Classics: Lil’ Louis & The World – Saved My Life (Vintage Mix) (Epic/FFRR)
(Music) saved my life is pretty much how I came to feel at hard moments of my existence. Besides, don’t ask me why! For some reason, I’ve always come to think of Cerrone when givin’ a listen to ‘Saved Me Life’. Could it be because I felt like it was some updated version of his music? As a matter fact, I would tend to think chances are few Lil’ Louis has ever thought of this. Even though you never know at the end.
One thing being for sure though is how Louis and Joi Cardwell ended up connecting with each other. Cardwell responding to and ad on the Village Voice about an Epic recording artist looking for a background singer for a live tour. The rest being almost history with Lil’ Louis getting her singing the lead on four tracks on his 1992 ‘Journey With The Lonely’ album. In other words, ‘Club Lonely’, ‘Do U Love Med’ and ‘Dancing In My Sleep’. Not to mention ‘Saved My Life’ which, most definitely, stands among its highlights.
I guess ‘Saved My Life’ also says a lot about the place music happened to take in Louis‘ world at the end…
– A native of Chicago, Lil’ Louis naturally found influences from his dad – Bobby Sims – a jazz cat who happened to play along with B.B. King among others.
Lil’ Louis eventually made his debut behind the decks in the mid-70’s at the early age of 12. Meanwhile the memorable ‘French Kiss’ would mark his debut on FFRR/Epic back in 1989. This with additional vocal courtesy of Shawn Christopher. Most likely a universal Pop hit as a matter of fact. Itself standing among the highlights of his ‘From The Mind Of Lil Louis’ debut-album. This with extra gems such as the bumpin’ ‘I Called U’ and ‘Blackout’. Not to mention the intoxicating ‘Nyce N Slo’ pretty much reminding of Skyy‘s ‘First Time Around’.
Another album – ‘Journey With The Lonely’ – followed three years after. Thus bringin’ Louis back to the forefront with a couple of cuts. From ‘Club Lonely’ to the infectious ‘Saved My Life’ featuring Joi Cardwell. Then, the big silence for what seemed like an eternity apart from ‘Freedom (Make It Funky)’ which he produced back in 1995 for Black Magic (Strictly Rhythm). Then a remix of ‘Flashback’ for Laurent Garnier on F-Communications two years later. With the bouncing ‘Clap Your Hands’ (a non-album single) closing his account on FFRR/Epic that same year.
The end of the 90’s not only saw Lil’ Louis activating a new guise by the likes of A Lil’ Louis Painting. But also opening his account on King Street/Nitegrooves. Beginning with the hypnotic ‘Stormy Black’ back in 1997. From then on, he went to produce ‘Misery’ for Kimara Lovelace. Meanwhile, his own ‘Give It Up’ received the remix treatment courtesy of Masters At Work and Frankie Feliciano. With 2009 seeing him releasing his third album – Two Sides To Every Story’ – on his own Lil’ Louis Painting label.
He went on to release ‘Fable’ with remixes courtesy of Frankie Knuckles, Anthony Nicholson and Glenn Underground. Then he remixed ‘Can’t Be Without’ for Carlton (2012) and ‘The Ism’s’ for Glenn Underground the year after.
On Jan 24, 2015, Louis suffered permanent sound-induced hearing loss in his left ear during a soundcheck in Manchester. This after a compressed air horn had been let off next to him.
– A New York City native, Joi Cardwell appeared for the very first time on stage at the early age of 5 at Carnegie Hall. And, after five years, she was pretty much accustomed to live performing. She graduated from New York University with degrees in English and Music in the mid-80’s. Eventually singin’ back-up for artists such as Melba Moore, LL Cool J and Jermaine Jackson. Then, with thanks to her connection with Kashif, she signed a record deal with Arista for her Pop/R&B girl-group The Promises. But that didn’t work back then, most likely because of saturation of the market.
She then came to collaborate with Lil’ Louis. This further to the publication of an ad on the Village Voice about an Epic recording artist looking for a background singer for a live tour. With both of them eventually recording four tracks on Louis‘ 1992 ‘Journey With The Lonely’ album. And, by that, ‘Club Lonely’, ‘Do U Love Med’, ‘Dancing In My Sleep’ and ‘Saved My Life’. This before delivering backing vocals on Barbara Tucker‘s classic ‘I Get Lifted’ in 1994.
Soon after, Cardwell signed with Eightball Records, releasing her debut-album – ‘The World Is Full of Trouble’ – in 1995. She eventually contributed to the Brooklyn Funk Essentials‘s cover version of ‘The Creator Has A Masterplan’ Then to former Deee-Lite DJ Towa Tei‘s ‘Luv Connection’. With her second (epnymous) album seeing the light in 1997.
Joi Cardwell kept on working with a bunch of extra luminaries along with time. From Blaze with whom she sung ‘Keep Hope Alive’ and ‘Be Yourself’ as parts of their Underground Dance Artists United For Life‘s 2004 ‘Keep Hope Alive’ album. To Studio Apartment, Steal Vybe and Mike Dunn. This in addition to Groove Addix (‘Je T’Adore’), Groove Junkies (‘What’s Freedom’) and Kraak & Smaak to name but a few. Eventually reappearing with Brooklyn Funk Essential back in 2014 on ‘Dance Or Die’.
More recently, in March 2018, Cardwell delivered a new version of her single titled ‘Trouble 2018’. Then on On June 01, 2018, she released her eighth album – ‘Pride And Joi’ – featuring new remixes of her previous singles.