Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Major Lance - Live at the Torch LP

Contempo, COLP 1001, 1973

Side A
01 Hey, Hey
02 I Wanna Make You Up
03 My Girl
04 Um Um Um Um Um Um
05 The Beat
Side B
06 Ain't No Soul (Left In These Old Shoes)
07 Investigate
08 Monkey Time

This recording by Major Lance is widely regarded to be the greatest live Northern Soul recording put to wax! Just listen to the party vibe going on in the YouTube clip below, bonkers! The venue reached full capacity that night, apparently there were as many people outside the club as inside, still trying to get in. Not a gig to forget if you were lucky enough to gain entry.

Originally an old cinema, the Golden Torch was redeveloped as a luxury nightclub by Chris Burton, a Midlands businessman, in 1963. Featuring a Roman chariot on the outside wall, the club was classy, with marble pillars and the now compulsory balcony overlooking the dance floor. Originally designed to hold about five hundred people, in it's heyday it hosted in excess of one and a half thousand; which, as the club was situated in a quiet residential street, was only the start of the club's problems. - more info here

Dateline: December 9th, 1972
The Torch Club, Turnstall, Stoke-On-Trent (UK)

Twelve thousand fingers a-poppin', twelve hundred voices raised in salute to a great artist. It's quite a night at Britain's No. 1 Soul club. Major Lance is on stage and tonight he's smashed every box-office record in the book. As he struts around the tiny stage, pouring out the songs which have earned him a place in the Soul Hall of Fame, the excitement reaches to the rafters. There's enough energy in the club tonight to light the town. This album captures the magic of the occasion.
It's something of a threefold tribute.....to Major Lance's dynamic artistry and magnetism; to the staunch supporters of the Torch for their enthusiasm, and, also, to the massive Soul following in Britain for it's undaunted efforts in keeping this brand of music firmly on the map. Soul is a feeling, and means different things to different people. Spin this album on your turntable and it'll mean something special to you.
Chris Burton
The Torch

This one is brought to you by my mystery contributor. Cheers!


  1. Hey Woo Dops. Thanks so much for this very unusual Major Lance live recording. Really appreciate your kindness and generosity. All the best,


  2. Iggy, you're very welcome...thanks!

  3. NICE! I remember seeing Major Lance in the 60`s at the Central Soul Club. He signed my "Greatest Hits" LP. It`s great to get some of them "live". Thanks for sharing.

  4. many many thanks for sharing this

  5. Awesome is an overused word, but not in the case of Major Lance live. Great, great night it was.

  6. I bet it was! Thanks for the comment.

  7. I was fortunate enough to be in Major Lance's backing band for a British and Belgian tour, playing bass. All we were given was this album to learn the set from. We met up with Major Lance at Strikes 1926 club in the Potteries, with Chris Burton, and did a quick run-through, then it was off on the road. The gigs were amazing, as was the schedule! The 24-hour all-dayer's meant we played a number of "doubles" or two gigs in one day. Sometimes it seemed the same audience was dancing at consecutive gigs. Major Lance was amazing, he could work an audience like no-one else, at the California Ballroom, Dunstable, I remember him tearing off his frilly dress shirt and tearing it into pieces to throw to the fans. He looked after us, as well. making sure we were fed and treated right at the Playboy Club in Park Lane when we played there, as he was then on Playboy Records. H even phoned Bunny headquarters in Chicago to make sure it all happened. I can honestly say I have never worked so hard as a bassist, as when we were backing him, there was never a moments relief from the high-energy power of all those Northern Souls hits. I think I still have the outfit I wore and the Torch badges we got out of Chris Burton's Jaguar boot somewhere. 6 weeks of craziness and great memories; after the tour we went back to our normal gigs as "Essence" playing soul/jazz/funk, a much quieter life!

  8. Thanks for the great story, anonymous bass player!!....completely forgot to thank you when you left the comment...better late than never!

  9. The link is actually down right now. Is there any hope for an alternative?

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Nearly 42 years later, I still remember that night, hairs on the back of neck, and shivers down the spine, saw Major twice at the Torch, 1st time he took the band off stage after a couple of numbers to rehearse, came back and blew the place apart.

  12. WOW!!) Thanks for sharing. Major was my father. Unfortunately he died before myself and several other siblings could meet him. This helps to know him a little better. He definitely loved the stage. Again, thank you. God Bless.

  13. re-up


  14. Great memories of this night with Major Lance the place was rocking fantastic atmosphere I was guitarist in the the band which was The John Mcflare Band we only had two afternoon rehearsals for this show so not much time to digest the music but got to say Major Lance was great artist very professional also we had additional guitarist for this album he later joined rock band Budgie he was the late John Thomas also on keyboards we had former Band of Joy member Chris Brown anyway I can still remember this amazing night in Stoke.