The Catacombs

This is an interesting article I found in a corner of the web for you !

Right On! The Cats (21st. October 1968 – 13th/14th. July 1974)

If you went to the soul nights at the Catacombs club like myself you may have fond memories of a sweaty dance floor, people passionately clapping on the beat and spinning on the bridges (that’s the sax bit in the middle) and most of the time nearly falling over or being caught by another dancer.
I’ve opened up this page due to the lack of memorabilia for this club to be found on the Internet (2001). So I thought let’s start you all off or perhaps to jog your memories, so here’s some of mine in pictures & sound – let’s see what happens.

catacombs

 

Mel Brat’s ‘Impression of the Cat’s
Dave Krynski from Tipton has recently played me some of the four hours of the last night that he recorded himself. Dave also owns many hours of Wigan live on the nite tapes as well from 1974 that can be made available if needed.
Our achieve also contains interviews with DJ’s old and new that made the Cat’s club famous these were recorded on its last night. I was there too, I’m the guy with a beard holding his two fingers in the air (the peace sign.) It was Saturday 13/14th. July, 1974.
The building was later demolished and made into a car park. Has anybody got a picture of the club from the outside that would be nice?
Your probably thinking what’s this got to do with a Black radio station tribute website? Well as a DJ from this station I always found the management supportive to all things in reflection of this era and It’s now well recognized that UK black music fans in general did a lot in the support of Black music in general – this page is in the way of thanks to all those artistes that made those great records and perhaps gained no recognition. – We thank you more than you will ever know!

Blue Max & Basic (DJ’s)
These are the only eight (in focus – 2003) known photographs of The Catacombs Club and all taken on the ‘last all-nighter’ (apart from one,) The Photo’s were taken by Dave Allen but were in my photo album for 20 years and then lent to Dave Krynski for some 8 years – Dave Allen now has them back! Some black & white copies have appeared in the book ‘The In Crowd’ by Mike Ritson and Stewart Russell.
The graffiti writing on the walls was excepted during the last week because the club being closed down – did you write on the wall ? – Tell me about it

The Clubs History

Mickey Nold, Dave Allen, Barry & Dave Krynski
Steve Dobson owned the club from 1967-1972 and he sold it to Astra Entertainments who also owned the Lafayette Club Wolverhampton and later the Wulfrum Hall. DJ Pep regularly organises anniversaries of the club’s closure – please contact him for more details of the next date.

The below year DJ chart was made up from the last night interviews and from the book ‘The In Crowd.’ Coming soon: pictures of Dave’s original Cats light bulb and sign nicked from the cloakroom – how sad is that?

A Night To Remember
The beat can be heard, faintly, through the summer night air, even from ‘The Pied Bull’ pub on the corner of Temple Street. On a wave of excitement barely contained, we hurry towards a sign of purple and white which juts out from a building halfway down the road. ‘Catacombs Club’ it reads, the perspex broken in its metal frame.
Through the wooden outer doors with their grimy glass panels and up two flights of concrete stairs we go, passing graffiti homage to ‘The Torch’ (complete with crudely drawn logo).
At the first floor the beat is louder still as we pass through another door into the club itself. To the right is an area to quickly deposit coats, then paying admission at the kiosk (my pink membership card newly encased in plastic after the discovery of its predecessor’s sweaty demise!), we enter Wolverhampton’s own haven of Rare Soul.

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The eerie sound of Saxie Russell’s intro to Psychedelic Soul, echoing down the long corridors of The Catacombs will stay in my memory for a long time.
A hot and sticky summer night in 1973 finds us here again, home from home. Along painted brick walls, on high backed, black wooden benches the exhausted sit awhile to recover and, perhaps, chat about ‘sounds’ – the common denominator of the North – swapping tales of rare discs heard and dreamed of.
Through the arches and nearer to the dance-floor, a larger crowd gathers, for ‘The Cats’ is, first and foremost, a place to dance, and here, under low, dark rafters frosted with condensation, dimly lit by the glow from the DJ booth and a few coloured light-bulbs, they dance well.

