Stephen ‘T.O.E.’ Forde is a bit of an enigma who has been involved with the music business for three decades. As part of the outfit Perception, he was an early signing to Gilles Peterson’s ground-breaking Talkin’ Loud imprint in the early 1990s with ‘Out and About EP’. In 1993, their ‘Take U Higher’ also stands out as Brit Soul of the highest calibre. Since then, T.O.E. has been quietly honing his production skills, resurfacing only now with a handful of excellent tracks including ‘Say It Loud’ and his ‘Slighty Beautiful’ release on Tangential Records. As his new single ‘Say It Loud’ drops on Ramrock Red Records, DMCWorld goes back to mine with T.O.E.
1 Lewis Taylor – Lucky (Island Records)
The world wasn’t ready for Lewis’s debut album, a work of pure genius. This track hits hard, just listen to how the song slowly morphs from dark to light, the 4 minute mark …….. tear inducing.
2 Atlantic Starr – When Love Calls (Atlantic Records)
A modern soul classic featuring one of my favourite singers Sharon Bryant. .As the good Dr.Bob Jones (one of the greatest DJs ever) would say, “so soulful, it hurts”.
3 Mandrill – Can You Get It (Polydor Records)
The Funk, the whole funk and nothing but the funk. End of.
4 Chick Corea – Central Park (Verve Records)
This track fills me with pure joy. Chick Corea was one of the greatest ever musicians of any genre and this dance jazz classic explodes with Latin fusion energy. Just check those moog synth solos, devine.
5 Billy Hawkins – “O” Baby (I believe I’m losing You) (Stateside Records)
You hear this tune, you put your pint down and head directly to the dance floor. Absolutely wonderful.
6 Neon Phusion – It’s Another (Laws Of Motion Records)
Genre defining “West London Broken Beat” at its finest.
7 New Cool Collective – So Cool (Club Ganesh Remix) (Challenge Records)
I’m a sucker for jazzy drum n bass and this is a perfect example, when the “Demon Break” drops …… boooom.
8 Digable Planets – Rebirth Of The Slick (Pendulum Records)
I remember strolling up to the Jazz World Stage at Glastonbury in 1993, having no idea which band was about to perform. To my delight Digable Planets were welcomed onto the stage. They opened with this classic.
9 Horace Andy – Stop The Fuss (Wackie’s Records)
My favourite reggae artist blessed the world with this album “Dance Hall Style” back in 1982. Essential late night listening and I’m reasonably confident all my previous neighbours would agree with me.
10 T.O.E – Say It Loud. (Ramrock Records)
Born during the first lockdown and inspired by all the unrest happening in the USA at the time. A simple message calling for unity and optimism. My tribute to the immortal Curtis Mayfield.
T.O.E. ‘Say It Loud EP’ (Incl. North Street West Remixes) is out now on Ramrock Red Records.