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Susan Cadogan

With a delicate voice that shimmers between childlike innocence and smoldering sexuality, Susan Cadogan's vocals were the perfect expression of lovers rock. Surprisingly, she never intended to sing professionally, and thus her music career has been sporadic, but such was her talent, that Cadogan was crowned the Queen of Lovers Rock. Born Alison Anne Cadogan on November 2, 1951, in Kingston, Jamaica, she came from a musical family, and her mother had in fact released a number of gospel records during her childhood. The family emigrated to Belize in the mid-'50s, but returned to Jamaica at the end of decade, where Cadogan continued her schooling. Upon graduation, she took a job working in the library at the University of the West Indies in Mona. And there she might have remained, if not for DJ Jerry Lewis, the boyfriend of one of Cadogan's friends. Impressed by her voice, the DJ took her into the JBC studio in 1974 to record his own composition, "Love My Life," which he produced himself. Coincidentally enough, producer Lee "Scratch" Perry was at JBC that same day and was as impressed as the DJ with Cadogan's talent. Perry swiftly swooped in and took the singer under his wing, he renamed her Susan, and set to work in the studio, where he had her record an album's worth of cover songs. Although a brilliant producer, Perry had some faults; at times his highly experimental production style could totally overwhelm his vocalists, while the sheer quantity of his output meant that on occasion his more generic reggae arrangements could play havoc with more delicate or soulful singers. But Perry did Cadogan proud, restraining his more extreme impulses, while gracing the songs with arrangements that played to her and the song's strengths. The first fruits of these sessions was the rousing "Hurts So Good," a cover of Millie Jackson's soul classic. Even though the single, released on Perry's own Perries label, included such musicians as the Zap Pow horn section and bassist Boris Gardiner, it received virtually no attention from the Jamaican public. It was a different story in Britain, where Perry had licensed the single. After dominating at 1974's Notting Hill Carnival, an astute remix quickly flew to the top of the reggae chart. That success prompted the bigger Magnet label to license the single and by March, "Hurts" was sitting in the Top Five of the U.K. national chart. Cadogan was soon on her way to London, where she made several national TV appearances. While there, the singer inked a deal with Magnet, prompting Perry to license his own recordings with her to a variety of small U.K. labels. Amazingly enough, none of these singles charted; however in 1976, Perry handed all his tapes of Cadogan to Trojan, who released them as the sublime Hurts So Good album. At the same time, the singer herself was in the studio recording with producer Pete Waterman of Stock, Aitken & Waterman pop fame. The first fruit of this new union, "Love Me Baby," barely scraped into the Top 25 in the spring of 1975; its follow-up, "How Do You Feel the Morning After," didn't even chart. The response to Cadogan's album Doing It Her Way, released the same year, was equally disappointing, but not perhaps surprising. Roots ruled the roost in Britain and Waterman's crisp production and lightweight choice of songs ("Swinging on a Star" for example) offended reggae fans and didn't connect with pop fans, either. Cadogan hopefully hung on in Britain until 1977, when after a series of failed singles, she called it a day. She returned home to Jamaica and her old job at the university library. Then, out of the blue in 1982, Cadogan was back on the Jamaican chart with a cover of Smokey Robinson's classic "Tracks of My Tears." In the intervening years, much of the island's public had grown weary of roots and its constant carping on cultural themes. Social fatigue had set in and many listeners now wanted a change, as a result, a new style had sprung up: lovers rock. Richly romantic, gentle, and soothing, it was perfect for Cadogan's own stylings.

Over the next couple of years, the singer stamped her imprint across the island's chart. "Tears" was followed by two more hits in 1982 -- "Piece of My Heart" and "Love Me." She topped the chart the next year with an exquisite duet with Ruddy Thomas, "(You Know How to Make Me) Feel So Good," and the pair followed that up with a second smash, "Only Heaven Can Wait." In 1984, Cadogan on her own delivered up two further chart winners, "Cause You Love Me Baby" and "Don't Know Why."

Then, just as swiftly as she had appeared, the singer vanished, leaving the music industry entirely. It was almost a decade before she resurfaced, this time accompanied by English producer Mad Professor (aka Neil Fraser).

