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.