Dee C. Lee did backing vocals for Wham! during the early 80’s during the period when their debut album Fantastic came out. She left the band in 1983 to begin recording solo material-releasing her first singles that year. She finally joined with the new group being put together by The Jam’s Paul Weller known as The Style Council,which also included keyboardist Mick Talbot. She sang on a couple of songs on the groups first and second full length studio albums Cafe Bleu and Our Favorite Shop in 1984-1985. Later in the decade,she would marry Weller and the couple would have two children during decade together.
The Style Council were a group that always fascinated me. Weller,Talbot and Lee favored a sound that explored much of the black American musical spectrum-from jazz, R&B,soul to funk. Perhaps because the groups celebrated cleanly production and sweeping instrumental arrangements, Style Council earned the ire of many hard rock/punk admirers who are often still convinced that Weller abandoned his edge and sold out. Their next to last album The Cost Of Loving from 1987 came out during the height of this perception. It also contained one of my favorite songs by them in “It Didn’t Matter”.
A hand clap led drum machine beat begins the song before the high pitched violin like synthesizer chimes in-and proceeds to buffet every refrain of the song from then on. The main body of the song consists of Weller’s funky,low pitched rhythm guitar and a slamming synth bass bubbling underneath. On the bridge, Dee C. Lee sings over the refrain of the song played in more of a major key melody before returning to the main theme. Weller then plays a bluesy guitar riff before going into a higher pitched chicken scratch solo as the song fades out-with Lee and Weller singing the title line.
What makes this song so wonderful is that it is thoroughly late 80’s hard synth funk. One trap a lot of bands who just dabble in soul and funk music fall into is sounding almost totally retro. Much as with the American Boz Scaggs,the Style Council were totally contemporary with what was happening with soul/funk music in their time period. And that’s why this song has continued to live with me as a vital and important one-along with a good deal of the Style Council’s other recorded catalog of music. On it’s own this song blends the synth and sophisticated funk ethics almost perfectly.