Thursday, October 6, 2022

"Keep on Movin'" by Soul II Soul

Platinum Record Alert!
Song#:  3946
Date:  06/24/1989
Debut:  82
Peak:  11
Weeks:  20
Genre:  R&B, Soul

Pop Bits:  This British group was initially developed by DJ/producer Jazzie B (Trevor Beresford Romeo) as a "sound system" (a group of DJs/engineers that performed together) sometime around 1982. The group gained an audience over the years through their performances and as the late 80s approached a more distinct lineup was developed. Jazzie B began writing tunes on his own and with other group members and in '88 they were able to sign with 10 Records and issue out a couple of singles that were mid-charters in the UK. But then this third single changed everything. Released early in '89, it quickly caught on in the UK and reach #5. That prompted the assembly and release of a debut album titled Club Classics Vol. One. It would reach #1 in the UK. The success would prompt a deal for US distribution. This single would be issued out and it would become a major success reaching #1 R&B and #1 Dance while nearly cracking the Pop Top 10. It also made the AC chart at #37. Thanks to the cross format action, the single sold very well and would be certified platinum. The album, which was re-titled Keep on Movin' for the US release, would take off and go gold by mid-August. It would sell even more after the release of a second single.

ReduxReview:  This rich, silky, sophisticated track was something different at the time and folks latched on to it. It was easy to be seduced by the tune's relaxed groove and Caron Wheeler's voice. I found it to be a soul-packed extension of some of the British sophisti-pop that had been coming out in the late 80s. It really should have made the Pop Top 10, but it unfortunately stopped at the dreaded #11 spot. Still, it sold a lot as would the group's next single. Both would be influential tracks from the late 80s.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  The lead vocal on this song was performed by Caron Wheeler. Her parents were from Jamaica and the music from that country would certainly influence her later. While in school, she began to sing with a friend of hers Pauline Caitlin. Initially they did it for fun, but they began to take it more seriously and started practicing and performing. While still teenagers, he pair entered a talent contest at a local nightclub and won. Encouraged by that, the pair decided to expand to a trio and included Carol Simms. Now known as Brown Sugar, they recorded songs for a new reggae label called Lover's Rock. Their first single, 1977's "I'm in Love with a Dreadlocks," would do well on the UK Reggae chart. A couple more singles would follow, but it seems before the trio could record a full album, they decided to split blaming it on the way they were treated by the new label. They would get back together in '78 for a tour with famed reggae star Dennis Brown and release a few more singles, but by '83 they called it a day. Wheeler then paired up with singer Claudia Fontaine to form the backing vocal/session duo Afrodiziak. They would pick up some high profile gigs including performing on tracks by The Jam and Elvis Costello. The duo would turn into a trio with the addition of Naomi Thompson. More studio and tour work came their way via artists like Madness, Howard Jones, Maxi Priest, Aswad, and others. They would split in '88 with Wheeler joining up with Soul II Soul.


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