In 1988 clubs, cafes and bars across the nation began tuning into a track that would help define the next 16 years of British dance music. ‘Anyone (who had a heart)’, a Bacharach and David cover, done in a style that used the lyrics but resembled little of the original, introduced ‘Smith and Mighty’ to the U.K. dance culture’s consciousness. The tracks heavy synthesised dub bass, tight production, mid-tempo b-drum heavy and sharp snare beat, set off with piano, strings, a couple of well placed samples sat magnificently behind Jackie Jackson’s sublime vocal. This track presented a new mix template for dance music which had been hinted at by the Wild Bunch’s version of ‘The Look of Love’ the year before. The duo of Rob Smith and Ray Mighty perfected this style with their own unique vision as they went on to release another instant classic ‘Walk on By’ (again a Bacharach and David cover), produced a top ten single for Fresh Four (Wishing on a Star), produced Massive Attacks first single (Any Love) and a sublime album for Carlton (The Call is Strong) on London records who had pulled out the cheque book to sign the act.
Smith and Mighty continued to produce, remix and DJ across the world and worked on an album that would not see the light of day due to record company short-sightedness. During this time they worked with Neneh Cherry and Fine Young Cannibals amongst others before they left London in 1994. One 12″ they did release before leaving London was the ‘Steppers Delight EP’, tracks on this anticipated the ‘Jungle/Drum and Bass’ scene and kept S&M’s reputation riding high. After they left London they set up their own ‘More Rockers’ label and set the standards even higher with the ‘Bass is Maternal’ album. Rob and Ray then provided K7 with a DJ kicks album and signed to the German Label for a series of Smith and Mighty albums. With Rob and Peter D Rose also linking up in the drum and bass act More Rockers the 1990s were a hectic and busy period.
Rob Smith has now entered a new phase in his recording career and has released his debut ‘solo’ album on Manchester’s Grand Central Records. ‘Up on the Downs’ has all the elements of classic Bristolian creativity. You can hear Rob’s many influences from Punk and New-Wave, Reggae and dub to heart wrenching Soul. There are collaborations with a range of vocalists who provide gorgeous compliments to Smiths compositions. Smith has consistently championed the independent, DIY philosophy of punk and has always produced music that speaks to the emotions as well as the dance floor. He is presently writing a second album for Grand Central, DJing all over the world and continuing to produce music of the highest quality.