late 80s/early 90s uk streetsoul (bass and breakbeats and r&b vocals)

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

through the wonder of Youtube and its recommendations algorithm this is all I seem to ever listen to these days. Everybody knows Soul II Soul and Massive Attack but it was this recent reissue of Bovel's "Check 4 U" that really switched me on to this stuff:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qyi2pqXDp30

there's a whole ocean out there of stuff like this: thick house basslines, slowed-down breakbeat grooves, unpolished soul divas with the sweetness of lovers rock reggae. Some of it is cheap and easy to find through the usual channels, some of it seems rare and prohibitively expensive. It's the story of Smith & Mighty and The Wild Bunch, but also all the anonymous and forgotten 12" singles and overpriced Discogs compilations that were bigger in Manchester than in London. This stuff was being released when I was barely a toddler so I have no sense of it as a "scene" or how it figured in club culture but I know that I like a lot of it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhETbyU8wo0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzsrBaRoiL8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgPkq1780vo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWqp3C0hFg0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppKK42zKRo0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVfenMeCTR0

thinking of it as a reaction to US r&b, not so much an imitation but a distinctly British take on styles, and seemingly undergoing a resurgence if you're reading the same articles and listening to the same radio shows as I am

so, this is a thread to post your own recommendations and so forth

boxedjoy, Monday, 15 October 2018 21:49 (one year ago) link

garden of life is GOAT

brimstead, Monday, 15 October 2018 21:54 (one year ago) link

Hard to find 12"s in this genre have been getting reissued a lot lately, which is likely where the chatter / airplay is coming from. Be With records maybe?

brotherlovesdub, Monday, 15 October 2018 22:36 (one year ago) link

This has a big overlap with what was labeled ‘acid jazz’, no?

Siegbran, Monday, 15 October 2018 23:28 (one year ago) link

Yeah, does Jhelisa count? Friendly Pressure sounds like these songs to me.

https://youtu.be/YAMtlnvJeo4

brotherlovesdub, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 02:14 (one year ago) link

Deluxe - I've got a feeling
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHBPpDfojg0

Tib, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 02:20 (one year ago) link

I love this sound. Check:

Alison Williams - I Need Your Lovin'

Fresh Four - Wishing on a Star

The Chimes - 1-2-3 (UK Raw Mix) / Heaven / I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

Beats International - Dub Be Good To Me (Smith & Mighty Remix)

Diana Brown & Barrie K Sharpe – Blind Faith (Brixton Bass Mix)

There's also a lot of stuff that feels like it fits even though it's not from the UK, such as The Family Stand's "Ghetto Heaven" (which also and appropriately got an amazing remix from Soul II Soul).

Tim F, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 02:45 (one year ago) link

i like this stuff too

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUpP_a8vAjA

the late great, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 03:47 (one year ago) link

i guess i know more about the acid jazzier end of the spectrum, which tends toward a more polished sound

i'd never heard that bovel track, it is pretty incredible and i'd love to hear more stripped down tracks like that

the late great, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 03:49 (one year ago) link

Innocence - Natural thing?

Tib, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 04:51 (one year ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHSPzry7cH8

Fresh 4 feat. Lizz-E • Wishing On A Star

breastcrawl, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 07:11 (one year ago) link

Smith & Mighty DJ Kicks is U&K

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UCIxA2qpKg

Neil S, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 07:27 (one year ago) link

Ah, Tim F already mentioned the Fresh 4 track. (Alyson Williams was/is a US singer, btw)

Love the Bô’vel track, don’t remember ever having heard it before. Is there an actual Dennis Bovell connection or is the name a homage to “Silly Games”/UK lovers rock?

breastcrawl, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 07:35 (one year ago) link

Yeah I should have specified with the Williams that I meant the extended version produced by Soul II Soul.

Tim F, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 08:23 (one year ago) link

I manage to seperate this stuff from acid jazz in my mind purely by how this stuff uses minimalism and bottom-end - to me, acid jazz is radio-friendly and home-listening whereas this is much more club-functioning. There is a lot of crossover and I can imagine this stuff was played alongside acid jazz and post-disco 80s boogie but there's a distinct sonic framework to this stuff that excites me more.

I have no idea about who Bovel is or where the name comes from, I'm not sure I even want or need to, really

boxedjoy, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 11:49 (one year ago) link

Loafs of good recs here though! I didnt know S&M had done a DJ Kicks.

