Today’s POP RESCUE from a fate unknown, is the 1990 eponymous debut album Adventures Of Stevie V. Is this album a magical adventure, or does it leave you short changed? Read on…
The album opens with the extended version Dirty Cash (Sold Out Mix) of their big #2 UK hit single. I remember this being released as a single, and it’s always been a favourite 90s hit of mine. Melody Washington‘s vocals, set against the rap, beats, and sax sample make it a fantastic slice of 90s music. The legendary David Morales has an additional production credit here.
Question is, can the rest of this album stand up to the single’s success? I’d guess, due to his absence of hits, that it’s a no… but let’s find out.
Next up is Jealousy – the third single from this album. Whilst this song starts off good, it soon begins to sound like a weak demo b-side of the big hit. Melody’s vocals aren’t as strong here, and aside from the chorus (which I think is it’s only redeeming part), the lyrics are weak and unmemorable. This single was the end of the group’s chart career, reaching #58. At 5min 25s, this is a long slog.
The fourth and final single That’s The Way It Is is up next, and this single failed to chart at all in the UK. Melody shares vocals with Kevin Dozier here, and whilst this feels like a fairly credible 1993 track, this was 1990, and so it went ignored.
Next up is Butterfly Free, and this song reminds me of the kind of echoy, drifty dance songs that you’d find on the Deee-Lite debut album from the same period. The synthscapes date the track a bit. Lyrically, initially, there’s not a great deal to go with on this track, but then as you listen to you spot the black/white African equality messages.
Indecision starts off promising, sounding like quite a bouncy early 90s dance track, but the switch to the verses feels a bit weak, as the backing track of bass and house piano, fail to back up the verses. The chorus includes a spelling out of ‘i n d e c i s i o n‘ which doesn’t particularly make for the catchiest chorus. This sounds like a quiet dance song, that’s just waiting to throw in a big beat or strong synth line. It never arrives, instead a gentle acoustic guitar comes in.
There’s some great beats in next track Weekend. This feels like a much stronger track, and one that perhaps with a bit of a remix would have worked as a single. There are moments when in the rap, and the naming of the days, I find myself thinking of Betty Boo‘s hit 24 Hours.
The pace picks up for second single Body Language, which gave them a #29 UK hit single. I vaguely remember this one being released. It has some signature sounds last heard in their previous hit. It’s quite catchy, and I’m glad that it scraped into the top 30 for them, but it’s certainly no Dirty Cash. This album version goes on a fair bit, clocking up 6min 59s.
Eighth track, Pride Before A Fall, opens with up-tempo beats and what sounds like a sax sample, and soon Melody is back, but her vocals seem to jar against the key of the simple bassline. This feels a bit like a filler.
Vocalist Melody gets time off, as vocalist Funmi takes the lead on Moments In Time, but sadly the song, like the previous one, is not very strong, and ultimately lets her down.
Hooked On The Groove opens with Melody, and a tantalising pause (that is almost long enough to make you check your music player), before coming back in with vocals from Kevin Dozier, and joined by Demitrio Frausto, and Michelle Orr. This track is far more catchy than the last two tracks, and perhaps should have been a single. With artists like MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice around at the same time, this could have played in their favour.
This is followed by Forbidden Fruit, with a rich bass and beats. This is soon joined by synth and tinkling house-styled piano. Melody’s vocals here are strong, but her male co-vocalist’s vocals are somewhat weak here. With some more instruments in the chorus, I think that this song could easily have been a hit single. There’s a distinct similarity (in my opinion) between a section of this song, and the bass and piano section of Electronic‘s 1994 hit, Getting Away With It.
Penultimate track Sink Or Swim crashes in sounding unlike most of the rest of this album. Its hard synth stabs make it an upbeat track. Even the vocals here are stronger. Lyrically, this song carries a message, with the group encouraging environmental action.
The album closes with Dirty Cash (Dime And Dollar Mix), a much shorter mix from the opening version, and I think that this was on the single. It’s the perfect edit.
Where are The Adventures Of Stevie V now?
The Adventures Of Stevie V released a second album – Satisy Me – in 1993, and two further singles, but these failed to chart. It wasn’t until 1997, when a remix of Dirty Cash (Money Talks) was released, that they returned briefly to the charts – reaching #69 in the UK.
In 2005, Liberty X released a fairly faithful cover of Dirty Cash, and in 2010 Dizzee Rascal and Florence Welch (of Florence And The Machine) performed a mash-up which incorporated Dirty Cash, at that year’s BRIT Awards. It was released soon after.
He is believed to be a music teacher at Bedford College, Bedford, UK.
Whilst there’s some clear contemporary pieces here from 1990, that with some more musical instruments, and a remix may have boosted the songs, and the singles, overall I class this as a bit of a misadventure of Stevie V. Dirty Cash is definitely the cash cow here.
I’ve unsuccessfully tried to sell the album back on eBay, three times.
- POP RESCUE 2014 RATING: 2 / 5
- 1990 UK CHART POSITION: Did not chart.
- 2014 POP RESCUE COST: £1.00 from a Poundland store.