Neville ‘Breeze’ McKrieth

Light Of The World began in 1974 when Neville ‘Breeze’ McKrieth approached Kenny Wellington at Crackers’ famous afternoon funk session and asked him down for a rehearsal with some other young musicians in east London…

Fortunately for all of us, Kenny agreed and LOTW was born, inspired by the classic Kool & The Gang album ‘Light Of Worlds’, Breeze and the rest of the group would spend Saturday afternoons standing around in west London’s Contempo Record Shop listening to the latest US imports and the likes of The Kay Gees would become a big influence on their early sound, especially on recordings like ‘Swingin’ and ‘Midnight Groovin’.

The earliest days of LOTW featured Breeze on guitar, Kenny on trumpet, David ‘Baps’ Baptiste on sax, Paul ‘Tubbs’ Williams on bass, Jean Paul ‘Bluey’ Maunick on guitar, Everton McCalla on drums, Norman Walker on percussion, Roger Thomas on sax, Junior King on drums and Earl Appleton on keys. However, after playing initial shows in London and the south east, some became dissillusioned and quit the band. Several changes followed and keyboard player Peter Hinds and percussionist Chris Etienne were asked to join LOTW and with this line up in place the band were offered management by record shop owner and entrepreneur Joe Williams and soon began rehearsing in north London on top of Joe’s shop.

Ensign Records (run by the late Nigel Grainge and DJ Chris Hill) heard the first demo’s being played in clubs by the likes of Tom Holland at the Lacy Lady and offered the band a deal. The first album did reasonably well, yielding some dance floor hits with the single ‘Swingin’ reaching UK Top 30 and a chance for the band to appear on BBC’s Top Of The Pops in April 1979.

After another set of band personnel changes were bought on by the tragic death of Chris Etienne in a road crash the band had suffered returning from a gig in Scotland. Gee Bello and Nat Augustin joined the band and Breeze also bought in Augie Johnson of Side Effect to produce their second album, the seminal ‘Round Trip’. The LP sold steadily and healthily for the next year and featured the now classic recordings of ‘London Town’, ‘Time’ and ‘I’m So Happy’ (written by Breeze himself as a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.)

In 1980 Breeze, alongside Baps and Kenny formed Beggar & Co. a concept inspired at the time by US bands having various alter egos such as Parliament/Funkadelic/Bootsys Rubber Band. By the following year they had enjoyed two Top 40 hits with ‘Somebody Help Me Out’ and ‘Mule (Chant No 2)’ as well as featuring heavily on Spandau Ballet‘s album ‘Diamonds’, particularly on their Top 3 hit single, ‘Chant No 1’.

With LOTW going through the motions of disbanding, Breeze concentrated on the Beggar & Co album, which contained the two hit singles and some jazzier tunes like ‘Bahia De Palma’. In 1985 Ensign asked Breeze and Kenny to work on remixes of ‘Time’ and ‘London Town’, adding the vocals of Phil Fearon & Galaxy to a revised version of  the latter. They also worked with Nat Augustin again where they hooked up with Soul II Soul keyboard player/producer Simon Law resulting in the release of ‘Keep The Dream Alive’ on Chrysalis Records.

In 1999, Breeze, Kenny and Baps once again came together for what is till now, the final LOTW studio recordings and released the album ‘Inner Voices’ with 12 new and original compostions including the popular ‘Bahia’ & ‘I Like’. In April 2007 members of LOTW and guests including Junior Giscombe, Kenny Thomas & Leee John played together at Dingwalls in Camden Town at the Paul ‘Tubbs’ Williams benefit gig in memory of the founding LOTW member who’d sadly passed away a few weeks before.

On June 20th 2009, Breeze performed on the Soulstice Main Stage with the rest of the all star line-up which made up Beggar & Co. (The Original Light Of The World), and once again showed us why he is considered one of the world’s finest guitarists with an incredible performance at our third Summer Soulstice.

In 2014 he returned to play with Kenny and Baps as the original Beggar & Co trio, then again in 2016 with Kenny and the likes of Ernie McKone, Mick Talbot and Hi-Tension in an all-star line-up that was later to become Brit Funk Association.

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