In terms of US stuff that fits I have a huge soft spot for Chante Moore's "Love's Taken Over"

https://youtu.be/wH39-zajFtE

boxedjoy, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 11:51 (one year ago) link

A lot of this stuff, other than the obvious, seems to have been written out of history a bit, perhaps because there was so much else going on at the time, so this is a real blind spot for me. Looking forward to digging through this thread.

Matt DC, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 11:51 (one year ago) link

People quickly realized the instrumentals were better than the vocals and Trip Hop got the fame.

brotherlovesdub, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 15:31 (one year ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DG8BVCCjTOw

Jill Francis - Make Love To Me (Gangster Mix)

Herb Achelors (NickB), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 15:45 (one year ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1-GrHZSCbo

Irini ‎– 24/7 Love

Herb Achelors (NickB), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 16:00 (one year ago) link

Love that Jill Francis!

People quickly realized the instrumentals were better than the vocals and Trip Hop got the fame

This is probably true except for me the vocals are what take a lot of this stuff from enjoyable to excellent.

boxedjoy, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 16:04 (one year ago) link

https://www.discogs.com/Various-Choice-FMs-UK-Pressure-Vol-1/master/359554

This compilation I snagged for cheap recently is good, has both of NickB's selections, but everything on it has been edited down from a full-length mix.

boxedjoy, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 16:06 (one year ago) link

oh i didn't know about that comp, looks like a good launchpad for further investigations

Herb Achelors (NickB), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 16:15 (one year ago) link

i knew about the bovel cos they've been hammering it on nts

Herb Achelors (NickB), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 16:17 (one year ago) link

sorry that the sound on that irini YT is so fucked, it's a good one though

Herb Achelors (NickB), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 16:18 (one year ago) link

maybe a precursor for this sort of thing is mantronix's productions for joyce sims?

Herb Achelors (NickB), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 16:20 (one year ago) link

that stuff was 1987-ish i think

Herb Achelors (NickB), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 16:22 (one year ago) link

or Sly & Robbie producing Gwen Guthrie with Seventh Heaven, which came up in a mix I was listening to earlier, would be another good precursor

Neil S, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 16:42 (one year ago) link

just an excuse to post that fantastic track really

Neil S, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 16:43 (one year ago) link

ok lol turns out the one i posted is american too

the late great, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 19:29 (one year ago) link

I would be remiss in not mentioning Carlton's album 'The Call Is Strong' from 1990, produced by Smith & Mighty, which I consider the overlooked pinnacle of this sound. One of my great music tragedies is losing my copy of this.

Also "Any Love", the early Massive Attack single with Carlton on vocals and S&M on co-production, fits in this thread in a way their subsequent work doesn't.

Tim F, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 20:15 (one year ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDZM4xXy17I

Rosaline Joyce - I Will Never Be Your Lover

Herb Achelors (NickB), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 20:20 (one year ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcQTOQIlKHY

Fresh Cut ft Ann Cain - Don't Rush (Remix)

Herb Achelors (NickB), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 21:04 (one year ago) link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=25&v=yiWghyFnasU

FM Inc. Call Me Anytime .. Dub is good too

mmmm, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 21:14 (one year ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCngWcH0GAg

Joanna Law / Soul 2 Soul connection

mmmm, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 21:17 (one year ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzftzlfi36U

mmmm, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 21:18 (one year ago) link

... meant to post another Sarah Winton but the whole LP is top notch

mmmm, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 21:19 (one year ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rh2tFYgiIuU

Dazzle - Dazzle You. (Haul & Pull Up mix) 1989

Herb Achelors (NickB), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 21:36 (one year ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPMyV7SOgxk

Fifth Of Heaven - Just A Little More

Herb Achelors (NickB), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 21:41 (one year ago) link

https://youtu.be/KaA7kt5DLLE

mmmm, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 21:48 (one year ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zGXKBRT1gk

Carla Thomas - Things Ya Make Me Do (Summer Remix) (1994)

Herb Achelors (NickB), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 21:49 (one year ago) link

big tune:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVBTrudXcs8

Rick Clarke - Perfect Lady

Herb Achelors (NickB), Wednesday, 17 October 2018 05:44 (one year ago) link

don't think the importance of these guys can be overstated...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdKdnCSeJwQ
Loose Ends - Slow Down

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5rqP8QTAbU
Loose Ends - Don't Be A Fool

