Thursday, 5 February 2009

Brand New Heavies - Brand New Heavies - BGP/Acid Jazz

Here’s a real memory jerker - and one of the cornerstones of British soul music… the Brand New Heavies’ 1990 debut album, re-issued along with all the material the band cut at the same sessions. The Brand New Heavies, of course, grew out of the London rare groove scene and were originally signed to the legendary Acid Jazz label. Label owner Eddie Piller set them to work recording an album in ’89 – but for all kinds of complicated reasons it didn’t get a release till May 1990 and the album (dubbed “the blue album” ‘cos of the cover) was a modest success – thanks in part to loads of air play on the then new Jazz FM (which actually did play soul music back then – can you believe that?). The LP was picked up in the States by an indie label called Delicious Vinyl who insisted that a “rejected” track, ‘Never Stop’ be added to the album – they even went as far as getting their own vocalist – N’Dea Davenport to re-record it. The result was that the album enjoyed big US chart success and the group were feted throughout the States. Then of course the majors stepped in and the N'Dea Davenport version came out on London/ffr and from then on the BNH’s recording history becomes complicated but the hits sure flowed and the band’s core are still going strong. Here you get the original 9 tracker along with 8 bonus cuts including both versions of ‘Never Stop’. There’s also plenty of tasty vocals and lots of growling funk – proving that when we put our minds to it we Brits can match the Yanks in the soul stakes.

Bill Buckley

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