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The Brand New Heavies: The Brand New Heavies

Album Reviews:

Entertainment Weekly (3/26/91) - Rating: B+

Q (4/92, p.70) - 3 Stars - Good - "...light yet luxuriant music...nothing ought to stop them now..."

Musician (5/91) - "...they may have an old-fashioned sense of soul, but their pop smarts are thoroughly up-to-date..."

Album Notes

The Brand New Heavies: N'Dea Davenport (vocals); Simon Bartholomew (guitar); Jim Wellman (soprano & tenor saxophones, keyboards); Andrew Levy (keyboards, bass); Jan Kincaid (keyboards, drums, percussion); Lascelles Gordon (percussion, guitar).

Additional personnel: Ikebod Smoinei (Bavarian berry pipe); Mike Smith (alto & tenor saxophones); Tim Garland (tenor & baritone saxophones); John Wilmot (tenor saxophone); Joan Walker (baritone saxophone); Paul Dias, Andy Bush, Lawrence Perry (trumpet); Brian Archer (trombone); Ceri Evans, Robert Carter (keyboards).

Many of the artists who were part of Britain's soul scene of the late '80s/early '90s, including Soul II Soul, Lisa Stansfield, and Caron Wheeler, took a high-tech, neo-soul approach, combining '70s-influenced R&B and disco with elements of hip-hop. The equally impressive Brand New Heavies, however, used technology sparingly, stressed the use of real instruments, and were unapologetically retro and '70s-sounding through and through. Drawing on such influences as the Average White Band and Tower of Power, the Heavies triumph by sticking with the classic R&B approach they clearly love the most. The band has a jewel of a singer in N'Dea Davenport, who is characteristically expressive on "Dream Come True" and "Stay This Way." Real horns -- not synthesizers made to sound like horns -- enrich those gems as well as the sweaty vocal funk of "People Get Ready" and "Put the Funk Back in It" and the jazz-influenced instrumental "BNH." While this fine album enjoyed cult hit status, it was sadly ignored by American urban contemporary radio. ~ Alex Henderson


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