Boomkat Product Review:
Tipped by Bill Brewster, Mother Tongue’s divine 1989 deep house pearl finally gets a 12” pressing to itself, with thanks to Rush Hour
An ideal example of enduring British obsession with Afro-American dance music in the late ‘80s, Mother Tongue was a project helmed by the London production unit of composer Richie Stevens, a once teenaged drummer for the Dennis Bovell Dub Band (and Tina Turner, Simply Red, Hugh Masakela) and Martin Poole, his partner in Brit pop-funk duo, Well Red, who had some US success thru their pair of ’87-88 albums for Virgin, with the latter ‘Respect Due’ featuring production by George Clinton.
Working out of a small studio in Wood Green, north London, Stevens & Poole attempted to build on their success with a compilation of their own productions, listed under aliases (very par for the course at the time) on their label Furious Fish Records. Mother Tongue’s ‘Message Is Love’ was the comp’s gorgeous opening cut, and, despite not selling well at the time, it’s become a proper collector’s item, revered for its lead tune.
Bill Brewster knows all this - he wrote the notes for this release, and highlighted the tune on his ‘Tribal Rites’ compilation - and with the help of Rush Hour, ‘Message Is Love’ receives the treatment it’s long deserved, properly cut to 45rpm vinyl where the tune’s blend of new age strings, deep house groove and, crucially, the US/UK soul burn of Syn-Dee (Sindy Finn) and Lovebase (Louise Porter)’s vocals take on a second (or 3rd?) life, nestling a strong dose of summer of ’88 sunshine that’s lost none of its life-giving warmth over the decades since.