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The Cheshire town bidding to be at the centre of the North West music scene


A Cheshire town is making a bold bid to be at the forefront of the region’s music scene. Popular Northwich pub and music venue, The Salty Dog – described as a “total gem” by one emerging artist – has teamed up with record label Rare Vitamin to release a compilation album.

Internationally-renowned hip hop poet Argh Kid is the most high-profile artist to feature on the record. The Mancunian artist, now official poet for the NSPCC, UEFA and Manchester United FC, has had his work reproduced in different languages and publications around the world, from Denmark’s Politiken to The New York Times.

Chris Mundie, who runs The Salty Dog, explained to Cheshire Live how the idea came about. “We were talking about maybe doing an album – like on the old compilation record samplers – but for the pub,” he said.

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“Some bands can’t put out vinyl as it is just prohibitively expensive. Others have already got it out, because they are just cool bands. We thought it would be nice to put one out to showcase some of the bands that have played The Salty Dog. The label liked the idea as well. It’s only available on vinyl.”

Chris added: “Argh Kid is really unusual because he’s a hip hop poet. He’s got a genuine voice for the working class. He does a lot of positive work. Argh Kid is from Manchester city centre and writes about the stuff that happens there, so it’s just really, genuine, really well put together.”



The Salty Dog, Northwich (image: Google)

Making the record during the pandemic had proven to be difficult. Chris said: “We started putting this together at the start of 2021, obviously we didn’t really know what was happening with Covid. It wasn’t certain if gigs were ever going to get back to what they were.

“It was a really odd time. We were trying to be positive and called it ‘Volume one’ just to leave the door open to ‘Volume two’. The lead times on vinyl are much longer, you used to be working to about 12 weeks, now it takes the best part of 12 months to turn around. There’s a shortage of the actual physical plastic to make vinyl and there’s only about three or four factories in Europe that do it.”

Jason Davies, who runs Rare Vitamin records which is also based in Northwich, told Cheshire Live: “The idea was to start a series involving some of the bands that have played The Salty Dog, put the compilation together and then carry that on year after year. We just sat down and picked the bands that we’d like to go on it and then Chris curated it and put it together.



Compilation album Salty Dog
Compilation album Salty Dog

“I think the main aim was not to do a compilation that was just one genre of music but to give a good representation of the label and pub itself.”

Northwich wouldn’t ordinarily be considered as the centre of an emerging music scene, but Jason has been pleasantly surprised at the reaction he’s been getting to his releases and the following that there is at The Salty Dog, which opened in 2017.

“I’ve been going to gigs for nearly 30 years now,” he said. “And because the town that I live in hasn’t been putting gigs on, I’ve had to go to Manchester or Liverpool to watch them. What I didn’t realise was that there was a community already in Northwich who went to gigs together.



Salty Dog Compilation album
Salty Dog Compilation album

“Then when The Salty Dog opened I think a lot of people were sceptical, probably me included, hoping that they would just stay open. I didn’t know if there was enough demand for it but it’s surprised me really. It’s just been fantastic.”

One artist who appears on the album is Carol Hodge, who said: “The Salty Dog is a wonderful independent venue. I’ve always felt welcomed and looked after by Chris and his staff whenever I’ve been there. I knew the venue was a total gem when I saw they hosted a regular Alan Partridge themed quiz! It’s an honour to appear on this album alongside some amazing bands.”

Rare Vitamin may not be the next Factory records and The Salty Dog isn’t the Hacienda, but they say it’s their own beautiful thing, and to them that’s what counts. For details on how to purchase the record visit rarevitaminrecords.bigcartel.com

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