Seven years after their last 'Americana' compilation for BBE Music, The Mighty Zaf and Mark GV Taylor present two more rare blue eyed soul cuts from across the pond: 'So Close To You' by Arthur, and 'Reincarnation' by Future Force. Taken from his first and only solo album, 1981's 'Joy', 'So Close To You' is a sweet, folk-tinged song written by Arthur's guitarist Dean Devener and voiced by Maye Cavallaro. Hailing from New York, a diamond dealer by day and a bassist by night, Arthur joined his first band in '66.
He was living in the tiny community of Inverness, just North of San Francisco when he recorded 'So Close To You', which featured mainly local musicians from the West Marin area. "Between around 1980 and 2010, if someone told me I’d see any interest let alone money from my album, I’d have thought they were hallucinating" says Arthur. In 2010, the DJ son of a friend of Arthur's saw an original copy of 'Joy' hanging on the wall of A-1 records in New York, priced at $50. Soon afterwards, compiler Mark Taylor tracked Arthur down on Facebook and the pair met in London, where by happy coincidence Arthur had a brief flight stopover. "We met Mark in a coffee place just outside security and sold him the box of records. I thought he looked like a cop, not a jazz DJ, although if you think 1950s America, the two could look the same".
Arthur returned to London in May 2019 and attended Mark's 'Reference Point' party at the BBE Store, delighted to sign copies of his original 'Joy' LP for the regulars, and ecstatic to hear 'So Close To You' played in public for the first time. 'Reincarnation' was originally the B-side of NYC pop / funk band Future Force's only recording, a 7" single released in 1981. Future Force was formed by brothers David and Howard Bowler, who went on to write and produce dance cuts for A&M with the band's keyboardist Eric Li, including the hit song 'Sayin' Sorry Don't Make It Right' by Denise Lopez. Recorded live with only the lead vocals overdubbed, 'Reincarnation' captures the raw, soulful sound for which Future Force shows had gained notoriety, both in New York City and beyond.
The song was written by guitarist Jehri Riley and performed by lead singer Jackie Stewart, who was born in Brixton to Jamaican parents, moving to NYC at the age of 13. About the compilers: The Mighty Zaf began his journey at the famous London store Reckless Records, before becoming a respected private record dealer. These days you can find him behind the counter at Love Vinyl in London, the store he co-owns with BBE's graphic designer Jake Holloway. Mark GV Taylor began collecting records as a schoolboy, started DJing internationally in 1990 and hasn't looked back since. He's also a former contributor for Straight No Chaser and compiler for Blue Note Records.
1. So Close To You