In 1992, her magnificent version of "Together We Are Beautiful" was included on the producer's 12th anniversary compilation, celebrating his own Ariwa label. Like Perry before him, Mad Professor left his own production eccentricities behind and brought out the best in Cadogan for her 1992 album, Soulful Reggae, another cover-heavy set that showcases the singer's strong, exquisite vocals. The following year, she recorded another track for Ariwa's This Is Lovers Reggae, Vol. Three compilation, guest -starred on Mad Professor's Dub Maniacs on the Rampage, and even joined legendary DJ U-Roy for his new version of her old hit "Hurts So Good." In 1995, British singer Jimmy Somerville took this song back to the U.K. charts with his own take on the song she'd made her own. Cadogan herself returned that same year with an excellent new album, Chemistry of Love. And since that time, the singer has again retreated from the limelight. ~ Jo-Ann Greene
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: DJ Spooky Presents: In Fine Style - 50,000 Volts Of Trojan Records

Disc 1

1. Sweet Like Candy

2. Nice Nice

3. 007 Shanty Town

4. Funky, Funky Reggae

5. Shades Of Hudson

6. Summertime

7. Disco Devil

8. Jah Jah Man

9. Lama Lava

10. Come Together

11. Old Fashion Way

12. Rain

13. Your Ace From Outer Space

15. The Trial Of Pama Dice

16. Ba Ba Boom

17. Fever

18. Morning Sun

Disc 2

1. DJ's Choice

2. Screaming Target

3. The Great Musical Battle

4. The Russians Are Coming (Take 5)

5. Popcorn

6. Brother Noah

10. Dynamic Fashion Way

11. A Yah We Deh

12. Here Comes The Judge

13. Flat Foot Hustling

14. Hot Sauce (AKA The Agro Man Is Back)

15. Rudy A Message To You

x

Track List: Cosmosonica: Tom Middleton Presents Crazy Covers, Vol. 1

x

Track List: All Shook Up - A Reggae Tribute To The King

1. Don't Be Cruel

3. All Shook Up

6. Are You Lonesome Tonight?

7. Wooden Heart

9. Suspicion

10. Frankie And Johnny

12. You'll Never Walk Alone

14. In The Ghetto

15. Suspicious Minds

19. The Impossible Dream

21. Fever

23. Pledging My Love

x

Track List: Furry Selection: Luxury Cuts Of Trojan Chosen By A Super Furry Animal

1. Skylarking

2. Curly Locks

3. Dread Combination

4. Flashing Echo

5. Vibrate Onn

6. Darkest Night On A Wet Looking Road

8. Penny For Your Dub

9. Do It Baby

11. Free The Weed

12. Kaya

14. The Long Way

x

Track List: History Of Trojan Records: 1972-1995, Vol. 2

Disc 1

1. Them A Fe Get A Beatin'

4. Festival Da Da

6. Keep On Moving

7. All That We Need Is Love

8. S90 Skank

9. The Time Has Come

12. Money In My Pocket

13. Salvation Train

14. Loving Pauper

16. African Queen

17. Words Of My Mouth

18. Purify Your Heart

20. Stranger On The Shore

21. John Devour

22. Have I Sinned

24. Everything I Own

25. Help Me Make It Through The Night

Disc 2

1. Fire Burning

2. Sweet Bitter Love

3. Stalag 17

4. Here I Am Baby

5. None Shall Escape The Judgement

6. Ire Feelings

7. Play De Music

8. Forward Jah Jah Children

9. Jah Jah Bless The Dreadlocks

10. Hurt So Good

12. Duke Of Earl Dub

13. Soldering

14. Keep Cool Babylon

17. Ram Goat Liver

18. Heavy Manners

20. The People Got To Know

21. Love The Dread

23. You Are The Sun

x

Track List: Young, Gifted And Black

Disc 1

1. Oh Carolina

2. Madness

3. My Boy Lollipop

4. Guns Of Navarone

5. I'm In The Mood For Ska

7. 007 (Shanty Town)

8. Rudy, A Message To You

10. Train To Skaville

11. Hold Me Tight

12. Angel Of The Morning

13. Wet Dream

14. Israelites

15. Return Of Django

16. Red Red Wine

17. Wonderful World, Beautiful People

18. Long Shot Kick De Bucket

19. Liquidator

20. Monkey Man

21. Elizabethan Reggae

22. Many Rivers To Cross

23. Rivers Of Babylon

24. Kingston Town

25. Young, Gifted & Black

Disc 2

1. You Can Get It If You Really Want

2. Love Of The Common People

3. Black Pearl

4. Montego Bay

5. Sun Is Shining

6. Johnny Too Bad

7. Double Barrel

8. Rain

9. Let Your Yeah Be Yeah

10. Black & White

11. Cherry Oh Baby

12. Monkey Spanner

13. Suzanne Beware Of The Devil

14. Big Seven

15. Everything I Own

16. Help Me Make It Through The Night

17. Ire Feelings (Skanga)

18. Hurt So Good

19. Midnight Rider

21. Dat

22. Side Show

23. Uptown Top Ranking

24. Money In My Pocket

25. Police & Thieves

Comments

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cassiaflower
LOVE Susan Cadogan's sweet version of Hurts So Good!!!

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