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the famous Four Aces in Dalston

Posted by The man 
the famous Four Aces in Dalston
April 03, 2013 08:17PM
With the closure finally a few weeks back of what was originally Count Suckle's widely renowned Q Club and in later years the Peoples Club in Paddington, the distinction of being the capital's longest established nightly venue for black music belongs now to the famous Four Aces in Dalston, which indeed celebrated its 21st birthday only last month.

Housed in the old Dalston Theatre which has stood on the site since at least the early years of the present century, the Four Aces has played host to the whole wide variety of essentially Jamaican music but also American soul since ska and rock steady days. Prior to its being taken over and revamped as the Four Aces in 1965 by its present affable proprietor Newton Dunbar, the venue functioned similarly as the CC Club under the stewardship of local shaman Sir Collins.

Newton's own involvement developed originally more or less by accident. "It was an opportunity that came along," he says, "because of course I used to go to clubs and I suppose it's everybody's idea to some extent to get involved in some form of entertainment."

He began running what he describes as a "weekend venture" in Highbury, which developed "to a stage where we had to look for bigger premises and we came to Dalston. During that period of time from then until now we've been involved in actually stimulating and accommodating what is presently known as reggae music. We have always been known as a reggae club and we have operated in that format up to this time."

He remembers the early days as being altogether more enjoyable. "The crowd was less militant, for want of a better word, and there was more of a party atmosphere in those days. but it's not been so bad. One can understand some of the militancy and even though one doesn't encourage or foster it, it's a sign of the times. Everything is unfolding the way it was meant to go."

And what are Newton's feelings now that the Four Aces Club has come of age?

"It doesn't seem like 21 years," he promptly replies. "I mean I look around and my calculations tell me it is 21 years but it doesn't seem that long. Initially, I got into it as a business point of view but then it's the sort of business that gets into your blood and it more or less becomes a way of life. One of my favourite expressions is it's better than being on the buses."

Penny Reel
Originally published in Echoes, November, 20, 1986
Re: the famous Four Aces in Dalston
April 04, 2013 02:34AM
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