Ne-Yo

Further unreleased music as "Schaffer".

Kandi and Tiny

Off The Hook: Unreleased demos from the early 2000s!

P!nk

The Truth About Choice.

Arika Kimble

A career ruined by mp3.com

Shiro

The First Lady of SoulPower.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

3 Men Called Ben

Active between 1995-1997, Benz were an all-male trio consisting of Ben Ofoedu (Big Ben), Benjamin Balogun (Tim Shadez) and Tony Thompson (Darkboy) Balogun was formally signed to the Island Records and went by the name of Overlord X between 1989-1990 and while performing Balogun met Ofeodu and the rest is history. With the addition of Balogun’s friend Thompson (whose middle name was Benedict), the group as Benz released 5 singles between 1995-1997 (3 under RCA, 2 independently) but it seemed the odds were stacked against them despite the buzz surrounding them. At one point, Mercedes Benz brought a lawsuit against them and in 1996 their potential fourth single on RCA was scuppered by Sony who refused to allow them sample clearance for Michael Jackson’s song Billie Jean. Now posted on their You Tube channel in full, the song could’ve sealed their fate as the next big group in Britain – radio stations went crazy for it - but sadly it was not to be. Their album aptly titled “Three Men Called Ben” was not released. Their final two singles seemed to be released independently before they all went their separate ways. Ofendu stayed with RCA records and eventually released one single “Your Love” in 2000 which seems to have been forgotten. He along with Thompson also did vocal work for Phats & Small while Balogun, the musician of the group, went on to produce and write for other artists.

Taken from the December 1995 version of Echoes:

(Ofoedu) “We are three guys from different walks of life. Dark Boy, he goes for soul music. He brings the “Soul” to the tracks. Shadez goes with the deep hip hop, the hard bass, the darkness” Tim Shadez completes the picture “My man Ben, he’s more on the ‘rock’ side.”

Various: HAT-TOWN and 7 Presents The Review (Hat-Town Records, 1999)

A further bomb from the Bay Area (Oakland) and once again featured on Series 2 of Street Beats. Formally one sixth of late 80s R&B/dance group Split Image,  T. Hatter (aka Terrence Hatter) produced this amazingly smooth set in 1999 which somehow slipped under the radar. Featuring artists from the roster of his Hat-Town label at the time, including quite rare track from Otis & Shugg which was recorded after they were signed (albeit very briefly) to Atlantic in 1995. 

Day Dreamin    4:08 (Chelley P.)
Love So Good    4:36 (Monet)
Ooh Wee!    3:52 (The Group Genre & T. Hatter)
Kiss And Make Up    4:39 (T. Hatter & Chelley P.)
I Got A Man    3:50 (Chelley P.)
Comes Around (Goes Around)    4:46 (Otis & Shugg)
If Your Man Don't Want Cha    4:11 (T. Hatter & Jemille)
Pier 69    4:30 (T. Hatter)
Hang On    4:35 (Chelley P.)
I Need You    5:16  (The Group Genre)
I Can Do Bad By Myself    3:58 (Sunshine)
Mack Mode    4:12 (T. Hatter)
In The Mood    3:37 (T. Hatter & Jemille feat. Rap by Kaution)
Get Off    4:48 (Monet)

Steve Marshall: Savage (State Of Emergency Records, 1999)

Formally featured on Street Beats Series 2 Volume 10 with his cover of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine”, Marshall believed that the industry didn’t give much “time and space” to UK male R&B singers unless you “knew the right person” but his debut album was somewhat different to your average Lemars and Craig Davids with raw blues and soul appeal and smooth vocals. There is not much information about him, but his EP “Mirage” got a glowing review in an April 1998 edition of UK dance music magazine Muzik where it was described as “uplifting and full of the whole range of ingredients” and “Good home-grown talent that's more than worthy.”

Listen to more Street Beats goodness here..

Ain't No Sunshine    4:27
Live The Vibration    4:47
Changes    4:50
Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)    4:46
Home (Dub)    4:35
Mare Street    0:54
Perseverance    4:52
There's A Stone In My Eye    5:13
Walk On The Wild Side    4:57
Roar    3:30
A Burnt Offering (It's The Beat)    5:31
Home    4:35
Don't Jinx The Future    5:55

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Deni Hines + Loleatta Holloway: more demo cassettes that nobody knew existed

Early proposed demos for Australian R&B artist Deni Hines (daughter of Marcia Hines) and intended for a later abandoned US project sometime in the early 90s. This was at least 3 years before the release of her debut album "Imagination" on Mushroom Records in Australia and 5 years before the release of "Pay Attention" in Europe. One track “It Was Your Lovin” is written and sung by Andrea Martin while tracks 1 & 4 may be sung by Hines herself although I am not 100% certain. At the time of these recordings she was only really known in Australia for her work with the Rockmelons, mainly for the songs “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “That Word (L.O.V.E.)” (both top 5 hits), and prior to this she worked as a backing vocalist for Kylie Minogue on her Rhythm of Love tour. Further songs this project can be heard here and feature writing credits from Al B.Sure.  I don’t know why the project never took off but it seems she never really got the recognition she deserved outside of whipping up a minor frenzy on Twitter when she appeared as Unicorn on The Masked Singer in 2019. From the daughter of Marcia Hines to another classic American vocalist Loleatta Holloway whose vocals were a mainstay in many early 90s pop hits for me including Blackbox’s “Ride On Time” and Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch’s “Good Vibrations”, here is a presentation tape that she did in 1991 with French house producer François Kevorkian…Formally a name in disco, it was only natural that she would follow it up in the early 90s with some garage house goodness and most of the tracks here do not disappoint.