First Listen! Bollo feat. Jocelyn Brown – Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys (DJ Spen & Soulfuledge Vocal Remix) (Soluble Recordings)
There’s something of already heard somewhere when comin’ to listen to the lyrics of ‘Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys’. And how could it ever be different speakin’ of a song bringin’ us back to the early 70’s? At a period when the Civil Rights were a sensible matter in America. And at a time when Funk was so to say the answer to Rock Music. Quite interesting to know is the fact that the one who wrote and produced ‘Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys’ for The Equals is no one else but Eddy Grant. An artist on his own rights as well who would make quite some noise by the end of the 70’s. Meanwhile droppin’ gems such as ‘Living On The Frontline’ and ‘Walking On Sunshine’, not to mention ‘Do You Feel My Love’.
A cover version of ‘Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys’ by the likes of Beat Messengerz saw the light back in 2007. But it didn’t really make it, despite production work by the likes of Paul Simpson and Keith Thompson. To the exception of DJ Smash‘s remix. Then another version would appear back in 2015 by the likes of Bollo featuring Jocelyn Brown, as a part of the Soluble Miami WMC Sampler 2015. The jackpot comin’ a few months after with Quantize Recordings label head DJ Spen and Soulfuledge givin’ it a rumblin’ funky and jazzy boost on their rework.
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A Kingston, NC native, Jocelyn Brown grew up in a family of 7 brothers and 2 sisters whom she was the eldest. Her aunt, Barbara Roy, was the lead singer of Ecstasy, Passion And Pain. Her mom, two aunts, cousin and grandmother were all accomplished singers.
Singin’ acapella among the family quickly became a way of life. Jocelyn would develop her art upon moving to NYC at the age of 6 while singing further in the churches of Harlem. A few years on, and she ended up leavin’ the Gospel to become a session singer, working with countless luminaries. From Bruce Springsteen to Bette Middler and Bob Dylan. Not to mention R&B/Disco acts such Musique, Chic and Change. Not to mention Kleeer or Cerrone (‘You Are The One’) among others.
The first time I got to hear her brings me back to 1979. Back then, she was singin’ the lead for Patrick Adams‘ band Inner Life on ‘I’m Caught Up (In a One Night Love Affair’ (Prelude). An experience she would repeat two years after. This with a memorable interpretation of Ashford & Simpson‘s ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ (Salsoul). The year after seeing her teamin’ up with Salsoul Orchestra on ‘Take Some Time Out (For Love’). Then back with Inner Life on ‘Moment Of My Life’ and ‘I Like It Like That’.
Jocelyn Brown released her debut-album back in 1984. Its title cut – ‘Somebody Else’s Guy’ – standing as her most famous song as a solo artist. This with production work courtesy of Allen George & Fred McFarlane. She would eventually deliver its follow-up – ‘One From The Heart’ – 3 years after, collaborating with producer Hubert Eaves III (D-Train). An album which featured another goodie of her by the likes of ‘Ego Maniac’.
By 1985, Brown released ‘Love’s Gonna Get You’ along with producer John Jellybean Benitez. Eventually sounding like an answer to ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, it most likely inspired artits such as Snap! then Bizarre Inc.. The first sampling one particular line in the song by the likes of “I’ve got the power!” on ‘The Power’. And the latter borrowing another line – “Why waste your time, you know you’re gonna be mine” – on ‘I’m Gonna Get You’.
Meanwhile Polish producer Juliet Sikora would embed (uncredited) vocals of Jocelyn Brown on ‘Larrys Garage’ back in 2015. The latter comin’ from her live performance at the Larry Levan Street Party on King St. in New York, outside the original venue of The Paradise Garage, May 11, 2014.
Facing problems with the development of her own career, Brown would most likely spend her time singin’ for others from then. Teamin’ up back in 1989 with Spanish producer Raúl Orellana on ‘Gipsy Rhythm’. Then a year after with Incognito on a memorable cover version of Ronnie Laws‘ ‘Always There’. And how couldn’t we remember her brilliant performances on the 1996 Nuyorican Soul album? From her one of a kind rendition of Rotary Connection‘s ‘I Am The Black God Of The Sun’. To the uplifting ‘It’s Alright, I Feel It’. Not to mention, more recently, the firing ‘You Are Everything’ from Louie Vega‘s 2015 ‘Starring XVIII’ album…