1980's Britain was a very different place to the country we know today. Underground Urban Music of any kind remained firmly underground and 'wasn't welcome' in almost every venue across Manchester City Centre. For most DJ's, playing at a Blues or a local Community Centre was about as good as it got - save the few esteemed turntablists who were fortunate enough to hold a residency at the legendary Reno nightclub.
In the early 80's Omar 'Gaddafi' Guedar became The Gallery nightclub's manager and assumed the running of the venue from Peter Gresty and his father-in-law Jimmy Rowe. The Gallery was one of 2-3 clubs who entertained black music and Omar continued that policy throughout his tenure as manager which proved to be the crucial breakthrough for a multitude of Manchester's legendary DJ's who would probably have remained unknown if not for The Gallery's Urban Music Policy.
The Saturday Soul night was the main highlight of every Soul Seeker's weekend, and The Gallery deservedly gained its cult status as the UK's premier Soul nightclub. Revellers from across the UK regularly descended on Manchester to experience firsthand The Gallery's Soul night which played host to many residents including Steve Rouf, Lee Brown, Hewan Clarke, DJ Tomlin B2B Chris Jam and Lascel.
In 1988 The Mighty Soul Control became resident DJ's and brought with them a 10,000 Watt Double Bass Sound System that shook the foundations of The Gallery to the core measuring on 9.5 on the earthquake Richter scale! Omar was the only person insane enough to allow a club to be stacked wall to wall and ceiling high with wardrobe sized speaker cabinets, which made The Gallery totally unique and as a direct result of this, the music genre of Street Soul was born.
Street Soul was a mixture of Soul mixed with Hip Hop break beats delivered with an eye-ball compressing overdose of Trouser Flappin', Chest Tumpin' Bass! Live PA's appeared at The Gallery on a regular basis including Deluxe, Smith and Mighty, Maxeen and Rick Clarke to name but a few.
There were two big Soul Sound Systems in the UK at this time, Soul II Soul in London and Soul Control in Manchester. Soul Control took to the road to spread the gospel across the inner cities of the UK and our brothers Soul 2 Soul took Street Soul to the top of the UK Pop charts and made the world sit up and take notice of what we had to say, and together with a new breed of Street Soul DJ's, the musical landscape of the UK was completely revolutionised and changed forever.
Unfortunately, it's only on reflection that you realise how much you owe someone, and Omar certainly falls into this category for those involved in the UK Urban Music Industry, as he is one who is owed so much by so many. Street Soul was born in The Gallery and every time a Street Soul track is played, Omar's influence and memory will continue to live on. From those whose lives were touched by Omar...... we'll be forever 'Missing You'.
T2 Bad - Soul Control
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