Various Artists – Once Upon A Time In Wigan

Reliving those all-nighters at the Casino...

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Not since the 1980s has Kent compiled such a commercial collection. But by issuing the soundtrack to a new play focusing on the lives of four teenagers at the Wigan Casino from 1973 to the venue’s closure in 1981, the label that set the benchmark for quality soul reissues finds itself celebrating the most populist of northern cuts.

Classic ‘Wigan-made’ pop hits like Frankie Valli’s “The Night” shuffle effortlessly alongside psychostompers like World Column’s “So Is The Sun” (the template for The Jam’s “Trans Global Unity Express”), but it’s with gems like Jimmy Radcliffe’s “Breakaway Pt 1” and Eddie Holman’s “I Surrender” that this collection really hits home.

The aficionado will have much of this already, but for the novice this is a pretty intelligent, well-packaged and well-informed introduction.

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