Herb Achelors (NickB), Wednesday, 17 October 2018 11:48 (one year ago) link

^ when I saw this thread Loose Ends came to mind immediately but I couldn't remember any of their songs so wasn't sure if I was on the right track

I've got a Fresh Four 12", not mentioned yet it's this one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIF7HFEYYXY

(nearly, the 12" I've got is the Smith & Mighty remix, not the version in the youtube)

Colonel Poo, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 11:58 (one year ago) link

Diane Charlemagne should get a mention. Cool Down Zone ‎– Lonely Hearts

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgIZJnMSjqY

mmmm, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 12:01 (one year ago) link

when I saw this thread Loose Ends came to mind immediately but I couldn't remember any of their songs so wasn't sure if I was on the right track

Hanging On A String is the obvious one and that exact same drum pattern appears in about half the clips i posted above tbh

Herb Achelors (NickB), Wednesday, 17 October 2018 12:10 (one year ago) link

thanks for posting these Herb. I started buying UK Soul 12's and comps from 1992 onwards so missed some of the earlier ones. Occaisional trips to Unity and Blackmarket records armed with lists from Blues and Soul magazines and scraps from Kiss FM.

mmmm, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 12:11 (one year ago) link

Bygraves - Do the Right Thing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Lwt1qzypBQ

mmmm, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 12:13 (one year ago) link

When I first saw this thread the first thing that came to mind was Sweet Harmony by Liquid, but the more I listen to these the more I feel like it marks the end of this subgengre, so not what you're looking for at all. Is that right?

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Wednesday, 17 October 2018 12:18 (one year ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bo4B8uo55nU

Everis - Love Has Arrived

Herb Achelors (NickB), Wednesday, 17 October 2018 12:31 (one year ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QC1HGtK_qPQ

MrEnergizer, Wednesday, 5 February 2020 22:16 (one week ago) link

this is the one that didn't post above
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_z337Kkyr0

MrEnergizer, Wednesday, 5 February 2020 22:16 (one week ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6M4PB2tkVU

MrEnergizer, Wednesday, 5 February 2020 22:17 (one week ago) link

Massive tune!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMOrHhbMDL4

MrEnergizer, Wednesday, 5 February 2020 22:18 (one week ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51f2l_XR28g

MrEnergizer, Wednesday, 5 February 2020 22:19 (one week ago) link

Sorry if some have been posted

MrEnergizer, Wednesday, 5 February 2020 22:20 (one week ago) link

Another one of my faves...it was all about thsi mix on the 12"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tD2WxSUM0FE

MrEnergizer, Wednesday, 5 February 2020 22:21 (one week ago) link

<3 Mr energizer! :)

ymo sumac (NickB), Wednesday, 5 February 2020 22:33 (one week ago) link

Still haven't had the chance to catch up with these but keep em coming. I do know dark Knight though - that's one of toyin agbetu's alias yes?

ymo sumac (NickB), Wednesday, 5 February 2020 22:35 (one week ago) link

@NickB
Yeah that's right.. One of the originators of the sound

MrEnergizer, Thursday, 6 February 2020 09:30 (one week ago) link

Speaking of Toyin Agbetu...

https://invisiblecityeditions.com/products/soul-connection-ice-016-test-pressing

Invisible City Editions reissues a selection of classic street soul tunes from the legendary duo Toyin Agetbu and Earl Myers. A mix of well loved tracks from Soul Connection's 1988 "Rough & Ready" and 1990 "Raw Street Soul". Remastered from the Master Reels!  This one has been a long time in the making and we are really excited to finally put it out! Full release to come in the next 2-3 months, so get your test pressing now.

boxedjoy, Monday, 10 February 2020 00:31 (one week ago) link

Nice one @boxedjoy

MrEnergizer, Monday, 10 February 2020 21:43 (one week ago) link

Another one from the vaults!
Manchester's own Sylvia Tella..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IstKjsK44XQ

MrEnergizer, Monday, 10 February 2020 21:44 (one week ago) link

oh i know sylvia tella! i picked up a fantastic lovers version of 'you might need somebody' that she did in '82:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXeik-BFAD0

ymo sumac (NickB), Monday, 10 February 2020 21:56 (one week ago) link

picked up this recently for a couple of quid. new to me, pretty good too:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhC85yxa558

Part II - You Lose Again (Soul Mix)

ymo sumac (NickB), Monday, 10 February 2020 22:08 (one week ago) link

great news about the Soul Connection btw boxedjoy!

ymo sumac (NickB), Monday, 10 February 2020 22:11 (one week ago) link

Was overcome by the urge to pull the trigger on a £40 copy of Nemesis' 'The Way Love Is' and then I remembered to check the tracklisting on the Soul Connection comp - close shave that!

