To be honest, I can’t remember exactly when the Pure nights started – 1990 or 1991 – but I remember the idea behind the project, which was to combine the soul, funk and disco (from the Thursday CarWash night) with a wider range of dance music including acid jazz and some stand-out house tracks. The result was a really successful Saturday night at the Man Alive, DJ’d by Trafford and Dale. It ran every week until the club was sold in 1996.
Some of my favourite tracks were:
Mantronix – Got To Have Your Love (1989)
Shabba Ranks – Mr Loverman (1988)
Barrie K Sharpe & Diana Brown – The Masterplan (1990)
In 1991/92 I went to the Jazz Cafe in London expecting a regular club night (I was visiting my friend in Camden). Barrie K Sharpe was playing and I wasn’t sure who he/they were; the concert was great – I recognised the tunes from dancing to them at the Man Alive. Me and my friend Liz danced all night; I remember members of the band looking at us as if we were slightly deranged… maybe dancing at gigs wasn’t cool in London.
Young Disciples – Apparently Nothing (1991)
Sounds of Blackness – Optimistic (1991)
Funky Worm – Hustle to the Music (1988)
Soul II Soul, The Brand New Heavies, Freak Power, The Family Stand, The Adventures of Stevie V and The Source featuring Candi Staton were played at Pure alongside classic dance standards by The Jackson 5, James Brown and Sly & The Family Stone.
There was so much great dance music in the early 90s, but only a fraction of it was being played at most clubs because of the acid house obsession which had gripped the nation. The Man Alive was a haven of musical diversity in Manchester just when we needed it most!
The music at the Man Alive from 1989/90 onwards was very similar to what Dave Haslam eventually played at his Yellow night at the Boardwalk on Little Peter Street, which started in 1992. Oddly Dave never mentions this when he gives his definitive account of Manchester music history.
I went back to see what the Man Alive looks like now. It seems to have two names: one over the door and one down the side. I spoke to some of Roy’s old friends who used to play dominoes on a Sunday at the Man Alive and they described it as an ‘african club'; they haven’t been down there since Roy sold up.
I wonder what happened to Roy’s fish? He had great big fish tanks fitted into the walls around the dancefloor. The fish were always in beautiful condition but I did worry about the effect all the noise must have had on them. They didn’t appear distressed though.