After a period in the Eighties as front-man for instantly forgettable Bands such as 'The Badgers' ('We're The Badgers and this is our set') 'The Jimmy Bowen Experience' (Bully for you') and 'The Late Lee Marley All-Stars' ( Always Late !) I drifted even further into Oblivion and they weren't much good either !

I first encountered Soul ( like most kids from working-class backgounds did in the 1960s) as part of the wall-paper pop-explosion blazing out of our transistor radios yet I didn't know it was Soul initially 'but it stood out from the white re-workings of R&B originals that made up the bulk of what was being thrown at us. This music had passion and vitality and spoke to us, it was raw yet polished too ,a breath of fresh air and once you realised there was more beyond the odd offering on Radio Play-lists, life was sweeter still (i'm still getting excited about tracks i've just plain and simply never heard before, it really does seem endless)

I grew up in a household that loved music. My Father met my Mother when he was playing piano in Pubs (for beer) in The 1950s. He loved Elvis, Big Bill Broonzy, Lead Belly, Ray Charles and Country Stars like Slim Whitman and Jim Reeves. Our Mother always sang to us, mainly English Music Hall Songs, Show Songs And 1940s Wartime favourites.My Eldest Sister sang in Clubs in The british Folk-song Revival (and still does) guesting with some pretty major Artists. Being the youngest, when the rest of the kids had been packed off to school I would sit with my Mother in the small kitchen of our Council House ,She did the Washing, Ironing etc and I soaked up the sounds from the Radio, I knew all the words to songs and we regularly had liittle get togethers which my eldest sister would stage-manage each of us doing our party-piece bringing out in me the performer/ egotist / regular Royal pain in the ass...just kidding !

Later on in my teens and into my twenties i sang solo and in a few Bands, even got to cover some soul-sides namely ' Goin to a happening' Tommy Neal & 'Show Me' Joe Tex, did some recording one track did make it onto a compilation tape.

My first-encounter with something beyond Motown and the odd Hittsville influenced sound was at a youth-club my Mother ran in the late 1960s and early 1970s. That's where i first heard Ska and other Artists like 'Johhny Johnson & The Bandwagon'. 'Sly & The Family Stone', this was a harder blacker sound, 'James Brown', Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Rufus Thomas, Aretha Franklin...I was hooked !

I guess i've taken the same journey of musical discovery as many of us growing up in the 1960s and early 1970s, fact of the matter is i'm still on that journey. I graduated from youth-clubs to Town-Hall Soul nights small club-nights ran by like-minded R&B enthusiasts and eventually to All-Nighters, my first being 'Wigan Casino'.
Too many Venues, Too many people & places to mention them all. Today, after the odd flurry over the years, I find myself .,once again, immeresed in this thing called 'SOUL' and lucky enough to be able to play to an audience who are all friends who also have a passion for 'SOUL' people talk about the Life & Soul ...Soul is Life......simple as that !Thankyou to All my friends past and present for being just that !

Special Thanks to Les Cockel (R.I.P fellah) for being a great mate and rekindling my interest in The Music ! Making me dig out my 45s for a Wheel revival. Big Thanks to 'Steve Cato' for encouraging me to play them out !
A Major Thankyou to Carl & Maria Willingham for their support and friendship. Last but not least CARLOS for his unstinting support ! BEARSOUL.