Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Where Ya At: Caron Wheeler

Back to the present time

Soul II Soul: "Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)"
from Club Classics Vol. One, 1989
Caron Wheeler: "Livin' In The Light (The Original Story)"
produced by Afrika Baby Bam, from UK Blak, 1990
Caron Wheeler: "Soul Street (Puffy's Remix)"
produced by Sean "Puffy" Combs and Lord Finesse, from Beach of the War Goddess, 1993
Da Beatminerz: "Open (feat. Caron Wheeler and Pete Rock)"
from Brace 4 Impak, 2001

For many, the sound of Soul II Soul was Caron Wheeler's voice. I've provided the most popular Caron Wheeler single here, and most of us are already familiar with "Keep on Movin'" as well. Leaving the club collective behind, Caron embarked upon a solo career, releasing the Brit-soul album UK Blak. Heavy threads of club sounds and hip-hop beats were woven throughout, and it stands as one of the better early-90s afrocentric r&b records. The Jungle Brothers' own Afrika Baby Bam produced the lead single, "Livin in the Light," which rocks a TR Love sample from "A Chorus Line 2000 (Remix)."

While "UK Blak" made some noise on Video Vibrations, her follow-up from 1993, Beach of the War Goddess didn't do so well...a better title probably would have helped. "Soul Street" was the opening shot from that album, and we were blessed with a great Lord Finesse remix, replete with bells, jazz flute, heavy bassline, and tight drums typical of the brother with a fade and a half moon. Puffy gets a co-production credit, and likely made significant contributions on the pop appeal factor.

Caron linked back up with Jazzy B and friends to provide vocals for Vol. III: Just Right. She also contributed to the Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis-helmed Mo' Money soundtrack with the single "I Adore You."

The last I heard from Caron was on Da Beatminerz Brace 4 Impak, that 2001 Rawkus compilation that featured the usual Boot Camp suspects along with the best of NY hardcore hip-hop. 8 years after her last full-length album, Caron Wheeler's thick r&b delivery was paired with Pete Rock on the rap vocal for the mid-tempo jam "Open." The result felt like it stretched too hard for that radio airplay, sandwiched between all those east coast hard knocks. Caron's talent is too great to have fallen lapse over these past four years, so I can only assume that she's been productive, but I've not heard a thing.

Extrablogicular reading
Deep Groove Encyclopedia Entry
All Music Guide: Caron Wheeler


At 5/22/2005 11:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey ceezy,
if you want my solo caron wheeler 12" it's yours... (if i can find it, bet i couldn't sell it), as with whatever bombthebass (loretta heywood) or bassomatic (sharon musgrave) or anything else of that era... but not martina because that could get tricky... still, nice that you mentioned soul II soul, one offs that they whirrrrrrrrr... and the children of the paradice they negatively chime... "what the fcuk?!"... i can't hear you(th)? wha...?

xo- and um...

annon and on...

At 7/10/2005 11:26 PM, Blogger Del said...

nice post.
caron wheeler's voice is definitely underrated and always hinted at something deeper. last thing i heard from her was an appearance as a background vocalist on "cookie", a recent me'shell album.

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At 9/10/2006 3:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The mnost recent Caron Wheeler stuff I can find is a Live DVD from 2004. It's recorded in Tokyo and released in Japan. This year they alos released the audio of that concert on CD.


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