Is this floating points that's selling it btw? it's gotta be surely:

https://www.discogs.com/seller/theonlysam/profile

ymo sumac (NickB), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 22:34 (one week ago) link

I love the idea of Floating Points looking at his signed copy of Skream's "In For The Kill" remix and deciding he doesn't need it any more

boxedjoy, Wednesday, 12 February 2020 07:35 (six days ago) link

Also how wild is it that you can pick up a compilation of Brazilian street soul fairly easily yet none of the major archival labels have managed to put together one based on the Manchester sound?

boxedjoy, Wednesday, 12 February 2020 08:04 (six days ago) link

I was going to say, is this scene completely unarchived as it is?

Also how did this stuff fit in with the whole mid-80s Soul II Soul/Wild Bunch sound system thing? I don't know a lot about this stuff, whether they were broadly playing the same records or whether it was way more localised than that.

Matt DC, Wednesday, 12 February 2020 11:07 (six days ago) link

It's odd - you can be on Discogs and some of this stuff is easily available for small change and then there's some stuff that's triple figures for a twelve-inch single. There's compilations from when this stuff was "fresh" but in my experience they're always mastered very quietly and there's always at least one ropey sax solo waiting to spoil the mood.

boxedjoy, Wednesday, 12 February 2020 11:25 (six days ago) link

I'm guessing this mix might be a decent dive in?

https://thevinylfactory.com/features/vf-mix-147-street-soul-by-ruffy-and-randy/

Matt DC, Wednesday, 12 February 2020 11:29 (six days ago) link

https://www.discogs.com/DJ-Milo-The-Wild-Bunch-Story-Of-A-Sound-System/release/123867

This mix uses live crowd noise from Soul II Soul doing a set at New Year in the late 80s and sets out where this stuff is coming from - 80s vocal post-disco and r&b, the birth of house and hip-hop - but it's kinda a different thing.

boxedjoy, Wednesday, 12 February 2020 11:33 (six days ago) link

Oh yeah I've got that one, way more hip-hop than I was expecting but it's terrific nonetheless.

Matt DC, Wednesday, 12 February 2020 11:34 (six days ago) link

My impression is that this stuff was aligned more with Soul II Soul and Smith & Mighty than, say, Massive Attack. But I wasn't clubbing in the late 80s on account of only just having been born so I can only base that on comments on Youtubes and how the music actually sounds

boxedjoy, Wednesday, 12 February 2020 11:50 (six days ago) link

I don't know a lot about this stuff, whether they were broadly playing the same records or whether it was way more localised than that.

good question - i think a lot of it was very localised around parties/clubs/radio stations/labels so whether they were playing the manchester stuff in london or not is interesting. i definitely see way more of the london stuff around when i'm looking for records (mostly on the south coast) so i don't think the distribution side of things was particularly brilliant. guessing there are major parallels with a scene like grime in it's early days

ymo sumac (NickB), Wednesday, 12 February 2020 13:33 (six days ago) link

its

ymo sumac (NickB), Wednesday, 12 February 2020 13:33 (six days ago) link

a bit more toyin agbetu from his later period:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0qWkRrABXQ

https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2007/apr/03/features11.g2

ymo sumac (NickB), Wednesday, 12 February 2020 13:35 (six days ago) link

(hero)

ymo sumac (NickB), Wednesday, 12 February 2020 13:35 (six days ago) link

That Part II was a massive underground hit

MrEnergizer, Friday, 14 February 2020 22:32 (four days ago) link

Soul II Soul were the first to play what's now called streetsoul in London and in Manchester you had a sound called Soul Control..it was mainly underground clubs, blues, parties, pirate stations that played the music. Very few street soul big tunes made the charts or if they did we probably played a different mix.A lot of the UK tunes came through older regae or sound system heads and so had that reggae vibe with deep basslines dodgy vocals and bad production but just worked and sounded raw. Some of the smoother stuff came from the US although usually the B sides or different mixes were played

MrEnergizer, Friday, 14 February 2020 22:36 (four days ago) link

Also how wild is it that you can pick up a compilation of Brazilian street soul fairly easily yet none of the major archival labels have managed to put together one based on the Manchester sound?
I think cos it wasn't what you could call a 'Manchester' sound. It was played in the underground circuit in most of the Black communities but Manchester and the North seemed to push it more at the time.
I've made some compilations here if anyones interested.

https://streetsoulmusic.blogspot.com/2020/01/street-soul-compilation-1.html

MrEnergizer, Friday, 14 February 2020 22:41 (four days ago) link

Wow! Look like Toyins lost the plot a bit!