“The DJ played Psychedelic Soul. He hit the floor and lost control. .. ”
To either side, fire exits are propped open with house bricks and allow in a welcome breeze. Couples sit outside on the fire escape stairs, made (bizarrely) from timber, while a few characters down in the yard dance ‘al fresco’, clapping and yelling along with the music.
Back at the bar, guys buying pint pots of orange squash abandon them on the nearest flat surface as another favorite record is spun – SUPERLATIVES, BOB RELF, MOSES SMITH, NOLAN CHANCE, GLORIES, CINDY SCOTT, SWEET THINGS. . . lost Soul for lost souls.
Pep, Max, Graham Warr and Basil have it covered. The ‘sounds’ come on strong and fast – DOTTIE CAMBRIDGE, OTIS SMITH, HESITATIONS, LOU JOHNSON, VELOURS. . . all are received by whoops of recognition and outbreaks of communal clapping in just the right places!
Who cares now what time it is? – the windows are painted over and the outside world is forgotten. Time to dance is all that’s needed here.
Words seem inadequate to describe the mood. There’s a happy feeling afoot an atmosphere of determined “good times”, and one hell of a soulful vibe crackles around the corridors like a banshee.

 

Later, when it’s all over, I wring out my cotton shirt onto the pavement outside and the sounds of Soul vibrate in my ears all the way home. I can still hear them twenty-three years later, ’cause ‘The Cats’ was a great scene and an unforgettable part of my own Soul experience.

“See You At The Go-Go” – by Dave Krynski, 1996
(first published in Pep’s ‘Soul Times’ Magazine No.7)

Playlist & recording from the last nite at the Cats

(Track listing for the first hours plays (not this recording)
Recording above is hour three of the All-Niter (DJ Basil) What shows very well here is the dancers clapping, especially in the rhythm break of Bob Ralph’s song.

Visit the original post using the link below to see photos and listen to the audio

BEVERLY ANN – You’ve Got Your Mind On Other Things – RCA
KARL EVANS – Oo We Let It Be Me Babe – Skyway
JON LUCIAN – What A Difference Love Makes – RCA
CARL DOUGLAS – Marble & Iron – Buddah
THE FABULOUS EMOTIONS – Funky Chicken – Tamboo (new club theme music)
PAUL ANKA – I Can’t Stop Loving You – RCA
THE SERVICEMEN – Need A Helping Hand – Wind Hit
THE VELVET SATINS – Nothing Compared To You – General American
CASE OF TYME – Manifesto – Legend
THE STAGEMASTERS – Baby I’m Here Just To Love You – Slide
(CHRIS) CONNIE CLARKE – My Sugar Baby – Joker
LITTLE JOE ROMAN – When Your Lonesome (Come On Home) Tuff
POPCORN WYLIE – Rosemary What Happened (vocal) – Karen
Hour 1/Set 1: Resident DJ ‘Blue Max’ (Max Millward))
ILA VAN – Can’t Stop Loving This Man Of Mine – Roulette
THE POPPIES – There’s A Pain In My Heart – Epic
CHECKERBOARD SQUARES – Double Cookin’ – Villa (c/u as Bob Wilson Strings)
THE TIKI’S – Stop, Look & Listen – Ascot
STEVE KARMEN BIG BAND/JIMMY RADCLIFF – Breakaway – United Artists
Hour 1/Set 2: Guest (Wigan DJ): Kev Roberts (Part 1)
ANN BYERS – I’m Happy Without You – Academy
MARSHA GEE – Baby I Need You – Uptown
CHARLIE ROMANS – Twenty-Four-Hour Service – Hickory
JOHNNY HOWARD – The Chase Is On – Bashie
NANCY WILSON – The End Of Our Love – Capitol
LITTLE JOE ROMAN – When You Love Lonesome (Come On Home) – Tuff
EARL JACKSON – Self Soul Satisfaction – ABC

A recording of the second hour is reproduced thanks to Dave Krynski for recording it.
‘THE LAST NIGHT AT THE CAT’S’ was recorded by Dave Krynski 13/07/1974.

 

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