Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Soul II Soul - Jazzie's Groove

More a community of artists than a static band, Soul II Soul were nevertheless one of the more interesting and creative R&B acts of the late 1980's and early 1990's. Jazzie B (real name: Trevor Romeo) formed the group in London in 1988 with a lineup that included Nellee Hooper and Caron Wheeler among its ranks.  [Carol Wheeler appeared on ERV last December as a backup singer in the Elvis Costello and The Attractions song, "Everyday I Write the Book."]

Soul II Soul's sound was a modern take on traditional R&B and soul.  In particular, by combining samples with modern R&B, they made songs that were more interesting and creative than most R&B on the radio at the time.  The group's first album, Club Classics Vol. One (called Keep On Movin' in the U.S.) was a hit, reaching #14 in the U.S. and #1 in the U.K.  The singles "Keep On Movin'" (#11 in the U.S.) and "Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)" (#4) became big hits, and the group appeared to be headed for continued success.

Sadly, Wheeler left the band before the second LP was recorded, and further personnel turnover also had an impact on the group.  While they remained stars in the U.K., they did not have another top 40 hit in the U.S. Jazzie B eventually disbanded Soul II Soul in 1997, although they have reunited and performed in recent years.

For the blog, we skipped right over their two big hits listed above and settled on "Jazzie's Groove," a funky, mostly instrumental song that features samples from Gary Byrd's "Soul Travelin' Pt. I," Beau Dollar's "Who Knows," The Honey Drippers' "Impeach the President" and Pleasure's "Celebrate the Good Things."

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