Classics: Robert Howard & Kym Mazelle - Wait! (Long) (RCA)
The very first time I got to hear ‘Wait!’ brings me back to 1988. Back then, I was residing once again in the UK. Meanwhile, I wouldn’t miss any of the Jeff Young‘s Friday evening ‘Big Beat’ shows on Radio 1!
Not surprisingly, he would then give it a warm welcome. And I couldn’t do anything else but fully subscribe to this in front of such freshness from its protagonists.
I suppose one could already speak of globalization at the time, referring to their identities. From Robert Howard, aka Dr Robert, who was the front man of British Pop band The Blow Monkeys. To Kym Mazelle who was sharing the vocal duties with him. A Chicago powerful singer whom you might remember for her collabs with Marshall Jefferson (‘Useless’) as along with Soul II Soul. And last but not least, Detroit Techno guru Juan Atkins in charge of the remix duties. With all of them delivering the perfect crime at the end!
Almost 30 years have gone since its release (when writing these lines). But wait a minute! Time doesn’t seem to have had any bad effect on it…
– A native of Haddington, Scotland, Bruce Robert Howard pretty much turned himself into an all in one man musically speaking. Writing material but also singing in a distinctive way, he also happens to play guitar, bass and piano. This being quite of a help whenever comin’ to produce your own music.
Dr Robert, as one also calls him, formed The Blow Monkeys in 1981. Soon after returning from Australia where he’s spent his teens while joining forces with Mick Anker (bass), Neville Henry (saxophone) and Tony Kiley (drums).
The Blow Monkeys delivered their debut-album, ‘Limping For A Generation’ back in 1984. But their first hit came two years later with ‘Digging Your Scene, from its follow-up, ‘Animal Magic’. Dropping their third album – ‘She Was Only A Grocer’s Daughter’ in January 1987, they scored their biggest classic ever. This with the memorable ‘It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way’. Strangely enough, it didn’t chart Stateside, although it found space as a part of the OST of ‘Police Academy 4: Citizens On Patrol. Meanwhile ‘You Don’t Own Me’ would appear on the ‘Dirty Dancing’ soundtrack.
By 1988, Dr Robert made quite the sensation on his own. Comin’ up with the boiling ‘Wait’ as fronted by Chicago House diva Kym Mazelle with additional remixing work courtesy of Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson. Then putting out some 8 solo albums between 1995 and 2016. As for The Blow Monkeys, they disbanded in 1990 soon after the release of their 5th album, ‘Springtime For The World’. However they reformed some 18 years later and, since then, have released 6 albums. With their latest – ‘The Wild River’ – back in 2017.
Also quite interesting to know is the connection between Howard and Paul Weller of The Style Council fame. A connection to gave birth to the production of an album – ‘Modernism: A New Decade’ – for The Style Council which got rejected by Polydor. Therefore leading the parties to break their contractual relationship. Some of their recordings would see the light later on though. Beginning with ‘Move’, back in 1989, on MCA under the transient Slam Slam guise featuring Dee C. Lee who’d previously worked with Wham! Then with the slammin’ ‘Something Ain’t Right’ the year after itself followed by an album, ‘Free Your Feelings’, in 1991.
– A native of Gary, IN, Kym Mazelle happened to live in the same street as the Jackson family. By 1981, she attended, she attended Mundelein College in Chicago, IL. And, the year after, she transferred to Columbia College Chicago. There, she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts and Entertainment Media Management in 1986. Eventually working part-time as an intern and secretary at Lyric Opera of Chicago during that period.
Soon after graduating, Kym released her first single – ‘Taste My Love’ – along with House To House. In other words, one of the various guises of Marshall Jefferson. This on Byron Stingily‘s ‘Police’ transient label. From then, the cut got sent to London where she eventually relocated a bit later. A few months on, and Kym Mazelle would come to international recognition. This with the Marshall Jefferson produced ‘Useless’ which stands as one of the biggest classics of Chicago early House. Meanwhile, she would make extra waves. This while sharing the bill with Dr Robert of The Blow Monkeys fame on the boiling hot ‘Wait’ with remixing work courtesy of Juan Atkins. Then when joining Soul II Soul, thus takin’ the lead on the memorable ‘Missing You’ before touring with the band soon after.
Other notable collabs of her at the time seeing her teaming up with Jocelyn Brown, Rapination…
Kym Mazelle‘s debut album – ‘Crazy’ – hit the streets back in 1989. A massive package, as a matter of fact, including an impressive series of bangers. From her cover version of Jean Carn‘s ‘Was That All It Was’ to ‘Don’t Scandalize My Name’ with remix courtesy of Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley. Not to mention the swingin’ (‘Love Strain’) and ‘Got To Get You Back’ which Blaze eventually came to rework.
She made extra noise in the mid 90’s. This with her cover version of Candi Staton‘s ‘Young Hearts Run Free’ as a part of the ‘Romeo + Juliet’ OST. Meanwhile 1999 saw her venturing into drum & bass territories along with Junglist Peshay on the firing Truly’. And, more recently (in 2015), she joined David Morales and The Face on the memorable ‘Lovin”