Loose Ends still bringing the ‘Sweetest Pain’
David Goodson | 11/14/2013, 3:27 p.m.
So word is circulating regarding a monumental landmark year of a musical group from the United Kingdom that did things that would leave an indelible mark on these shores. Yup, it’s been a minute in the game now. Jane Eugene, one third of the underrated soul outfit Loose Ends, remembers quite vividly when they hit the U.S. in support of their first hit record.
“That night, we had done five clubs in one night. We got to the last spot in Newark, N.J. We were beat, but the love from the audience was so immense that when we hit the stage, all the fatigue was taken away. Our then-vice president of MCA Records’ Black music, the late Jheryl Busby, told me right before I hit the stage at the Latin Quarter, ‘If it goes down here, it’ll go down across the country. They’ll let you know if they like you here.’ At first, I was [like], ‘Oh my God,’ but to this day, he ain’t never lie. That night began our love affair with the music audience in New York and in the States.”
After the release of the song ‘Hangin’ on a String’ in 1985, things were different for guitarist Eugene, bassist and vocalist Carl McIntosh and keyboard player, writer and founder Steve Nichol, the individuals that comprise the Loose Ends collective. Though their five studio albums may not have been mega-selling hits, they yielded songs that are among many people’s all-time favorites, such as “Stay a Little While, Child,” “Mr. Bachelor,” “Sweetest Pain” and “Slow Down.” At the time, their blend of soul, jazz and funk was smoother and more melodic than what was going on musically.
Eugene said, “Those songs we did are 30 years old now, and I remember one of the things that critics would say about us when we were advancing our careers was, ‘Your music is ahead of its time.’ I thought it was an excuse they gave not to add it to their playlist. Now when I listen back, our music sounds current, and that’s kind of strange. How we achieved that with our producer Nick Martinelli, I don’t know.
“I consider myself a stylish singer because I can’t do the things Chaka Khan or all those American singers can do, but when you hear my voice, you know it’s me. So we were distinctive. And a song like ‘Hangin’ on a String’ [had] real emotions [because] Carl and I were in a relationship at the time, so that back and forth added some realism and spice,” Eugene said.
Maybe the band is not supposed to be explained but experienced instead. Loose Ends regroup onstage at B.B. King Blues Club and Grill (237 W. 42nd St.) on Saturday, Nov. 16. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Doors open at 6 p.m. and showtime is at 7:30 p.m.
I’m out. I just got back from the Soul Train Awards and have some insight to share coming up. Holla in a week. Till then, enjoy the nightlife.