#644 – Elaine Hudson – No More The Fool
(7-inch single, 1990) (Discogs tracklisting)
Elaine Hudson had made her mark in 1989, duetting with Sydney Youngblood on the title track of his successful debut album Feeling Free. Now it was Youngblood’s turn to return the favour, supplying incidental vocals on Hudson’s first single. Indeed, the whole Youngblood songwriting and production crew were pressed into Hudson’s service, with Youngblood himself taking a co-writing credit.
In its 12-inch incarnation, “No More The Fool” is an amiable, well-sung pop take on classic soul tropes, with pleasing piano and strings, that’s only marred by the inclusion of that Soul II Soul rhythm track, which had become ubiquitous around the turn of the Nineties.
In this respect, Team Youngblood – and producer Claus Zundel in particular – had previous form, drawing criticism for their heavy reliance on Jazzie B’s signature sound. Cocking a snook at the finger-waggers, they had even released a “Jazzy Who?” remix of “Feeling Free”, which committed further acts of plunder. And of course, there was Youngblood’s big hit “If Only I Could”, whose backing track is barely distinguishable from Raze’s “Break 4 Love”.
As shameless as these lifts might have been, at least they were competently executed. But with the 7″ remix of “No More The Fool” – which is the version I own, and you’ll search in vain to hear it online – the machinery jammed. Ditching the Soul II Soul rhythm, Zundel smothered the song with a generic James Brown breakbeat, mixing it so high that the rest of the track fades into murky near-inaudibility. Hudson’s vocals are so buried, that she might as well have been singing beneath six inches of soil, and Youngblood’s vocals are mixed so low that the ear struggles to make them out at all. In fact, the overall sound quality is so utterly, utterly terrible, that it beggars belief that this mix was ever cleared for release. Perhaps it sounded better on the CD single, but all I can hear is the thoughtless ruination of a otherwise pleasant song.