BTBC is an album of easy listening tracks, featuring various different styles that bring minds the likes of Sade, Matt Bianco, soft reggae / jazz infused with South American rhythms. The vibe of a tropical beach is easy to imagine.
To produce the album, Barry assembled a team of backing singers and musicians, including longtime expat Mark Hodgkins, a highly regarded sax and horns player from the UK.
Barry found fame as a musician on guitar and vocals after joining Eurovision winning band Brotherhood of Man in the early 80s, a few years after their song ‘Save Your Kisses for Me’ won the Eurovision Song Contest.
He also put together and composed hits for the multi-million selling boy band Steps in 1997. A prolific songwriter and producer, he has worked with The Cheeky Girls, John Otway, and also wrote the soundtrack of the movie ‘Little Miss Sunshine’.
In 2009, Barry moved to Pattaya as the music business in the UK was in decline, with the intention of retiring. But that never happened, as he was soon offered work presenting on Thai TV and radio. Barry loves the weather here, the relaxed lifestyle, the people, and the inexpensive cost of living. He says he only regrets not having made his move to Thailand years earlier.
At the recording sessions for BTBC, Barry says Mark “smashed it” and now describes him as the top foreign sax player in Thailand.
Being an upbeat type of guy, Barry wanted the album to bring a bit of the sunshine he woke up to every day into the lives of those who didn’t have it. He knew from the start that to really make the album work, it had to be supported by YouTube videos. Having seen a few of the videos myself, I can vouch that it’s easy to imagine yourself there with Barry and his bevy of beauties, who clearly enjoyed themselves helping to create the music.
BTBC is an album with a very distinct ‘feel good’ factor, so your day isn’t going well give it a listen, it’ll lift your spirits.
The album kicks off with ‘Another Cup of You’, a smooth-running bongo beat declaration of love for a tropical maiden. BTBC continues its glide in the same vein, drawing you into Barry’s world. And Mark’s haunting, enigmatic sax lines help to transport you right there to the beach where the magic happened, Koh Lipe and Pattaya.
The videos brim over with bikini clad beauties on the beach, making and sipping cocktails, tangoing together on the shoreline, and singing along with Barry. ‘Deliciously Naughty Weekend’ captures to mood perfectly.
Coming from Birmingham, home of UB40, I particularly enjoyed the upbeat reggae bass-beats of ‘Beach Bunnies’ while the Sade influence is noticeable on ‘My Idea of Heaven.’ The closing track ‘As the Sun Kisses the Ocean’ says it all about tropical beach resorts.
I count myself lucky to have been given an advance copy of the album and the promo videos by Barry to review. It’s all about positivity and great original music.
The album is playing at my home right now, and will be played again!