Saturday, 7 January 2012

Get personal with Loversrock

The roots of Lovers Rock lie in the early days of reggae, with Jamaican and American singers such as Ken Boothe, Johnny Nash, and John Holt enjoying international hits with reggae versions of well-known love songs.

A style suited to the London reggae scene, Lovers rock represented an apolitical counterpoint to the conscious Rastafarian sound dominant in Jamaica at the time. It combined the smooth soul sounds of Chicago and Philadelphia soul with reggae basslines and rhythms.

Rooted in the Sound systems of South London, the style had particular appeal amongst women and produced many female stars including Carroll Thompson, and the first British singer to have a lovers hit Ginger Williams' "Tenderness" in 1974. Louisa Mark, was aged just 14 when she had a major lovers rock hit with her version of Bobby Parker's "Caught You in a Lie" in 1975, this spawned the distinctive young girl female sound associated with early lovers rock.

This was followed by the husband and wife production team of Dennis and Eve Harris then had a big hit with T.T. Ross's "Last Date", and Dennis Harris then set up a new label, Lovers Rock,at the south east London premises on Upper Brockley Road along with John Kpiaye and Dennis Bovell, which gave the new genre a name.

South London trio Brown Sugar (including a young Caron Wheeler, later of Soul II Soul) pioneered a subgenre, 'conscious lovers', with songs such as "I'm In Love With a Dreadlocks" and "Black Pride". Others who released records in this subgenre included the Battersea songstress Winsome. Lovers Rock became a staple of London's sound systems such as Chicken Hi-Fi, Success Sound, and Soferno B. Neil "Mad Professor" Fraser would be a key Lovers Rock producer, working with Deborahe Glasgow, while Bovell would produce one of the genre's biggest hits, Janet Kay's "Silly Games", which reached number 2 in the UK Singles Chart in 1979.

Although noted for the preponderance and youth of its female exponents, the new style produced its fair share of male stars as well, notably Trevor Walters, Honey Boy, and Winston Reedy. The trend also saw the emergence of many male groups, including Tradition, The Investigators and the Birmingham group Beshara, who in the early 80's, had the emotive reggae chart hit "Men Cry Too".

Subsequently, numerous well-established Jamaican acts came to try their hand at the new sound. Most successful among these were Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown, Sugar Minott, and later Freddie McGregor. Brown's "Money In My Pocket" (#14 in 1979) and Minott's "Good Thing Going" (#4 in 1981) were both big hits in the UK Singles Chart.

The popularity of Lovers Rock has continued, and in the 1980s the Fashion label was successful with UK audiences, and the Revue label had a major hit in 1986 with Boris Gardiner's "I Wanna Wake Up With You". In the 1990s the likes of Mike Anthony, Peter Hunnigale, and Donna Marie enjoyed success with the genre, and several British stars have performed at Reggae Sunsplash.

called from wikpedia

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