Brown Sugar was a female lovers rock trio comprising Caron Wheeler, Carol Simms and Pauline Catilin. The group began recording with Dennis Harris at Eve Studios in Brockley Rise, south London, England. With Harris they topped the reggae charts in 1977 with the exhilarating ‘Black Pride’, a version of the Barbara Lewis 1963 Billboard chart-topper ‘Hello Stranger’, and the defiant ‘I’m In Love With A Dreadlocks’. The singles were released on the newly formed Lovers Rock label, a name that has since become the specific nomenclature for the genre. Following the group’s departure from the label, Harris ironically released ‘Free’, followed by ‘Forever My Darling’ and ‘Do You Really Need Me’. The tracks were scheduled for inclusion on Brown Sugar. With Studio 16 producer Winston Edwards, and inspired by Pat Kelly’s hit ‘I Am So Proud’, the trio released their own version of the Impressions’ classic. The single was credited to Pauline And Brown Sugar as it was primarily a solo outing for Catilin. In the autumn of 1978 the group released ‘Confession Hurts’, and at the 1979 Echoes Awards Show, the backing band, Well Pack, swapped roles with the group halfway through their performance - Wheeler, Simms and Catilin proved adept at providing the musical accompaniment. They also collected an award as Best Vocal Group by the weekly magazine’s readers. Further hits with Edwards followed, including ‘You And Your Smiling Face’, ‘Suddenly He’s Gone’ and ‘Runaway Love’. By 1983 their output had dwindled, although ‘Go Now’ for El Jay proved a minor hit. In 1984, Wheeler and Catilin returned to studio work providing backing vocals, notably with Keith Douglas’ ‘Cool Down Amina’. In the late 80s the members concentrated on their solo careers; Wheeler joined the Funki Dred sound system with Soul II Soul and in 1988 topped the UK chart with ‘Back To Life (However Do You Want Me)’ and ‘Keep On Moving’. Simms recorded prolifically as Kofi, often re-recording former Brown Sugar hits. In 1996 the name Brown Sugar re-emerged with the exceptional ‘Sensimilla Babe’, produced by Anthony Malvo and Anthony Red Rose in Jamaica, although it was considered to be an alias for Chevelle Franklin.
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