Classics: Swing Out Sister – Breakout (Horny Version) (Mercury)
A keyboardist you might remember for his contribution to A Certain Ratio in the mid-80’s, Andy Connell went on to form Swing Out Sister. This along with Martin Jackson who left after the release of the first album. And vocalist Corinne Drewery who later joined.
Just like Matt Bianco with their Latin-influenced compositions, Swing Out Sister managed to give that British typical Pop feel to their compositions. Fueling them with a Soul/Jazz attitude…
From their 1987 ‘It’s better To Travel’ album produced by Paul Staveley O’Duffy’, ‘Breakout’ is their biggest classic. This in a list comprizing ‘Surrender’ and ‘Twilight World’ (from the same package). But also ‘Waiting Game’ and their remake of Eugene Record‘s ‘Am I The Same Girl?’
I suppose it’s the cleverness which has allowed them to keep on jammin’ after all these years. They went through their 30th year of activity back in 2017 with a new album. A cleverness which has allowed them to come up with the right ingredients for their audience. Meanwhile varying the versions of their singles upon their targets (radio or club play). Without ever losin’ their Pop feel. Nor what it takes to seduce some more underground audiences. With this horny version of ‘Breakout’ comin’ up as the perfect illustration to this…
As a long time music lover, I suppose I’ve never encountered any problems with artists comin’ up with a Pop feel in their compositions. This, of course, as long as the overall feeling isn’t cheesy or M.O.R. This most likely explaining how I always managed to keep an ear open to groups such as Matt Bianco. But also the transient Paprika Soul (remember their cover version of Cerrone‘s ‘Music Of Life’). If not Swing Out Sister!
Swing Out Sister delivered their debut-album – ‘It’s Better To Travel’ – back in 1987. But their first single – ‘Blue Mood’ – saw the light back in 1985. Meanwhile their first success came up the year after. In other words, the memorable ‘Breakout’!
It would be the beginning of an impressive series for keyboardist Andy Connell and female singer Corinne Drewery. This after the departure of Martin Jackson following the release of SOS‘s first album. An effort that spanned extra gems such as ‘Surrender’ and ‘Twilight World’. Meanwhile Swing Out Sister would enlist the arrivals of extra talents. From trumpeter John Thirkle and saxophonist Gary Barnacle whom you might remember of for their collaborations with Level 42. To trumpet/fluegelhorn master Jerry Hey among others.
‘Kaleidoscope World’, their second album, saw the light back in 1989. Thus confirming their inclination for symphonic arrangements, with the incorporation of an orchestra in their recordings. With the same applying to cinematic vibes such as on their cover version of ‘Windmills Of Your Mind’. Even though it only came to light as a single.
Another 3 years would go before the release of their third effort, ‘Get In Touch With Yourself’. With the latter featuring their cover version of Barbara Acklin‘s 1968 Soul hit ‘Am I The Same Girl?’. This in addition to ‘Notgonnachange’ with remixing work courtesy of the late Frankie Knuckles.
Comin’up in September 1994, ‘Living Return’, their fourth album, marked quite a change. With the replacement of historical producer Paul Staveley O’Duffy by Ray Hayden after a few sessions. The whole resulting in a different sound which the fans of the group obviously didn’t appreciate that much at the end. This despite the presence of the outstanding ‘Making The Right Moves’ which, after all these years, remains an absolute must-have!
The release of their ‘Shapes And Patterns’ back in 1997 definitely established them as key figures in Japan. Marking the return of O’Duffy in the meantime. Strangely enough though, SOS never reached again the level of worldwide popularity they achieved to get so far. Probably because of the drastic changes which occurred in the record industry. Even though they never ceased producing quality material as a matter of fact…