This week’s One To Watch comes from The Sound Principle.
1989 Balearic beats (remember those?), ’Jungle’ and Acid House drew large numbers of revellers to participate in raucous drug fuelled parties in abandoned warehouses or country fields. At a time when dance music was the only ticket in town, songwriter, musician and producer, Errol Michael Henry quietly set-up Intimate Records: a UK based independent label dedicated to creating original, high quality soul music. Errol says: “People quite often confuse ‘fashion’ with ‘trendy’. It was obvious to me that anything original, bespoke and meticulously made will always remain relevant to people who value such things. ‘Trends’ on the other hand are often victims of their own momentary popularity and ‘die’ once they reach their peak. To my mind, music is simply too important to be reduced to something that is shaped in order to chase ‘trends’ and I wanted to build a label that had its own distinct sound that would stand the test of time.”
‘Please Come Back’ by Dean Edwards (featuring the late, great Ronnie Jordan) was Intimate Records first release. A steady stream of UK soul classics followed before a stellar list of highly regarded artists decided to utilise Errol Michael Henry’s production prowess to gain access to the ‘Intimate sound.’ Bobby Womack only ever had 1 UK Top 40 hit (his duet with Lulu) was one of many renowned talents to benefit from Errol’s famed ability to tease exceptional performances from the artists he worked with. Further ‘Intimate’ facilitated hits followed for The Jones Girls, The Affair, Jaki Graham, Denni Hines and Pauline Henry.
To celebrate 30 years of Intimate Records, Errol Michael Henry revisited the archives and retrieved recordings featuring superb vocal renderings by Chris Ballin, Hazel Fernades and Paul Lee. Errol says: “I would whenever possible, get Chris, Hazel and Paul together because they make such a fantastic sound. The opportunity to combine the best of what they have to offer with the caliber of performance, arrangement and skill that comes as standard with The Sound Principle was just too good to miss. ‘I Know What I Want’ represents a pretty good advert for what I always envisaged the label to be about and the fact that vocals recorded more than 25 years ago can still hold their own today says a lot.”
‘I Know What I Want’ is a delectable slice of bass driven heaven. Sophisticatedly arranged live instruments underpinned by a strident bass/drums combo represent staples of the ‘Intimate Sound’ and Errol doesn’t hold back on this record! The playful interchange between the guitars, keyboards and percussion are what we have come to expect from The Sound Principle and add extra flavour to a soulful summertime smash. Chris Ballin’s mesmeric lead vocal serves to reinforce his status as the UK’s premier male vocalist. Having provided backing vocals for luminaries such as Omar, Pink Floyd and Tina Turner, Chris illustrates once again that he is a giant of an artist in his own right. Hazel Fernandes (The Affair/Tom Jones/Alexander O’Neal/Jamiroquai), plus The Kingdom Choir’s Paul Lee (the chap who’s stirring rendition of ‘Stand By Me’ defined the Harry & Megan nuptials) also contribute their considerable talents on backing vocals.
‘I Know What I Want’ was created as the first in a series of releases to celebrate a label that dared to defy ‘trends’, established a distinctive ‘sound’ and also provided a platform for songwriters, musicians, artists and producers to collectively demonstrate what makes original UK soul music so inspirational – and so unique.
‘I know What I Want’ is released by Intimate Records on 20th September 2019
Energised by Supermalt The Sound Principle, Ft Chris Ballin is this week’s One To Watch, playing on:
Mi-Breakfast (7 am – 10 am) – George Kay
Mi-Mornings (10am – 1pm) – Mike Vitti
Mi-Afternoons (1 pm – 4 pm) – Craig Williams
#MiDrive (4 pm – 7 pm) – Ronnie Herel