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The Cool Notes

South London Soul Music band The Cool-Notes were originally, founder members: Stephen McIntosh (Keyboards/Vocals/Writer) Joseph ‘J.C.’ Charles (Guitar) Heather Harewood (Lead Vocals) Lauraine Smart (Lead Vocals) Loxley Williams(Rhythm Guitar) and Charles Keymist (Bass) who’s untimely death in the early eighties saw Ian Dunstan (Bass) as his replacement for the Coolnotes, Peter ‘Lee’ Gordon (Lead Guitar) also replaced original Coolnotes guitarist Loxley Williams and Mel Glynn to become the 80’s music soul bands permanent guitarist. Peter ‘Rattie’ Rolands (Drums) later replaced Joseph ‘OBJ’ Francis due to illness. They first worked together as a Lovers Rock Reggae Band during the mid -’70s. Initially they recorded a number of reggae / lovers rock tracks for the Jama reggae label, run from a record shop in Brixton South London. As a lovers rock reggae band The Coolnotes first recordings for the Jama reggae label was ‘My Tune’ which topped the lovers rock / reggae charts and together with The Cool-Notes enjoyed many more lovers rock / reggae hits such as ‘Sweet Vibes, Kidnap My Baby, Billy The Kid, Just Girls, Woman In Love, You Are What You Are and many others.

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With the success of The Coolnote’s lovers rock / reggae hits in 1980 Steve McIntosh with friends Clive & Frankie Bandoo formed their own Lovers Rock Reggae Record label called ‘Mass Media Music’. The label fast became very popular as they released lovers rock reggae hit after reggae hit namely, ‘I Will always love you - I’ve got to let him know - Its not unusual (a cover of the Tom Jones hit) Meant To Be’ and many more. The label decided to release The Cool-Notes first Album entitled ‘Down To Earth’ which unfortunately did not do as well due to The Coolnotes own creative style of fusing Reggae with Soul music, something the reggae audience at that time did not appreciate but ironically would today recognise as Cool-Notes lovers rock reggae Classics.

It was in 1983 that the 80’s music, South London soul music band took up a natural change and became a Soul music group recording for the Abstract Dance Label run by The Coolnotes then co manger Edward Christie who teamed up to become the other half of original manager Gladstone McIntosh, Stephen’s father who sadly died on the 8th of September 2003. The soul music group first made an impression on the UK Soul music scene with a number 1 summer smash hit ‘You’re Never Too Young’ which also went Top 50 to No. 42. in August 1984. Then followed ‘I forgot’ Top 75 at No. 63 (1984) ‘Spend The Night’ just missing the Top10 at No.11 (1985). ‘In Your Car’ also Top 20 at No.13 (1985) - Both Spend The Night & In Your Car enjoyed huge European success. ‘Have a Good Forever’ which was also the title track of The Cool-Notes first Soul music Album entered Top 75 (1985). ‘Into The Motion’ Top 75 (1986) followed by ‘Girls Night Out’ and ‘Momentary Vision’ (1986)

Due to a very unpopular management decision in early 1987 the Cool-Notes were sadly streamlined down to a foursome and shortly after became a trio which the soul music group remains to this day.

As a trio the 80’s music South London soul music band later recorded ‘Magic Lover b/w House of Love’ (1988) for the soul music label Risin Records and in 1989 recorded ‘Tell Me (that you love me)’ for Jet Star Records. In the early nineties the trio recorded a number of tracks which did not get released including an album recorded for PWL Records. In 1996 both ‘Spend The Night and ‘In your Car’ were remixed for GAP Music which found Spend The Night and In Your Car appearing on many compilation albums and was licensed in many countries world wide.

A British seven piece band hailing from Brixton, London, who began as a reggae outfit and later switched to soul. In the former genre, they gained acceptance with My Tune, a 1978 reggae No. 1 on the specialist charts. They cracked the UK pop charts for the first time in 1984, reaching No. 42 with You’re Never Too Young b/w The Sound Of Summer, their second soul single. Another single, I Forgot, released in late 1984, was also a minor British hit.

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The Cool Notes initially embarked on their recording career in the lovers rock style, and featured Lauraine and Heather on lead vocals. The full line-up comprised Joseph Charles, Peter Lee Gordon, Peter Rowlands and Ian Dunstan. In 1978 the group recorded for Pat Rhoden’s Jama group; the success of the single ‘My Tune’ resulted in Rhoden’s licensing the song to the major record companies in 1979, as the song was expected to cross over into the mainstream. Jama also released the ineffectual ‘Just Girls’ and ‘Sweet Vibes’, which signalled a change of direction. The band continued to record into the early 80s when they released ‘I Forgot How To Love You’, ‘Morning Child’ and Down To Earth, which demonstrated the group’s adaptability. The album cover featured the band dressed as astronauts, and despite this lamentable marketing ploy, the debut was well received. By 1984 the band felt the need for a further transformation, which led to the formation of the Abstract Dance label and the release of ‘Never Too Young’, aimed at the club scene, and which entered the lower regions of the pop chart. The release was met with enthusiasm in the clubs and the band followed the hit with the excusable ‘I Forgot’, striving for a profile on the radio playlists. The single failed to impress disc jockeys and followed its predecessor by scraping a Top 75 position. A discerning decision resulted in the group returning to the club sound for the release of ‘Spend The Night’, which peaked at number 11 in the UK pop chart in spite of the indifference shown towards the band by radio stations. They enjoyed a run of hits with ‘In Your Car’, ‘Have A Good Forever’, and culminating with ‘Into The Motion’. Their songs continued to have a reggae vibe, contradicting their assertions that they wished to be regarded as a UK soul band.

Sources: All Music, Slnb Music


30-01-2021