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Terry Jones: Celebrating 55 Years In The Business At LIQUID SPIRIT Gozo.

The People's DJ chats to Abi Clarke for LIQUID SPIRIT Gozo.

You’ll keep searching and searching your whole life through..but you'll never find..another DJ like Terry Jones.

We’re sitting in The Royal Standard in SE3, the boozer that plays host to Terry and Abi’s It Takes Two. It’s a blowy Thursday afternoon and as we sip a Mojito kindly offered by host Caroline who happened to be cocktail training, we prepare to open a can of wonderous worms that comprise the illustrious DJ career of Terry Jones.


“Where shall we start?” He smiles. “And how long have you got?!” From Aretha to Opolopo, this maestro of the turntables possesses musical acumen spanning an impressive five decades, and you can hear every inch of those years through the musical choices in his sets. They are moving,  uplifting, and educational and guaranteed to ensure everyone leaves lighter and brighter than when they arrived.


Terry Jones 55 years in the business
Terry jones, Andrea Britton, Abi Clarke



“I was selling records in London and a guy called Terry Angel who had the Seabright asked me to come and play some music in his pub on a Tuesday night. The rest is history.” Terry smiles.

He quietly, and humbly built his style around the music that moved him. “Back into the 60s and the civil rights movement, the struggle was oozing out of the records from Detroit and through the artists I love. Aretha, Nina Simone, you name it, if it was preachy, it found a way into my set!”.


With a 25-year residency at the legendary Southport Weekender, all the Suncebeats and LDFs, under his belt, and an incredible 21 years at The Norfolk Village, there’s no doubt Terry's sets are always eagerly anticipated. Throughout his career he has hosted Come On Over and Back To The Village, his legendary Village Soul residency at Newcastle's vibrant Hoochie Coochie and Suite Soul in Scotland which continues to draw crowds. He has been a long-serving pub landlord, played host to superstars, Odyssey and stunned George Michael (all stories and more were shared in our candid interview with Terry found on the LIQUID SPIRIT Gozo Reels). And back In 2003, Terry curated a compilation album, Soul Togetherness Presents Village Soul, and its sequel (2008) Village Soul Two, which both earned equal acclaim. Released through Expansion Records it is still a must-have for aficionados.


Norman Jay was recently chatting about the late sixties on his Soho Radio show. He recalled Terry being the only other DJ representing the soul scene in London at that time. Pioneers of the soul scene they birthed and nurtured the community that began around Shoreditch and expanded across the country over the years to come. No doubt they have both seen untold changes. Nowadays, sticks have replaced the record box. The arms are less pumped,  but the sets can go anywhere. The eras moved on and so did Terry but with his feet firmly on the ground.

Terry Jones 55 years in the business


Guardian Of The Groove


Terry has a presence most would die for. Subtle, strong and joyful. He wipes the floor with the old paradigm ‘boys club’ and leads with authenticity, heart and consistency and his fans feel that at every gig. “Me being gay definitely influenced my style. When I wasn’t out on the gay scene, I went partying like anybody else, but I found it more uplifting to go to where I could be myself. I’d go to Heaven and love the ‘hands in the air’ freedom sounds.” he continues, “but I could never be accused of playing records for myself. As a DJ you are doing a job. You are there to entertain.”

Well - it just so happened that he lived and breathed the music, so this was in no way a chore. He loves to play for the people and that is exactly why he is known as ‘The People’s DJ”. He was also noted as one of the ‘40 most influential DJs over the last 40 years’ in an article for Blues & Soul Magazine. Written by Stretch who called him the ‘Kofi Annan of the soul scene’ because he effortlessly bridged the gap between the north and south. But Terry counts longevity as one of his biggest achievements. The fact that he can cross over to different scenes and is still being booked is a blessing.

And why wouldn’t he? He is the king of the cross over, in fact, many could still not pull that off. His sets are pockets of wonderful memories. He pulls you in on his unique ‘Terry Journey’ skilfully navigating a seamless spectrum of sounds, blending Soul, Rare Groove, Bossa, Jazz, and Soulful House into a tapestry that will leave nobody sitting down.


Terry sums up advice for Gen Z and beyond simply; “Be patient and respectful. Know your music, learn about soul music, house, ballads, and funk, and don’t get pigeonholed. Specialising in a little bit of modern soul has done well for me because it leads me to Soulful House. Everything I play is soulful. It’s gotta be soulful, it's gotta be big vocals.…and remember you are playing to an audience, so be passionate and enjoy yourself. People respond to DJs who enjoy themselves.”


You’ll keep searching and searching your whole life through..but you'll never find..another DJ like Terry Jones.


Loved by many this is a man who never fails to deliver the set of all sets. Knowledge? Magic? I believe it’s a harmonious union of both and I for one am truly grateful for his passion, dedication, and unfailing love for his craft. Terry Jones is a pioneer and a legend, and he will continue to weave his musical magic at LIQUID SPIRIT Gozo this year plus, he celebrates 55 years in the business with an exclusive pop-up; Soul Food. It’s going to be special.


Go to LIQUID SPIRIT Gozo Instagram to see the questions and here to watch the full interview.

Terry Jones 55 years in the business


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