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In the early 80,s Brit soul or jazz funk as we called it back then was all the rage and there was a lot of British solo artist and groups trying to copy what the Americans seemed to do so well as they always do. So when my musical awakening happened in 1981 I was eager to see a Brit do well in the US this was about to come true though at the time I wouldn’t have believed it then. British acts then didn’t seem to be taken seriously at all, and if they were signed, it always appeared to me that the large record companies saw them as gimmicky and not to be taken seriously, sure if it was a hit then they could claim they where grooming Uk talent, if not well it didn’t matter. I suppose you could call this business and not personal. So when a certain JUNIOR GISCOMBE hit the charts with the anthem MAMA USE TO SAY it was time to be proud of our own and say we can do it. Norman Giscombe or JUNIOR was born 10th NOVEMBER 1961 although this could be 1960 or even 57 hmmmmmmmm will have to have a word with this dude, was a backing vocalist for the group headed by DAVID GRANT and SKETCH called LINX who themselves where a British soul /pop r&b group that had several hits on the UK brit charts at the time .He would leave and sign to Phonogram Records in 1982 and release the album JI that would spawn the hits MAMA USE TO SAY and my favourite TOO LATE that year JUNIOR would be awarded the Billboard’s ‘Best Newcomer Award’ he would become the first BLACK BRITISH artist to appear on SOULTRAIN. His follow up album was again well received when 1983 he would release INSIDE LOOKING OUT of which had the funky and my favourite DO YOU REALLY WANT MY LOVE of which was on the sound track of the smash EDDIE MURPHY movie BEVERLY HILLS COP. JUNIOR GISCOMBE at this point could do no wrong when it came to all things stateside yet it already appeared here that his initial success was being seen as a bit of a one off. Yet in America he was writing music for the likes of PHYLIS HYMAN,RUBY TURNER ,ARIF MARDIN, MAXI PRIEST and fellow brit SHEENA EASTON who at the time was huge in America and would go on to have major hits of her own. After this things went a bit quiet on the JUNIOR scene although he did continue to release music the lovely song OH LOUISE( of which is my favourite song by JUNIOR GISCOMB)
was released on London records and JUNIOR wrote and produce the PAUL JOHNSON song WHEN LOVE COMES CALLING yet none of these were huge chart hits for the man .H e would have to wait until 1987 to chart again along with kim wilde in the song ANOTHER STEP a combination that was for me at the time miss able ,and JUNIORS talents as a singer songwriter seemed to lose credibility for soul fans here. Yet when the chips are down great artist always come through in one way or the other and when THE LIGHTHOUSE FAMILY released their first album 1995 and I purchased it I wasn’t surprised to see he had been involved. JUNIOR had not disappeared he had a hit with THEN CAME YOU in 1992 .He would go on to set up his own label STEP OFF MUSIC and continue to work with upcoming artist as well a release his own material. In 2006 JUNIOR GISCOMBE made for me what was a welcome return the album OCEANS was released to rave reviews yet sadly it didn’t get it just deserts, but those who have bought it love it. JUNIOR GISCOMB with his distinct vocals and writings that have made him the wonderful artist we see today .it is sad that we here in the UK should give more respect to an artist of his stature. What he achieved in the early 80,s helped pave the way for fellow soul artist like LOOSE ENDS, RUBY TURNER and of course SOUL II SOUL all who had huge hits across the pond and here but were more respected here. Today that pattern sadly does appear to still be there, bands like HIL ST SOUL, FLOETRY and others find huge success in the US yet nothing here at all. I’m not complaining here just stating it .In my very humble opinion they are better off with this type of success. JUNIOR GISCOMB thank you for your pioneering work down through years and the way you keep staying true.
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