MrEnergizer, Friday, 14 February 2020 22:41 (four days ago) link

If any of you guys are near Manchester then check out King Bee Records in Chorlton..you can get a lot of Street Soul 12"s for 2.50 -5 quid...or you could last time I was in there. The best place for Street Soul in MCR

MrEnergizer, Friday, 14 February 2020 22:48 (four days ago) link

Nice Street Soul mix
https://soundcloud.com/the-trilogy-tapes/duster-valentine-uk-street-soul-mix/comment-869641822

MrEnergizer, Saturday, 15 February 2020 00:07 (three days ago) link

Sylvia Tella's Spell album is nice if you like lovers

MrEnergizer, Saturday, 15 February 2020 00:08 (three days ago) link

Different version of YOU LOSE AGAIN
https://youtu.be/mv69mPbSUvI

MrEnergizer, Saturday, 15 February 2020 00:11 (three days ago) link

That video of Agbetu and his explanation of how his actions came about makes me adore him even more. Imagine having a hand in so many amazing singles and then being able to just walk away from that into a career in activism. Most people would be lucky to accomplish half of what he has in either field never mind both!

boxedjoy, Saturday, 15 February 2020 09:21 (three days ago) link

@boxedjoy... Where's the vid explaining his actions? Can you send a link please?

MrEnergizer, Saturday, 15 February 2020 20:25 (three days ago) link

NickB posted a link right under his video :)

boxedjoy, Sunday, 16 February 2020 10:03 (two days ago) link

Thanks, missed it...it's from 2007!

MrEnergizer, Sunday, 16 February 2020 21:30 (two days ago) link

Harlem Gem....another UK group

https://youtu.be/MiTnZ0Qdh_0
https://youtu.be/sMh4WbrNuRY

MrEnergizer, Sunday, 16 February 2020 21:33 (two days ago) link

Toyin is still very much the activist, currently very much involved in the campaign for justice for the victims of Grenfell. Not sure he posts much about music these days, but here's his twitter: https://twitter.com/LigaliOrg

ymo sumac (NickB), Sunday, 16 February 2020 22:56 (two days ago) link

Harlem Gem are fantastic, just magic music. Was kind of amazed to find out they were from Huddersfield. Would love to see a comp of their stuff, prices for the records seem to have gone a bit daft since 'More Than You Can Wish' was included on the Beautiful Swimmers comp last year.

Thanks for the playlist link btw MrE! Will check that out in a bit

ymo sumac (NickB), Sunday, 16 February 2020 23:03 (two days ago) link

This would be a really good theme for a Bob Stanley compilation

Wuhan!! Got You All in Check (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Sunday, 16 February 2020 23:04 (two days ago) link

Annoyingly the vocal version of this one isn't on Youtube but this is kind of interesting:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGqsY2LBUak

Massonix - Just A Little Bit More (1990)

Massonix were Graham Massey's side project outside of 808 State. Vocals on the record are by Denise Johnson who was previously in A Certain Ratio (was she Donald Johnson's sister?) and then ofc Fifth Of Heaven

ymo sumac (NickB), Sunday, 16 February 2020 23:10 (two days ago) link

xp someone needs to do one! surely gonna happen soon

ymo sumac (NickB), Sunday, 16 February 2020 23:11 (two days ago) link

that Massonix one costs a whole 90p on the cogs right now btw

ymo sumac (NickB), Sunday, 16 February 2020 23:15 (two days ago) link

wow..forgot about that massonix tune with the Barry White sample

MrEnergizer, Monday, 17 February 2020 00:08 (yesterday) link

@wuhan..this is the mix that used to get rinsed
https://youtu.be/5JKqQ8tLqJQ

MrEnergizer, Monday, 17 February 2020 00:08 (yesterday) link


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.