Stunning sounds from Beady Belle – one of the greatest albums we've heard from the group in years – and that's saying a heck of a lot! Beady Belle are as soulful as ever, but also have a new sort of crackle too – a bit more clavinet mixed in with their Fender Rhodes, and this cool moogy way of laying down a groove that at times is almost a 21st Century version of Shuggie Otis during his Inspiration Information years! The lovely vocals of Beate Lech still keep a great degree of humanity in the music – with these beautifully personal lyrics that have always made the group one of the warmest of all their contemporaries on the Scandia scene – sung this time with a maturity that could well get these guys the much-needed audience they've always deserved on this side of the Atlantic. A gem through and through – with titles that include "Saved", "Party Pooper", "Song For Irie", "Faith", "Circlet", "So Far So Good", "My Name On The World", and "Poppy Burt-Jones". CD
Brand New Heavies —
Shelter ... LP Delicious Vinyl, 1997. Near Mint- 2LP ...
An overlooked mid 90s set from The Brand New Heavies – not as hitbound as some of their earlier work, but still plenty darn great – recorded with a strong emphasis on the vocals, and a no-nonsense soul sound that's always refreshing! There's one or two instrumentals on the album, but most of the tracks are vocal numbers in an R&B mode – yet still with plenty of the best old school touches we expect from The Heavies, and an overall sound that's quite different than most of their contemporaries. Titles include "I Like It", "Shelter", "Feels Like Right", "Day By Day", "Once Is Twice Enough", "You Can Do It", "Stay Gone", "After Forever", "Last To Know", and "Highest High". LP, Vinyl record album
One of the cuts that veered a bit more towards the mainstream than some of the earliest work by the Heavies, off their breakthrough Shelter album, with a post P-Funk/80s groove hook, that gets a tougher remix courtesy Ski, the man behind many of Jay Z's big hits. Plus there's the whole second 12" of house mixes and 2 more mixes we didn't have room to list above, the Jamiroquai-esque "Mr. Floss' radio edit" and "Mr Floss' sub dub". 12-inch, Vinyl record
An instant classic from Roy Davis Jr – and a record that really takes us back to the deepest days of the Chicago house scene! Roy's tunes are simple, effective, and straightforward – yet also have a cosmic burning soul that moves them past the coldness that could sometimes hold back work from Chicago. The beats are tight, but never overbearing; the keyboards are spacey, but never too noodly; and Roy's got some great vocal help on a few cuts from singers that include Terry Dexter, Khalid, and Ayro! As a side note, the album was actually recorded a year or two before release, but delayed due to personal issues in Roy's life – which further enforces the "lost classic" feel of the set, and makes us even happier to finally have it out. Titles include "My Soul Is Electric", "If You Wanna", "Strings & Things", "Wonderland", "Nu Roots", "Heavenly Father", and "U Give U Take". CD
The Brand New Heavies are back on top – coming across with a batch of funky soul tracks that should cross over large! The sound here is much tighter and hook-heavy than on their recent Japanese release – more in the vein of the chart-crossing funk the group were cooking up at the end of their early 90s run – a blend of 70s soul influences, stripped-down production, and enough modern R&B twists to carry their work quite far from their London roots. There's a heck of a lot of guitar on the set – fuzzed-up but compressed nicely, underneath vocals from new singer Nicole Russo. Titles include "Boogie", "Waste My Time", "Need Some More", "Surrender", "How Do You Think", "How We Do This", and "I Feel Right". CD
The group's second real album, and one that never manages to totally capture the groove of the first – but which still has some pretty great writing and playing that set it apart from most of the soul of its generation! The cut "Dream On Dreamer" is one of those early 90s groovers that we still delight in hearing on the radio, or in a surprise mix at a club – and the record's got lots of other nice moments, too, like "Snake Hips", "Fake", and "Keep Together". CD