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    Brown SugarI'm In Love With A Dreadlocks: Brown Sugar and The Birth Of Lovers Rock 1977 - 80Soul Jazz Records

    Soul Jazz Records are releasing this first ever collection of the pioneering British reggae Lovers Rock group Brown Sugar including rare singles, dubs and extended mixes. The album comes with extensive sleevenotes and interviews with Dennis Bovell, Pauline Catlin, John Kpiaye and Winston Edwards (Studio 16).

    Brown Sugar were formed by three young teenage girls – Pauline Catlin, Caron Wheeler and Carol Simms in South London in 1976. In the short period of time 1976-1980, the group – working with Dennis Bovell on the mixing desk and John Kpiaye (‘Brownie T) in the studio – recorded barely a handful of singles on the new Lovers Rock label, a number of which went to the top of the UK reggae charts. But success stopped there, and with no album release and no industry support the group broke up in the early 1980s.

    Following their split Caron Wheeler became the lead vocalist for the hugely successful group Soul II Soul, Carol Simms launched a solo career as Kofi (re-making a number of Brown Sugar songs with producer Mad Professor) and Pauline Catlin returned to education.

    Despite their relatively low-key mainstream public exposure Brown Sugar (and the label on which their first records appeared) announced to the world a new genre of reggae music, Lovers Rock, which spoke for the first time with the sensibility of a new segment of British society; that of first generation-born Black British female youth.

    And while Lovers Rock became synonymous with sweet love songs, Brown Sugar’s music in fact expressed far more; a righteous pride and consciousness in being Black and British, a political stance more often associated with UK roots groups like Black Slate, Aswad, Misty in Roots and other British reggae acts in the late 1970s. Brown Sugar were in fact their own genre of ‘conscious lovers rock’ – an expression of ideological black cultural pride.

    Brown Sugar’s handful of three-minute love songs (often plus extended dubs) somehow manage to encapsulate all the complexities of identity, sexual politics and youthful righteousness of Afro-Caribbean youth living in Britain in the 1970s. Songs such as ‘I’m in Love with A Dreadlocks’, ‘Our Reggae Music’, ‘Black Pride’ and ‘Dreaming of Zion’ spoke with a straightforward righteousness and consciousness that few roots groups could hope to match. The fact that they were all teenagers is even more striking.

    In the mid-70s British reggae came into being as first generation Black Britain was able to find a voice able to express the issues of growing up British with Caribbean roots. This came about in two different ways – the British roots music of (essentially male) groups such as Aswad, Steel Pulse and Black Slate – and Lovers Rock, the expression of a black essentially (but not totally) female consciousness – Brown Sugar, Louisa Mark, 15-16-17, Marie Pierre, Janet Kay, Carroll Thompson, Jean Adebambo and others. And significantly, while British roots music was a variant on a Jamaican style, Lovers Rock was uniquely British – the first authentic British reggae sound.

    Dennis Bovell comments, “For Lovers Rock we needed a pulpit, a way of saying ‘this is the style’. Sound systems were already saying ‘this is lovers,’ brandishing it in the dance. Our intention was to create a style of music that my generation could identify with – one that had a beat, and you could dance to with your partner in a sound system setting.”

    Dennis Bovell’s mixes for the group gave a further dimension to Brown Sugar records – a sound system mentality, adding sound effects and dub elements. ‘I’m in Love with A Dreadlocks’ was the debut release for both Brown Sugar and the Lovers Rock label, a fitting calling card for both. The record was a hit on many sound systems across the UK, reaching the top of the reggae charts.

    John Kpiaye: “They never put out an album. And all these records were seven-inch singles; when 12-inches turned up it just killed the seven-inch.”

    Although the career of Brown Sugar was short-lived, their legacy and influence remains significant and now, 40 years on from these first records, all of the members are still involved in music. Pauline Catlin has recently re-launched her career under a new moniker, Shezekiel; Carol Simms, aka Kofi, remains a successful solo artist, one of the queens of Lovers Rock; Caron Wheeler, after leaving Soul II Soul at the end of the 1980s, embarked on a solo career, before re-joining the soul super-group which she continues to front to this day.

