Saturday, 3 September 2016

14 Karat Soul live on Switch, Channel 4, 1983

Searching youtube for any new videos of 14 Karat Soul I was delighted - no, make that gobsmacked - to find a recently uploaded clip from 1983 from a Channel 4 programme called Switch broadcast in between the first and second series of The Tube. The announcer is the actress Yvonne French.

The year is important because this is the original lineup of the group, which I remember with enormous affection, and of all the clips I've seen this is undoubtedly  the one which comes closest to the experience of seeing them live. One of the numbers is Take Me Back Baby, which founder Glenny T (above, right) revived with a version of the group in a 2011 appearance, and which I heard during their week-long residency in the unlikely locale of Glasgow's Mitchell Theatre in 1983.

The bass singer is the late Reginald "Briz" Brisbon (above left) and at one point he can be seen doing his imitation of a double bass, just as he did in the number which opened their show in Glasgow, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.

It's a pity that the sound on the clip is just a little muffled, but the interaction between the leads (Briz's pulsating bass is an undoubted costar) and the overall sense of energy and drive is as I remember. The lead on the El Dorados' Crazy Little Mama is Brian "Lamont" Simpson (below, right). Wonder whether there are any other clips which the kind uploader to youtube has?

The directing credits for Tony Spenser Dow on the BFI website here suggest that the show ran between March and September 1983. I would guess that the group's appearance dates from April, as that's when they did a session for Kid Jensen's Radio 1 show, and I distinctly remember hearing Brian Simpson singing lead on Sixteen Candles on the radio just before I went to the Mitchell Theatre to enjoy them live.

Sadly, three of these original members have passed away: Russell Fox, Brian "Lamont" Simpson as well as Briz, as mentioned in an earlier post.

I have some more information about the group which I intend to share soon. In the meantime, here are links to earlier posts about this group. It was one of the great musical experiences of my life to see and hear them invest those fifties songs with so much life. And special credit to Brian Simpson, as well as Briz: I still remember one night during the Glasgow residency when he went all out on Annie Had a Baby.

The main post about 14 Karat Soul, with memories of seeing them in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London, is here. There are links at the end to three other posts.

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