Beggar & Co. (The Original Light Of The World)

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Beggar & Co are a Britfunk institution, originally composed of core members Kenny Wellington, David ‘Baps’ Baptiste & Neville ‘Breeze’ McKrieth, each one of them a jazz-funk specialist, relying on a horn section heavy style of 1980’s dance music…

artist-thumbBaptiste, Wellington & McKrieth were also the founder members of the group Light Of The World, fromwhich Beggar & Co. was born  & they had already enjoyed some success in the UK albums chart with the superb ‘Round Trip’ LP. The album included the singles ‘London Town’, ‘I Shot The Sheriff’ & ‘Time’ all of which entered the UK singles chart.

At this juncture various members began to record in offshoot bands, the most popular being Incognito led by Jean Paul ‘Bluey’ Maunick. Gee Bello formed a short lived group, The Team, & recorded a dance floor hit ‘Wicky Wacky/House Party’, a cover of the old Fred Wesley funk classic. Wellington, Baptiste & McKrieth then formed Beggar & Co & experienced immediate chart success, outselling the previous biggest LOTW hit ‘Time’, with the vibrant ‘(Somebody) Help Me Out’, which reached No. 15 in February 1981 & stayed in the chart for 10 weeks. The  follow-up ‘Mule (Chant No.2)‘ also hit the top 40 & was another collab with Spandau Ballet who they’d previously hooked up on Spandau’s hit single ‘Chant No.1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On)’.

Beggar & Co @ SS8 (Photo: Clifford Irving Jr. | © 2014 Summer Soulstice)The guys have worked with other artists including UltravoxGeorge MichaelGabrielle & Billy Ocean. In 2007, the band released a live recording from The Jazz Cafe entitled ‘Brass, Strings N’ Things.’ This was their first release in many years & was followed in May 2011 by a new studio recording ‘The Legacy’ released on MBJ Records.

It was two years previously in 2009 @ SS3, that the live performance of Beggar & Co (The Original Light Of The World) was generally considered to have taken our event to a new level, with an all-star line-up alongside Wellington & McKrieth that day. They were Billy Osborne (drums), Camelle Hinds (bass), Sid Gauld (trumpet), Peter Hinds (keyboards), Ray Carless (sax), Orphy Robinson (percussion/vibes), & Noel McKoy, Glen Goldsmith & Ingrid Mansfield Allman (vocals).

In 2014 Kenny, Breeze & Baps returned once again to perform as the original Beggar & Co trio at Summer Soulstice in 2014 & they featured once again as part of an all-star Brit-Funk line-up two years later.

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