    This new collection brings together all the groups essential recordings for the first ever time and is released as double gatefold heavyweight vinyl + free download (+ full sleevenotes), CD with large booklet, and digital album.

    • – Black Pride
    • – Our Reggae Music
    • – Hello Stranger
    • – I'm In Love With A Dreadlocks
    • – Hurtin' (with Dennis Bovell)
    • – I'm So Proud
    • – Runaway Love
    • – Dreaming Of Zion
    • – Loving Dreadlocks Dub
    • – You and Your Smiling Face
    • – Do You Really Love Me
    • – Proud
    • – Confession Hurts
    Louisa 'Markswoman' MarkBreakoutUniversal Sound

    Louisa Markswoman Mark’s debut album, Breakout, is a landmark in the history of British reggae music, a seminal album that defined the new genre of Lovers Rock.

    This seminal album is released in its original design and comes with three bonus tracks – two rare single-only DJ cuts with Mark (including the legendary Trinity) and a superb rare dub. 

    This CD is a limited-edition deluxe hardback-cased edition of this seminal album with exact-reproduction artwork from the original album.

    There is also a very collectable deluxe limited edition (1000 worldwide –  with free digital download voucher) exact-reproduction expanded double-vinyl edition on heavyweight 180 gm vinyl pressing.

    In 1978, Mark was voted top female vocalist in the influential Black Echoes magazine. A few years earlier, her debut single, ‘Caught You in A Lie’, produced by legendary UK soundsystem operator Lloyd Coxsone and featuring music by the great Dennis Bovell had launched a new style of reggae in Britain, Lovers Rock. 

    After her debut the fourteen-year singer from West London came under the wing of Clem Bushay, then in-house producer and A&R for Trojan Records, who, starting with the classic ‘Even Though You’re Gone’, released a steady stream of hit singles on his independent Bushay label. 

    The young Mark became an iconic figure for young British black female singers, paving the way for Janet Kay, Caroll Thompson and the many other young lovers rock singers who soon followed in her path. 

    As the original sleevenotes to the album succinctly put it on her reggae success – ‘five number one songs out of five, all classics and at the tender age of 20’.

    For her debut album, Breakout, Louisa Mark and the well-connected producer Bushay brought together some of reggae music’s finest musicians from both the UK and Jamaica. These included superstar guests such as The Heptones, Dave Barker, Owen Gray and The In Crowd as well as relocated legends like Rico Rodriguez and Vin Gordon and the ever-present Dennis Bovell.

    Louisa Mark’s young success was short-lived and this album was to be her sole release. She died in Gambia in 2009.

    Thirty years on, the rare album stands out as one of the most important reggae albums of its time – a groundbreaking release, which helped define British reggae for a new generation of black British youth.

    • – People In Love
    • – Moving Target
    • – 6 Six Street
    • – Baby Simone
    • – Even Though You're Gone
    • – Funny Guys
    • – Keep It Like It Is
    • – Dance And Feel Free
    • – Reunited
    • – He Used To Be My Man
    • – Natty Go Dey Voluntarily
    • – Step It Brother Clem
    • – Gone Out
    • CD£12.00
      Out of stock
    • 2×LP£14.99
      Out of stock
    • MP3 Release£7.99
      Out of stock
    Carroll ThompsonHopelessly In Love Universal Sound

    Soul Jazz Records/Universal Sounds are issuing this seminal 1981 reggae album from Caroll Thompson.


    Thirty years on, this long out-of-print album stands out as one of the most important reggae albums of its time – a groundbreaking release, which helped define British reggae for a new generation of black British youth.


    The CD is a bespoke high quality limited-edition deluxe hardback-cased edition of this seminal album with exact-reproduction artwork from the original album + download

    There is also a very collectable deluxe limited edition (1000 worldwide – also with free digital download voucher) exact-reproduction expanded double-vinyl edition on heavyweight 180 gm vinyl pressing.


