Every once in a while a name surfaces from my musical past that triggers a million good memories. I get this Kool-aid man smile on my face that just won't quit. By supreme happenstance, a month ago I came across a UK press release that announced a forthcoming new album by The Brand New Heavies. ( Damn, there I go. Grinning like an idiot. )
The 'Heavies hit me hard back in the day. They were this brilliant fusion of musical styles that was one of the most perfect alternatives to the Hip-Hop explosion. My friends and I loved them on so many levels, describing them as influential is hardly scratching the surface.
And apparently the rest of the world loved them nearly as much. These brilliant kids from the UK funked up the airwaves, clearly expressing their love of 70's funk and coining. Back in the day, they were the second British band to land at the top of the R&B charts, after Soul II Soul.
Jan, Simon and Andrew, the core of the band, catapulted the names and careers of Jay Ella Ruth, N'Dea Davenport, and Siedah Garrett into the sky. Each of these frontline divas in turn worked with The 'Heavies to create a string of hits that are still timeless. Funky, soulful tracks delivered with powerful vocals and those 70's hooks that you can't shake.
Continuing that tradition of bringing a high powered diva to the front, The 'Heavies are featuring Nicole Russo on their latest work 'AllAboutTheFunk'. A perfect choice, Miss Russo was born into the music industry, and it shows. Her vocals are the perfect play against the band's tight style.
The album kicks off with 'Boogie', a track that makes you want to bounce in your seat to that feel good 'Heavies funk. And with a hook that rhymes Boogie with Booty over and over, what's not to like? 'Need Some More' is a message from the band. It's simple, they're here, and they still have it. 'Nuff said.
Jan fronts the vocals on 'Keep On Shining' a happy 70's driving-with-the-windows-down kind of track. The horns on 'Surrender' give you just a touch of Latin flavored sounds. There's even a sexy picked bass on 'Every Time We Turn It Up'. This is the stuff The Brand New Heavies are made of.
And if the grooves thus far weren't enough, the true 'Heavies sound explodes on my spotlight for this album 'What do You Take Me For?' They're knack for writing with a songstress in mind is evident. It's a funky ballad that's swings from sweet and mellow to hollerin' diva.
I have a confession. You have to really work to get this album right now. Nobody locally is carrying it. Amazon.co.uk has it in stock, so jump on the web and pick it up. Or if find yourself at Spin around 1:20 a.m. on a Friday. I might just play some of it for you...
Always with you in 4/4,