Hi-Tension

Pioneering Brit-funk band Hi-Tension exploded onto the scene at the end of the 1970’s and were often referred to by their fans as “the people’s band”…

They were part of the new wave of UK black artists that changed British soul/r&b scene forever. Hi-Tension’s first TV appearance in March 1978 was a live session on the TV programme Black Current and built on this exposure later that year with back-to-back hits with the self-titled ‘Hi Tension’ and the anthemic ‘British Hustle’, reaching No.13 and No.8 respectively in the UK single charts.

Hailing from north west London, the band started out as Hot Waxx which also included Phil Fearon (Galaxy) and Lloyd Phillips (Kandidate). They changed their name to Hi-Tension and signed to Chris Blackwell‘s legendary Island Records with the original line-up as: Jeffrey GuishardDavid JosephKen JosephPatrick McLeanPaul McLeanPaul PhillipsDavid ReidLeroy Williams and Paapa Mensah.

Hi-Tension live on stage at Summer Soulstice in 2014, their first performance back together in 30 years.
Photo by Rich Hockings © Summer Soulstice Ltd.

In the early ’80’s the band split up, with David Joseph pursuing a solo career and scoring hits such as ‘You Can’t Hide (Your Love From Me)’, ‘Joys Of Life’ and ‘Expansions (Expand Your Mind)’, the latter with Chris Paul.

In 1984 Ken, Leroy and Jeff reformed the band (with other members David Joseph and Paul Phillips on the recording sessions) & released ‘Rat Race’ that year and in 1985 ‘You Make Me Happy’ (written, produced and arranged by David Pic Conley of Surface). Both these releases came out on Morgan Khan‘s Streetwave label.

In 2014 we saw a little bit of musical history take place in Barnet and welcomed these UK Brit-funk giants back on stage at our eighth event, their first performance together in 30 years! Two years later Paul and Patrick McLean joined Beggar & Co, Steve Salvari (Central Line), Ernie McKone and his band on the main stage, for an all-star performance. Most of those ‘all stars’ from the day have subsequently gone on to form The Brit Funk Association, a 10 piece collective performing classic jazz funk tracks and some new material too.

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