Started in 2005 by a group of enthusiasts and friends of over 30 years, and originally based in Orlando, Florida, the club’s beginnings concentrated on searching out Artists, Producers, Musicians and anyone connected with creating the music that had been a backdrop to our lives. The name 'Hitsville' was chosen as a testament to the company founded in Detroit by Berry Gordy. Whilst the music enjoyed by the club is primarily 60s and 70s soul of all tempos, styles and the 45s played range from almost impossible to find rarities to dollar cheapies, the criteria being the quality of what’s in the grooves. The first Hitsville Rare Soul Weekender took place at La Quinta Resort and Hotel in Kissimmee, Florida in 2005. Collectors from the US collaborated with their UK counterparts to create a weekend of rare soul played from original vintage vinyl. From these humble beginnings, with 40 participants, the club established itself as a collection of record enthusiasts intent on maintaining a close knit friendship based on our mutual love of soul music, vinyl records and the people who created them. Originally, the weekender was planned as a one off but people had such a good time in Orlando in '05 that it was collectively decided to try and make it an annual gathering. Hence the Hitsville Annual Rare Soul Weekender was born.
In 2006, the club doubled in size and the 2nd Rare Soul Weekender hosted over 70 ‘dancin’ collectors from both continents once again.
It was around this time that two members, Jason Thornton a US music fan and Dave Moore a native Brit who resided in Florida at the time, both of whom were avid soul record collectors, embarked on a project that led to the creation of the in house Rare Soul magazine – “There’s That Beat!”
Over the next 3 years all the research, digging and interviewing would make its way into the pages of “There’s That Beat!”, resulting in the stories of many little known contributors to soul music having their belated, but much deserved, 15 minutes of fame. All in full, glossy color, just as it should be.
Collectors from all over the world contributed to the magazine that published 11 issues between ‘05 – ‘08 and our thanks go out to each and every one of them.
The 3rd Annual Hitsville Rare Soul Weekender saw the club once again return to La Quinta which had now become a Best Western resort, with even more numbers and that year we proudly hosted a special trio of record guys from Philadelphia’s golden age.
The Harthon Record Company owners, Johnny Stiles, Luther Randolph and Weldon Arthur McDougal III were our esteemed guests for the weekend and it was a special thrill to see their reaction to the full hour of their music that opened the Saturday Night Allnighter. Two main players from that weekend have since passed, Weldon and original 'Hitsviller' and long time collector Alan Pollard from UK. I’m sure they sit and recollect the memories of that weekend now together.
After 3 successful weekenders in the US, the organizers Bev and Dave Moore returned to Europe and settled in Southern Spain. The original members of the club decided to continue the Annual vinyl frivolities and the past 5 have taken place in the small town of Mojacar, in the Province Almeria in Spain. The event takes place in the Hotel Continental, right on the beach!
The 9th Hitsville Rare Soul Weekender took place September 19 - 22nd 2012 and once again saw collectors from all over the world descend on the Hotel Continental in Mojacar, for 4 days and nights of vinyl mayhem. Over the years, the club has used ticket sales to purchase and maintained all its own sound rig and special care is taken to ensure that all the equipment is set up to ensure the best possible sound available, to match the great records that are played over the weekend.
We are still here in 2015, we celebrated the 10th Anniversary last year with a record crowd and what turned out to be the best Weekender yet! This year we get to do it all over again. Our weekender begins on Thursday night at the Lua Bar in Mojacar at 9pm and finishes up at Midnight on Sunday at the Hotel COntinental.
The Weekender programme began on Thursday with an evening ‘early arrivals’ session at Lua Beach Bar and the Friday and Saturday events took place at the Hotel Continental. On Sunday we hosted the now traditional Sunday Soul Alldayer including a BBQ brunch on the terrace of The Continental overlooking the beach and the mediterranean which finished off at midnight with a raucus oldies set.
As the club grows the list of DJ collectors who join us grows. Some well known, some not so well known, but all possess that special ethos that ensures they bring their passion, knowledge and of course their records in order to share a few days with like-minded people who don’t take themselves too seriously but know how to have a great time! Each year that well known soul gent and Hitsville Club Member Chris Waterman of New Century Soul in UK, provides complimentary slipmats (see above), to each and every collector who plays 45s at that particular weekender. Some of the guys who have graced the Hitsville Technics over the years are:
Dave Greet England
Dave Ferguson England
Dave Bywell - California US
Greg Tormo - New Jersey US
Miss Shingaling - Buffalo US
Pete Fowler (Australia)
Denny Johnson (Australia)
Sony and Aret (Rare Soul Millionaires- Chicago US)
Russ Vickers - England
Jason Thornton – West Virginia US
Mark Speakman – Wales UK
Dani Herranz – Valencia Spain
Albert Petit – Valencia Spain
Mike Umholtz – California US (Central Soul Club)
Tommy Potts – California US (Central Soul Club)
Jeff Lemlich – Florida US
Mark Holmes - Florida US
Chris Dalton – England
David Santiago - Madrid
David Briones - Madrid
Al Olmedo - Granada
Julian Bentley - England
Tony Jackson – England (Greatstone Manchester)
Les Hare – England
Pete Burgess – England (Greatstone Manchester)
Karl Heard – England (Burnley Allnighter)
Sean Haydon – England (Burnley Allnighter)
Kev Parker – England
Howard Griffin - England
Steve Boczkowski – Spain
Chris Lalor - Belgium
Russel Flegg - Gibraltar
John Elias - Wales
Paul Hannigan - Australia
Kev Kent - England
Gus DiverSoul - Madrid, Spain
Pedro Pablo - Madrid, Spain
Phil Dick - England
Shane Kent - England
Sallie Reynolds - England
Mark Johnson - England