I have a memory of working nights in the computer department at a bank. The building was deserted apart from three of us who ordered a take-away curry, which wasn’t actually allowed, and eating it in the break room. At some point I played Soul II Soul – Club Classics Vol. One. In fairness, I may not have, it could be an amalgamation of two memories that I’ve glued together as it was some 25 years ago. I had it on cassette, which I bought many of, although pre-recorded cassettes were, as it turned out, rather a waste of money as they were prone to magnets, untangling and could degrade quite badly. I was a member of one of those clubs, the sort that send you 5 tapes a month and you have to send back the ones you don’t want or pay for them. I could never be bothered to send them back and ended up paying for rather a lot of things I didn’t actually want. On the other hand, I did listen to some things that I normally wouldn’t have and ended up liking them, however, those were exceptions to the norm.
This Soul II Soul cassette was from that club and I really liked it, and still do. At the time I listened to one, maybe two specific genres of music and this was far outside those, but there was something about it that I found to be not at odds with these genres (which were Indie and Rock in case you were wondering). Perhaps with Soul II Soul being a collective, or starting as a ‘Sound System’ there was an Indie sensibility about them. No matter though, I just liked the tracks.
I think I may have been more familiar with the second album, or tracks from it (‘Get a life’ in particular). Volume One arrived in the post and I gave it a listen, it was like discovering it myself, even though it had been released two years previously and had already been a hit.
On Saturday I picked up a used vinyl copy for £3.50. It’s in good condition and plays very well. I suspect this is less than I paid for the tape originally.
The album won a couple of Grammy awards in the 80’s, and was on a load of best album polls and suchlike, which it well deserved.
Below is a sort of best of, starting with tracks from Vol. One.