Steve Wright, or Wrighty to the masses has been DJing for over 30 years and collecting records for even longer. As such, it seemed only right that he might have a tale or two to tell about the black stuff and so here he is in our second Diggin’ Deep feature.
A staunch Londoner who has been buying wax since he was a mere 14 years old, the young Wrighty would make regular pilgrimages to the brilliant, but sadly now defunct, Sellanby Discs & Tapes in South Harrow to pick up his weekly dose of vinyl. As his shop purchases increased, he caught the DJ bug while at school and eventually started doing parties alongside a friend. A move beyond the Watford Gap to Nottingham in 1993 followed, where his attention was drawn to the city’s former record havens Arcade and Funky Monkey, and he soon found himself documenting the local club scene for the Midlands section of Clubhoppin’ in Blues & Soul.
Over the years, he’s run a number of successful nights, one of the most notable being Hot Butter, a funk and jazz night where the soundtrack would range from Pucho to Roni Size, ATCQ to Idris Muhammad, and guest DJs included the mighty Keb Darge, Straight No Chaser’s Paul Bradshaw, Snowboy and everybody’s favourite tea fanatic, Mr Scruff. His current long-standing monthly residency is Soul Buggin’, which started back in September 2004 alongside friends and fellow DJs Beane the Noodler and Mark A. Now in its tenth year, which is no mean feat considering the ever-changing musical climate, the open-minded club night boasts a booking policy that has drawn some of the world’s best underground DJ talent to the city, a fact that has helped it remain a firm favourite in Nottingham’s nightlife.
Wrighty still goes out on the odd local digging expedition when family time allows, although the field of discovery has reduced dramatically over the last decade. The trusty Rob’s Records still exists however, squirrelled away off the Market Square, down an alley and stacked rather chaotically with second hand LPs, twelves and sevens all ripe for an extensive search and rescue. “I can’t help it, it’s in my make up” Wrighty finishes “there’s something about finding that there treasure”. Amen to that and below you will find three of those very gems plucked from his collection!
#1: Love Unlimited “I’m So Glad That I’m A Woman”
I first heard the track ‘I’m So Glad that I’m A Woman’ on the final day of broadcast by Solar Radio back in 1985 as they were applying for a legal broadcast licence. I’d recorded a lot of the last day and this was one of the tracks that had stuck with me. After years of searching stalls and second hand shops I’d not found it anywhere when one Friday night out a mate of mine at the time was DJing and pulled out the said album – I went beserk demanding he sell it to me, he of course refused as it was full of other blinding tracks. He did tell me he had bought in a shop on Goldhawk Road in Shepherds Bush, there had been a warehouse discovery and they had nine in when he left. Anyway I was working at TV Centre the next day so was going to head down in my lunch break, but about 10.30 I just couldn’t wait and got the OK from my boss to head down there. I must have run the whole way and picked up my copy, the last one they had left.
It’s not a particularly hard LP to get, especially nowadays, nor is it worth a lot but it is massive to me as it took me four years to come across a copy.
#2: Leroy Hutson “Get To This (You’ll Get To Me)”
I’d been about 19 when I picked this up, I was still massively unschooled in music at the time despite what I thought. I was at my first Boscombe Weekender and thought I’d have a look through the record stall as I’ve never been able to resist (I think looking back it might have been run by Mark Lessener, who I spent fortunes with in the 80s). So I’m ploughing through not really recognising much of the stuff while in the background this killer track is playing that I’d never heard before, the song finished and Bob Masters announced that was Leroy Hutson ‘Get To This’. Hang on I thought, I’ve just seen that name, so backed up through the rack to discover the ‘Closer To The Source’ album with that same track on.
I bought the album there and then and was told by the dealer, Mark, that it was a brilliant album. He wasn’t wrong.
#3: The Four Tops “I Just Can’t Get You Out of My Mind”
This tune was a firm favourite with a group of mates that I used to go to football and clubbing with, especially Ralph who discovered it for us and used to sing it to us at any available opportunity.
Fast forward a few years and I was now living in Nottingham and was convinced to get up one Saturday morning, despite a hangover and about four hours sleep, to go to a record fair at Trent Bridge Inn by my girlfriend, now my wife. To be honest I really wasn’t in the mood and walking into a pub smelling of fags and stale beer, whilst several stalls played bloody awful music too loud and way too tinny. I’d looked through a few racks and at a few stalls but there was nothing singing out when I quickly flipped through a rack labelled ‘Motown’. I’d expected it to be full of Chartbuster albums so was flying through only half paying attention, when I came across a plastic sleeve with a paper inner, it took me a few seconds to register that the inner had a cover printed on it, and a few seconds to think ‘hang on, Japanese import alert’. I went back to it and lo and behold it was a Japanese import of the ‘Main Street People’ album. I asked the dealer how much and he told me as there was no cover I could have it for £3. My hangover lifted there and then!