Craig Charles looks back at Liverpool's Mardi Gras Club and the
special relationship, it had with Sixties soul music.
The Mardi Gras opened in Liverpool in 1957 and went on to become
a gathering place, for a post-war generation of young music fans.
Even though "De Mardi", as it was called in local patois, pre-empted
the Northern Soul movement, it was during its "silk sax" years, that the
cavernous, former cinema presented a royal rosta of suited guests, with
the likes of Ben E King, Al Green and Arthur Conley taking to the stage.
The Mardi Gras also became home to Brian Epstein's most famous
"lost" act: Toxteth- raised doo-wop masters: The Chants. The "Members
Only" Mardi also developed into a highly competitive DIY academy for
aspiring local outfits, such as The Vocal Perfection, later to become
chart-toppers: The Real Thing. In keeping with the "scally" culture of the
city, the club can claim to be the forerunner of the tribute band phenomeon,
as The Mardi Gras, regularly hosted "The Fabulous Temptations" and "The
Craig tells the story of a time, when the black and white youth of Liverpool
mixed and strutted together, on the same dance floor, and hears the vivid
recollections of musicians: Geno Washington, Eddie and Chris Amoo, and
Kenny Ball, music journalist Paul Du Noyer and the legendary comperes,
during those "Tamla Nights", Billy Butler and Chris Wharton.
Presenter: Craig Charles. Producer: James Crawford.
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