From its 1973 inception until its untimely demise in 1981, Wigan Casino virtually defined Britain's Northern Soul club scene -- no other venue so completely captured the Northern spirit at its most hedonistic, with all-nighters that are now the stuff of legend. A massive post-Victorian theater-cum-snooker hall, its environment was ideal for dancing, with a sprung wooden floor instead of the concrete flooring common to other clubs; DJs Russ Winstanley, Kev Roberts and Richard Searling broke more new records than any other club, and in 1978 the Casino was named by Billboard Magazine "Best Disco in the World," beating even New York's renowned Studio 54 at the peak of its own influence and notoriety. The second volume in the Joe Boy label's Night Owl series celebrates Wigan Casino's memory and enduring influence, assembling two-dozen little-known soul records guaranteed to set the club afire back in the day; several rare tunes make their CD debut -- there's no real thematic consistency besides each song's popularity with Wigan Casino crowds, but given the impeccable tastes of most who stomped across its floor, that's probably enough. Highlights include the Electrifying Cashmeres' "What Does It Take," Barbara West's "Congratulations Baby," Don Varner's "Tear-Stained Face" and Holly Maxwell's "Only When You're Lonely."
AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny
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