Today’s POP RESCUE from a fate unknown, is the debut 1988 album Stop! by British singer Sam Brown. Is this album like a nice cup of tea, or should you just Stop playing it? Read on…
The album opens with the belting track, Walking Back To Me, which is a fantastic song that unsurprisingly became a single.
We’re then into Your Love Is All, a more mellow track, but perfectly formed, 80s guitar, but a lovely ending that’s rich with bongos and congas, and strings, which blend seamlessly into the big hit.
I’m struck early on, how much Sam’s vocals remind me of Allison Moorer.
This has come as a bit of a surprise, as having only heard, like many people, the down-tempo hit single Stop, which came to me on the Now That’s What I Call Music 14 in 1989, and is here as the third track.
It Makes Me Wonder musically reminds me a little bit of Walking On The Moon by The Police.
Track six is a bit of light relief, and one that I cannot fault based on its topic – Tea. You need to hear it.
Back to serious songs again, and we’re into the beautiful Piece Of My Luck, which feels quite jazzy, complete with double bass, acoustic guitar, trumpet and clarinet. This track almost steps into the territory of her contemporary Tanita Tikaram, until the trumpets and trombone come in, and then it feels like a track that should have made its way on to Madonna’s I’m Breathless album.
Ball And Chain and Wrap Me Up are both great tracks, with the opening vocals of the latter reminding me of Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s accent. The latter is also a vocally stronger 80s track.
The tenth track on the album, I’ll Be In Love, is a wonderful track. It features breathy vocals from Sam, alongside a tinkling piano, occasional roaring guitar riffs that sound almost whale-esque at times, and the whole track wouldn’t feel out of place on a Massive Attack album.
Merry Go Round and High As A Kite both feel like fillers, but track Sometimes is a good sturdy track.
Included here are two covers, omitted from some versions of the album, and feel a bit odd stuck here at the end of the album – a cover of Tina Turner‘s Nutbush City Limits, and Marvin Gaye’s track Can I Get A Witness. The former is pretty sympathetic to the original. The latter track fits Sam’s vocals well, and did get a release as a single in 1989, reaching #15 in the UK.
Where is Sam Brown now?
Sam had already racked up many hours in recording studios by the time she released this album – having been a backing singer for The Small Faces in the 1970s, and worked with Nick Cave, George Harrison, Spandau Ballet, and Pink Floyd.
She has continued to release a number of singles and albums, and currently is a patron of Tech Music Schools in London, and teaches backing vocals at the Academic of Contemporary Music.
Whilst this album was released in 1988, it wasn’t until 1989 that it saw the charts. Sam released Walking Back To Me, Stop!, and This Feeling in 1988. The first didn’t chart, the second only reached #52, and the third got to #91 in the UK singles chart.
Thankfully she, and her record label, persisted, and they re-released the Stop single in 1989, which saw it reach #4 in the UK, and helped to give the album the commercial success it deserved.
- POP RESCUE 2014 RATING: 3 / 5
- 1988 UK CHART POSITION: #4 in 1989
- POP RESCUE COST: 99p from a Cash Converters store.