    Originally released in 1981, the same year as Louisa Mark’s equally classic debut album, Breakout, these two albums became acknowledged reggae classics almost overnight, and the benchmarks on which all other Lovers Rock albums were measures.


    Thompson had enjoyed early success with the Leonard Chin-produced singles I’m So Sorry and Simply In Love, which rose to the top of the reggae charts in 1981. The same year Thompson released the album Hopelessly in Love, through her own production company. The cover design, featuring a classic snapshot of Thompson sitting on a car bonnet in Harlesden, north-west London, came to epitomise Lovers Rock style and attitude.


    The album itself was a huge commercial success at the time of release with worldwide sales of over half a million copies. It is released here in full original artwork and tracklisting.

    • – Yesterday
    • – I'm So Sorry
    • – No, You Don't Know
    • – Sing Me A Love Song
    • – Mr. Cool
    • – Merry-Go-Round
    • – Simply In Love
    • – When We Are As One
    • – What Colour?
    • – Hopelessly In Love
    • CD£11.00
      Out of stock
    • New LP (180g)£16.99
      Out of stock
    • MP3 Release£7.99
      Out of stock
    Harmony, Melody & StyleLovers Rock In The UK 1975-1992Soul Jazz Records

    A definitive 2-CD/Two Vol 2xLP compilation album of Lovers Rock.

    Double-CD (and two separate volumes of 2xLP) pack includes stunning 34-page booklet telling the story of Lovers Rock including interviews and features and exclusive photography.

    Featuring Dennis Bovell, Carroll Thompson, Louisa Mark and many more.

    Harmony, Melody and Style tells the story of lovers rock – from its sound system beginnings, through its commercial explosion at the start of the 1980s and its underground continuance into the next decade as the founding UK producers of Lovers Rock absorbed and mutated Jamaican reggae and American soul styles into a distinctly British reggae sensibility.

    REVIEWS/FEATURES

    “Hard to fault the collection. Soul Jazz has released a number of excellent collections-- helping to illustrate narratives in particular types of music by providing valuably comprehensive and illuminating context. Harmony is no exception.

    There's over 40 pages of liner notes penned by label boss Stuart Baker, complete with interviews and photos that reach back to the 50s, setting the stage and moving through to the mid 80s. Each page illustrates elements of the rise of lovers rock in sound system culture while at the same time discussing the realities of racism in Britain." PITCHFORK

    “Lovers Rock remains one of our few homegrown authentic musical hybrids, combining elements of American soul, Jamaican reggae and UK female attitude. As ever with Soul Jazz, it is packaged epically.” THE INDEPENDENT

    Read Full PITCHFORK (8.0) piece here 

    Two seperate Vinyl Editions:

    2xLP Volume 1 includes tracks 1-13

    2xLP Volume 2 includes tracks 14-25

    • La Famille – All Night Long
    • Louisa Marks – Caught You In A Lie
    • Sandra Reid – Don't Tell Me Tell Her
    • Carroll Thompson – Sing Me A Love Song
    • Winston Curtis – Be Thankful For What You've Got
    • Janet Kay – Feel No Way
    • Paulette Tajah – Stop, Look, Listen
    • Eva Sharp – Upside Down
    • Valerie Harrison – You're No Good
    • Anthony Brightly – I Love You
    • Charmaine Burnett – Make It With You
    • Sister C.C. – Stop Hurting Me
    • Kofi – Black Pride
    • Full Wood – Stop And Think It Over
    • Christine White – Caught By Love
    • Jean Adebambo – Paradise
    • Trevor Hartley – It Must Be Love
    • Blood Sisters – My Love Don't Come Easy
    • Yvonne Archer – Ain't Nobody
    • Louisa Marks – Even Though You're Gone
    • The Cool Notes – People Make The World Go Round
    • Legato – I Cares
    • Candy McKenzie – Thinking of You
    • Wendy Walker – We've Got One
    • The Sadonians – Goodbye My Love
    • 2×LP Vol.2£23.00
      Out of stock
    • Deluxe 2×CD£12.00
      Out of stock
    • 2×LP Vol.1£23.00
      Out of stock
    • MP3 Release£8.99
      Out of stock