood - again ages before anyone else. 

I know these 2 records are so well known now but in August 66 - wow . Then records like Boogaloo party – that’s enough - I could go on and on about records that became the bedrock of what we know now as northern soul.

Jim Hynes

The Blue Note was my first venture into non-folk territory and a pal and myself would bathe in the ambience. We danced that 'side close side' step. I offered a lift to one beautiful girl who I'd bravely danced with - she took the offer in my old open top TR2 and introduced me to unexpected moves before dashing home somewhere in NE M/cr.

I met her two years later at Bradford Union, I was keen to re-engage but she was headed to the USA.

Roger Baker - 10/1/09

I am still married to the girl I met there in 1969. Worked on the bar for a time (no alcohol). Broken piano on the small stage. Held my brothers 21st. party there (Graham) in May '69. Remember John's blue Alvis car. Pass out to the Waldorf next door, what else, oh yeah, everyone meeting at the Gay (Grey/) Dolphins prior to going to the all-nighters. Great time, great music. 

Tunji Thomas - 23/12/09

Played lead guitar in a Scottish band called NSU,used Blue Note club at night for practising 1968/9. Management at that time was Balfode.
Cut a LP for Stable Records called Turn On Or Turn me down. Anyone remember?

Ernie Rea - 19/12/10

Went to The Blue Note 1968 - 1969 all nighters. Came from Preston on last bus with sister Diane, Linda Lazell, Maggie, Glenis (who was handy with a needle and was sometimes still sewing outfits for us on the bus) and Linda Argent. Some of the best nights of my life. Found it after trying to get in to see Ben E King at the Wheel and couldn't get in. We couldn't go home as we'd all told our mums that we were staying at each others houses, and they had no idea what we were up to.

Never looked back and didn't bother with the Wheel again either.Still got the music (Is there any other?) Any news please of Syd Wolf, Clarkie, Joey and Johnny Heavyside, Mick Potter, Chris Otto, Ray Buller?

Judy Fletcher - 6/6/11

Some members names that I can remember, a lot lost to the time bandit.

  • Graham Porter (me), Dave Robinson, both of us at " The Wheel " sunday afternoon, 9/10/11 now there's a significant number, no back drops though.
  • Les James ( dj god bless him, sadly passed away to that soul music in the sky ) ps hopefully Air Tours got him there safely.
  • Brian Moores, another disc spinner and his wife Julie.
  • Jim Delaney, Little Louie from Hillgate, Ray Massey from Cheadle, Jon Jackson and ex wife Val, married to Jon and still around.
  • Dave Hallam, god that man could do "the james brown"
  • vague memories of a colossal 6ft+ guy called "bones" from Wythenshawe with his mate Paul and a bus load of other people who never got to know.
  • I even remember the guy who tried to roll me one night after borrowing my windmaster lighter to roast his stuff, came back from the Waldorf and there he was trying to sell it back to me, didn't happen for him, (one of those who didn't know if they were black or white) and a bunch of people walked out of the Note never to return.

So many more people who not only loved "the Note" and "the Wheel" but Manchester in general.

Who remembers all the other places? Very fond and brilliant memories. KEEP THE FAITH

Graham Porter - 17/10/11

I also went to the Blue Note with my then g/friend Mavis. Ann Rufia is my cousin. Iit was a strange time all us mixed race lads seemed to suddenly, Brian Sarge, Ray Buller, Dave Juando, Chris Otto, Tony Peria, Tony Atta, Sid Wolf, Stan Finny, Paul Uedo, Junior ... great times and plenty of memories.

Barrie George - 7/1/12

Am I imagining this, but wasn't there a waiter, a black guy called Carl who used to do a snake like dance routine whilst carrying a tray of drinks? Easy Dot and I used to do endless impressions of him.

Great Club, and respect to the late Roger Eagle for creating the Northern Soul scene. I still have a 45 he used to play at the Blue Note, Billy Stewart's 'Sitting in the Park'. 

David Walker - 22/6/13

Nick Balcombe (left) and John Fogel (right) who managed "The Famous Watson Browne's Band" with Tony Owens (centre).
John also ran the Bluenote Club

November 2016


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