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Ian Dewhirst

(c)Ian Dewhirst is an English DJ who did the first Mastercuts compilations, then went on to compile for DEEP BEATS. He now works for simplyvinyl.com.


As ‘Frank’, Ian Dewhirst was a DJ on the Northern Soul scene, playing at Wigan Casino, Cleethorpes Pier and other guest slots. Subsequently, Ian was resident at the Warehouse in Leeds and ran Mastercuts, the compilation label. More recently, Ian Dewhirst was involved in Simply Vinyl and has recently begun reissuing and repackaging the Salsoul label.

How did you get into black music?
I got into soul when I got my first transistor radio and I used to listen to Luxembourg, of all people Tony Prince, Mike Raven and then it was Dave Simons’ R&B show on Radio 1, Saturday afternoons five o’clock. I started hearing things on the radio that you wouldn’t hear under any other circumstances, and it was the Motown thing that got me. The school I went to was a grammar school and everyone was into heavy rock, I was the only one into soul. But I started finding this sort of little crowd that were into Motown, the youth club crowd essentially. When I was fifteen I got a job at a clothes shop in Bradford and on the market there used to be a market stall called Bostock’s, and they used to do twenty records for a quid, American imports, with no centres in. At this time I used to buy records, even if I didn’t know what they were. Bostock’s had a chain, one in Huddersfield, one in Leeds and they had a lot of US and Canadian cut-outs, so I started buying all the Four Tops, Smokey and Stevie Wonder records that hadn’t come out over here. Anything, basically, on that label. Every Saturday for about a year I used to go to Bostock’s in my lunch hour come back with a bag of forty records, and my entertainment for that night was sitting down and playing the A and B-sides of these records and having my parents moan at me about saving money.--http://www.djhistory.com/djhistory/archiveInterviewDisplay.php?interview_id=36 [Mar 2005]

Classic Salsoul

Reprinted from Mastercuts Classic Salsoul volume 1 sleevenotes. (CUTSCD 10)

New York's Salsoul Records was created and financed by three brothers who had already independently established their mark in the business via their expertise in the Latin-American music market. Joe, Ken and Stan Cayre have a world-wide reputation for running a tight ship, so it seemed inconceivable that they would gamble on traditional music business areas like artist development, national distribution, promotion etc. etc. In all, we're talking too expensive, too risky and a probable loser IN THEORY. But somewhere along the line legendary Afro-Filipino musician Joe Bataan must've zapped the Cayre brothers with his sizzling version of Gil Scott-Heron's dancefloor anthem "The Bottle". Plus, being a red hot muso, he was probably bubbling over with enthusiasm over his description of a new sound - a natural fusion of South America's historic rythms, infectious feel and hot temper - Salsa, together with North Amerca's most unique legacy and consistent export - Soul. Salsa and Soul - Salsoul. Geddit! Anyway "The Bottle" hit big, Salsoul was born and the rest is dance music history.

Records like these are simply not made anymore.

Reprinted from Mastercuts Classic Salsoul volume 2 sleevenotes. (CUTSCD 13)

Complete orchestras can now be replaced by one person with a decent synthesiser and computer, consequently reducing costs by an average 4,800%. Drummers and bassists have generally been replaced by beat perrfect and digitally faultless machines which are 100% accurate, much cheaper, more convenient and much less temperamental! All those occasional lucky creative 'mistakes', irrational musical suggestions and SPONTEANEOUS musical inspirations which CREATED the music of this scentury are now becoming slowly redundant. Even the Traditional Music Biz occupations and skills like lyric writing, melodic song writing, musical arranging and conducting are becoming generally less relevant with each passing year and every new machine. After all, if you're a record company accountant, the bottom line never lies, right? And none of us could doubt that one person or even a FEW people would have to be less expensive than sixty people. Plus machines generally do what you tell 'em with deadly accuracy, very few mistakes, excellent time efficiency and obvious cost effictiveness. So using humans simply does not make econonomic sense these days. For instance, why pay an eight piece classically trained string section, when a synth and programmer will KIND OF, NEAR ENOUGH, GENERALLY do the same job for a fraction of the outlay? Please believe us - Mastercuts does not have a downer on the recent technological revolution in music. We only have a downer on the sort of MENTALITY that current technology creates ... from the top level to the bottom!
(...) So hold tight, 'cos we are about to experience the exuberance, enthusiasm, expertise and excellence of a tiny New York record label. A label that has undoubtedly been the most influential and INSPIRATIONAL example to today's new producers, and remixers. A label that is generally considered to be the TRULY ACKNOWLEGDED LEADER of modern dance music's early commercial success and popularity in the '70s. And a label whose catalogue has consistently provided the raw fuel which contiunes to stock todays massive GLOBAL DANCE MARKET.

Classic Electro [...]

Arriving at about the same time as a lot of the 80’s Groove category, Electro had a much more difficult time with the DJ community, due to the experimental nature of the recordings, and there was a tendency for many DJ’s to be openly critical of the general lack of Soul, R ‘n’ B harmonies, and lush production values. This could occasionally get nasty with some club crowds who saw Electro as an INSULT when played on the same night as more traditional fare. Speaking from Mastercuts’ own viewpoint, this was a regular headache which eventually turned into a migraine when a DJ from 40 miles away started specialising in ‘Pure Techno’, ensuring that many of Mastercuts’ more adventurous customers started demanding more left-field Electro platters to be spun every night!

Anyway, luckily, Mastercuts managed to avoid any scenes of dancefloor carnage and life continued to be groovy. But we never forgot that blasted DJ, his name was Greg Wilson and he was mashing those decks to PIECES at Wigan Pier and Legends in Manchester, both of which quickly attained ‘compulsive’ status for Electro lovers. Then the guy was voted North’s top DJ by Blues and Soul magazine shortly after becoming the first UK DJ to mix live on television via a transmission of ITV’s The Tube. The ‘Greg Wilson Mix’ on Manchester’s Piccadilly Radio was already cult listening. Before retiring from Deejaying in 1984, Greg had kicked off the first weekly dance night at The Hacienda and was managing Britain’s best known breakdance crew, Manchester’s Broken Glass. In ’84 he produced Streetsounds’ experimental “UK Electro” album and has since produced the Ruthless Rap Assassins and more recently Mind Body and Soul. --From The Sleevenotes Of ‘Classic Electro Mastercuts’, Author: Ian Dewhirst (Mastercuts) / Greg Wilson

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