Sat. Dec. 07, 2019

10 essential Brit Soul gems Part 2

10 essential Brit Soul gems Part 210 essential Brit Soul gems Part 2… Like always, a selection is per definition limited. And God knows how Soul Music would definitely not have sounded the same without the unvaluable contribution from the Brits. As they not only turned American productions into local hits back in the heyday of Northern Soul, and later on during the so called rare groove era. But also come up with their own interpretations of it. Eventually giving birth to Brit-Soul and Acid Jazz by the end of the 80’s. Therefore developing the most exciting scene one may ever think of in terms of creativity and versatility… As a result, many are the gems we couldn’t talk about here, even though they would have definitely been worth a mention.

No need to say how this selection is way from being exhaustive. Most likely due to find an extension with a Part 3 in the future. Nevertheless, you should find thereafter another pretty much illustrative sample of highly emotional pieces of art where the infectiousness of the groove predominates.
Besides, and if you ever missed it, feel free to have a look at our Part 1 in the series…

Wishing you’ll enjoy the ride as much as we did, while putting this together for you. With your feedback, and a mention of your favorite song more than welcome.

10 essential Brit Soul gems Part 2 / Simply Red – Something Got Me Started (EastWest)
Delivering music with an undeniable Pop feel, Simply Red and their instant recognizable lead singer Mick Hucknall made proof of their inclination for Soul vibes. And this, from the very beginning with their memorable cover version of The Valentine Brothers‘s classic ‘Money’s To Tight To Mention’. Here we have another illustration with the groovy ‘Something Got Me Started’. The opening cut to their 1991 released ‘Stars’ album. With its music part written by Fritz McIntyre who collaborated with the band as a keyboardist and backing singer from 1984 until 1995.
10 essential Brit Soul gems Part 2 / Des’ree – Life (Epic)
Better known as Des’ree, Desirée Annette Weeks rose to fame in the 90’s. She released a total of 5 albums between 1993 and 2002, although she never managed to really break Stateside for some reasons. Gifted with an undeniable sensibility and a unique voice, she’s responsible for gems such as ‘Feels So Hight’ and ‘You Gotta Be’. ‘Life’ completing the list of her signature songs. A cut from her 1998 released ‘Supernatural’ album, which guitarist Prince Sampson of the Pasadenas fame co-produced.
10 essential Brit Soul gems Part 2 / Shola Ama – You Might Need Somebody (WEA)
Even though she released 3 albums from 1997 until 2002, the name of this Paddington native singer remains associated to the one and only ‘You Might Need Somebody’. A cover version of Turley Richards‘s song of the likes, from her debut-album (‘Much Love’). Brilliantly produced by D-Influence, a song reminiscent of these typical Blue-Eyed soul/jazz grooves one could hear on the Californian radio stations by the second half of the 70’s. With Shola‘s tones somehow reminding of Randy Crawford who also happened to cover this song in 1981…
10 essential Brit Soul gems Part 2 / Eternal – Stay (EMI)
Initially a fortet composed by Louise Redknapp and Kéllé Bryan around sisters Easther and Vernie BennettEternal came straight to recognition with ‘Stay’, the opening cut to their debut-album – ‘Always’ – back in 1993. This at a time when British R&B established itself as a serious alternative to its U.S. alter ego. A cover version of Glenn Jones‘s song of the likes, as a matter of fact. With production work by the likes of Nigel Lowis. A man who recently got himself back to light with various mixes/remixes on the recently formed DSG Music label…
10 essential Brit Soul gems Part 2 / Lighthouse Family – Ocean Drive (Wildcard)
From the reunion between keyboardist Paul Tucker and one of a kind singer Tunde Baiyewu who meet while studying at university and eventually working at the same bar. Most likely their most memorable song. From their 1995 debut-album of the likes, although it didn’t make it first in the charts but a few months later. With production work courtesy of Mike Peden (The Chimes). And featuring Steven Dante, Clive Griffin and David Grant among others in the backing vocals. With strings courtesy of the London Session Orchestra under the direction of Nick Ingman.
10 essential Brit Soul gems Part 2 / The Chimes – Heaven (CBS)
Percussionist/songwriter James Locke and female singer Pauline Henry formed The Chimes together with producer Mike Peden back in 1989. The Scottish threesome appeared as a serious contender in the competition for supremacy with Soul II Soul. Taken from their eponymous album released that same year which would be their first and only of the likes. The boiling ‘Heaven’ brilliantly showcased Henry‘s powerful vocals. Arguably their biggest classic ever along with ‘1.2.3’. The latter starting a solo career 4 years later…
10 essential Brit Soul gems Part 2 / Smith & Mighty feat. Tammy Payne – Same (More Rcokers/ Studio!K7 Records)
Bristol pair Rob Smith and Ray Mighty‘s repertoire is pretty much illustrative of the evolution of the music scene in the UK. From their debut back in 1988 to the 2000’s, with the guys successively flirting with Breakbeat then Trip Hop later on. Producing Fresh 4‘s ‘Wishing On A Star’ (a cover version of Rose Royce‘s classic of the likes) back in 1989. But also Massive Attack‘s first single ever, ‘Any Love’. From their 2000 ‘Big World Small World’ album, ‘Same’ saw them collaborating once again with the vibrant Tammy Payne in charge of the vocal duties…
10 essential Brit Soul gems Part 2 / YoYo Honey – Groove On (Jive)
Composed of Emanuel Shoniwa and singer Anna Ross who eventually collaborated by Snowboy back in 1993… YoYo Honey are responsible for one of the most beautiful joints in the history of Brit-Soul. In other words, the vibrant and luxuriously string led ‘Groove On’. A masterpiece from their 1992 ‘Voodoo Soul’ album with production work courtesy of the then in-demand Mike Peden. Alas, even though a couple of extra singles saw the light, they unfortunately never met the recognition they obviously deserved. Nevertheless, never too late checking it if ever you’ve happened to miss this unsung treasure…
10 essential Brit Soul gems Part 2 / Charlene Smith – Feel The Good Times (Old School Mix) (Indochina)
This exception to the rule along with Canadian singer Charlene Smith. An artist who made her (brief) career on UK label China Records. Borowing much to Keni Burke‘s ‘Risin’ To The Top’, the atmospheric ‘Feel the Good Times’ stands as her signature performance. With production work by the likes of Toronto, ON-based unit The Boomtang Boys
10 essential Brit Soul gems Part 2 /The Escofferys – Look Who’s Lovin’ Me (EastWest)
Ending up this Pt. 2 with another of those countless injustices made to obvious talents. I’m speakin’ here of Brixton female band The Escofferys. A Gospel fortet, The Escofferys probably made their biggest mistake while directly signing to EastWest America. Taken from their 1991 released ‘Opinions’, the outstanding ‘Look Who’s Lovin’ Me’. This atmospheric cut produced by Marcus Johnson (Damage, Michelle Gayle, Nu Colors) is just another one of a kind unsung jewel…

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