6Ts - Northern Soul's Southern Home

Randy Cozens - by Ady Croasdell

 

I met Randy through our mutual love of soul music in the mid 70s at a pub near Baker Street station. He was impressed at all the obscure soul records these Northern kids had (he’d been collecting since 1963 and he’d never seen some of these before), and I was in awe at meeting an original mod that had lived through the golden era.

The first night the two of us went out to a dance together was down to Brighton in his roofer’s van, and though Brighton was a pioneering soul town in the pre-6Ts days, two locals decided to have a go by twanging Randy’s braces.... We came back with a 2-0 away win - a great night out and some primitive male bonding.

Musically he loved hearing the northern sounds he’d missed as a mod, though he hated pop and refused to come to the early Jam gigs with me. For me, and a lot of the crowd, he was turning on to Chuck, Maxine, Bobby Bland, Arthur Alexander, Lou Johnson, Kenny Carter, Irma Thomas.. and more importantly, he was influencing the London scene into incorporating early mod sounds like Spooner’s Crowd, Etta James ‘Mellow Fellow’, Sugar Pie & Etta’s “In the Basement”, High Keyes “Que Sera Sera”, Johnny Nash’s “Love Ain’t Nothin’” etc into the playlist

He got on well with the London Northern soul crowd, who in those days, numbered around 50! And he would bring his own crew of Southgate roofers, labourers and pissheads (including 6Ts member 31, Sean Adams)_ along to dances at Bisley, Yate, Berkhampstead and Wimbledon. The clubs really began to happen then, and these were some of the best times of my life. Then in August 1979 the clubs that we’d been going to had to shut down for various reasons, usually licensing, reasons, and we discussed doing our own night in the Bedford Head, Covent Garden - a great basement room with a reasonable dance floor (it had to be the basement!) The first night saw groups of soul fans from Letchworth, Flint, Brighton, Market Harborugh, Worcester and Oxford. Randy’s wife, Dawn did the door. The Southgate and London regulars all turned out and it was a hot, sweaty pulsating night to remember and the start of the 6Ts Rhythm and Soul Society that sees its 24th anniversary this September.

I didn’t DJ, Randy did, and over the next few years he would play sounds like Bobby Kline, Kenny Cartlon, Soul Brothers Six, ‘Shoes’, Jerry Ganey, Brooks O’Dell and later he got more into 70s sounds with Bette Swann, Jeff Perry, Alfie Davidson and Sam Dees. His tapes were legendary and they always contained ballads and enders of the highest quality, many like John Wesley Ryles, Marion Love and Dan Folger that I’d never heard before.

The club shifted to The Railway, West Hampstead for more memorable nights that can’t be described in terms of importance and sheer fun. After odd occasional venues we held London’s first all-nighter for over a decade in the venue where Randy learned his love of soul music in the 60s, The Last Chance Saloon, 21 Oxford Street. We then moved to the 100 Club, which was when Randy decided to get out of the music promotion and concentrate on the music, dancing and drinking. He stayed fiercely loyal to the 6Ts and even dragged himself down there in May a few weeks before he died.

He also got a memorable night out with Maine, Dean Parrish, the Ace and Kent staff, Dave Godin and his two sons, Paul and Terry, whom he was immensely proud off. We all went to an Italian restaurant in Soho and had a wonderful evening that will live with us forever.

As a man, he actually was a man, with all the best and worst that entails. He helped me grow up, and he definitely was the brother I never had, and he was a terrific friend to others and me. To say he didn’t suffer fools would be an understatement. The sort of soul people he liked were Dick and Margaret Keogh and family who travelled down from Warrington to Southgate for his great free all-dayers just to dance and enjoy the music - all the people who weren’t in it for the money, the image, the ego.

Ady Croasdell

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