Classics: Paul Simpson feat. Adeva & Introducing Carmen Marie – Musical Freedom (Free At Last) (Cooltempo)
I remember how I felt the very first time I got to hear this monsterjam on the radio. This was some time back in Autumn 1988 with Jeff Young mastering the ceremony on his memorable ‘Big Beat’ show on Radio 1. He then explained a first version of this cut eventually saw the light with Candi Staton takin’ the lead.
To be honest, this joint really blew my ears. Not only because of a then unknown Adeva‘s incredible vocal performance. But also because of its oustanding construction. Cleverly blending samples of Toney Lee‘s ‘Reach Up’ and ‘Move’ by the Trammps. Not to mention a little reference to The Source feat. Candi Staton‘s ‘You Got The Love’ which appeared 3 years before. All of this along with fragments of Martin Luther King‘s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech…
Goin’ further way, one could consider ‘Musical Freedom’ as the ultimate episode of a transition. A transition which most likely started in the early 80’s when Disco was no more as such, and House Music not yet. A transition speaking of which Paul Simpson has had a lot to do together with Pabloviá Räbän in charge of the mixing duties. Both also responsible for the memorable ‘You Don’t Know’ by Serious Intention back in 1984.
On the heels of ‘Respect’, remixed by Paul Simpson, ‘Musical Freedom’ most likely got Adeva to the forefront. Soon after becoming one of the ambassadors of the Jersey Sound with gems such as ‘I Thank You’ and ‘Don’t Let It Show On Your Face’ among others.
Born in NY, Paul Simpson first established himself as a radio jock on MGR, Kiss and WBLS. Relocating to Philadelphia in the early 80’s, he hooked up with Norman Harris and other Philly Soul artists. Working as an arranger/musician for artists like MFSB, The Trammps and First Choice. But also The Detroit Spinners and The Main Ingredient as a producer. Not to mention Vincent Montana, Jr., eventually giving him a hand on his Philly Soundworks label.
He most likely stands among those who operated the mutation between Disco and House Music at the time along with Boyd Jarvis, Timmy Regisford, Tony Humphries and Winston Jones. With thanks to his editing skills which allowed him to craft a unique style. A style which combined stripped down heavy dubs and stellar strings along with a distinctive delay on his drum programming. But also influences from church music which he brought to a profane level.
‘Use Me, Lose Me’ which he released back in 1982 under the Paul Simpson Connection on Streetwise sounded quite avant-gardist for the time being. He dropped its follow-up – ‘Treat Her Sweeter’ – 3 years after on Michael Gusick‘s Easy Street Records label.
Simpson co-wrote and produced the memorable ‘You Don’t Know’ for Serious Intention on the same label back in 1984. By 1987, he would do a lot of remixing work for Virgin, beginning with the infectious ‘Honey’ by the likes of Well Red.
He later signed with UK label Cooltempo, eventually releasing what would be his ‘One’ and only album in 1989. An album which features gems such as ‘Musical Freedom’ and ‘Everybody’s A Star’ featuring Terri Jeffries.
Last but not least, Paul Simpson teamed up with The Carlos Sanchez Movement back in 1997. Both of them coming up with the memorable ‘Love & Respect’ brilliantly remixed by Joe Claussell on Maxi Records…