Through the BRAND NEW HEAVIES were formed back in the 1980s (originally called Brothers International and they just played instrumentals) they didn’t really break through till 1990/91 with the singles ‘Dream Come True’ and ‘Never Stop’. Their status as major players was consolidated with their eponymous album debut (1990) and ‘92’s ‘Heavy Rhyme Experience Vol. 1’. By that time, the band’s line up has crystalised into the core of bassist Andrew Levy, guitarist Simon Bartholomew, drummer Jan Kincaid and powerhouse vocalist N’Dea Davenport (though more often than not Ms D was often billed as “a guest”).
Countless hits were to follow and despite all sorts of personnel changes (especially at the mic) the BNHs are still going strong. Their late 2019 ‘TBNH’ long player was as rewarding as any of their pervious offerings.
However, it’s generally conceded (by commentators and fans alike) that the band’s golden age was the early 90s when Levy, Bartholomew, Kincaid and Davenport were crafting their superior take on Brit soul and that was the line-up that wowed Japanese audiences at a concert at Tokyo’s Shibuya Entertainment Hub in mid-1992.
The show was captured on tape and the resulting live album was eventually released in Japan only in 1997. For years, the 12 tracker has been a sort of Holy Grail for both BNH fans and Brit soul collectors. The good news is that ‘Shibuya 357; The Brand New Heavies Live In Tokyo in 1992’ is all set for release on Acid Jazz on 12th March.
The set list for the show contained plenty of the band’s favourites – ‘Dream Come True’ and ‘Never Stop’ (of course) alongside ‘Stay This Way’, ‘People Get Ready’, ‘Ride In The Sky’ and their superlative cover of ‘Don’t Let It Go To Your Head’. By all accounts, the show was hugely atmospheric and energy packed and that’s reflected (at times) in the eventual sound balance – but that’s a minor point. The album is wonderful document in a key moment in the evolution of a major UK soul institution.
‘Shibuya 357; The Brand New Heavies Live In Tokyo in 1992’ will be released on March 12th via Acid Jazz. The whole album has been remastered from the original source tape and will be available on striking baby blue vinyl, softback CD and streaming services for the very first time.