Lost but not least! Soul II Soul – Joy (Brand New Heavies Remix) (10 Records)
A quick look at the amount of views of Soul II Soul‘s ‘Joy’ on Youtube almost says it all. With the aforementioned far from being their most famous cut, although it made quite some noise in the charts.
Mind you, I can’t help thinkin’ of what most of my collegues wrote of the band’s follow ups to ‘Keep On Movin” and ‘Back To Life’. Thus claimin’ Soul II Soul failed to renew themselves. Meanwhile reproducing the same (kind of) vibes. . My thought about their reaaction nowadays being the exact same as back in the day. In order words… Bullsh**! As they just would have said Soul II Soul had gone too far. This if say for instance they had explored Drum & Bass at the time…
Such a shame once again which has led to so many treasures from the past remaining underrated at the end. This when they would have deserved the recognition. With the uplifting ‘Joy’ most likely makin’ no exception. From Richie Stephens‘ timeless vocal performance along with Claudia Fontaine in the backing vocals. To the Brand New Heavies‘ one of a kind remixing work. In a bass-driven mood somehow reminding of T-Ski Valley‘s infectious ‘Catch The Beat’. The whole with a killer piano riff along with stellar synths and strings lines…
Missed it? Check it out and let us know what you think…
Like many acts with Jamaican origins, Soul II Soul first came to recognition as a sound system. This with an initial line_up comprising Caron Wheeler, Doreen Waddell, Rose Windross, Daddae Harvey, Aitch B, and Jazzie Q around Jazzie B.
Their debut single – ‘Fairplay’ featuring Rose Windross – only peaked at #63 position in the UK charts. And its follow-up – ‘Feel Free’ – also failed to make it. But major success would come with their third attempt – ‘Keep On Movin” – along with Caron Wheeler on lead vocals. With history repeating itself with ‘Back To Life’. Then ‘Get A Life’ with Jazzie B‘s cousin Marcia Lewis fronting the band after the departure of both Rose Windross and Doreen Waddell.
From ‘Vol. II: 1990 – A New Decade’ which they recorded without Caron Wheeler who’d gone solo, one would most likely remember ‘A Dream’s A Dream’ along with Victoria Wilson-James. This in addition to ‘Get A Life’. Not to mention, although to a lesser extend, ‘People’ which Timmy Regisford happened to remix, and ‘Missing You’ featuring Kym Mazelle.
From ‘Volume III Just Right’ would most definitely come the uplfting ‘Joy’ featuring Richie Stephens with outstanding remixing work courtesy of The Brand New Heavies. With its follow ups – ‘Move Me No Mountain’ and ‘Just Right’ – achieving quite moderate success.
From then on, Soul II Soul progressively disappeared from the spotlights. Eventually disbanding in 1998 back in 1998 then resurfacing almost 10 years after for some tour activities.
In April 2013, Jazzie B and Charlotte Kelly launched the Soul II Soul ‘Classics’ Collection at Harvey Nichols in London. It features T-shirts and sweatshirts with Soul II Soul’s Funky Dred logo. And three years after, Soul II Soul released a single titled ‘A New Day’ credited to Caron Wheeler, which features production from Jazzie B and Louie Vega.
Meanwhile, on the remix front, SIIS are responsible for two killer reworks – ‘Do The Right Thing’ and ‘Ghetto Heaven’ – respectively for Redhead Kingpin And The F.B.I. and The Family Stand.
In March 2002, Doreen Waddell, who had been living in Hove following her departure, died aged 36 after being hit by three cars while fleeing from a shoplifting incident. And Melissa Bell sadly died 15 years later after suffering from kidney failure on Aug. 28, 2017.