In 1973 Pete Waterman opened his new shop (with his mate Tilly) - The Soul Hole - in the basement of I AM - a hippy boutique in Hales Street Coventry. It specialised in rare soul imports not available in this country. Pete had connections through his DJ work and had apparently supplied imports to the Beatles on their first visit to Coventry c 1963. The basement was very cramped and soon the Soul Hole moved to upstairs at Virgin Records. I knew Pete from the GEC and the Walsgrave. Pete supported Hobo by giving us an ad, a Soul Hole Singles Chart and the article Virgin Records (Coventry) below published in issue 4 of Hobo - August 1974.
Pete Waterman's Soul Hole 1973
By 1974 both Pete and I had left the GEC and I was now running Hobo Magazine. In August 1973 I went in to I Am, a hippy boutique in Hales Street Coventry. They had placed a full page ad in Hobo and I went to see if they'd do it a 2nd time. As I walked in the was bouncing with soul music. "What's going down in the cellar?" "It's Pete Waterman, he's renting the basement for his new Soul Hole Shop. Why don;t you go down, he'll give you an ad for the magazine, he's trying to get it off the ground.". Obviously I already knew Pete and went down. The place was heavin' and I pushed my way the counter. Pete was selling Northern Soul imports and already doing a good trade. I have never seen a record shop before or since, so packed and full of such energy. Pete was hugely popular on the disco circuit in Coventry and veritable mover and shaker on the Coventry music scene. He ran the shop with his mate and fellow DJ, Tilly Rutherford, who later worked for Pete's PLW label.
In 1974, we reported in Hobo reported that "Dave Simmons, Radio One DJ on the Saturday Soul programme, dedicated last week's programme exclusively to the Philly Sound, thanks to the efforts of of our own Pete Waterman, who has just returned from the very place with a hoard of interviews and information about the Philly Sound. Pete was interviewed throughout the program by Dave and the interviews Pete himself did were broadcast.. Next issue, if Pete gets it together, we will have an article for Hobo on the Philly sound from the expert!" We didn't that second article but we did his review of a Three Degrees concert.
This is what Pete says about 1973 in his book p34 of I Wish I Was Me published in 2000.
"It was 1973 and it was time for me to put the final bits of the jigsaw puzzle together. Time to stop sitting on the sidelines and start participating. I'd been so inspired by American music....through initial contacts, I had a standing invitation to go over to Motown and to Philadelphia International to meet Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and Tom Bell. So I thought - this was the kind of arrogance that was motivating me at the time - that what I would do was make a radio show about r 7 b. Not the r & b that Mike Raven played, which was serious soul but a different side of it., pop, r&b, Motown, Three Degrees and Billy Paul...I bought myself a little tape recorder, booked myself a ticket and jumped on a plane. I'd decided to go to Philly rather than Motown because Philly seemed to be the coming thing. Motown, I'm sorry to say, seemed to be over....The trip to Philadelphia was going to be research and I had also considered writing a book about the mechanics of the r&b industry."
By 1974, Pete had found a larger room upstairs above the new Coventry Virgin Records shop in the City Arcade. Virgin Records was a sales point for Hobo Magazine and they also advertised in the magazine. Once again Pete Waterman obliged with an advert and offered to write a Soul article for the magazine.
The article transcribed -
PETE WATERMAN'S SOUL ARTICLE (1974) from HOBO - Coventry Music and Arts Magazine
As you know by now our small shop (The Soul Hole) has now moved to the top of Virgin Records in the City Arcade. Our new shop will, we hope, bring more people into the faith. We had a good time at the shop in the I AM boutique but the stock was getting too big for our small shop. The move will not, we hope, change the service that we are so proud of. The new shop will give us more room to serve and talk. Also you can stand up! (The Soul Hole was originally in the cellar of the I AM boutique with a low ceiling!!)
THE THREE DEGREES
Anyway, down to business. As most of you know by now, I spent the 5th and 6th of March with the Three Degrees. Sheila, Fay and Valerie. On Monday the 5th I went to the Mayfair Hotel in London to see the girls do their own thing. The girls got on and did When Will I See You Again. The first thing that took our breath away was their see through dresses, but they are far from just good looking foxes. At dinner I sat with Peter Winfield (for all those who don't read sleeve notes) Peter is the cat who played keyboards for BLOODSTONE on both Natural High and their new album. For all the foxes and cats not into our faith, Pete also plays for COLIN BLUNSTONE, and writes for a National rock paper.
Pete is a soul freak, like myself and we both agreed their harmonies were the tightest we'd heard for some time. The voices were fantastic, Sheila takes the lead most of the time. The next in line was Dirty Old Man, this was fantastic, with the girls showing they can handle the audience with fun and firmness. Then they did "A Woman Needs Love" proving they can sing ballads as well as up tempo Nos. Their footwork was as good as any I've seen before, and if any in the audience weren't sold on that, the next was they're single Year of Decision. It had everybody on their feet shouting for more. But it was all over, Pete and the Colin Blunstone band went off to record the Old Grey Whistle Test, and I went to the girls bedroom to have a natter to them about their early years for all the people who knock our music- God knows why!
Just as a boost to our egos, David Bowie was there to pay homage to the three ladies of soul. It seems that Rock stars are getting back to their roots with Bowie telling me that he is soon to be recording with top black acts in the states and John Lennon saying Ann Pebbles I Can Feel the Rain is the best record for two years.
New Sounds to Look Out For
The Ojays new single is a track off their latest LP (as are all the new Philly singles) and is called For the Love of Money. The Intruders - I’ll Always love My Mama (2 Pts)
Trammps new single is a track off the 1970 British Motown company, picking the slower track. USA Marvin Gaye scores with his controversial single You Sure Like to Ball taken from the Let’s Get it On album. A new single soaring up the American charts from the M.F.S.B. band on Philly International is called Tsop, taken from the TV series Soul Train.The end five bars feature the 3 Degrees.
LP of the month - too many really to pick one but look out for Blue Magic and import Out Here on my Own Lamont / Dozier. Superb LP’s. Next Billy Paul single The Whole Town’s Talkin’ .
Also check out - Rock me Baby - George McCrea / Help Yourself - Undisputed Truth / Dancing Machine - Jackson 5 / I Lied - Bunny Sigler / Mighty Mighty - Earth, Wind and Fire / Be Thankful For What You’ve Got - William Devaaughn / Chameleon - Herbie Hancock / Sagittarius - Eddie Kendicks / If You’re Ready - Staple Singers / Got To Get You Back - Sons of Robin Stone / Pepper Box - The Peppers
See ya soon. Keep the faith right on -