Friday, November 16, 2007


Song: Fairplay
Artist: Soul II Soul
Album: Club Classics Vol. One

Golly… remember Soul II Soul? Back in 1989 the UK based dance outfit scored two huge hits in the U.S. with “Keep On Movin’” and “Back to Life (However Do You Want Me?)” Both tracks were on their boldly titled debut “Club Classics Vol. One.” The band subsequently released all of their future albums as volumes, their sophomore titled “Vol. II: 1990 A New Decade” and their third, “Just Right: Vol. III.” They got their start as DJ’s at house and street parties until they recorded “Fairplay,” a groovy number with vocals by Caron Wheeler (who also sang on their two aforementioned U.S. hits.) The song secured their deal with Virgin Records.

While the band only enjoyed success with “Movin’” and “Life” here in the U.S., they had continued singles in the U.K. from this album, as well as on their subsequent releases. And while these were not Hot 100 singles in the U.S., many did well on the U.S. R&B and Dance charts. But also, with the re-emergence of club culture in the late 80’s and 90’s, many of the album tracks that were not officially released as singles received a lot of club play. Maybe that album title wasn’t as over confident as it seemed.

While I do think this stage in dance music sounds a bit dated now, and you can only really play their two hits (as well as ANY Blackbox) with a bit of irony, I think “Fairplay” still has legs. It’s probably most due to the fact that it was not a hit here so nobody knows it, but it works in today’s loungy vibe that you’ll hear at many scenester places here in the city.

I also just want to briefly note that all of their hits were produced by Nellee Hooper, who really established a name for himself with this album. He went on to score major hits both commercially and critically for Bjork, Janet Jackson, Madonna, U2, Massive Attack, No Doubt, Gwen Stefani, Garbage, Smashing Pumpkins… AND he also did his first film score with “Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet.”



Keep On Movin’

Back To Life

Get a Life

I actually own Vol II: 1990 A New Decade, got it back in the day and always liked it. And always thought this song should have been a hit. Maybe it was the screaming children chorus… I don’t know.

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