Cheshire town wants to be at center of North West music scene

A Cheshire town makes 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 Rare Vitamin label to release a compilation album.

Internationally acclaimed hip-hop poet Argh Kid is the most prominent artist to feature on the record. The Mancunian artist, now poet laureate of the NSPCC, UEFA and Manchester United FC, has seen his work reproduced in different languages ​​and publications around the world, from the Danish Politiken to the New York Times.

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

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“Some bands can’t release vinyl because it’s just too expensive. Others have already released it, because they’re just cool bands. We thought it would be nice to release one to feature some bands that played The Salty Dog. The label also liked the idea. It’s only available on vinyl.

Chris added: “Argh Kid is really unusual because he’s a hip hop poet. He has a real voice for the working class. He does a lot of positive work. Argh Kid is from Manchester city center and writes about the things that go on there, so it’s just really, authentic, really well put together.”

The Salty Dog, Northwich (Photo: Google)

Making the record during the pandemic had proven difficult. Chris said: “We started putting this together in early 2021, obviously we didn’t really know what was going on with Covid. It wasn’t certain that the gigs were ever going to go back to what they were.

“It was a really weird time. We were trying to be positive and called it ‘Volume One’ just to leave the door open for ‘Volume Two.’ The delivery times on vinyl are a lot longer, you were working up to about 12 weeks, now it takes almost 12 months to turn back in. There is a shortage of physical plastic to make vinyl and there are only about three or four factories in Europe doing it.

Jason Davies, who runs Rare Vitamin Records, also based in Northwich, told Cheshire Live: “The idea was to start a series involving some of the bands that played The Salty Dog, put the compilation together and continue a year later. We just sat down and decided which bands we’d like to play with, and then Chris organized it and put it together.

Salty Dog Compilation Album
Salty Dog Compilation Album

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

Northwich wouldn’t normally be considered the center of an emerging music scene, but Jason was pleasantly surprised at the reaction he got to his releases and the sequel to The Salty Dog, which opened in 2017.

“I’ve been going to concerts for almost 30 years now,” he said. “And because the city I live in didn’t have any concerts, I had to go to Manchester or Liverpool to watch them. What I didn’t realize was that there were already a community in Northwich that went to concerts together.

Salty Dog Compilation Album
Salty Dog Compilation Album

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

One artist who appears on the album is Carol Hodge, who said, “The Salty Dog is a wonderful independent venue. I have always felt welcomed and looked after by Chris and his team every time I have been there. I knew the venue was a real gem when I saw that they have a regular Alan Partridge themed quiz! It’s an honor to appear on this album alongside some incredible bands. »

Rare Vitamin may not be Factory’s next album and The Salty Dog is not the Hacienda, but they say it’s their own thing, and to them that’s what matters. For details on how to purchase the disc, visit

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Laura J. Boyer